It’s been an interesting summer so far for Chelsea. Having won the Premier League at a canter last season they haven’t done an awful lot to improve the first team yet this transfer window. They might be forgiven for thinking they don’t need to, of course, but Premier League football clubs are like sharks – if they stand still they die. Yes they’ve already bought Asmir Begovic from Stoke but he’s only coming in to replace Petr Cech and many would suggest that’s a downgrade, if anything. Falcao is a similar acquisition, coming as he does to replace the departing Didier Drogba as an older player probably past his best who will be used sparingly when Diego Costa is injured.
There’s no question they will be bringing people in to add to the first team, though, and it’slikely to just be a matter of when rather than if. Just this morning Sky Sports reported that that Chelsea had lodged a £20 million bid to land John Stones from Everton. The 21 year old is thought of as being one of the brightest young defensive talents in the league, and with John Terry not having too many seasons left in him Chelsea can’t depend on him for too much longer.
ESPN, amongst others, are convinced that Chelsea will sign Pedro from Barcelona before next week is out. The 27 year old has spent his entire footballing life at Barcelona and has scored 98 goals in 318 matches for the Catalans. The Spaniard signed a new contract in June that should keep him at the Spanish champions until 2019, but his buyout clause has been cut from £107 million to just £22 million. Many assumed he’d be heading to Liverpool to replace Raheem Sterling, but the likelihood is that he’ll only leave the Champion’s League winners for a club that can compete with them in the competition next season.
The big news for Man City this week is unquestionably the confirmation of the signing of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool. The saga seemed destined to drag on for the entire summer, with Liverpool holding out for £50 million and Sterling seemingly willing to go on strike if it meant he could force a move. There seemed to be something of a compromise between the two clubs when City offered £44 million plus £5 million in add ons, taking the fee to £49 million and making Sterling the most expensive Englishman ever. Is he worth that much money, or £200,000 a week? Probably not yet, but he does have boundless potential and it’s now down to Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini to bring out the best in him.
A quicker but no less dramatic saga involving Manchester City is that of Fabian Delph. The Aston Villa captain was on his way to The Etihad last week, until the outpouring of anger from Villians caused him to change his mind. Instead he pledged his loyalty to his club and declared that he was looking forward to next season and Villa’s attempts to make it into Europe. Fast forward just 6 days and it’s all change, with Delph using the distraction of Christian Benteke’s impending move to Liverpool to sneak off and have a medical with the Manchester club ahead of a move. Naughty boy.
One day we’ll write a transfer review piece when we don’t mention Man City’s links to Kevin de Bruyne, but this is not that day. The Strait Times reckon that, with Sterling’s deal now sorted, this is the week that City step up their chase of the Wolfsburg midfielder. City have made the 24 year old Belgian their top target as, according to this paper, they are likely to miss out on Paul Pogba. Fingers crossed next week we’ll say that this deal is done and dusted, but we’re not crossing them too tightly.
The Manchester Evening News, meanwhile, disagrees with their Singaporean counterparts as far as Paul Pogba is concerned. The MEN are suggesting that the Blues’ cooling off in the chase of the Juventus midfielder was just a negotiating tactic and that actually City are very much keen to bring the French midfielder to The Etihad. This one seems destined to last all summer.
The Daily Telegraph are reporting that Arsenal’s chase for Karim Benzema is not yet over, despite what might have been said in previous weeks. Arsene Wenger confirmed this week that Arsenal have been a selling club in the past, but they don’t need to be anymore now that the stadium has been paid off. That means that a £40 million offer for the French forward is not to be ruled out. The Arsenal manager said that they are interested in him, but that a move is not on the immediate horizon.
They may be about to splash the cash according to The Mirror, however. The London based paper are reporting that a £30 million bid for Borussia Dortmund’s striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being prepared by the Gunners. The pacy front man scored 26 goals in the Bundesliga last season and Arsenal would welcome such a goal scorer at The Emirates.
