The march of war continues. In an appearance on talkSPORT radio, Spanish-football writer (as opposed to a Spanish football-writer) Sid Lowe was very clear about Arsenal's recent forays into the Spanish transfer market, saying that he believes both Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin and Malaga winger/midfielder Santi Cazorla would be Arsenal players for the 2012-2013 campaign.
While the amount of concrete information isn't really different, this is a well-connected reporter in Spain who's generally respected, and his opinion is definitely worth its weight. Which isn't a good idiom for this situation, since it was an audio interview and as such had no weight. But you know what I mean.
Lowe made it clear that there are more than just the two sides - Wenger and Mourinho - involved here. Real Madrid think Sahin is certainly talented enough to play there, but after a season of injuries and little playing time, they want to ensure that Sahin gets some real minutes. The clubs are both open to a loan deal, but Sahin is less interested. However, Lowe says that there is "absolutely no doubt that this is on the cards, that it's possible." He also said:
If I had to put money on it right now, I would say I think he will end up in the Premier League, and I would imagine that the club involved would be Arsenal.
Certainly this confirms the earlier claims that the deal was in negotiations, and even makes it sound likely. So this is much firmer than it was yesterday, for sure.
According to Lowe, the current paralysis at Malaga is causing a bit of a catch-22 situation: it's the reason Cazorla wants out of the club, but also is the cause of the lack of real movement. A representative of the club's Qatari owners arrived days ago, and the expectation was that he would sort things out, but there has been no movement at all. Simply, Lowe said that he thinks the deal "will happen," though no word on when or for how much from him.
On the other hand, AS reports (via Arseblog News) that Arsenal have officially placed a €23m bid with Malaga over Cazorla, which is less than his €45m release clause, but more than they paid Villareal last summer for him in a situation not entirely dissimilar from this one. If I had to guess, I doubt this will be the final word in the negotiations. Particularly if this is true:
This is surreal. Reports now that Malaga's owners are negotiating sale ..... of the club— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) July 28, 2012
How this would effect Cazorla deal, I honestly don't know...— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) July 28, 2012
If so, this could take a while. If not, then as David Hytner says, the deal may be wrapped up soon after Arsenal return from their tour of the Far East. Hopefully everything will be resolved sooner rather than later, one way or the other.