Younes Kaboul has denied speculation that he will leave Tottenham on a free transfer this summer to join fierce local rivals Arsenal. The Daily Star made the claim this week that the France international had told his friends that he wanted to move to Arsenal when his contract expires.
Kaboul, 28, rejoined Spurs from Portsmouth in 2010 for £9.5 million. While he impressed when first returning to White Hart Lane, Kaboul has been beset by injuries in the past two seasons, during which he has made just seven Premier League starts. Yet, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could well be on the lookout for a central defender at the end of the campaign, with Thomas Vermaelen rumored to be on the way out.
What always appeared an unlikely deal now looks a non-starter, however. Kaboul has insisted that he won’t be making the same move as Sol Campbell when the then Tottenham captain caused huge controversy by joining Arsenal on a free transfer in 2001.
“I can confirm 100% that the rumor about me joining Arsenal is not true!!!” Kaboul posted on his Twitter account.
Wenger’s priority this summer, however, is likely to be finally adding to Arsenal’s firepower. Olivier Giroud has struggled for goals in the second-half of the season, while Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner have both failed to make an impact. Bendtner appears certain to leave the Emirates when his contract expires in the summer.
One of the names to be linked is Alexandre Lacazette. The 22-year-old, who made his debut for France last June, has scored 14 goals in 29 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon this season. Speaking to Italian publication Tuttoport, he suggested that he welcomed rumors linking him with a move to Lyon’s opponents in the Europa League quarterfinals, Juventus.
“Would I like to play for Juventus? I’d be a liar if I said no,” he said. “Like everyone else. I’m tempted to experience life abroad at a big club. And Juventus are one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
“My contract with Lyon expires in 2016, so we must see what the president [Jean-Michel] Aulas will say and decide.
When asked about speculation that Arsenal and Liverpool were also interested, he similarly failed to rule out a move to the Premier League. “I repeat that an experience in another major league fascinates me. But for now I’m only thinking of doing well for Lyon, the club where I have developed.”
According to the London Evening Standard, Arsenal have another target in Ligue 1, in the form of Lille’s Salomon Kalou. The former Chelsea forward recently claimed that he turned down a loan move to Arsenal on January’s transfer deadline day. Still it is believed that Kalou is keen on a return to the Premier League in the summer and could be available for £2.5 million.
The Ivory Coast international has scored 25 league goals in France since ending his six-year stay at Stamford Bridge. And the Evening Standard claims that Kalou could be sought by Wenger to supplement the arrival of another, more high-profile, forward.
There have been rumors that one of the top class strikers being targeted is Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic. Wenger suggested in January, when Robert Lewandowski’s free transfer to Bayern Munich was finally confirmed, that he could be interested in Mandzukic in the summer.
However, German publication Bild has claimed that it is not Lewandowski’s arrival that will decide the Croatia international’s future, but instead the terms Bayern are prepared to offer in a new contract proposal. Bild also has quotes from Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who sounded a confident tone about the 27-year-old extending his deal beyond 2016.