Backpage Roundup: Djourou, Vertonghen and transfer rumours

Reports are suggesting that Juventus are lining up a surprise bid for Arsenal’s Johan Djourou. The Swiss centre-back, who recently penned a new deal at the Gunners which will see him stay in North London until February 2015, is getting restricted game time at Arsenal thanks to the solid partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny.

If Djourou were to leave The Gunners, that would encourage Arsenal to make a move for Jan Vertonghen. The Ajax captain – who turns 25 next month – has been on Arsenal’s radar for a number of years and a deal may be be completed in the summer. Like Thomas Vermaelen – his defensive partner in the Belgian national team – Vertonghen is a left-footed defender who is able to play as a centre back, as well as a left back. The price tag for the Belgian is said to be around £7m – the figure is low because Vertonghen is out of contract at the end of next season.

Earlier this week, Arsenal target Mario Götze signed a new deal that will keep him at Borussia Dortmund until 2016.

The Daily Mail are reporting that Denilson – currently at with Sao Paulo – could be staying with his hometown club beyond the season-long loan that runs out in the summer.

The paper also say that Arsene Wenger is ready to clear out his fringe players, which are currently costing the club £23m a year in wages, to fund a summer spending spree. Among others, Andrei Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner are set to go.

The Mirror say that Arsenal are ready to give Alex Song a new deal at the club. The 24-year-old Cameroon international’s current deal is worth around £55,000 a week and runs until the summer of 2014. However, Wenger has apparently asked chief executive Ivan Gazidis to give Song a pay-rise to secure his long-term future at the club. Song will be offered a five-year deal worth around £75,000 a week – putting him among the club’s top earners.

Paris Saint-Germain are apparently looking at Marouane Chamakh. The mega-rich Parisian club are looking to snap up the Moroccan in a deal worth around £6m. Fiorentina and his ex-club Bordeaux are also said to be interested.

Various reports are also suggesting that Arsene Wenger wants to get Blackburn forward Junior Hoilett and Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila this summer in a bid to improve his side for next season’s campaign.

Talking at the Soccerex conference this week, Emmanuel Petit was praising Arsene Wenger and also admitted that sacking the Frenchman would have been a huge mistake.

“Sacking Wenger would have been the biggest mistake Arsenal could have made. He is the solution for Arsenal. He just needed to change a few things, then it would come back again.

“Arsene Wenger’s contribution to the Premier League is huge. Football has changed so much in England, Arsene has been part of that. He is like the stone of Arsenal, if you kick him out you don’t know where they will go. But I do hope Robin [van Persie] will stay. I would understand it if he left because players like him need titles on their CV.

“Arsenal have to pay the loans back but if you want to fight for titles, you need to find the right mix. That is why the criticism of Arsenal this season has been justified and they need to try everything they can to keep him.”

Arsenal travel to Queens Park Rangers this week for another Saturday 3 o’clock kick off in search of another 3 points. Despite losing at Sunderland last weekend, Mark Hughes’ side will be in good spirits after last Wednesday’s extraordinary 3-2 win against Liverpool.

by MIKE HARVEY | Follow me on Twitter @My_Karvey


I'm 20 and have been an Arsenal season ticket holder since 2006. My family has had Arsenal links since the 1920's, and the support is still going strong. I am at every home game, and when I can get tickets, I go to away games too.

I have been writing for various blogs and websites since I was 15, but have now settled down and have become a regular writer for Arsenalinsider. I am also the founder of the world's most active Pro Evolution Soccer website, Only Pro Evolutions.

Arsenal are my passion. Writing is my passion. I was never good enough to play for The Gunners so I'll do the next best thing!