It’s a very important summer in Manchester, to say the least.
Manchester United are looking to strengthen their squad ahead of a run at a record-breaking 19th top flight title and a chance to play for a fourth Champions League title come next May at Wembley, and they’re no doubt also looking to the future as well.
Meanwhile, Manchester City are looking to spend, spend, spend in order to aid their push to become a serious contender for Premier League and European honors sooner rather than later.
Both sides don’t have a lot to show for when it comes to confirmed summer transfers just yet, but you can be assured that things are going to pick up for the Manchester rivals very, very soon, especially if a couple of tidbits in today’s rundown of top transfer rumors come to fruition.
Manchester Rivals In For Casillas
In an interview with the Daily Star, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said that both Manchester United and Manchester City are interested in his services. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: He’s not going anywhere. Perhaps one day, but not right now. Though for what it’s worth, United fans who are also England supporters might well prefer him right now over Manuel Neuer, who likely doesn’t have many fans in England right about now.
Fabiano Has Eyes For United
Also from the Daily Star, Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano says that his next destination will either be Manchester United or AC Milan, and he spoke very glowingly of United, the Premier League, and the chance to be Wayne Rooney’s strike partner. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: The only negative mark on Fabiano is his age (he’ll be 30 in November), and that could give some pause, what with 29-year-old Berbatov and 30-year-old Owen already in United’s strikeforce. However, it’s also worth mentioning that Fabiano is very much in his prime right now form-wise, and even three or four seasons at the level he’s at currently would make him well worth the investment.
City Prepare New Kolarov Bid
Manchester City are set to make a bid of £18m for Lazio star Aleksandar Kolarov, though Lazio have a valuation of 25 million euros for the Serbian left back. (Transfer Market Web)
Analysis: Real Madrid have reportedly pulled out of the race to sign him, but there could be competition from Juventus and perhaps Inter. Whether Lazio will be able to squeeze their asking price out of someone remains to be seen, but whatever eight-figure amount he’s sold for, it’ll represent quite the return on Lazio’s investment – they purchased him for only £800k three summers ago.
Tottenham Close To Forlan Capture?
According to The Mirror, Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan is reportedly sweet on a switch to Tottenham, and Spurs could be set to splash out £20m on the former Manchester United man.
Analysis: Atletico want to hold on to both Forlan and Sergio Aguero, but frankly, there will never be a better time to sell Forlan and find a much younger replacement than this summer, especially if he raises his value even further with a few more impressive performances at the World Cup. Forlan is 31, and while he can still score that many goals, to get upwards of £20m for any 31-year-old is good business.
Arteta To Leave Everton
Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta has asked to leave the club and return to his native Spain, as he and his wife want to be closer to their families after receiving the news that their son has a visual impairment. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: It’s a shame, but you certainly can’t hold it against him, because family comes first.
Stoke Eye Bentley Swoop
Stoke City are planning to make a move for Tottenham winger David Bentley, according to The Mirror.
Analysis: Matthew Etherington has seen his career rejuvenated at Stoke City, and the same could happen for Bentley, who did produce in his limited opportunities last season but still hasn’t performed up to expectations in two seasons at the club.
With Etherington on the left and Bentley on the right (and those patented long Rory Delap throws, of course), Stoke could be a more dangerous attacking side than what we’ve seen in their first couple of Premier League seasons (38 goals in 2008/09, 34 last season)…if they can find a reliable finisher or two from somewhere.
Birmingham Turn To Wallace
After having their bid for Fulham’s Paul Konchesky rejected, Birmingham City are considering a move for Hearts left back Lee Wallace. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Wallace has been a fixture in Hearts’ starting XI over the last couple of seasons, and he’s been a part of the first team since he was 17, so he’s got loads of experience despite being only 22. He’s also broken into Scotland’s senior national side, so he’s got a very, very bright future ahead.
Maicon To Join Up With Mourinho In Madrid
According to The Sun, Real Madrid have beaten out Manchester City for Inter right back Maicon, who is set to seal a reunion with Jose Mourinho in a £25m deal that will be wrapped up when the Brazilian returns from the World Cup.
Analysis: Really, the only question for me all along has been when he’ll sign for Real, not if. So this is no surprise, even with City’s money, ambition, and the familiarity in the form of Roberto Mancini giving them reason to feel confident about somehow swaying him.
Juve Target N’Zogbia
Juventus are interested in Wigan midfielder Charles N‘Zogbia. The 24-year-old was one of the bright spots in a season of struggle for the Latics, scoring seven goals and assisting on seven more in 39 appearances. (Transfer Market Web)
Analysis: There’s a good chance an English suitor could pop up, but it’d take a lot to pass up the chance to play for one of the top clubs in the world, to play in the Champions League, and to earn a significant pay increase.
Chase For Boyd Heats Up
Rangers striker Kris Boyd will become a free agent this week, and he doesn‘t have a shortage of suitors. Newcastle and Middlesbrough are both in the hunt for Boyd, according to the News of the World.
They could face competition from three Turkish sides, as Turkish champions Bursaspor, along with Kayserispor and Ankaragucu, are also interested in the 26-year-old.
Kayserispor, managed by former Rangers striker Shota Arveldaze, are hoping to have Boyd and his agent in for discussions this week, and they have reportedly offered Boyd a two-year deal worth £50k a week – but the offer is off the table if Boyd meets with any of his other Turkish suitors. (The Press Association)
Analysis: Such an offer would trump what anyone else would offer him, and given that it’s only a two-year deal, he’d be able to see it out and have a chance to play in England with several good years still ahead of him. However, Newcastle will be able to offer him a nice salary and the chance to play in the Premier League, and the combination of the two might make St. James’ Park the most attractive destination in the end.
Piquionne Picks Fenerbahce
Lyon striker Frederic Piquionne, who starred on loan for Portsmouth last season, is set for a move to Fenerbahce. (Sky Sports)
Analysis: Dani Guiza hasn’t quite turned out to be the prolific striker that Fenerbahce fans likely thought they were getting when he was signed two summers ago after he finished top scorer in La Liga with 27 goals for Mallorca, and Semih Senturk scored only seven goals in all competitions after netting in double figures each of the previous four seasons. So there’s certainly a need to add some quality depth in attack, and after acquitting himself well in England, I’m sure Piquionne can be a great success in Turkey.
Galatasaray In Ledesma Negotiations
Galatasaray will hold talks with the agent of Lazio midfielder Cristian Ledesma on Tuesday. (Tribal Football)
Analysis: I see Ledesma likely remaining in Serie A, but Galatasaray can offer him a sizable salary, European football, and the chance to play under a top manager in Frank Rijkaard (provided he doesn’t leave sometime this summer), so he certainly can’t go wrong with a move to Turkey, even if the league is a step down from Serie A.