World Football Gossip Roundup: Frank Lampard, Wesley Sneijder, Lewis Holtby
Arsene Wenger is close to signing a young, talented Frenchman from his native’s leagues. Who would’ve thought it, right?
Wesley Sneijder remains in a place that is neither here nor there, extending what has become one of the strangest talent drop-offs in recent football history.
We’ve also got updates from Anfield, White Hart Lane and a major development in Frank Lampard’s possible future in this Saturday edition of your transfer gossip roundup.
Keep reading for all the news.
Ligue 2 Record-Breaker Close to Arsenal Move
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As Gilbert Imbula is the youngest player ever to have featured in Ligue 2 in the division’s history, it’s of little surprise that Arsene Wenger is interested in taking Imbula to the Premier League from France’s second tier.
Imbula made his debut for Guingamp on Oct. 16, 2009, aged 17 years, one month and four days old at the time and still holds the record for youngest player to have featured in Ligue 2.
Now 20, the defensive midfielder is alleged by the Daily Mail to be homing in on a move to the Emirates Stadium, perhaps to eventually fill a void left open by the summer departure of Alex Song to Barcelona.
Primarily playing as an anchorman, Imbula doesn’t score goals too often—he has just the one this season—but when he does, they’re kind of terrific (via 101GreatGoals.com).
Liverpool Make Bid for Inter Milan’s Coutinho
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After wrapping up the signature of Daniel Sturridge earlier this January, Liverpool are advancing their efforts to sign another attacking talent and are reported by the Guardian to have made an official move for Phillippe Coutinho.
The Inter Milan playmaker was once looked upon as one of South America’s finest prospects but has failed to live up to expectations somewhat in recent years.
After making just three league starts for I Nerazzurri this season, one would perhaps understand if the young Brazilian considered a move to Anfield, where he would be almost guaranteed a bigger portion of starting football.
The Telegraph allege that the move comes after Brendan Rodgers became frustrated with negotiations for Blackpool’s Tom Ince and sees Coutinho as an alternative January signing.
Tottenham Still Hold Hopes for Early Holtby Swoop
Despite already confirming that the Schalke midfielder will move to north London in the summer, Tottenham are now striving to push through with an earlier move for Lewis Holtby.
A season-ending injury to Spurs anchor Sandro (via BBC Sport) has pushed Andre Villas-Boas into a slightly more desperate position and the former Chelsea boss now wants to sign Holtby in the current transfer window (via Daily Mail).
Such a move would ensure that Tottenham pay a fee for the German international instead of the free transfer that would occur in the summer.
Holtby would be far from a like-for-like replacement for Sandro, playing in a considerably more advanced part of the pitch, but would nonetheless boost AVB’s options for the coming months.
Galaxy Close to Lampard Confirmation
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Another major coup for the MLS should the move come to pass, Frank Lampard’s proposed move to the LA Galaxy appears to be making considerable developments and could be confirmed soon, according to Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard.
The Galaxy recently lost former England international and MLS icon David Beckham after seeing his contract expire, but it seems the club are keen on bringing in another Premier League great as replacement.
Lampard currently has six months left on his Chelsea contract and isn’t thought to be close to an extension, making the free transfer a valuable one for any side that signs the midfielder.
Despite the MLS salary cap, Lampard’s salary could be afforded as part of the “Designated Player” rule, a sanction brought in after the arrival of Beckham, allowing MLS teams to compete in the international market.
When asked about a move for Lampard, Galaxy boss Bruce Arena responded: “We wouldn’t rule that out. It’s always a possibility.”
Sneijder Limbo Lingers on
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In what is fast becoming one of the swiftest player declines in recent history, it remains unclear as to where Wesley Sneijder will find himself come February with a proposed move to Galatasaray now looking unlikely.
The Dutchman was supposedly close to a Turkish switch but has stalled on the deal in recent days, putting the move in danger of collapse.
Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool have been touted as a secondary option for the Inter midfielder, but the Northern Irishman has been quick to dismiss such speculation (via Metro):
“You could probably rattle off about 20 names and the answer would be the same. The club have been linked with a whole host of players, but I couldn’t see that [Sneijder] happening.
There’s no doubt we need to support the group. We had 20 players training this morning, of which some of those are our younger players, so we know we need to reinforce and top up the group. That’s something we’ll look to do.”
Having not featured for I Nerazzurri since September, it would seem that Sneijder’s Inter tenure is close to its end, a shame considering the 28-year-old was once, and still is looked at by some, as one of the world’s premier playmakers.