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On The Move
June 30, 2009
Posted by ESPNsoccernet Staff on 06/30/2009

We'll be keeping you as up-to-date as possible on the latest transfer talk in On The Move. You can catch the morning newspaper gossip in Paper Round and then follow the developing stories in our constantly updated transfer blog here:

23.59 Another day of speculation is over with Burnley, Manchester United and Wolves splashing the cash. Join us on Wednesday for another busy day of rumour and confirmed deals.

22.44 News reaching us that Darius Vassell could be heading for Turkey. Ankaragucu claim to have opened talks with the Manchester City striker-cum-winger.

21.34 Lucho Gonzalez, one of the stars for FC Porto in the Champions League last season, is heading for Ligue 1 and Marseille for £15m.

20.00 A signing for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, with the club completing a deal for Hertha Berlin's Croatia international Josep Simunic.

19.10 Yet another confirmed move as Luis Antonio Valencia's long-rumoured move from Wigan to Manchester United has been completed. No confirmation on the fee, though, which is reported as undisclosed.

19.07 Burnley have made their second signing of the day, this time smashing their club transfer record by paying £3m to Hibernian for striker Steven Fletcher.

17.38 Hull City are still hopeful of luring Michael Owen to the club. The striker's contract with Newcastle United expires tonight.

17.33 Blackburn Rovers have signed French midfielder Steven N'Zonzi on a four-year contract for a reported fee of £400,000 from Amiens. The 20-year-old had been linked with Arsenal.

17.21 Inter Milan's Brazilian star Maicon will be staying at Inter Milan, according to his agent. Manchester City, Real Madrid and Chelsea are all tracking the highly-rated defender but Antonio Caliendo has assured the Nerazzurri fans that his client is going nowhere. "I reiterate Maicon will not leave Inter," Caliendo said. "I believe in respecting a contract, and the fans have nothing to fear."

16.53 Portsmouth forward Nwankwo Kanu will sign a new contract to keep him at Fratton Park for another year. The Nigerian's legal representative, Samuel Okoronkwo, said: "I fully expect Kanu to be playing at Portsmouth next season."

16.25 Lyon forward Karim Benzema could be allowed to leave the French club if a big enough offer arrives at the Stade Gerland. Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal are all tracking the 21-year-old and Lyon coach Claude Puel said: "They say you can't hold back a player against his will but, faced with a huge transfer and the wishes of a player to leave, you have to consider everything."

15.58 The latest update in the Samuel Eto'o transfer saga comes from Barcelona, who claim they have offered the Cameroon striker a new contract. "Barcelona are waiting for a reply from Eto'o on an offer of an extension for two years on the same salary level as before," a statement from the Catalan club read. Man City have made a €25m offer for the 28-year-old.

15.16 Hull City manager Phil Brown has admitted his attempts to sign Nancy striker Marc-Antoine Fortune have begun to flounder and he may have to look elsewhere. Brown said: "It hasn't moved forward in the last 48 hours. He has an offer from us and an offer from Celtic and someone has said something about West Ham."

14.47 Liverpool winger Paul Anderson has left Anfield to join Nottingham Forest, in a £250,000 deal. The 20-year-old, who was on loan at the The City Ground last season, has signed a three-year deal.

14.15 Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United target Mirko Vucinic has hinted he will shun a move to the Premier League to stay at Roma. "Mirko is very happy to remain at Roma. He recently renewed his contract," his agent, Alessandro Lucci, said.

13.40 Blackburn Rovers are considering making a move for injury-prone winger Andy Van Der Meyde. The former Holland international is a free agent after being released by Everton. The 29-year-old made just 24 appearances in four years at Goodison Park.

13.11 Burnley have agreed a fee with Hibernian to sign Scotland international Steven Fletcher. The 22-year-old striker, who is a product of Hibs' youth system, has made over 150 appearances for the SPL club and is also a target for Wigan Athletic and Celtic.

12.40 Chelsea have already made some unexpected moves in the transfer market and the Blues are now about to make a shock swoop for Middlesbrough goalkeeper Ross Turnbull. The 24-year-old, who has played less than 30 games for Boro's first team, is available on a free transfer.

12.15 Premier League new boys Burnley have signed defender Tyrone Mears, who spent last season on loan at French Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille, from Derby County. The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal at Turf Moor.

12.06 Arsenal's hunt for a new defensive midfielder looks set to continue after transfer target Felipe Melo signed a one-year contract extension at Fiorentina. The 25-year-old Brazil international is now tied to the Tuscan club until June 2013.

11.45 Samuel Eto'o's agent, Jose Maria Mesalles, has told Barcelona to make up their minds whether or not to sell the striker, amid reports of a £30m bid from Manchester City. "If Barca don't want him they should say so, so we can pursue the player's future in a professional manner," Mesalles said.

11.15 Some bloke called Kaka has completed his medical at Real Madrid and is expected to finalise his £56m move from Milan later today.

10.45 Arsenal have released Portugal Under-21 international Amaury
Bischoff but have also signed up the next crop of youngsters to professional contracts. FA Youth Cup winners Luke Ayling (17), Craig Eastmond (18), Cedric Evina (17) and 18-year-old keeper James Shea have all been handed new deals.

10.18 Fulham have made an offer of £2.2m to Primera Liga side Almeria for Nigeria international Kalu Uche. The 26-year-old forward is eager for the move to go through and said: "To play for Fulham is a sensational prospect for me."

09.33 Reading striker Kevin Doyle has finally managed to bag himself a move back to the Premier League - signing for newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Republic of Ireland international signed for an undisclosed fee but if reports of a £6.5m deal are correct it would make him Wolves' record buy.

9.19am: A horrible story if it's true. Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o wants a £12.5m signing on fee as well as the £250k per week that Manchester City are willing to pay him. Only one word for that if the Sun are to be believed.. Greedy.

8.35am: Fernando Torres reckons that keeping Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso at the club is a key part of Liverpool's title challenge next year. Quite right, but it might be nice if they were able to snap up one of the many available Valencia stars that Torres was chirping on about at the weekend too.

8.15am: Man Utd are inching every closer to wrapping up a deal for Wigan winger Antonio Valencia, who will provide a pretty decent replacement for Madrid-bound Cristiano Ronaldo, as he's cut his holiday short to seal the move.

8.00am: Arsenal new-boy Andrei Arshavin has admitted he would be "really happy" to play for Barcelona. Not really what you want to hear from a player who only joined the club in Januar, but we'll await the inevitable 'misquote' story later.

June 29, 2009
Posted by ESPNsoccernet Staff on 06/29/2009

We'll be keeping you as up-to-date as possible on the latest transfer talk in On The Move. You can catch the morning newspaper gossip in Paper Round and then follow the developing stories in our constantly updated transfer blog here:

11.16 pm UK time A quiet night in transfer world concludes with the news that Inter Milan have signed striker Diego Milito from Genoa. The Argentine hitman had been linked with a number of Premier League and Spanish clubs but Jose Mourinho has got his man.

4.46 pm Danish defender Lars Jacobsen, who was probably as surprised as the rest of us that he got to play in the FA Cup Final, has joined Blackburn for what looks to be a free transfer. Big Sam is loading up his defence.

4.04 pm Burnley are trying to augment their team for next season and Sheffield Wednesday striker Marcus Tudgay is most heavily linked. However, the Owls deny any move from the Clarets. .

3.05 pm: How mysterious - an un-named English club have made a bid for Udinese's Gaetano D'Agostino.

Juventus had been in pole position to sign the 27-year-old Italian playmaker, but talks collapsed with Udinese less than impressed with the value of Juve's offer.

Just a guess, but perhaps the club is Chelsea? With new boss Carlo Ancelotti's knowledge of the Italian game it would make sense.

1.20 pm: Just when it had all gone quiet over Inter Milan's interest in Chelsea mis-fit Deco, the Nerazzurri's midfielder Thiago Motta has chimed in saying good a player his former Barcelona team-mate is.

One wonders if Mr Motta is looking for a bit of commission or fancies a future career as an agent?

11.20 am: The will he/ won't nonsense surrounding Franck Ribery continues. Bayern Munich sporting director Christian Nerlinger has just said he reckons the club can convince the Real Madrid and Barcelona (and Chelsea and Man Utd) target to stay in Germany.

Christian, take it from us: You can't.

10.42 am: Mixed messages from Inter Milan right-back Maicon this morning. He says he is happy to stay in Italy and will shun big-money offers from England and Spain - but only if he is handed an improved contract.

The 27-year-old, who was a key figure as Jose Mourinho's Inter clinched a fourth straight Serie A title last term, has been linked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid this summer.

10.38 am: AC Milan have reiterated they have no intention of selling Brazil striker Alexandre Pato to Chelsea.

10.22 am: Sky Sports News claim that Antonio Valencia's protracted £17m move from Wigan to Man Utd is on the verge of being sealed...

10.01 am: Reports suggest that Manchester City's supposed £25m offer to Barcelona for Samuel Eto'o would see the Cameroon striker become the highest paid player in the world taking home an eye-watering £250,000 a week.

9.20 am: Premier League newcomers Burnley have given veteran defender Graham Alexander has signed a new one-year contract. The 37-year-old was an influential figure last season as the club secured promotion via the play-offs.

8.40 am: There is suggestion this morning that Greek giants Olympiacos have launched a bid to sign Newcastle striker Michael Owen - which could be a setback for Hull and Stoke who are also keen on the former England player.

June 28, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/28/2009

''Stratospherical''. No, not the new name for Sky Sports' weekend when the big four all play each other, but the bid that Manchester City have launched for Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.

Joan Laporta - he of all things Camp Nou - has made it clear that he wants Eto'o to stay, but would understand completely if the Cameroon forward left Spain to become the highest paid player in the world at Eastlands. £200k a week is the figure rumoured to be involved, but you have to question whether that total is worth it when you sign for a club who has not made it into Europe. Playing with Lionel Messi or Robinho? I know which one I'd choose.

Eidur Gudjohnsen looks likely to leave the European Champions and admits that a return to England is "probably inevitable" - although City are not that keen with this link. Preferring the bloke that scored 30 goals in 36 games, over the one that made just 11 starts all season.

It's somewhat surprising that the future of Franck Ribery hasn't been linked with a move to Eastlands, but instead the back pages have been splashed with Man Utd and Real Madrid interest. Indeed, Madrid have just been linked with a 32m euros bid for the striker; although now it's time to add another club, as Arsenal are apparently keen to get involved.

Nevermind that Arsene Wenger has shown a complete lack of interest when it comes to spending big money, it sounds good. But if you're keen on something with a big more substance then links with Lyon striker Karim Benzema could be closer to the mark as the Gunners might have an Emmanuel Adebayor-shaped hole to fill up front next season.

The reason for this is that AC Milan target Edin Dzeko has revealed he will be staying at Wolfsburg, and the Rossoneri watched their other target Luis Fabiano fail to score against South Africa in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. Therefore, a shortlist of three appears now to be a shortlist of one - with £25m quite enough to persuade Le Prof that he should sell.

Adebayor has also been linked with Chelsea, but he might not fancy a move to Stamford Bridge after the nasty things Luiz Felipe Scolari has been saying. Big Phil hit out at Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Petr Cech over a lack of respect when he was boss and it could serve as a warning to other potential Blues' targets over what really goes on in the dressing room.

Ahead of the Confederations Cup final, U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey is keen to tell the world that he won't be leaving Fulham and has shocked everyone by actually THANKING the club for making him a better player. Makes a change from those who arrive for pittance, are sold at a huge profit and take all the credit for their development themselves.

