Friday, July 12, 2024

Football Transfer Talk: 6th-10th July

With Andres Iniesta and Xavi the silky pacemakers to the heart of the Catalan giants, Barcelona’s interest in midfielders remains rather baffling. Despite Yaya Toure’s prowess in the anchoring role, Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano has been touted as a potential signing. Bayern’s stubborn stance on Franck Ribery has also turned Catalan eyes to Arsenal’s playmaker Cesc Fabregas, who despite stressing his loyalty to the Gunners, admits he is flattered by interest from the European Champions. Perhaps the carrot of playing for Europe’s most fluent side, and the prospect of partnering the cumbersome Abou Diaby and diminutive Denilson in central midfield should he remain at Arsenal, will tempt the Gunners skipper to Barca.

A move for Fabregas, who left the Barca youth setup to join Arsene Wenger’s outfit, would perhaps signal a new wing birth for the flexible Iniesta. With Samuel Eto’o’s future at the club in limbo, despite his goal scoring exploits of last season, names such as Andrei Arshavin and David Villa continue to reverberate around the Nou Camp. The talismanic Russian insisted however, ‘I’m an Arsenal player and the only thing I am thinking about is preparing for the new season’. Eto’o has reportedly been given 48 hours by Manchester City to resolve his future, having been offered a staggering £200,000 after tax to ply his trade at Eastlands. Barca have been unable to negotiate with Eto’o – president Juan Laporta exclaimed, ‘I’ve called him but he hasn’t picked up the phone’.

Meanwhile La Liga rivals Real Madrid, who have already spent over £150 million in transfer fees, are looking to entice Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso to the Berneubeu, according to Real sporting director Miguel Pardeza. Newly elected president Florentino Perez promised the signing of a Spanish contingent as well as a host of ‘galacticos’, on his re-instatement. The future of dynamic Valencia duo David Villa and David Silva is still unresolved, but it’s unlikely they will start the season at the Mestalla given the desperate financial conundrum the club is in.

Having failed to secure a super signing, speculation continues to rage over Sir Alex’s next acquisition. With Dimitar Berbatov looking distinctly pedestrian so far in his Old Trafford career, Michael Owen deprived of the pace and fitness that once made him one of Europe’s deadliest strikers, and Luis Antonio Valencia paltry goalscoring record for Wigan, Utd will be looking to beef up their striking options. As The Sun reports however, a move for Real Madrid forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar looks off to be agenda, with Bundesliga side Stuggart pushing for his signature. Sunsport describes how, ‘the German outfit want him to replace Mario Gomez, who has joined Bayern Munich, and have been locked in talks with Madrid over the last few days.’

An £80 million transfer kitty has also induced talks of temperamental striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving to Old Trafford, however the Inter hitman maintained, ‘Whatever happens, happens. I’m happy to be here now. I’m as happy as the first day I joined Inter.’ The Daily Mail claims Dimitar Berbatov is being used as a makeweight in a £55 million bid for Atletico Madrid hotshot Sergio Aguero, ‘having scored just nine goals in 31 outings, United are close to cutting their losses on the 28-year-old’.

With Owen Hargreaves expected to be sidelined until January with knee complications, and Utd given the proverbial ‘run around’ by Barca’s midfield in the Champions League Final, additions to the middle of the park would be welcome at Old Trafford. Sir Alex seems to have taken on the mantle of French talent bounty hunter from Arsene Wenger. With every young French player with an iota of talent dubbed the new Zinedeine Zidane United are tracking… yes, the new Zinedeine Zidane. Sofiane Feghouli of newly promoted French side Grenoble 38 could be the next French prodigy to join Gabriel Obertan in Manchester, according to the Telegraph.

Once the epicentre of the transfer market earthquake, Chelsea seem to have relinquished their status as Europe’s biggest spenders. This hasn’t stopped Carlo Ancelotti declaring his interest in Milan duo Andrea Pirlo and Alexander Pato. The Italian maestro will no doubt be looking for some young blood to join the Chelsea ranks, with the likes of Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Deco all in the twilight of their careers. Meanwhile Chelsea insiders have moved to quash rumours of a £30 million departure of John Terry to Manchester City. The Sun quotes a Stamford Bridge source; ‘It is not something the manager wants to get involved in. Neither do we expect any such talks to be drawn out. John Terry wants to stay at Chelsea and we want him to stay.’

Serie A transfer activity looks to be rather muted, with Ibrahimovic declaring his loyalty to Inter Milan, and the reigning champions dropping their interest in Chelsea duo Ricardo Carvalho and Deco. AC Milan’s move for prolific Wolfsburg forward Edin Dzeko has also fallen through. The loss of Kaka for the Rossoneri places an immense burden on the ageing likes of Andrea Pirlo, Pippo Inzaghi, Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso to deliver.

In other Premiership transfer gossip, Martin O’Neill is set to fend off a £5 million bid from Spurs for impact striker John Carew according to the Daily Mail, who also claim Birmingham are in talks to sign Manchester Utd striker Frazier Campbell. Brazilian striker Jo has also signed a 1 year extension to his loan deal, which will keep him at Everton next season.


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