'Ronaldo & Bale combining would be amazing for Real Madrid' – Southall

EXCLUSIVE
By James McManus

Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall has stated his belief that Tottenham winger Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit for Real Madrid, should he decide to move there in the future.

As exclusively revealed by Goal.com, Bale is ready to test himself abroad and tell Tottenham he wants to move to Madrid and Southall believes he would slot in well at the club alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Well if you had Cristiano Ronaldo on the right wing and Bale on the left wing that would be some team for Real Madrid, wouldn’t it?” Southall exclusively told Goal.com.

“Hopefully though he’ll just stay in Britain, and Welsh players tend to stay at home a lot, at your Manchester United’s and Man City’s, that would probably be better [for him].”

On the topic of whether Bale will be able to secure a move to La Liga in the near future, Southall argued that he needs to remain patient for the time being, even if he agreed that eventually a time will come when he will need to seek a move to a bigger club.

“That’s a tough one to answer but I think eventually Gareth will leave Tottenham,” he added.

“How much they need the money and how close they come to winning anything, that might be the only reason Gareth would consider leaving Tottenham, because he wants to start winning things.

“He might actually prefer to stay in Britain, whether that be Manchester United or Manchester City, which is obviously closer to Cardiff than Barcelona and Real Madrid, and we know that he’s a home boy.”

After an indifferent start to the new campaign for Andre Villas-Boas’ side, though, many have questioned whether Bale is good enough to make the step up of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, but the 52-year-old has no doubt that he is capable of making the grade at either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

He added: “Yes, he’s been playing at that level already and when you play with better players it becomes easier to perform.

“It’s always easier to play with good players than bad players, and I speak from experience, because you don’t know what they’re going to do.

“He’s got that bit of pace that he could add to Barcelona and he’d be quality for them, but it’s just if he wants to go there.”

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Juventus prepare €7m offer for Llorente

EXCLUSIVE
By Romeo Agresti

Fernando Llorente could be on his way out of Athletic Bilbao in the January transfer window as Juventus are ready to make a €7 million offer for the powerful attacker, Goal.com can reveal.

The Serie A champions already attempted to lure the Spain international to Turin in the summer transfer window, but Athletic refused to let go of the 27-year-old earlier this year.

The Bianconeri are hopeful that the Basque side are willing to cash in on Llorente now, though, as the striker remains reluctant to sign a new deal, and could leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Llorente has mainly been warming the bench at San Mames ever since he announced his desire to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, and he is desperate to leave sooner rather than later in order to get his career back on track.

The potential arrival of Llorente at Juventus Stadium effectively means the end of Alessandro Matri or Nicklas Bendtner’s spell with the Old Lady.

Juve are ready to part company with one of the two once they have secured the services of a new striker, and general director Giuseppe Marotta has scheduled meetings with the agents of both players next week to discuss their future at the club.

Reina tops Arsenal shortlist as Wenger targets new keeper in January

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal have placed Pepe Reina at the top of their wishlist as they step up plans to sign a new goalkeeper in January, Goal.com has learned.

Arsene Wenger wants to sign a proven Premier League stopper to challenge established No.1 Wojciech Szczesny.

Swansea City’s Michel Vorm and Stoke City’s Thomas Sorensen are the other two names on the three-man shortlist compiled by Arsenal’s scouting team.

Goal.com understands that Wenger and his staff have identified the goalkeeper, attacking midfield and centre-forward positions as the key areas to strengthen in the forthcoming window.

The Arsenal boss is ready to bid for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha while his top striker target is Adrian Lopez of Atletico Madrid, as revealed by Goal.com last month. Wenger is also weighing up the possibility of bringing Thierry Henry back to the club for a third spell in January, on loan from New York Red Bulls.

Arsenal’s search for a keeper will centre closer to home as they hunt for a shot-stopper who can replace – or compete with – Szczesny.

The Pole, who recently returned to the team after two months out with an ankle injury, established himself as Arsenal’s No.1 after making an assured step up from the youth team in the second half of the 2010-11 season.

But the 22-year-old has suffered form and fitness problems in 2012 and his patchy distribution skills are a concern for Wenger, who puts so much store in an intricate passing game that starts from the back.

The Arsenal boss is a long-time admirer of Liverpool keeper Reina, who he tried to sign from Anfield in the summer of 2010.

Although the Spaniard, 30, is contracted to Liverpool until 2016, he has made a series of costly errors this season and temporarily lost his starting place after a spell out injured.

And Arsenal believe Reina has the distribution skills that Szczesny lacks, and is the type of strong character who could be a positive influence in the dressing room.

Swansea’s Vorm, who has been out injured since the end of October, is also a major contender in Arsenal’s search for a new keeper. The Dutchman, 29, has been a consistently impressive performer since making the move to the Premier League at the start of last season.

The third keeper on Arsenal’s shortlist is Stoke’s 36-year-old stopper Sorensen, who is the understudy to Asmir Begovic at the Britannia Stadium.

Unlike the other two contenders, Sorensen would be likely to provide experienced back-up to Szczesny rather than replace him in the team.

Szczesny’s current understudy Lukasz Fabianksi is out injured until the new year and is out of contract at the end of the season, when he is likely to leave the Emirates.

Vito Mannone has played the most games in the Arsenal goal this season but made a string of blunders and has failed to convince the club that he is the answer to their goalkeeping quandary.

Walcott and Sagna left out of 2013 Arsenal calendar

Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna have not been included in the club’s official 2013 calendar, fuelling speculation over the pair’s long-term futures.

The omission of the duo – which features a different first-team player for each month – could be seen as a sign that neither of their futures lie at the Emirates.

Walcott’s contract is currently set to expire next summer, with the England international being linked with a move to Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, and is able to speak to foreign clubs over a free transfer for the end of the season in January.

The 23-year-old has been in superb form for his side this season – grabbing nine goals and four assists from his 15 appearances in all competitions.

Right-back Sagna’s future is also in doubt, with the France international thought to be interesting Inter, while deputy Carl Jenkinson impressed boss Arsene Wenger at the start of the season.

Sagna suffering a broken leg at the end of last term, and has since made six appearances for the club after returning to match fitness.

Strootman’s agent confirms Manchester United interest

Manchester United have enquired about the availability of PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman, according to the player’s agent.

The Netherlands international has been linked with a big-money move to Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson looks to bolster his midfield options, with speculation suggesting a deal could be in place for January.

The 22-year-old’s representatives Chiel Dekker confirmed the Premier League side’s interest and revealed his client has targeted a move to England next summer.

Dekker told talkSPORT: “All the top clubs in Europe know about Kevin, but a move to England next summer is his first priority and, yes, Manchester United and other big clubs in Europe have been in touch with me.”

The ex-Sparta Rotterdam man recently confirmed that he has discussed possible moves with Dekker, but is currently happy to remain at PSV.

Strootman has made 20 appearances for the Dutch outfit so far this season – scoring six goals and grabbing three assists.