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Posts Tagged ‘Transfer News’

Rooney linked with PSG

England striker Wayne Rooney has been linked with a move to newly crowned French champions Paris Saint-Germain after they reportedly offered to match his current wages with Manchester United. The twenty-seven year old, who has just become a father for the second time, is looking at his options and was rumoured to have asked to leave the Manchester club last week.

Rooney was regularly substituted during the course of the season and was left on the bench for the crucial second leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid fueling speculation that he was dissatisfied with his situation at the club. His form never reached the heights of the previous campaign and he was overshadowed by new signing Robin Van Persie on the goalscoring front, but it would be unfair to say that he had a poor season as he was one of only four players in the Premier League to reach double figures in both goals and assists (the others being Mata, Walcott and Cazorla). He simply didn’t quite live up to his usual exceptionally high standards.

The surprise change of manager at United will have given Rooney more food for thought as he no longer has to worry about being out of favour with Sir Alex Ferguson and has previously worked well with new boss David Moyes at Everton. The two did fall out following Rooney’s transfer from the toffees to United but it’s believed that they have since patched up their differences. The managerial situation at Paris Saint-Germain would also be a factor in his decision as Carlos Ancelotti is openly touting himself for the Real Madrid job so Rooney would be likely to wait and see who is in charge there next season before making any decision about a possible move to the French capital.

Some Manchester United supporters might be happy to see the club take a large sum of money in exchange for a player who appears to be less and less influential in their performances on the pitch, has asked to leave twice, and whose lifestyle often seems to leave him below peak fitness. His huge transfer fee could be useful for strengthening the central midfield, which is seen as a weak area at Old Trafford, but there are few clubs that could afford to sign him and take on his wages, which are around £300,000 per week.  Aside from PSG, it might only be Chelsea and Manchester City who have that sort of money at their disposal but neither club has yet to show and interest in Rooney.

Chelsea chasing East European talent?

Could Napoli top-scorer Marek Hamsik be on his way to West London?

 The Daily Express today suggests that Chelsea are still very much in the market for Napoli forward Marek Hamsik, a story that  has been backed up by sources in Italy as well.  Meanwhile Serb centre-back Neven Subotic of Borussia Dortmund is also being tracked.

The transfer window may have only just shut but it looks like Chelsea are already reviewing their options for the summer, and one player who has come back into reckoning for a move to Stamford Bridge is Marek Hamsik.  The Slovakian international star has been with Napoli for 2.5 seasons making just over 100 appearances in all competitions scoring 30 goals from a range of positions including up front, from the play-maker position and even out wide.

The 22-year-old first caught the eye with Brescia, to whom he moved as a youngster back in 2004/05 hitting 10 goals in 40 appearances in Serie B prompting Napoli to snap him up as they returned back to Serie A after several seasons in the doldrums themselves.

This season he already has 8 goals in 24 Serie A matches, as Napoli have maneuvered themselves into a position to challenge for a position in the Champions League for next season thanks to a wonderful run of form, which saw them hold runaway league leaders Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw last time out.

Hamsik is one of a number of Napoli players who has been connected with Chelsea in the recent past, with his team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi also thought to be interesting the West London club.  However, Hamsik is now thought to be the man most wanted by Carlo Ancelotti, who has had the chance to watch him first-hand when in charge of AC Milan.

Chelsea may find they have some stiff competition for the 29-times capped Slovak forward, as Inter Milan are also thought to have made Hamsik a top-target for what could be a busy transfer period.  Furthermore if Napoli succeed in qualifying themselves for the Champions League next season, they may be in a stronger bargaining position in terms of demanding a transfer fee thanks to their potentially enhanced finances. 

The Napoli top scorer isn’t the only player on the Chelsea radar, with defender Neven Subotic currently under contract to German side Borussia Dortmund also being closely watched.  The 21-year-old Serb-stopper has had an impressive season at the Signal Iduna Park helping propel his side to the edge of the Champions League places this season thanks to some wonderful performances at the heart of the defence. 