This summer should see a few clear-outs as clubs try to tighten their belts. Middlesbrough misfit Mohamed Shawky could be one of the first out of the door as he is being targeted by Egyptian champions Al-Ahly.

Alvaro Arbeloa could be on his way out of Liverpool - making room for Glen Johnson; while City's Richard Dunne is interesting Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur as he doesn't look like he'll get much first-team action at Eastlands next season.

Over in Europe, Barcelona might ship out Eto'o and Gudjohnsen, but they also need to make space for Brazil youngster Keirrison, so Belarus flop Alex Hleb could be gone. Aston Villa are one of the clubs holding their hands up highest, but you'd imagine Bayern Munich might fancy joining the race if a certain Mr Ribery decides to seal his move out of Germany.

June 27, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/27/2009

We'll be keeping you abreast as possible on the latest transfer talk in On The Move. You can catch the morning newspaper gossip in Paper Round and then follow the weekend's news here:

With the news that Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer is set to go through on July 1, the rumour mill has been pretty quiet so far this weekend, but there's still plenty to keep you guessing.

Reports that AC Milan are interested in Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor should come as no surprise, but the Italians have now made it quite clear that the Togo striker is their man... if moves for Edin Dzeko and Luis Fabiano don't come off, of course.

They've been in contact with Arsene Wenger and the Gunners boss has been ''friendly'' over the phone, which is not the impression we thought he would give when getting calls to sell his players. Still, it may not be long before Ade is on his way.

Aston Villa could have some cash to spend - and more than the £12m they got for Gareth Barry - as owner Randy Lerner says he'll giev Martin O'Neill some extra funding. Linked with Sol Campbell in the paper round, MON should certainly turn his attentions elsewhere.

He could really do with someone like a fully-fit Phil Jagielka. Although the Everton defender would be a bit of a hypocrite if he left Goodison when he'd just told the club that they need to retain their star players this summer if they are to challenge for a top four place. Imagine.

Reports in Italy have suggested that Inter's Mancini could be one his way to West Ham to keep Luis Jimenez company. And Gianfranco Zola does like pinching players from the Italian league, so don't rule it out.

Fulham have been linked with a fair few players in recent days as they look to cement their place in the UCL/mid-table/Europe/relegation for next season. Seol Ki-hyeon says he'll be back to help their push for whatever they end up pushing for - although Roy Hodgson might very well have replaced him by the time he gets back.

Portsmouth are also keen to cement their place.. erm.. somewhere.. and reckon they can't do that with veteran keeper David James still there. They're going to get a new manager at some point and if it is Vahid Halilhodzic (???) then free agent Yohann Pele - who was once linked with Arsenal - should start a new life on the south coast.

Bolton want Ferrie Bodde at the Reebok and have made a bid of £2.5m, according to Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins; but they're not going to get Christian Poulsen, and neither are Fenerbahce, as he's opted to stay at Juventus.

And finally, just to show you that paper gossip isn't always true.. a nice story we had in the morning roundup about Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish not wanting his new signing Giovanny Espinoza is rubbish. "The board have given me great backing so far so I'm dismayed by claims suggesting I am not happy with the signing of Espinoza," he told the club's official website. Props to the Sun for making everyone look a little silly.

June 26, 2009
Posted by ESPNsoccernet Staff on 06/26/2009

We'll be keeping you abreast as possible on the latest transfer talk in On The Move. You can catch the morning newspaper gossip in Paper Round and then follow the developing stories in our constantly updated transfer blog here:

4.20 pm UK Time: Sergio Aguero's agent claims he knows nothing about Manchester United's supposed interest in the Atletico Madrid striker.

The Premier League champs are rumoured to be prepping a £44m offer, which would be £8m less than the Argentina international's buy-out clause.

4.01 pm Finally, Liverpool complete the signing of Glen Johnson from Portsmouth. A bargain at £17m...

3.48 pm The Xabi Alonso link with Real Madrid continues as Spanish newspaper AS say that holidaying new Real coach Manuel Pellegrini has been guaranteed the use of the Liverpool midfielder by big-spender Florentino Perez, who always gets his man.

2.19 pm Djibril Cisse has completed his move to Panathinaikos, thus ending any links with Spurs or a perma-deal for Sunderland. The multi-coloured hair and beard combo will grace the Greek league now.

2.10 pm: Valencia say that Manchester United and Barcelona are not yet in for David Villa. Real Madrid are the only team to bid, only to say that the striker was overpriced. Villa responded this week with a horror show in the Confederations Cup.

2.05 pm: The word is Michael Owen's agents didn't even send Hull one of those infamous brochures. Which means Phil "Agent Orange" Brown may struggle to get hold of "Magic Mike".

1.30 pm: Lee Bowyer back in the Premier League? Birmingham want to make last season's loan for the snarling one a permanent move. McDonald's breakfasts all round then!

12.49 pm: Phil Brown wants to talk to Michael Owen. Does Michael want to talk? Phil Brown made himself available to tell Sky Sports News that if Owen can "give us the
time of day and we can get around a table, then who knows?'' We think we know.

12.33 pm: How to solve a problem like Martin Laursen? It seems David Wheater is Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill's solution to the loss of the much lamented Danish central defender. Villa are most keenly linked with the heart-throb stopper.

12.24 pm: Bad news for fans of Liverpool. Andrea Dossena's agent doesn't think the proposed move to Juventus will happen. And that Dossena is "happy" at Liverpool. Surely this is a piece of chicanery from Roberto La Florio, for it is he.

12.09 pm: They call him "Melo yellow". Fiorentina's Brazilian midfielder is not leaving says his agent. Arsenal were linked.

11.35 am: More Middlesbrough. Gareth Southgate has denied making a move for Phil Neville to be his player-coach. Gary seems more likely to us as Phil had a rather good season at Everton last term. He's captain there too. An odd one.

11.31 am: Blackburn complete a permanent deal for Gael Givet, the French full-back who spent the second half of last season at Ewood Park.

11.16 am: New reality dawns on Middlesbrough as they sign Colchester winger Mark Yeates. Costing considerably less than Afonso Alves too though we don't know the fee.

9:45 am: Bayern Munich have again ruled out the prospect of selling in-demand midfielder Franck Ribery, insisting the "irreplaceable" player is not for sale at any price.

Is this just a ploy to make sure Real Madrid pay top dollar when they make their inevitable bid?

8:40am: It is reported this morning that Sir Alex Ferguson is "on red alert" to make a £40m bid for David Villa after Barcelona opened the bidding for the Valencia striker on Thursday evening. We all thought he was going to Real Madrid but maybe not...

On Thursday he said he was staying in Spain, but money talks and with Valencia deep in debt surely it's a question of whoever offers the most.

June 25, 2009
Posted by John Brewin on 06/25/2009

We'll be keeping you abreast as possible on the latest transfer talk in On The Move. You can catch the morning newspaper gossip in Paper Round and then follow the developing stories in our constantly updated transfer blog here:

Latest Developments: UK Time

11.59pm So that's all for today. Join us again tomorrow for the latest gossip from the world of football.

11.11pm Not exactly football news, but pretty big story tonight as Michael Jackson has apparently had a heart attack and died, aged 50. A sad day for music.

10.49pm In other Bayern related news, Ze Roberto doesn't look like he'll be joining Man City when he leaves Munich, but he won't be joining Cologne or any other Bundesliga club either. Which leaves you wondering where he will end up.

10.47pm Luca Toni looks like he'll be heading back to Italy this summer. The striker is not as important as he once was now Bayern have Mario Gomez, and said: ''If I did not find space [to play] at Bayern, then I would not have a problem reducing my wages and returning to Italy.''

10.26pm Interesting stuff coming in. The Derby Evening Telegraph reckon that Paul Jewell is off to Stoke as assistant boss. Of course Jewell didn't exactly impress as Derby manager and now could be off to their Midlands neighbours. Could the Potters use his experience of the top flight to stay up next year? Or should he wait until someone gets their P45?

10.01pm Burnley are also pretty keen to sign Trinidad and Tobago star Jason Scotland, but could see their attempts ruined by new Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, who managed the striker while he was at Swansea.

9.46pm Burnley have joined the race for ex-Celtic defender Bobo Balde. "I have an offer of a trial with Birmingham. They have asked me to join them for pre-season when they return on July 8" Balde told the Daily Express. Adding: ''Burnley have also made me an offer, but unconditionally.'' Not sure which of these he'd prefer to join, but he'll have a good long think before he decides.

9.35pm One player who could be on the way out of Bayern is Tim Borowski, who is wanted by his old club Werder Bremen after they lost Diego to Juventus this summer.

9.20pm Germany U-21 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer might head off to Bayern Munich, but only if there is a 'crazy offer'. Given what we've seen in the transfer window already, that should be somewhere in the region of £40m.

8.46pm Liverpool missed out on the chance to be bought up by a different American owner a few years ago according to the Times, as Robert Kraft - owner of the New England Patriots in the NFL - backed out of a deal in 2005 because of the lack of a salary cap in the Premier League. A cap might have been a good thing, as perhaps then Glen Johnson wouldn't be on £100,000-a-week.

8.20pm Apparently Maicon's agent has been running his mouth, claiming that his player is wanted by Manchester City and Real Madrid. Well, he's certainly not going to be at Inter next season after everything he's said, but only if someone actually comes in with a bit of cash.

7.53pm Lazio president Claudio Lotito has said that he has not made an effort to sign Pavel Nedved. The Czech is a former Lazio favourite, but looks like he'd rather retire gracefully from the Serie A than continue his career past the age of 36.

7.03pm Phil Brown will be moving some of his strikeforce on at Hull. "I'm happy to bring three, or possibly even four strikers into the frame," he told The Hull Daily Mail. Which doesn't bode well for Marlon King, Daniel Cousin, Craig Fagan or Caleb Folan given they only managed 13 goals between them. Although it's a worry if he thinks that Michael Owen might be able to do better.

6.43pm Gianfranco Zola reckons new signing Luis Jimenez - who they picked up from Italian giants Inter on a season-long loan - will be a big hit next season. But then he said that about Savio Nsereko too.

6.03pm David Villa won't be joining an English side. He's back from the disappointment of losing against the U.S. and still isn't sure where he'll be playing his club football next season - although it won't be in England. ''I will play in Spain because it is the league that is best for me, I will not go abroad,'' he said.

5.30pm Klass Jan Huntelaar is apparently being linked with a move to Man Utd as they're keen on a new striker. Huntelaar's agent has been reported as saying, "Kaka said he wanted to stay at AC Milan, but now he's gone to Real Madrid," so anything could happen.

4.59pm Javier Saviola's agent has revealed that the striker is interested in a loan move to Benfica. Probably because he's not that keen of being 18th choice forward at the Bernabeu next season.

4.21pm In a move designed to pour cold water on links with a move to Barca or Real Madrid, Cesc Fabregas has said he is "wholeheartedly committed to Arsenal".

The Arsenal skipper's latest comments will no doubt please fans who were worried after he criticised his team-mates' "impotence" in their attempts to win silverware.

4.15pm Birmingham have signed Cardiff defender Roger Johnson in a £5m deal. The 26-year-old has inked a three-year deal tying him to St Andrews until the summer of 2012.

3.27pm AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani says the club have turned down a "monster offer" from an English club for Brazilian teen Alexandre Pato.

No word on who the club in question is, but the term "monster" implies the involvement of Man City, Eric Hall or Chelsea, and with the Blues managed by former Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti, that seems the most likely.

3.20pm Reality hits home for Middlesbrough: The freshly relegated side have signed Colchester winger Mark Yeates.

No offence to the 24-year-old Dubliner, but his arrival his symptomatic of Boro's demise. Remember back in the day when they used to sign players like Ravanelli and Juninho? How are the mighty fallen...

