Monday 11 December 2017

Arsenal struggle to secure top targets while relations between Chelsea and Everton sour over Lukakau

Julian Draxler
Julian Draxler

Jack De Menezeas

Manchester City have completed their seventh signing of the summer after agreeing a £4.75m deal with Atletico Nacional for Colombia forward Marlos Moreno, with the 19-year-old heading out on loan immediately to Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna.

City’s new manager Pep Guardiola has wasted little time in putting his own touch on City’s squad, and Moreno’s arrival comes as the third new signing this week following the additions of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus.

With City already moving in the transfer market to bring in Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aaron Mooy, the club’s total spending has already smashed through the £100m barrier since Guardiola replaced Manuel Pellegrini.

Meanwhile, Julian Draxler’s relationship with Wolfsburg continues to deteriorate after the Bundesliga club fined the attacking midfielder for demanding a transfer earlier in the week. Both Arsenal and Everton – as revealed by The Independent – have been linked with a move for the Germany international, with the Toffees looking to spring a major surprise with a £63m move for the 22-year-old.

However, German newspaper Bild claims that Draxler has been fined by Wolfsburg, raising the possibility of the player becoming even more disillusioned at the Volkswagen Arena after they missed out on Champions League football this season.

It’s unlikely Arsenal will launch a move for Draxler though after Arsene Wenger admitted he is struggling to find the right players to sign. Following the Gunners’ 8-0 re-season victory over Norwegian side Viking on Friday, Wenger confirmed the money is there to make more signings this summer, but the players he wants aren’t available.

"It’s not the prices, it’s the players," Wenger said. "At the moment I’m focused on the players we have. Today we didn’t have [Aaron] Ramsey, [Granit] Xhaka, Alexis [Sanchez] - he will play on Sunday [against City].

"We still have [Mesut] Özil at home, and [Olivier] Giroud and [Laurent] Koscielny too. We also have young players who came on and did well. We do not have to panic but we are on alert in the transfer market so that we can make the right move when the opportunity comes up."

Wenger added: "The money is never a problem if you have to pay what is requested.

"The price of a player is down to four ingredients. One is the talent, two his age, three is how much you expect him to improve your team, and four his resale value.

"If he ticks all four boxes then the price is not that important. You have to find the player."

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has warned Crystal Palace and any other clubs looking to sign striker Christian Benteke that he will not be sold on the cheap and will only leave Anfield for his full value.

"Christian already said it maybe makes sense for him to go to another club and that's the situation at this moment," said Klopp.

"Christian is a still a great striker and that's how it is, but we have a few more strikers and in this moment it makes more sense to give them match time and that is what we did.

"If there are clubs that want a striker from us they have to make real offers and are not hoping for anything else, otherwise we will find solutions.

"If there is a need on the other side then go for it - but not as a present. That's how transfers are. A few clubs try to gamble but we are not part of the gambling side. We are serious people, and if there is an offer we will think about it.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has delivered the news fans didn’t want to hear after claiming that has he been installed as United boss sooner, he could have signed current Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches.

United were interested in Sanches, only for Louis van Gaal to veto the move and allow Bayern to swoop. Sanches went on to have an impressive European Championship as Portugal emerged victorious in the final, and according to Portuguese channel Sport TV, Mourinho believes he could have brought him to Old Trafford had Van Gaal been sacked earlier than he was.

“I arrived late. I signed in May, we started talking a week before, but completely out of the process. If I had arrived earlier, I’d fight for him.

“Manchester United watched Renato many times and maybe I did it even more. In so much time at home, I watched many Benfica and Portuguese league games, I got to know the boy better with time.

“He’s in a big club, in a league where he’ll certainly be the champion. The club have players of very high level which belong to the structure, a little like Benfica.”

Finally, relations between Chelsea and Everton appear to be at an all-time low after it emerged that the Merseyside club are angry with the pursuit of Romelu Lukaku, although it is unclear if the Blues have actually made a bid for the Belgium international.

Reports claimed last week that Chelsea had seen a £57m offer rejected by Everton for their former striker, but the Daily Mail now claims that Chelsea have not submitted an official offer at all. Despite this, Everton are unhappy with their Premier League opponents given that they also disrupted their pre-season last year with a public pursuit of defender John Stones.

On that occasion, former manager Mourinho confirmed that he wanted to sign Stones while captain John Terry also spoke out on the transfer, only for Everton to reject four transfer offers that included a £40m bid. Chelsea are reported to have held talks with Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, over a move, leaving Everton angry with how the Blues have gone about their business

Independent News Service

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport