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Man City season preview: Dominant midfield key to regaining the title

Top 3 signings for each current Premier League club – Part Two: Liverpool to Norwich

There are many things to take in to account when appraising the success of a club’s signings. I’ve had to look at both their on and off field record and balance the two in choosing a top three for each club during the Premier League years. On the field I took in to account number of appearances and achievements and off the field it was things like purchase price, profit and dressing room impact. So, here we go;



Liverpool have tended to get spectacular success or failure from their signings, but these definitely fall in the first category.

Xabi Alonso Alonso arrived for £10.5m as one of Rafa Benitez’s first signings. He immediately took command of the midfield alongside Hamann and Gerrard as the team charged to their famous Champions League triumph. His full range of passing and incredible goals made him one of the best midfielders in the league whilst he was here. His importance has become clear since Benitez sold him as they’ve dived out of the top 3.

Sami Hyypia One of the top 5 signings of the Premier League era, Hyypia cost just £2.8m from Willem II. He was an absolutely rock solid presence in the middle of the Liverpool defence for the best part of a decade. This is how to do business.

Fernando Torres At Liverpool Torres was one of the best players in the world. His impact was sensational. Costing £22m he then went on to score near enough a goal a game. He was the key man in the team that nearly won the league in 2009. Despite a bit of a down turn Liverpool still managed to get the famous £50m when selling him.

Manchester City


City have signed a lot of players, most of them dodgy. Since the Middle East takeover though they’ve done much better.

Yaya Toure When Yaya was signed it was written off as a mercenary move. But it’s been anything but. He was the dynamo in City’s title winning season last year. Towards the end of the season he went on a run of winning games on his own.

Vincent Kompany Kompany arrived for a measly £6m from Hamburg and was immediately outstanding. The captain of the team which won the league, he is the undisputed leader. His signing marked a change in the philosophy of the club. No longer were they the roguish losers, they were serious about winning and he infused his determination to win throughout the club.

Joe Hart Hart was signed for less than £1m from Shrewsbury and is the last player that City developed for the first team. After loan spells elsewhere he surged in to the team under Mancini and his athleticism and shot stopping have marked him out as one of the top keepers in the league. True value.

Manchester United


United have a full list of top quality signings with only the odd miss. So picking this wasn’t easy.

Roy Keane Keane cost a British record £3.75m from Nottm Forest in 1993 and he helped to build the United dynasty. His ferocious and aggressive determination to win and lift trophies spread throughout the team and he helped to create the imposing image that at time made United unstoppable.

Rio Ferdinand Ferdinand cost £30m in 2002 and has been one of the best defenders in the world ever since. A multiple league winner and Champions League winner, Ferdinand has been a stylish and elegant presence in the United back four.

Wayne Rooney Rooney is still the most expensive teenager of all time since costing £30m from Everton in 2005. He is now the 4th highest scorer of all time for United and despite some recent travails has still provided excellent value for money. He’s only 27 too.

Newcastle United


Newcastle have been by a long way the worst users of the transfer market in the Premier League. They’ve spent a boat load of money and got nothing to show for it. However, there have been a few excellent buys hidden in the junk.

Alan Shearer Shearer cost a world record £15m from Blackburn in 1996 and returned on the investment. Over the next 10 years he played 303 games and scored 148 goals. Such consistency over such along time period unfortunately did not deliver a trophy. Shearer was unlucky not to be supported by a better cast in his prime but they couldn’t have asked for more from him.

Shay Given One of the best signings in league history. Given cost only £1.5m from Blackburn in 1997 and stayed for 12 years. He played nearly 500 games and was the model of consistent excellence. A truly brilliant signing.

Gary Speed Speed came to the club in 1998 for £5.5m and gave Newcastle a level of professionalism and desire that had been missing in the teams which finished as back to back runners up in the 90s. Speed was an all action midfielder who played over 200 times for the club as they found their feet in the Champions League again after years of failure.

Norwich City


Norwich have had 3 spells in the Premier League and over the years have picked up some steals in the market.

Darren Huckerby Huckerby cost only £750k in 2003 and was a menace in attack for 5 years. He wasn’t a prolific goalscorer but he was a whirlwind of activity. He scored the goals which won Norwich promotion back to the top flight in 2004 and was a near enough ever present when they got back up.

