soccernet blog
On The Move
December 31, 2010
Posted by Tom Adams on 12/31/2010

Ten years ago, Michael Owen was preparing to embark on a six-month spell that would propel Liverpool to their treble and the striker to the Ballon d’Or trophy. Now though, he awakes to reports that he could be joining the Premier League’s bottom club, West Ham.

Michael Owen in his natural habitat at Manchester United© Getty Images

The Daily Mirror reports the out-of-favour Manchester United striker, who cannot get a game at Old Trafford, is “top of the club’s list of targets” as they aim to drag themselves out of the relegation zone having been bottom at Christmas.

Having missed out on Emmanuel Adebayor due to their inability to match the Manchester City striker’s wage demands, Owen is now a target for West Ham and could be available given he has only six months remaining on his contract. If a deal proves unworkable, then Everton’s Yakubu is an alternative target.

Meanwhile, it transpires that Chelsea turned down the chance to sign Rafael van der Vaart in the summer, according to The Sun. The Blues attract some criticism for this, given the Dutchman's form since moving to England, but in Chelsea's system surely he would be a competitor for Florent Malouda? Their decision to look elsewhere seems sensible to us.

Also in The Sun, Liverpool are believed to be targeting Hamburg's Eljero Elia. His cameo performances at the World Cup suggested he is very much the rich man's Ryan Babel, so this deal makes sense, even if the Reds are also moving for Rennes winger Sylvain Marveaux.

Finally, the Daily Mail is always a fine purveyor of transfer rumours once the January transfer window appears on the horizon, and the rag indulges in some fine speculation this morning, with Birmingham reportedly hoping to sign the Spurs pair of David Bentley and Robbie Keane. Meanwhile, Aston Villa are vying with Fulham to sign disaffected Blackburn defender Chris Samba.

December 30, 2010
Posted by Tom Adams on 12/30/2010

Manchester City's bid for Edin Dzeko looks to be progressing nicely so potentially the most lucrative move of the window could be nearing completion. However, the biggest story may yet come from the United States.

Dzeko: The deal of the window already looks done© Getty Images

The Daily Express reports that Tottenham have made contact with David Beckham's camp as they hope to sign the midfielder on loan from LA Galaxy. Beckham has previously said he would not play for another Premier League club having started his career with Manchester United, but Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Newcastle, Everton and Blackpool are also in the running.

City are of course closing in on Wolfsburg star Dzeko, but the Daily Mail reports Espanyol defender Victor Ruiz is also a target, even if he could be loaned straight back to the Spanish side.

Newcastle United are also hoping to make a prominent signing and the Daily Mirror reports they will complete a permanent deal for Hatem Ben Arfa this week. The France international is currently sidelined with a broken leg but the Magpies are ready to pay £5.1 million to turn his loan move into a long-term deal.

Times are tough at Fulham this season and with one unlikely England international - Bobby Zamora - currently out injured, the Cottagers are hoping to secure another - Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd - for a fee of £2 million, according to the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, The Sun reports that Wigan flop Mauro Boselli could be poised to join Serie A side Bari after scoring precisely zero Premier League goals following his £6 million move to England over the summer.

December 29, 2010
Posted by John Brewin on 12/29/2010

Edin Dzeko's move to Manchester City looks set to happen very soon, and with it the January transfer may be receiving its biggest transfer before it has even started.

Dzeko: The deal of the window already looks done© Getty Images

Widespread reports, and from Germany especially, suggest that Wolfsburg will cash in a player who has been linked with the Premier League for some time. City, of course, are the club with the wherewithal to buy the Bosnian so expect him to be the final piece in the jigsaw/the new Rodney Marsh '72 edition.

That barely seems speculation but there is plenty of other stuff about. Manchester United are not expected to be spending big; but The Sun says they want Real Madrid's Lassana Diarra, who would complete a remarkable trio of Chelsea, Arsenal and the Red Devils if he does so.

Despite that win against West Brom, Blackburn seem to be in a state of flux. Chris Samba has made it clear he wants out of Ewood, so he's linked with Arsenal and Fulham in the Mail, though is said to only be interested in the latter if Mark Hughes keeps his job.

Robbie Keane is a stalked horse, and has no place at Spurs these days. Wolves want him for an emotional return, while West Ham want him too, according to our own Harry Harris. West Ham are also linked with a Congolese striker in Dieumerci Mbokani of Monaco, according to the Mail.

Aston Villa are another crisis club, with plenty of unhappy campers, so the Daily Mirror think Stephen Ireland and Richard Dunne will escape the nest for a loan spell at Celtic, and Curtis Davies is off to Werder Bremen too, according to a flier from the same publication.

December 28, 2010
Posted by Mark Lomas on 12/28/2010

Four days and counting until the January transfer window opens, and the rumours continue to build about who will go where. Here’s the pick of the bunch for Tuesday December 28.

