It is widely accepted that Arsene Wenger is keen to add at least 1 more striker to his roster before the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month, so we can expect them to be linked with every attacker in the market between now and September 1st. There are conflicting reports regarding their chase for Karim Benzema, though, with The Telegraph saying a deal is likely to completed today and The Mirror dismissing it completely. According to The Telegraph the Arsenal board have flown to Madrid to seal a £35 million move for the Frenchman, paying him £120,000 a week – less money than Theo Walcott’s now on. The Mirror, however, are quoting Wenger as saying that a move for Benzema is just ‘media talk’ and that he “never came out on Benzema…I’m happy with the squad, [but] if someone turns up then we can still do it”. They definitely need someone, but will it be Benzema? It remains to be seen, but we’d be surprised if it happened this weekend.
We’re not quite sure when The Week started weighing in with transfer stories, but weigh in they have, this time claiming that Arsenal are ready to battle Manchester United for the signing of the young Portuguese goalkeeping whizz Joao Virginia. The 15 year old trained with the Gunners this summer and is apparently ready to join them from Benfica when he turns 16 in October. Having trained with the club already and with Arsenal suddenly become a ‘keeper’s favourite place to be, we think he’s more likely to opt for them over the Red Devils.
The Express think that Arsenal and Roma haven’t yet done enough business this summer and that the London club could be ready to make a move for the Italian club’s in demand striker Mattia Destro. This one seems a bit odd considering the other English clubs linked with a move for the striker are Aston Villa and West Ham – not exactly the sort of teams Arsenal normally do battle with. A £6.3 million move looks to be a bargain for a talented attacker, but the Gunners need to convince him that they are a better option for him than Bologna who are also interested in his signature.
The recommended advice to writers is to deal with what they know and it appears that Tim Sherwood has moved that notion over to footballing management. The cockney Villa manager is gearing up to make a move for not 1, not 2 but 3 different Spurs players in the remaining weeks of the window. The first of those, according to The Daily Mail, is Aaron Lennon who the former Tottenham manager is willing to spend over £5 million on in order to be reunited with him. Lennon impressed on loan at Everton last season and Sherwood feels he could make a huge difference to things at Villa Park.
The second player discussed in that same Daily Mail article is Andros Townsend, the fleet footed winger who tends to have 10 to 15 shots on goal every game, hitting most of them well over the target. The problem that Sherwood has got is that Townsend wants to give his career at White Hart Lane the best possible chance, something that’s unlikely to happen if he moves to the Midlands.
The third and final Spurs player that Sherwood would love to be reunited with is Emmanuel Adebayor, but The Birmingham Mail reckons that that deal is on the verge of collapsing because of Adebayor’s refusal to relocate from London to Birmingham. The 31 year old has apparently passed a medical and agreed personal terms but doesn’t like the idea of having to live in the Midlands – he’s obviously never been to The Bullring – so it could all come tumbling down before anything is made official.
Finally for Villa, their attempts to steal Joleon Lescott from West Bromwich Albion have failed, with Tony Pulis rejecting Sherwood’s £2 million offer, so say The Daily Mirror. The former Everton and Manchester City centre back is a boyhood Villa fan and only has a year left on his contract, but their city rival’s move for him has caused West Brom to offer him a new contract. We’re not sure this one is likely to go through, to be honest.
The Cherries have signed Max Gradel from St. Etienne for an undisclosed fee this week, with the 27 year old striker heading back to the club he spent some time on loan at in 2007-2008. The Ivory Coast forward was St. Etienne’s highest scorer last season, netting 17 goals in Ligue 1.
Meanwhile The Gazette Live is reporting that Bournemouth have had a £3 million bid for Lee Tomlin accepted by Middlesbrough. The midfielder is out of favour at Boro and has found himself sidelined since the signing of Stewart Downing, so he is excited by his move to the Premier League club.
Chelsea’s quite summer in the transfer market continues apace, with no real moves of any interest taking place so far. The Telegraph are continuing to bandy the name of Paul Pogba around and the Blues are one of the only clubs rich enough to be able to afford a move for the French midfielder. Apparently Juventus’ director general has admitted that they are likely to loose the 22 year old this summer, though his destination remains a mystery for the time being. Mourinho has been typically weird about the whole thing saying, “I think everybody has an interest in Pogba. But there are things you can do and things you cannot do. I love the Eiffel Tower but I can’t have the Eiffel Tower in my garden. I can’t even have the Eiffel Tower of Las Vegas”. Glad that’s cleared up, then.
Sky Sports have already typed out their “Breaking News” banner for when Baba Rahman’s move to Chelsea has been completed, but for now they’re happy enough with the news that the left back’s agent has confirmed the player is on the verge of a move to Stamford Bridge. The 21 year old has long interested Jose Mourinho and played 31 times for Augsburg last season, making more tackles than any other player in the Bundesliga. With the German club having signed another left back by the name of Philipp Max this week a £17.5 million move from Germany to Chelsea seems to be little more than a formality.
