Arsene Wenger made a somewhat strange statement this week. He said that Arsenal were ‘not close’ to signing anyone, but that he was ‘always confident’. He also said that he’s available ’24 hours a day’ for transfer business. Play it cool, Arsene, play it cool! The Gunners seem destined to miss out on Karim Benzema, which is weird considering his plane has been circling London for the last month and a half. Yet there’s no question that they need to bring in another attacking option before the window shuts.
According to The Telegraph that striking option could take the form of Aleksandr Kokorin, the 24 year old forward currently plying his trade at Dynamo Moscow. We’d love to be able to give Arsenal fans loads of stats and info on Kokorin that would fill them with joy, but we can’t. Interestingly, neither does The Telegraph. Missing out on Benzema and Cavani means that Wenger has turned to the second best team in Moscow’s striker. What could possibly go wrong?
Could they still get a deal over the line for Benzema though? According to The Metro the answer is a resounding yes. The paper reports that Real Madrid have decided to make moves to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, meaning that Benzema could yet become surplus to requirements at The Bernabeu. Many ifs and buts seem to be involved in this story, but Arsenal fans will no doubt cling to any possibility of not having to rely on Oliver Giroud for the season.
It seems that Adama Traore has made such a good impression since signing for Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa that they are now considering a move for another Barcelona youth product. The Express are claiming that a bid for Victor Vazquez is imminent, with the Villains confident that they can land the Club Brugge midfielder, who played 1 league game for the Spanish champions in his youth, before the window slams shut.
The Bury Times, meanwhile, are claiming that Aston Villa could go head to head with Manchester City over the signing of Jack Ruddy from Bury FC. The 18 year old Glaswegian goalkeeper, who has impressed for Bury, is the subject of interest from both Premier League clubs. It’s believed the player fancies his chances of getting more starts if he opts for Villa Park over The Etihad, though if City really do fancy him as one for the future then Tim Sherwood can expect any offer he makes to be blown out of the water by the Sheikh Mansour’s millions.
Despite the fact that the Cherries seemed to find their shooting boots in their last match against West Ham, Gary Howe is aware of his team’s inability to put the ball in the back of the net against both Aston Villa and Liverpool. Because of that Bournemouth are chasing two different strikers, according to reports. The Express believe that Howe is still keen on bringing Glenn Murray to the club from Crystal Palace, with a bid of £5 million having already been turned down by the Eagles. The Cherries boss said, “We are trying to add to the squad but the numbers have to be right and the players have to be available”.
One number that isn’t right yet, according to The Guardian, is the offer Bournemouth have made for Norwich’s Lewis Grabban. Alex Neil, the Canaries boss, made clear his position on the striker’s future, saying, “We have rejected three bids from Bournemouth so far and the bids that we have are nowhere near the valuation of the player. Until they get to an acceptable level, Lewis Grabban will remain a Norwich City player. That is where we stand”. He didn’t completely rule out the possibility of Grabban swapping from one newly promoted team to another, however, adding that ‘every player has got their price’. The forward missed Norwich’s game against Rotherham in the week, though, so expect this one to reach a conclusion before the end of the window.
Most considered it strange in the extreme that Chelsea were so quiet during the summer transfer window, with Mourinho owing most of his success as a manager to the amount of money he’s been able to spend in his career. By adding just two players to the squad – with both Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao considered to be back ups – it seemed as though Chelsea were going to stand still rather than move forward. A draw in their opening fixture followed by defeat to Manchester City in the second game of the season changed all of that, though, with Roman Abromovich opening his vast coffers and bringing in Pedro from Barcelona last week.
It looked as though they would be adding John Stones to their collection, too, when the young Everton defender handed in a transfer request last week. But Roberto Martinez and Bill Kenwright came to the rescue of Everton’s fans when they said Stones was going nowhere. It was a bold statement from the Toffees’ hierarchy considering the Londoners were prepared to offer an incredible £37 million for a player who is far from the finished article. Chelsea have now walked away from the deal and will turn their attentions elsewhere.
