B/R Gossip Roundup: Manchester United Vie for Vidal, Remy Ready-Made for Arsenal

BR UK NewsFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2014

B/R Gossip Roundup: Manchester United Vie for Vidal, Remy Ready-Made for Arsenal

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    Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

    The World Cup is in its closing moments, which means only one thing: transfer speculation overdrive until the summer window closes on Sept. 1.

    We have already had several notable moves in the market ahead of the new campaigns across Europe, and there will be many more in the coming weeks.

    Arturo Vidal, Loic Remy and Bojan Krkic have been among those names being touted for transfers this week, while two key Premier League players have extended their stays at their clubs.

    Let's take a closer look at some of the football stories from the past seven days.

Arturo Vidal Won't Come Cheap, but Manchester United Should Get Their Man

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    The World Cup has thrown up a host of potential transfer targets, with high and low-profile players making their mark in Brazil.

    A player who fits in the former category is Arturo Vidal, the Juventus midfielder who made a positive impression for Chile.

    But well before he produced positive displays in the wins over Australia and Spain and the penalty shootout loss to Brazil, Vidal had been catching admiring glances with Juventus.

    Vidal joined Juventus in 2011 and has tasted only success with the Old Lady of Italian football, as he has won Serie A titles in each of his three seasons at the club.

    In the 2013/14 campaign, Vidal forged a superb understanding with Paul Pogba in the middle of the park, with both players famed for their engines and box-to-box dynamism.

    Such players are not easy to come by, and they command a high price as a result.

    If the Daily Star’s Paul Hetherington is to be believed, £62 million is the price Manchester United will have to pay to prise Vidal away from Juventus.

    In his piece, Hetherington wrote:

    Manchester United ill have to hand over £62 million if they want to sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal.

    The Italian club have made it known they would want £50m for Vidal—plus £12m-rated winger Nani.

    Juventus may even want Patrice Evra as part of any deal, even though the United left-back—like Nani–recently signed a new contract.

    A £62 million fee is a big investment, but United have made it clear they will support new manager Louis van Gaal in the transfer market.

    The Red Devils have already signed Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, the latter an exciting left-back, the former a creative midfielder capable of unlocking defences in the blink of an eye.

    While Van Gaal has issues to resolve in defence, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic moving on, a dynamic midfielder capable of destroying and creating could be the difference between title glory and defeat.

    Vidal has that profile.

    It will take a huge bid to lure him away from Juventus, £62 million according to Hetherington. But reports, such as Tuttosport's in Italy (h/t Omar Hamouda from Squawka), claim Juventus need to sell to fund their rebuilding programme.

    Juventus are looking to make their mark in the Champions League after dominating on the domestic front, but they do not look to have the resources available to challenge some of the bigger European players.

    At 27, and after three years of success at Juventus, the time may be right for Vidal to make the move.

    Believability Meter: Medium to High

    Van Gaal’s stock is exceptionally high right now, and United will back him all the way this summer. Vidal could be the missing piece of the jigsaw at Old Trafford, so expect the Chilean to make the move.

Gareth Barry Can Use New Everton Deal as Springboard Back to International Arena

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    If there was one player who was integral to Everton's success last season, it was Gareth Barry.

    The England international was deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City, and he was farmed out to the Goodison Park club on a season-long loan deal.

    And the former Aston Villa midfielder set about repaying Roberto Martinez's faith in him by providing the solid, experienced base Everton were looking for.

    On Wednesday, Martinez finally got his summer transfer activity underway by signing Barry on a permanent basis in a three-year deal, as the club's website reported.

    A three-year contract for a 33-year-old would, ostensibly, sound like a strange move, but it is a smart one in this instance.

    Barry became a vital component for Martinez last season and provided the kind of possession play which fitted the bill for the Everton boss.

    Couple that with some tremendous passing to encourage forward play, and it is easy to see why the Merseyside club wanted Barry on a permanent deal.

    The new contract also came with reports that Arsenal were lurking with intent for the midfielder, as talkSPORT claimed last month.

    Alongside James McCarthy, Barry possesses the ideal protection for the Everton defence and is building an excellent partnership with his younger team-mate.

    However, the comfort of the new contract could also see Barry make a return to the consciousness of England manager Roy Hodgson.

    The midfielder has not played for his country for two years and, after earning 52 caps, the player is hoping for a return to the international fold, as Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reported.

    Barry is quoted as saying:

    As a kid, you always dream of playing for England. That’s why I am still here; I’ve not been capped for a couple of years, but I’ve not retired. 

    You sort of hope for that chance to come again. Any player who feels they still have a chance of playing for England and thinks maybe they should have been picked will watch the games and feel exactly the same.

    Barry is in the right place to make his mark next season, and, if not, at least he will be allowed to play against Manchester City.

    Believability Meter: Done Deal

    There might have been little doubt that Barry would join Everton permanently but reported interest from Arsenal earlier in the summer was a concern for Goodison Park supporters.