Standing at an impressive 6’3” Subotic is not only excellent in the air but also a strong tackler and reader of the game.  His 6 goals for Dortmund last season in his first season after joining from Mainz will certainly earn comparisons with John Terry.  With 9 caps to his name already, Subotic may well be a top performer at the World Cup in South Africa alongside Nemanja Vidic for his country, and Chelsea may be eager to tie up a deal sooner rather than later if they are considering a move for him.

Check out Chelsea’s latest odds and form with: http://aboutaball.bettorlogic.com/leaguesummary.aspx

January Transfers Top 10 Best and Worst

One of the most inactive January windows in recent seasons for UK clubs, ended with the most ‘exciting’ gossip being around the likes of Adam Johnson and Victor Moses (hardly the most scintillating stuff). Maxi Rodriguez and Robbie Keane may well prove useful additions to Liverpool and Celtic respectively, while Robinho’s departure from Man City can surely be as good as any signing, but all in all this year’s winter sales seemed to go by with many shoppers seemingly uninterested and deciding to stick with what they have already got, in these financially turbulent times. Despite wrapping up a deadline day deal for Asmir Begovic, Tony Pullis has called for an end to the ‘circus’ of the January window and many other managers seem to echo his sentiments. As viewers however, the January window provides terrific entertainment, as our teams fight for new signings while simultaneously trying to fend off the leering advances of others eyeing up our star players. There have been some truly memorable signings over the years which have (for one reason or another) have had more impact than a Roy Keane slide tackle and ultimately turned a club’s season one way or the other. Here I have tried to list, what I think, are the top ten best and worst Premier League January signings of recent times. Enjoy!

The Good:

10. Dean Ashton (Norwich to West Ham £7m 2006)

Not exactly that cheap but proved his worth, especially in West Ham’s FA Cup run, scoring two crucial quarter-final goals and one in the epic 2006 final, bringing the hammers closer to cup glory than they have been for many years.

9. Shay Given (Newcastle to Man City £8m 2009)

Not so much instant impact as an obvious solid buy. Always worthy of a higher achieving club, Given finally got his chance last winter and has not looked back, reaffirming his position as one of Europe’s finest goalkeepers and a key figure in Man City’s expensively assembled team.

8. David Unsworth (Sheffield United to Wigan Athletic  free 2007)

A classic romantic January transfer story, from perhaps one of the least romantic players imaginable. Out of favour, ageing defender Unsworth leaves Sheffield for fellow strugglers Wigan on a free, faces Sheffield Utd on the final day of season, scores penalty to keep Wigan up and send his former employers down. Job done. 

7. Keiran Richardson (Man Utd to West Brom loan 2005)

Another great impact signing. Helped Keep the Baggies up during what has since been dubbed ‘the great escape’, with a crucial final day goal. His high quality performances during his few months on loan even earned him an England call-up.

6. Javier Mascherano (West Ham to Liverpool loan 2007)

Overlooked or underappreciated at West Ham. Taken on by Liverpool and has never looked back in establishing himself as one of the best young holding midfielders in the game and captain of Argentina. Can’t exactly say that about Hayden Mullins, can you?

5. Brede Hangeland (Copenhagen to Fulham £2.5m 2008)

Man of the match on his debut and established himself quickly as a quality Premier League defender. Was a big part of the Fulham team, re-vamped by Roy Hodgson, which managed to survive the drop despite being technically relegated at one point during the game against Man City. Unlike many other January impact signings, Hangeland has continued to improve in the following seasons.

4. Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St Petersburg to Arsenal £15m 2009)

The Compare the Meerkat lookalike and EURO 2008 hot-shot was (eventually) snapped up by Arsene Wenger last winter, despite having to pay more than he usually does. Some fantastic individual displays, including an unforgettable four-goal haul at Anfield, ensured Arsenal had no need to compare the market on his price tag.

3. Nemanja Vidic (Spartak Moscow to Man Utd £7m 2006)

Tracked by several clubs, Man Utd eventually stumped up the cash for the highly rated centre back. Although not so much of an immediate impact, he went on to form a rock-solid partnership with Ferdinand, in the three title winning seasons that followed.

