The main headlines of English football remains to revolve around the thought of who the future national team coach will be. The return to club football this weekend however put forgotten smiles on some faces. The transfer window is creeping closer and the following clubs have all been in the news.
Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson is apparently preparing for a swoop on Tottenham backup Jermain Defoe rather than Tottenham star Dimitar Berbatov. Manchester United’s boss, sent off at the weekend for his criticism of the referee, is an admirer of the England striker who has been dropped to fourth in line for selection in Tottenham’s attack. The player only has 18 months remaining on his contract and neither he nor the club are willing to discuss a new deal.
Meanwhile both Manchester United and Chelsea are locked in battle allegedly to sign Portuguese wonderkid Joao Moutinho. Both teams had scouts watch him in the game between Portugal and England Under 21s. He’s rated at £15m and the two English clubs also face competition from Real Madrid and Juventus. It seems Manchester United are the early favourites though as they have a closer connection with Moutinho’s team Sporting Lisbon having already signed Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani from them.
Chelsea are going to be watching £1m rated Rosenborg striker Yssouf Kone carefully when the two sides meet on Wednesday in the Champions League. The Chelsea scouts have been impressed with his form and are not the only team monitoring his progression. The 25 year-old has attracted many other clubs including Blackburn Rovers, Anderlecht, Paris Saint Germain and Marseille.
Possibly heading out of Chelsea is reliable defender Ricardo Carvalho. The 29 year-old is one of the Chelsea stars said to be most upset by Jose Mourinho’s departure and is considering his options. Inter Milan are keen on him and could offer Walter Samuel in a swap deal. An Italian source said that Chelsea had already ‘confirmed they were interested’ in the idea and that seeing as both defenders are 29 and both of their contracts expire in 2009 the move would be good for them. Fiorentina are another side also monitoring the situation.
Xabi Alonso is a £15m target for Atletico Madrid. The 26 year-old Spanish midfielder is under contract with Liverpool until 2012 but Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre has made him a prime target in January. Alonso has said that he has “heard about the rumours involving Atletico” but right now his main objective is to be 100% fit for Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League and to represent Spain in Euro 2008.
Portsmouth’s Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari will apparently snub an offer to Juventus for £7m in order to renew his contract with Pompey. The player is currently the league’s top goal scorer this season with 8 goals. He encountered a difficult first season in England but has since found his form and looks settled. He is keen to repay Harry Redknapp’s faith in him by staying with Portsmouth.