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Transfer Rumors (8 Jan 09): Manchester City bid for Newcastle’s Given, Blackburn reject City’s Santa Cruz offer, Manchester United after Villareal shot-stopper, and more

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Today’s transfer roundup isn’t light on the latest news and rumors about who definitely will be headed to new clubs and who could be in the near (or distant) future.

England

Manchester City have opened the bidding for Newcastle keeper Shay Given, tabling an offer of £8m for the Irishman. (Daily Mail)

Analysis: Newcastle might need every bit of the fee that they receive for Given, since his potential replacement (see below) won’t come cheap.

However, things aren’t going so well on the Roque Santa Cruz front. It seemed like Santa Cruz would be a City player in the first few days of the transfer window, but City’s most recent bid of £16m still falls short of what Blackburn want for their star striker. (Daily Mail)

Analysis: Could it be that City call off the chase? They can pony up a few more million if they want, but it’s not a certainty like it seemed to be this time last week.

Manchester United have signed young Stoke defender Richie De Laet (BBC Sport), and they’re also interested in Villareal keeper Diego Lopez, who was linked with Manchester City last month (Tribalfootball).

Analysis: Sir Alex Ferguson got two up-close looks at Lopez in the Champions League group stage, with Lopez recording clean sheets in both outings. He might be more of a summer target though, since Villareal may not be keen on selling their #1 with so much still at stake for them.

Liverpool are looking to snag Emile Heskey on the cheap from Wigan, with Rafa Benitez hoping to spend as little as £1.5m to bring Heskey back to Anfield (The Mirror). However, Liverpool could face competition from Tottenham, who are also interested in Sunderland’s Kenwyne Jones (Daily Mail).

Analysis: Wigan did just sign a new striker in Hugo Rodallega, but they might want to see what they’ve got in him first before determining whether they’d rather sell Heskey in January or lose him for nothing in the summer.

Tottenham’s pursuit of a second striker could also see them make a £4.5m move for out of favor Lyon striker Fred. (The Mirror)

Analysis: Spurs were after him last year, but he ended up staying at Lyon. Now, with his contract running out in the summer, they could get him for less than half of what they might have had to pay before.

With the money that they receive from the sale of Given, Newcastle could swoop for Rangers star Barry Ferguson (The Guardian), and they could also make a move for Rangers keeper Alan McGregor (The Scottish Sun).

Analysis: Ferguson is a pretty realistic target, and he’s available at a reasonable price. However, Newcastle’s hopes of signing McGregor could be dampened by Rangers’ £7.5m asking price. Then again, they may not be for sale

West Ham are desperate to hold on to their best players, which will see several lesser names leave this month. Along with Matthew Etherington (Stoke), three Hammers are set to depart soon – Calum Davenport (Bolton), Luis Boa Morte (Hull), and Lee Bowyer (Birmingham). (Daily Mail)

Analysis: They still might end up selling Parker, Bellamy, or Upson, but raising funds from these sales will make it less tempting to cash in on a couple or all of them.

Spain

Barcelona intend to make a summer swoop for Arsenal duo Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie. (Daily Star)

Analysis: Nope. That is all.

Liverpool winger Nabil El Zhar is a loan target for Malaga. (Setanta Sports)

Analysis: El Zhar has shown promise in his limited appearances for Liverpool this season, and a loan move to La Liga would give him the chance to prove that he’s worthy of getting his chance to figure more in Rafa Benitez’s plans next season.

Italy

Along with Emmanuel Eboue, Inter Milan could also be looking to move for Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby. (Goal.com)

Analysis: While there might not be much opposition to Eboue’s departure, Arsene Wenger will be reluctant to let go of Diaby, whether in January or in the summer.

Sampdoria have confirmed their interest in Inter striker Adriano, who has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City recently. (Goal.com)

Analysis: Sampdoria have a serious need to add some firepower alongside Antonio Cassano, and as I’ve said before, Adriano is a world-class striker when he wants to be.

France

Werder Bremen striker Boubacar Sanogo has said there’d be no hesitation in joining Marseille, with his agent having already held talks with Marseille’s chairman over a potential move for the Ivorian. (Setanta Sports)

Analysis: Claudio Pizarro’s arrival and success has relegated Sanogo to mostly sub appearances this season, but he’s a proven commodity in a top league, and could do well at Marseille if the opportunity comes along.

If you have a juicy rumor that we may have missed, post it in the comments, along with the link to the source, if possible.

And if you want to keep up with all of the latest confirmed transfers, check out our updated transfer lists.

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