Transfer Rumors (15 August 08): Barcelona to make Berba bid?, AC Milan interested in Liverpool’s Alonso, Arsenal accept Boro’s Hoyte bid, and more

It was going to be a pretty short day in transfer news and rumors, but there’s a reason I stay up a little late – so I can catch the early Friday rumors around Europe. So, there are a few extra tidbits in today’s roundup which make things a little more juicy than they were going to be originally.


Barcelona may be set to make a bid for Dimitar Berbatov, with no deal having been concluded (or come anywhere near conclusion) between Tottenham and Manchester United.

Rumor Rating: 3 – You’ve got to think that United are still favorites to sign him, and this news could make them act very quickly to secure a deal, but you know what they say – finders keepers, losers weepers. Childish yes, but very true nonetheless. I’m a rhyme machine!

Barca are also being linked with Andrei Arshavin again, along with Sevilla’s Diego Capel and Boca Juniors star Rodrigo Palacio as they explore more attacking options.

Rumor Rating: 3 – Arshavin may be the most realistic of the three, considering that he already confirmed he’d like to make a move there, but his asking price, as has been the case with every other suitor (including Barcelona), could be the stumbling block towards any deal.

The agent of in-demand striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has said that there’s no merit to the rumors linking him with Real Madrid. Usually, an agent would be pushing the player towards another club, but it seems to be the opposite here.

Rumor Rating: 3 – There’s a small chance that Huntelaar may move before the transfer window closes, but Marco van Basten isn’t too into the idea of selling his new captain.

Atletico Madrid are making a serious push to sign Werder Bremen playmaker Diego. Alteti have reportedly already put in a €16m offer for the Brazilian, but that number falls well short of Werder’s reported asking price of well over €20m. However, the Champions League hopefuls are expected to keep trying to strike a deal if a compromise can be reached.

Rumor Rating: 3 – The chance to play in La Liga might appeal to Diego, but then again, if Atletico don’t make the Champions League group stage (which Werder qualified for automatically due to their runner-up finish in the Bundesliga), then that could be a difference-maker. However, Werder may not want to sell their star in the first place, especially with so little time to line up another quality name to replace him (which would be hard to do with plenty of time anyway).


Roma have sealed a deal with Real Madrid for forward Julio Baptista. Roma will pay €9m up front with €2m dependent on incentives that Baptista fulfills.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Considering that €15m was the price that was quoted for Baptista throughout Roma’s pursuit of him, to get him for a much lower initial fee is an excellent deal.

AC Milan are being linked with Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso.

Rumor Rating: 2 – This one seems unlikely to happen, since Rafa Benitez seems to be intent on holding on to him, and the asking price may well turn them off as well.


Arsenal have accepted Middlesbrough’s £3m bid for defender Justin Hoyte.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Hoyte likely won’t be able to feature in Boro’s opener at the Riverside against Tottenham, but he should be ready to make his debut at Anfield against Liverpool next Saturday.

Stoke have ended their chase for Valencia striker Nikola Zigic, according to manager Tony Pulis.

Rumor Rating: 1 – Stoke are still in the market for a striker, and the way could be clear for them to do a deal for Claudio Pizarro with Hull having pulled out.

Hull have completed a £2.5m permanent deal for defender Anthony Gardner. The 27-year old center back joined Hull on loan from Tottenham earlier this summer, but Phil Brown has already decided to make the move permanent, which makes Gardner the club’s record signing.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Hopefully Gardner makes good on the investment, as he’s been bothered by injuries and not playing regularly over recent seasons.

Derby midfielder Benny Feilhaber is set to join Danish side AGF Aarhus on a free transfer.

Rumor Rating: 5 – While the Danish league is far from a top-tier league, and AGF were one of the bottom sides in it last season, this move will give Feilhaber an excellent chance to get regular first-team action, something that he wasn’t able to do at either Derby or Hamburg SV.

Reading are considering a loan move for Arsenal starlet Kieron Gibbs. The 18-year old left back had a loan spell at Norwich last season, so the Championship experience wouldn’t be a new one for him.

Rumor Rating: 4 – According to Reading chief exec Nigel Howe, Gibbs is a solid fit talent-wise, but the deal may not happen due to his youth. Experience is great, but quality is quality, certainly.

Ipswich have signed defender Ben Thatcher on a free transfer. The former Tottenham and Manchester City man has penned a two-year deal with the Tractor Boys.

Rumor Rating: 5 – Thatcher spent last season and the second half of the 2006/07 at Charlton after leaving Manchester City in January 2007.


Celtic are reportedly close to sealing a deal for Cardiff’s Glenn Loovens, and they’re also interested in Wolfsburg defender Alexander Madlung. The 26-year old center back has played twice for Germany, and he has been at Wolfsburg since 2006.

Rumor Rating: 3 – The two clubs have reportedly opened discussions, according to Madlung’s agent, who says that the SPL isn’t his client’s first choice, but he’s not closed off to the possibility.

Well, we’re at the end of today’s roundup. Hopefully there’ll be plenty to report on throughout the weekend, as I’ll be here to keep you informed of all of the latest transfer headlines from all around.

But, until I return, chime in with your thoughts on today’s transfer tidbits, chip in with ones that you’ve read and heard, and make sure you check out all of the updated summer transfer lists.

Arsenal 2008/09 Season Preview
Weekend Predictions: Arsenal, Tottenham, Sunderland, Chelsea, United to win, Liverpool, City and Newcastle to lose