World Football Transfers: Biggest Deals That Have Yet to Go Down
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There are now less than 48 hours remaining in the January 2013 transfer window, and some big deals are finally wrapping up. Notably among them is the endless Mario Balotelli saga.
The Italian striker is now seemingly a formal announcement away from becoming an AC Milan player. His three-and-a-half season run with Manchester City has now come to an end, with many fans still trying to answer his now-ubiquitous question, "Why Always Me?"
But with Balotelli's move completed, there are still a whole host of other transfers brewing across Europe and beyond. Here's a look at some of them.
David Villa's (C) future at Barcelona is still up in the air.
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Sticking with strikers, we jump from Italy to Spain, where Barcelona's David Villa has been subject to exit talks throughout the month. His role in the Catalan side has changed and diminished, leaving him low on playing time.
Premier League giants Arsenal have continuously followed El Guaje's situation, and have been shot down several times for both loan and permanent deals. However, the Daily Mail reports that the Gunners could make one final bid for Villa before the transfer window slams shut.
But according to the Mirror, Arsenal have some competition from a less frugal domestic rival. Yes, Manchester City is reportedly lining up a deal to bring Villa to the Etihad Stadium as a replacement for the departing Balotelli.
Villa moving to City would be interesting in a number of ways. The club's new links to Barcelona (in the form of Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano) could influence the player's mindset, and he would likely compete for starting berths straight away in a more natural striker position.
He could do the same at Arsenal too, which makes this swirling saga one to pay close attention to as the window draws to a close.
Kaka celebrating has been a rare sight at Real Madrid.
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Also rumored to be leaving a Spanish giant is Real Madrid midfielder Kaka. Signed from AC Milan in 209 for some €65 million, the former Ballon d'Or winner has been relatively unsuccessful in his spell at the Santiago Bernabeu.
As such, he has been linked with a move away from the capital club for some time now, with his former club ready (or not) to bring him back. A deal was seemingly close barely a week ago that would have seen the Brazilian return to San Siro on a loan deal.
However, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani would announce that the deal fell through due to "fiscal reasons" and was off (via Goal.com). And yet, these so-called "financial problems" did not prevent Milan from splurging on Mario Balotelli.
Considering they brought in over €60 million for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, plus a decent sum for Alexandre Pato, not to mention having cleared those players from their wage bill, surely Milan could afford to bring in Kaka AND Balotelli.
The club has aspirations for Champions League football, and their current squad just doesn't have enough overall talent to get it done. Balotelli will help, and if he could get into form quickly, Kaka would do wonders. Keep an eye on this to see if there is a revival of talks.
Younes Belhanda (L) could leave Montpellier soon.
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Montpellier have not enjoyed their post-championship campaign in Ligue 1. After losing star man Olivier Giroud, the title holders currently sit ninth in the league and were dumped out of the Champions League rather meekly in the group stage.
With the club struggling, its top players have been linked to exits this month, and indeed captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa joined the French revolution at Newcastle United. Next out the door could be the last of the big stars, Younes Belhanda.
The Morocco international impressed immensely last season, and as such has drawn much attention from the footballing world. Of all the links, though, the one seemingly most likely to happen is a move to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Belhanda's Moroccan teammate, Nordin Amrabat, revealed that his compatriot wants to join a club that already boasts notable players like Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles, and Milos Krasic (via Goal.com).
Whether this move will happen is anyone's guess; maybe rivals Galatasaray's recent signings of Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba will spur Fener into making this deal happen, maybe it won't.
Mohamed Diame is a prime target for Arsenal.
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Last week, in discussing possible transfer targets for Arsenal, I brought up three names. Wilfried Zaha has since agreed to join Manchester United, while Yann M'Vila signed for Rubin Kazan. The third name was West Ham's Mohamed Diame.
The defensive midfielder has been heavily linked to the Gunners over the span of the window, and now, Hammers manager Sam Allardyce has admitted his star man could join Arsenal in the coming days (via Goal.com).
Diame is likely to be a very affordable option for the tight wallets of Arsene Wenger and company, and a useful one as well. His strong defensive play could make for a good foil to the ball control and passing of Mikel Arteta in the Gunners midfield.
But with Arsenal, you never really know how these transfer sagas will turn out.
Peter Crouch is very surprised to be linked with an exit.
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The tallest player on this list, Peter Crouch's name has only recently come up in transfer speculation. With Stoke City on the verge of signing USA international Brek Shea, the club could look to sell the lanky target man to make up some funds.
QPR is a logical landing spot for Crouch, who has worked with R's manager Harry Redknapp on numerous occasions. Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that the Loftus Road side are lining up a bid that could send Jamie Mackie to Stoke.
While the Potters may be unwilling to sell such a prized asset, especially considering they have only one other viable centre-forward (Kenwyne Jones), manager Tony Pulis has admitted that a sale could be on the cards (via Goal.com).
Maybe the inclusion of Mackie would be enough to entice Stoke to take this deal to the bank. It is certainly a "big" name, and a saga worth keeping track of.