Arsenal transfer news: £75m swoop for Riyad Mahrez and Lacazette
Despite his reputation for being tighter than one of his midfielder's hamstrings, Arsene Wenger is reportedly "lining up a £75m double deal" for Riyad Mahrez and Alexandre Lacazette.
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The astonishing claim comes courtesy of the Daily Mirror, which, providing it hasn't been out in the sun too long, says that the frugal French gaffer is determined to make a "sustained challenge" for the Premier League title this season and will do so by signing both Leicester winger Mahrez and Lyon frontman Lacazette.
The Mirror says that Mahrez – who has three years left on his Foxes contract – would cost around £35m, a figure contradicted by the Daily Star, which claims that Arsenal will have to find £45m if they're to land the Algerian international.
Barcelona were said to be on Mahrez's tail earlier in the summer but their interest has cooled after they learned that the wideman "would prefer to stay in England", says the Mirror.
But Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri declared on Saturday (after seeing the Algerian help his side beat Celtic on penalties) that Mahrez would not be going anywhere. "Did you see how Riyad is happy? He played so well, worked so hard for the team, he scored a goal and he stays with us," said Ranieri. "It is very important [to keep him], he is one of our stars."
Meanwhile the Mirror says that Wenger is increasingly confident of landing Lacazette in the next fortnight with the Nutty Professor ready to pay Lyon £40m for his services.
Finally Metro reports the a tweet from Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin which, in their opinion, "plays down the chances of him leaving the club for Manchester City". The Sky Blues and Barcelona have both been linked to the Spaniard but Bellerin - one of the most impressive performers last season for the Gunners - posted a message reading "Nice to be back at home" on Saturday, as he returned to training with the north London club.
Metro sees that as an affirmation of his loyalty to the Gunners although in the crazy world of transfer talk City might see it as a cue to make a renewed offer.
Arsenal transfer news: Bruno Peres offer, no Mauro Icardi deal
Arsenal are said to be the first major club to make a move in pursuit of Torino right-back Bruno Peres, with Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio reporting this week that the Gunners have made a firm offer for the 26-year-old.
The north London side's bid is said to be below the Serie A club's valuation of the defender, believed to be around £17m, but the formalisation of their interest represents an important step in the process, with Leicester City also interested as they look to beef up their squad for a European campaign.
Meanwhile, Mauro Icardi appears to have ruled out a move to the Premier League, despite earlier reports that his wife and agent Wanda Nara had been in London to carry out talks.
He told Italian publication Corriere dello Sport: "My entire family's objective is to stay in Milan. I never concealed the fact that I'm happy in this city, as are Wanda and the children.
"I'm not interested in rumours and I don't give much weight to what is said or written in the media. What I want is known by everyone. I'm happy here, and this is where I want to stay."
Wenger has also appeared to rule out any further additions to the club's midfield this summer after the arrival of Granit Xhaka, telling the club's official website that "numbers-wise we are quite solid in midfield now".
The Frenchman said, not for the first time, that he will look to players returning from injury to strengthen his side's core, apparently in the optimistic belief that Arsenal would somehow escape their injury hoodoo next season.
"Elneny had a big impact when he came here, Coquelin was injured for a long time and is back. Cazorla will come back, Wilshere is back... so we are solid in midfield," boasted Wenger.
Arsenal transfer news: Mauro Icardi deal on, Gonzalo Higuain bid rejected
Details of striker Mauro Icardi's potential £40m move to Arsenal have begun to emerge, with Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport claiming that the Inter Milan forward could be set to earn £96,000-a-week in north London.
That figure would be an increase of over 50 per cent on his current deal with the Serie A side, with reports that Icardi's wife and agent Wanda Nara was in London on Wednesday to discuss a possible deal.
Those reports appeared to be corroborated by a tweet she posted on Wednesday morning. The message read simply: "Feliz día a mis Amigos" ("Happy day my friends"). But the geotag on the post showed that she was in the English capital when she sent it - possibly to negotiate the £40m move.
Back in Italy, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has been waxing lyrical about Gunners target Gonzalo Higuain - telling Sky Sports reporters at the club's pre-season training camp that only one official bid had come in, which was rejected weeks ago.