3.07pm Stoke fans can relax. Maybe. For a while there it seemed like their club were determined to have the league's most injury-prone forward line: the dream/ nightmare combo of Dean Ashton and Michael Owen.

But Stoke chairman Peter Coates has woken from his star-struck trance and although he hasn't ruled out a move for Owen he has at least vowed to take into account the 29-year-old's injury record before promising him a megabucks deal.

1.45pm Former Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune is to be offered a trial with newly promoted Premier League club Birmingham City.

The 32-year-old is available on a free after leaving Belgian side Tubize... no, us neither. If Brum aren't interest, Fortune's former United teammate Roy Keane could offer him a contract at Ipswich Town.

1.11pm AC Milan offer Emmanuel Adebayor second prize in the competition to be their striker by saying Edin Dzeko is their first choice but that if they don't land Wolfsburg's Bosnian then they'll go for Adebayor or Luis Fabiano. But, say Milan, Arsene Wenger doesn't want to sell. Are they sure about that?

12.00pm: Rarely-sighted striker Dean Ashton is a target for Stoke City, who are locked in talks with West Ham over the good-when-he's-fit-which-is-not-often target-man. So say Sky Sports News though we're struggling to corroborate the story.

11.16 am Real Madrid latest: Lyon say that the Spanish club have made an enquiry for Karim Benzema but he's not for sale. Real have heard that one before. Meanwhile, they've taken the somewhat leftfield step of signing a defender. Raul Albiol will join for £15m from Valencia. Mind you, he wasn't even good enough to feature in Spain's catastrophic defeat to the USA last night....

10.39 am : Inter centre-back Nicolas Burdisso doesn't want to go to Chelsea either.

10.03 am: Former Sunderland workhorse Djibril Cisse looks likely to head to Greek club Panathinaikos, according to PA Sport, who give their take on the story the truly dreadful headline: "ACROPO-CISS NOW". Oof.

9.25 am: Andrea Pirlo wants to stay with AC Milan and wants to honour his contract, thus putting Chelsea off his scent.

9.06 am: Alvaro Arbeloa has expressed his interest in joining Real Madrid's "project". He'll seemingly be cashed in by Liverpool to pay for the rather costly Glen Johnson.

8.30 am : The Carlos Tevez affair will be decided in the next ten days, according to lovable agent Kia Joorabchian, who has continued his attacks on Manchester United for leaving it too late.

June 24, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/24/2009

An intriguing day of transfer news ended with quotes from Chelsea target, Alexandre 'the Duck' Pato, insisting that he is happy at AC Milan.

With Carlo Ancelotti installed at Stamford Bridge many thought the floodgates would open and Chelsea would land some exciting big name players, and Pato was high up the list.

Now, deals could yet be done - the summer is still young - but Pato's words, which distance him from a reunion with his former manager, come after efforts to buy David Villa and Carlos Tevez failed to come to fruition.

Elsewhere, Greece is most definitely the word as Matt Derbyshire completed his permanent move to Olympiacos and Djibril Cisse closed in on a move to Panathinaikos.

Derbyshire moved to the Greek cup winners on loan in January and netted an impressive eight goals in 11 appearances, convincing Olympiacos to give Blackburn £3m for the 23-year-old striker

Cisse, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, where he scored 10 goals in 35 games, is expected to complete a medical in Greece on Thursday after in Panathinaikos agreed a fee with Marseille.

The wibble surrounding Franck Ribery continues with his agent revealing that his client would like to leave Bayern Munich and sign for Real Madrid.

That might not sound like news because all we've heard about the French playmaker in recent weeks, but it actually represents a development!

What else? Well, Atletico Madrid have moved to quash speculation over the future of Sergio Aguero after Manchester United were linked with a 60m Euro bid for the Argentina star.

The 21-year-old, whose fiancée Giannina is the daughter of Diego Maradona, impressed last term and is on the wanted list of several European clubs, much to Atletico's chagrin.

And finally, Stoke have emerged as a rival to Hull for Michael Owen's signature - there's a line I never thought I'd write!

In fairness Stoke boss Tony Pulis admits Owen might not be keen on a move to Potteries, but beggars can't be choosers.

For the rest of the transfer news keep your eyes glued to Soccernet's transfers section.

Posted by Dale Johnson on 06/24/2009

Manchester United are on the hunt for a new striker following Carlos Tevez's decision to jump ship, and if the Daily Star is to be believed they will make a £45m bid for Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid.

Will David Villa seemingly set to stay in Spain, in one way or another, Sir Alex Ferguson has to change his plan of attack. So it will be Sergio for the Premier League champions. But Chelsea are interested too which means there could be a bit of a battle.

One thing's for certain, Fergie won't be paying him the reported £200,000-a-week he wants!

Ilker Casillas, meanwhile, has hit out at reports he could move to Old Trafford. Check out The Sun.

Across the City at Eastlands there seems to be no end to the big spending, with this time Mark Hughes looking at his defence. Could he be about to raid Everton for Joleon Lescott? The Sun and the Daily Mirror suggest that City could offer £15m for the England international this week.

Robinho, meanwhile, has urged Hughes to complete a swoop for Samuel Eto'o, as reported in The Sun.

City have, though, loaned their young England goalkeeper Joe Hart to Birmingham which you can read on this very website.

Despite Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insisting on Tuesday that he would not be selling his top stars, that has not stopped the Daily Mirror from printing an EXCLUSIVE which suggests they have offered Emmanuel Adebayor to both AC and Inter Milan - purely to stop him being poached by Chelsea.

Now that Portsmouth have finally, by selling Glen Johnson, paid for Peter Couch it seems they may be ready to cash in on the striker. Could Crouch be heading to Blackburn Rovers as a replacement for Roque Santa Cruz? It's in the Daily Star.

Blackburn have also been linked with Dynamo Kiev defender Pape Diakhate in the Daily Mail.

Alan Hutton appears to have dropped down the pecking order at Spurs since 'Arry Redknapp took over. That's partly, of course, due to injury but it seems they are ready to take something of a hit on the right-back. The Daily Star thinks that David Moyes may splash out £5m on the Scottish international.

And another Spurs misfit is Darren Bent. The Daily Star believes he could be one of Steve Bruce's big money signings up at Sunderland. The Daily Mirror also tips Reading's Stephen Hunt and Kevin Doyle for the north east.

And the flow of money for Bruce does not stop there with another Spurs player linked in the Daily Mail. Could Sunderland splash out £10m on Didier Zokora?

Could Diomansy Kamara exit Fulham? The Daily Mirror links him with Celtic for £5m. Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, could sign Jozy Altidore from Villarreal, according to the Daily Mail.

Could Hull City snatch Marc-Antoine Fortune from under the nose of Celtic and Fulham for £2.5m? Check out the Daily Mail.

June 23, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/23/2009

It's ok, Rafa Benitez has defended spending £17.5m on a right-back that cost £4m two years ago.

"Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more,'' said Benitez. "You can't compete in the top four of the Premier League unless you spend some money.'' Yeah Rafa, but not on Glen Johnson. Spend a bit more on David Villa or David Silva and really improve your team...

Portsmouth can rest easy though, because Tony, sorry Paul, Hart is drawing up his plans to bring in new players - cross your fingers, Pompey fans, that it doesn't involve the words Jermaine or Pennant. But striker Peter Crouch has no plans to leave Fratton Park this summer, according to the England international striker's agent, so that's a relief.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid are still sniffing around Xabi Alonso even though he's not for sale. With Barcelona after Javier Mascherano and Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka already on their way to the Bernabeu, we're starting to wonder if La Liga is the place to be after all.

Man City have followed up their capture of Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz with another star name: Oh wait, it's Stuart Taylor. The Ian Walker lookalike spent far too long sitting on the bench at Arsenal and Aston Villa, but has decided that the bench at Eastlands looks far more comfortable. The new owners have probably installed some lovely new seat warmers, so he'll be quite happy while Shay Given gets all the first-team action.

Elsewhere at City, Gelson Fernandes is a target for Ligue 1 side Lens according to reports in France, while Patrick Vieira could be set for a move back to England, if he doesn't join French giants Paris Saint Germain.

Bolton are trying to sign some new players, and Paul Robinson of West Brom is one such man. The defender's move is stalling as they can't agree on the fee and, more importantly, he's a bit more interested in joining Celtic.

Shunsuke Nakamura is set to leave the Hoops but isn't going back to Japan as everyone expected. Instead, he's off to Spain to join Espanyol.

Juventus have parted company with former Villa defender Olof Mellberg and he's popped off to sign a three-year deal with Greek giants Olympiakos; while the funniest news of the day is surely that Arsene Wenger think that Nicklas Bendtner can ''scare any defence''. Presumably because he's got his trousers round his ankles...

And finally, we can bring you the news that one of the summer's long transfer sagas has come to an end. David Villa won't be signing for Real Madrid as the club have decided to stop spending crazy money on anyone (although Franck Ribery might still be a possibility) and are quite happy to look elsewhere for their new striker.

Real Madrid general director Jorge Valdano said: "The situation with Villa is 100% finished.'' Except Barcelona, Man City, Liverpool and whoever else has some spare cash lying around will be in for him before the sun has set.

Posted by Jon Carter on 06/23/2009

Chelsea's search for a pair of full-backs goes on, and one of them won't be Glen Johnson as he's decided to ply his trade at Liverpool next season.

Instead of spending £17m on a player they decided wasn't good enough for them two years ago, the Blues have turned their attention to Inter Milan's Maicon - who really isn't that keen to hang around in Italy if Mourinho's men aren't going to win the Champions League. The Sun seem to think it'll cost £25m to bring him in.

On the other side of the Bridge defence, £15m-rated left-back Yuri Zhirkov is still attracting interest. It's been rumbling on for a while now and probably would have been signed and sealed if Guus Hiddink had still been in charge. The Times say the deal has been scuppered so far because of 'excessive demands' - probably wages and transfer fee; but we've heard that he's pretty keen to join Barcelona, which could also have an impact.

Worryingly for Liverpool, Javier Mascherano appears to be on his way out, possibly to the Nou Camp. "I am very proud and thankful for the interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid. It's good for me to have these two teams interested in me," he told Don Balon.

According to the Daily Mirror, Masch wants an increase in his wage packet - meaning the Reds could end up tripling his weekly income to around £90,000-a-week - as Johnson could be given a six-figure deal.

The Reds could go for Real Madrid's Gabriel Heinze too, as he says he would be open to the idea of playing in England again - probably because he doesn't want to mark Cristiano Ronaldo in training.

Brazilian club Gremio have said in The Times that they're talking to Man Utd about a deal for their 18-year-old midfielder Douglas Costa. He's dubbed the new Cristiano Ronaldo - but a bid of £7m isn't quite what the Brazilian club are after, given Nani cost £17m.

Tottenham haven't made many waves in the transfer market yet, which is odd. But they might part with Didier Zokora before he gets too bored sitting on the sidelines. The Sun reckon that Atletico Madrid, Sunderland and Sevilla are in the running for the £7m rated midfielder.

A different list of clubs, namely West Ham, Aston Villa, Everton and Fulham are all interested in bringing Ed the Duck lookalike Eidur Gudjohnsen to their side after the Daily Mirror reported that Barcelona are willing to let him go for the right price.

Feeling a bit left out, Hull, Wolves and Portsmouth are all challenging Celtic for the signature of Nancy striker Marc-Antoine Fortune, who linked up with new boss Tony Mowbray at West Brom last year.

