BEIRUT

Football

Man City readying $55-million bid for Higuain

Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain during their match against Gijon.

BEIRUT: Manchester City are lining up a bid of 35-million pounds ($54.7 million) for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, while the club still retain an interest in Arsenal forward Robin van Persie.

City boss Roberto Mancini is currently facing competition from Manchester United and Juventus for the Gunners striker, but reports in The Daily Mirror indicate that the Italian is intent on adding van Persie to his squad.

Club CEO Brian Marwood has suggested City move for Higuain instead of the Dutchman, although Mancini is said to be desperate to land the Arsenal captain.

Higuain is reportedly unsettled at Real having been linked in recent months with moves to Tottenham, Chelsea and Paris St. Germain (PSG).

The Mirror reports that City could move for the Argentine should the club continue to be frustrated in their attempts to sign van Persie, who supposedly favors a move to Juventus and United ahead of the Etihad Stadium.

Real boss Jose Mourinho has stated that the club remains intent on keeping the 24-year-old, with a new contract being prepared for the Argentina international.

The forward is said to be unhappy at being kept out of the team by French international Karim Benzema and is believed to be considering his future at the Bernabeu.

A deciding factor for van Persie could be whether City are successful in their attempts to offload Emmanuel Adebayor

The Holland international had a poor relationship with the Togolese when both players where at Arsenal, with the feud continuing even after Adebayor completed a 25-million-pound transfer to City.

Van Persie is said to have grave reservations about joining a club that also employs Adebayor, particularly after the Togolese stamped on the Dutchman in a match between City and the Arsenal in 2009.

Regardless of the van Persie situation, City are keen to move the player on and have loaned Adebayor to Real Madrid and Tottenham over the past two seasons.

But a permanent move to Spurs is on the brink of collapsing, with Adebayor refusing to back down on his wage demands.

The forward is also demanding a 5-million-pound signing on fee.

Demba Ba will remain a Newcastle player after a deadline to activate a release clause in his contract expired.

Part of the deal which brought the 27-year-old to St. James’ Park stipulated that the forward would be available for as little as 7.5-million pounds, but the clause has now expired.

The Senegal international had previously expressed a desire to remain on Tyneside, with manager Alan Pardew similarly confident that the player’s future lay at Newcastle.

However, last week reports had emerged linking Ba with a move to Turkish side Galatasaray, with club sources revealing last-minute fears that the striker would jump ship.

Ba scored an impressive 16 goals before January last season, before a change of position to accommodate new signing Papiss Cisse saw the goals dry up.

Everton have completed the signing of Steven Pienaar from Tottenham, with the player returning to Goodison Park for 4.5-million pounds.

The South African has signed a four-year deal with the Toffees and had previously rejoined the Liverpool-based club on loan in January.

“It took a few weeks to sort out but I am delighted to be back and excited to play for Everton,” Pienaar told the club’s official website.

“There was no doubt in my mind that I would be back here. At the end of the season I told the manager how I felt and I am happy now it is all done.”

Pienaar started just five league games for Spurs before leaving the club.

Tottenham have also moved to sign Russian midfielder Alan Dzagoev from CSKA Moscow, with media reports indicating the club are in advanced discussions over a 12.6-million pound transfer.

The Russian international starred at Euro 2012 and has previously stated an ambition to play in England one day.

Arsenal were reported as being interested but have stepped up their pursuit of Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla.

The Guardian writes that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger remains confident of completing the signing, despite the turmoil at the player’s club Malaga.

The Spanish club is experiencing severe financial problems and faces possible relegation to the second division should their outstanding debts not be paid.

Wenger and Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis do not anticipate any problems arising and Sky Sports report that the player is due in London this week for a medical with the club ahead of a 17.3-million pound transfer.

 

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