2. Pedro Mendes (Tottenham to Portsmouth joint fee £7.5m 2006)

One of Harry Redknapp’s best ever wheeler-deals. Brought in a joint deal with two others, Pompey would probably have paid the combined fee for Mendes alone, if they knew he would score the two vital goals in their league survival.

1. Christophe Duggarry (Bordeaux to Birmingham City loan 2003)

An all-time classic, inspired, impact signing. Perhaps the idealised version out what all relegation-battling managers now see happening in their heads, when they try to sign a striker in the January window. Seen as something of a coup at the time, Birmingham’s French saviour scored a vital five in five to keep them in the Premiership, before signing permanently for the following season.

The Bad/Ugly:

10. DJ Campbell (Brentford to Birmingham £500,000 2006)

Sort of the anti-Duggarry for Birmingham. A series of impressive FA cup performances for Yeading and then Brentford saw the former non-league striker get his chance at the big-time with strugglers Birmingham, who needed to bolster their fire-power. Shockingly, Campbell was not so prolific in the Premier League (who would’ve thought?). Clearly out of his depth and often left out of the team, Birmingham were relegated at the end of the season.

9. Eric Djemba Djemba (Man Utd to Aston Villa £1.35m 2005)

The once ‘highly-rated’ Cameroonian was possibly Sir Alex’s worst ever signing. The man so bad they named him twice was then sold on to Aston Villa in the hope of a second chance at Premier League success in 2005. Lightning seemed to strike twice (or not at all, depending on how you look at it) and he was soon shipped out to Burnley on loan, before moving to Qatar in 2007.

8. Scott Parker (Charlton to Chelsea £10m 2004)

More a bad move for Parker than Chelsea. The big-money move (which was irrelevant to an Abramovich funded Chelsea) arguably stunted the promising England midfielders development, as he was given few chances in a team already packed with quality. An acrimonious exit from boyhood club Charlton also damaged his reputation. After just fifteen appearances in a year and a half, he was sold to Newcastle.

7.  James Beattie (Southampton to Everton £6m 2006)

Record transfer fee with big hopes that didn’t quite go to plan – so often the scenario for the striker bought in January. Beattie struggled with form, injuries and suspension during his ill-fated time at Goodison and was belatedly shipped out to Sheffield Utd in 2007.

6.  Ade Akinbiyi (Burnley to Sheff Utd £1.75m 2006)

So much the embodiment of the notion of the desperate signing, he was even named (albeit cruelly) Ade ‘Panic-buy’.  £1.75m might not seem much these days but when you consider it was a club record fee for Sheffield Utd, and after he only managed three goals in a season and a half and was sold back to Burnley for about half his original price, it starts to look less value for money.

5. Fernando Morientes (Real Madrid to Liverpool £6m 2005)

Seemed like a no-brainer at the time for new Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. A proven striker with great European pedigree and a former Champions League golden boot winner to boot, all for a knock-down price… how could that possibly fail? A poor eight goals in forty league games is how. The former Champions League winner and Spain international looked long past his sell buy date and out of his comfort zone in English football. After transferring to Valencia eighteen months later, he blamed Rafa Benitez’s coaching methods for his poor form at Liverpool.

4. Alfonso Alves (Heerenveen to Middlesbrough £12m 2008)

Alves managed two prove to things in his time on teeside. One: that achievement in the Dutch league is really not an indicator of whether you will be a success in England. And, two: Being Brazilian doesn’t make you brilliant. Gareth Southgate took a ‘gamble’ (cough, panic-buy, cough) on Alves hoping for the next Van Nistelrooy or Ronaldo. Instead, he was seemingly lumbered with another Mateja Kezman. Goal droughts and comical misses followed from the hapless forward, but loyally Southgate stuck by his (expensive) man to the end. Middlesbrough were relegated the following season and Alves sought a new footballing challenge… in (ahem) Qatar.

3. Savio Nsereko (Brescia to West Ham approximately £9m 2009)

‘Who is he?’ ‘Where did he come from?’ And ‘where did he go?’ Were the three main questions asked of West Ham’s record signing last year. The Ugandan-born Germany youth striker seemed an expensive gamble by manager Gianfranco Zola, but the Italian’s popularity and moderate success let him away with the puzzling/extortionate transfer fee at the time. Six months, ten games and no goals later the unsettled Savio was quietly moved on to Fiorentina for an ‘undisclosed fee’. And one year on, Zola is still searching for a decent striker.

