World Football Gossip Roundup: Clint Dempsey, Mario Balotelli, Muamba's Recovery
Arsenal want Clint Dempsey, Real Madrid want Branislav Ivanovic and somebody apparently wants Mario Balotelli.
Wednesday's edition of the B/R world football gossip roundup has all that, and a special update on the recovery of Bolton Wanderers' stricken star Fabrice Muamba.
In addition, we have juicy gossip from the two London rivals who are set to meet this weekend in the FA Cup semifinals.
Ready? Let's go.
Clint Dempsey, Robin van Persie and Stephan El Shaarawy
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It's a busy Wednesday for Arsenal in the gossip pages.
Writing in The Telegraph, Jeremy Wilson says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keeping tabs on Fulham's United States international Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey, 29, has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season. Wilson says Arsenal wanted Dempsey last summer as well.
Much will depend, however, on whether existing Arsenal players are sold, with Nicklas Bendtner due back from his loan spell at Sunderland this summer and both Marouane Chamakh and Ju-Young Park having featured so rarely this season.
Arsenal also face contract negotiations with Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, while Wenger must decide whether he will attempt to sign Yossi Benayoun, on a permanent basis, from Chelsea.
Elsewhere, The Times reports Robin van Persie will snub a £200,000-per-week offer from Manchester City to stay with Arsenal (per the Huffington Post).
Finally, Metro says AC Milan's Italian striker Stephan El Shaarawy is a loan target for Arsenal. El Shaarawy, 19, has made 18 appearances this season, according to the report.
Chelsea for Third?
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Elsewhere in London, Chelsea's Salomon Kalou has reportedly said the Blues can still finish above Arsenal this season in the English Premier League.
From The Sun:
"We have to forget about the Fulham game and continue to work hard because it’s still possible to get the third place.”
Chelsea are underdogs to finish fourth, never mind third, especially with Newcastle having leapfrogged them yesterday courtesy of their fifth straight victory.
But the Blues still have to play Arsenal at the Emirates before hosting the Magpies at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are currently sixth, four points behind third-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand.
Branislav Ivanovic to Real Madrid?
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Tottenham Hotspur Circle the Wagons
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Tottenham Hotspur are now level on points with Newcastle for fourth place in the English Premier League following a disappointing 2-1 home loss to Norwich on Monday.
In the run-up to their FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea on Sunday, captain Ledley King has reportedly called for "clear-the-air" talks.
"We will have to look at a few things and have a few words and try to move on from there," King said. "I think the earlier we have a speak together about it, the better it will be.
"The only thing that needs to be said is that we need to stick together at this time, keep going until the end of the season and keep working hard for each other.
"There is not a crisis in any way. It's up to the senior lads to lift the spirits of the rest of the lads and keep them there. It has been a long season and there are some tired legs but we have to keep pushing.
"We have top players. We have lost to Norwich, but we have another big game that we have to get up for."
Mario Balotelli Back to Italy?
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Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, whose name now always bears the prefix "troubled," is reportedly wanted by Italian giants Inter Milan and AC Milan.
From a Daily Mirror exclusive:
With many City players angry at Mancini’s perceived preferential treatment of Balotell, the sale of the 21-year-old now looks inevitable.
Senior figures at City are concerned at the destabilising effect Balotelli is having on the squad and are ready to consider bids for him.
Reports in Italy suggest Balotelli’s former club Inter and their rivals AC Milan are poised to table bids for the maverick forward, who could miss out on Euro 2012 following his latest on-field shame.
The bids would reportedly be for around £20 million.
Fabrice Muamba to Make Comeback?
Finally, a bit of inspirational news to finish off the roundup.
According to the Daily Mirror, Bolton's Fabrice Muamba will receive a "special heart device" that could help him return to football.
Midfielder Muamba is having a mini defibrillator inserted in a minor operation before leaving the London Chest hospital - and heading home with an eye on starting training.
Muamba's medical team are putting in the 'inobtrusive' gadget as a back-up in case he is hit by the same problem that cause his cardiac arrest at Tottenham last month.
The experts have assessed Muamba since the incident - when he was brought back to life after being clinically dead for 78 minutes - and are giving him the extra security in case the trouble happens again.
Everybody's pulling for you, Fabrice.