It gets worse for Newcastle, as defender Steven Taylor has hinted that he'll probably head off somewhere else if Alan Shearer is not made boss. Having failed to get to grip with the Premier League, the club would do well to persuade the Toon legend to sign on given everything that has happened up north, and the Daily Telegraph are not confident that they'll keep their best player.

Better than the Sun though, who are just taking the mick out of the Magpies new 'bananas and custard' style away kit. Ouch.

June 22, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/22/2009

Roque Santa Cruz has become City's second signing of the summer, as he sealed his move to Eastlands for a fee of £17m.

The Paraguayan passed a medical, despite some troublesome knee complaints, and links up with former boss Mark Hughes - following a good few months of transfer trauma. He wanted out in January, but has now got his move and, if he can regain his touch, could be a cracking signing for the Eastlands outfit. Beats Kaka anyway...

Michael Owen has told Sky Sports News that he will not be signing a new contract at Newcastle and, given the stick he's been getting over THAT brochure, we're not surprised.

He wants to go to a club either in the Premier League, or abroad... classic. Although anyone with a bet on his imminent move to the Martian Premiership will be sorely disappointed. One of the clubs interested is slightly closer to home. Hull. Probably not what he had in mind.

Sam Allardyce is continuing his bid to turn Blackburn into Bolton. And will start with Kevin Cyril Davis.

£5m could be enough to prise the English forward away from the Reebok, and the Trotters can stand by for yet more bids for their players from the big man. Perhaps even Kevin Nolan might fancy playing at Ewood after his arrival at Newcastle failed to halt their slide.

Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale has played down reports that a deal has been struck with Birmingham City for Roger Johnson; while Wolves are reported to have met Kevin Doyle's £6.5m release clause.

Over in Europe, after all his kicking and screaming, David Trezeguet apparently wants to remain in Turin after all. The Juve striker has been the subject of furious transfer talk for the past few months, but has now said he will 'immerse' himself in the new season. So now he'll probably leave.

Valencia are sure no-one is bidding for David Villa. They have made it quite clear that their prized asset is not going to be leaving the club for a small fee and they're getting as bored as everyone else is about the talk: ''We would like to stop talking about this situation as it is not good for either the player or for our club to discuss it on a daily basis,'' said club spokesman Jordi Bruixola.

And finally, Douglas Costa's agent, Cesar Bottega, does not believe Manchester United will make a bid for the midfielder. Gremio are not going to let him go for peanuts, but United - despite the fact they'll have £80m from the sale of Ronaldo - won't be taken to the cleaners.

Posted by Dale Johnson on 06/22/2009

Now that Carlos Tevez has packed his little suitcase and decided to head for the Old Trafford hills the race is on to pay him as much money as possible.

Calos was a bit miffed at not getting much playing time with United, so he could well be heading to Eastlands to join the likes of Robinho at Manchester City. Well, they are offering £100,000-a-week and no European football. That's in the Daily Mirror, which states the total cost of the deal in fee and wages will be £47.5m.

However, the Daily Mail thinks Chelsea could beat City to the deal, but still believes he will sign for City though they quote £130,000-a-week.

With Carlos on his way, Sir Alex Ferguson will need to find a replacement. The favourite appears to be prolific Lyon marksman Karim Benzema. The Daily Mirror suggests the fee for the Frenchman will be £30m. The Daily Mail ups it to £35m.

The Sun, though, is not so sure about the deal going through. In fact, that very paper has the player's agent stating that Benzema wants to stay with Lyon.

Chelsea and new boss Carlo Ancelotti may have a bit of encouragement for signing Andrea Pirlo from the San Siro. The Sun quotes Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi as saying: "If there's an offer, it should be considered."

You will also be able to read on this very website how Hull City could make an audacious bid to lure Mickey Owen to the club. Out of contract and in search of a club, could Owen move to East Yorkshire? Check out The Sun.

Hull could be gazumped by Sunderland for one of United's starlets. Frazier Campbell, currently starring at the European Under-21 Championships, was thought to be heading to the KC Stadium but, so says the Daily Mail, Steve Bruce is now in for him too.

But Hull boss Phil Brown could do some gazumping of his own by nicking the legendary Quinton Fortune out of the hands of Ipswich boss Roy Keane. It's in the Daily Star.

And finally... remember Fernando Morientes? Yes, once a great striker who fluffed his lines at Liverpool, the Spaniard is without a club and if you believe the Independent could he heading for Fulham!

June 21, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/21/2009

Another day, another rumour. Is it true? We've no idea, but even if it's not it's quite interesting.

The News of the World carry a story on Sunday claiming that megabucks Chelsea, annoyed at their lack of progress in the transfer market, are planning an audacious £50m swoop for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

The paper claim that Chelsea's possible offer is designed to test the depth of Liverpool's financial concerns.

But given George Gillett's $550m deal to sell his NHL franchise it seems certain that any Chelsea offer will rebuffed.

That deal could help secure future funding at Anfield, end months of uncertainty and could also help keep the club's top names, like Xabi Alonso who, according the Sunday Mirror is also going to be subject to a bid from Chelsea.

The Sunday Times warn that Liverpool can also expect a bid for midfielder Javier Mascherano from Real Madrid, who are keen to hijack Barcelona's interest for the Argentine.

According to the News of the World Manchester United will spend £25m of their £80m Cristiano Ronaldo windfall on trying to sign Lyon striker Karim Benzema.

While a further £20m will go on trying beat Manchester City to the signature of Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, at least so say the Sunday Star.

And following Ronaldo's revelation that he decided to move to Real Madrid last summer, United have rewarded the loyalty shown by centre-back Nemanja Vidic by giving him a £1m-a-year pay rise, that from the News of the World.

Moving on, the same paper claim that Hull are keen to sign Newcastle striker Michael Owen, but will only offer him a meagre basic salary and ask him to prove his worth by earning massive bonuses for scoring goals.

And finally The People report that Sam Allardyce is about to lose the last few remaining friends he has in Bolton by trying to lure Kevin Davies to Blackburn.

June 20, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/20/2009

So, it's finally happened. Carlos Tevez has rejected Manchester United and will now begin looking for a new club.

It's a curious and frustrating turn of events for United fans given that the club actually offered to pay the £22.5m Tevez's people wanted and offered to make Tevez one of the highest paid players at Old Trafford.

His advisor/ agent/ friend/ puppetmaster Kia Joorabchian said Tevez decided to leave because United took so long to make the offer. In short the Argentine didn't feel wanted and so is leaving with his bottom lip sticking out.

Could it be that he's leaving because the deal would have made him United's player, therefore no longer the property/ golden goose of the businessmen that Joorabchian represents and the people who made £5m-a-season from the two-year loan deal that saw the 25-year-old at Old Trafford? Who knows?

The question is: Where will Tevez end up next season? Joorabchian says the striker has ruled out a move to Liverpool out of respect to United and their fans, but that Chelsea and Manchester City have made their interest clear.

Based on the respect argument you'd have to assume that Chelsea are favourites given the City-United rivalry, but money talks and both clubs have more than enough.

For United it is the second blow of the summer after losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m - though, that deal has not yet been finalised.

Without Tevez or Ronaldo United are two match-winners down and will be looking to add to their depleted forward line. One player often linked to the club and who could fit the bill is Lyon's Karim Benzema.

On Saturday the chances of a move appeared to improve when Lyon director Bernard Lacombe said that: "'If Manchester United, who we all know have come into a lot of money, present an offer for Benzema, what can you do?"

Cash-in appears to be the obvious answer.

Elsewhere, Brazilian Maicon has issued what amounts to 'come and get me' plea after questioning Inter Milan's ambition.

While on duty at the Confederations Cup Maicon said he wants to win the Champions League and Inter have yet to show the same ambition, adding that until they do he'll consider his options.

Posted by Phil Holland on 06/20/2009

You want rumours? You want gossip? Well, you’re in the right place.

According to the Daily Star Barcelona have ended their pursuit of Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery and turned their attentions to Aston Villa's Ashley Young. The paper claim Barca are readying a £25m bid.

If you believe the Daily Mail Barcelona are also refusing to take no for an answer in their chase for Liverpool's Javier Mascherano. Liverpool could get £20m and £15m-rated youngster Bojan Krkic. Not a bad deal, but that would leave a huge gap in the Reds' midfield.

A gap which could be considerably bigger if Xabi Alonso fails to resist the interest of Real Madrid. In the Daily Mirror Mr Liverpool, Jamie Carragher has implored his Spanish chum to ignore Real and stay on Merseyside.

Chelsea are at risk of being overshadowed this summer unless they get spending. And according to the Daily Star Valencia happy to help, as Roman Abramovich's bid is the largest the club have received for in demand striker David Villa. It's only a shame that he’ll only move to Real Madrid.

If that deal doesn't come off, the Sun reckon Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is targeting Roma centre-back Philippe Mexes as a replacement for Inter Milan-bound Ricardo Carvalho in a deal which will cost £12m.

And finally, The Times report that Arsenal's signing of centre-back Thomas Vermaelen has paved the way for Manchester City to sign Kolo Toure from the Gunners for £12m.

June 19, 2009
Posted by Dale Johnson on 06/19/2009

Arsenal dipped their toes into the transfer water on Friday, though it was not through anything we were not expecting. The Gunners have finally completed the signing of Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax Amsterdam for an undisclosed fee. Reports estimate the transfer fee to be around £10m.

But all of a sudden it seems David Villa might be staying with Valencia. It appeared certain he would leave with Los Che desperate for cash. But wait! All of a sudden it seems they want to keep hold of him and he's not for sale at all. Or that's what his agent says. Deal done next week, then.

Another transfer set to go through, as mentioned in the morning update, is Roque Santa Cruz's move to Manchester City from Blackburn Rovers. It has just been reported that the two clubs have (finally) agreed a fee thought to be in the region of £18m.

New Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has begun his rebuilding at the DW Stadium by recruiting one of his star turns from Swansea. Jordi Gomez, who was on loan with the Swans from Espanyol, has cost somewhere in the region of £1.7m.

The Paul Scharner move from Wigan to Fulham is edging nearer, according to his agent.

Good old 'Arry may have been trying to get some cash together by selling misfits such as Didier Zokora, but it actually appears he wants a few too many pennies. Sevilla have said the Ivorian is too expensive.

Seems full-backs are all the rage at Liverpool right now, with the woeful Andrea Dossena on his way out. Juve will make a decision on him next week.

However, Liverpool face a battle to get Glen Johnson into their ranks. It seems old club Chelsea have matched their bid in the region of £17.5m for the Portsmouth and England star.

West Ham, meanwhile, feel they are closing in on a deal for Inter Milan midfielder Luis Jimenez in the near future

Posted by Dale Johnson on 06/19/2009

It seems Alexandre Pato is determined to move to Chelsea and be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti.

The Brazilian forward has said that he owes much of his success to the former Milan coach. "I would be interested if Ancelotti were to call on me to join Chelsea," he is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

Other than that, it's not the most exciting of mornings in terms of transfer tittle tattle with the press rehashing much of what was doing the rounds on Thursday.

However, there is the usual healthy dose of Manchester City chatter. Mark Hughes' chase for Roque Santa Cruz is hotting up. Well, it's still lukewarm and has been for about 12 months.

Still, the Daily Mail has an EXCLUSIVE where they tell us that City have finally agreed an £18m deal to sign the Blackburn Rovers player..

And the paper also claim City are confident of landing Samuel Eto'o from Barcelona on, wait for it, £192,000-a-week! The Sun says that City are just waiting on the green light, but at more palatable wages of £160,000-a-week!

The Daily Mirror goes the whole hog and talks of a striking trio being signed, the other player being Tevez, at a cost of £75m.

