Transfer Rumors (24 May 08): Hleb on his way out of Arsenal, Robinho to Chelsea, Pletikosa to Manchester United, and more

As is the case with the weekend roundups, since it’s the weekend, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Still, there are some good tidbits, so take your time.

According to Alexander Hleb’s agent, the want-away midfielder is all set to leave Arsenal for another club, and that everything should be sorted out in the next few days.

Rumor Rating: 5 – I don’t take a lot of stock into what agents say, but are Arsenal fans ready to say goodbye and good riddance to Hleb already?

Arsenal will be bringing in Ghanian starlet Torric Jibril for a trial in June, and if he impresses, could sign the 16-year old midfielder for 1.5 million pounds.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Jibril has already impressed with Ghanian side Hearts of Oak, and is being touted as one of Africa’s next great young stars.

The Sun says that Newcastle have been trying to find suitors for Obafemi Martins, as they want to cut down on high wages.

Rumor Rating: 4 – Could this also spell the end at Newcastle for Michael Owen, unless either of them decides to take a pay cut? Martins makes 90,000 pounds per week, while Owen makes 110,000 pounds per week.

Chelsea could be making a 28 million pound swoop for Real Madrid’s Robinho, according to The Guardian.

Rumor Rating: 3 – Would this be paying too much for him, or is it a fair price?

According to, Manchester United could be bringing in Croatia’s #1 keeper, Stipe Pletikosa, as their reports say United are deep in talks with Spartak Moscow over a move.

Rumor Rating: 4 – Pletikosa has 67 caps for Croatia, and has a great deal of experience for both club and country. With Edwin Van der Sar’s successor still undecided, bringing in a seasoned vet like Pletikosa could stir up the competition.

Lazio are being linked with a move for Valencia’s Ever Banega, who is already set for the exit door after only a few months in Spain.

Rumor Rating: 3 – Given that Valencia would be demanding a pretty penny for him, a loan move might be the most realistic option for Lazio, who don’t exactly have a ton of money to just throw around on players, or don’t need to do that, at least.

CSKA Moscow’s Brazilian forward Jo is reportedly in England to complete a move to a Premier League club, with the likely destination being Manchester City, though Everton are also in the mix for the 18 million pound-rated man.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Jo’s found the net regularly in his two years in Russia, and at 21, he’s still just getting started.

Mark Schwarzer has completed a free transfer move to Fulham, as the veteran Boro keeper rejected chances to be a backup at Juventus or Bayern Munich to stay in England and have a chance to be Fulham’s #1.

Rumor Rating: 5 – He feels like he still has plenty to offer, so why waste it on the bench?

Almeria striker Alvaro Negredo has been the object of a couple of bids from English clubs. The 22-year old Negredo was a big reason for Almeria’s 8th-place finish in La Liga, finishing with 13 goals in his first season with the club.

Rumor Rating: 4 – Real Madrid (his former owners) have a 4 million euro buy-back clause, so they could buy him back only to sell him just that quickly.

Liverpool are in the lead to sign Real Zaragoza attacker Sergio Garcia, who was recently named in Spain’s Euro 2008 squad. Tottenham are also interested in the 24-year old, whose release clause is around 12 million pounds.

Rumor Rating: 4 – I YouTubed for some highlights, and I was impressed by what I saw (check out one video here). His pace and agility are the first things that caught my eye, but he’s also got a pretty good shot (check out that chip!). Makes me wonder which Sergio Garcia has the better chip…

Fiorentina could be on the verge of a double swoop, signing AC Milan’s Alberto Gilardino (14 million euros) and Palermo defender Andrea Barzagli, with only a few i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed on both deals.

Rumor Rating: 5 – It could very well be a triple swoop, as La Viola are also interested in Gilardino’s teammate, Massimo Oddo, who is on the market after a disappointing season.

Well, it’s that time again – chime in, chip in, and see you again on Monday!

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