Arsenal edge ahead of Spurs for £15m David Marshall
Arsenal are set to make a surprise move to try to sign Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall from under the noses of north London rivals Tottenham.
Cardiff value Marshall at around £15million, but that price tag has not put off Arsenal from targeting the 29-year-old as a replacement for Lukasz Fabianski.
FA Cup hero Fabianski has rejected a new contract to stay at the Emirates and is close to completing a free transfer move to Swansea.
That leaves Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger needing a new keeper to put pressure on first-choice Wojciech Szczesny and provide top-class cover.
Wenger has also considered Reading’s Alex McCarthy as his new deputy, but Marshall is emerging as Arsenal’s top target to replace Fabianski and the club are set to firm up their interest with Cardiff.
Marshall was Cardiff’s stand-out performer in their season in the Premier League that ended in relegation and was named the club’s player of the year. He only signed a new contract in February.
The new deal protects Marshall’s value for Cardiff and the Welsh club will be desperate to get as much money as possible for the Scotland international.
Tottenham have lined up Marshall as a potential replacement for Hugo Lloris if the Frenchman quits White Hart Lane in search of Champions League football this summer.
But Spurs have not given up hope of keeping Lloris, which gives Arsenal the chance to make their move before their rivals can react. Liverpool have also shown an interest in Marshall.
Wenger will no doubt be reluctant to match Cardiff’s £15m asking price for Marshall, but Arsenal are hopeful they will be able to find a compromise agreement.
Marshall started his career at Celtic and made 50 appearances before moving to Norwich in 2007. It is at Cardiff, however, where he has blossomed – particularly during the club’s promotion to the Premier League and subsequent relegation.
As well as a replacement for Fabianski, Wenger wants at least one new forward, a midfielder and a right-back to take over from Bacary Sagna.
Sagna is expected to leave on a free transfer to join Manchester City and Wenger is interested in a separate deal to take James Milner, who can operate at right-back, in the opposite direction.
“Today, there's a 90 per cent chance I will leave [Arsenal] and 10 per cent that I will stay,” said Sagna. “I have been asking myself that question for a long time and it's the time for a new challenge.
“Several European and English clubs have contacted me. Certain talks have gone further than others and Manchester City are among them.”