A round-up of transfer news and gossip for Friday November 16.
Aston Villa fans will be disappointed to hear comments coming from new signing Christian Benteke, that he wants to one day sign for Arsenal. The 21-year-old said: “I’m not afraid of making enemies at Villa by saying I love Arsenal. I’m a Villa player for now. They’re the right club at the right time.”
The good news is there is little chance of a transfer happening this season, none in fact. FIFA regulations would stop him signing for the Gunners in January as he can't play for more than three clubs in a season. Realists will even understand that unless Villa improve, Benteke will harbour ambitions in his career to compete at the very top; but for now he is right, he needs to play regularly and continue to learn his craft, and Villa Park is the right place to do that.
Arsenal are reported to be interested in securing the services of Milan duo Phillipe Mexes of AC and Ricky Alvarez of Inter. Both players have featured in just six out of 12 Serie A games this season and would be open to offers, it is claimed.
There is bad news for Arsenal and Chelsea, with defensive target Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, signing a new contract with French champions Montpellier. The defender's deal was due to expire at the end of the season, but he has renewed it until 2015 instead.
Mario Balotelli wants to leave Manchester City, claims a report. The source? Er, Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra. Hmmm. A bit of mischievous this seems to us. Surely the United defender is not trying to cause trouble at their rivals, ahead of this month's derby game? Perish the thought. Evra also said he is good pals with Balotelli off the pitch, and says the striker misses his native Italy.
Radamel Falcao remains a target for Chelsea, write the Mail, who say Roman Abramovich has lost patience with Fernando Torres. This one seems a bit like Groundhog Day to us, and roll on January where something actually may or may not happen, as there's little substantial here, with the 'exclusive' seeming like a page-filler to us.
Meanwhile Stewart Downing is set for the axe at Liverpool, report the Mirror, with Brendan Rodgers keen on selling the under-performing winger to save funds. He is yet to score a single Premier League goal for the Reds.
Everton have joined the race for Norwegian defender Vegard Forren, but Fulham are still purported to be favourites. The 24-year-old international is a member of Ole Gunnar Solkjaer's Molde title winning side, and was linked with Manchester United last month.
And finally, Aston Villa are hoping to re-sign Robbie Keane on loan in January for a second year in a row. The LA Galaxy striker has been in fine form in the MLS, scoring 17 goals this season, but he remains undecided over a switch due to family reasons.
image: © little-pete