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Transfer Rumors (31 Dec 08): Toure out, Diakhate in at Arsenal, Santa Cruz and Bridge to City, Pennant to replace Real-bound Valencia at Wigan



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As we say goodbye to 2008 and ring in 2009, we’ve got the latest for you in transfer news and rumors. The opening of the winter transfer window could bring a flurry of activity over the next few days, so many people could have something to celebrate besides the new year.

22:38 – Here’s a bit of managerial transfer gossip from the Daily Mirror. Apparently Arsene Wenger has a 25m offer on the table from Real Madrid to take over at the end of the season.

Analysis: Wenger has had a pretty cushy situation at Arsenal in his time there, but with the trophy cabinet being empty over the last few seasons, he could feel like it’s time for him to make a change for the benefit of the club and for himself, even if he does have a few seasons remaining on his contract.

22:27 – According to the Daily Mail, Nicky Shorey could be looking to leave Aston Villa after only half of a season after quickly falling out of favor with Martin O’Neill.

Analysis: After being a regular in O’Neill’s starting lineup through much of the first half of the season, Shorey’s made only one appearance in Villa’s last seven league matches, and if he harbors any hopes of making a dent in the England national team anytime soon, he’s going to either have to get it going or get going. If he does leave, there’s a chance that Tottenham could pursue him as cover at left back.

22:20 – Tottenham were one of the biggest spenders of the summer, and that could be the case again in January. However, they might have to spend a little more than want to if they’re to get the likes of Stewart Downing and Jermain Defoe.

Analysis: Is it time to put the Downing speculation to bed yet? You’d think that even Gareth Southgate has his price, but maybe it’s far, far above what anyone would pay for Downing right now. As for Defoe, £15m may be a reasonable fee, but £20m is asking a little too much. There could be a fight with Liverpool for Johnson…which is all the better in the end for Portsmouth’s coffers. It could end up being an either/or deal with Defoe and Crouch, because I certainly don’t see both being allowed to leave for Tottenham or anywhere else at the same time.

20:15 – Liverpool could soon make a £9m offer for Portsmouth defender Glen Johnson, and their hopes could be helped by Portsmouth’s willingness to sell at the right price. Portsmouth are trying to avoid selling off too many of their valuable assets, but the right offer, as was the case with Lassana Diarra, can get them to sell.

Analysis: I don’t think £9m is quite the exceptional offer that Pompey might be looking for, but if it includes one of Liverpool’s surplus defenders, then it could be enough.

19:34 – Here’s a blast from the past. According to the Daily Mail, Tottenham could make a loan move for former Liverpool winger Luis Garcia, who is now sitting on the bench at Atletico Madrid and being shopped around to Spurs, Blackburn, Portsmouth, and Middlesbrough.

Analysis: Garcia’s Premier League experience could make him an attractive option if Spurs can’t get Stewart Downing. Oh, and it’s still a goal.

19:09 – Could Michael Owen be moving to Inter Milan? Jose Mourinho can’t get Didier Drogba right now, so Owen may be one of his backup options.

Analysis: The deal could be an enticing one for Newcastle, considering that they’d get a solid scorer in David Suazo. However, there doesn’t stand to be a lot of benefit (outside of financial) for Owen past this season, if he’s looking to be a regular starter somewhere.

18:20 – In quite a few cases, one transfer can affect several more, and there are a couple of cases of that today. Arsenal could be in for Manchester City target Pape Diakhate, but because William Gallas and Kolo Toure being unable to get along, Toure could be on his way to Manchester City, freeing up Diakhate for the Gunners.

Over in the northwest, Wigan may try to squeeze an extra few million out of Real Madrid for Antonio Valencia, and if those demands are too high, then Real could go back in for Jermaine Pennant. But if Real and Wigan can thrash out a deal, then Pennant could replace Valencia at Wigan. Crazy, right?

Analysis: Drama can’t stay too far from Arsenal’s backline, eh? The only complication could be the fact that Diakhate has played in the Champions League already, and that could affect Arsenal’s plans with he and other players (like Andrei Arshavin or Mikel Arteta).

Pennant would get a lot more regular first-team football at Wigan than at Real, so that move could suit him. And he wouldn’t force Wigan to spend too much of that cash they’ll receive from the Valencia sale, which makes him an even better option.

18:00 – So, Roque Santa Cruz could be set to move to Manchester City in an £18m move. And Wayne Bridge may follow him in an £8m move, if Chelsea are nice and allow him the chance to get regular starts elsewhere.

Analysis: You do have to question the fee, considering Santa Cruz’s slow start to the season, but he is the best available option there is for City, and amazingly, he’ll cost less than Jermain Defoe.

In regards to Bridge, Chelsea have been reluctant to sell him all this time, even though he hasn’t been a regular starter for the majority of his time at Stamford Bridge. So, I’m not so sure they’d let him go now, because he’s still one of the top defenders in England.