The Gunners are willing to pay up to €1.17 million to land the Brazil No.1 this summer and are looking to tie up a deal for Swansea City defender Ashley Williams
By Wayne Veysey
Arsenal are in talks with QPR to sign goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
The Gunners have indicated they are willing pay a nominal fee of no more than €1.17 million to land the Brazil international after identifying him as their No.1 shot-stopper target.
Arsene Wenger wants a proven Premier League keeper who is comfortable with Arsenal’s intricate passing game that starts from the back.
Asmir Begovic has been under serious consideration but Arsenal baulked at Stoke City’s €14m valuation of the Bosnian. The north Londoners also enquired about Pepe Reina ahead of the January window but their interest has currently subsided as the Liverpool man sets his sights on a move to Barcelona.
It is Cesar who is now the clear front-runner to provide competition for Wojciech Szczesny at the Emirates Stadium next season.
The 33-year-old had an impressive debut season at QPR after joining from Inter but was unable to prevent them sliding out of the Premier League.
The Brazilian is on a lucrative contract at Loftus Road, believed to be worth around €91,500-a-week, and Arsenal are aware that QPR need to off-load him from their wage bill as they prepare for life in the Championship.
Negotiations are at the preliminary stage, with Arsenal keen not to pay over the odds.
The north Londoners have put a €1.17m ceiling on Cesar’s valuation and have even raised the possibility that he could be released from his QPR contract and leave on a free transfer.
Arsenal are willing to match Cesar’s Rangers salary and offer a two-year contract with the option of a third year.
Speaking ahead of Brazil’s friendly against England on Sunday, Cesar admitted negotiations were ongoing with other clubs.
“There are indeed talks with some teams, but nothing definitive,” he said. “I want to stay in England. I am enjoying London and I love the Premier League.”
“I won’t name the teams as it would not be ethical since I am under contract with Queens Park Rangers. I let people responsible for my career deal with it.”
Arsenal are also closing in on the signing of Swansea City central defender Ashley Williams as Wenger begins making use of the biggest transfer kitty in the club’s history.
Williams has agreed personal terms with the Gunners and the Londoners are negotiating a fee with Swansea for the Wales captain, with the Londoners confident of making him their first major signing of the summer.
Arsenal want to pay between €9-11m for Williams, who is valued at £14m by Swansea.
It is understood that the north London club have already completed the signings of youngsters Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre and Daniel Crowley from Aston Villa.
France Under-21 striker Sanogo passed a medical last week and finalised a deal that, under Fifa rules, will cost Arsenal a fee of €350,000 in compensation to Auxerre for training costs.
Highly-rated creative midfielder Crowley, 15, has also been snapped up from the Aston Villa academy after Wenger personally gave the green light to sign the player who has already been capped at England Under-17 level and is widely tipped to be a future star for the national team.
The signings of Sanogo and Crowley are expected to be announced imminently by Arsenal.
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