27 year old Bakary Sako has joined Crystal Palace on a free transfer this week after leaving Wolverhampton Wanderers. The former St. Etienne winger scored 36 goals in 118 appearances for the Midlanders and was the club’s joint top scorer last time out with 15. He was joined by Connor Wickham who moved from Sunderland to The Eagles for around £7 million. Wickham netted 6 times in 40 games in the North East last season and will be hoping to find a bit more form now he’s made the move to London.
The Metro have reported on Palace’s signing of Jason Eyenga-Lokilo, the 16 year old Belgian striker that Alan Pardew hopes will have a bright future for the team. He was formally with Anderlecht and had a trial at Arsenal but opted for Crystal Palace as he feels he’ll have more chance to break in to the first time at Selhurst Park. Expect him to feature in the likes of the FA Cup and the League Cup this term.
Finally for Palace is news of a player they won’t be signing after Steve McClaren took the unusual step of criticising his Crytal Palace counterpart for trying to unsettle Fabricio Coloccini. The Argentinian centre back has been the subject of speculation ever since Pardew moved from St. James’ Park to London, leading to The Eagles having to issue a statement to deny any interest in his signature. McClaren said it was a “fact”, though, and was delighted when his captain signed a contract extension.
Another manager who has been on the attack this week is Roberto Martinez with the Everton manager accusing Chelsea of trying to tap up his young centre back John Stones. The Liverpool Echo quotes Martinez as saying, “That is wrong – you know that is illegal. The rules don’t allow you to comment on players that are registered at other clubs in that open manner. That is disappointing. We don’t want to see it when other clubs speak about your players. It is wrong and it shouldn’t happen”. The Catalan has pulled no punches in his attempts to keep Stones at Goodison Park and Chelsea might think it’s easier to back down on the issue than pursue it any further – at least until the window re-opens in January.
Martinez has also confirmed that he’s not too worried about Everton’s lack of business in the market so far, but he would like the Blues to make at least 3 more transfers before September 1st. The Merseysiders have only brought 3 players in so far this summer and Martinez is keen to ensure any further signings have “the right characteristics”. One player they are interesting in according to The Echo is Keisuke Honda. The Japanese international made 29 apearances for Milan last season but is reportedly unsettled and is looking to move on. That news has piqued the interest of Roberto Martinez who has had an eye on the playmaker for some time.
The Foxes have made 2 new signings this week with N’Golo Kante finally completing his move to the Midlands from Caen in France. The 24 year old midfielder played 37 times in Ligue 1 last term and has been chased by Leicester all summer long. Signings are like buses at The KP Stadium this summer with Kante being joined at the club by Tunisian centre back Yohan Benalouane. The 28 year old’s signing is subject to international clearance and approval from the Premier League as he comes in from Italian club Atlanta.
The only other bit of news for the Foxes is the decision from Claudio Ranieri to send Paul Konchesky out on loan to QPR for the season. The defender is not part of the Italian manager’s plans this season and wasn’t even given a squad number, despite no one taking his number 3 jersey at the club.
An interview with Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre this week seemed to suggest that the Reds were finished with their transfer business this summer as he congratulated everyone at the club for achieving their transfer objectives.
Of course that hasn’t stopped newspapers from printing stories linking the Merseyside club with any number of players in the hopes of generating some website clicks, with the likes of The Daily Mirror saying that the Reds could be on the verge of signing Asier Illarramendi after the defensive midfielder was told he has no future at Real Madrid.
Have you heard the one about Liverpool being linked with Toni Kroos? It’s not a punchline, it’s just a story so ludicrous that it’s actually quite comical. It’s a transfer rumour that was invented by The Express and The Metro with the two newspapers then quoting each other as the sources behind it. Top journalism there we’re sure you’ll agree. Anyway it’s not happening so don’t get too excited, Liverpool fans.
There are certain rumours that won’t die until the player either makes the move or signs a new contract at his current club. One such story is the potential transfer of Kevin De Bruyne who has been linked with a move to The Etihad since before he was born. This time he’s fuelled the fire of the story himself by saying, “I’m not one who says that I’m staying here – and in two weeks I’m off. You have to be a bit open, the more I think that people know how I am I’m just trying to be honest”, leading many to believe that he thinks he’ll be off in two weeks.
Arguably the most surprising news emerging from Manchester this week is that Manuel Pellegrini has extended his contract with the Sky Blues. It’s an odd one, really, given City’s poor performance last term and the certainty everyone in football feels regarding the fact that Sheikh Mansour will go all out to bring Pepe Guardiola to The Etihad next summer. Regardless, Pellegrini is now contracted to the club until 2017, so there’ll be a big payout for him when the club looks to move him on in May 2016.