Michael Owen and Gerard Houllier: Set to be reunited at Aston Villa?© Getty Images

You’d think this one was a bit of a long shot, but the Daily Mail reckons that a lunch meeting between Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Panathanaikos striker Djibril Cisse could indicate that the France international is on the verge of a return to Anfield.

If the Cisse one appears a little far-fetched, there are plenty of other rumours to whet Liverpool fans’ appetites, including possible moves for Lille striker Gervinhho, Marseille playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, highly-rated Crystal Palace teenager Wilfried Zaha and Stoke defender Robert Huth.

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has both sung the praises of Michael Owen and also denied that he will move for the Manchester United striker over the past few weeks. However, this one just won’t go away and the Manchester Evening News expects Owen to move in January, with Villa Park the likeliest destination. Villa are also stepping up their interest in Joey Barton, according to the Daily Mail.

Of course, Manchester City are likely to be the most talked about club in the upcoming transfer window – once again the Daily Mail is on the case, saying that Edin Dzeko’s agent is putting the finishing touches to a £30 million move, and that the Bosnian’s arrival would likely see the exit of Roque Santa Cruz to Lazio.

Other City related gossip includes the cub being linked with a move for Real Madrid centre-back Pepe (Daily Mail), a £7 million bid for Bordeaux midfielder Alou Diarra (talkSPORT) and sales of Wayne Bridge to West Ham (Daily Mirror) and Mario Balotelli to AC Milan (The Guardian).

New Blackburn boss Steve Kean reportedly has money to spend in January, and he is reportedly targeting £5 million-rated Espanyol striker Pablo Osvaldo (talkSport), though Rovers defender Pascal Chimbonda could be on his way out of Ewood Park.

Elsewhere, injury prone defender Jonathan Woodgate is courting interest from Cardiff and Middlesbrough according to the Daily Mirror, while The Times reckon that Celtic will look to take Spurs’ out of favour midfielder Niko Kranjcar on loan.

December 27, 2010
Posted by Jon Carter on 12/27/2010

A few stories to have caught the attention throughout the festive period come from Europe. Manuel Neuer is wanted by Bayern, while Jose Mourinho wants another striker in January, but doesn't think he'll get one.

''We need reinforcements, but I highly doubt that will happen,'' said Jose. ''One thing is what we need, another is what we do. And in this case, I really need, but I doubt we will do it."

Juan, Roma's defender who is attracting some attention from the big-boys, will be another heading back to Brazil once his contract expires. He says: ''I will definitely return, since I left Flamengo I have thought about coming back.''

Striker Luis Fabiano could also be returning to Brazil if Internacional can persuade him to end his time at Sevilla.

Franz Beckenbauer has slammed the Bayern Munich board for not managing to sign Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer quickly enough.

"If we really wanted him, we should have acted earlier," he told Welt newspaper. "Now it is difficult. His market value has since gone above and beyond the boundaries. If we don't get Neuer, then we are not going to get Rene Adler from Bayer Leverkusen either and that leaves us no other choice but to try an experiment once again.''

Over in Italy, Inter Milan have completed the signing of 12 million euro defender Andrea Ranocchia from Genoa. Although the 22-year-old was already co-owned by the Champions League holders.

Posted by Dale Johnson on 12/27/2010

No surprise that there is more talk about the future of Andy Carroll as we head towards the transfer window, which opens on Saturday but clubs in England cannot register players until January 4 due to public holidays.

Andy Carroll scores against City © Getty Images

Carroll scored against Manchester City on Boxing Day, and Roberto Mancini revealed he admires the player. The Guardian also reports that a move for Edin Dzeko could be back on.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he may buy a defender in January if Alex is not fit. The Daily Mail thinks it may be Bolton centre-half Gary Cahill for £15 million. The same paper says Chelsea have been told by Benfica that David Luiz will cost £35 million.

Despite already having two great wingers, Spurs are said to be preparing a £15 million bid for Aston Villa's Ashley Young. Or so the Sun says.

The Daily Mail claims that Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to be given at least £50million to spend in the transfer market and is targeting Liverpool’s Pepe Reina as a replacement for goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

And that same paper reports that Chelsea have emerged as favourites for Southampton's £10 million-rated teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Fulham, Arsenal and Liverpool have also expressed an interest.

Plus Stoke City are continuing talks with Real Zaragoza in a bid to agree a deal to sign on-loan Jermaine Pennant on a permanent £2.6 million deal.

Birmingham City striker Marcus Bent has been told by manager Alex McLeish to find himself a new club, another from the Daily Mail. While West Brom and Wigan are keeping tabs on Leeds' Max Gradel.

Over at the Daily Mirror, Birmingham are believed to be in talks to sign Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham. Still in the Midlands, and Wolves and Aston Villa are said to want Gary O'Neil and David Wheater from Middlesbrough.