Do Manchester United need another goalkeeper? No, we thought not. But the Daily Mail has still suggested they could sign the distinctly average Victor Valdes from Barcelona after contract talks broke down.

There's worry for Liverpool and the continuing rumours that Real Madrid and Barcelona want Xabi Alonso. Now the player himself has refused to commit his future to the Anfield club, or so says the Daily Mail. On his bike, then?

The Daily Mirror states that Rafael Benitez is getting increasingly worried that both Alonso and Javier Mascherano will be on their way.

Movement at Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail, and it hardly seems likely the exit of Kolo Toure would aid their defensive ills.

Apparently, Toure wants out after his bust-up with William Gallas last season. And it's Newcastle's Sebastien Bassong and Felipe Melo of Fiorentina who Arsene Wenger is tracking as replacements.

It seems Paul Scharner will not be reunited with Steve Bruce up at Sunderland. According to the Daily Mail he prefers a spell down in London. The Austrian utility player will sign for Fulham in an £8m deal.

Instead, the paper says Wigan will move for Jordi Gomez of Swansea. Didn't Roberto Martinez say he wouldn't come in for the club's best players?

Fulham, along with Hull City, are tracking Giles Barnes. But the Daily Mail reckons Derby County are playing hard ball over the deal and will not settle for any less than £2m.

The Sun claims Sunderland will sign Richard Dunne from Manchester City for £5m.

June 18, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/18/2009

On a day when nothing much has happened transfer-wise, the various media outlets across the UK have gone a little European for their fix of gossip.

David Villa is still top of the tree given that Kaka is all quiet and Ronaldo's deal is just ''vulgar''. The Spanish striker has apparently told his agent who he wants to sign for and now everyone is speculating that that is Real Madrid.. without anyone actually knowing.

Madrid meanwhile are rather keen to kick out a load of top stars to make room for their new additions, but have denied sending out a fax to various clubs detailing the players they would be willing to sell. Even if it seems quite a good idea.

Away from Spain, the Italian game is losing players by the second, but Andrea Pirlo might not be the next one to leave. Everyone thinks he probably should join Chelsea, who even (quite kindly) managed to install his old Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti to make the transition nice and easy. However, the Italian midfielder says he hasn't made any of the comments attributed to him, although wouldn't rule out a switch to London. Perhaps.

On the other side of the Milan midfield is Gennaro Gattuso, whose agent insists his client is happy at the San Siro and has had no contact from Chelsea either. With Alex Pato also denying he wants a move to Stamford Bridge, maybe the Blues will have better luck trying to snap up Andrei Shevchenko- again.

One man NOT arriving at Milan is Aly Cissokho, who has been having teething problems [literally] in his £15m move. The French left-back failed a medical due to trouble with his choppers and even though the Rossoneri tried to get him on loan, the move fell through.

The club are, of course, still keen to bring the average age of their defence to below 35 so they might be linked for a fair few teenagers before the end of the transfer window.

Ignoring the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for one second, Julio Baptista is apparently quite happy to stay at Roma. Probably handy given that not many clubs are interested in a man once labelled 'The Beast'.

In France news, Portsmouth defender Noe Pamarot is set to make an announcement on his future amid reports that he is set to sign for St Etienne; but Karim Benzema could be the one to leave Ligue 1 after Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas claimed that his star player could be tempted into moving.

Germany has some more Franck Ribery nonsense, will he, won't he? And even Luca Toni looks like he'll stay; while over in Holland, Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen claims he will undergo a medical at Arsenal on Friday.

Even Birmingham has something of a European link today as Alex McLeish has confirmed he has made an enquiry about Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson. Presumably with a clause inserted in his contract claiming he can't make secret 'V' signs at him from the dugout.

And finally, to England. Poor old Roque Santa Cruz admits there is a possibility no club will trigger his buy-out clause this summer, as no-one has stumped up the £20m needed for his services. Perhaps he should try for a transfer to Europe...

Posted by Jon Carter on 06/18/2009

What's the best thing to do when it's a slow news day? Roll out a nice unsubstantiated story with no quotes to back it up like Robin van Persie going to Manchester United.

The Sun are to blame for this gem, as they've clearly become bored with the Franck Ribery, David Villa, Cristiano Ronaldo rumour mill. And who can blame them?

Almost every other paper in the land is going with the Didier Drogba ban story. The Daily Express bring us news that he has been suspended for four games, with two extra games, er... suspended.. for a couple of years - presumably if he offends in the same way again.

The Daily Mail are ploughing their own furrow as they have decided that the best news around is really the fact that Samuel Eto'o quite fancies a massive pay-day at Man City.

Aside from the fact they won't be in Europe next season, the Cameroon international is said to be close to a deal; but we can't imagine what the motivating factor is. Not the wage demands of £192,000 a week, after tax, surely?

The Guardian
reckon Jermaine Pennant [remember, the man who turned down a move a to Madrid because they weren't offering him enough cash] could also be on his way to City. Sky Andrew, the agent of the 26-year-old, has refused to comment, which probably means something is in the offing.

Motivated by a desire to win things, perhaps League titles, Javier Mascherano doesn't fancy staying at Liverpool for much longer, say the Sun. In fact, he's already packing his bags as his agent is meeting Barcelona representatives to discuss a possible move. Be ready for 'Yaya Toure watch' should the move go through.

Tottenham are still sniffing around players that no-one else seems interested in, so step forward Nigel Reo-Coker. Could Aston Villa be interested in a switch if the bait of Tom Huddlestone is wafted in their general direction? Well, yes, say the Daily Mirror; but David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Ashley Young could also be involved somehow.

Former White Hart Lane favourite Sol Campbell is also considering a move. Not to Tottenham, but to either Basle or Fenerbahce. It would take a bit of a pay cut to keep him at Pompey, say the Times; but given that he fancies another move 'abroad' he'll probably end up at Stoke.

And Kevin Keegan could be on his way back into football. So who has this breaking piece of gossip? Surely one of the big boys.. no, it's the Southern Daily Echo. Apparently the former England and Newcastle boss is meeting Matthew Le Tissier and former chairman Leon Crouch, but might just be taking his football circus to Southampton, rather than getting everyone all excited that he might be taking over as manager.

And there were go, managed to get through the whole thing without mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh wait.. actually he's locked in talks with Real Madrid over bonus payments based on sponsorship and other commercial deals and the whole thing could fall through. The Daily Mail seem to think he doesn't think that £200,000k a week is enough. Damn.

June 17, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/17/2009

Will they? Won’t they? Who knows! Does anyone care? In what is fast becoming the summer’s most annoying transfer story, Bayern Munich have now denied reports that they are ready to cash in on Franck Ribery.

Just hours after quotes from club president Franz Beckenbauer were translated into English and splashed across the world, Bayern insisted that the words attributed to the Kaiser "do not reflect the truth".

Beckenbauer was quoted in Sport Bild magazine saying: "We discussed the issue at our last board meeting and we all agreed that, if he really wants to leave, then we will deal with the issue."

But that’s not true, apparently. So, now your guess is as good as ours.

Could it be that after admitting they were fighting a losing battle to keep the 26-year-old they realised they would lose their bargaining power and with it the chance of agreeing a Euros1234bn deal and so quickly covered their tracks?

Moving on: Hans Robben, father of Real Madrid’s Arjen insists that his son is absolutely not joining Tottenham.

"We don't talk with Tottenham. At the moment we don't talk with any club. Of course, things can change overnight, but one thing is sure: Arjen will certainly not join Tottenham." Fair enough, Hans - calm down, it's just a transfer rumour.

Back in the real, if slightly dull, world Wolves have signed Marcus Hahnemann on a free transfer from Reading.

The 37-year-old stopper has been bought to add some experience to the newly promoted Premier League club's defence and will be expected to mentor the club’s other goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Carl Ikeme.

So watch out for fetching new facial hair in the coming season at Molyneux .

Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan is never short of a few choice words and today the man on the receiving end was Michael Owen.

Whelan insisted that Wigan weren't interested in signing the striker. He could have left it at that, but instead decided to have a pop: Whelan said: "We wouldn't be interested in him anyway. His wages are too expensive, for one thing, and, for another, you have to ask whether he still has the urge, the bottle and the drive."

And finally Stoke manager Tony Pulis has dismissed reports linking goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen with Bayern Munich as "nonsense''. And, quite frankly, we believe him.

Posted by Phil Holland on 06/17/2009

With Kaka gone and Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Real Madrid almost completed, speculation about who will be the next big summer transfer has turned to Franck Ribery.

The Sun report that Manchester United and Chelsea have made official bids to sign the Bayern Munich playmaker, but warn that Real Madrid are leading the race to sign the Frenchman who has also attracted interest from Barcelona.

However, the Guardian claim that Manchester United will end their pursuit of Ribery after deciding not to sign any players aged 26 or above for large transfer fees because of new financial limits which have been introduced at Old Trafford.

Ribery was 26 in April.

If you believe that story it might make you think twice about believing the Daily Star's report that Manchester United and Chelsea have a chance of landing £45m David Villa - the summer's other hot property - after the paper claimed his move to Real Madrid has stalled.

Villa was 27 last December.

The Daily Express view things differently and reckon Chelsea aren't interested in Villa at all and are instead targetting Inter Milan's £30m-rated striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

In the Daily Mirror it is claimed that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has had talks with Real Madrid over a stunning £36m swoop for Arjen Robben, Gabriel Heinze and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

With Darren Bent, Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley set for the exit Spurs are going to need replacements, and with Madrid needing to off-load players to make room for the new Galacticos.

And finally the Daily Star report that 29-year-old Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has revealed that he is considering quitting football at the end of his existing Anfield contract.

"I'll be 33 at the end of my contract, and it's doubtful whether I'll carry on," said Gerrard.

June 16, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/16/2009

Another day, another raft of "Silly Season" links and rumours, gossip and paper talk. So, let's get into it.

Ricardo Carvalho's time at Chelsea is effectively over. We learnt on Monday that Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with the centre-back at Inter Milan and the now 31-year-old Portuguese has revealed that he is more than ready to leave Stamford Bridge.

Ensuring that Chelsea will not want to retain his services, Carvalho accused the club of neglecting him when he was injured last season. It all seems very sad that a five-year spell that has been so successful will end on a sour note.

Elsewhere, the agent of Brazilian football's most exciting young prospects says that Manchester United have made contact.

Gremio's Douglas Costa is on the radar of quite a few clubs - if you belive his Mr 10% - and although the 18-year-old has another four years to run on his contract a buyout clause of £17.8m seems to have tempted United who are soon to be flush after agreeing that £80m deal for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Glen Johnson's future could become clearer in the next few days if reports in The Times are proven correct. The paper claim Portsmouth have accepted an offer of £18.5m for the left-back, not from Chelsea but from Liverpool. Will the Blues respond with a counter offer?

David Bentley's tortuous spell as a Tottenham player could be at an end soon. He has admitted to The Sun that he is talking to Aston Villa.

And finally the confusion over Carlos Tevez future continues as the UK papers try to second guess his next move.

The Daily Mail carry a story in which it is claimed Carlo Ancelotti has told Tevez he should join Chelsea if he wants to play at the highest level. While the Daily Mirror reckon the Argentine has narrowed down his choices to either Manchester United or Manchester City and will make his agonising choice in the next 48 hours.

June 15, 2009
Posted by Dom Raynor on 06/15/2009

With Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona all sniffing around Serie A top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic Internazionale president Massimo Moratti has slapped a €90m (£76.18m) price tag on his prized asset.

Ibrahimovic, who has been slow to commit his future to the Nerazzurri, may have only one year left on his contract but Moratti wants his slice of the mega-deal pie that has already served up a £56m Kaka payday for City rivals Milan, a world record transfer of £80m for Ronaldo and has pushed up the price of many other players.

