Have you heard about the link between Arsenal and Karim Benzema? They’ve been trying to keep it quiet, but something’s come out about it so we thought we’d best report it. The Telegraph are saying that the odds on the Gunners signing the Real Madrid forward have been slashed. At the time of writing BetVictor are offering 5/6 that he’s an Arsenal player before the window shuts. It seems that Marco Reus is likely to move to Madrid, paving the way for Benzema to complete a move rumoured to be worth around £48.2 million, with the player himself become Arsenal’s highest earning player on £160,000 per week.
Another player that’s been linked with a move to North London on more than one occasion is Asier Illarramendi. The player who, like Benzema, is on Real Madrid’s books is looking for a move in order to gain more game time after the arrival of Mateo Kovacic at the Santiago Bernabeu. Illarramendi has been linked with Liverpool for much of the summer, but The Mirror are now reporting that Arsenal could be about to come in with an offer for the midfielder.
Finally The Express reckon that the Gunners have been placed on ‘high alert’ after Julian Draxler’s move to Juventus has been called off. Schalke denied that they had received a second bid from the Italian club for their left winger, leaving the path open for the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United to move for the talented German international.
The Birmingham Mail are all over Aston Villa’s possible transfers this week, with the first report being that the Midlanders are considering making a move for Michu. The Swansea player, who made such an impact in his first season in the Premier League, is persona non grata at The Liberty Stadium. Tim Sherwood is ready to make a move for the want-away 29 year old, though he faces competition from Celtic and Real Betis.
The club’s local paper also thinks that Sherwood is yet to give up in his pursuit of Joleon Lescott. The defender has been chased by Villa all summer and the Baggies have attempted to see off their rival’s interest by trying to tie the 33 year old down to a new contract. He’s resisted their overtures, however, leading Sherwood to believe that he could still get the ex-Manchester City player to move to Villa Park.
Finally, The Birmingham Mail spotted Villa’s manager at an impromptu trip to Molineux this week where he witnessed Wolves losing 3-2 to Queen Park Rangers. Rumours suggest that Sherwood has been a long term admirer of Wolves striker Benik Afobe and he will have seen him net for the hosts during his visit. There was also the small matter of Charlie Austin, who scored for the Hoops in order to take his tally up to 2 goals in 3. With Villa’s move for Adebayor dead in the water and Villa keen to bring in a new forward as well a new defender, there could be a move for either player before the window slams shut.
Two bits of news have emerged for Cherries fans this week, with the first being that the club could be planning a swoop for Jermain Defoe just 14 years after the first signed him. So say The Daily Mirror, at any rate, with the newspaper claiming that the 32 year old is unsettled at The Stadium of Light and would welcome a return to his former club. The Sunderland Echo, meanwhile, have quoted Eddie Howe as ruling out a move for the striker, saying, “I like Jermain and have done since he did so well for this football club, but there’s no truth in that link”. Whether that’s a negotiating tactic remains to be seen, but Bournemouth’s two 1-0 losses thus far suggest that they could do with more cutting edge in the final third.
The other bit of news comes from The Stoke Sentinal, with the Potters’ local paper claiming that Bournemouth have shown an interest in signing Steve Sidwell from Stoke City. The 32 year old has a year left on his contract with Stoke but only made 5 starts last season and Mark Hughes wouldn’t be heart broken to see him leave The Britannia.
The biggest news for Chelsea this week comes in the signing of Pedro from Barcelona. The 28 year old forward was no longer part of the plans at The Nou Camp and reportedly turned down the chance to move to Manchester United in order to ply his trade at Stamford Bridge for the next 4 years. The deal, worth around £21 million, sees the Spaniard become Chelsea’s 4th major signing of the summer after Radamel Falcao, Asmir Begovic and Baba Rahman.
The Independent think that the defending champions are confident of making at least one more signing before the window closes, with Everton’s John Stones and Juventus’ Paul Pogba topping their shopping list. Pogba has been linked with a move away from the Italian giants all summer, though the departure of Arturo Vidal Bayern Munich means that his signature will undoubtedly cost a huge amount of money. As for Stones, Everton manager Roberto Martinez continues to deny that the defender is for sale, meaning that the London club will need to offer something in the region of £40 million to secure the player.