In this day and age of Twitter, transfer rumours are sparked by something as simple as a tweet being favourited. That is certainly the case with Alexandre Lacazette, who The Express reckon is definitely on his way to Arsenal after the Lyon striker favourited a tweet linking him with a move to The Emirates. He removed his favourite of the tweet not long after, but it doesn’t matter; according to The Express a £27 million move to London is definitely on.
We spoke to Ste Armstrong earlier in the week about Manchester United’s transfer dealings so far. He seemed generally quite pleased that it looked as though the Red Devils were going to sort out their midfield by bringing in Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. He’s likely delighted, then, that they’ve added to that with the acquisition of Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich. That means that Man United’s midfield next season will likely consist of Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Opposition clubs beware.
The Manchester club aren’t done in the transfer window just yet, with a new striker and a central defender high on their list of priorities – to say nothing of a new goalkeeper if Real Madrid get their wish of stealing David De Gea from Louis Van Gaal’s grasp, especially given the Dutchman’s decision to release Victor Valdes from his contract with the club. So The Daily Star’s report that United are heading back to Madrid to make one final offer for Sergio Ramos should come as no surprise. The 29 year old defender is the dream acquisition for the Reds’ defence, and apparently they have offered Real Madrid £35 million for the Spaniard alongside the promise that the Spanish club can then have De Gea for a reduced price of £25 million.
Finally for United, The Guardian think that Louis Van Gaal will let Angel Di Maria leave Old Trafford after a disappointing season – as long as it means the arrival of Edison Cavani. PSG are rumoured to be keen on Di Maria, with the 27 year old desperate to get away from the Premier League after a torrid time last season. So with United looking for a striker, a swap deal for PSG’s want away Uruguayan Cavani seems to make some sort of sense.
Tottenham Hotspur haven’t got a lot going on this week, if we’re being honest. There’s a rumour in The Metro that the Londoners are keen to bring Victor Moses in from Chelsea, though. The winger disappointed during his time at Anfield, with some suggesting he’d spent more time at the chip shop than on the training field. But the 24 year old impressed during his time on loan at Stoke last season, causing Mauricio Pochettino to launch an £8 million bid for the winger. Given Spurs seem likely to release both Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend this summer they will need someone to take over in the wide areas, and if Moses is anything then he’s certainly wide.
Speaking of Aaron Lennon, The Daily Mail think he could be used as a makeweight as Spurs attempt to lure Everton into a deal for James McCarthy. Roberto Martinez is keen to keep hold of the 24 year midfielder amid interest from Spurs and Man City, but the lure of brining back Lennon – who made a real difference to the Toffees last season, could prove too much to resist.
The Reds have finally completed a deal to get Raheem Sterling and his poisonous agent away from Anfield, with reports breaking on Thursday that they are now going to use some of the £49 million they received from City for the winger to activate Christian Benteke’s Aston Villa release clause. Rumours emerged on Wednesday that Manchester United were considering bidding for the Belgian striker and that might have been what prompted the Reds into action. Whatever the reason, sources in Merseyside think the deal is likely to be completed within the next few days.
That is likely to be the last of the Merseysider’s transfer business, according to some journalists, with Benteke being added to James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool ranks. But some, such as The Daily Mirror, reckon that the Reds could still be prepared to do battle with Chelsea over the signing of Pedro from Barcelona. The forward’s buyout fee has been reduced from £107 million to £22 million, and he would be an ideal replacement for Raheem Sterling given that he’s the finished product compared to Sterling’s raw potential. Whether he moves to Stamford Bridge or Anfield, expect Pedro to be plying his trade in the Premier League next season.
The Saints have been quietly going about their business this summer, replacing players that have moved on – such as Clyne and Schneiderlin – with decent acquisitions who are likely to keep them there or there abouts next season. This week they’ve added Jordy Clasie to their ranks for around £8 million. The 24 year old worked with Ronald Koeman during the manager’s time at Feyenoord and will doubtless slip right in to Southampton’s new look team. He joins Juanmi, Cuco Martina, Cedric Soares and Maarten Stekelenburg by moving to St. Marys this summer.
