The transfer window is open, and that means the rumors and news items are going to be flying off the wire with blistering speed for the next month.
The Nicolas Anelka to Chelsea rumors are heating up now that both parties have admitted their undying lust for one another. Anelka, a man of ambition, wants to play in the Champions League, which is something he’d instantly get at Chelsea.
However, there might be some issues regarding the fee, as it’s gone from 10 million just a short time ago to 19 million. Chelsea wouldn’t have any problem shelling it out, but if they choose not to, a return to Manchester City could be in the cards. Sven-Goran Eriksson is on the lookout for strikers and more strikers, and with Manchester City flying high in the Premier League, that’s also a desirable destination for the 28-year old striker.
If the Blues don’t get Anelka, they might have a much cheaper fallback option in Reading’s Kevin Doyle. According to the Independent, Chelsea have their eyes on the 24-year old Irishman, who could go for 8 million GBP. However, considering how things have worked out with former Reading star Steve Sidwell thus far in London, Doyle (whose contract runs until 2010) could be content to wait for an offer that presents more guarantees than one appearance every few weeks.
Speaking of Sidwell, he’s reportedly a target of Roy Keane and Sunderland. The midfielder hasn’t seen a great deal of opportunities since his move to Chelsea following last season, but getting a starting nod in Tuesday’s clash with Fulham might be a sign that he’s set for more first-team opportunities, especially with the African Cup of Nations coming up soon.
As for another much-talked about potential transfer deal, we can put that one on the backburner for now, hopefully. According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Barcelona have decided that Ronaldinho’s future won’t be decided until the end of the season. This could turn out to be a good thing, if things turn around for Ronny, but it could also wind up making for a miserable five months for both club and player.
Porto have put a 30 million euro (22 million GBP) price tag on defender Jose Bosingwa, who’s a target for both Manchester United and Aston Villa. Bosingwa, 25, has been capped by Portugal six times and is one of the few holdovers from Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Porto, having been with the club since 2003.
By now, Lyon must be really tired of wrangling with Europe’s elite over their stars. The newest highly-talented young player to be churned out of their little assembly line is 20-year old striker Karim Benzema, who is a hot target for several of Europe’s top clubs, with AC Milan reportedly not only the favorites, but already in talks with the Ligue 1 dominators. But to get their man, they’re going to have to up their offer, which is reportedly at 25 million GBP.
In my last transfer column, I mentioned that Rafa Benitez said that Peter Crouch wouldn’t go from Liverpool for a penny less than 40 million GBP. Well, the Manchester Evening News reports that if Sven wants to bring his former England international to Eastlands, Benitez could be up for a swap deal seeing as how Liverpool’s piggy bank is a little light right now.
That swap deal could involve England U-21s Michael Johnson and Nedum Onuoha, but it remains to be seen if either side would be up for it.
Manchester City are also reportedly after another Liverpool player, but this one is not as welcome news for the Reds, as it involves Javier Mascherano. Rafa Benitez is desperate to tie the Argentine midfielder up at Liverpool permanently, but all indications are that if he wanted to make it happen, it’d be at the end of the season, when the 17 million GBP would likely be available. And, given that City and Barcelona are both interested – and have the $$$ – June could well be a little late.
As for players who could be on their way out of City, Tuttosport reports that Torino may be looking to sign City striker Rolando Bianchi on loan. Bianchi, who left Reggina for Manchester in the summer, had an up and down start to his time in England, but appears to have settled in as of late, which has earned him regular starts in the last few weeks.
The Times reports that Juventus could pursue a move for Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini. The 23-year old midfielder replaced Arsenal vice-captain Gilberto Silva in the starting lineup this season and has been a key part of Arsenal’s rise to the top of the table, but his contract runs out at the end of the season, and Arsenal haven’t signed him to a new deal as of yet.
Lastly, George Boateng’s agent says that the Boro captain could be leaving Teeside in January, as he says that three or four clubs have phoned him about the availability of the 32-year old midfielder. Whether or not Boro would actually let him leave is another thing entirely, but it looks like Mr. Agent is quite eager to make something happen.