The other rumour City fans might be interested in comes from The Guardian, with the left wing’s favourite broadsheet reporting that Pellegrini is hoping to bring Diego Godin in from Atletico Madrid. Apparently City have bid £28 million for the centre back, a story that gains some credence due to Pellegrini telling the media that the club will make one more signing before September 1st.
Two big bits of news for Manchester United fans this week, both likely to result in the Red Devils hitting the transfer market in a big way. The first thing of note is the fact that Angel Di Maria’s move to Paris St. Germain has been confirmed.
The Argentine was signed for £59.7 million from Real Madrid last summer and has now moved on to France for £44.3 million. Despite the loss they’ve taken on the player the influx of cash will almost certainly be used to bring in a new player or two before the window shuts.
The other interesting bit of info is the news that Louis Van Gaal has dropped David De Gea before United’s opening fixture of the Premier League season because of the current transfer wrangling over his signature between United and Real Madrid. Real are determined to land the ‘keeper and it’s not surprising that they are given that he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. The surprising thing is that LvG is willing to risk United’s opening fixture over such a thing.
One player that Louis Van Gaal is determined to bring to old Trafford is Barcelona’s out of favour winger Pedro. Despite the fact that Barca’s President has claimed the club want to keep hold of the 28 year old it is widely accepted that he’ll be leaving this summer and that United is his likely destination. The only thing stopping a move from already being done is the price tag with Barca determined to hold out for his full buyout fee of £22 million and United valuing him at more like £17 million. This one will get done, it’s just a matter of when.
The Manchester Evening News are claiming that United’s chase of Sergio Ramos has received a boost owing to the fact that the 29 year old defender has rejected an €8.5 million contract extension from Real Madrid. Apparently Ramos wants €10 million and won’t settle for anything less, which is a bonkers amount of money and surely something that even United won’t be willing to pay. We’ll see on this one.
The only transfer rumour of particular note for Newcastle fans this week is the club’s pursuit of QPR’s Charlie Austin. The Chronicle Live think that the player who single handedly tried to keep the Hoops in the Premier League last season is a top target for Steve McClaren, though Spurs are also circling around the player in the hope of taking him to White Hart Lane. His asking price of £15 million is what’s currently putting the Magpies off, but they may crack and complete the deal if there’s a possibility that Spurs could get there instead.
The only other rumour comes from The Daily Mirror who claim that the Geordies have made an increased offer of £12 million to Marseille for their winger Florian Thauvin, only for the French club to reject the offer out of hand. The 22 year old impressed in Ligue 1 last season and is, like Austin, also attracting interest from Tottenham.
The Canaries have made 1 signing this week, bringing in former Blackburn Rovers ‘keeper Jake Kean after he was released by the club. The 24 year old will offer a bit of competition to John Ruddy and Declan Rudd in between the sticks at Carrow Road.
Meanwhile The Metro are reporting two players of interest for Norwich with Celtic’s Virgil Van Dijk and Dynamo Kiev’s Dieumerci Mbokani apparently tickling Alex Neil’s fancy. The Canaries have been linked with a move for Mbokani for some time and he sparked an increase in the rumours when he tweeted a photo of himself alone in a random airport. The striker is a big, tall player and exactly the sort of person that Neil wants up front in his team.
Van Dijk, on the other hand, is a towering centre back that would offer the Canaries a huge degree of stability and reliability at the back, impressing during his time in the SPL. Whether they’ll be able to bring him in is a different question and many Norwich fans are extremely wary about getting too excited over the links.
There’s literally 1 piece of transfer news regarding Southampton this week and it’s not particularly encouraging or exciting. Saints and Spurs have been warned off making any moves on Palermo’s playmaker Franco Vazquez, according to TalkSport. The attacking midfielder has impressed in Italy and Ronald Koeman is keen to bring him to St. Mary’s, but the Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini has said that the 26 year old is not for sale at any price. Expect him to be in the Premier League come September 1st, then.
Stoke City have also been quiet in the market this week, with even Xherdan Shaqiri managing to keep his name out of the papers for once. The only link that has emerged with any real credibility comes for the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo who claim that the Potters are on course to sign Barcelona youngster Adama Traore. Merseyside was awash with rumours that the talented winger was poised to sign for Liverpool this week only for that to be quashed when no one at the club had any idea who he was. The skilled forward has dinner with representatives from The Britannia this week ahead of a possible move and would join other ex-Barca players like Bojan and Muniesa if he made the jump to the Potteries.
Two bits of actual news for Sunderland fans this week with the departure of Connor Wickham and the arrival of Yann M’Vila. M’Vila arrives from Rubin Kazan on a season long loan with the 25 year old French midfielder delighted to be given the chance to play in the Premier League.