Another club that have avoided the limelight and just got things done so far in this window is Swansea. The Welsh club haven’t done any spectacular business, but they’ve done enough to mean they’ll likely be more than safe next season. The main bit of interesting news for the Swans is the fact that Gary Monk has confirmed that Michu will not play for the club again. The Spaniard was the deal of the season in 2012, arriving for £2 million and scoring 22 goals in his debut season in the Premier League. He went to Napoli last season but failed to score in just 5 appearances as injuries once more blighted his campaign. Monk confirmed that, despite having a year left on his contract, Michu won’t return to Wales as Swansea have “moved on as a squad”.
As far as incomings are concerned, Reading’s forward Hal Robson-Kanu has confirmed that he’s ready to leave the Royals in order to return to the Premier League, with Swansea being keen on his signature. The 26 year old Welsh international is the only player left from Reading’s last run in the top flight 2 years ago and it’s believed that a £4 million bid could secure his services and see him return to his homeland to ply his trade.
What a difference a week or so makes in the life of a Premier League club’s transfer ambitions. On the 8th of July we spoke to Rob Doolan, who seemed incredibly excited at the prospect of Xherdan Shaqiri joining the Potters. It wasn’t to be, though, with the Swiss international apparently looking away and humming whenever Stoke’s officials tried to talk to him.
They’re hardly having a rubbish summer, though, and it’s remarkable to consider the turnaround in both fortunes and playing style that Mark Hughes has been able to bring about since taking over from Tony Pulis. No more long ball play, no more Huthing it up the pitch, just interesting, attacking football with the ball on the deck most of the time. That seems likely to continue, with confirmation of the Midlands club signing Moha El Ouriachi from Barcelona. The teenage winger is an exciting prospect and will only add good things to Stoke’s line up moving forward.
If he is one for the future then The Stoke Sentinel are reporting on the possibility of one for the now, with Mark Hughes keen to bring Victor Moses back to the Potters after his strong season last year. The winger is destined to leave Chelsea this summer with a fee of around £8 million being bandied about. A lot of it depends on whether or not the Blues can sign Pedro from Barcelona, making Moses surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge and meaning that he would be free to return to The Britannia Stadium.
There aren’t many publications that can get away with using the term “gaffer” in a headline, but The Daily Star is definitely one of them. The paper, which is a favourite read of white van drivers and other people who only really know how to look at the pretty pictures when they pick up a tabloid, is reporting that Loic Remy is destined to be re-united with his old Newcastle boss Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. The 28 year old notched up 14 goals in 26 games when he played under Pardew in a black and white top in the North East, and he could now join the Eagles alongside his old Newcastle alumni Yohan Cabaye.
Meanwhile TalkSport think that Palace are going to go head to head with Swansea City over the signature of Dame N’Doye after the Hull striker failed to agree personal terms with Besiktas. The 30 year old has apparently turned down a big money move to Istanbul in favour of a stay in the Premier League, meaning the Eagles could bring the powerful forward to Selhurst Park in time for the start of the season.
This week seems to be more about Everton holding on to their current players rather than bringing in any new ones, with the Toffees having to fend off interest from Chelsea and Tottenham for John Stones and James McCarthy respectively. As well as keeping hold of his current players, Everton manager Roberto Martinez is also having to deny interest in other players, confirming this week that he is not trying to sign Jonny Evans from Manchester United.
One player who does still interest the Blues is Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina. The Gunners’ stopper is definitely not going to be first choice after the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea, meaning he could look elsewhere to get some game time. Tim Howard will remain at Everton next season but has become more and more…well…rubbish with each passing season, so the arrival of Ospina would delight Everton fans who have grown weary of the American keeping his place between the sticks.
Meanwhile goal.com are reporting that the reason Everton aren’t interested in Jonny Evans is that they have another Manchester United associated defender in their sights – Nemanja Vidic. The 33 year old centre back didn’t really impress for Inter Milan last season, but the Blues feel they could do with a bit of experience at the back – especially if they lose John Stones to Chelsea this summer.
