Vidic agent 'categorically' rules out Manchester United exit

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic is staying at Old Trafford, according to his agent Silvano Martina.

The Serbian centre-back has been the subject of transfer speculation in recent months, with Juventus and Barcelona said to be monitoring his situation.

But, despite the Red Devils captain missing the latter half of last season and eight weeks of this campaign through injury, his representative insists he is not looking for a fresh challenge.

“Vidic is already part of a top club and there are no negotiations with Juventus or Barcelona,” Martinia told itasportpress.it.

“Vidic is not playing at this time because he’s had surgery, so he’s only thinking about his recovery and not about the transfer market.

“Juventus are complete with their non-EU players for this season and it is highly unlikely they will make a bid for Vidic, therefore I can categorically rule out any interest from them.”

Vidic has made over 150 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side since a €10.5 million move from Spartak Moscow in 2005.

Arsenal keeper Mannone wants to join AC Milan in the future

Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone has his sights set on Wojciech Szcz?sny’s No.1 spot, but admitted he would like to return to Italy in the future and join AC Milan.

The Italian shot-stopper has impressed in the absence of the 22-year-old and Lukas Fabianski, contributing to the Gunners’ improved defensive displays of late.

And now he hopes to keep his place between the sticks for as long as possible and permanently oust Szczesny from the first team.

“Now my goal is to take the starting spot,” Mannone told the Corriere della Sera.

“I want to be Arsenal’s No.1.”

But Mannone also revealed that he has aspirations to return to Italy, favouring a move to AC Milan, in an attempt to boost his chances of earning a call-up for the Italian national team.

“In the future I’d return to Italy and play in Serie A, perhaps with AC Milan, my favourite team,” Mannone added.

“Besides, I hope to reach the national call.”

As Goal.com exclusively revealed earlier this week, Mannone is being targetted by Napoli to replace ageing goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.

Chuba Akpom signs first professional contract with Arsenal

Arsenal’s young forward Chuba Akpom has put pen to paper on a first professional contract with the north London club.

Akpom is regarded as one of Arsenal and England’s most exciting young talents, and is yet another promising product of the Gunners’ excellent academy.

The new deal tops off a brilliant week for the Newham-born youngster, who turned 17 this week and scored his first ever goal for the Under-21 side in a 2-0 win over Reading.

“Everyone at Arsenal would like to congratulate Chuba on his first professional contract and we look forward to his continued progression with the club,” read a statement on the club’s official website.

Akpom, a precociously talented footballer, was selected for the Under-18s when just 15-years old, making 15 appearances for the club at that level.

He has since show further promise at higher levels, scoring twice an appearance in the NextGen Series against Marseille, and featuring in their other two games in the competition.

The 17-year old has represented England at a number of youth levels, and will be hoping to impress Arsene Wenger enough to gain some first team exposure in the future.

Wanyama: I'm aware of Manchester United rumours but still happy at Celtic

By Chris Myson

Victor Wanyama says he has heard about apparent interest in him from Premier League giants Manchester United but believes any talk of an imminent move is just speculation at this stage.

The Celtic midfielder is enjoying a growing reputation in the game since joining the SPL champions from Belgian side Beerschot AC for just £900,000 in the summer of 2011.

At the weekend, press reports suggested Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were keen to make a January move to sign the powerful Kenyan, who is also comfortable playing in defence.

Goal.com understands United have indeed scouted the player on more than one occasion but that any talk of a formal move is premature and not in the pipeline at this stage.

“I have heard a lot about my intended move to several clubs, the latest being Manchester United,” Wanyama said to SuperSport.

“Personally I just think those are rumours. My focus now remains with my team Celtic, whom I want to help in both our domestic competitions and the Champions League.

“Leaving Celtic will not be easy. They cannot just let me go as easily as many people think they will.

“All in all am happy here and looking forward to continue playing for them as I work hard in my career.”

Celtic are keen to extend Wanyama’s contract with the club to reward the 21-year-old for his rapid progress, even though his current deal does not expire until the summer of 2015, putting them in a strong position when it comes to negotiations with other clubs.

As well as United, Arsenal and Fulham have been credited in holding an interest, while QPR are the only Premier League club to have so far made an official offer for the player – the bid arriving in the closing stages of the summer transfer window – but Mark Hughes’ side were unsuccessful.

Celtic are believed to value Wanyama, who has recently spoken about how much he is loving the experience of playing at Champions League level, at over £9 million.

“When you play in Europe, it is a bonus,” he said last month.  “It is easier to be seen everywhere around the world because everyone in the world is watching the Champions League.

“Celtic is a big club and I am always happy to play here and at the moment I am really happy.

“When you look at the support from the fans and the atmosphere for the Champions League games, you cannot get better than it is here. It is perfect and the excitement gives you more energy to keep on going.”

Inter keen on Dinamo Zagreb full-back Sime Vrsaljko

EXCLUSIVE
By Sandro Dall’Agnol

Sime Vrsaljko has caught the attention of Inter with his good performances for Dinamo Zagreb in the past few months, Goal.com understands.

The Nerazzurri are in the market for a new right-back because of the departure of Maicon to Manchester City in the summer transfer window, with Jonathan having failed to impress so far this season, and they see the 20-year-old Vrsaljko as a good replacement.

Vrsaljko is a product of the Dinamo youth academy, and has developed into an important first team member at the Croatian champions since making his official debut in February 2010.

The defender has previously been linked with clubs such as Olympique de Marseille, Valencia, Arsenal and Manchester City, and Inter have now joined the race for the Croatia international’s signature.

Nevertheless, Vrsaljko will not be available on the cheap as he’s under contract with the Zagreb side until June 2017, and an offer in the region of €8 million could be needed to lure him away from the Stadion Maksimir.