Moratti said: "If it is true that Bayern Munich have placed a €70m tag on Ribery, then I will need to ask a minimum of €90m (for Ibrahimovic)."

The Inter chief has also confirmed that manager Jose Mourinho wants to be reunited with former Porto duo Deco and Ricardo Carvalho and will be entering into negotiations for the Chelsea pair.

"Mourinho has asked us for Deco and Carvalho and we are working towards making him happy," said Moratti.

It looks like a terrible twosome could also be leaving Tottenham Hotspur with manager Harry Redknapp eager to offload strikers Roman Pavlyuchenko and Darren Bent to help fund his summer spending spree.

Pavlyuchenko is "an interesting player" according to VfB Stuttgart director of sport Horst Heldt and new Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is eager to sign Bent - along with Manchester City defender Richard Dunne and Wigan Athletic midfielder Lee Cattermole.

Premier League new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers have made their first signing of the summer, subject to a work permit, and will be hoping that Red Star Belgrade midfielder Nenad Milijas can help them stay in the top flight.

The 6'2" Serb joined for an undisclosed fee and signed a four-year contract.

Manchester City are hoping to bolster their attack with Portsmouth's Peter Crouch, whilst offloading Brazilian striker Jo to Fulham, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Monday morning's rumour mill also had City linked with a swoop for want-away Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez.

Also, Blackburn Rovers are attempting to sign Chelsea striker Franco di Santo on loan and Bolton are set to reignite their interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder Miguel Veloso.

Posted by Dom Raynor on 06/15/2009

Manchester United's summer recruitment plans are not proving to be particularly fruitful at the moment and now £25m striker Carlos Tevez looks set to follow £80m forward Cristiano Ronaldo out of the Old Trafford exit door.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has cut short his holiday in France's Cote d'Azur to try and persuade Tevez to make his two-year loan move permanent, according to The Independent. But the Argentina striker is frustrated with limited first team opportunities at United and could head across Manchester to City.

To make matters worse, United are still struggling to attract a big name signing to replace Real Madrid bound Ronaldo. Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery is one such transfer target but his compatriot, idol and former Real star Zinedine Zidane has urged the 26-year-old, via the Daily Mail, to shun United and head to the Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror report that the Red Devils are willing to offer a British record £45m for Valencia striker David Villa, but it is well known the Spanish international wants to remain in La Liga and has offers on the table from Real and Barcelona.

Villa will definitely be sold by his cash-strapped club and Ferguson is willing to offer almost half of his £100m war chest in a probably unsuccessful bid to bolster his attacking options.

Liverpool and Chelsea are going head to head in a battle to sign Portsmouth full-back Glen Johnson. The Sun claim the Blues are leading the hunt with an £18m bid to re-sign their former defender, who started only 35 league games during four years at Stamford Bridge, and a deal could be done this week.

However, the Daily Express report that Reds boss Rafael Benitez is still hopeful of landing the England international and apparently Anfield is Johnson's preferred destination.

Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas has urged manager Arsene Wenger to sign a defensive midfielder and believes that Barcelona colossus Yaya Toure would be the perfect signing, according to the Daily Star. Fabregas also says he would be open to a move to Champions League winners Barcelona.

Barca have also been sniffing around Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Nerazzurri president Massimo Moratti has quickly slapped a €90m price tag on Serie A's top scorer.

And finally... The Guardian claim that Michael Owen is so desperate to find a new club that the Newcastle United striker's management company have sent out 34-page document, which defends the England international's injury record as well as highlighting his goalscoring feats, to the top-flight clubs the 29-year-old would consider joining.

June 14, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/14/2009

Liverpool were in the news earlier after reported interest from Manchester United in Fernando Torres, but they're certainly not letting Javier Mascherano or Xabi Alonso go.

The Reds have issued a statement claiming that neither of the pair will be allowed to leave this summer, despite the hundreds of Spanish players linked with a move in the other direction [they know how to tempt Rafa into a sale.] But no mention of keeping Fernando... maybe that's a given.

The Bernabeu machine has continued to run today as Zinedine Zidane has chosen to get involved, claiming that he is in talks with Franck Ribery over a possible move.

He might not have been in this side of the game for very long, but surely even the great ZZ recognises that it really doesn't matter how much Ribery wants to play in Spain - it's all down to Bayern's desire to sell him. And that ain't going to happen unless Real break the world transfer record for a third time in a month and slap £90m on the table. Not that he's worth that much.

Kaka may have joined Madrid, but AC Milan are finally looking to strengthen their creaking defence, with a 15m euro bid for Porto left-back Aly Cissokho. He's 21, French and probably a little more stable in the legs than Costacurta, Baresi, or whoever the San Siro club still have propping up their back line these days.

Across the city, Inter defender Maicon has told Sky Sports that he has no idea whether Madrid are going to bid for him or not. Conventional wisdom would suggest not, but then Bayern said they were looking for a new right-back, so perhaps it could be a match made in heaven?

Speaking of which, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has hinted he would be open to an offer from Barcelona. The Gunners pinched Cesc from the Nou Camp at a young age, so he's likely to go back at some point and said in an interview published in Spain's Sport newspaper: "It's very obvious that it (an offer from Barca) would be special''.

''I would be excited to win a trophy as captain of the Gunners," he went on, but added that if Guardiola called him "it would be different."

Back in the UK, Tony Mowbray is on his way to Parkhead and he may have to take his old skipper, Paul Robinson (no, not the former England keeper) with him. Robbo is really not very happy that his favourite boss is off up north and has said he'd be more than happy to go along for the ride and play in the SPL for a bit. Well, it beats the Championship I suppose.

Gary Neville is of the same opinion, but he'd rather stay at Man Utd to try to get his place back from Rafael da Silva (and win loads more silverware in the process), than go to Middlesbrough. And who can blame him?

Elsewhere, Roberto Martinez will make Djibril Cisse his first signing at Wigan when he finally gets his move from Swansea. While Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is ready to undo all his good work by paying £3m for Jeremie Aliadiere.

Sam Allardyce likes them tough, so he could seal a move for Chelsea's young striker Franco Di Santo on loan; and the Blues could fill the gap with AZ Alkmaar striker Moussa Dembele, who is valued at about £15m.

And finally, it's been revealed that Newcastle's new suitor - a man who was willing to buy the club for £150m and see off Mike Ashley - was actually just a Sunderland fan having a laugh.

Richard Parker, a lifelong Sunderland fan told the Daily Mail: "It's all friendly banter. I'm sure the majority of Magpie fans will see the funny side but I'm afraid it is something they're going to have to put up with for a while.'' Nothing like kicking them when they're down eh?

Posted by Jon Carter on 06/14/2009

In one of the most amazingly unbelievable transfer stories of the summer so far, Sir Alex Ferguson is apparently lining up a bid for Liverpool's Fernando Torres. That ought to smooth relations over between him and Rafa.

The Sunday Express have the scoop, although frankly it takes some stretch of the imagination. Perhaps Fergie is a fan of the Anfield club after all and will actually end up targeting Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher this month as well?

Most of the papers have their own take on who Fergie will replace Cristiano Ronaldo with and The People think it'll be a different Spanish player - Valencia's David Silva. £24m should be enough to persuade the club to part with one of their best.

A new goalkeeper might be on the cards first though, as the News of the World have news that Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes is demanding a little too much cash to stay at the Nou Camp, sparking some OT interest.

Carlos Tevez, again, looks like he'll be on his way out of the club as he nears the end of his loan spell. The Sunday Mirror are not the first, fifth, or last, to speculate over the Argentine's future but they could be onto something with a £25m move to Manchester City. Unless Chelsea come in with a £30m bid first of course.

Away from OT there are a few stories knocking around worthy of attention. City head the waiting list for Samuel Eto'o if he decides to leave Spain, but there's some great figures floating about in regards to his demanded salary.

The News of the World claim he wants at least £850,000 a month after tax to sign for the Eastlands outfit. So at least footballers aren't still focused on the money aspect of the game.

Elsewhere, the right decision for Newcastle could finally be made (far too late of course) as Alan Curbishley is being linked with the job. The News of the World are pretty sure Alan Shearer doesn't fancy the role anymore after clashing with Mike Ashley - but why didn't anyone think of Curbs when Joe Kinnear's ticker packed up? Could have saved themselves a lot of heartache.

Tottenham are set to be major players in this summer's events. Not to the tune of Real Madrid you understand, but there are going to be a few moves going on at White Hart Lane. Manager Harry Redknapp will go for Bayern Munich's Luca Toni if he cannot sign Ruud van Nistelrooy from Real Madrid, say The People; while David Bentley might just aim to get his career back on track at Villa Park.

Villa might choose to go for Matthew Upson instead, but Bentley is surely on his way out to whoever offers Harry the most money.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have stopped laughing about United's interest in Torres and are now focused on bringing City's Micah Richards to Anfield for £5m - say the News of the World - although that might raise a few laughs at Eastlands.

Daniel Sturridge's future looks less secure, and while Chelsea dither over whether they really want a young English player at the club, West Ham could pounce.

The Sunday Times have come over all European and said that if Real or Barca want Inter's Zlatan Ibrahimovic then theyll have to pay £80m. That'll be a no then.

And finally, it's one Michael Owen for sale, slightly used, a little worn down, but still in decent condition. Interested parties should browse the brochure on the former Liverpool hitman produced by his management company and make their decision whether to rescue him from the Championship next season.

The document is a 34-page brochure, highlighting his goal-scoring skills and commercial value and is in the News of the World - although we're pretty sure it's just his goal for England against Argentina splashed in a glossy spread across most of the pages.

June 13, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/13/2009

While everyone waits for the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for the club, Real Madrid are busy trying to seal deals for other players.

David Villa looks like the next one to join the elite of Europe in Spain and Marca reckon he'll join the club for 40m euros in the next few days - although Valencia aren't so sure.

We're not totally sure what impact all these signings are going to have on the Madrid dressing room, but surely the likes of Raul, Gonzalo Higuain, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Klass Jan Huntelaar are going to be slightly ticked off that no-one rates them very highly at all.

Chelsea might have to admit defeat on that one, as Villa looks like he'll stay in Spain, but they could coax Paolo Maldini to the club. Not as a player of course, but as a coach. The Daily Star think the 40-year-old has had enough of reading nasty banners about his commitment to Milan at the San Siro, so might just pop off to Stamford Bridge to join his old mate Carlo.

On the other side of Milan, Massimo Moratt has said Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o are going nowhere.

"I talked with Laporta but in the end we decided to keep our own players: them Eto'o and us Ibrahimovic," Moratti told Sky Italia. Probably a good idea, but has anyone bothered to tell Zlatan?

Portsmouth are ready to cash in on Glen Johnson, pretty much to anyone who offers something in the region of £15m. Liverpool and Man City are favourites, as news that Chelsea are also interested is surely wide of the mark given his history at the club a few years ago.

The Blues might just let Deco go though, and prime candidate to snap him up is former boss Jose Mourinho at Inter.

Middlesbrough aren't really able to tempt the big names to the Riverside anymore, so Gary Neville is the latest old boy they're trying to recruit. Should Neville head to Teesside he could be joined by fellow United stalwart Paul Scholes, with Boro also reported to be keen on the ex-England international midfielder - so they're pretty much after anyone who was good a few years ago and they can pick up on the cheap.

Bolton, too, have struggled to attract the glamourous players and it's still amazing to most of us that they're chasing Miguel Veloso. He's pretty decent, so if the Trotters can land him for less than £12m and beat a host of Europe's elite to the punch, then they've done well.

