OZIL FURIOUS OVER UNITED LINK
A day after the Mirror claimed that Mesut Ozil had told Arsenal team-mates that he was off to Manchester United, The Sun are saying the playmaker is furious over the reports.
They claim to have been told by ‘pals’ of Ozil that he wishes to set the record straight. Which, of course, he could do himself anytime, but whatever…
One particular ‘pal’ told the paper that his mate Mesut has had no talks with Arsenal since March, when there was talk of a modest pay-rise but amidst uncertainty of Arsene Wenger’s future, discussions were shelved. He/she says Ozil “has no offers on the table from Arsenal or any other club. And he is not seeking to become the highest-paid player in the Premier League. That’s not his aim.”
The source also says Ozil denies talking to any team-mate about joining United – he doesn’t even know if United want him. We find that last part difficult to believe, but apparently the German feels that Friday’s reports are part of a campaign against him. “His intention has always been to remain at Arsenal,” so it is claimed, and the fact that Ozil has just bought a house in London is supposedly evidence of that.
BARCA SNIFFING AROUND HERRERA
As well as returning to Liverpool with another bid for Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona are said to be eyeing a January move for Ander Herrera.
The Spain midfielder is featuring in Jose Mourinho’s first XI, with both Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini injured. But once those two return, last season’s player of the season is likely to find himself back on the bench.
While sat there, he would have time to ponder any offer from Barca, which Don Balon claims may be in the offing. Since reports of a fall-out earlier this season over Herrera apparently bringing someone to Carrington who had ties to United’s Europa League opponents Celta Vigo, Herrera has played nowhere near the prominent role he was given last season. Nemanja Matic’s arrival is largely responsible for that, but even in Pogba’s absence, Mourinho has turned to Fellaini first rather than Herrera.
From the United bench to Barca… there aren’t many (any?) players who wouldn’t jump at the chance to make that move. But United are also set to trigger a one-year option they have over Herrera’s contract if new terms cannot be agreed before his current deal expires at the end of next season.
REAL RIVAL BARCE FOR BELLERIN
Arsenal appear to have fended off one Spanish giant from Hector Bellerin, but their work apparently isn’t done.
Barcelona eventually accepted the Gunners insistence that the full-back is not for sale, but Real Madrid are now sniffing around the 22-year-old.
The Daily Express, repeating a Don Balon report, says Real want Bellerin to replace Dani Carvajal. But whether Bellerin, a product of Barca’s La Masia academy, would fancy joining Real at this stage and therefore pretty much end his hopes of ever returning to the Nou Camp, we remain to be convinced.
AND THE REST
Rafael Benitez is considering a shock Newcastle return for playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, who is surplus to requirements at Paris Saint-Germain…Aston Villa have joined Nottingham Forest in a battle to sign Hibernian midfielder John McGinn…Tottenham are ready to step up their bid to sign Everton midfielder Ross Barkley in January…Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is ready to add even more attacking options to his squad in January…Manchester City inserted a buy-back clause in the deal that saw teenage star Jadon Sancho join Borussia Dortmund in August…Arsenal’s efforts to replace Alexis Sanchez with AC Milan forward Andre Silva could be undermined by interest from Barcelona…Real Madrid have reached a verbal agreement to sign Brazil U17 star Alan, who is set to join the club next summer from Palmeiras after turning 18…Former Southampton boss Claude Puel has emerged as a contender to replace Craig Shakespeare as Leicester manager…Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are considering making a move for French forward Lenny Pintor, 17, who plays for second-tier side Brest…Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has denied there is a release clause in the new contract signed by David Brooks, 20, who is the subject of interest from Liverpool.