2. Nigel Quashie (Portsmouth to Southampton £2m 2005)

The man with the moniker ‘Uncle Albert’ (as, like the Only Fools character, he tends to be a key component in sinking ships). Several of his other moves (including to West Brom and West Ham) could also have made the list. Memorably once signed for his ‘experience in relegation battles’. Needless to say Southampton were relegated after four months of Quashie’s arrival.

1. Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers to Newcastle £8m 2005)

Signed by Newcastle for an (at the time) eye watering eight million, he was supposed to solve Newcastle’s defensive problems alongside Titus Bramble… no, really. One of the most calamitous defences the Premier League has ever produced followed, while Rangers laughed all the way to the bank. Makes you think Graeme Souness should really think twice before being so quick to publically condemn Rafa Benitez’s transfer record.

Sporting Lisbon mulling move for ex-Everton and Portsmouth midfielder?

Could Manuel Fernandes be back on his way to Portugal?

Reports in Spain say that Sporting Lisbon are considering a move for the ex-Everton midfielder Manuel Fernandes.  Currently with Valencia in La Liga, Fernandes has been targeted by Sporting after a move for Glasgow Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes fell through.

The one-time Everton, Portsmouth and Benfica midfielder has been targeted by the Portuguese side as they look to close the gap to the top of the table in the Superliga.  Indeed Sporting Clube de Lisbon to give them their full name are now a massive 12 points off the race for the title languishing on 27 points, with the leaders Sporting Braga and cross-city rivals Benfica on 39.

Sporting have been linked with several midfielders, most notably Glasgow Rangers’ Pedro Mendes, another player with Portsmouth links, but a deal  never came to pass, and the former FC Porto player remains in Scotland.

Manuel Fernandes has made just one start this season in the UEFA Europa League, and a further 3 sub appearances in La Liga, but has fallen behind the like of Ever Banega and David Albelda in the pecking order in the central midfield area for Valencia.

Fernandes, like so many players not featuring regularly for their first team, is desperately looking for a way out of Valencia to ensure that he keeps his place in the Portugal World Cup squad later this year.  Fernandes, a one-time regular in the heart of the midfield, made 19 league appearances for Everton in two separate spells and played ten times for Pompey as well.  However, a full deal to move to Goodison Park never came off after a potential permanent move fell foul of then-recent new rules implemented by the Premier League regarding player rights and contract ownership in the wake of the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano affairs.

During his time in England he was a regular in the national team squad after impressing with his contribution in the middle of the park both going forward and screening the defence.  However he has made only one appearance for Portugal in the World Cup qualifying campaign, which dates back to November 2007. 

However, after making 27 La Liga appearances for Valenica last season, a slow recovery from injury and a susbequent loss of form have badly affected Fernandes this time around.  Therefore in a bid to salvage his season, he is now hoping that he can get some regular action with Sporting Lisbon.

Sunderland ready to target unsettled Swiss right-back?

Could the Swiss right-back be on his way to the North-East?

 Reports from Italian daily La Repubblica say that Lazio’s Swiss right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner is ready to quit the club and has set his sights on a move to the Premiership. 

With Sunderland in the market for a right-back having already failed in an attempt to secure the signature of Hamburg’s Ivorian international Guy Demel, could the un-named club be the Black Cats?

The 25-year-old Swiss international has been with Lazio since signing from French football in 2008, where he played with Lille helping them into the Champions League.  The 25 times capped international is a versatile character able to play both as a conventional right-back, as well as a more attacking right wing-back, and his surging runs up and down the wing have earned him the nick-name Forrest Gump from the Lazio-Ultras.

Lichsteiner has been linked on several occasions with a move to the Premiership, most recently with Everton in the wake of Euro 2008, but opted for a move to Lazio instead. 

However, the recent arrival of Danish international Jakob Poulsen from AGF Aarhus in the Italian capital in direct competition to Lichtsteiner, allied with a less familiar role on the right-hand side of a four man midfield playing in front of a back three, has convinced the Swiss-stopper it’s time to seek a new club.

