With negotiations ongoing to try and seal the signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, reports continue to claim that Arsenal are also working on a headline-making deal for Wayne Rooney. Arsene Wenger has previously admitted that he was monitoring the forward’s situation at Manchester United with interest. Now, according to the Daily Star, the Gunners are confident that a deal could be possible and are putting together a package to lure the player to the Emirates.
In the closing weeks of last season, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that Rooney had asked to leave the club for the second time in three years, although that was later denied by the 27-year-old’s camp. Rooney is expected to meet with new United boss David Moyes this week. Currently earning well in excess of £200,000 a week, the 27-year-old appears unlikely to have those terms matched if he is to extend a contract that is in a crucial period with two years left to run. Ironically, it is the arrival of former Gunner Robin van Persie that has reduced Rooney’s importance at United.
The Daily Star believes that Arsenal will be willing to meet Rooney’s wage demands, despite their highest earner on less than half what Rooney currently earns. Arsenal would also likely face competition from the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and even potentially Real Madrid. United would undoubtedly prefer to sell Rooney abroad if he does leave Old Trafford and that, along with the mammoth wages he would command, mean a move to the Gunners is still somewhat fanciful.
A less costly option would be Barcelona’s David Villa. Wenger admitted that he had made a failed approach for the Barcelona forward in January, but the chances are strong that he will be departing the Camp Nou this summer. It seems, though, that Arsenal will not follow-up their interest. Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that Tottenham’s new technical director Franco Baldini is set to have talks with Villa this week about a move to White Hart Lane.
That may be unlikely given that Villa is currently focused on helping his country win the Confederations Cup in Brazil, but it appears Arsenal will have to act quick if they still hope to capture Spain’s all-time record goal-scorer.
One player that Arsenal are claimed to very much still have an interest in is young Dinamo Zagreb defender Tin Jedvaj. The 17-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Roma, but his agent has revealed that the deal has broken down and that, furthermore, Arsenal and Tottenham have made approaches.
"At a certain point, Dinamo raised their demand whilst Roma wouldn't improve theirs,” Zoran Ban said, according to Sky Sports. “Meanwhile, clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham have called Dinamo and they are dealing with them. Would I say Roma are out of the game? In football you never know, anything can still happen."
Arsenal’s efforts to boost their squad in the transfer window will be aided by the removal of several big earners from their wage bill. Foremost among those is Andrei Arshavin. The attacking midfielder showed huge promise following his still club-record £15 million move in 2009, but has failed to recapture that form and found himself increasingly on the fringes of the squad. And the 32-year-old has now returned to former club Zenit St Petersburg after his contract at the Emirates expired.
"I am very glad that it happened,” he said on the Zenit website. “I am glad to get back to the city. It's good to wear the Zenit shirt. I just want to play football.”