Grant Holt Holt joined the club in League One and has thrived in every league thereafter including getting to double figures in his first season in the Premier League last season. Although not the most technically gifted, he has given the club leadership and goals from their lowest ebb to the highs they now enjoy.

Dean Asthon Norwich fans lament that Ashton didn’t come to the club until January 2005. If he had arrived in the summer of 2004 perhaps they would have survived. Jumping up from Crewe to the Premier League, he immediately thrived and nearly hauled Norwich out of trouble. One of the most talented players the club have had in recent years he was then sold on at a big profit for £7m.

You may also like:

Top 3 signings for each current Premier League club – Part One: Arsenal to Fulham

Top 3 signings for each current Premier League club – Part Three: QPR to Sunderland

Top 3 signings for each current Premier League club – Part Four: Swansea to Wigan

Analysing the Transfer Gossip 28/03

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it is just rumour?

Arsenal and Liverpool are set to battle it out for the signature of Swansea City defender Ashley Williams, 28, in the summer.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Hmmmm. Interesting. Williams is seen as the organiser needed at Arsenal and is a personal favourite of Rodgers who hasn’t exactly been shy about returning to the well.
Does it make sense? I don’t think Williams is really an upgrade over what either team has at the back at the moment. Thing is though, Rodgers really does like his ex-Swansea players and his defence will lack an enforcer when Carragher retires.
Is the price right? Swansea have every right to ask for £8m or so. Is that really what you want to pay?
Will it happen? 10/10 – Yep.

Chelsea are planning to hijack West Ham’s £12m move for Vitesse Arnhem’s Ivory Coast international striker Wilfried Bony, 24.


Full story: the Sun

What’s the story? I love how this has story has evolved. A week ago this was West Ham looking at Bony and now over the last couple of days they’ve batted off Fulham, Arsenal and various others to leave just them bidding, but then in swoop Chelsea. Oh no! West Ham will surely vanquish Chelsea on this imaginary transfer battle field and then challenge the next opponent. Maybe it’s winner stays on? Whoever is still on gets him when the window opens.
Does it make sense? No. They’ve got Lukaku and Ba, where does Bony fit in?
Is the price right? £12m for at best a third choice striker?
Will it happen? 0/10 – of course not, West Ham will conquer all!

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is keen on a reunion with 27-year-old Norwich defender Russell Martin, who has played under the Scot at Wycombe as well as Carrow Road.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Calm down Villa fans, I know this is incredibly exciting!
Does it make sense? Yeah I guess. Villa need some veteran experience at the back to hold some hands.
Is the price right? Probably a few million, guess it makes sense.
Will it happen? 8/10 – Yeah, why not?

Arsenal’s summer transfer plans include selling 25-year-old striker Gervinho to Turkish side Galatasaray for £12m and buying Liverpool’s 30-year-old goalkeeper Jose Reina.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? In other news Arsenal plan to sell Arshavin to Zenit for £20m, Chamakh to PSG for £15m and Denilson to Barcelona for Lionel Messi.
Does it make sense? If Arsenal get £12m for Gervinho, £12m, then it should be investigated. In Istanbul right now there’d have to a little meeting saying ‘we’ve got Sneijder and Drogba, we’re in the Champions League quarter final, but what will take us over the edge?’ a voice pops up ‘Gervinho. I reckon we can persuade Arsenal to sell him like we persuaded them to sell us Eboue’.
Is the price right? Seriously, £12m? If you’re going to pluck out numbers, at least make sure you’re not giving someone a profit on their junk. I might see if Galatasaray are interested in buying my old football boots. Special deal, only £400.
Will it happen? 5/10 – having said all that, probably. Who knows?!

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, 29, is to “soldier on” until the summer before making a decision on his future. Toure still has two years left on his contract but has been linked with a summer move to Paris St-Germain.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Yaya yet again? I’m sure he will have all of our sympathy ‘soldiering on’ for £220k a week. He can only go to PSG blah blah blah blah…

Tottenham are one of the clubs chasing Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, with Inter Milan and Manchester City also keen on signing the 22-year-old.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Everyone seems to be in on Benteke, and rightly so.
Does it make sense? Spurs is an interesting name to link to him. They do need to upgrade upfront. Benteke is probably a year away from being a true upgrade but it’d be worth a go for them. He would be absolutely perfect for Inter if they could afford him. I don’t get where he fits in at Man City necessarily. Mancini likes ready made players and Benteke is still a touch raw to be relied upon for a title push.
Is the price right? Villa would have every right to hold out for £15m, especially if there are indeed plenty of bidders.
Will it happen? 7/10 – Spurs: he’s a touch raw but if Spurs get in to the Champions League he’d be worth a stab. Inter – 7/10: It’s solely a price issue for Inter, they’re not as rich as they were. City: 6/10 – It wouldn’t be the best move for him, he needs first team football, but City have a mighty tempting cash reserve.