And finally, another club with ideas above their station is Sunderland. If the capture of Tottenham's £16m waste of space Darren Bent isn't far from the mark, then trying to lure Robbie Keane away from the club for the second time in a few months is surely bizarre. The Guardian seem to think that an audacious swoop could be on the cards. Yes he might be Irish, but really...

Posted by Jon Carter on 06/13/2009

With all the week's transfer news surrounding Real Madrid, it is something of a refreshing change for something other than the news from the Bernabeu to be floating around.

In fact, it comes from the Nou Camp and surrounds the future of Samuel Eto'o. The Cameroon striker has been in great form this season but nearly left Barcelona last summer and could be on the verge of an exit.

The Times have obviously been watching Cristiano Ronaldo playing his lone role up front too much as they think that Eto'o will replace the Portuguese at Old Trafford.

The Daily Mirror won't hear of it though. They reckon that Eto'o is far more likely to head over to Anfield, but only if the Reds decide to send a Javier Mascherano shaped package to Spain in return. It seems unlikely that Rafa Benitez would want to part with one of his prized possessions to reinforce his strikeforce with Eto'o, but the prospect of seeing the Cameroonian and Fernando Torres playing together is enough to get anyone excited.

Liverpool are definately in for a few new signings this summer, but the Daily Mail think Glen Johnson will be the first. Having had trouble at right-back for a while now, the Reds' addition of Portsmouth's England international could be just the ticket. But surely not for over £12m.

Real Madrid can't keep their hands out of their pockets, so might just help move the Johnson deal along by throwing £8m at Alvaro Arbeloa. A defender? Signing for Madrid? Perish the thought.

Oh, and just to complete the Anfield-Bernabeu transfer business for the decade, Rafa might just decide that he wants a piece of Madrid's on loan striker Alvaro Negredo - just because he likes the name. The Daily Mirror reckon Valencia could also be keen, but £6m might just buy Rafa the striker he needs to compliment Torres.

Speaking of Valencia, Antonio is still waiting for his move to Man Utd. The Guardian think Wigan's wideman will move for around £17m once Ronaldo seals his £80m move to Madrid and he's been tasked with filling Ronaldo's void. Ouch.

David Beckham is a little annoyed everyone is talking about Ronnie as he was rather keen to be the only former United winger to have made the move to Madrid, but now he fancies Tottenham. The Daily Star say that Becks wants a move back to the Premier League and old 'Arry is on red alert because David Bentley just isn't cutting the mustard.

Redknapp always has an eye for a bargain though, and while Becks certainly isn't this (not on his wages), a double deal for Toulouse midfielders Moussa Sissoko and Etienne Capoue could be.

And finally, it's ok, Ronaldo IS worth £80m. The Sun have the news that FIFA president Sepp Blatter has put his seal of approval on the deal and, at the same time, reinforced the world's view that he should really step down soon. Just because one billionaire splashes a bit of cash around in Spain, Sepp, doesn't mean football's finances are ''fine''.

June 12, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/12/2009

Real Madrid must be "prepared to do crazy things" in order to make playmaker Franck Ribery the next galactico to join Real Madrid; that was the warning from Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoenes on Friday.

Quite what constitutes "crazy things" as far as Hoeness is concerned wasn’t clarified, but we can only assume he means tabling an exorbitant cash offer rather than juggling goldfish or foregoing trousers for a month.

Elsewhere, in the crazy, often imaginary world of summer transfer rumour, confusion reigns supreme in the case of Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi.

All week there’s been claim and counter claim over Liverpool making a request to meet with the player. Various agents, advisors and club officials have said a variety of things, even Liverpool got involved with Rafa Benitez insisting the club has made no enquiry or offer.

But still the wibble continues with Lavezzi’s agent restating his conviction that Liverpool have made contact. It seems that somewhere someone’s lying. So we'll have to get involved: Boys it’s not big and it’s not clever, stop it or you’ll get no supper.

Anyway, it might be just as well Lavezzi doesn’t go to Liverpool, he’d soon tire of Scouse scallies quoting Samuel L. Jackson’s Ezequiel 25:17 line from Pulp Fiction at him at every given opportunity.

Next: Good news for Arsenal fans, well, as long as you’re a fan of goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. The 24-year-old Pole has signed a new deal keeping him at Emirates Stadium for the foreseeable.

He made 18 first-team appearances in all competitions last term and kept nine clean sheets. Not bad.

Middlesbrough have insisted that home-grown and actually-quite-good defender David Wheater is not for sale... unless a good offer comes in.

The player has said he wants to stay but having been relegated Boro might think that the £6m plus Marlon Harewood bid Aston Villa are reportedly preparing, is too good to turn down.

Back in Italy and Jose Mourinho has played down reports that Barcelona's top target Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be leaving Inter Milan.

The Special One was clearly in clairvoyant mood when he said: "It's a conviction of mine. No-one has told me anything, it's just a feeling I have."

And finally, Wigan Athletic have confirmed that Manchester United have made enquiries over their £15m-rated winger Antonio Valencia.

Wigan chairman DAve Whelan expects to receive an offer for the Ecuadorian within days and is hoping to get as much as possible of the £80m United will receive for Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid.

Posted by Phil Holland on 06/12/2009

The football world is still coming to terms with Cristiano Ronaldo's £80m move to Real Madrid, and understandably so given that he is set to become one of the highest paid sports stars in the world.

The Portuguese step-over king will pocket an initial £9.5m-a-year on six year contract which would include an amazing 25% increase season-on season.

But for Manchester United there is uncertainty ahead, with some reports suggestion Sir Alex Ferguson will be handed all the cash and more in order to augment his squad following Ronaldo's exit, but others claim more stars are set rock Old Trafford by leaving.

The Times claims that Carlos Tevez still wants to leave the club and United are bracing themselves for offers from Barcelona, and possibly Real, for Nemanja Vidic.

On the other hand The Daily Mail claim Fergie has been handed a £100m transfer fund and The Guardian
recoken he has targeted Lyon striker Karim Benzema, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Wigan's Antonio Valencia as replacements for Ronaldo and could also launch a bid for Barca striker Samuel Eto'o.

For Real Madrid the next galactico looks set to be David Villa, much to the annoyance of Chelsea who covet the Valencia striker. The Guardian
report that Chelsea held talks with Valencia on Thursday but were told that the player has set his heart on a move to the Bernabeu.

It's not quite the same thing, but Chelsea could celebrate the arrival of at least one new player in the next few weeks: according to the Daily Star Portsmouth are ready to accept a bid from the Blues full-back Glen Johnson that could rise to nearly £20m.

June 11, 2009
Posted by Phil Holland on 06/11/2009

So, it’s finally happened. Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo have got the deal they’ve wanted for the last two years.

The Portuguese winger will be Real Madrid player by the end of the month after Manchester United accepted an eye-watering £80m for their star man.

With Real earlier this week blowing £59m on Kaka you have to wonder where the Spanish giants are getting their cash from; and if they thought about buying Newcastle United for £100m - they seem to have the funds!

It’s all very exciting, but was the first Galacticos experiment ultimately exposed as being an unsuccessful model on which to try and base a winning team; you might sell a heck of a lot of t-shirts, but it you win nothing you look silly.

Perhaps returning Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has a genius idea up his sleeve to stop that from happening.

Moving on, reports in The Sun claim that Didier Drogba has told Manchester City to forget about trying to sign him because he wants to stay at Chelsea.

That could be a setback for Chelsea who might have tried to use the extra cash to try and land Franck Ribery from Bayern Munich how have slapped a £65m price tag on the French playmaker, at least so say The Sun" target="_blank">The Times.

It could be a busy summer at Spurs with The Sun claiming Harry Redknapp is ready to launch a massive clearout. Fourteen players look unsafe, chief amongst them being David Bentley, Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko, who cost the London club £47.8m between them.

Harry is apparently keen on signing a decent defender, which seems like a good idea. The Independent reckon Spurs are in a three-way fight with Sunderland and Stoke to sign Richard Dunne from Manchester City.

June 10, 2009
Posted by Dom Raynor on 06/10/2009

Real Madrid's continued pursuit of Europe’s top striking talent paused for a moment on Wednesday when new president Florentino Perez cast doubt on his side's prospects of signing Bayern Munich playmaker Franck Ribery.

"Ribery belongs to Bayern and [the club] does not want to sell," he said. "Therefore I have to be respectful to the club. It is another thing if they change their mind."

It would therefore seem fair to assume that Real will step up their "respectful" pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, whom Manchester United don't want to sell either.

Over at the other club in Madrid, Atletico, sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch has dismissed any approach for star striker Diego Forlan or Argentina forward Sergio Aguero.

Forlan has been linked with Barcelona and Aguero with a £40m move to Chelsea, but Garcia Pitarch said: "They have a very strong commitment to the club."

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has ruled out selling Javier Mascherano after the Argentina international's agent was quoted as saying the midfielder was keen to join Barcelona.

However, Benitez, who has had his transfer budget slashed amid Liverpool's cash crisis, has dismissed the idea and insisted Mascherano not for sale. "Mascherano has no price," Rafa insisted. "Barcelona could not afford to match his value to Liverpool Football Club."

Clarence Seedorf has insisted that although it is "beautiful news, that [Carlo] Ancelotti wants me in London" the 33-year-old has ruled out following his former boss to Premier League club Chelsea.

Seedorf played for six and a half years under Ancelotti at Milan. Together they won two Champions League titles, the Club World Cup, two European Super Cups, the Coppa Italia and the Italian Supercoppa.

Two players who do seem eager to quit Serie A are AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo and Inter Milan defender Maicon.

Following Kaka's departure for Real Madrid Chelsea target Pirlo said: "We have taken Kaka's exit badly. We'll see if I leave. For now, no, but looking ahead we will see."

Maicon, among Serie A's best players, is even more unhappy. "For three years Inter have treated me with indifference, maybe because they are worried about keeping Ibrahimovic happy," the Brazilian said. "I'm searching for joy, at Inter or another club."

In other news today... Brazilian centre-back Luisao has admitted that he has talked with international colleague Robinho about the prospect of moving to Manchester City. However, Robinho is reportedly seeking a move to Barcelona.

June 9, 2009
Posted by Dale Johnson on 06/09/2009

With Kaka done and dusted the top speculation on Wednesday is the possibility that Alexandre Pato could following him out of the door.

Pato would not be following Kaka from AC Milan to Real Madrid, but he could possibly be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea. Apparently he will talk to his old boss before deciding what to do. I wonder what Carlo will say?

You might not have heard of this, but apparently Cristiano Ronaldo is next on Real Madrid's shopping list. But Marca claim the next through the door will be David Villa from Valencia.

An update to a running link from The Sun, with the newspaper claiming Javie Mascherano's agent is ready and willing to do a deal with Barcelona should both clubs be interested.

Michael Owen's big pay day will be up on June 30 when his Newcastle United contract expires. Talk of a two-year deal with Aston Villa worth £3m-a-season seems wide of the mark though, with Martin O'Neill rubbishing the rumours.

On Monday, Ezequiel Lavezzi's agent was very bold in trying to engineer a move to Liverpool for his player. But now Rafael Benitez has laughed off the claim he has already lodged a bid.

There's been a lot of talk about Thomas Vermaelen joining Arsenal from Ajax Amsterdam and plugging one of the defensive gaps. Robin Van Persie approves of the proposed deal.

After signing Christian Benitez, Birmingham City are going crazy for South American players. The Birmingham Mail says Alex McLeish will sign Giovanny Espinoza from Barcelona Sporting Club in Ecuador.