Whilst most Premier League clubs are enjoying pre-season build ups that involve a friendly kick about with some far flung nation, swapping football boots for flip flops whenever they get their chance, West Ham’s season has already begun. They won 1-0 away in Malta in the second round of the Europa League qualifiers, meaning they are likely to feature in a European competition for at least part of next season.
One player who could add a bit of European experience to the West Londoners is Fabio Borini, with The Brentwood Gazette claiming that the Liverpool striker could be blowing bubbles before the summer is over. The Reds are desperate to offload the 24 year old, having signing Danny Ings and brought Divock Origi back from his loan in France as well as being ready to sign Christian Benteke from Aston Villa. West Ham and Slaven Bilic could be the happy benefactors of the Italian’s dissatisfaction with life at Anfield.
Having sold Stewart Downing to Middlesbrough, West Ham were hoping to bring Manuel Lanzini into Upton Park from Al Jazira Club in the UAE. The 22 year old playmaker’s loan deal has already been sorted but his paperwork has yet to be approved. It was expected that everything would be signed off by Thursday of this week, but at the time of writing things are no nearer to being sorted out.
Tony Pulis loves 3 things: defenders, tall players and his baseball cap. Given that his scalp was surgically replaced with his baseball cap in 2003 and that he’s already got 30,000 defenders on the books at West Brom, his next signing must, by default, be a tall player. So there should be no surprise that West Brom have been linked with a move for Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert. The really good news for West Brom is that they won’t have to give Lambert any money for his travel as, according to Twitter, there are loads of Liverpool fans willing to drive him to The Hawthorns themselves. Dave_79 from Kirkby, get to the petrol station my friend, your number’s up.
The Birmingham Mail think that West Brom could be about to make a move for Gareth McLeary. The 28 year old has been at Reading for the last 3 seasons, having moved to the commuter town from Forrest. The Mail haven’t given any indication of a price for the Jamaican international, meaning it could all be a load of nonsense made up by the fella who’s paid to get clicks based on West Brom’s transfer dealings – who are we to judge?
We spoke to @FIRST4LCFC about Leicester’s summer so far a week or so ago and their general feeling was that the Foxes need to do well in their recruitment of a new manager. Are they pleased, then, by the announcement that Claudio Ranieri will be Nigel Pearson’s replacement? Hmm. One thing that will delight them, though, is news that Esteban Cambiasso seems likely to sign a new deal. The lads felt that the Argentina international made the difference in the run in last season when Leicester became the form team in the known Universe and managed to escape relegation. So news from The Independent that the 34 year old agreed a deal in principle before the sacking of Pearson and is now happy to complete it with the confirmation of a new manager should be music to their ears.
Meanwhile The Mirror think that Claudio Ranieri’s first signing as Foxes boss is going to be ‘the new Claude Makelele’. Nice’s defensive midfielder Nampalys Mendy was a target for Newcastle last summer but could now be on his way to the King Power Stadium. The Foxes are getting bored in their pursuit of N’Golo Kante from Caen, with the midfielder sitting on the naughty step and pretending not to hear the calls of anyone from Leicester after the two clubs agreed a £6 million deal for the tough tackling midfielder.
We’re not one of Newcastle’s official media partners, so we could just make stuff up about the North East club and say Mike Ashley told us it was true when he sold us a tracksuit at Sports Direct, but we were brought up to be honest lads and to blame someone else if the opportunity ever presented itself. With that in mind we’ve turned to The Chronicle for all of our Newcastle stories this week, and the local paper think that Charlie Austin is Steve McClaren’s number one transfer target this summer. The QPR front man is available for around £15 million and bookies suspended betting on his next club yesterday amid a flurry of bets on him heading to St. James’s Park.
The Chronicle also think that the Magpies are set to miss out on their long term target Aleksandar Mitrovic. The 20 year old Anderlecht striker has seen his family flown out to St. James’s Park as the club try to persuade anyone who’ll listen that it is the best place for his development, but the youngster is holding out for a Champion’s League club, with Porto believed to be interested.
