Schalke general manager dismisses Huntelaar Arsenal link

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt has dismissed transfer speculation linking striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a move to Arsenal.

Heldt was speaking after the Germans’ 1-0 win at home to Greek club Olympiakos, which keeps them top of Group D of the Champions League above the Gunners.

The Netherlands international’s contract expires at the end of the current season, and has been linked to several clubs including the Gunners’ Premier League rivals, Liverpool.

When asked about a possible move for Huntelaar, Heldt told Sky Germany: “It’s pure speculation. Either Arsenal make us an offer, otherwise it’s a load of nonsense.”

Huntelaar was also asked about the link between himself and a move to north London, but insisted that he was unaware of any developments.

He said: “I know nothing.”

Manchester City set to win race to sign 'Balkan Messi' Alen Halilovic

By Chris Myson

Manchester City are set to win the race to sign Alen Halilovic, the Dinamo Zagreb sensation who has been coined the ‘Balkan Lionel Messi’.

Roberto Mancini’s side have beaten off fierce competition from clubs around Europe, most notably Manchester United and Real Madrid, both of whom have long been credited with holding an interest in the 16-year-old wonderkid.

City officials have been in Zagreb since Monday trying to thrash out terms to bring the starlet to the Etihad and an agreement is now in place for a deal that could eventually be worth around £9 million.

Halilovic is the latest impressive graduate from Dinamo Zagreb’s academy, which has also produced stars such as Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Vedran Corluka and Mateo Kovacic.

The attacking midfielder has already been touted as the finest Balkan player of his generation despite the limited amount of first-team experience has picked up so far.

He made his senior debut off the substitutes’ bench in a 3-1 win over bitter rivals Hajduk Split in September, an appearance that made him the youngest ever debutant in the Croatian top flight at 16 years and 102 days.

Just 10 days later Halilovic broke another record – this time becoming the league’s youngest ever goalscorer after netting with a superb Messi-esque chip in a 4-1 rout of Slaven Belupo, while last month he became the youngest player to play for Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League when he appeared against Paris Saint-Germain.

Once the transfer is announced, he would become City’s seventh signing of the season following the arrivals of Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Maicon, Scott Sinclair, Matija Nastasic and Richard Wright.

While Mancini’s men were drawing 1-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Halilovic was getting another small taste of European action, coming off the bench for the closing stages of Dinamo Zagreb’s defeat to Porto.

Halilovic is a Croatia youth international, currently playing at under-17 level for his country.

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Frimpong hoping to kick-start Arsenal career at Charlton

Emmanuel Frimpong is hopeful a loan spell at Charlton can provide much-needed game time and reignite his Arsenal career after a number of injury problems.

The Ghanaian-born midfielder’s time with the Gunners has been plagued with fitness issues, but he is keen to regain his form while helping the club push for promotion.

“I’m very happy to be here, I know Charlton is a good club which has been in the Premier League for a number of years,” Frimpong told the club’s official website.

“At the moment they are in the Championship, but I am just here to get playing and help the team push up the table.

“The whole reason why I’m here is to play games. I have been injured and for me to come back and play straight away in the Arsenal  team is a big ask.

“The manager just told me to come here, play a few games until January and see what happens.

The 20-year-old midfielder will be desperate to emulate ex-Gunner Alex Song, who played for Charlton on loan before forcing himself into Arsene Wenger’s first team.

Frimpong added: “Hopefully I can follow in Alex’s footsteps. He came here when Charlton were in the Premier League and he did very well to help the team.

“He improved his game and that is why after he left he went to play in the Arsenal first team. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and do the same thing.”

Kaizer Chiefs deny talks to sign David Beckham

Kaizer Chiefs have denied that they have been approached about signing former England international David Beckham.

The South African club were linked with a move for the 37-year-old on Wednesday, but team manager Bobby Motaung says there is no truth to the rumours.

“We know nothing about David Beckham coming to Kaizer Chiefs, we have had no contact with any of his representatives and we have not spoken about this at all within the club,” Motaung told reporters.

Beckham announced that he would be leaving MLS side LA Galaxy at the end of this year, but said he would not be hanging up his boots.

This has led to plenty of speculation about where he would move next, with clubs in Brazil, China, Qatar, Australia, South Africa and across Europe all mentioned as possibilities.  

“I still feel that I have something left in me as a player,” Beckham said on Wednesday. “I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37 years old, I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven’t decided.

“There are options, and I’m very lucky at my age to have options. People have talked about my retirement, people have mentioned will I retire, and I actually don’t feel I’m ready to retire yet.”

Moussa Sow claims Arsenal & Liverpool interest before Fenerbahce move

Fenerbahce forward Moussa Sow has claimed that Liverpool and Arsenal attempted to sign him before he opted to move to Turkey.

The 26-year-old Senegal international impressed for French side Lille in Ligue 1 between 2010 and 2012, scoring 31 goals in just 54 league games to alert some of Europe’s top teams.

However, despite the interest from the English sides, Sow joined Sar? Kanaryalar in January 2012 and insists he is “really happy” in the “great city” of Istanbul.

“Both Arsenal and Liverpool had tried to sign me before i ended up in Fenerbahce but I don’t have any regrets having done so,” he told reporters.

“I wanted to play at a team which have a fantastic atmosphere and in a great city like Istanbul. My religious view was also effective in my decision to join Fenerbahce. I’m really happy here.”

The two English sides were on the lookout for strikers, with Arsene Wenger eventually losing Robin van Persie to Manchester United in the summer while Brendan Rodgers’ side are still light on forward options.

Sow was criticised by Turkish newspaper Haberturk in October, claiming the player was injury-prone all along and the club doctors knew about that situation.

The newspaper even alleged that club doctor Ertugrul Karanlik had warned coach Aykut Kocaman about Sow’s situation, but was threatened to keep his report private.

Fenerbahce condemned the newspaper and declared the claims as false, and Sow has shrugged off the accusations: “The rumours which suggested that I had an injury all along haven’t touched my nerves, at all. I just laughed at them. Some people try to demoralise me, I suppose.”

“Some even mentioned my fasting as a bad thing. I’m a believer and God gave me strength through all this.”