independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Gunners step up Nani chase

Arsenal have taken the first significant step towards overhauling their attacking options during the January transfer window by making an inquiry to Manchester United for Nani.

The Portugal winger has not started a match in the Premier League since the end of September and, with his contract expiring in 2014, Arsenal hope to take advantage of his situation.

There is also a hope at Arsenal that talks for Nani, who would cost around £16m (€20m), might be smoothed by how the two clubs found agreement this year for Robin van Persie to join Manchester United. Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson negotiated personally over Van Persie as the two most consistent and successful clubs in Premier League history completed a rare piece of transfer business.

Arsenal still hope to keep Theo Walcott as well as add new attacking options, but the interest in recruiting Nani, an international winger of proven Premier League experience, suggests that Wenger is making plans for Walcott's potential departure.

Walcott has so far refused the offer a new five-year contract at Arsenal, although talks have resumed over the past month after a prolonged stand-off.

United are also interested in Walcott, but they may prefer to wait until the end of the season before making their move, given that he would potentially be available on a free transfer. Liverpool and Manchester City are also interested. It is possible, though, that Arsenal could offer Walcott as part of a January deal for Nani of around £10m.

Wages, however, could easily present an insurmountable obstacle in any move to bring Nani to Arsenal. Nani is on £80,000 a week at United and would want an enhanced deal, thought to be around £130,000 a week.

Arsenal do not pay any player more than £100,000 a week and, as well as Nani, are actively pursuing other targets. A formal offer is expected for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, although he is more likely to become available at the end of the season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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