Friday’s Football Focus
And as far fetched as it might have seemed just a few months ago, there is growing speculation that Arsenal might be a serious bidder for Rooney if new United boss David Moyes is unable to convince his unsettled star to stay at Old Trafford.
Arsene Wenger first dropped the hint about a possible move for Rooney last week – “who wouldn’t want him?” – and some meat was put on the bones of what appeared to be a throwaway remark when Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said that there was now a kitty of around £70 million for the manager to play with.
Coral rate a Rooney move to the Emirates at 4/1 with Chelsea still favourites at 6/4, just ahead of P.S.G. at 7/4, but it seems most likely, although by no means a certainty, that the 27-year-old will stay at United.
Even so, Arsenal appear to be on the look-out for some big names after selling one of their big stars in each of the last three summers – Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Van Persie.
Snatching Maroune Fellaini from under the nose of United looks on the cards and would give the Arsenal faithful something to smirk about, while there is also strong interest in Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain as well as a yearning for Fabregas to return from Barcelona. At the very least, Ashley Williams should be joining from Swansea any time soon.
Roberto Martinez seems a very popular choice as Everton manager and the new boy lost no time in predicting big things for the Toffees, including a top four spot.
It’s a tall order for next season, according to Coral, who price Everton up at 22/1 to overtake Arsenal and Tottenham and make it into the Champions League. 7/1 to win a major trophy (realistically one of the Cups) would appear a more achievable target.
Chelsea are 5/6 to win a major trophy next season and that’s not an unattractive price, considering the positive effect the returning Jose Mourinho is likely to have at Stamford Bridge. There has already been steady backing for Chelsea to win the 2013-14 Premier League in recent weeks and they are now 12/5 joint second favourites with Manchester City behind 2/1 favourites United.
Meanwhile relegated Wigan are getting closer to appointing Martinez’s replacement, according to chairman Dave Whelan. Owen Coyle is Coral’s 9/4 favourite, but it’s still a wide-open contest with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side-kicks Mike Phelan (5/2) and Rene Meulensteen (3/1) close behind in the betting.
Written by Jon Freeman