"The only offer I've had was from the Atletico [Madrid] President [Enrique Cerezo] a month ago and I told him we couldn't do it," he revealed. "He offered me €60m plus two or three players, and I said no."
Not all off-season movement comes on the pitch though, and the Daily Telegraph reports that Arsene Wenger was actually approached for the England job before man-in-waiting Sam Allardyce, but that he turned the job down out of a reluctance to break his Arsenal contract.
A flurry of reports on Wednesday evening claim that the Sunderland boss will take over from the departed Roy Hodgson, although the Telegraph note that "it is unlikely Wenger will have recommended him as the pair have fallen out on several occasions over the years."
Arsenal transfer news: £24m for defenders Denayer and Ginter
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is said to be on the tail of young defensive duo Jason Denayer and Matthias Ginter, of Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund respectively, as he looks to revitalise his back-line ahead of the new season.
Both players are valued at between £10m and £12m and The Sun reports that last season's Premier League runners-up want at least one of the pair this summer.
Belgian youngster Denayer has failed to play a single senior first-team game for City and has spent the past two seasons farmed out on loan with Celtic and Galatasaray. And now the 21-year-old is now hoping to secure a permanent move to a club where he is more highly valued.
Like Denayer, Ginter was able to showcase his talents at Euro 2016 with Germany, and Wenger has been a fan since his early days at Frieberg says the Sun. "He is seen as a star of the future, but could fit in to Wenger's first-team plans for the coming campaign."
The Gunners have been dealt a hammer blow in their reported chase for Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez though, with Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri insisting that the Algerian wants to stay at the King Power Stadium despite recent reports to the contrary.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Tuesday evening, the Italian claimed that he didn't fear a swarm of players following N'Golo Kante out of the door. "I think everybody here is happy. It's finished, the market has finished," he claimed.
When asked specifically about Mahrez, with Arsenal and Premier League rivals Chelsea both believed to be keeping an eye on last season's PFA Player of the Year, Ranieri responded: "Yes, he wants to stay."
But there is better news elsewhere on Sky, with reports that Bolton Wanderers defender Rob Holding is just says away from completing his move to London, after being left out of the Bolton team for a friendly against Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night.
The England Under-21 international is expected to make the merest dent in the club's finances, with a fee of around £2.5m being thrown around.
Arsenal transfer news: Gonzalo Higuain boost as Juventus drop out
Arsenal have been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain after Juventus appeared to pull the plug on their pursuit of Argentine striker.
With Napoli refusing to negotiate a fee lower than the mammoth €94.5m release clause in the 28-year-old's contract, Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport says Juve president Beppe Marotta is talking tough. "We won't pay the clause, it is absolutely true," he told the paper. "There are no negotiations for Higuain, Napoli won't negotiate and the matter is closed, for the time being at least.”
With the Italian champions out of the hunt, the Gunners should be able to continue relatively unchallenged for the striker's signature. Although every silver lining has a cloud and it seems unlikely that Arsene Wenger will be prepared to meet Napoli's valuation of almost £80m.
In less favourable news, Spanish rag Mundo Deportivo has claimed that Hector Bellerin could be on the move this summer - not to Barcelona, as previously reported, but to Manchester City to work under Pep Guardiola.
"He is happy at Arsenal," a member of the Gunner's entourage reportedly told the newspaper, "but the option of City exists, it pleases him and what's more, Pep [Guardiola] is there."
Meanwhile, the club appear to have finally rid themselves of attacking flop Wellington Silva, who spent six disappointing years contracted in north London without making a single first-team appearance for Arsene Wenger's side. Brazilian side Fluminense announced his capture on a four-year deal on social media.
"I am very happy," he told Sky Sports after completing the move. "I want to thank Fluminense for this opportunity after so long to go back, I'm eager to start. I am very anxious, really it is like the first time.
"[My] Desire to return has always existed. When I learned that it was possible I was nervous for ten days. I am very happy and I have no words to thank. Now I have to train and get on to the field as quickly as possible."