No major incomings seem to be in the offing for Palace this week, but Alan Pardew has suggesting that Yannick Bolasie would be ‘foolish’ not to consider a move to Spurs. In a strange turn of events it seems that the Eagles’ manager is encouraging his talented winger to leave the club, according to quotes in The Daily Mail. The exciting forward would cost Spurs around £20 million, but Pardew’s comments will lead them to believe that they have a good chance of signing him.
The other news for Eagles’ fans comes in the form of a possible comeback for Marouane Chamakh. The Daily Mirror have written an article describing how the Moroccan striker emerged unscathed from a run out with the club’s under-21 side on Monday night. He’s unlikely to make the squad for the Villa match at the weekend, but his return does nudge Glenn Murray closer to the exit.
There are three bits of news concerning Everton that have come out this week, presuming you’re as happy as we are to ignore the stories surrounding John Stones. The first is that Sky Sports think the Toffees are chasing Inter Milan’s captain Andrea Ranocchia. The centre back is one year in to a new four year contract with the Italian club, but it’s believed that they would listen to offers for his services. The likelihood is that Everton will only make a move for him if they do succumb to temptation as far as Chelsea’s pursuit of Stones is concerned.
Another defender the Blues are linked with is River Plate’s centre back Ramiro Funes Mori. The Liverpool Echo have reported that the club expects to sign the Argentine defender ‘in the next 24 hours’. On the face of it the 24 year old is coming in as cover for Jagielka and Stones, though most assume the reality is that he will replaced the younger of the two when he signs for Chelsea next week.
The other report that’s come out in The Mirror this week is that the Blues have opened negotiations with Dynamo Kiev over the transfer of Andriy Yarmolenko. The Ukranian star, who was linked to Liverpool a few years ago before the deal collapsed, has a €20 million release clause in his contract that Roberto Martinez is happy to trigger. The Dynamo captain has scored in three of his club’s opening five fixtures and also netted against the Blues in the Europa League last season.
From a rumour last week to a confirmation this week, the champions elect have strengthened their squad further over the last few days after the arrival of Gokhan Inler from Napoli. The Swiss midfielder has signed a three year contract at The King Power Stadium for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be around £5 million, and could be in the team to face Spurs at the weekend. The player himself said, “I had many teams chasing me but in the end I decided with my heart and I came to Leicester City”. No wonder, they’re the form team in Europe after all.
The Leicester Mercury have given Foxes’ fans reason to be excited during the last week or so of the transfer window too, quoting Claudio Ranieri as saying, “I am very happy but you never know. There are 10 days, something could happen, but I am very calm”. So six signings confirmed and another couple a possibility. Everyone wants to move to the team that will win the league.
Much like Arsenal, Liverpool continue to be linked with players regardless of the fact that there’s no room left in the squad for anyone new. The Liverpool Echo have spread a little bit of joy around Merseyside over the last day or so with the news that Mamadou Sakho has been offered a new contract by the club. Many Liverpool fans couldn’t quite get their heads around why Brendan Rodgers has preferred the always dodgy looking Dejan Lovren over the French international so far this season, with rumours abound that Sakho could be on his way out of the club. The offer of a new deal hopefully puts paid to that and allows people to relax – if the Frenchman accepts it.
Another cheering bit of news for Liverpool fans comes in the form of Mario Balotelli accepting his fate and reportedly agreeing to a season long loan to Lazio. Super Mario has been less than Super so far for the Reds and knows his time is up at Anfield, according to The Mirror. Despite Liverpool’s somewhat odd tactic of making it clear publicly that Balotelli is rubbish, it appears that the Italian could be on his way back to his homeland for at least a year. Given that Christian Benteke has already equalled the striker’s Premier League goal record we don’t think too many people on Merseyside will be sad the see the back of him.
Finally, The Independent are claiming that Borussia Dortmund have accepted a £15 million bid from Liverpool for the services of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with Juventus also keen on the services of the Armenian attacking midfielder. The 26 year old has scored 24 goals and assisted in the scoring of 20 more during his stay at Dortmund, making 94 appearances for the German club.
Manchester City have splashed the cash again this week, confirming the £32 million signing of Nicolas Otamendi on a five year deal from Valencia. The 27 year old ex-Porto defender has joined Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph as City’s major signings so far this summer, with Manuel Pellegrini hopeful of bringing in at least one more player before the window slams shut.
That one more player is likely to be Kevin De Bruyne, despite a week of confusion regarding the winger’s future. De Bruyne was furious when he was essentially forced to say he’d be staying at Wolfsburg during an awards event for the club, but Sky Sports think that City remain convinced they can bring him to the Premier League before September 1st.