One player whose name has been touted around for most of the summer is Paul Pogba, with The Guardian claiming that the Blues could make a move for the Juventus midfielder before the summer window comes to a close. The figure being suggested for Pogba’s signature is £60 million, which is an insane amount of money when you think about it. It’s even more incredible considering that John Terry’s recent fallibility suggests they might be better spending it on a centre back.
Alan Pardew has been left pondering his next move after Crystal Palace’s mixed start to the new season. A 3-1 win away to Norwich City was followed up with a 2-1 loss at home to Arsenal, before a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park saw them take 6 points from their first 3 fixtures. According to London24.com that’s led Pardew to consider whether the Eagles could do with bringing in another striker, especially considering the fact that Glenn Murray will almost certainly leave the club before the end of the window. The name that is being bandied about with reference to Palace is Charlie Austin, the QPR forward who netted 18 times for the Hoops before their relegation last year. A £15 million bid would secure his services.
Fresh from sending Chelsea packing without John Stones in their suitcase, the Blues are expected to announce not one but two signings today. According to The Liverpool Echo the Toffees are ready to announce the signing of Ramiro Funes Mori from River Plate as soon as the paperwork is complete for his international clearance. Not only that, but Roberto Martinez is hoping to confirm the arrival of Uruguayan striker Leandro Rodriguez from River Plate Montevideo today as well. It’s all kicking off at Goodison Park!
The Leicester Mercury are claiming this week that the Foxes have triggered the release clause of Birmingham City winger Demarai Gray. The highly rated young forward player has a £4.7 million clause in his contract that the Mercury think Claudio Ranieri has met in a bid to bring the 19 year old to The King Power Stadium. Birmingham boss Gary Rowett claims the youngster is happy at St. Andrews and doesn’t want to go anywhere, but the lure of the Premier League could be too much for him.
The Daily Mail have got a different name associated with Leicester, however, and believe that Foxes boss Ranieri has got his heart set on bringing two new faces into The King Power stadium before the window closes. One of those names is that of David Lopez, the 25 year old Napoli midfielder who has been made available for transfer by Maurizio Sarri. It’s believed that Lopez would be available for around £5 million, but there are one or two La Liga clubs also interested in the player meaning the price could be pushed up.
The other name the Mail are linking with a move to the Leicester first team is Joe Dodoo. The young striker is currently part of the Foxes’ youth set up and it’s believed that Ranieri may opt to promote him to the first team rather than battle Birmingham City for Gray if they are so determined not to sell him.
In his pre-West Ham press conference Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports that they wouldn’t need to set up any cameras outside Melwood on Transfer Deadline Day as ‘we’ll be quiet’. Ordinarily you’d think that would be enough of a statement to discourage newspapers from linking Liverpool with moves for anyone, but not so for The Daily Star. In the week when the Reds got rid of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan and Lazar Markovic to Fernerbahce, The Star reckon they’ll make a last ditch attempt to bring Jakub Blaszczykowski to Merseyside. The Polish winger is not part of Borussia Dortmund’s new mananger Thomas Tuchel’s plans moving forward, meaning a £10 million move for the attacking player could be imminent.
Despite being one of the richest teams in the world with the ability to sign literally anyone that is available in the market, news has emerged today that the Sky Blues have opted to bring in Ruben Sobrino, a striker currently plying is trade with Spanish second division side SD Ponferradina. Sporting Life are claiming that City have paid £200,000 for the services of the 23 year old Spaniard who is thought to be heading straight back out on loan. An odd one, whichever way you look at it.
Now we don’t know if you know this one, but apparently Manuel Pellegrini is quite keen to sign Kevin de Bruyne from Wolfsburg. The Manchester Evening News are reporting that de Bruyne is due to become the Manchester club’s record signing for a fee of £54 million. This one has been going on for most of the summer, with Wolfsburg determined to hold on to their prized asset no matter what. Then City offered over £50 million for him and the German side realised that he wasn’t actually that good anyway. All we can say is thank god this one appears to be coming to a conclusion.
