‘Arsenal to splash out £37m on ‘new Van Persie’ - Arsenal are ready to splash out £37m on the German wonderkid they believe can be the next Robin van Persie, according to a report in the Daily Mail. They are prepared to meet the release clause for Julian Draxler, 20, who has been identified as a priority target for the Gunners after an intensive scouting drive. Arsene Wenger’s staff believe Draxler, who plays as an attacking midfielder for Schalke, has the attributes to play as a lone centre forward. Wenger may yet move for Draxler this month but the release clause does not apply until the summer.
Paper Round’s view: Arsenal clearly think Draxler has similar qualities to those of Van Persie and Thierry Henry, who arrived in north London as wingers but became prolific goalscorers. Having failed to land Luis Suarez or Wayne Rooney last summer and with limited cover, Wenger has to make signing a new centre forward a priority. Rarely one to take the most obvious solution, the Arsenal boss would surprise no one if he plucked out Draxler and turned him into a forward similar to that of Van Persie when he first joined the club. A summer move would be more likely, but Arsenal really need to act quickly in January to have a chance of winning the title.
‘Liverpool join race to sign Porto midfielder’ - Liverpool are the latest club to enter the race for Porto midfielder Fernando, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Everton, according to the Daily Express. The Brazilian was thought to be close to a move to Serie A side Napoli, having been linked with a number of Italian sides, but it seems that Liverpool have now also thrown their hat into the ring. Reports in Portugal suggest that the Reds had scouts present for Porto's match against Benfica on Sunday and that Fernando was the player being monitored. Fernando's contract is set to expire in 2015.
Paper Round’s view: There has been talk that the 26-year-old could be available for a cut-price fee in January with his deal entering its last 18 months, and Liverpool would be wise to move swiftly for the midfielder. Brendan Rodgers will know that he has to be decisive in order to secure a deal, with Fernando's agent, Antonio Araujo, hinting that his client is close to agreeing an extension with Porto. It’s likely a ploy to rush Liverpool, but the athletic midfielder would clearly be an excellent signing for the Anfield club.
‘Manchester City may spend £42m on a defender’ - Manchester City are ready to reignite their interest in £42m-rated Eliaquim Mangala, according to reports in various papers. It is claimed that City are ready to splash the cash to bring in the Porto star, who is also wanted by French big-spenders PSG and Monaco . The 22-year-old defender has been tipped to become one of the world's very best but Porto have been trying desperately to keep hold of him.
Paper Round’s view: The Portuguese club have so far resisted all offers and insisted that they would not sell for any less than his £42m buy-out clause - a staggering fee for a relatively unproven prospect. That might not put off the three clubs currently leading the chase, given their financial backing, and City would be in need of a new defender very soon if they allow Joleon Lescott to head out in January. Manuel Pellegrini has been keen to bolster his ranks in this area of the field anyway and the powerful Mangala would appear to fit the bill nicely.
'United will have to wait to sign Pogba' - Juventus are not prepared to sell Paul Pogba in January despite listening to United's offer, but the Reds could sign the midfielder in the summer, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News. Current Reds manager David Moyes was at Juve’s Serie A match against Cagliari in Sardinia on Sunday where the 20-year-old powerful French international midfielder played in a 4-1 win. He was hoping to persuade the Italians to allow Pogba to return to United in the January transfer window. However, Juve’s director general Beppe Marotta has essentially wrecked Moyes’ hopes - for now.
Paper Round's view: The ex-Red 2011 FA Youth Cup winner left Old Trafford for the Serie A side on a free transfer after running his contract down in the summer of 2012. Pogba has since blamed former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for him leaving Old Trafford, but there is no reason that Moyes couldn't persuade him to return under the new management. Quite whether he would be keen to return to England and to a struggling side with his career going so well in Italy would be another question altogether.