Louis Van Gaal has been ruthless with his treatment of several players so far this summer, with his old pal Robin Van Persie getting axed early doors. The way he’s handled some of the Spanish players at the club, including David De Gea and Victor Valdes, appears to have backfired with the club missing out on the signing of Pedro. LvG has back tracked rather spectacularly this week, claiming that he was never all that interested in the Spaniard anyway, but it’s an embarrassing failure for the club that appears to suggest Old Trafford could have become something of a no go area for Spanish players whilst the Dutchman is there.
The Daily Star think the Red Devils are close to performing a remarkable move for German striker Thomas Muller this week. The Bayern Munich forward is reportedly keen on a move to Old Trafford, but will have to hand in a transfer if he hopes to see himself moving to Manchester in a £60 million deal that would be worth an incredible £250,000 per week for the player himself.
Meanwhile Southampton have been forced to release a statement confirming that Sadio Mane is not for sale at any price after Manchester United reportedly turned to the 23 year old Senegal international when they missed out on Pedro. Saints boss Ronald Koeman pulled no punches in his assessment of the rumours, saying, “We’re not selling any more players. Write what you want to about the rumours until 1 September, nobody is going to leave Southampton”.
Finally The Telegraph reckon that it is not Mane that United have turned to after they lost out on Pedro but rather Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid forward has a £56 million buyout clause in his contract. United won’t be willing to pay that much for a player who netted 25 times in his first season in La Liga, but they will be hoping that they can persuade the Spanish side to lower their asking price.
The only real rumour concerning the Magpies this week is that they are still refusing to meet Queens Park Rangers’ asking price for their striker Charlie Austin. Austin is being chased by a number of Premier League clubs who know that he has what it takes to perform in the country’s top division, but QPR have no intention of letting him leave and have slapped a £15 million price tag on him to dissuade any suitors. Chris Ramsey, the Rangers manager, has confirmed that the club will accept any bids that meet their valuation of the player, but so far Newcastle have refused to move above £12 million for his services.
Two transfer rumours surrounding the Canaries this week and both of them involve strikers. The first is the news that the club could be ready to make an offer to Hull City for the signature of ex-Everton forward Nikica Jelavic. The Hull Daily Mail reckon that City are bracing themselves for a bid for their Croatian centre forward as Alex Neil has been a long time admirer. Having already given the Tigers £7 million for Robbie Brady, relations between the two clubs are at least amicable.
The second striker that Delia Smith’s club a looking for make a meal out of is Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths. According to The Mirror the Canaries are hoping to do a swap deal with the Scottish champions, with Gary Hooper heading back to Celtic Park in exchange for Griffiths. Hooper netted 63 times in 95 appearances for Celtic but couldn’t replicate his form at Carrow Road. Most people would say that that’s because the Scottish league is rubbish, but Alex Neil isn’t convinced and now wants to bring Griffiths to the Premier League because he’s scored 22 goals in 30 games during 2015. That’s probably because the Scottish league is rubbish.
Southampton’s business is pretty much over now, with the rest of the summer window being spent batting away interest in their players from teams like Manchester United and Spurs. That fact is summed up by the knowledge that the only newspaper reporting any kind of rumour to with the Saints is The Metro. How reliable can a paper that is given away free to commuters who literally have nothing better to do but read it actually be? We don’t really know, but regardless the paper reckons that Ronald Koeman intends to make a move for Real Madrid’s unwanted defensive midfielder Lucas Silva this week. The Spanish club needs to get rid of one non-EU player from its roster in order to comply with UEFA rules and it’s thought that the 22 year old Brazilian will be the one to make way.
What next for Stoke? A move for Lionel Messi? The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo? Nothing quite that dramatic for Potters’ fans this week, though The Stoke Sentinel are reporting that Mark Hughes is weighing up a move for Celtic’s defender Virgil van Dijk. Van Dijk, a £2.5 million acquisition from FC Groningen two years ago, has been a long term target for Southampton, but it appears that Stoke could be ready to steal a march on their Premier League rivals in order to give the Scottish club’s defender a taste of life in England.
The Black Cats have endured a miserable start to the season, losing two games in a row including a home fixture against newly promoted Norwich City. If questions are being asked of Dick Advocaat, though, it doesn’t appear that they’ll affect the club’s moves in the transfer market. For it seems that Stoke City aren’t the only club to make an effort to have a crazy signing or two, with Sunderland linked with a move for Brazilian forward Alexander Pato, according to The Metro.
