Arsenal renew interest in £15m Michu

 
Frank Dalleres
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ARSENAL have revived their interest in signing Swansea and Spain striker Michu as they look to boost their attacking options in January, it is understood.

The Gunners considered a move for the 27-year-old in the summer, after he scored 22 goals in a sensational debut season in English football.

He has only netted six times in 20 games this term yet is believed to have attracted renewed attention from Arsenal, who are short of centre-forward options.

Any move could not take place until the transfer window reopens next month and would be likely to cost the Gunners in excess of £15m.

One notable advantage to signing Michu would be that he is not cup-tied in the Champions League, in which Arsenal face Bayern Munich in the last 16.

Manager Arsene Wenger has relied heavily on Olivier Giroud during the north Londoners’ early-season charge to the top of the Premier League.

The France striker netted eight times in his first 14 games but has since shown signs of fatigue, scoring just twice in his last 10 club matches.

Wenger tried to recruit Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez from Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively during the summer transfer window but failed with bids for both players.

He was willing to let back-up Nicklas Bendtner leave for Crystal Palace but pulled the plug on a move after his attempts to sign a new forward foundered.

Michu, who cost just £2m from Rayo Vallecano 18 months ago and, like Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, played in the Real Oviedo youth team, was rewarded by Swansea for his superb form with a new £30,000 per week contract earlier this year.

But he has admitted his ambition to play in the Champions League could tempt him to move.

“Every player dreams about playing in big teams – clubs that play in the Champions League and fight for titles – and I am no different,” he said last week.

WHO THEY FACE IN EUROPE

Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Bayern eliminated the Gunners on away goals at the same stage last season on their way to winning the competition and will be favourites to progress again. They also knocked Arsene Wenger’s men out 3-2 on aggregate in 2005.

First leg: Arsenal v Bayern, Weds 19 February; Second leg: Bayern v Arsenal, Tues 11 March.

Manchester City v Barcelona
A mouthwatering clash pitting England’s most expensive team against the Catalan superclub is lent spice by City employing ex-Barca directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain and midfielder Yaya Toure.

First leg: Man City v Barcelona, Tue 18 Feb; Second leg: Barca v Man City, Wed 12 Mar.

Galatasaray v Chelsea
Blues manager Jose Mourinho asked to face Galatasaray in the last 16 and he got his wish, ensuring an emotional homecoming for a club hero and one of the key figures in his first reign at Stamford Bridge, striker Didier Drogba.

First leg: Galatasaray v Chelsea, Wed 26 Feb; Second leg: Chelsea v Galatasaray, Tue 18 Mar.

Olympiacos v Manchester United
United manager David Moyes might be enduring a turbulent start to his tenure but his reward for qualifying top of the group is a tie against one of the weaker sides, albeit featuring in-form striker Kostas Mitroglu.

First leg: Olympiacos v Man Utd, Tue 25 Feb; Second leg: Man U v Olympiacos, Wed 19 Mar.

Dnipro v Tottenham Hotspur
A timely draw saw Spurs reunited with former boss Juande Ramos on the day they parted ways with most recent manager Andre Villas-Boas. Ramos, sacked by Tottenham in 2008, led the Ukrainians to the last 32 last season.

First leg: Dnipro v Tottenham, Thu 20 Feb; Second leg: Tottenham v Dnipro, Thu 27 Feb.

Swansea City v Napoli
Rafael Benitez’s Napoli, edged out of the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, is perhaps as hard a last 32 tie as Swansea could have got in their debut season in the Europa League.

First leg: Swansea v Napoli, Thu 20 Feb; Second leg: Napoli v Swansea, Thu 27 Feb.