Poor old Manchester United, hey? Once they were considered the only serious destination for players looking to head to the top teams in the Premier League. Then Roman Abramovich came in with his millions, Sheik Mansour followed suit with his billions and all of a sudden United aren’t even the first choice club in the city of Manchester, let alone the league. Louis Van Gaal adopted a childish and totally believable response to missing out on Pedro by basically saying, “didn’t want him anyway”, but at some point the Red Devils will have to sign someone before becoming something of a laughing stock.
They’re maybe not helping themselves by trying to sign entirely unrealistic targets like Cristiano Ronaldo and Thomas Muller. The writers at The Express have done very well this week to write an article with a straight face about United trying to bring in Gareth Bale and Neymar before the window shuts, whilst Club Call reckon the Mancunians will make a bid for Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben.
When Liverpool were in their worst state under previous owners Hicks & Gillett they were constantly being linked with unrealistic targets, only to miss out on them and leave their fans extremely frustrated. Despite spending around £80 million this summer on Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Darmian and the likes, United haven’t been able to bring in a blockbuster name as of yet. Will that change before the transfer window comes to a close? It’s unlikely, yet The Telegraph think that the Red Devils could attempt to use Real Madrid’s desperateness to sign David de Gea as a makeweight in their own move to bring Bale to Old Trafford. Don’t hold your breath, though.
The Chronicle Live, which sounds like a really bad gig featuring a gang of ageing 70s rockers, are claiming that Newcastle’s business is all but done this summer. The local paper are quoting Steve McClaren as saying, “I hope to be sat on my sofa and watching the frantic going ons of the transfer window. You can never say never. But we are not planning anything and we don’t have anything up our sleeve. We are happy with what we have got. And hopefully we will see the window through nice and quietly”. You can’t take anything for granted at St. James’s Park, yet we get the feeling Magpies fans are far more likely to see outgoings than incomings in the next few days.
The only bit of news concerning Norwich City comes from The Eastern Daily Press, who are reporting that Benik Afobe has yet to hand in a transfer request at Wolverhampton Wanders, despite interest in his services from the Canaries. Norwich boss Alex Neil has made three attempts to sign the forward so far this summer, with the latest being a £10 million bid rejected by the Midlands club earlier this week. Wolves boss Kenny Jackett said of Norwich’s interest, “They are wasting their time. Although there’s been renewed speculation and other bids we haven’t changed internally in terms of how we feel about the situation. No figure has been discussed by the chairman down. The reason is that our club are not selling at this particular moment in time”. So there.
The Mirror are the only paper with a story about possible incomings at St. Mary’s, with Virgil van Dijk the player they reckon could join up with Southampton before the end of the window. The Celtic centre back is Ronald Koeman’s number one target and he would have been buoyed by the defender’s statement after Malmo knocked the Scottish league winners out of the Champion’s League this week. After the game the player said, “There is a chance it could be my last game. It’s a terrible way if it is going to end like this but I don’t know what is going to happen. Am I looking for a move? I am not looking for anything… We will see what’s going to happen in these upcoming days”.
We love local papers here at the A Blog Of Two Halves offices, as they always tend to have stories about the teams in the localities and they tend to have the ring of truth about them. So we’re immensely grateful to The Stoke Sentinel for giving us something to talk about as far as the club from the Potteries is concerned this week. They reckon that Ivica Olic could be on his way to The Britannia as a replacement for the unhappy Jon Walters. The Croatian forward is currently struggling to make an impact at Hamburg, the club he joined from Wolfsburg in January, and Mark Hughes is hopeful he could persuade him to give it a go in the Premier League instead.