Spurs are also plotting a move to pip Liverpool in the race to sign £8m-rated Blackpool winger Thomas Ince, 21.


Full story: Daily Star

What’s the story? Tottenham went through a phase of harvesting every young English player they could find about 6 or 7 years ago. Maybe they want to abandon their recent strategy to do that again?
Does it make sense? Not really. Spurs’ are competing for a Champions League spot. Where does signing a guy who has only proven himself in the Championship for more than they spent on Hugo Lloris fit in to that?
Is the price right? Nope.
Will it happen? 0/10 – Nope.

Fulham want Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray, 29, who has scored 30 goals for the Championship club this season.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Murray has had the season of his career and might follow in the footsteps of Holt and Lambert in getting it done in the top flight.
Does it make sense? He doesn’t look a Premier League player but you’d have said the same of the two above.
Is the price right? It’ll depend if Palace go up but they’d surely hold out for £5-6m given their pockets have been swollen by the Zaha sale. Danny Graham cost £5.5m and is a similar standard of player.
Will it happen? 5/10 – I don’t really see Murray as a Jol type player.

Stories sourced by the BBC Gossip Column

Analysing the Transfer Gossip 23/03 – Saturday Special

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it just rumour?

Manchester United want to sign Benfica’s Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay, 26, for £15m.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Manchester United have been linked with various defenders including Garay in the past. The Argentine has been in stellar form during Benfica’s unbeaten season.
Does it make sense? Not massively. I’m not convinced Garay would be a great fit for the Premier League, but having said that he would be useful for them in Europe where his comfort on the ball would come in handy.
Is the price right? £15m is about what it would take but it’s a fair chunk of change.
Will it happen? 5/10 – He just doesn’t fit in the Premier League but Ferguson has his heart set on the big eared cup so he might make a luxury move in pursuit of that. Plus, Ferdinand might be on his way.

Super-rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala are showing interest in Manchester City’s unsettled midfielder Yaya Toure, 29.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Anzhi have lots of money. This would be the acid test of Yaya’s motivations. Sure, they could offer him unparalleled wages but his agent is saying it’s not about the money. We shall see.
Does it make sense? This makes much more sense for City than Chelsea or Real. If they sell him to Russia they can get more money and easily say that he’s gone just for the money. They wouldn’t lose face. I don’t get why Yaya would want to do this but money is a powerful thing.
Is the price right? This is the big question. Anzhi could look at Yaya as a statement of intent signing, in the same way that City did when he moved there, and pay a huge fee. There’s no reason for City to take less than £35m.
Will it happen? 7/10 – I can picture this. Anzhi are in a rush and Yaya could do for them what he has done for City.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will reject all offers for French playmaker Yohan Cabaye, 27.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? The big boys will be circling around Cabaye who has been the epitome of consistency since moving to Newcastle. There’s no question that he’s their key player so if Newcastle, and Ashley specifically, are serious about competing then they have to find a way to keep him.
Does it make sense? Well here’s the thing. Obviously football wise they really need to be keeping him but their recent success in the transfer market has been founded on buying cheap, selling high, buying cheap to replace.
Is the price right? If Arsenal or Chelsea come in offering £12-15m it will be hard for them to turn down. Anything more than that and it will be impossible.
Will it happen? 3/10 – I think he’ll stay. What is in Newcastle’s favour is that there are plenty of player’s in Cabaye’s position on the market in Europe right now at a lower cost. Mind you, he is the known package which explains the premium.

Tottenham have been warned that Roma striker Pablo Osvaldo, 26, is “virtually non-transferable”.


