Momo Sissoko can’t be too pleased that his Mali team got dumped out of the African Cup of Nations in the first round, but I imagine he might be skipping down the streets of Turin pretty shortly, as his transfer to Juventus has been completed. Sissoko wanted out of Liverpool, and now he’s out, with him signing a four and a half year deal to be reunited with Claudio Ranieri, his manager at Valencia. The 8.2 million pound fee will be paid in three installments, and the total fee could increase depending on how well Juve does.
Juve will also be keeping Tiago, who won’t be moving to Tottenham before the window closes, after it appeared that a deal was all but wrapped up.
With Sissoko now sold, Rafa Benitez can focus on signing Javier Mascherano on a permanent deal, and reports suggest that a deal could be very close to happening before the transfer window closes. If it doesn’t happen before then, it’s not a huge deal, but it would be great timing for him to be tied up before then.
Celtic have made a double swoop, signing Japanese midfielder Koki Mizuno and Manchester City striker Georgios Samaras.
The 22-year old Mizuno has signed a three and a half year deal with the club, and will be able to link up with international teammate Shunsuke Nakamura after his work permit was granted on appeal.
Samaras has joined on loan for the rest of the season, with the option for a permanent deal in the summer. The move will be a great opportunity for him to get regular first-team football so that he can figure into Greece’s plans for Euro 2008.
As for Manchester City, they have been turned back in their bid to sign Iraqi star Nashat Akram, after he failed to gain a work permit. City will continue to monitor him, and hopefully he does get his opportunity to play in Europe sometime soon, but this decision isn’t being received well by anyone, City officials, the player, or the Iraqi people – and for good reason.
Staying with City, their pursuit of a striker continues, and according to the Daily Mail, they’ve made a 5 million pound bid for Portsmouth’s Benjani.
Kevin Keegan is set to sign Levante defender Alvaro before the window closes, as the Spanish side are in need of some funds, and Newcastle need defensive help, and 3 million pounds is the right price to bring the 28-year old Brazilian to England.
Newcastle are also looking to snatch promising Czech midfielder Lubos Kalouda from Juventus’ grasp at the last minute. Juventus have already agreed a 4 million euro fee with FC Brno for the 20-year old, but they haven’t agreed personal terms with him, so his current club have started talking with Newcastle in the meantime.
However, the Magpies’ bid for Derby’s Giles Barnes was turned down by the Rams, who rejected the offer for the 19-year old on Monday. However, Paul Jewell has said that though he won’t be sold on the cheap, if the right offer comes in, he won’t stand in Barnes’ way.
In other rejection news, Fulham’s hopes of signing two players have been dashed, after FIFA blocked Rangers’ striker Daniel Cousin’s move to England, and AC Milan have refused to let little-used defender Dario Simic go. FIFA blocked Cousin’s move because he had played a few minutes as a sub for Lens this season before he moved to Rangers, which was enough for FIFA to stick to their rule prohibiting players from playing for more than two clubs in one season.
Fulham have, however, had a bid of 1.85 million pounds for Groningen striker Erik Nevland accepted, and a deal should be concluded soon for the 30-year old, with Groningen set to get an extra 375,000 pounds if Fulham stay up.
Also, Barcelona’s Eidur Gudjohnsen has turned down a loan move and a return to England with Bolton. Gudjohnsen’s father, who is also his agent, said that the former Chelsea man and his family are settled in Barcelona, and that they’ll see what happens in the summer.
Reading were set to snap up midfielder Udo Nwoko from Portuguese club Leixoes, but it appears the reported 550,000 pound deal has broken down because Reading wanted to bring a third-party agent into the negotiations, which the 23-year old Nigerian-born Malta international didn’t care for, since he didn’t want to upset his own agent.
And now, for the final run-through…Sunderland are mulling over making a 2.5 million pound bid for Charlton’s Andy Reid…Along with singing Bulgarian striker Valeri Domovchiyski, Hertha Berlin have signed American U-20 international midfielder Bryan Arguez from D.C. United