Arsenal will make an offer for Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet at the end of the season, according to the Independent.
The Belgium international is one of a number of goalkeepers to have been linked with the Gunners, with manager Arsene Wenger having dropped Wojciech Szczesny from the Arsenal side in recent weeks. The 22-year-old was restored to the team for Tuesday’s draw with Everton following an injury suffered to Lukasz Fabianski, but Wenger appears keen to sign a dependable No 1 for next season.
Mignolet, 25, has been one of the Premier League’s most impressive stoppers this season and Arsenal have scouted him regularly as well as trying to ascertain his character, reports the Independent. The player, who joined Sunderland from Sint-Trudien in 2010, could cost up to £10 million.
As well as Mignolet, Barcelona’s Victor Valdes has also been cited as a goalkeeper interesting Arsenal, as has Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic.
Indeed, the Sun claims that Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal are all tracking the Bosnian stopper.
There has been much speculation about Begovic’s future, which was only increased when Stoke signed and then loaned back young England goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham City in January.
Arsenal could have an advantage over both Chelsea and Manchester United in their ability to offer a greater chance for regular first-team action. The Gunners may balk at the 25-year-old’s £15 million valuation, however.
In other news, there has been surprise speculation about a possible return to the Emirates for former Arsenal man Alex Song. The all-action midfielder only joined Barcelona for £17 million last August, but has found his opportunities limited. The 25-year-old has made just 12 starts in La Liga and many of those have been as a central defender.
His cousin, and former Liverpool defender, Rigobert Song, has said that Alex is struggling to deal with his situation.
“Barcelona put a lot of effort into signing him last summer and Alex turned down offers from several big clubs,” Rigobert Song told CalcioMercato. “Earning a place in the starting lineup for a team like Barcelona is not easy, but this season he has been almost exclusively used as a substitute.
“Alex is not happy. At Arsenal he was a leader on and off the field, but he does not feel an important player at Barcelona and that makes him feel bad.
“He still has a long contract, until 2017, and I do not think that leaving is the right choice.”
Somewhat bizarrely, Metro uses those comments to suggest that Song is seeking to rejoin the Gunners.
With Arsenal yet to replace Song and following yet another serious injury suffered by Abou Diaby a move cannot be completely ruled out, however.
Another player linked with a return to England with the Gunners is former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou. The Ivorian joined French side Lille on a free transfer last summer and has scored eight goals in 22 Ligue 1 appearances this season.
The Sun states that Wenger is keen to sign Kalou and the 27-year-old has declared that he would welcome a move back to the Premier League.
“I’d love to go back to England,” he said, according to the Sun.
“I spent six seasons there and I am crazy about the Premier League.
“Players’ careers change so quickly -- you never know what will happen tomorrow.”