Mascherano Wants Milan Move
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson stated at a press conference today that midfielder Javier Mascherano has indicated to him that he wants to leave the club, but he also stated that just because the Argentina captain wants to leave doesn’t mean that he’ll be allowed to.
Analysis: Can’t fault either for their stance, really. From all that’s been said before, Mascherano would prefer a move elsewhere for the sake of his family, and you can’t fault him for that. All the same though, he’s contracted to Liverpool, and if they want to keep him, they can, even if he wants to leave (like with Edin Dzeko & VfL Wolfsburg, for example). That being said, I do think he will leave before the summer’s over, and hopefully it’s an amicable split.
Liverpool Line Up Salcido
The Sun says that Liverpool are set to make a 3m bid for PSV star Carlos Salcido in the next few days.
Analysis: Emiliano Insua’s move to Fiorentina looks to be on the rocks due to his wage demands, so Liverpool could yet hold on to him. However, it’s still a wise move to pursue Salcido even if Insua stays, as Roy Hodgson would do well to have some quality experience to help take the pressure off of the youngster.
Black Star Set For Black Cats Return
After spending last season on loan at Sunderland, Lyon center back John Mensah looks set to spend another season at the Stadium of Light. The Ghana international’s loan spell last season was hampered by injuries, but he did make 14 starts and had 16 total appearances for Steve Bruce. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: With the priority that Steve Bruce has placed on strengthening the defense this season, there’s no excuse for Sunderland to concede nearly as many as they did last season. If they do, the next step might be for Bruce to come out of retirement.
Bolton Sign Alonso
Bolton have signed Real Madrid left back Marcos Alonso for an undisclosed fee. The 19-year-old, who has penned a three-year deal with Bolton, made one appearance for Real Madrid’s first team last season. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: Bolton have certainly got a good one for the future. As Coyle said, you don’t get through at Real without some talent, and he’s definitely got the bloodlines, with his father and grandfather both having long and successful careers as footballers.
Sol Sets Sights On St. James’
Sol Campbell was set to have a medical at Newcastle today. The veteran center back had also held talks with Celtic and Sunderland, but he looks set to complete a free transfer move to St. James‘ Park as soon as tomorrow. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Steven Taylor’s injury made adding a new center back a must for Chris Hughton, so this is a perfect fit, especially with Campbell settling down in the north-east.
Newcastle Eye Ben Arfa
According to the Sun, Newcastle are interested in Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa and could soon make a bid for the 23-year-old.
Analysis: A move to somewhere that he could start on a regular basis would do Ben Arfa well, as he needs to make a positive impression on new France coach Laurent Blanc, with many places up for grabs and Euro 2012 qualifiers on the horizon.
Ipswich Close On Fulop
Ipswich are close to landing Sunderland goalkeeper Martin Fulop in a 1.5m deal. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: To be on the safe side, it would be a lot better to have David James or a similarly suitable #1a already signed up before shipping Fulop off, despite how clear it is that he’s not in their plans for now and when Craig Gordon returns. But Steve Bruce must be confident that someone else will be signed, sealed, and delivered in the next few days, otherwise they wouldn’t be pushing this deal through quickly.
Burnley Sign Grant
Burnley have signed Sheffield Wednesday keeper Lee Grant for an undisclosed fee. Bristol City made a late run at Grant, but he’s opted for a reunion with former Derby boss Brian Laws and has penned a three-year deal with the Clarets. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: Brian Jensen started all 38 of Burnley’s Premier League matches last season, and he just signed a new two-year deal in June, but Grant hasn’t been brought in to be his understudy, that’s for sure.
Juve Close On Krasic?
According to Russian media sources, Juventus have agreed a fee between 15-17m for CSKA Moscow star Milos Krasic. The Serbian attacker could join Juve before CSKA’s derby clash with Spartak Moscow this weekend. (Goal.com)
Analysis: Despite being one of the better attacking sides in Serie A last season, Juve lacked the kind of creative influence that would’ve helped offset at least some of their defensive inefficiencies, as Diego didn’t exactly have the kind of impact that he wasn’t expected to and the strikeforce had issues producing. However, the addition of Krasic should help provide the oomph that Juve need in order to at least avoid having to go the hard way through to the Europa League proper as they have to this season.
Osasuna After Almunia
Osasuna are interested in Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia, according to the Daily Mail.
Analysis: Arsenal look set to sign a new keeper sometime soon, whether it’s Mark Schwarzer (experienced, inexpensive), Cagliari’s Frederico Marchetti (who is being allowed to leave), or someone else, so Almunia’s days seem to be numbered.
Osasuna have already signed a goalkeeper this summer in Asier Riesgo, and former Manchester United keeper Ricardo started 36 of their 38 league matches last season, so they’re not short on options as it stands, but keeper is one area where you can never have enough quality depth.
Espanyol Eying Maxi?
Also according to the Daily Mail, Espanyol are in talks with the agent of Liverpool winger Maxi Rodriguez over a potential move.
Analysis: Even if he isn’t set to start every time out for Liverpool this season, I don’t see them letting him go. With last season’s experience under his belt, he has the chance to be an integral part of the side this season, even if it’s just as a super sub.
Hoops Land Hooper
Celtic have signed Scunthorpe United striker Gary Hooper for 2.4m. The 22-year-old scored 19 league goals in 35 appearances for Scunthorpe last season and had a total of 50 goals and 14 assists in 95 total appearances in his two seasons at the club. (ESPN Soccernet)
Analysis: Bolstering the attack was a must for Celtic ahead of the new season, and though a move for the likes of Robbie Keane was out of their budget, they’re certainly not settling with the signing of Hooper. If he produces like he has over the last few seasons, it won’t take long for him to be a hit at Parkhead.