Arsenal transfer news: Rob Holding and Mauro Icardi on the radar
Arsenal look set to wrap up their third signing of the summer in the next couple of days, having reportedly upped their bid for Bolton Wanderers youngster Rob Holding after having an initial offering turned down.
According to The Sun, the Gunners are set to pay £2.5m for the England Under-21 international, with the newspaper describing the 20-year-old centre-back as "one of the most promising players in the Championship last term".
Holding might not be the sort of marquee signing that the Gunners fans want to see arrive at the Emirates this summer but he isn't the only player on the club's radar. Italian rag Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi could yet be on the move despite club president Erick Thohir's insistence that the Argentine striker will not be sold.
With Arsene Wenger apparently keen to add to the somewhat patchy scoring abilities of Olivier Giroud up front, Icardi has often been mentioned in connection with a move to north London - and it's said that his contract demands could see him leave the San Siro sooner rather than later.
Icardi wouldn't come cheap by conventional standards, but the £46m being discussed is mere pocket change compared to the figures being quoted in connection with Gonzalo Higuain, who looks set to snub the Gunners and move to Juventus for a fee of almost £80m.
Back at the other end of the pitch, Arsenal have been warned off making a move for Roma defender Kostas Manolas, with the club president James Palotta saying of the £38m-rated 25-year-old Club president James Palotta said: "Why on earth should Manolas leave?"
He added "Juan Jesus and Nacho are two experienced defenders who are going to help us. The team is working very hard for the Champions League play off stage."
Arsenal transfer news: Lacazette and Higuain moves collapse
Not for the first time Arsene Wenger has refused to put his hand in his pocket for one of Europe's top names. This time it's Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette who won't be coming to the Emirates with the Daily Express saying the Arsenal manager is "unwilling to pay the transfer fee".
Lyon were demanding £42m for a man who scored 23 goals in 43 games last season, but that is apparently too much for Wenger, who has also lost out this summer to Jamie Vardy and also Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain.
According to The Sun Arsenal's pursuit of the Argentine frontman has "ended in agony" with Italian media reporting that he has agreed a four-year contract with Juventus. It had been reported earlier in the week that Wenger was looking to swap Olivier Giroud with Higuain but the Sun says the Napoli ace "is holding talks with the Italian champions" and is expected to officially agree terms shortly.
The Daily Star says that Borussia Dortund intend to fight Arsenal every inch of the way for the hand of Moussa Sissoko. According to the paper Newcastle "want £20m for the 26-year-old" and though the Gunners are leading the chase, the German outfit have joined the pursuit for the player who's made no bones about the fact he doesn't want to spend next season in the Championship.
Dortmund have lost Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer and the Star says they've identified the French playmaker as the ideal replacement.
Arsenal transfer news: Giroud keen on Gonzalo Higuain swap
The agent of Olivier Giroud has revealed that the French striker is ready to leave Arsenal should the club ask him to do so.
Stories emerged at the start of the week suggesting Arsene Wenger was looking to swap Giroud for Napoli hitman Gonzalo Higuain, along with a sizeable sum of cash. And Metro carries the comments of agent Michael Manuello who, when asked by Radio CRC, about the likelihood of Giroud leaving Arsenal, replied: "If he was asked to leave, then we would evaluate options. There is no fear from Olivier about possibly going to Napoli: it is a magnificent city... my client could lead a wonderful life."
And then, in what could be construed as a dig at Arsenal, Manuello added: "Not to mention that the type of game played [by Napoli] could enhance the quality of a centre-forward like him." In reporting the comments, The Sun says that the Italian media believes a deal is imminent and that Wenger is poised to give Napoli £42.2m plus Giroud in return for Higuain, a player that the Arsenal manager has been stalking for months.
At the other end of the field, Roma defender Kostas Manolas is being tailed by both Arsenal and Chelsea, according to the Daily Express. The 25-year-old, who comes with a £30m price tag, has carved out a reputation as a tough-tackling centre-back and Wenger is ready to meet Roma's asking price, though he's likely to face competition from Chelsea, who want someone to shadow John Terry as he winds down his career this season.
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