Arsenal secure Paulista work permit and eye Benzema
Gunners land defender but also want a striker; Paul Pogba set to spark summer bidding war
The final few days of the transfer window could see a flurry of deals, with Arsenal finally landing some much-needed defensive cover and Manchester United sniffing around several targets:
• Arsenal fans' prayers have been answered with the arrival of Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal. The Daily Telegraph reports that the 24-year-old has been granted a work permit by the Home Office, despite not being a Brazilian international, after Arsenal argued that he was a player of the "highest calibre" who could "contribute significantly to the development of the game" in England. The paper adds that Paulista was undergoing a medical at Arsenal's Colney training base on Monday afternoon. A final fee of £11.3 has been agreed with the Spanish club.
• Having agreed terms with Villarreal for defender Paulista, Arsenal are now said to be looking for reinforcements up front. According to the Daily Star the Gunners are honing in on Karim Benzema after Real Madrid refused to rule out the possibility of selling the forward. Liverpool are also interested in signing the French striker, but Arsenal are believed to be in pole position with Arsene Wenger ready to splash £40m on the player who has scored 81 La Liga goals in 176 appearances.
• Paul Pogba is a man in demand and the Daily Mirror claims that Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City will join a £75m race to sign the French playmaker this summer. The paper claims that Juventus are ready to cash in on the former United midfielder, who left Old Trafford three years ago only to come to full bloom in Turin, as he showed when scoring a screamer of a goal in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Chievo. Unfortunately for the trio of Premier League clubs, they'll face stiff competition for Pogba's signature from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich , all of whom are also desperate to land the 21-year-old at the end of the season. The Mirror quotes Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, declaring that while his client is happy for the time being at Juventus, "later this year or next year we will see what opportunities have been created". And speaking after the win against Chievo, Juventus gaffer Massimiliano Allegri indicated it might not be within his power to keep hold of Pogba, telling reporters: "Everything in life has a price, unfortunately."
• ESPN reports that United have their eyes on another Saint to go with the one they signed back in the summer. Southampton full-back Luke Shaw moved to Old Trafford six months ago and now United boss Louis van Gaal has his heart set on Nathaniel Clyne. The 23-year-old right-back has apparently been watched closely by Red Devils' scouts in recent weeks and ESPN claim a £20m offer is likely to be tabled in the next week.
• Manchester United and Tottenham are both keeping tabs on PSV Eindhoven's Memphis Depay, described by the Daily Express as a "flying Dutchman". The 20-year-old winger, who became Holland's youngest ever scorer in World Cup finals when he netted during last summer's tournament, is seen by Tottenham as the idea replacement for Aaron Lennon who, says the Express, could soon leave the Lane. As for United's interest, Louis van Gaal is familiar with Depay's potential after coaching him at national level and it will depend on whether he's prepared to meet PSV's £15m asking price.
• Hull City boss Steve Bruce is poised to make a move for Wigan winger Callum McManaman before the January window slams shut. According to The Sun the 23-year-old is being chased by four Premier League clubs, one of which is QPR, but Bruce will win the race provided he stumps up Wigan's £4m asking price. The Sun says West Brom made an offer last week for McManaman but their £2m bid was knocked back by the Latics.
• One player not going anywhere is Fabian Delph with the official Aston Villa website announcing moments before the start of yesterday's 2-1 FA Cup defeat of Bournemouth that the 25-year-old England star has signed a new four-and-a-half-year deal with the club. Liverpool and Tottenham had both been eyeing up the midfielder but Delph has declared his allegiance to Villa by penning a new contract. "I love being here and I want to put 100 per cent into everything I do here," said Delph. "This is my club and I want to be here. That's why I am committing my future."
• Samuel Eto'o's short spell at Everton is over with the veteran frontman passing a medical at Sampdoria on Sunday. The Liverpool Echo reports that the 33-year-old Cameroon international, who arrived at Everton in the summer and scored four goals, then watched Sampdoria in action, and the paper quotes a Toffees' spokesman declaring: "The transfer of Samuel Eto'o to Serie A side Sampdoria is expected to be completed inside the next 24 hours."