In Brief

Xherdan Shaqiri up for grabs as Schalke walk away

Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham will be relieved to hear that Xherdan Shaqiri is still on the market

Xherdan Shaqiri

Who says the Germans have no sense of humour? Not the Daily Star, which claims that Schalke have "laughed off speculation" linking them with a January move for Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri.

The news that the Swiss sizzler is still very much on the market will be a tonic to Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. The Premier League trio have heard rumours to the effect that the 22-year-old Shaqiri "is reportedly unhappy" in Munich and it's believed one or all will table big money bids in the New Year.

Schalke had been strongly tipped to make an offer for the wideman too, but in an interview with German rag Sportsbild, the club's sporting director, Horst Heldt, said the idea was preposterous.

"He is a great player, but we are sufficiently well staffed for wingers," he said. "A move would make no sense."

Meanwhile Metro claims that Arsenal are ready to have a "tug-of-war" with Manchester United over Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar the minute the January transfer window opens.

United have long been linked with a move for the Dutch international, with manager Louis van Gaal confident he can persuade the Villa hard man to make the move to Old Trafford.

But Metro says Arsene Wenger has now identified the 29-year-old Vlaar as the man to stiffen the sinews of the shambolic Arsenal defence. Vlaar is out of contract with Villa at the end of the season and though the club wants to keep hold of their captain, the board might decide to sell in the New Year rather than see him leave on a free transfer in the summer.

And if United do miss out on Vlaar, might they make a move for another Dutch defender? The Express seems to think so, saying that van Gaal is considering a "£10 million January bid" for Bruno Martins Indi.

The 22-year-old started six of Holland's seven games at the World Cup and is currently with Porto having moved to Portugal from Feyenoord last summer.

Finally Talksport reports that Queen's Park Rangers' manager Harry Redknap has confirmed that the club is tailing Toronto FC striker Jermain Defore. It was thought that QPR might have snapped up the former Tottenham and England strike last summer but the paperwork couldn't be concluded in time for the deadline and the 32-year-old remained across the Pond.

But when asked if he still had designs on Defoe, Redknapp replied: "I am a big fan of Jermain…I haven't spoken to the chairman about it but we will see, I know what we need. The figures would have to be right, and it's a player we would like."

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