Zenit St Petersburg are determined to inflate the price tag Arsenal must meet for the midfielder Andrei Arshavin, according to his agent. The Russians have suggested a £20m deal for the 27-year-old playmaker, who shot to prominence during Euro 2008, with both the Gunners and Juventus understood to be leading the chase.
Arshavin, a long-time target for Arsène Wenger, is reported to have visited the Premier League club's Hertfordshire training ground during a trip to England earlier this year, while it has also been claimed the player is in fact already in London.
"There are no negotiations yet," Arshavin's agent, Dennis Lachter, said. "It is the people of Zenit trying to initiate some kind of interest. They are trying to use the media to make the price of Arshavin £20m."
The Russians, though, may well be forced to offload the unsettled player at a cut price, with Arshavin having threatened to invoke new Fifa regulations and buy out the remaining 18 months of his contract to become a free agent.
Villarreal goalkeeper becomes target after impressing Ferguson
Manchester United are interested in the Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez, having been impressed with his performances in the club'stwo goalless draws in the Champions League this season, according to reports in Spain. Sir Alex Ferguson voiced praise for 27-year-old Lopez after the club's fixture in Villarreal. His deal runs out in 2014. Lopez signed for Villarreal for €6m (£4.8m) from Real Madrid last year.
Megson defends pursuit of West Brom midfielder Morrison
Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson has defended the club's actions in their unsuccessful attempts to sign the West Bromwich midfielder James Morrison. Megson was criticised by Albion last week after news of a £3m bid was made public. He has since ended his interest but denied the West Brom manager Tony Mowbray's claim he tried to unsettle the 22-year-old midfielder. "We followed the protocol set when Abdoulaye Méité left for West Brom in the summer," Megson said.
Howard in permament switch from Barnsley
Sheffield United have signed Brian Howard on a permanent transfer from fellow Championship side Barnsley. The former Southampton and Swindon midfielder initially moved to Bramall Lane on loan with a view to a permanent deal in October and the full transfer has now been rubber-stamped.
Downing off limits, says chief executive
Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb yesterday told Tottenham to forget about signing Stewart Downing this month. Reacting to speculation that Boro had rejected a third bid for the 24-year-old amounting to £14.5m, Lamb said: "We again reiterate that no senior players will be leaving during January. That is the end of the matter. Any ongoing media speculation is therefore meaningless."
Rumour mill: Tales from the web
Liverpool's Jermaine Pennant will sign a pre-contract agreement with Milan, while Bolton's Kevin Davies is the latest name linked with the Reds.
Birmingham's James McFadden will travel in the opposite direction to Kris Boyd and return home to Scotland...
... but reports of a move to Glasgow for Sunderland's David Healy have been quashed by his agent.
Prolific Turkish international Umit Karan, 32, has emerged as a possible target for Stoke City.
Top Premier League transfers so far...
Lassana Diarra Portsmouth to Real Madrid £20m
Adem Ljajic & Zoran Tosic P Belgrade to Man Utd £17m
Jermain Defoe Portsmouth to Tottenham £15.5m
Wayne Bridge Chelsea to Manchester City £10m
Nadir Belhadj Lens to Portsmouth £4.4m
Heidar Helguson Bolton to QPR £500,000
Andy Barcham Tottenham to Gillingham Undisclosed
Jean-François Christophe Ports'th to Southend Undisclosed
Eddie Nolan Blackburn to Preston Undisclosed
Sergio Peter Blackburn to Sparta Prague Undisclosed
Wayne Routledge Aston Villa to QPR Undisclosed
Charlie Daniels Tottenham to Leyton Orient Free
Lee Molyneux Everton to Southampton Free
T J Moncur Fulham to Wycombe Free
Sam Williamson Man City to Wrexham FreeReuse content