I’ll get today’s transfer roundup started by getting your obligatory Berbatov tidbit out of the way first. Juande Ramos has slapped a 31 million GBP price tag on his prized asset. So, if you want to get him, you’ll have to pay an arm and a leg to get him, or, if you’re Roman Abramovich, two fingers.
Now, on to the real stuff.
Manchester United have turned down Newcastle’s bid for defender Wes Brown. Brown’s current contract with Manchester United expires in June, and he has yet to sign a new deal. He doesn’t seem to figure prominently in Manchester United’s plans past this season, but given that you need as much depth as possible when you’re going for multiple trophies, and given Manchester United’s injury issues in their backline, it’s understandable that Sir Alex wants to hold on to the England international until at least the end of the season.
Rafa Benitez has confirmed Juventus’ interest in midfielder Javier Mascherano, but is trying to remain optimistic about Liverpool’s chances of holding on to him.
Borussia Dortmund have offered out-of-favor Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann a deal to return to his old club, and now it’s up to the player to decide if he wants to take a pay cut (33% to 45,000 euros – oh my god, he’s going to be dirt poor!) in order to get some valuable first-team football ahead of Euro 2008, or stay at Arsenal and fight for his place/wait for a better offer.
Lehmann will be starting in Arsenal’s FA Cup tie at Burnley on Sunday, so if he performs well, that could get his hopes up about having a shot to unseat Arsenal’s current first-choice keeper Manuel Almunia. And if he has a blunder or two, Dortmund might be the ones balking at the offer instead of Lehmann.
Bolton have reportedly made a 1 million GBP offer for Celtic defender Bobo Balde. The 32-year old Guinean defender hasn’t seen very much action this season, and considering that he’s earning nearly 30,000 pounds per week, Celtic might be ready to offload him on someone else when he’s not really getting a chance to earn his keep. Birmingham and Sunderland, the latter of which made a loan move (which he rejected) for Balde in the summer, are also reportedly interested, but if they want to get him, it’s time to get a move on.
Liverpool midfielder Danny Guthrie, currently on loan at Bolton, is on Fulham’s January want-list, as the Cottagers are supposedly lining up a 3 million GBP move for the promising 20-year old. However, Liverpool might not be willing to part with him, as he is one Rafa rates highly for the future.
According to Tuttosport, Arsenal could be lining up a move for Juventus forward Raffaele Palladino. The 23-year old is regarded as one of Italy’s most promising prospects, and has already made his national team debut, but has made only seven starts at Juventus, who were reportedly looking to use him to help swing a deal for Palermo forward Amauri, who, if you read the last transfer roundup, isn’t going anywhere yet.
Derby have been busy in the last few days, and they’re looking to make another addition to their squad, in Manchester City defender Danny Mills. Mills was on loan at Charlton, but has returned to City, so he’s ripe for the picking.
Just as Tottenham want to hold on to their players, other clubs want to hold on to the players Tottenham are trying to get from them. A day after Rangers’ Alan Hutton turned down a move to the Premiership, Arsenal have reportedly turned down a 4 million GBP move for Lassana Diarra.
The 22-year old defensive midfielder hasn’t seen much action for the Gunners, and has said he would fancy a move in order to get first-team football, but his club don’t appear to be so willing to let him leave.
Real Madrid are looking to offload three players, and are already in talks with clubs about two.
The first is Javier Saviola, who hasn’t made much of an impression since moving from Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer, and Marseille are looking to bring him in on loan for the rest of the season. Saviola had a loan spell at Monaco while he was with Barca, so this wouldn’t be his first stint in Ligue 1.
The second is Dutch starlet Royston Drenthe. Drenthe also arrived in the summer, in a 15 million euro move from Feyenoord, but hasn’t impressed either, so Real are in talks with Fiorentina about a deal for him. Roma were said to be interested in him as well, but Real might not want to risk getting burned by him in their upcoming Champions League round of 16 tie with the Giallorossi.
The third is former Liverpool hero Jerzy Dudek, who can’t keep playing second fiddle to Iker Casillas if he wants to be a part of Poland’s Euro 2008 plans.
Real are not as eager to part with defender Sergio Ramos, who is the object of AC Milan’s desires. If the Rossoneri want him, they’re going to have to pay his buy-out clause to get him, which stands at the princely sum of 180 million euros. I think Juande could learn a little something from the way Real does business, if he wants to hold on to Berba that bad.
Some striker news to report. Monaco hit-man Jan Koller isn’t headed for Fulham, even if he doesn’t get a move to Bundesliga side Nurnberg. There is an ongoing disagreement between Monaco and Nurnberg over the 34-year old’s valuation, but if the deal falls through, he’ll just have to settle for staying in France, as agent Pavel Paska said that it’s either Germany or bust.
Manchester City have been linked with a move for Blackburn’s Roque Santa Cruz, but Mark Hughes has said any such move isn’t going to happen, as the goal-happy Paraguayan is staying put at Ewood Park.
However, Robbie Savage might be on his way out – if someone meets Blackburn’s price. According to Football365.com, Sunderland, Wigan, Derby, and Fulham are interested, and one club has made a bid, but it wasn’t at the right price.
Wigan have made an enquiry about Hibs left back David Murphy. Murphy wants a move back to his native England, and Wigan and Birmingham are the two English clubs reportedly interested in him, with Celtic and Rangers also keen on the 23-year old.
Oh, before I go, there is one signing to report, as Celtic have completed their swoop for German international Andreas Hinkel. The 25-year old defender was formerly at Sevilla, a place he’d like to forget after struggling to cement a regular place in his 18 months at the club.