With the Gunners captain set to stay, Wenger plots to snag Clint Dempsey after scouts give thumbs up.
AFTER banging home 33 goals in 42 games this season, it’s no surprise that Man City manager Roberto Mancini is chasing Robin Van Persie. But unlike so many former Gunners who have swapped north London for east Manchester, the Dutchman looks set to turn down a whopping £200,000 wage packet to stay at Arsenal, according to The Times.
The paper’s well-connected Matt Hughes says that Man City’s recent collapse has given Van Persie “reservations” about cashing in on City’s interest. He is said to favour a new four-year Arsenal contract, with the club apparently happy to offer their captain a wage rise from £80,000 to £130,000 and a tidy £6 million loyalty bonus. But don’t expect any news soon: the 28-year-old is adamant that formal negotiations shouldn’t begin before the season’s close.
With one eye on new strike partners for ‘Van the Man’, Arsenal are closing in on Fulham’s Clint Dempsey after club scouts made favourable reports to Arsene Wenger, according to the Daily Mail. The Gunners’ boss has been told that the 29 year-old American would “fit perfectly into their system” and his £10m price tag is also well within Arsenal’s budget.
Dempsey, who has scored 22 goals all told this season, is being hunted by a pack of Premier League clubs, but the Mail says Arsenal are “determined” to bring the Fulham frontman to the Emirates.
Meanwhile confusion surrounds the future of Stephan El Shaarawy after what appeared to be conflicting statements from the 19-year-old’s agent.
According to the Metro, Roberto La Florio has hinted at the possibility of his client being loaned out to Arsenal next season to fine tune his game. Though El Shaarawy has reportedly signed a new deal to stay with AC Milan, the Metro claims he could be on his way to the Emirates “in order to get him regular game time”.
La Florio is quoted as saying: “Arsenal have always admired him… but the Rossoneri [Milan] have already agreed to his ownership, and I do not know if they’ll let him go.”
However, a report in the Cairo paper Ahram suggests that AC Milan will be keeping a tight hold on the Italian Under 21 international with an Egyptian father. And in the biggest climbdown since the Place Hackers left the Shard Tower, La Florio went out of his way to scotch rumours of any loan deal with Arsenal.
“The Rossoneri have signed him and will not be letting him go. He would also be happy to stay at Milan,” said the agent.
The last sentence was a reference to comments made recently by El Shaarawy, who told reporters: “I really like the English game. Many people always tell me that I have the characteristics to play in the Premier League.”
Still with Arsenal, Carlos Vela has made it clear he wants to remain with Real Sociedad when his loan deal runs out at the end of the season. The 23-year-old striker was farmed out to the Spanish side by the Gunners after failing to make his mark at the Emirates in six unsuccessful seasons. Life in La Liga seems more agreeable to Vela and his five goals in the last six games are likely to lead to a permanent contract with Real Sociedad.
Speaking to Spanish rag El Diario Vasco, Vela said: “In every game, whether I play well or badly, I am not thinking about what Arsenal think of me. I give all my effort for Real Sociedad.”
Pressed on where he wanted to play his football next season, Vela replied: “I have a contract with an English team and if I have to return there I will adapt, but if I could stay here I would be happier.”
In other news, Manchester United will have to fight off interest from Borussia Monchengladbach if they’re to sign Granit Xhaka in the summer. The 19-year-old playmaker came to prominence last season with the Swiss national team and, according to Talksport, Monchengladbach are determined to land the talented teenager.
But apparently Alex Ferguson is equally keen to snap up Xhaka having been impressed by his composed performances for Basel in this season’s Champions League. The asking price could be as low as £5m although that figure could rise considerably if a bidding war breaks out between United and Monchengladbach.
Finally, the Daily Mirror reports that AC Milan and Inter are “preparing to slug it out” over Mario Balotelli come the summer. The Italian striker, who was sent off against Arsenal on Sunday, is rumoured to have finally exhausted the patience of Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.
As a consequence the Sky Blues could will offload Balotelli in June though his fee might prove a sticking point. According to the Mirror, the Milan clubs value the 21-year-old at £20m, but City will tell them to do as Balotelli does when he tackles and go much higher. ·