According to today's Daily Mail Arsène Wenger has finally got it. The remedy for Arsenal's wiffly, in-and-out, meandering seven years of entertaining underachievement is to sign Nani from Manchester United … sorry. The Mill found itself typing the words "sign Nani from Manchester United". Just a moment. Ah. Sign Nani from Manchester United. Sign … Nani.
And why not? Nani hasn't played since November. Arsenal are badly in need of a jinking, prancing midfield-frustration. And in many ways this was perhaps always inevitable, like the outbreak of the first world war. Although there may perhaps be a little more to it than meets the eye. Nani, who occasionally plays in the Capital One Cup and every six months or so scores a really good goal after spending the previous 67 minutes engaged in a display of promising but ultimately baffling wing-shuffle-disappointment, before doing an incongruous but spectacular backflip as though that's all just all right then, has fallen out with Sir Alex Ferguson over his laughable wage demands. Actual quotes supporting any of this from Nani or Arsenal or even a close pal of the troubled ace: none. The Mill smells agent-shenanigans.
Also in the Mail Manchester City and Spurs are both fiddling gently with their hair and casting a series of lingering sideways glances in the direction of Pedro Obiang of Sampdoria. "'We know that several Italian, English and Spanish clubs are following him but Pedro is a mature guy and is thinking only about Sampdoria," his agent said yesterday, doing an impression of an exceptionally mature 20-year-old midfield grappler thinking only of Sampdoria for quite a long time but then gradually after a while beginning to think of other things, like extremely large cars with alloy wheels that spin backwards and shoes made entirely from hand-wrought vintage parmesan cheese.
Wenger will offer £10m for Bayern Munich's Luiz Gustavo after adding him to the "January shortlist" he keeps in the inside pocket of his floor-length quilted gown and occasionally reads bits of it aloud while he's standing at the bus stop or wheeling his old shopping trolley along near the canal. Gustavo joined from Hoffenheim in 2011 and plays as a defensive midfielder.
According to today's Sun Manchester City will not sell strike-sulk Mario Balotelli in the January transfer window. His agent Mino Raiola is quoted as saying "Mario will still be at City in February. You can ask me that question another 400 times and it will always be the same answer always be the same always be the same always be the same same same same same same same same same same same same same same the answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same be be be be be be be be be be be be be be be be be be be will always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer always be the same answer be the answer be the answer be the answer be the answer be the answer be the answer be the answer be the answer same same same same same same same same same same same same same."
Unsurprisingly Paris St-Germain have already expressed an interest in a player who seems to have mutated recently into a supermarket own-brand Zlatan, all shrugs and one-liners and exhibitionist arrogance, just without the actual overhead helicopter kick feats of genius.
Also in the Sun, Southampton are keen on midfield pivot Carlos Sánchez, who plays for Rangers of Chile. Sanchez is 26. He almost signed for Bolton last summer. Arsenal are still in a funk over then Montpelier captain, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who will cost £8m and who has a nifty touch on the ball, plays in the fashionable not-quite-whatever midfield inbetweener position and is less than four feet tall. The Mill may have made some of these details up.
And Wigan are giving a trial to ex-Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde, who is currently training with Den Haag in Holland.
According to the Daily Mirror, Demba Ba is leaving Newcastle again and could be gone in the first flush of the January transfer window. "They do not want a repeat of the Andy Carroll situation," the Mirror points out. Nobody wants that. Not even Andy Carroll. The Andy Carroll situation: this was a bad situation.
Rumour favourite Loïc Rémy, still knocking about the place with Marseille after all these years, is favourite to replace him. Arsenal are among Ba's many suitors, although they also fancy a slice of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, 47, who is available for £7m. The Mirror also reports that Manchester City have sent their wraiths off in pursuit of Brazil sprite Paulinho, who will be playing for Corinthians in the Club World Cup this week. Paulinho is an attacking midfielder who retails at £14m and who grew up "playing for clubs in Lithuania and Poland", which does sound, the Mill has to say, slightly suspicious. No doubt Paulinho also has mousey blond hair, speaks Latvian, looks at you blankly whenever the samba is mentioned and is known to his family and friends as "Igor". But don't let that put you off, Manchester City. Brazilian starlet over here. Genuine Brazilian. Just a bit of an accent. Never mind that. Get your Brazilian, £14m and I'm robbing myself.