Arsenal are considering a bid for Schalke 04 defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The Mirror believes Arsene Wenger wants the Greek international to strengthen his defensive options, ahead of speculation surrounding Laurent Koscielny's future and inconclusive negotiations over the transfer of Swansea City's Ashley Williams.
The 21-year-old Papadopoulos played a key role in the Bundesliga club's season in 2011/12, making 28 starts and scoring and creating two goals each. However, his 2012/13 form has been far less impressive, with only one goal and nine starts.
Schalke are believed to have a £19m buy-out clause in a contract that runs till 2016 but will accept £13m for their star defender.
It will not be an easy signing though, with an earlier report by the Mirror linking a host of top clubs to the youngster's services. Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all reportedly monitored Papadopoulos. The Liverpool Echo, in mid-May, claimed Brendan Rodgers was ready with a £12m offer for the player.
As far as the player himself is concerned, it is understood he is not inclined to move clubs just yet. Papadopoulos is very highly rated by European pundits and made his Greek league debut when he was only 15 years old.
"I can tell you we have no interest in a transfer away from Schalke at this point in time. Kyriakos is happy being at this club... is fully focused on being fit when Schalke start pre-season training. He looks likely to be ready for it," his agent, Paul Koutsoliakos, told German newspaper Bild.
Interested clubs will also be aware that Papadopoulos did suffer from a knee problem, which hampered his progress during the second half of last season. Although at 21, he is likely to recover from the injury and return to normal development rapidly.
Meanwhile, in what is likely to be viewed as further proof of Wenger's money-conscious business models, a study by the Switzerland-based CIES Football Observatory claims the Gunners and Premier league champions Manchester United have the most valuable squad (in terms of value appreciation from youth player to first team regular) in England. Predictably, the research shows Chelsea and Manchester City occupy the other end of the spectrum.