The market.jpg

The market

Big targets

ARSENAL ARE about to finalise a 10 million euro deal that will bring the world’s tallest footballer to the Premiership, 6ft 10in Serbian giant Nikola Zigic. At just 24 years of age, he has scored 55 goals during 77 games in his first two seasons with Red Star Belgrade. Arsene Wenger has been able to steel a march on rivals Juventus, AC Milan, Real Madrid and Lyon due to his close relationship with Red Star President, Dragan Stojkovic, which dates back to their time together at J-League side Grampus Eight.

Chelsea’s latest 76 million euro offer for African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o has been turned down by Barcelona. Juventus hit-man Zlatan Ibrahimovic may now become the alternative focus of attention. But José Mourinho still hasn’t given up on another Barcelona target, 27-year-old defender Rafael Marquez. The Mexico captain arrived at the Nou Camp from Monaco for seven million euros two years ago, but would now command a fee nearer twice that amount. With Germany’s Michael Ballack also on the way, misfit Asier Del Horno, unhappy William Gallas and on-loan Wayne Bridge could all be on their way out.  

The latest ‘raw diamond’ on view at Stamford Bridge is Elias Ricardo Figueroa. The 18-year-old Uruguayan, who starred in last year’s Under-17 World Championships, is currently having trials and would cost a ‘mere’ four million euros.