The big news for the Black Cats this week is confirmation of the signing of Younes Kaboul from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee. It’s a good job Sunderland fans don’t hold grudges, given that 7 years ago the defender’s agent said that his player “wouldn’t join Sunderland even if there was an earthquake”. Quite why an earthquake would make you want to move clubs was never fully explored, but whatever the logic of his statement the earth appears to have moved over the last few days. Kaboul has played 140 games for Spurs but has now joined Sunderland on a four year deal.
Having tied up the deal for Kaboul The Chronicle reckon that a move for a creative midfielder is next on Dick Advocaat’s list. They don’t offer any specific names, but do mention Jonny Evans – who we all know is really creative. Sunderland love an ex-Manchester United defender, though, so don’t be surprised if Evans joins Kaboul and Sebastian Coates as new signings for the North East side this summer.
Poor old Aston Villa. Having endured a lot of misery under Paul Lambert they all seemed to perk up a bit in the Midlands when Tim Sherwood came in, swaggering about the place and chatting away in his cheeky cockney accent. They survived relegation, beat Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final and their fans had some party hats on to celebrate Steven Gerrard’s birthday. They even survived a scare when Manchester City seemed to trigger Fabian Delph’s £8 million release clause. But the club captain wasn’t to be tempted by the millions of Abu Dhabi, promising his future to Villa and admitting that he couldn’t imagine leaving the Midlands. Phew!
Then 6 days pass and it’s all change. Liverpool trigger Christian Benteke’s release clause and Fabian Delph hopes no one is watching as he sneaks off to The Etihad in order to have a medical with Manchester City. The captain promised loyalty to Villa and was so close to keeping it, up until the point that City offered him another £20,000 a week and he thought, “sod it, the Midlands rains less than Manchester and I’ve just bought a new brolly”.
Meanwhile The Birmingham Mail are reporting that there’s nothing fun at all going on at the Villa. The don’t want Charlie Austin, Emmanuel Adebayour is too expensive and someone has used the last tea bag without replacing it. This is a transfer rumour blog not a betting one, so we shouldn’t really say this, but if you’ve got a bit of spare cash then lump it on Villa to get relegated. Heaven knows they’re miserable now.
This week we had a chat with the lads at Tales From The South End about Bournemouth’s transfer business so far. They seemed quietly confident about he work that Eddie Howe and his team have done up until now in the window, mixing promise and experience with the signings of Tyrone Mings and Sylvain Distin respectively.
It’s all gone a bit quiet for them this week, though, but the lads won’t be too worried. Their main concerns are that the club bring in a new central defender, a midfield enforcer and a striker with Premier League experience – and there’s still plenty of time for them to do just that before the first ball is kicked in August.
The Premier League new boys have signed a new player this week with the arrival of Allan Nyom from Udinese on a four year deal. The Cameroon international is a strange one, having been on the books of Udinese for 6 years but never having actually played for them. Instead he’s spent over half a decade on loan at Spanish side Grenada. The 27 year old right back becomes Watford’s seventh signing of the summer and, somewhat unbelievably, the thirteenth member of the Watford squad who has played for Udinese, Granada or both at some point in the career.
One of those other seven singings is Valon Behrami who signed from Hamburg last Saturday. The Swiss international joined the Hornets having previously played in the Premier League for West Ham. The 30 year old Kosovo born midfielder for around £3 million.
Last week we said there wasn’t really much going on for the Canaries in the window thus far, but oh what a difference a week makes. The Daily Mirror ran an article this week all about how Norwich’s club shop now stocks size XXXXXXL shirts. So that’s sure to mix things up a bit in the local pie shop.
Footballing wise, The Hull Daily Mail are reporting that Norwich are back in for Robbie Brady. Having previously walked away from an offer for the winger after Steve Bruce labelled their attempt to sign him “embarrassing”, they’ve returned with their tail between their legs and have doubled their offer to £6 million. That still may not be enough to persuade Steve Bruce to sell, but if they chuck in a size XXXXXXL replica shirt he’ll at least have something snug to wear next time he goes on holiday.