Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala are preparing a bumper offer for Barcelona goalkeeper and Arsenal target Victor Valdes, according to the Mirror. The 31-year-old Spanish international is out of contract at the Nou Camp next summer and has already confirmed he will leave the Catalan giants for a new challenge.
Anzhi, who trail CSKA Moscow by seven points in the Russian Premier League, will reportedly offer the Champions League-winning goalkeeper a record (for wages paid to a goalkeeper) £160,000 per week three-year deal. It is believed Valdes is interested in the offer, which is well beyond anything Arsene Wenger can offer the Spaniard at the Emirates. Valdes already earns, reportedly, £120,000 per week in Spain.
Arsenal have the Polish duo of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski, as well as Italian Vito Mannone, in goal. And although all three have shown some good form on occasion, high-profile errors and inconsistency in form have led Wenger to consider an older and more experienced No 1.
The Gunners were previously linked to Liverpool No 1 Pepe Reina but it appears the Spanish international has convinced the Reds' boss, Brendan Rodgers, of his commitment to the club and the ex-Villarreal man is likely to stay at the Merseyside club.
Funding a transfer for Valdes is unlikely to be a problem for Wenger, with reports the board will offer the Frenchman up to £70m in the summer, to refurbish the first team.
In addition, significant acquisitions are expected at the north London club in the summer - a central defender may be needed, following reports linking Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona; a top-class striker to support Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott may also be signed; and a new holding midfielder is a priority, given yet another long-term injury to Frenchman Abou Diaby.
Arsenal's Japan Tour
Meanwhile, the club's Web site has confirmed the Gunners will play a friendly in Nagoya, in Japan, as part of the 2013/14 pre-season. The Premier League giants have a strong fan base in the country but the visit will be of particular moment to Wenger himself. The 63-year-old coached Nagoya Grampus for 18 months, between 1995 and 1996, and led them to the Emperor's Cup and the J-League Super Cup in that time.
In addition to the match in Japan, scheduled for 22 July, Arsenal have also confirmed a visit to Jakarta, between 13 and 14 July. The Gunners will face the Indonesian national team, at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.