Full story: talkSPORT

What’s the story? Osvaldo plays as the lone man up top for Roma and has all the physical assets that Premier League clubs desire. He’s a real target man, a box dweller.
Does it make sense? I don’t think so. Osvaldo isn’t exactly a prolific scorer, he’s only got 11 in the league this year. As a hold up man he’s a good fit but Spurs really need goals more than hold up. They have had trouble putting teams away and have dropped silly points, especially if Bale doesn’t win games for them. They’d be better off pushing for Higuain or Cavani.
Is the price right? Well considering that he is described as ‘virtually non-transferable’ it’s going to be a lot. A minimum of £15m is just too much for what Spurs need. Osvaldo is perfect for Roma which will increase the price yet further.
Will it happen? 1/10 – this just doesn’t fit Spurs’ recent buying profile. The days of over paying for players seems to be behind them.

Everton have sent their scouts to run the rule over Real Mallorca and Israel striker Tomer Hemed, 25.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Everton need attacking help, the lack of consistent production up front has hamstrung them in their pursuit of the top 4.
Does it make sense? He’s cheap enough and offers a good physical presence but Everton have that type well covered. He’s only got 8 goals this year in Spain, albeit in a struggling Mallorca team. Perhaps, like Michu, he could be better suited to success in England.
Is the price right? He won’t cost much, maybe £3-4m.
Will it happen? 6/10 – Moyes, if he remains, is constricted by his budget and has to look for these kind of flyers.

Stories sourced by the BBC Gossip Column

Analysing the Transfer Gossip 22/03

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it just rumour?

Italian league leaders Juventus could bid for Manchester United’s Mexico striker Javier Hernandez, 24, if they fail to sign Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, 26. Juventus are searching for a strike partner for Spaniard Fernando Llorente, 28, who is joining on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Juventus, one of the surging teams on the European scene right now are looking in Man United’s bin? Hernandez doesn’t start for Man United because he has limitations in general play. He’s great at pinching goals in the box but Juventus are signing one of those, a superior one, in Llorente in the first place.
Does it make sense? They wouldn’t compliment each otherat all. They’re both out and out strikers which hardly anyone operates now, especially Juventus. So, no.
Is the price right? It’s hard to gauge Hernandez’s price. I’m not sure Ferguson would sell and therefore it would be too high for Juventus.
Will it happen? 0/10 – unless Juventus abandon the kind of rock solid, well thought out transfer policy that has seen them come back to prominence of course.

Brazil striker Hulk, 26, could finally join Chelsea this summer after growing tired of life in Russia playing for Zenit St Petersburg.


Full story: Metro

What’s the story? Hulk is struggling (has been exposed) in Russia. He’s done OK enough if he’d cost ten times less but we’re talking about a near £50m player who has got 3 league goals. He’s been racially abused and generally made unwelcome. Chelsea were linked when AVB turned up.
Does it make sense? No. Hulk was signed to show Zenit’s intent to impose themselves as a big European side. Why would they abandon that a year later? Hulk doesn’t compliment what Chelsea have now, let alone provide any upgrade.
Is the price right? He cost £50m in the summer. Why in the world would Chelsea pay anything like that?
Will it happen? 3/10 – I’ll never give a zero when it comes to Chelsea, you just can’t tell with them. See Messrs Shevchenko, Torres, Wright-Phillips, Crespo etc. etc.

Norwich City are close to agreeing an £8.5m deal to sign 24-year-old striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon.


Full Story: The Times

What’s the story? Norwich badly need some attacking threat and they tried to sign van Wolfswinkel in January. Sporting’s financial position has nosedived so they are looking to sell.
Does it make sense? I’m not convinced he’s the best way of spending £8.5m but he’d add the threat that the Canaries so desperately need.
Is the price right? I guess you have to pay what you have to pay but there must be better value around?
Will it happen? 10/10 – Sporting have released a statement pretty much saying it will

David De Gea says he will reject the interest of Real Madrid and Barcelona to stay at Manchester United.


Full story: the Sun

What’s the story? De Gea has only just won the United keeper jersey and is now apparently batting away Barcelona and Real?
Does it make sense? Well for one thing Barcelona have already picked their future keeper in Marc Ter-Stegen of Borussia Monchengladbach. Casillas still has a fair few years left in him yet.
Is the price right? United paid near enough £20m for De Gea to be their keeper for the next decade. So remind me why they’re selling him?
Will this happen? 0/10 – it’s just complete junk.

Chelsea are ready to offer £22m for Yaya Toure, 29, if the Manchester City midfielder decides to call time on his stay at the Etihad.


