Manchester United vs Manchester City, Arsenal vs Tottenham and the transfer battles for Europe’s best this summer

After going head-to-head in the 2011-12 Premier League season, the nation;s top five clubs are ready to do battle off the pitch and in the transfer market this summer. Here are the top five transfer wrangles expected between the Premier League big boys.

Eden Hazard – Manchester United vs Manchester City

Ligue 1 Player of Year Eden Hazard has been all over the media this week after announcing that a move to one of the Manchester clubs was on the cards; there is no doubt that the two fierce local rivals will be desperately fighting over the highly-rated 21 year-old in the coming days.

A dramatic last-day finish meant that noisy neighbours Manchester City were crowned 2011-2012 Premier League champions and considering their quest for world domination, many believe the Belgian starlet will favour a move to Roberto Mancini’s men. However, the young winger could find it hard securing a consistent first-team spot, with David Silva and Samir Nasri already occupying attacking midfielder positions. United however will look to the starlet to reinvigorate an ageing midfield if he moves to Old Trafford.

Shinji Kagawa – Manchester United vs Arsenal

The Japanese winger has been a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s Bundesliga-winning side, getting 13 goals and 11 assists for the German champions this season. With interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund will find it hard to keep their 23-year-old star-man, who is out of contract next summer.

Kagawa has already admitted his willingness to move to England, with a commercial value attached to the Asian superstar for his next side also. United are frontrunners for his signature, however Arsenal are also keen and have a recent track record of buying players from Dortmund.

Edinson Cavani – Chelsea vs Manchester City

Uruguay international Edinson Cavani has had a fantastic season for Napoli, impressing both domestically and in the Champions League, where he found the back of the net against both Manchester City and Chelsea. Both Premier League giants are interested in bringing the South American hitman to England, although City seem to be focussing more on capturing Robin Van Persie as their new attacker. The homegrown pair will be joined in the race by Serie A champions Juventus.

With the supposed exit of Ivorian veteran Didier Drogba, Cavani could be the perfect replacement, and having already shown ability in Europe, he could be exactly what Chelsea need if City purchase elsewhere.

Jan Vertonghen – Arsenal vs Tottenham

Another example of Ajax’s outstanding and prolific youth system, centre-half Jan Vertonghen is currently being fought over by north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.

Although rumoured to have already agreed personal terms, the White Hart Lane outfit could miss out on the 25 year-old defender due to the Eredivisie champions’ inflated asking price.

It is obvious that Harry Redknapp is intent on strengthening the defence, and the Belgian centre-back would be a perfect addition to the squad. However countryman Thomas Vermaelen is eager to tempt his international comrade to the Emirates, and Arsenal are still in the hunt.

Robin Van Persie – Arsenal vs Manchester City

2011-2012 Premier League top goalscorer Robin Van Persie has attracted serious interest from newly-crowned champions Manchester City, after scoring 30 league goals and winning the PFA Player of the Year award.

With one year left on his current deal, keeping the Netherlands international at Arsenal will be at the top of Arsene Wenger’s priority list this summer. However, with a natural desire to win trophies at the biggest clubs in the world, Van Persie may be inclined to make a move north to join former team-mates Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Samir Nasri.

Currently undergoing contract talks, the coming weeks will be vital in seeing what the future holds for the Arsenal hero. Money may also be a key issue; Arsenal are willing to shatter their wage structure and offer £130,00 per week, whilst City are thought to be eager to almost double this at £250,000 per week.

By Jacob Tucker

Does the senior player exodus at Arsenal make them a selling club?

The Cesc Fabregas transfer saga has rolled on throughout this transfer window, and must be an unwelcome distraction to Arsene Wenger in his preparations for the 2011-12 season. As negotiations between Arsenal and Barcelona continue, it looks like the Spaniard will return to his homeland. With Samir Nasri’s future unclear, and Gael Clichy opting to swap the Emirates for Eastlands, are Arsenal becoming a selling club?

Much has been made of the way Wenger has ran the club since the Frenchman took over from Bruce Rioch in 1996, with his thrifty approach to the transfer market and commitment to nurturing young talent delighting and frustrating Gunners fans in equal measure. The London outfit have a competitive, but regimented wage structure that is not as lucrative for the players as that of their major English or European rivals, whilst the discovery of prospects and sensible approach to recruitment is preferred to excessive splurging.

Wenger runs Arsenal as a business, and it should be applauded as the Gunners are financially stable and live within their means. Nonetheless, in the current era of fantasy football where sides such as Manchester City, amongst others, are willing to use wealthy owners to buy their way to success, Arsenal are in risk of being left behind.

Despite being there or thereabouts, Arsenal have not won a trophy since their FA Cup victory in 2005. Fans are getting annoyed with their lack of success, whilst players watch on as their equivalents at other teams get paid more and are more successful. But does this pragmatic approach adopted by Wenger make Arsenal a selling club?

The loss of Gael Clichy will be a bitter pill for the Emirates faithful to swallow, as their long serving left-back left the club to get paid more in Manchester. Fact. Nasri has rejected a new £80,000 per week contract because he is frustrated at the lack of competition success – and the Manchester clubs, who are both eager to sign him, will potentially double that wage. In the last year of his contract, Arsenal are under threat of losing the ex-Marseille midfielder for nothing this time next year.

This is not an all of a sudden occurrence. Mathieu Flamini left the Gunners to get paid more at AC Milan, as did Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to move to Manchester City. Although these players’ temperaments and attitudes may be questioned, it is no doubt that the financial limitations in place at the club are the reasons why these established internationals, and some of the current crop, have looked to leave the Emirates.

The North London club are not in the wrong here, it is the money men who are destroying the integrity and even playing field of the game. Hopefully Fifa’s new financial fair play ruling will go some way to reinstating football related reasons as the primary motive for transfers, but in the meantime Arsene Wenger must accept that his club face losing their best players to other clubs who are willing to break the bank for their signature.

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