Premier League Transfer Rumours: 4 Biggest Stories of the Day
There are now just ten days until the 2011-12 Premier League starts. And what a season it should be!
Of the the three teams that have been promoted from the Championship, Swansea City are debutants and Norwich City and QPR return after long and sometimes painful absences. For The Canaries, it has been six years and for The Hoops, 15.
Then there's the title race: the holders Manchester United, dominant in the league for the two decades since its inception, a Chelsea team under the guidance of another exciting young Portuguese coach and big-spending Manchester City who are looking to usurp their bitter city rivals.
Liverpool and Sunderland have also recruited heavily and will be looking to gain entry into the UEFA Champions League and Europa League respectively.
But there are certain clubs, notably North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, which have expended too much energy fending off the vultures greedily circling their star players and have been unable to really strengthen their teams.
There is still time remaining to put the finishing touches to 25-man squads, but also the danger that players whose price tags are already inflated will be the subject of end-of-month auctions, which could put them out of the reach of clubs with more regulated wage structures such as Spurs.
The transfer rumours are filling up serious column space today as I bring you news of a Spurs midfielder who could move to another Premier League club for £10 million, the latest news on the futures of influential Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas and Spurs playmaker Luka Modric and also an intriguing article linking a player who shared last year's Golden Boot to a move to PSG.
With Chelsea and Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala having agreed on a £13 million fee for 27-year-old winger Yuri Zhirkov, the club are preparing to make rivals Tottenham Hotspur a final offer of £38 million for creative Croatian midifielder Luka Modric, 25, according to daily English newspaper Metro.
Modric has been Chelse'a primary transfer target all summer but Tottenham's stubborn chairman Daniel Levy, renown for his good negotiating skils, is eager to show other rich Premier League and European clubs that Spurs are not a selling club.
But the player is reported to be enthusiastic about a move to Stamford Bridge, as he will have the chance to play again in the Champions League and to compete the title, and he would also likely triple his £2 million-a-year wages.
The Blues have injury concerns over midfielders Frank Lampard and Michael Essien, while young back-ups Jon Obi Mikel and Ramires did not always impress when they had the chance.
Modric would provide good ability on the ball, quiet and honest professionalism and a knack of opening up opposition defences with intelligent passing. These skills could help get the most out of nervous forward Fernando Torres.
Spurs would look to re-invest the money into the team immediately and have been linked with a double swoop for Real Madrid duo Esteban Granero and Lassana Diarra, but are probably concerned about those players' wages and mainly about the message selling Modric would send to their other key players Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart.
Football365.com brings us quotes from Barcelona's Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta regarding the future of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, a long-time transfer target of La Blaugrana.
The 24-year-old captain, a former Barcelona youth player and a World Cup winner last summer with Spain, has played his football for the Gunners for eight years but seems keen to return to his old club to win trophies which have eluded him in a team which is criticised for its inconsistencies and naivety.
At first, Barcelona attempted to play down Fabregas's transfer value, claiming that he is not the same player as he was a year ago but the Spanish and European champions now appear to be set on capturing their primary target even if it costs them a lot more money than they hoped it would.
Some football commentators have questioned the logic behind a move for Fabregas after watching Thiago Alcantara produced some memorable football and scoring some breathtaking goals in pre-season but they have a chance to sign a player who has provided 90 assists in the last five seasons in all competitions, one who would love to put on the famous shirt.
Zubizarreta has today said that his club will negotiate any deal with discretion and respect, a claim which will grate with Arsenal manager Arsenal Wenger, who is said to be upset over the public pleading several Barcelona employees have resorted to to lure Fabregas to Camp Nou.
Several online articles and reports today are linking last year's F.A. Cup finalists Stoke City, who finished 13th last season in the Premier League, with a £10 million bid for Tottenham Hotspur's 27-year-old Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios.
Sportsvibe.co.uk suggests that the former Wigan Althetic player, known for his combative nature rather than his finesse, may have to take a pay-cut to join the Potters, but it is a sacrifice he might be willing to make if it means he starts more matches in the League and prolongs his international career.
With his current manager Harry Redknapp impressed by the improved performances of Brazilian youngster Ranieri Sandro over the second half of last season and eager to have England midfielder Tom Huddlestone back from injury, Palacios may be frozen out of the picture soon.
If a deal can be struck with the Midland club, it would also release much-needed funds for Tottenham's pursuit a forward with a proven goalscoring record at the highest level, a commodity in great demand currently.
Players such as new Juventus signing Mirko Vucinic and Barcelona target Giuseppe Rossi have slipped by recently because the North Londoners cannot afford their wages, but the club is determined to bring in ''two or three'' players still, according to manager Redknapp.
FOXSoccer.com today relays the comments supposedly made by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson regarding star forward Dimitar Berbatov's future at Old Trafford.
Ferguson was quizzed by French media after a United XI lost out Marseille and said that it was possible for the 30-year-old Bulgarian to play in France. Although not explicit, an excitable press has jumped to all kinds of conclusions, especially in view of the extravagant spending of PSG's new leading shareholders Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Les Parisiens are trying to tie up a £35 million deal for young Palermo attacker Javier Pastore, but the arrival of Berbatov in Paris would be seen by many as the marquee signing as he is a player of proven domestic and international quality, capable of scoring important goals against the highest quality opposition.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and Bayer Leverkusen forward is said to have been devastated that he was left out of United's squad for May's Champions League final against Barcelona and, contrary to recent quotes in the media attributed to him, may feel up for one last challenge in his career instead of remaining in England and facing the possibility of playing second fiddle to Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney and new signing Ashley Young.