Full story: Metro

What’s the story?
Toure’s agent seems to be maneuvering for a pay rise and has threatened to leave if he doesn’t get it. Chelsea need midfield grit.
Does it make sense? Do I need to answer? City take below market value for a key player to a league rival? Really?
Is the price right? No, unless City fancy taking not only a loss but also less than it would cost to replace him
Will it happen? 2/10 – again, you can never tell with City and Chelsea so I can’t give it zero but come on…

Arsenal are considering a move for Sochaux’s 22-year-old right back Sebastien Corchia with Bacary Sagna expected to leave the Emirates Stadium in the summer.


Full Story: The Times

What’s the story? Sagna is going is he? OK, wouldn’t necessarily be the worst idea. Wenger loves his young French defenders.
Does it make sense? Sagna isn’t at the level he was two or three years ago so it makes sense to move on. Corchia is reasonably well regarded but is this taking them to the top 4?
Is the price right? I guess it depends how much they get for Sagna (where is he even moving to?) but Corchia wouldn’t be expensive.
Will it happen? 5/10 – Maybe.

Tottenham and Chelsea are set to fight it out over Southampton’s promising defender Luke Shaw, 17, who could cost as much as £16.5m.


Full story: Metro

What’s the story? Shaw is the latest wonder boy off the Southampton production line and his name is going to be in a lot of gossip columns this summer. Spurs and Chelsea could do with a long term plan at left back.
Does it make sense? This is an interesting one, something to have to think about! If Saints go down then it’s hard to see Shaw not going but if they stay up they seem to in a decent enough position financially that they really don’t need to be selling him off.
Is the price right? Again, an interesting figure quoted. Problem is, it’s more than Bale, Walcott or Oxlade-Chamberlain. But then, it does seem the right ball park for an English wonder boy. Intriguing.
Will it happen? 6/10 – fascinating if Southampton stay up. They’ve made the right noises about keeping him so far. If they go down he’s off.

Analysing the Transfer Gossip 21/03

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it just rumour?

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, 26, says he would consider any offers from Champions League clubs this summer.


Full story: Liverpool Echo

What’s the story? For someone who has previously stated he is happy at Liverpool there is a lot of chatter about Suarez leaving. He’s been linked heavily with Bayern and Manchester City. If he stays to the end of next year it will have been 3 1/2 seasons for him out of the Champions League.
Does it make sense? Yes, from Suarez’s point of view. It’s not as if he was an unknown when he left Ajax so he doesn’t owe Liverpool anything. He’s just what City need and would offer something extra to the Bayern attack.
Is the price right? This would have to be at least £40m or Liverpool won’t have a hope of replacing him. City and Bayern can afford that comfortably.
Will it happen? 8/10 – the more I think about it, the more I can see this getting ugly and him heading out the door. If Guardiola wants some technicians then Suarez could be near the top of his list.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are the leading contenders to sign Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure after the 29-year-old told the Premier League champions he would buy out his contract and leave this summer if a new deal was not agreed by Saturday.


Full story: The Sun

What’s the story?
Chelsea? Seriously? We’re saying Chelsea can buy from Man City? Toure’s agent is trying to forcing his way out seemingly but only Real is realistic.
Does it make sense? He’d be perfect for the Chelsea midfield but how in the world are they buying from City suddenly? Sure Chelsea are rich, but also less rich and lower in the table than City. He’d be OK at Real but I’m not sure where he’d fit.
Is the price right? £30-40m perhaps? If City even entertain offers.
Will it happen? 0/10 – Chelsea 5/10 – Real. This all seems like contract seeking grandstanding.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is Real Madrid’s top summer target and the Spanish side will make a £45m bid for the 24-year-old Argentine.


Full story: Daily Star

What’s the story? Wow, where’s this come from?! I must have missed the ‘Everything Must Go’ sign going up at the Etihad. There has been some talk about Real freshening up their attack and Aguero is one of the few players who could be considered an upgrade.
Does it make sense? No way. Aguero is the City fans’ favourite, the signing which showed their intent to win and the man that scored them to the title. I can’t imagine any scenario which sees them sell him. This is the kind of illogical nonsense that amazes when you see turn up in the papers. Are we saying that because City are second this year, they want to sell all their key players?
Is the price right? No. I don’t get why they would print such a ridiculous number. City paid £38.5m for Aguero. And they’re selling him for a wage adjusted loss two years later?! City wouldn’t sell Aguero. I can only see them putting up more of a fight about Kompany.
Will it happen? -1/10 – (Minus 1) Less than zero, absolute garbage.