    Barry has refused to rule out one day representing his country again, and the chance to do so might open up again if he continues the form he showed with Everton last season.

Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi Solid Targets, but Liverpool Need Defenders

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    Liverpool have been busy in the summer transfer market and this week saw them linked with a double swoop for Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi, as Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reported.

    Serbia international Markovic, 20, is a winger with Benfica and scored seven goals in 49 appearances last season.

    And Lille forward Origi, 19, came to prominence more recently for his displays for Belgium in the World Cup.

    Both youngsters represent solid additions for the Reds and the future of the team. And the pair indicate that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is clearly building for the future at Anfield.

    The multi-million sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona is bound to be playing a part in the rebuilding of the Reds, who will need greater depth in their squad for the Premier and Champions League campaigns next season.

    However, it was the defensive flaws within the team which contributed most to the downfall of their title challenge last season, notably the concession of three late goals at Crystal Palace which allowed the Eagles to claim a hugely unexpected point.

    Of course, the interest in Southampton defender Dejan Lovren is known, with the Croatia international not slow to voice his opinions on his current employers this week, as BBC Sport reported.

    But with the Saints reluctant to part with another star man to Liverpool after the departures of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana to Anfield already this summer, the centre-half is not going to come cheap.

    However, Lovren still remains the only concrete Liverpool link with a defender this summer, while the move for Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno also appears to have stalled, as reported by Spanish publication El Correo de Andaluchia (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror) reported.

    The incomings at Anfield sound impressive additions for the future, but the fans will be hoping Rodgers has something up his sleeve to strengthen his back line.

    Believability Meter: Medium

    We all know how Brendan Rodgers loves to attack, and the links with young forwards are part of that remit.

    But Liverpool fans will be hoping the Irishman has an eye on a quality defender to spend the Suarez fee on, too.

New 5-Year Deal for Hugo Lloris Is Significant 1st Move for Pochettino at Spurs

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    Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    One year ago, Tottenham Hotspur were on the verge of a major spending spree on the back of the world-record transfer fee garnered from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

    Several newcomers arrived at White Hart Lane as Andre Villas-Boas manfully attempted—and, ultimately, failed—to gel them into a fully functioning Premier League contender.

    We all know what happened with that particular experiment and Villas-Boas paid the price with his job earlier in the season.

    However, new Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has made just one move so far this summer, and it could well be the most significant one for the north London club.

    Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris arrived at Spurs two years ago and while he had to wait to make his mark on the first team to begin with, the France international has gone on to become one of the best goalkeepers across Europe.

    His recent displays with Les Bleus at the World Cup also earned him plaudits, and a link with Paris Saint-Germain, as Andy Hodgson of the London Evening Standard reported.

    Spurs fans were right to be concerned at the possibilty of losing the former Lyon No. 1 to the free-spending Ligue 1 champions.

    But on Thursday morning, they awoke to the news that Lloris had signed a new five-year deal with the White Hart Lane club, as the official Tottenham website reported.

    Perhaps what was more significant for Tottenham was Lloris' reasoning for extending his stay at the club.

    Lloris is quoted as saying:

    I spoke with the chairman and I know the club is as ambitious as ever.

    It’s very important to feel at home at a club and for my family to feel well. I enjoy a great relationship with the club and the fans.

    The arrival of Mauricio Pochettino is important as well. I have a good feeling with him. He is also ambitious.

    Everything is clear in my head and if I’ve signed a new contract it’s because I trust the club and I’m sure we will progress in a positive way.

    The ringing endorsement of the former Argentina international from, arguably, one of the biggest-name players at the club can only be taken one way. 

    It sounds like something good is happening down at the Lane.

    Believability Meter: High

    If Pochettino wanted to make an immediate positive impact on Tottenham fans, convincing Lloris to stay is it.

    The France No. 1 is set to play a huge role in the re-emergence of Les Bleus in the coming years, and he can do the same at Tottenham.

Chelsea Must Exercise Caution over Filipe Luis Transfer Fee

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    Chelsea need a left-back, Atletico Madrid have the man Jose Mourinho wants. It should all be pretty simple, right?

    Jack Wilson of the Daily Star claimed that the Stamford Bridge club have agreed a £19 million fee with the La Liga champions for Filipe Luis.

    The 28-year-old is now set to link up with former Vicente Calderon Stadium team-mate Diego Costa at the west London club.

    But consider the fact that Luis will turn 29 before the Premier League season begins, and we have to question the price placed on the defender.

    With Ashley Cole having been released by the Blues when his contract came to an end this summer, Mourinho's need for a specialised left-back is well known.

    Last season, the Chelsea boss opted to play right-sided Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of the former England international, and while the transition appeared seamless, Mourinho is wise enough to recognise that there is no substitute for an experienced player for each role.

    Subsequently, the deal for Luis makes sense, but the figure quoted for a transfer fee hints at the days when club owner Roman Abramovich hurled money around like confetti for team-building.