Meanwhile The Guardian are reporting that the Black Cats are on the verge of signing Adnan Januzaj on a season long loan from Manchester United. The talented 20 year old winger is hoping to get more game time in order to impress Louis Van Gaal and, with the likely arrival of Pedro destined to limit said time at Old Trafford he’s happy to turn elsewhere for his minutes. Dick Advocaat is keen to give himself some more attacking options at The Stadium of Light and Januzaj definitely ticks that box.
Gary Monk said some time ago that he was happy with the business the Swans have done this summer, so we aren’t expecting many more additions to the Swansea roster before September 1st. The Metro are, though, and they are reporting that Monk is ready to hijack Norwich’s move for Celtic’s centre back Virgil Van Dijk. The 24 year old Dutch centre back scored 10 goals in 58 games in Scotland last season and could be ready to test himself out in the Premier League.
Two things of note for Spurs this week, other than the fact that Tim Sherwood wants to sign half of their players. The first thing is The Metro reporting that they’re ‘very close’ to signing Clinton Njie for £10.5 million from Lyon. The Londoners had a £7.5 million bid for the 21 year striker turned down last month, causing Spurs to raise their game for a pacey player who has scored 6 goals in 11 outings for Cameroon.
The other rumour comes from ITV, with the national news outlet claiming that it is Spurs and not Everton that are going to sign Keisuke Honda from AC Milan. The Italian club have admitted that they are going to sell their talented playmaker and ITV reckon he’ll be at White Hart Lane before the window closes on September 1st. We certainly expect Tottenham to make another transfer or two before it’s all over given they’ve only brought in 3 players so far this summer.
Watford have been the busiest club in the transfer market so far this summer according to the BBC, bringing in an incredible 10 new players before a ball has even been kicked. Surely that’s it for the Londoners, then? Not according to The Daily Mirror who are reporting that the Hornets are gearing up a random 2 week loan move for Venezuelan goalkeeper Rafael Romo. Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores was dismayed to discover that his first choice stopper, Giedrius Arlauskis, is suspended for the first two matches of the season so he’s turned to Udinese – a club also owned by Watford’s money men the Pozzo family – in order to ensure he’s got some quality between the sticks for the season opener.
The Evening Standard, meanwhile, are saying that Joey Barton has been training with Watford over the last couple of weeks ahead of the start of the Premier League season. The explosive Scouse midfielder was released by QPR following their relegation to the Championship and is hoping to earn himself a move back to the top flight with the Hornets. He’ll certainly bring them a bit of a sting, but we’re not sure it’s the type they’ll be happy with.
No sooner did we press publish on our transfer piece last week did the news come in that West Brom had confirmed the signing of Rickie Lambert from Liverpool. This week we’re determined not to miss the scoop, so we’re hot on the heels of a story appearing in The Metro that the Baggies have won the race to sign Salomon Rondon from Zenit St. Petersburg. Rondon is at The Hawthorns for a medical ahead of a club record £15 million move from Russia to the Midlands.
Meanwhile The Birmingham Mail are reporting that Serge Gnabry is ready to sign for West Brom on a season long loan from Arsenal. The talented German international with a French sounding name is hoping to get a bit more game time this season and thinks he’ll be best served by moving from The Emirates to The Hawthorns, what with Tony Pulis’ outstanding reputation as an attack minded manager.
The Mail also reckon that the Baggies could be about to take advantage of Edin Dzeko’s move to Roma by bringing their surplus striker Seydou Doumbia to the Premier League.
Finally Wales Online are saying that West Brom and Cardiff City remain in deadlock over the potential signing of David Marshall. The City ‘keeper, who impressed during the club’s stint in the Premier League in 2013-2014, is wanted by Pulis but the Baggies aren’t willing to pay more than £5 million for his services. Cardiff, meanwhile, want a fee closer to £7 million, but they’re unable to make any signings themselves until the transfer is complete and West Brom are happy to play the waiting game.
Last but not least in our transfer round up piece is West Ham, with the London club rumoured to be willing to do battle with Fiorentina for the signature of Fabio Borini from Liverpool, according to The Daily Mirror. Borini has long been out of favour at Anfield, despite being Brendan Rodgers’ first signing, and the club are desperate to get rid of the striker after bringing in Christian Benteke and Danny Ings and with Divock Origi’s loan coming to an end and seeing him return to Anfield. Slaven Bilic would like to extend his attacking options with both Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia out injured and the 24 year Italian already has some Premier League experience with both Liverpool and Sunderland.
Finally comes a report from The Metro that West Ham are free to make a move for Alen Halilovic after news emerged that he is due to leave Barcelona this summer. The Hammers have been impressed with the 19 year old’s performaces for Barcelona B and the attacking midfielder could be sent to The Boleyn Ground on loan in the hope of seeing him develop more as a player. We’ll wait and see.