Finally, the Northern Echo thinks that one of Steve Bruce's first signings as Sunderland boss could well be Cameroon international midfielder Stephane Mbia from Rennes.

June 8, 2009
Posted by Dom Raynor on 06/08/2009

AC Milan playmaker Kaka is just a hop, skip and a jump away - or possibly a lung-busting bike ride, if that is what constitutes a medical these days - from completing his £56m world record transfer to Real Madrid.

Florentino Perez, the Spanish club's new president, is so eager to mark his return to power with a marquee signing that he's sent the club doctors to Brazil to conduct their tests on Kaka in-between the Samba Boys' World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay.

The 27-year-old will then be sent to South Africa to compete in the Confederations Cup before heading to the Bernabeu to perform circus tricks at his unveiling in front of the media and a stand-full of adoring fans.

Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer wants to put an end to the speculation surrounding the future of Franck Ribery and I think we can all say Amen! to that.

Der Kaiser said: "I can see only two solutions: Ribery extends his contract so the issue is dealt with or we release him."

Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United - let's throw in Barcelona, Manchester City and Juventus for good measure - have all been linked with the French forward, who, according to Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness, has just one of his legs valued at €50m.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to sign Ajax Amsterdam centre-back Thomas Vermaelen for £10m. Vermaelen, 23, told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: "Moving to Arsenal is the right path for me... I think everything is going to be okay."

But before all you Gunners jump for joy that your manager has actually found his cheque-book, you may want to absorb to following information: Kolo Toure is going to Manchester City. Well, at least that's what Monday's newspapers claimed.

Liverpool's chances of signing Ezequiel Lavezzi from Lazio received a boost when the Argentine striker's advisor told Napoli he was ready to play hardball to get his client a move to Anfield.

"Ezequiel has tried several times to speak to [Napoli general director Pierpaolo] Marino but he has received no response," Eduardo Rossetto said. "If Napoli have decided to take this extreme position, so will we."

Lavezzi, 24, joined Napoli in the summer of 2007 and scored seven goals for the Serie A club this season.

It looks like post-sex pastry-eater Antonio Cassano will be staying at Sampdoria and won't be heading to Inter Milan to replace Real Madrid target Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone said: "I think Cassano will remain in Genoa. I've heard that Inter want him but in recent hours I have read that Ibrahimovic could stay at Inter."

Garrone also added a nice little put down to ward off any interested parties. "Antonio is a prima donna and with his character he can express his game better in a team in which he has no competition."

In Monday's other transfer tittle-tattle Manchester City are set to make a £15m bid for Everton defender Joleon Lescott (breathe a sigh of relief you Arsenal fans), Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is a target for Real Madrid, Sevilla are interested in signing Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora and most shocking of all Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is ready to offer Newcastle United striker Michael Owen a two-year deal.

June 5, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/05/2009

Is it true? Are we getting tired of all the speculation over the world’s best players already? Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, David Villa, Franck Ribery, Samuel Eto'o, Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all in the news, with Real Madrid going transfer crazy in a bid to get back on top of the pile.

Thankfully, one of those deals looks set to be completed, as Zinedine Zidane has claimed that Kaka has actually signed for Madrid. The former French legend will graciously give the Brazilian his old #5 shirt, presumably forgetting about Fabio Cannavaro’s error-strewn part in proceedings, and reckons the AC Milan man is now a Bernabeu player.

We won’t know for sure until he comes back from national duty, so in the meantime, how about some nice Chelsea rumours? They’re a little annoyed that nobody believed their £73m bid for Kaka - well, why would they bid £17m more than Madrid who had already had a bid accepted? - and have now turned their attentions to Ashley Young instead.

A cheaper alternative to Ribery for sure, and the midfielder impressed this year before everyone at Villa Park caught the lazy bug towards the end of the season. But would he get a game with Florent Malouda currently looking like he has something to prove?

Villa, for their part, might just console themselves with £6m worth of Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone - although that will probably only go towards healing their Gareth Barry shaped wound.

Liverpool fans could be forgiven for being slightly upset that their side are not also in the running for Young. They could do with a player who can run at people and provide some ammunition for Fernando Torres - given that Rafa Benitez has very little faith in Ryan Babel – but at least they’ll console themselves with the fact that Andrea Dossena will be leaving.

‘’I’d run to Juventus’’ said the Italian, failing to realise that he’ll probably have to in order to avoid the throngs of angry Scousers if they don’t offload him this summer.

From one former Udinese defender, to one who’s actually still there. Colombian defender Cristian Zapata reckons Arsene Wenger is really rather keen to sign him up before the start of the season. The Gunners need a solid centre-half and the 22-year-old Zapata seems to fit the bill - although given that they apparently had a £7.5m bid turned down in January, they might have to cough up a bit more cash before he arrives.

Wenger would also probably quite like to sign one of Europe’s top young players, Karim Benzema, but the French striker has said that he’s not going anywhere. He told L'Equipe: "I am 21 years old and I will have time to play for another club. The clubs are going to carry on calling, everyone is looking for forwards. But I am fine at Lyon.’’

Sounds like the type of thing a modern day player says right before they appear holding a Real Madrid shirt with their pockets stuffed full of cash though..

And finally, to finish off on a high, it has become obvious that certain transfer rumours have got out of control: a Samuel Eto’o swap for Zlatan Ibrahimovic being the latest. Thankfully, Inter president Massimo Moratti has distanced the club from any involvement, saying: "I don't see an Ibrahimovic-Eto'o exchange." Even though he might be getting the better half of the deal if he did manage to pull it off.

June 4, 2009
Posted by Jon Carter on 06/04/2009

Milan, Milan, Milan, lots of players leaving, but could they actually use some of the money they'll eventually get for Kaka to sign some new players? Well, Emmanuel Adebayor could top the list.

The Arsenal striker was linked with a £30m move last season and now he could get a move as Milan will have some money to spend on players who aren't yet in a position to collect their pensions.

But not if you believe his agent. There's been no offer, says Stephane Courbis, who was pretty sure that his boy was going, then not going, last summer too. So don't book Beyonce for the welcoming ceremony just yet.

Another striker on the move could be Wolfsburg's prolific Bosnian, Edin Dzeko. Not like City to jump on the bandwagon and sign a high-performing player a massive contract for an over-flated price tag... but this kid is actually very good and the Citizens would do well to snap him up.

£9m is the fee being quoted, although given City are involved expect it to be doubled by the time a deal is ready to be done, and it would represent much better business than splashing £40m on the likes of Carlos Tevez or Samuel Eto'o.

Sky Sports have the news that Alexander Hleb's agent has played down talk linking the Barcelona man with a move to Aston Villa.

Given that one of the reasons the Belarusian left Arsenal last year was because of his dislike for England, it's hardly likely he'll pop up in Birmingham, no matter how much they pay him per week.

Plus, who asked Martin O'Neill? Hleb is not young, English or that quick, so doesn't really fit the profile of a Villa signing. Although having said that the club have to spend the £12m from Gareth Barry's sale somehow.

West Ham are another club keen to strengthen their squad this summer. It may not be a Carlos Tevez/Javier Mascherano kind of affair, but the Hammers could have a shot at French defender Rod Fanni.

"It's true that we have spoken to West Ham scout Roger Cross who has asked about information on Rod," the player's agent said. Although didn't confirm whether it was just some information on how to pronounce his surname in order to avoid embarrassment.

Speaking of embarrassment. Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have some damage to undo as news that their parent company has lost £42.6m will worry Reds fans over their expenditure this summer.

Sean Hamil, a lecturer at the University of London's Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, told Bloomberg: ''Any company, never mind a sports company, which is not able to cover interest from operating activities has three options: refinance, get new equity investors, or sell it to somebody else who's prepared to absorb the debt and start from scratch.'' Oh dear, so David Silva, David Villa, Glen Johnson, Kleber, Tuncay and Sylvain Distin may not move to Anfield after all.

And finally, someone with a bit more money, prospective Portsmouth owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim, has stated that Sven Goran Eriksson is 'not on the shortlist' to become the club's new boss.

Nothing is final yet, says the billionaire, but if Pompey fans are worried by the fact that ''one UAE national player who is very talented'' should be joining the club soon - imagine Sven's disappointment. He was probably counting his cash already.

Posted by Dom Raynor on 06/04/2009

AC Milan chief Adriano Galliani has ejected Chelsea from the Kaka love triangle, leaving just his own club and Real Madrid to battle it out for the Brazilian's affection.

The Blues had been hoping to hijack Kaka's proposed £60m-ish world record transfer to the Bernabeu but Galliani told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: "An agreement with Chelsea could not exist. Kaka goes to Real or he remains at Milan."

To further rub salt in the wound the Milan chief told the Blues they couldn't cosy up with Alexandre Pato either. The Premier League club had apparently been eyeing up the 19-year-old Brazilian as a £38m alternative to Kaka.

But Real Madrid's rampant desires don't end with Kaka and on Thursday club president Florentino Perez confirmed that Ronaldo would be the apple of his eye this summer.

"What would be very good is to see these great players at Real Madrid this season. Cristiano would be one of these," Perez told Atena 3. And just to leave us in no doubt he added: "I'm going to work to bring Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid."

Meanwhile, Diego Forlan's agent believes the European Golden Boot winner will remain at Atletico Madrid. The striker, who scored 32 goals in La Liga this season, had been linked with a move to Barcelona and Premier League outfit Manchester City.

but Daniel Bolotnikoff said: "Forlan has not had any offers from anyone, he has a contract and the player is very happy ... It's all rumours from the newspapers."

Brazilian international Kleber also insists he is happy at his current club, Cruzeiro, but unlike Forlan he would consider a move to the Premier League, particularly if Liverpool came calling with a £13m bid.

The 25-year-old striker, who has scored 19 goals in 21 appearances for Cruzeiro, said: "If I had an offer and if it's profitable for both me and Cruzeiro, my agent and (club president) Zeze will try to sort it out."

Heerenveen striker Danijel Pranjic has sealed a €10m move to Bayern Munich and is looking forward to linking up with Croatia team-mate Ivica Olic, who has already signed for the German giants from Hamburg.

Pranjic, who must first get past Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose to get into the first team, said: "What can I say other than I am delighted. We are talking about a huge club. I will give my best to pay back the faith of (new coach Louis) van Gaal."

Arsenal old boys Patrick Vieira and Alexander Hleb could be heading to Ligue 1 if Lyon director Bernard Lacombe has his way. The French club finished the season without the title for the first time in eight years and much rebuilding is expected.

Barca's Hleb and Inter's Vieira are his top targets and Lacombe thinks Lyon could offer the latter a route into the French World Cup squad. "The worry is his injuries," Lacombe said of Vieira. "But he wants to play in the World Cup, so why not?"

"Hleb is a good player, we'll see what we can do," he added.

In news from Down Under, Adelaide United have signed former Ghana international Lloyd Owusu from Cheltenham Town on a two-year deal.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar believes the 32-year-old will have no problems adapting to a new country or the A-League. "I feel that the way that we play he is certainly going to be able to give something to the team, no question about that," Vidmar said.

A-League side Wellington Phoenix are interested in signing Celtic striker Chris Killen. The 27-year-old New Zealander has struggled to break into the first team at Celtic after initial success in 2007 and the Wellington-born player could head back home.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said: "At this stage it was just a discussion. We haven't made any formal approaches but the door is open for Chris if he wants to come back."

Meanwhile, increasingly audible whispers on transfer rumour mill tell of a possible move to Aston Villa for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone, a bid from Bayern Munich for Chelsea right-back Jose Bosingwa, a move to West Ham for Middlesbrough defender Matthew Bates and that Andrea Pirlo's move to Stamford Bridge is a no go.