Chelsea To Sign Benfica Star?
Analysis: If you need to be impressed, see here and here (you’ll especially enjoy what happens around the 1:15 mark). Chelsea are getting a good one, and he’ll only get better learning from some of the best midfielders in the world.
Well, it appears we’re going to ‘he said, he said’ territory with the James Milner to Manchester City saga. After Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill said yesterday that Milner told him before the World Cup that he wouldn’t be signing a new contract with the club, that he wanted to leave, and that a deal could be done at the right price, the Daily Mail reported today that a ‘friend’ of Milner’s said that Milner said no such thing.
Analysis: Well, considering that O’Neill’s comments weren’t exactly of the scathing variety, then there’s really no reason for such a report to come out aside from just wanting to cause problems. Besides, you’d have to seriously question why a manager of O’Neill’s reputation would come out and attribute such comments to one of his star players if it wasn’t true. Come on.
Poulsen To Replace Mascherano At Liverpool?
According to Goal.com, Liverpool could move for Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen if Javier Mascherano leaves for Inter Milan.
Analysis: No disrespect to Poulsen, who’s a solid and accomplished midfielder (and quite the bringer of pain), but this would be a bit of a step back in quality for Liverpool. If he’s not starting regularly for Juve, I don’t see him as more than a squad player at Liverpool.
Stoke To Cough Up Crazy Cash For Cole?
According to ESPN Soccernet, Stoke City are set to make a £14m bid for West Ham striker Carlton Cole.
Analysis: With his height, Cole’s head would certainly be a perfect match for some long Rory Delap throws into the box, wouldn‘t it? Cole would fill the need for a double-digit goal scorer, which is what Stoke are in need of if they want to make a move up the Premier League table, but £14m? With that, Stoke would do well to put in the highest bid for Nice’s Loic Remy instead of helping West Ham be able to fund their own bid for Remy.
Ozil Close To Barcelona Move
According to an exclusive report on Transfer Market Web, Barcelona have agreed terms with Werder Bremen star Mesut Ozil.
Analysis: Makes perfect sense if it happens. Sure, Fabregas would be the ideal capture, but he is unavailable as unavailable can be. Ozil, however, is available, for a far cheaper fee at that, and he’ll bring every bit the production and plenty of potential. Still too soon though to write this one off as signed, sealed, and delivered yet.
Stuttgart Star Sets Sights On Spanish Switch
VfB Stuttgart midfielder Sami Khedira has stated that he is currently deciding on a move to Real Madrid, and he will make his decision within the coming days. (ESPN Soccernet)
Analysis: Well, I can’t say I see him staying. He has only a year left on his contract, and I think Stuttgart would much rather get a relatively decent fee for him this summer instead of losing him for nothing next summer.
Milan Hot On Honda
According to Goal.com, AC Milan are in the midst of discussions to land Japanese star Keisuke Honda. Milan reportedly put in an offer of €13m to CSKA Moscow on Thursday, which fell short of CSKA’s asking price of €15m, but sources say that a deal could be struck soon.
Analysis: Whether it’s to Milan, Madrid, Merseyside, or elsewhere, it’s been quite a quick rise for Honda, and I’m not surprised. When I first saw highlights last year when he was still with VVV Venlo, I was very, very impressed. He’s only gotten better in the last year, and the best is yet to come.
Wolfsburg Stick To Stance On Stars
Wolfsburg sporting director Dieter Hoeness says that striker Edin Dzeko and attacking midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic are not for sale this summer, at any price. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: No surprise here, despite all of the speculation and both stating their desire to leave. They are two players that Wolfsburg needed to keep in order to make a serious run at the Bundesliga title and at the very least land a Champions League place. Throw in their new arrivals, and I fully expect to see it happen. If it doesn’t, then I can see Wolfsburg softening their stance next summer.
Hertha Star Heads To Hamburg
It’s a third new face in the span of a week at Hamburg SV, as the club have landed Hertha Berlin midfielder Gojko Kacar. According to reports, HSV have splashed out an initial £4.5m for the 23-year-old, with a further £800k dependent on their qualification for European football. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: Hamburg have added three players in Kacar and defenders Heiko Westermann and Dennis Diekmeier who will boost the club’s hopes of being able to earn a Europa League spot and perhaps even make a run at a Champions League place.
Riera Signs For Olympiakos
Olympiakos have completed the signing of Liverpool winger Albert Riera. Liverpool will receive £3.3m up front for the former Espanyol star, and they will receive a further £1.6m if Olympiakos capture the Greek league title. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Look at the reception that Olympiakos fans gave Riera upon his arrival yesterday. Perhaps they just wanted a good reason to party it up, or they think just that highly of their new arrival. Either way, don’t let ’em down, Albert.
Spartak To Land Gervinho?
According to French media sources, Lille have accepted a €20m bid from Spartak Moscow for highly-rated Ivorian forward Gervinho. (Goal.com)
Analysis: Curious move this would seem to be, what with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, and others mentioned as potential destinations. But Spartak are going to be in the Champions League (qualified for the group stages via a runner-up league finish last season) and would offer him some handsome wages, not to mention more than enough funds for Lille to land a replacement. And he would be just the player Spartak need to put them back into contention for a Champions League place, as they currently sit seventh in the league, 14 points behind Zenit St. Petersburg after only 13 matches.
Marquez Moves To MLS
Thierry Henry could be joined by a former Barcelona teammate in New York. Goal.com reports that veteran defender Rafael Marquez has agreed a release from his Barcelona contract and is set to move to the New York Red Bulls on a four-year deal that will be confirmed next week.
Analysis: Marquez has looked primed for an exit this summer, so this wouldn’t be unexpected. Another wage off of Barcelona’s books, which comes in handy right now. For the Red Bulls, adding Marquez would only aid their chances to catch up and pass Columbus in the Eastern Conference in the second half of the season.