Many exotically-named players have graced the Premier League down the years, and another could be about to join their ranks. But you won't be seeing Nabil Fekir in Manchester City blue any time soon. The French star's father, Mohamed, has dismissed claims his son could be heading for Manchester City next month.
The Sky Blues are monitoring the 21-year-old Lyon midfielder but French newspaper Le Parisian reports that the playmaker has his heart set on Arsenal. "If he leaves, it'll be for Arsenal. It's the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger," declared Fekir senior when asked about Nabil's future. And what about City? "He will not go to Manchester City to sit on the bench."
Of Algerian descent, Fekir's been on fire this season in the French first division, helping lift Lyon to second in the table, and attracting the interest of English scouts. It's believed Wenger has had his spies run the rule over the youngster and he's poised to make his move in a couple of weeks with Metro claiming Lyon are "open to offers of more than £8m" for him.
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Meanwhile Arsenal could also be involved in a summer scramble to sign Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets. The Spain international is, according to the Daily Express, weighing up a "new challenge" after spending his entire career with the Catalan club.
Arsenal are one of several Premier League clubs interested in the 26-year-old, along with the usual suspects, Chelsea and Manchester United. However there is no guarantee that he wull end up in England. as Bayern munich and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested, and Barcelona have no desire to see him leave.
In other news The Sun says that Spurs are already on the starting line for the January Sales and will sign West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino "as soon as the transfer window opens on New Year's Day". According to the paper the Lilywhites' technical director, Franco Baldini, has identified the England Under-21 frontman as their priority target next month and the Baggies' star is "desperate to make the move" in order to enhance his international prospects. But Tottenham might have to cough up more cash if they're to land Berahino with West Brom demanding £25m, £10m more than Spurs allegedly have set aside for the player. The Sun claims that Berahino's current deal earns him £16,000 a week but he would "at least treble his money at White Hart Lane".
Elsewhere the Daily Star says that Manchester City – who moved level on points with league leaders Chelsea at the weekend thanks to a 3-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace – are "set to beat" the Blues and also Manchester United to the hand of Atletico Madrid about midfielder Koke. The 22-year-old, a member of Spain's disastrous World Cup squad last summer, has been linked with a big money move to England next month, and the Star claims that the Sky Blues have seen off competition from their rivals. Apparently the club's sporting director Txiki Begiristain met his opposite number at Atletico, Jose Luis Caminero, in Turin recently to discuss the deal. Also present was the Spanish club's president, Enrique Cerezo, and the Star says that Koke's £47m buy-out clause will present no problem for City. They see Koke as the natural successor to the ageing Yaya Toure, whio is now 31, and manager Manuel Pellegrini is "a big fan" of the young playmaker.
The Star adds that while in Turin, Begiristain also quizzed Atletico about the possibility of signing Spain Under-21 midfielder Oliver Torres, currently on loan with Porto, and highly regarded by City.
Talking of Torreses, Fernando Torres (no relation) could be on his way back to England with the Daily Mail reporting that the Spanish striker is on the brink of being released early by Inter Milan from his loan deal after scoring just once in ten games. Torres left Chelsea for Italy in the summer but things haven't worked out and the Mail says that Liverpool are "seriously considering a January move". But the paper adds that Atletico Madrid – Torres first club – could use the money made on the sale of Koke to bring Torres back to the club where he started his career. Torres left Atletico for Liverpool in 2007, where he peaked, scoring 65 goals in 102 league appearances for the Reds. Then he made his ill-fated £50m move to Stamford Bridge four years ago where his career collapsed like a Christmas reveller at closing time.
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