TOP STORY: Arsenal enter Rafinha race
One of the negatives from the Carabao Cup semifinal first-leg goalless draw between Arsenal and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge — besides the utterly boring nature of the match — on Wednesday night was Jack Wilshere’s injury.
Although it’s not thought to be serious at first glance, Wenger must consider entering the market for cover and Barcelona star Rafinha could be an attractive option.
Sport claims the Gunners have approached the player with a view to moving this month amidst the arrival of Philippe Coutinho and the subsequent lack of opportunities the Brazilian will now likely have under Ernesto Valverde.
Celta Vigo and Inter Milan are also keen on the Rafinha, who is valued at an affordable €20m by the Blaugrana.
Wenger looks to Malcom as Alexis replacement
Alexis Sanchez was left on the bench for the first leg against Chelsea, further suggesting he is edging towards the exit. And despite Arsene Wenger’s protests to the contrary over his wantaway Chile star, he may already be looking for his replacement, according to the Mirror.
The Gunners have initiated talks with Bordeaux over Brazilian forward Malcom, who will cost around £45 million.
Tottenham and Manchester United have also been monitoring the 20-year-old after hitting seven goals in Ligue 1 this term.
Arsenal know that their fans will demand immediate reinforcements if they do salvage the little value left in Sanchez by selling to Manchester City, meaning another forward could be brought in.
Boca Juniors’ Cristian Pavon, likely available at around £30m, is another target as Wenger looks to overhaul his attack in light of his talisman imminently on his way out.
Man City continue Evans talks
Manchester City are continuing talks with West Brom over the signing of Jonny Evans, according to the Telegraph, with the Northern Ireland international set to decide on his future.
The Baggies centre-back could cost around £21m — a similar fee to the one that the Blues bid last summer due to the 30-year-old’s contract now just 18 months from expiring.
Pep Guardiola is the main attraction for Evans, who would prefer to stay in the northwest rather than head south to Arsenal, who are also keen.
Alan Pardew hopes a decision will be made over Evans’ future one way or the other soon as he is conscious of the time constraints to reinvest the money in order to beat the drop.
– Huddersfield have agreed an £11m fee with Norwich for Alex Pritchard with the player set to undergo a medical with the Terriers on Thursday.
The Canaries will make a profit of £3m 18 months on from signing the 24-year-old from Tottenham.
– Sporting Lisbon have won the race to sign Brazilian talent Wendel from Fluminense, beating out Porto and Paris Saint-Germain.
The 20-year-old midfielder will cost €7.5m and his five-and-a-half year contract will include a €60m release clause, although ESPN FC writer Tim Vickery says the Brazilian club are getting the raw end of the deal from Spurs.
– Tottenham are ready to offer Dele Alli a new-and-improved contract to ward off interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid, claims the Telegraph.
The England star has four years to run on a £60,000-per-week deal, yet Spurs know that is well below his market value and are now ready offer new terms at £100,000-per-week.
– Juventus and Sampdoria have held a meeting over transfers with Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira and Belgian star Dennis Praet top of the list for the Old Lady, according to Sky Sport’s Gianluca Di Marzio.
Juve would reportedly prefer Praet and could make a move this month, while the Blucerchiati could take back Rolando Mandragora or Alberto Cerri on loan as part of the deal.
– Inter Milan are close to signing former Chelsea midfielder Ramires from Jiangsu Suning with Tuttosport quoting the Brazilian as saying: “I want Inter.”