The Round-Up: Wenger Plugs The Gap, Liverpool Chase ‘New Walcott’

Morning all. Throughout January Soccerlens are going to be bringing you a daily round-up of the morning’s various goings-on. Be it juicy morsels of spurious transfer gossip or real, actual bona fide news, rest assured, we’ll have it covered.

Here’s this morning’s batch.

Wenger makes a case for the defense…

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he may have to dip into the club’s swelling coffers to bring in defensive cover during January after learning that Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has suffered yet another ‘mystery setback’ in his bid to recover from the prolonged Achilles problem that he originally sustained whilst playing for his country way back in early September.

With Sebastien Squillaci also nursing a hamstring tweak, Wenger has begun feverishly beavering away in a bid to bring one of his top three transfer targets to the Emirates over the next few weeks – with Bolton’s Gary Cahill, Werder Bremen’s Per Mertesacker and Montpellier’s Emir Spahic said to be the three names on the Frenchman’s shortlist.

My money’s on the Bosnian.

Liverpool hot on the heels of the ‘new Walcott’…

At the behest of their footballing strategist Damien Comolli, Liverpool have thrown their hat into the ring and are ready to rival Arsenal in the race to sign Southampton’s £10 million-rated, 17-year-old tyro Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been dubbed, with a crushing inevitability, as the ‘new Theo Walcott’.

The young winger has notched seven goals in 17 starts for the Saints, a better ratio than Walcott had managed by the time he officially moved to Arsenal on his 17th birthday in March 2006.

Definitely one to watch.

Dutch destroyer…

According to a myriad of reports in the Italian press, AC Milan are now in ‘pole position’ to sign Bayern Munich bruiser Mark van Bommel, who – at a mere 33-years-old – will presumably be allowed to mature in the Rossoneri‘s youth system for a couple of years before making his full debut.

The veteran Dutchman’s contract with the German giants expires in the summer, meaning he is now free to talk with other clubs. Milan are reported to have scheduled a meeting with the player’s representatives for later this week, though both Spurs and Manchester City are rumoured to have done the same.

Balotelli out for another month…

On the day that Manchester City officially unveiled the latest big-money addition to their forward ranks, Edin Dzeko, came the news yesterday evening that surly summer signing Mario Balotelli will face a further month on the sidelines – with the troublesome knee injury which has already served to blight the first few months of his City career flaring up yet again.

So said a concerned Roberto Mancini

“I’m worried because he can’t play for another three or four weeks at an important moment for us. To have an operation done and then to have another problem two months later is strange.

He may need surgery. We just don’t know. He must rest, then he will have treatment and work. Hopefully then he will be OK.”

Deary me.

The best of the rest…

  • Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed that David Beckham will not be fit enough to play against his former club Manchester United on Sunday, even if he does sign on at Spurs in time for the game…
  • Current England U21 coach Stuart Pearce is the ‘logical choice’ to manage Great Britain’s football team at the 2012 Olympics, according to the FA’s general secretary.
  • Former Foreign Secretary David Milliband is in talks over being handed a non-executive, high-ranking role on the Sunderland board, which would apparently focus mainly on international and community work…
  • West Ham hope to complete the loan signing of Wayne Bridge from Manchester City before the weekend, and are also exploring the possibility of bringing in Udinese striker Antonio Floro Flores before the transfer window closes…
  • Genoa have taken Wigan’s misfiring record signing Mauro Boselli off the Latics’ hands by signing the Argentinian misfit on a six-month loan deal…
  • Leicester City are now within spitting distance of completing a deal to sign Everton striker Yakubu on loan until the end of the season…
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