Chelsea have held a secret meeting with Atletico Madrid over a summer move for their 27-year-old Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.


Full story: Daily Express

What’s the story? These secret meetings have a strange way of getting in to the press don’t they? This whole Courtois/Falcao discussion gives a nice story every day. Chelsea need an attacker and Falcao has an accessible release clause.
Does it make sense? It sure does. Chelsea have two options up front; trust Lukaku or bring in an elite striker. Falcao is the best option they could get.
Is the price right? It’d be the £52m to meet Falcao’s release clause. Only £2m more than Torres…
Will it happen? 7/10 – It seems like Falcao could be on the move and if Chelsea match the release clause they’d have to let him talk.

Liverpool and Manchester United are tracking Brazilian centre-half Dede, 24, after Rio de Janeiro club Vasco da Gama admitted they need to sell to ease their financial problems.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Dede is pretty much second only to Neymar in the pecking order of Brazilian based players. There is even a belief that he could turn out to be better than countryman Thiago Silva. Both teams need a dominant central defender.
Does it make sense? I guess so. Man United have never been afraid to buy from Brazil but I would think Ferguson might have other targets in mind defensively. The only way Liverpool have a sniff is if no Champions League sides get in to the conversation.
Is the price right? Despite the ‘financial problems’ he’s not getting given away. £20m+ probably. Right at the extreme of what both teams could muster.
Will it happen? 1/10 – I just don’t see it.

The agent of Aston Villa forward Andreas Weimann has played down speculation that the 21-year-old could be set for a summer switch to Inter Milan.


Full story:

What’s the story? Weimann has thrived this year, popping up with 11 goals in his first extended game time but his contract expires in 2014 so Villa will face a big decision this summer. But, Inter?
Does it make sense? He’d be cheap enough for Inter but is this really the kind of signing that will return them to former glories. They only won the Champions League 3 years ago, and now Andi Weimann? Meh.
Is the price right? One year left on his contract and Villa aren’t in great financial shape so about £4-5m.
Will it happen? 4/10 – Inter have been thrift shopping lately.

Tottenham have been offered Sporting Lisbon winger Diego Capel, 25, for a bargain £5m with the Portuguese club looking to trim their wage bill.


Full story: Metro

What’s the story?
I don’t get this at all. Capel was once well thought of and was linked to Spurs about 6 years ago so I guess someone just typed his name in to Google and saw what came up.
Does it make sense? No. He’s not good enough for Spurs. Also, why would Spurs be buying cast offs from a Portugese mid table team?
Is the price right? The most laughable thing about this is the suggestion of £5m being a bargain. He’s not worth £5m even if Sporting weren’t selling off the goods.
Will it happen? -1/10 – (Minus 1) Just, no. Nonsense.

Stories sourced by the BBC Gossip Column

Analysing the Transfer Gossip 20/03

There’s always plenty of transfer talk throughout the season. So how much of it makes sense, and how much of it just rumour?

Yaya Toure’s agent has said he will start negotiating with other clubs if the midfielder does not sign a new contract with Manchester City by Saturday – the 29-year-old Ivorian could even use FIFA rules to buy out his deal and leave this summer.


Full story: the Sun

What’s the story? Woooooooah!!! What?! Well, for a start they can’t negotiate with any other clubs unless they want to break every recruitment law going so that’s just billy big time talk. Secondly, who can afford Yaya and would have a spot for him? PSG? Maybe Real? Thirdly, why would City let their best player leave under any circumstances? Move along please.

Arsenal are interested in signing Barcelona’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez. The 24-year-old has endured an underwhelming season with the Spanish league leaders and could be available.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Sanchez just doesn’t fit Barcelona’s style. He is an express paced counter attacker, not a pass and mover. Arsenal have a need for more threat in attack.
Does it make sense? It really does football wise, the question is whether Arsenal would be an attractive enough proposition for Sanchez. He’d look good all the top clubs, Man United in particular, so would Arsenal be top of his list? Also depends if Barca want to sell.
Is the price right? This will be the problem. Barcelona paid £30m two years ago. Can Arsenal afford anything like that? Yes. Will they pay it? Let’s see…
Will it happen? 4/10 – makes sense but there’s so many variables in play that it’s hard to see.