Sunderland have been looking for a reinforcement in the right-back area, and were initially heavily linked with a move for Guy Demel before that transfer hit the buffers.  Reports in the English media say that the club have launched a £10-million bid for Portsmouth’s Younes Kaboul, but Lichtsteiner is likely to be available for a good deal less than that.

Lazio are still financially strapped for cash after several years staving off bankruptcy, and may be tempted into doing business for around £2-3 million.  Overall Lichtsteiner has made 26 appearances for Lazio this season in both Serie A and the Europa League, as well as playing 8 games for Switzerland as they eased themselves into the World Cup by winning their pool

Fulham about to lose two young prospects?

Reports on Italian website Tutto Mercato Web indicate that Fulham’s young Italian midfielder Luca Moscatiello could be on his way back home.  The loss of Moscatiello would come as a souble blow after reports in the English media that Manchester United are lining up a bid for the impressive Chris Smalling.

 Moscatiello (18) has only been in West-London for 6 months after arriving in the summer after breaking through at the Inter Milan youth academy.  However, it was Fulham, who moved in for the midfield prospect and Roy Hodgson had no hesitation in offering Moscatiello his first professional contract.

However, Mosciatello is yet to make his first team debut at Craven Cottage despite several appearances for the reserves and youth team.  A recent interview given just after Christmas indicated that he didn’t intend to stick around in England too long, stating that he was planning to return to Italy sooner rather than later.

It now seems that Palermo, and at least one Serie B club are thought to be keen on offering the player a move back to Italy.  Palermo in particular have been busy with several high profile comings and goings as they look to snatch a European place in Italy.

The potential departure of Moscatiello wouldn’t be the only starlet heading out of Fulham this transfer window with Manchester United thought to be lining up a bid to tempt Chris Smalling away from the club.  The 20-year-old has already been linked with a move to Arsenal, and now United are also keen on snaring the centre-back, who has already impressed both in the league and at England U-21 level.

On the plus side, Fulham are thought to be in the market for Egyptian forward Geddo.  The Ittihad striker is currently at the 2010 African Cup of Nations, but made quite an impression as substitute against Cameroon in the quarter-finals helping to set one goal up and scoring another in the 3-1 victory.

The 25-year-old had a scoring record of about one in every four for his club side, but has impressed in recent international matches with Egypt catching the eye with his pace and willingness to run at defenders.

Wolfsburg ready to rival Tottenham for Simon Kjaer?

Reports from Germany suggest that German side VfL Wolfsburg are on the trail of Tottenham target Simon Kjaer.

It looks like the proposed move for Palermo’s Danish defender Simon Kjaer to White Hart Lane could be in danger of being hijacked by ambitious Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg.  The defending German champions are thought to have made Kjaer one of a number of defensive targets to snap up before the closure of the winter transfer window.

Spurs have been long credited with an interest in the Italian-based defender, with reports surfacing early in the window that Kjaer was heading to London for talks with Harry Redknapp and the club.  However, Tottenham and Palermo have struggled to reach an agreement over the fee, which after much haggling appears to have been fixed at €11 million.

There has also been the small matter of the player’s willingness to consider a move, something that has been the subject of some debate as the transfer drags on.

The inability of Spurs to close the deal has promoted Wolfsburg to try their luck and hijack the move.  The potential acquisition of Kjaer wouldn’t be the first time that Palermo and Wolfsburg have done business, as 18-months ago the German side moved for Italian internationals Andrea Barzagli and Christian Zaccardo.

This season Wolfsburg have been hampered in their attempts to defend their Bundesliga title won in thrilling circumstances last May by a leaky defence, and have already snapped up Brazilian defender Rever for around €5 million from Gremio.

The VW-sponsored side have the worst defence in the top-half of the German top-flight, and the second worst in the entire division, with just bottom-team Hertha Berlin letting more in, so more defensive arrivals are a distinct possibility.

FC Twente-based Douglas is thought to one option, whilst one-time Liverpool target Rafina, who was thought to be in talks with Atletico Madrid last week, could also be on his way to Wolfsburg.  The German team, despite losing out to Manchester United and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League group stages, aren’t short of cash, so if Tottenham do want to wrap up a deal they’d better get a move on!

