Premier League Transfer News: Latest Gossip and Rumours for Week of August 19
Folks, this week's transfer news and rumour roundup is more loaded than the average question lobbed at Arsene Wenger by English journalists questioning his transfer policy.
And yes, if you are a Gooner, this edition will have plenty of rumours for you to either get excited about or lament, depending on your evaluation of the players involved.
But enough of the Arsenal talk—there are also plenty of rumours including Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and Swansea City, with big names either potentially coming or going.
And of course, your weekly Wayne Rooney update. Hooray!
The transfer window is reaching its boiling point, so let's get you updated on all the buzz.
Jose Mourinho Has Eyes for Wayne Rooney, Robert Lewandowski
And it appears the team isn't going to temper their expectations on the transfer market and will be on the hunt for both Wayne Rooney and, surprise, Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski.
But he refused to confirm whether that means he will make another bid for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. Mourinho, also linked with Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, added: “We will try until the last day to add a new player to the squad. A striker.
“But in this moment, every striker has a club. Every striker belongs to somebody. And I don’t think it’s ethical I name players who belong to other clubs.
“If we have to make a bid, we make it in an official way. We don’t speak to players, but to clubs We don’t try to influence players to behave in a certain way, as other clubs do. We behave in the correct manner and we’ll try for that until the last day of the transfer window.”
Both players would obviously be a major upgrade for Chelsea, and both are extremely unlikely to join the club. Rooney would bring some versatility, as he could play either as the primary forward or in the hole just behind the central striker, while Lewandowski is a pure No. 9.
It's hard to imagine United selling Rooney to a major rival and title contender like Chelsea, while Lewandowski has already been tipped to join Bayern Munich next season.
With or without an addition at forward, Chelsea are already considered a title favorite, so the Blues can afford to be ambitious, perhaps to a naive degree.
It's elite striker or bust for Mourinho, as it should be.
Everton Reject Manchester United Bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines
And the Toffees are downright insulted by the deal, too, because apparently these days the thing to do as a football club is publicly express indignation over business deals.
Whatever. From Phil McNulty of BBC Sport:
Everton have described Manchester United's £28m joint bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines as "derisory and insulting". Former Toffees boss David Moyes offered £16m for Fellaini, whose £23.5m release clause expired at the end of July.
United had a £12m bid for left-back Baines knocked back in June but have come back with the same offer.
Here was Everton's official statement on the bids:
CLUB STATEMENT http://t.co/ONRspwLAXw pic.twitter.com/HXiQgzJd5M— Official Everton (@Everton) August 19, 2013
It's hard to imagine Everton getting rid of their two best players in one fell swoop, while United will surely be in more heavily for Fellaini with Patrice Evra still a very good left-back. Yes, Baines would be an upgrade, but not one worth heavily over-paying to land.
But Fellaini is the sort of box-to-box midfielder that would fit United's system to perfection, while also providing another dangerous target in the box on set pieces.
The Red Devils will have to increase their bid to land the talented midfielder, but it would be very surprising if he wasn't donning a red shirt by the start of September.
Manchester United Could Also Turn to Luka Modric
With Cesc Fabregas out of the question and Everton set to dig their heels in on the Fellaini front, Manchester United might have to turn to other options.
An excellent backup option—and a move that seems feasible enough—would be a swoop for Real Madrid's Luka Modric.
From Matt Law of the Mirror:
Luka Modric wants to become Manchester United’s star summer signing. Modric is prepared to refuse to be part of Real Madrid’s world record package to sign Tottenham star Gareth Bale in the hope United bid for him.
United boss David Moyes has suffered a frustrating summer so far. He is yet to fully give up on Cesc Fabregas, but has been forced to consider Modric as one of a number of alternative targets for the champions.
Modric isn't quite the box-to-box midfielder that United seem to covet—and truly, Fellaini would be a great fit for the Red Devils—but he's a deep-lying playmaker that would form a nice partnership with Michael Carrick.
As the transfer window wanes to a close, it appears unlikely that United will be able to make the type of major splash that Fabregas would have represented. Still, Modric is a very good player and would be a major upgrade in the midfield, the one area on the pitch United really need to address.
With both Manchester City and Chelsea possessing strong, deep squads, Manchester United's quiet summer has left the Red Devils a bit behind the eight ball in this year's title chase. As they proved with an opening 4-1 win over Swansea City, however, they are still a club to be reckoned with.
Arsenal Have Bid for Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye Rejected
And thus begins Arsenal's inevitable scramble to add players on the transfer market amidst a potential supporter revolt after an opening-weekend loss to Aston Villa.
The first target Arsenal were linked to on Monday was Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye. Not surprisingly, Arsenal low-balled Newcastle and promptly had their bid rejected, according to The Guardian:
Via The Guardian's included report, Newcastle are hoping for a transfer fee closer to £20 million. Arsenal fans might be wondering whether Cabaye would really improve the club all that much or simply provide cover while Mikel Arteta remains sidelined.
Of course, the Gunners are now being linked to far more players than Cabaye...
More Arsenal Rumours
Take a deep breath, folks—you are about to get bombarded with rumours. Arsenal are certainly trying to make it look as though they are busy on the market after Saturday's debacle, with the club being linked to a total of five players outside of Cabaye.