Sunderland’s dreadful start in the Premier League has led the Black Cats to bring in Ola Toivonen on a season long loan from Rennes. The 29 year old Swedish midfielder will hopefully give the North East club a bit of a boost after their opening fixtures have resulted in just one point. He scored 14 goals in 46 appearances for Rennes last year, so could give Dick Advocaat’s side some much needed finishing from the middle of the park. Regardless of their poor start to the season, Advocaat has denied that he’ll leave Sunderland before the end of the season.
There’s nothing particularly imminent for the Swans as deadline day approaches, but Wales Online are quoting manager Gary Monk as saying that his phone is ‘always on’ as we approach that fateful moment that the window slams shut and someone loses a finger. Monk said about the window, “I will keep an eye on it. Mostly because I am looking at the clubs we are coming up against to see which players are going where. But my phone is always on and I won’t rule anything out”. He’s going to be disappointed if he’s got an iPhone, as there’s no way that’s staying on between now and the start of September.
According to The Evening Standard the London club will miss out on Saido Berahino, with West Brom refusing to allow their talented young striker to head to White Hart Lane. That doesn’t mean Spurs fans will be too disappointed today, though, as the club have confirmed the arrival of Son Heung-min from Bayern Leverkusen. The 23 year old South Korean international joined Leverkusen from Hamburg in 2013 and has scored 29 goals in 87 appearances. Spurs fans will be hoping that his arrival – which is subject to international clearance – will relieve the pressure on Harry Kane to score all of the goals for the Londoners.
The Metro are reporting that Watford’s owner, Gino Pozzo, has had a meeting with Roma’s director of football, Walter Sabatini, regarding the potential transfer of Juan Iturbe from the Italian club to the Premier League new boys. The 22 year old striker has been watched by the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool and is believed to be an extremely exciting prospect, so the Hornets will be keen to get a deal tied up as soon as possible. It’s believed that Genoa remain in the driving seat for his signature, but Quique Sanchez Flores may hope that he can tempt the forward to the Premier League on loan as it will give him a chance to tout his wares in front of the top clubs.
Meanwhile TalkSport are claiming that Flores has played down speculation linking the club with a move for Abdoulaye Doucoure. The Rennes midfielder is interesting the Hornets boss, but he’s unwilling to spend more than about £8 million on him, whilst the French club are holding out for something more along the lines of £10 million.
West Bromwich Albion’s joint assistant head coach – a tenuous title we’re sure you’ll agree – Dave Kemp has refused to rule out a move by the Baggies for Queens Park Rangers’ top scorer Charlie Austin. The Hoops want around £15 million for the player that netted 18 times for them in the Premier League last year, but West Brom don’t want to pay that much. The Birmingham Mail are quoting Kemp as saying, “It’s all speculation. Transfer window time is just a crazy time. Phones are going, this is going, that’s going, some of it is true, some of it not. Let’s just get to Tuesday 6pm and then I think everybody can calm down and we can get back to concentrating on the team and football in general”. Wowzer. What a weird, generic quote to decide means the club are trying to buy the English striker.
Two new strikers could be on their way to West Ham if the papers are to be believed. The Daily Star are claiming that the Italian forward Alessandro Matri has a medical booked in with the Hammers on this very day! The 31 year old striker could join West Ham on a season long loan from AC Milan who are hoping to clear their books after the arrival of Mario Balotelli from Liverpool on loan.
The other striker, according to The Mirror, is Emmanuel Adebayor. The out of favour Spurs striker has been offered to basically everyone, with Tim Sherwood thinking he had a deal tied up for his former forward only for the player himself to rule out a move to Villa as he doesn’t want to leave London. A move to West Ham could be perfect for him, then, and the rumours are that he will meet with Slaven Bilic this weekend ahead of a possible move to Upton Park.
TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY SPECIAL
On Wednesday we’ll be doing a deadline day special, summing up all of the various activity that the Premier League clubs got up to on that fateful day. Check back here or follow us on Twitter to see all of the major news for your team.