Colm Hayes is here with his weekly roundup of all the transfers from across England and the continent.
The BBC have reported today that Arsenal have agreed a £15m fee with Barcelona for club captain Thomas Vermaelen. Manchester United were also interested in the Belgian centre-back but their interest came to a halt due to Arsenal’s demand of receiving a player in return, with a lot of outlets reporting that Chris Smalling was the name in question.
Should there be truth in these reports you feel it could be a little early season mind-gaming from Arsene Wenger as it was clear to all that United needed defensive reinforcements rather than replacements. Meanwhile, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has tweeted that Arsenal have so far made no offer for Sami Khedira and that his wage demands are currently far too high.
Over at Old Trafford, the Daily Express say United are ready to shell out £36m for Colombian World Cup star Juan Cuadrado. Meanwhile, the Arturo Vidal saga keeps dragging on, and on, and on. Earlier in the week it seemed as though fears over his long-term fitness were putting the deal in serious doubt, but the Independent among others are now reporting the Chilean has agreed a deal worth £182,000-a-week with the Red Devils.
With the Premier League’s first kick-off within touching distance and the Serie A’s not far behind, both clubs will be looking for an end to this saga one way or the other. With Vermaelen on his way to the Nou Camp and a deal for Mats Hummels seemingly falling through, van Gaal has now set his sights on both Daley Blind and Roma’s Mehdi Benatia according to the Mail and Star respectively.
On to Anfield and the Merseyside’s club search for a striker since the Loic Remy deal fell through continues. Fans got rightly excited when a possible swoop for Falcao was touted during the week. However, this looks to have been just a flash in the pan as the Times say the serial scorer is set to link up with countryman James Rodriguez at Real Madrid.
Liverpool have now set their sights on unsettled Uruguayan Edinson Cavani according to the Liverpool Echo. The PSG player is also a target for Arsenal with his agent allegedly claiming that both clubs have made proposals for the striker. Another of Les Parisiens on the Emirates club radar is one Adrien Rabiot as the Daily Star report Wenger is keen on the teenage midfielder.
At Stamford Bridge, the Daily Express say that José Mourinho plans to use Petr Cech as a giant bargaining chip in his attempts to bring Raphael Varane to the club. With Keylor Navas having already joined the Galacticos and interest in Cech also emanating from PSG and Monaco, it would be surprising to see Cech at the Bernabeu anytime soon.
Title rivals Manchester City are expected to announce the signing of Eliaquim Mangala any day now (sounds familiar I know) with the Guardian saying that Juventus will look to steal away Matija Nastasic from the Etihad under interest from Arsenal. Another player who could be set to leave the Citizens is benchwarmer Javi Garcia with the Daily Mirror saying a £12.5m bid has come in from rich Russians Zenit St Petersburg.
The same paper report that Leicester City, in a bid for some much needed top-level experience, have offered free agent Esteban Cambiasso a £5m two-year contract. Stoke City continue to surprise everyone by launching an audacious £8m bid for dangerous Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko. While Potters fans may be getting excited over their new transfer policy, Aston Villa supporters will hardly be jumping for joy as Sky Sports report a permanent deal for Aly Cissokho has almost been agreed.
West Ham have been linked with a multitude of strikers including Peter Crouch and Connor Wickham, but now Big Sam has apparently set his sights on Metz striker Diafra Sakho according to the Guardian. The paper also say that Premier League clubs Southampton, West Brom and the aforementioned Stoke are preparing to duke it out over Parma’s French winger Jonathan Biabiany. Mark Hughes needs to be careful of signing too many flair players and risk wiping out the old “Can he do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke” adage.
In a different sort of summer signing than we’re used to, Gary Neville has been picked up by the Telegraph amid a whole host of reported interest from other papers. In all seriousness, it will be interesting and entertaining to get the highly-rated pundit’s opinion on all matters football week in week out.
And finally in exciting news for Irish football fans, it seems as though Cork City startlet Brian Lenihan could be plying his trade in the Premier League sooner rather than later. Cork City manager Brian Caulfield has said clubs such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham among others have been to Turner’s Cross to assess the youngster. Caulfield expects Lenihan to depart for England imminently and it can only be good news to have another Irish player showcasing his talents on one of the world’s biggest footballing stages.
Colm Hayes, Pundit Arena.
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