We start with Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports, who links Arsenal to Paul Pogba of Juventus and Geoffrey Kondogbia of Sevilla:
Whilst Geoffrey Kondogbia remains a firm option for Arsenal, we understand they have enquired about Juventus' Paul Pogba.— Graeme Bailey (@GraemeBailey) August 19, 2013
Meanwhile, Wayne Veysey of Goal.com also reports on Arsenal's interest in Kondogbia and adds Schalke right-back Atsuto Uchida to the list:
Arsenal have bid £6m for Uchida, made an enquiry for £17.2m-rated Kondogbia & had a £10m bid rejected for Cabaye http://t.co/cIs1pwlwfZ— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) August 19, 2013
Arsenal still waiting for a response from Schalke about Uchida bid but will have to offer £17.2m to get Kondogbia & a lot more for Cabaye— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) August 19, 2013
And Gerrard Brand of The Independent is reporting that the Gunners are making entreaties for both Swansea City forward Michu and Manchester City defender Micah Richards, though Michu will likely cost an extremely steep £25 million.
Okay, let's break all of this down.
First, the odds of Juventus selling a young star like Pogba are slim to none, so Gooners can probably ignore that one.
Kondogbia is still young and somewhat raw, but like Luiz Gustavo he would add both a physical presence to the midfield and could probably play centre-back in a pinch. He would definitely address Arsenal's need for a defensive midfielder, though it seems pretty obvious he's the back-up plan after Gustavo joined Wolfsburg.
His release clause seems a bit stiff, though he is just 20 and has oodles of potential.
As for Uchida, his addition would allow Bacary Sagna to shift to central defense in the short term (if needed) and would provide Arsene Wenger with another right-back for the future.
Obviously, outside of Pogba, none of these moves would be the sort of elite additions Gooners have been desiring. Nonetheless, a player like Kondogbia would make a ton of sense for Arsenal.
Michu would be a nice get, as he could either play as the lone striker or behind Olivier Giroud as a No. 10. Still, for that cost he probably wouldn't represent the level of upgrade at the position Arsenal would be paying for.
And Richards would be a fine addition, as he could play both right-back and centre-back and solidify the defense. Still, City may be reluctant to sell to Arsenal, especially if Richards figures prominently in their plans for this season.
Tottenham and Liverpool Battling over Willian
Anzhi Makhachkala's Willian has long been one of the more popular transfer targets on the market for top European sides this summer, but now it appears as though top-four contenders Tottenham and Liverpool are about to wage battle over his signature.
Spurs are trying to hijack Liverpool’s bid to capture Brazilian playmaker Willian. The Reds have already agreed terms with the 25-year-old, who has been put up for sale by cost-cutting Russians Anzhi Makhachkala, and had been confident of completing the deal.
But the two clubs have not yet agreed a fee, with Anzhi demanding £30million and Liverpool offering only £26m. Spurs have now indicated to the Russians that they are ready to improve on the Anfield giants' bid.
The creative midfielder already has three assists in four appearances for Anzhi and has been given a sparkling 7.93 match rating by WhoScored.com.
At Tottenham, he would likely be utilized centrally, while Liverpool may slide him to the left with Philippe Coutinho likely to remain in the No. 10 position. Either club would be seriously upgraded given his attacking prowess and would surely like their odds to catch Arsenal for a top-four place.
And if Tottenham managed to bring him aboard and keep Gareth Bale? Look out, Premier League, as a new title contender would be born.
Liverpool Face Battle to Land Mamadou Sakho
As Liverpool continue to search for a player to firm up the centre-back position, a very intriguing name has emerged, as Paris Saint-Germain's Mamadou Sakho is ready to leave the French giants.
But he is sure to garner serious attention on the market, making a Liverpool swoop for the talented defender a tricky proposition.
From Alex Moretto of Goal.com:
Mamadou Sakho has asked to leave Paris-Saint Germain this summer, coach Laurent Blanc has confirmed.
Liverpool, AC Milan, Barcelona and Fiorentina are believed to be interested in the defender, with the 23-year-old admitting to being flattered by links to such prestigious clubs.
With Thiago Silva and Alex manning the starting centre-back roles, Sakho is seeking greener pastures in a World Cup year. At Liverpool, he would certainly be given the chance to shine, though if Barca come knocking it's hard to see Sakho heading to Anfield.
Still, Liverpool shouldn't let the big, bad Catalans intimidate them out of making a bid for the very talented Sakho.
Fabio Coentrao Could Yet Head to Tottenham
Perhaps Fabio Coentrao has grown weary of hearing his name linked to transfer speculation, as he has finally formally asked to leave Real Madrid. And that could mean he'll ultimately be included in any deal involving Los Blancos signing Gareth Bale.
From Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
Reported Tottenham, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain target Fabio Coentrao has asked to leave Real Madrid, according to Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Coentrao, 25, was not included in the Madrid squad for Saturday’s 2-1 Primera Division opening weekend win over Real Betis, after Ancelotti told reporters at his pre-game press conference that the full-back had put in a transfer request.
“Coentrao has asked to leave,” Ancelotti said. “He will not be in tomorrow’s game. Nothing more, all the other players are happy to be here.”
The Portugal international rarely featured during Madrid’s pre-season tour of the United States, amid speculation that he would be included as a makeweight in the €100 million-plus transfer which would see Gareth Bale move from Tottenham to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
While Danny Rose has obvious potential, Coentrao would be a major upgrade at the left-back position in the short term and help keep Spurs in the running for a top-four spot if Bale were indeed sold to Real Madrid.
And if Spurs could land Coentrao while keeping Bale—though Real Madrid may not be so willing to sell one way if Tottenham aren't willing to sell in the other—along with adding rumoured target Willian, Tottenham would surely be a major player in this year's title race.
Of course, it's hard to imagine Tottenham having the cash to make these moves without selling Bale, which means Spurs are likely lining up contingency plans for what feels like the inevitable Bale sale.
In with the old, out with the new. After Tottenham's somewhat subdued 1-0 win over Crystal Palace without Bale, it's hard to imagine Tottenham adding enough talent to replace a player who won a handful of matches all on his own last season.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets enjoy a quiet afternoon spent bargain hunting with the Gunners at the transfer window flea market.