Pato has endured something of an odd career thus far, impressing enough during his time with Corinthians to earn himself a move to AC Milan. He netted 51 goals in 117 appearances for the Italian team before a tremendous dip in form saw him return to Corinthians for £12.1 million. Rather than embrace their former player, however, the Brazilian side quickly sent him off on loan to their rival Sao Paulo. Now it looks as though he’s on his way to The Stadium of Light, with Corinthians president Roberto de Andrade saying, “‘I think we have a great chance of selling him. I don’t have a crystal ball but I believe it will work out… €10million [£7.1million], we won’t talk for any less than that”.
Swansea’s excellent start to the season combined with their good work in the transfer window means that there isn’t much to report on the Swans this week. They aren’t desperate to bring anyone in and nor are they overly keen to see anyone going out, with manager Gary Monk saying it would be ‘criminal’ to break the team up. Even Wales Online, the sort of website that depends on rumours to do with Cardiff and Swansea in order to keep its click count up, had nothing to say about the Welsh side this week. We think the window may have shut early at The Liberty Stadium.
The news that will excite Spurs fans the most this week comes from The Mirror, with the newspaper reporting that Mauricio Pochettino has promised Harry Kane the London club will sign another striker before the window closes. Kane looked lost without support against Manchester United in Tottenham’s first game of the season before Spurs themselves looked totally blunt when their highest scorer went off injured in the second half against Stoke. That has led the manager to confirm they need to bring someone else in to relieve the burden from their main striker. The Mirror reckon that Saido Berahino remains Spurs’ top target, but that the England international will need to ask for a transfer away from West Brom if he hopes to be lining up at White Hart Lane in September.
The Mirror appear to be Tottenham’s transfer rumour paper of choice this week. Not content with quoting Pochettino or confirming Berahino as their number one target, the paper also thinks that Spurs are lining up a move for Southampton’s Victor Wanyama. It seems unlikely given that Dick Advocaat remains convinced no one will be leaving St. Mary’s in the rest of the window, but Wanyama has failed to impress in the absence of Morgan Schneiderlin alongside him meaning that Saints could be persuaded to let him go if a good enough offer comes in.
Despite being the busiest Premier League club in the transfer window so far, Watford haven’t yet finished splashing the cash according to The Mirror. There have been 12 new arrivals up to now for the Hornets and that means that they’re going to have to trim some of the excess players. The Mirror are reporting that Lloyd Dyer, Tommie Hoban and Matej Vydra are all vulnerable to the chop. Watford manager Quique Flores has already spent £20 million and said, “Until the market closes we have a lot if players who will go and some who will come”.
One player who won’t be heading to Vicarage Road is Mario Balotelli. The Liverpool striker is on his way out of Anfield this summer and he emerged as a surprise target for Watford. However TalkSport say that that is complete nonsense and he Flores has no desire to bring the Italian in. Flores said, “Inside the club we haven’t talked about Mario Balotelli. So at the moment this is a possibility more in the media than the club”.
Only one move seems to be on the cards for West Brom this week, with The Guardian reporting that Federico Fazio is having a medical at The Hawthorns ahead of a move from Spurs. Tony Pulis has already signed 350 defenders since becoming the Baggies’ boss, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a move for the 28 year old Argentinian who is surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane. Fazio made 31 appearances for Spurs last season but has fallen down the pecking order after the arrival of Toby Alderweireld. Pulis said, “The lad is here and having a medical and we’re hoping to get it done. He’s a very good defender coming from a top club in Tottenham and the boy wants to play regular football”.
Last but not least, the Hammers have a double bit of transfer news for us to report. The first, in The Mirror, comes from the mouth of David Sullivan himself who has said, “…we have had no luck with strikers. None whatsoever. It may not seem to affect Charlie Austin, but he has had issues, which everybody knows about. We have had so little luck with strikers we now have to be careful with the players that we sign”. That seems to rule out a move by West Ham for the Queens Park Rangers striker who netted 18 times in the Premier League last season.
Finally, The Metro are reporting that West Ham’s move for Alex Song might not be as sewn up as the Hammers were hoping. The London club have agreed a deal with Barcelona for the 27 year old midfielder who spent last year on loan at Upton Park, but they are yet to agree personal terms with the player or have him complete a medical. That means that both Everton and Spurs are ready to try to muscle in on the deal, leaving West Ham potentially open to disappointment.