As opposed to ending the roundup with the signings as I usually do, I’ll start today’s with the signing news.
Derby have been one of the busiest clubs since the transfer window opened, and are set to wrap up a few more deals in the next couple of days.
Former Newcastle and Portsmouth winger Laurent Robert was brought in for a trial last week, and has impressed enough for the 32-year old to be offered a contract until the end of the season.
Robert will link up with Argentine striker Emmanuel Villa, whose 2 million GBP move was finalized on Tuesday, Tottenham’s Hossam Ghaly, and Blackburn’s Robbie Savage, the latest name to be added to the queue of players joining Paul Jewell’s squad. Derby have already agreed a fee for the 33-year old Welshman, who hasn’t been a regular in Blackburn’s starting lineup this season after dealing with injury issues.
We start the news roundup with Spurs’ odd man out Jermain Defoe, who has been told by Juande Ramos that he is free to leave Tottenham if he wants. Ramos’ timing is a little odd, considering that Defoe has had a good run of form recently, netting five times in his last seven games, but only two of those appearances were starts, and only six of Defoe’s nearly 30 appearances this season have come with him in the starting XI. In Spurs’ 2-0 win over Manchester City in the Carling Cup quarterfinals a few weeks ago, Defoe scored the opening goal in the fifth minute but was subbed in the 23rd, which he was none too pleased about.
But, despite the fact that Mr. Super Sub doesn’t really look to have much of a chance to be a regular starter unless Ramos decides to go with three strikers up front (or if Robbie Keane or Dimitar Berbatov get injured), the 25-year old wants to stay and fight for a place. Admirable, yes, but given what he can do when he’s on the pitch for even a little while, if he has a chance to get regular first-team football, and more than just 20-odd minute appearances, a move might be good for him, especially with a clean slate in regards to the national team.
However, with his contract running out in 2009, he’s aware that his future may lie elsewhere. “I would love to sign a new contract,” said Defoe in the Telegraph.. “But no one can expect me to sign a new deal if I can’t get a game.”
Aston Villa are reportedly interested, so Defoe is not devoid of options, and good ones at that, with Villa challenging for a place in Europe. The signing of a goal glutton like Defoe could be what the Villains need to push themselves past some of the other contenders.
As for Defoe’s current club, they’ve been linked with Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson, but their hopes for the player might have been dented by one of their own former players, Edgar Davids. In an interview with Sportweek, Emanuelson said that Davids said Spurs were a great club, but he shouldn’t join them because they’re not big enough.
“Edgar told me it was a great club, but that I should not join Spurs,” he told Sportweek magazine.
“He said to me ‘you are an Ajax player, you are young and talented, so you only need to go to a top club in England, Spain or Italy’.
“I have thought about what he said and I think he is right.”
On to one of Davids’ former clubs, who appear to fit the criteria of being ‘big enough,’ Juventus are now looking like the favorites to sign Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko, as the player claims that the Bianconeri are in advanced talks with Liverpool over a deal, and that things should be all wrapped up soon. So, Juve will get the midfielder they’ve been craving lately, Liverpool will reportedly get around 15 million euros, and Sissoko will finally get the move that he’s been craving for months, so all parties come out a winner.
Inter have reportedly approached Serie A rivals Juventus about a loan move for underachieving midfielder Sergio Almiron. The 27-year old Argentine only moved from Empoli to Juve in the summer, but hasn’t lived up to expectations. A deal was already agreed with Olympiakos, but with Almiron not too excited about moving to Greece, Inter could swoop in and get him.
Inter are also reportedly interested in Udinese’s Christian Odobo, who is rated at 9.3 million euros, as they look to strengthen a midfield that has been ravaged by injuries.
The latest addition to Manchester City’s striker want-list is Marseille’s Djibril Cisse, he of the grandfatherly beard and formerly of Liverpool. However, Marseille aren’t looking to sell, so Sven has to bark up another tree.
Fortunately, it’s a crowded forest, and it also includes Heerenveen’s Afonso Alves, who I’m sure even scores goals in his sleep. Alves was the Eredivisie’s top scorer last term with 34 goals, and earlier this season, scored an astounding seven goals in one match, both a testament to his ability and to how bad his opponents were (Heracles are 15th out of 18 teams in the Eredivisie). The 26-year old Brazilian – the third Brazilian to lead the Dutch top flight in scoring, with some average Joes named Ronaldo and Romario before him – said on his personal website that he hopes to secure a transfer to either City or Fenerbahce in the coming days, but whoever gets him will have to pony up a few pennies, as he’s rated at 20 million euros by his club. .
Everton striker James McFadden has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park for quite a while, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere. Celtic had their loan bid turned down recently, and now, Birmingham have been rebuffed in their bid to sign the 24-year old. McFadden has proven to be pretty valuable when he’s been in the lineup for the Toffees, and with Yakubu off to the African Cup of Nations, should be a key part of David Moyes’ side for the time being.
This just off the wire (though it’ll be old news by the time this goes up) – Tottenham have officially pulled out of a move for Rangers’ Alan Hutton. In yesterday’s roundup, I said that Rangers were trying to push Hutton towards Spurs, and now, Sky Sports reports that any potential deal is off, with a Tottenham spokesperson quoted as saying “We have made it clear that we have no further interest in Alan Hutton.”
And, before I go, time for a few more tidbits: Sunderland have made an enquiry for Birmingham’s Olivier Kapo, who has seen his opportunities decrease since Alex McLeish’s arrival…Newcastle are interested in Arsenal’s Lassana Diarra…Fulham are interested in former Newcastle defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, currently spending a lot of time riding the pine at Juventus…Tottenham and West Ham are both being linked with a potential move for out-of-favor Lyon striker Fred, and could have the upper hand on PSG, as they could finance a permanent move and PSG is only looking for a loan deal for the 24-year old Brazilian, whose future looks pretty dim at Lyon after he returned late from his winter break, which didn’t sit too well with his employers.
Also see: Premier League January 2008 Transfers.