Wenger 'ready to make £12m bid for Duff'

Press Watch
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The Independent Online

The Sunday Mirror says Arsène Wenger has been alerted by Damien Duff's claim that he will leave Ewood Park if Blackburn are relegated. The Arsenal manager needs left-sided cover following injuries to Robert Pires and Giovanni van Bronckhorst and could launch a £12m bid, although the People claims Liverpool are expected to make a summer bid for the £15m-rated Duff after watching him destroy Denmark in Dublin last week.

Although it does not name Duff as a target, the Mirror says Liverpool are planning a £40m summer spree, naming Nicolas Anelka or Auxerre's Djibril Cissé, both valued at £15m, as Gérard Houllier's top striker targets on a list that also includes the Southampton wing back Wayne Bridge, rated at £7m and Derby's £6m-rated centre-back Chris Riggott.

Francis Jeffers and Edu are likely to be part of Arsenal's cost-cutting clear-out, according to the People, which says the Gunners want to bring back Marc Overmars from Barcelona on a 12-month loan while Pires recovers from injury. The News of the World says Sylvain Wiltord would consider leaving Highbury if Arsenal persist in playing him in midfield rather than up front.

The People says Barcelona will make Rivaldo available at £10m at the end of the season, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea nominated by the Brazilian as possible destinations. It reckons Chelsea are favourite, but contradicts itself elsewhere by suggesting the Stamford Bridge club have ruled out signing a striker after 18-year-old Carlton Cole, who has scored 36 goals in youth and reserve team football this season, accepted a four-year deal.

News of the World sources quote the Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti as saying that Juan Veron is "determined to return to Lazio" despite denials from the United player and says the Serie A club are prepared to pay £30m, as well as tempting Arsenal with a £12m bid for Freddie Ljungberg.

Meanwhile, according to the People, the Everton defender David Weir has emerged as a cut-priced summer target for United. Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be still hoping to lure Lazio's Alessandro Nesta for £20m, but wants an experienced domestic performer to play alongside the Italian and will make a £2m bid for Weir The Mirror, however, says Sir Alex is planning a final plea with Laurent Blanc to stay, while the News of the World quotes Barcelona's Michael Reiziger as saying it is "only a matter of time" before he joins United.

Blackburn has Hapoel Tel-Aviv's £1.5m Israeli international defender Shimon Gershon on his shopping list, according to the People, while the News of the World says Deportivo La Coruña will make a multi-million bid for Leeds striker Mark Viduka, who is also reportedly wanted by Roma for £20m.

DIFFERENCES OF OPINION

SUNDAY PEOPLE

Darren Purse will walk out of Birmingham this summer and join deadly rivals Aston Villa. Graham Taylor has contacted the central defender's agent over a £3m switch.

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Darren Purse is poised for a £5m summer move from Birmingham to Charlton. Blues manager Steve Bruce is resigned to losing his star defender after learning the Londoners are prepared to pay him £16,000 a week, double his new offer from Birmingham.

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