    With the advent of Financial Fair Play rules, that option is no longer viable for Chelsea, leaving a question mark over the wisdom of splashing big money on the Brazil international.

    Cole was released at the age of 33—four years older than Luis will be when the Blues open their Premier League campaign at promoted Burnley.

    Would spending almost £20 million on the Atletico left-back be considered value for money? With depreciation rapid in the autumn of a player's career, there will be little re-sale value for Chelsea.

    There is no doubt that the Brazilian is a talented player, but Chelsea must use caution at the price being considered.

    Believability Meter: Medium

    With Cole gone, Mourinho is in desperate need of a left-back for next season, but he and Chelsea must be wise in the transfer market this summer.

    The figure involved in the Luis deal seems extravagant, and the Stamford Bridge club do not need to hit the panic button yet.

Loic Remy Would Be Ideal Addition for Arsenal Alongside Alexis Sanchez

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    There was understandable excitement around the Emirates Stadium this week as Alexis Sanchez's move from Barcelona was agreed.

    The Chile international forward offers a genuine threat for the Gunners next season, and Bleacher Report writer Jerrad Peters believes his arrival will see Arsene Wenger's side become title contenders.

    But Arsenal could become even more serious challengers if John Cross of the Daily Mirror proves to be correct.

    Cross claimed that Wenger is closing in on the capture of Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy ahead of the new campaign.

    The France international scored 14 goals during his season-long loan deal with Newcastle United last term, arguably sparing Alan Pardew from a relegation scrap before the end of the campaign.

    The gathering momentum of the Sanchez deal appeared to have scuppered interest in Remy, but not according to Cross.

    The pieces do fit, however, when you consider the demise of Arsenal's Premier and Champions League hopes last season.

    With just Olivier Giroud to spearhead the Gunners, the forward's form fell away at the turn of the year, with little in reserve to work with.

    Wenger was left to rely on youngster Yaya Sanogo for much of his striking cover, and while the youngster showed promise, he is still learning his role at the Emirates.

    But check out that price in Cross's article—£8 million. Now that sounds like a decent figure for an experienced 27-year-old forward, who knows his way to goal.

    Believability Meter: High

    This sounds like a goer for the Gunners. Remy was seen in attendance at Arsenal's final home game of last season against West Brom, sparking initial rumours of interest.

    The arrival of Sanchez from Barcelona has taken the headlines this week, but Remy's arrival could prove to be just as crucial as Wenger seeks to build on the FA Cup triumph in May.

Bojan Krkic Could Be on Right Track with Loan Move to Stoke

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    Nobody could argue that Mark Hughes isn't an ambitious manager if the Stoke Sentinel story this week is to be believed.

    According to the newspaper, the Stoke City manager is looking to bring Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic to the Britannia Stadium on a season-long loan.

    It might seem like a curious match at first glance, but this one deserves a closer look.

    The tale of Krkic and his two spells at the Camp Nou have been recorded previously by Bleacher Report La Liga writer Paul Wilkes, who outlined the fall of the once-capped Spain international in March.

    Wilkes wrote:

    Managerial fallouts and struggling with the expectation and pressure at the Camp Nou only tell part of the story.

    There are also questions surrounding his (Krkic's) own attitude, his advisors and whether he was overused by Frank Rijkaard.

    It is a fascinating tale of the fall from grace of a youngster, who had previously been likened to Lionel Messi after a sensational start to his career with the La Liga giants, and it is well worth a read.

    But this latest link with Stoke City is the story which concerns here, and it is not one Krkic should sniff at without serious consideration.

    The Potters are now far removed from the resilient style employed by Tony Pulis with Hughes at the helm.

    The former Manchester City boss has already utilised his links with Barca from his playing career to bring Marc Muniesa to the club last season, and that will provide Krkic with at least one familiar face.

    Muniesa was used largely as a back-up to Erik Pieters, but he still made 13 Premier League appearances last season, according to WhoScored.com.

    Perhaps more pertinent to Krkic, though, is the success of Marko Arnautovic at Stoke City last season.

    When the Austria international arrived at the Britannia, Matt Law of the Daily Mirror noted that the forward came to the Premier League with a "Balotelli-sized reputation" for his off-field antics.

    Have you heard anything of such antics since then? No, us neither. Clearly Hughes is having the desired effect on Arnautovic, and the same could apply to Krkic, who was on loan at Ajax last season.

    The Barcelona star clearly needs a guiding hand to restore the reputation he enjoyed when he broke into the Camp Nou team.

    Hughes has already proved he could be just the man to do it.

    Believability Meter: Medium

    This could be a genuinely exciting move for both Stoke and Krkic, but much will depend on the player himself.

    Talks have been held, according to the Sentinel, and the forward has gone back to Spain to consider his options with his family.

    Stoke-on-Trent might not be the most glamorous place in the world, but it could be the answer to Krkic's salvation.