Arsenal have confirmed Lille winger Eden Hazard as a future transfer target, The Guardian has revealed.
The 20-year-old Belgian international has been an integral part of Lille’s starting XI for the past three seasons and was expected to leave France in the summer until his club issued a ‘hands off’ warning to any potential buyers.
The winger announced in December that he would be reluctant to join Real Madrid or Barcelona due to fears of becoming a benchwarmer and that he would rather join a team like Arsenal, where young stars are known to prosper.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ruled out any chance of signing Hazard during the January transfer window but maintained that the youngster could be sporting an Arsenal jersey next season: “We are following him. Personally I think he has real talent and the level needed to play at Arsenal. But in the offensive department we have many players. At the end of the season we’ll have a look at the situation.”
Almunia Jan exit.
Arsene Wenger has admitted that goalkeeper Manuel Almunia could be leaving the club in January, according to the Press Association,
Galatasaray, Malaga and Atletico Madrid have all expressed interest in the 33-year-old, with the Turkish club leading the chase and reportedly ready to meet Arsenal’s £1.5million valuation of the player, as well as Almunia’s £50,000 wage demands.
The Gunners manager made no attempt to discourage any speculation of the Spaniard leaving the Emirates this month but was quick to stress that his departure is not inevitable: “There is a small chance. Yes, I have had a chat with him, but nothing is decided. We are in no-man’s land at the moment on that front.”
Almunia has not featured between the sticks for the London club since the 3-2 home defeat to West Brom in late September and it is believed that, after six and a half years of service, the veteran goalkeeper has played his last game for the club.
Gunners in for Falcao.
Arsenal have renewed their interest in prolific Porto forward Radamel Falcao, according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola.
The Columbian striker has been impressive for the Liga Sagres club since joining from Argentinean side River Plate. The 24-year-old scored 29 goals in 36 games in his first season with Porto and has gone on to score seven in his last 13 league games this term.
Rumours have been circulating the English Press that Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner could be set to leave the club on loan and Arsene Wenger will be looking for a replacement should either player join another side this month.
However, it seems unlikely that Wenger will be willing to meet Porto’s demands of approximately £20million for the striker.
Nasri wins award.
Samir Nasri has been named the Barclays Player of the Month for December by the Barclays Awards Panel.
The Frenchman has been in sensational form this season and has now been rewarded for his consistency by the Premier League.
Nasri has scored nine league goals during the current campaign from midfield and the 23-year-old’s two memorable goals during Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Fulham as well as his impressive performance during his side’s victory over London rivals Chelsea were apparently key to his recognition as the Premier League’s best player last month.
His manager, Arsene Wenger, has been full of praise for the midfielder, speaking to The Daily Mail Wenger said: “Before, Samir was playing too deep. Now, he is much more effective in the final third. I saw it in training last season that he had the ability, but sometimes he didn’t transfer that into the game … he is both left and right-footed. He’s very flexible with his hips and very quick. That is why he can get into good positions. Actually, I think he could do this and score like this for more than just one season.”