While Brazil’s shocking defeat to Holland and Uruguay’s dramatic win over Ghana in the first two World Cup quarterfinal ties rightfully dominated the football headlines yesterday, there was plenty of wheelin’ and dealin’ going on thousands of miles away.
In the span of a couple of days, Manchester City have kicked their spending spree into high gear, and we can expect much more from City in the coming weeks. However, they’re not the only club with money to spend, and it appears that even West Ham are trying to get in on the action, with their pursuit of two young strikers who will cost a couple of pretty pennies.
Ozil Interested In Premier League Move?
In reports in the Sun, Werder Bremen and Germany star Mesut Ozil is noncommittal about his future, but he did speak very highly of the Premier League and of Manchester United and Chelsea in particular.
Analysis: With just one year left on his contract with Werder Bremen, it’s a high, high likelihood that Ozil will be on the move not long after he returns from the World Cup. He’s added a few million to his valuation with his performances in the World Cup, but that won’t be a problem for whoever lands him, as he is certainly well worth it.
City Land Toure And Kolarov
Friday was a day of double delights for Manchester City. They clinched their biggest signing of the summer thus far, completing a long-awaited and anticipated £28m deal for Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, who will join brother Kolo at Eastlands. (Daily Mail)
And on top of that good news, City have also beaten Real Madrid to the signature of Lazio star Aleksandar Kolarov, with the £15m deal expected to be finalized within the next couple of days. (Daily Mail)
Yossi Says Yes To Chelsea
Chelsea have wrapped up a £5.5m deal for Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun. The 30-year-old has penned a three-year deal with the Blues. (The Sun)
Analysis: He may not have been a regular starter for Liverpool, but he came up big on several occasions throughout his three seasons there, and I see him having much of the same impact at Chelsea.
Stipe Set For Spurs
Not R.E.M. frontman Michael, but Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, who looks set to arrive at White Hart Lane on loan within the next couple of weeks. The 31-year-old has 81 caps for Croatia. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Given that Tottenham had to deal with injuries to both Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini last season, it’s a smart idea for Harry Redknapp to snap up another experienced, quality keeper just in case, because Ben Alnwick still isn’t quite ready to be called upon when it comes to say, a Champions League tie or a crucial Premier League match.
West Ham Persist With Neymar, Remy
After having a bid of £12m rejected by Santos, West Ham are set to go back in with an improved offer of £16m for young Brazilian striker Neymar. However, Santos sporting director Luiz Nunez Pedro Conceicao insists that the 18-year-old hotshot is not for sale. (The Mirror)
Analysis: They don’t have the funds to make Santos blink (unless they wanted to give up a significant chunk of their transfer budget, if not all of it entirely).
West Ham have also made an improved bid of £11.1m (13.5m) for Nice striker
Analysis: Remy’s a far more realistic target than Neymar, and they might well have a free run at him, as Arsenal and Lyon, who are two of the clubs that have been linked with Remy, have both signed new strikers already. £11m+ might appear to be a lot for a club who didn’t stave off relegation by much last season, but investments have to be made to minimize the chances of that repeating itself.
Sunderland Land Egypt Star
Sunderland have snapped up a longtime target in Egyptian sensation Ahmed Al-Muhammadi, who arrives from Egyptian side ENPPI on a season-long loan deal that includes an option for a £2m permanent move. The 22-year-old right-sided player has the ability to slot as a defender, a midfielder, or a winger. (FiliGoal)
English Interest For Beasley
American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley is reportedly receiving interest from Blackpool, West Brom, and Nottingham Forest. The 28-year-old is available for free after the end of his contract with Rangers. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: Beasley is no stranger to English football, having had a loan stint at Manchester City in the 2006/07 season in which he scored four goals in 22 appearances (13 starts). He’s still only 28, and he’s got the quality to succeed at a high level, but it’s all a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy.
Juve Turned Back For Riera
Juventus have had a £5m bid for Spanish winger Albert Riera rejected by Liverpool. Riera made only 16 appearances (12 starts) last season, and after openly criticizing Rafa Benitez, didn’t make another appearance after March 11. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Perhaps Riera might be more inclined to stay after the managerial change, but he’s not on Liverpool’s list of must-haves. Riera didn’t quite do very much to prove that he was worth Liverpool’s £8m investment in him, but it appears they’re looking to recoup most, if not all, of it. It shouldn’t be a problem for Juventus to tack on another £1m or £2m.
More Italian Interest For Dempsey
After being the subject of interest from Napoli, Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey is now a target for Juventus. Dempsey eliminated Juve from last season’s Europa League, as his stunning winner capped off an incredible Fulham comeback in the second leg of their round of 16 tie. (Transfer Market Web)
Analysis: It may not seem like much in comparison to many others, but it’s a sign of the progression of American soccer that Dempsey and Landon Donovan have garnered the kind of interest they have post-World Cup. We’ll see if that interest leads to anything concrete, but given what Juve saw first hand from Dempsey, they certainly can’t go wrong by adding him to their ranks.
Wolfsburg Land Freidrich
Wolfsburg have signed defender Arne Friedrich from Hertha Berlin for a fee reported to be €2m. The 31-year-old, who has started each of Germany’s four World Cup matches thus far and has 76 caps for his country, has penned a three-year deal with Wolfsburg after being at Hertha since 2002. (ESPN Soccernet)
Analysis: Wolfsburg had one of the leakiest defenses in the Bundesliga last season, surrendering 58 goals in 34 matches (including 39 in 17 home matches), and the signing of the experienced, reliable Friedrich will greatly improve their back line and help their hopes of bettering last season’s disappointing ninth-place finish.
Hoffer To Kaiserslautern
Napoli striker Erwin Hoffer is set to spend next season on loan at newly-promoted Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. The 23-year-old, who has two goals in 16 caps for Austria, made only eight substitute appearances in his first season with Napoli after his summer move from Austria Vienna. (Transfer Market Web)
Analysis: Kaiserslautern lost top scorer Erik Jendrisek to Schalke 04, but they’ve gone a long way in filling that void and perhaps actually improving their front line by signing Hoffer, who scored 27 goals for Rapid Vienna in the 2008/09 season, and Bulgarian striker Ilyan Mitsanski, who was the second leading scorer in the Polish top flight last season.