Blackburn to miss out on South American deal

Reports from both Italy and Spain suggest that Blackburn Rovers are set to be disappointed in their quest to tie up Sebastian Eguren.

 The Uruguayan international had been linked earlier in the transfer window with a move to Ewood Park on a loan deal from his current side Villarreal. 

However, Eguren’s agent has now confirmed that his client is in advanced talks with Lazio and expects the player to join the Biancoceleste shortly.

Blackburn were thought to have identified Eguren as a possible target in the transfer window has Big Sam and the management team look for possible options to help bolster their squad.  Eguren has been struggling for games in La Liga this season, and is in need of matches to help him cement a place in the Uruguay World Cup squad ahead of the tournament in the summer, for which his country qualified thanks to a narrow play-off victory over Costa Rica. 

It would now seem that Eguren prefers a move to the Italian capital over a switch to Lancarshire, and Blackburn will have to switch their attentions elsewhere.

Ruud van Nistelrooy set to snub Premier League for a switch to Hamburg

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is set to reject a return to the Premier League and instead join Bundesliga side Hamburg on a free transfer. The 33 year-old Dutchman has been linked with moves to West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City, but now it appears he is set to move to Germany despite some big-money offers from the English clubs.

van Nistelrooy has failed to win back a place in the Real Madrid side following lengthy injury lay-offs during the last 18 months. The Spanish club have allowed him a free transfer in order for him to be able to try and push for a place in the Dutch national squad for the forthcoming World Cup this summer after reversing his decision to retire from the international scene after Euro 2008.

The star striker has not been short of offers since becoming available, with half the top flight clubs around Europe vying for his signature. And that’s hardly surprising given his goalscoring record. During his club career, his has amassed 326 goals from 514 appearances and has scored 33 times from 64 appearances for the Netherlands.

Despite receiving better financial offers from elsewhere, including a reported offer of £100,000 a week from West Ham United’s new owners, van Nistelrooy is about to put pen to paper on a transfer to Hamburg.

Spanish sports daily Marca, believe that the main reason behind van Nistelrooy’s decision to snub the Premier League is that he doesn’t believe he is at the same physical level as he was when he was at Manchester United. The less physical demands of the Bundesliga may suit him much better.

A deal between the two clubs is believed to have been concluded and van Nistelrooy will travel to Germany over the weekend to finalise personal terms and complete a medical before signing for the Rothosen.

Arsenal on the tail of the player dubbed the “new Henry”?

Reports from Spain today suggest that Arsenal could be one of a number of clubs chasing the signature of Loic Remy.  The OGC Nice player has been linked with a host of clubs, and is expected to be on the move during the transfer window.

 

The 23-year-old has been attracting much interest from around Europe following some excellent performances for the side based on the French south-coast.  Remy has knocked in seven league goals in 20 games, which accounts for nearly half of his sides attacking output in what has been a disappointing season for the side from the Stade du Rey.

Remy has an unusual history in that he came through the Lyon academy, but after being farmed out on loan to Lens, he was allowed to join Nice on a permanent basis at the beginning of last season.  His first season brought 11 goals in 32 league games, and this season he could be on course to better it.

His excellent form has brought him to the attention of not only a string of clubs around Europe, but also the Fnrech national side, and he earned his first cap at the end of last season in a friendly against Nigeria.

Since then the like of Barcelona, AC Milan and Arsenal have all been tracking his progress.  His agent sparked a wave of interest by urging AC Milan to make a move for the player, insisting that if they don’t within 48 hours Remy will be on his way to another side outside Italy. 

Many have interpreted that to be Arsenal, who are on the look-out for attacking options following the long-term injury to Robin van Persie.  Remy is quick and versatile and just the sort of player that could represent a quality enhancement to Arsenal’s attack, both in the short and medium term.

Remy could be available at a price a good deal lower than the one Bordeaux have quoted for Marouane Chamakh, a player with a lesser goal-scoring record than Remy.  Therefore Remy could become another of Arsene Wenger’s genuine transfer gems,

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