City Close On Double Swoop
BBC Sport says that Manchester City hope to complete deals for Aston Villa’s James Milner and Inter Milan’s Mario Balotelli by Thursday.
Analysis: It would have been ideal to have both signed up by the end of this weekend so that they could already be well acclimated and integrated into their new team ahead of next weekend’s season opener, but if they’re both signed up by Thursday, we should see them both on the pitch come on Sunday at Tottenham.
Arsenal After Reina?
The Sun says that Arsenal have made a move for Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina and that Arsene Wenger is prepared to spend up to £25m for the Spaniard.
Analysis: Throw this one into the rubbish pile. Arsenal do need to address the keeper situation, but it won’t be by spending 20-odd million on Reina, who Liverpool wouldn’t sell, even if they could benefit from the funds.
Liverpool Return For Crouch?
According to the Daily Mail, Roy Hodgson is ready to make a £10m offer to bring Tottenham striker Peter Crouch back to Liverpool. Crouch spent three seasons from 2005-08, scoring 41 goals in 134 appearances before a 9m move to Portsmouth in July 2008.
Analysis: Roman Pavlyuchenko says yes, yes, yes (with exclamation points), but I say no. I don’t see Crouch leaving Tottenham to return to basically the same situation as he was in at Liverpool, and from a starts viewpoint, as he was at Tottenham last season. Anything could happen, but I don’t see this one coming to anything, even if Spurs do snap up a new striker.
‘Arry After Aston’s Ashley Again?
The News of the World is talking up a Tottenham move for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young, saying that the two clubs will agree a fee in the £20m range and that the deal’s chances will be bolstered if Spurs can offer the former Watford star a raise on his current salary of £65k a week.
Analysis: Another one to put on the rubbish pile. As appealing as the thought of having £40-50m to spend from the sales of Milner and Young sounds, I don’t see Martin O’Neill parting with both of them. Young’s been the subject of transfer speculation for much of his time at Villa, which is more a testament to his ability rather than his availability.
Arteta Commits To Toffees
According to the Daily Star, Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta is set to sign a new five-year deal that will pay him £75k per week. The Spaniard has been linked with Manchester City, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Sevilla this summer, but the new deal will ward off any speculation about his immediate future.
Analysis: Everton haven’t splashed big cash for a new signing this summer, but splashing the cash to lock down Arteta is just as important as spending that same money on new additions. If he, Tim Cahill, and Yakubu can all stay fit for the whole season, Everton will be in the thick of the race for a top-six finish from start to finish.
Magpies Locked In Marseille Loan Talks
The Guardian says that Newcastle are struggling to meet an agreement with Marseille over the fee for a loan deal for winger Hatem Ben Arfa. Marseille want £1m, while Newcastle only want to pay half of that for the 23-year-old.
Analysis: If Ben Arfa plays to his potential, spending £1m for a loan deal would be considered very good business for Newcastle. That’s a big if though.
Martinez Mulls Montenegrin Move
The News of the World says that Wigan are considering a move for Montenegrin striker Radomir Djalovic, who plays for Croatian side NK Rijeka on loan from Rapid Bucharest.
Analysis: Hard to dig up good info on the fella, but he does have a solid scoring record in two spells for Rijeka, scoring 18 in the 2007/08 season (second in the Croatian top flight) and 10 in 20-odd appearances on loan last season.
Baggies Go Back For N’Gog?
The Sun says that West Bromich Albion manager Roberto di Matteo is hoping that Fernando Torres’ decision to stay at Liverpool will open up the opportunity for him to loan French striker David N’Gog.
Analysis: Regular starts could await at West Brom, but N‘Gog has a real role to play at Liverpool, especially in Europe. With Hodgson looking to conserve the likes of Torres for the Premier League, European opportunities should be there for N’Gog, who scored three of Liverpool’s four goals in their qualifying round tie against Rabotnicki.
Mourinho Rules Out Cole Swoop
Jose Mourinho says that he was interested in bringing Ashley Cole to Real Madrid, but he backed off when Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti flatly said that Cole was not for sale at any price. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: It’s a situation that would’ve fit, what with the previous relationship between Cole and Mourinho, but it should be easy to understand why Ancelotti would be just a tad reluctant to sell.