Liverpool and Manchester United are likely to face competition from Real Madrid for Paris St-Germain’s highly rated 20-year-old Italy international midfielder Marco Verratti.
Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti


Full story: talkSPORT

What’s the story? I wasn’t sure whether to leave this in but it’s so ridiculous that I wanted to have a go. There isn’t a story. This is garbage. PSG spent a ton on Veratti last summer to be their young Pirlo, the young star to build the midfield around. PSG want to be an elite force in Europe. So, he’s going to Liverpool? Liverpool?!
Does it make sense? See above. Nonsense.
Is the price right? Are PSG the club you want to try buying from? If you’re Liverpool?!
Will it happen? 0/10 – Not just zero. Absolute zero.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp plans to make another bid for Toulouse’s France international defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue, 24, in the summer, but admits a deal could only happen if the club remain in the Premier League.


Full story: Metro

What’s the story? Oh, we didn’t publish this in January.
Does it make sense? Well obviously they can only sign him if they stay in the Premier League. If at all. He’s a good player, think Moussa Sissoko lite.
Is the price right? Toulouse will sell and QPR will throw money about aimlessly so whatever the price, the price is right.
Will it happen? 1/10 – QPR need to stay in the top flight remember.

Aston Villa and Everton are monitoring Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair, 23, who has been unable to establish himself at Etihad Stadium following his move from Swansea.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story? Mancini never wanted Sinclair, English quota filler for the Champions League squad personified. ‘Monitoring’ doesn’t mean anything of course.
Does it make sense? Everton yes. Villa no. Why would he want to join Villa?
Is the price right? Hard to think he’d be too expensive, maybe £5m which is worth the gamble that he recovers his Swansea form.
Will it happen? 5/10 – He’d be a good Everton signing, they thrive when signing players based on value, but…

Chelsea have valued goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at £20m in a bid to scare off any interested clubs. The 20-year-old has excelled during two loan spells at Atletico Madrid but has admitted he is several seasons away from challenging Blues number one Petr Cech.


Full story: London Evening Standard

What’s the story? There’s a lot of buzz about Courtois at the moment. £20m shouldn’t scare anyone off though.
Does it make sense? I’m getting increasingly concerned about how much Courtois is being linked with a move away. If Chelsea sell him, and I will say this every day if it keeps popping up, it would be absolute madness.
Is the price right? No.
Will it happen? 5/10 – There isn’t a club linked to him this time but it’s suspicious how often his name is appearing right now.

Norwich hope to take advantage of Aston Villa’s faltering contract negotiations with 21-year-old striker Andreas Weimann. The Austria international, who has scored 11 goals this season, has just over a year left on his current deal.


Full story: Daily Mail

What’s the story? Weimann’s hustle bustle style is attracting attention. If Villa stay up he’d stay but if they go down there could be an auction. Norwich need some attacking help.
Does it make sense? Possibly. I’m not convinced Norwich necessarily need another hard runner upfront rather than someone with some guile but he’d be a good addition nonetheless.
Is the price right? Norwich bid up to £9m for Gary Hooper in January. Gary Hooper! So they will presumably make money available for a striker again in the summer.
Will it happen? 5/10 – if Villa stay up no chance. If they go down though, Norwich would be a decent enough move.

Napoli and Manchester City are set to battle for the services of Sampdoria’s Argentine U20 international striker Mauro Icardi, 20.


Full story: talkSPORT

What’s the story? Icardi has burst on to the Serie A scene in 2013 with his goals for Sampdoria. Napoli might lose their main striker. Mancini used to play for Sampdoria.
Does it make sense? You remember the last time City signed a young forward with a view to playing him? No?
Is the price right? City and Napoli can afford what Sampdoria would ask.
Will it happen? 0/10 – City 7/10 – Napoli

England midfielder Frank Lampard, 34, yet to be offered a new deal by Chelsea, says a move to the MLS in America would not have to mean the end of his international career.


Full story: Daily Mirror

What’s the story?
Remember the last England star to head to the MLS? He kept playing for England? Oh…Lampard wouldn’t be short of European suitors, it’d be a shame for him to head to the US with so much in the tank.
Does it make sense? Not really. If he does go to the MLS it’s game over for England.
Will it happen? 5/10 – there is some buzz, but let’s hope not.

Stories sourced by the BBC Gossip Column

Fantasy XIs – All European XI v All Rest of the World XI Part 2

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