Transfer News: Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Spurs in Champions League Windfall?

Ratan PostwallaCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2011

Transfer News: Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Spurs in Champions League Windfall?

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    With the group stages of the UEFA Champions League having come to a thrilling end last week, an interesting dimension has been added to the upcoming January transfer window.

    A number of Europe's top clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Valencia, Lille, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund have all bitten the dust. Along with the pile of cash they stand to lose, each of them has some major decisions to make. There are trophies to be won, next year's European competitions to be qualified for and players to be bought and sold.

    But with the existing financial landscape in European football being the driving factor that it undoubtedly is, each of these eliminated clubs will view the remainder of the season with a different perspective.

    United and City will obviously focus on lifting every possible piece of domestic silverware, and in spite of their public utterances, will definitely not prioritize the Europa League. They will also be on the lookout for new players in this transfer window; especially United, who are in the midst of a massive injury crisis.

    Somewhat smaller clubs like Lille, Valencia and Ajax will have an equal focus on their local competitions, but will also have an eye on the pot of gold that the Europa League can bring. But more than anything else, they will want to ensure that they qualify for next season's Champions League.

    On the other hand, the financial situation at these smaller clubs might tempt them to enter the transfer market and offload some of their brightest stars. Especially if someone is willing to pay over the odds.

    So what does this mean for Premier League clubs?

    Four simple words: Have money, will buy.

    Moneybags City and Chelsea will always want to sign players, and more importantly, the desire will be matched by ability. United, as mentioned earlier, need players and will always be an attractive destination. 

    Tottenham consider themselves upwardly mobile, and Harry Redknapp is always on the lookout for a bargain. However, his purse strings show no signs of being loosened by Daniel Levy, and he will remain a bargain-hunter.

    Liverpool are not in the Champions League, and are by no means certain to be there next year. The Club's history is definitely an attraction, but for the top players, titles and money are the real drawing cards.

    Arsenal are in an interesting position. Their momentum is certainly upward. They are very much in the Champions League. They need one or two players. And they always say they have the money. Could Arsene Wenger do the unthinkable and splash the cash?

    Read on for a club-by-club guide to the players who may be on the market as a result of their clubs' Champions League elimination. There are, as expected, no tangible rumors on Otelul Galati, Trabzonspor, Viktoria Plzen and BATE Borisov. Who??

    And if you're looking for up to date transfer news, especially that pertaining to Arsenal, you can follow me on Twitter.

1. Manchester City: Money Can't Buy Me Love

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    Priorities

    Winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Carling Cup. Winning the Europa League with their reserves. The squad is definitely large enough.

    Rumored out

    Carlos Tevez (AC Milan, Inter Milan, Tottenham, Paris Saint Germain), Nigel de Jong (QPR), Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Liverpool), Kolo Toure (PSG)

    Rumored in

    Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Ezequeiel Lavezzi (Napoli), Robin Van Persie (Arsenal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)

    The Big Story

    Well, the big story in this upcoming transfer window will be Manchester City themselves. They have no shortage of money or ambition, but as Financial Fair Play draws ever closer, they will need to start balancing their books. That means no more absurd transfer fees, no more crazy wages (£90k per week for Wayne Bridge as a case in point) and no more sending out surplus players on loan while still paying their wages.

    There's also the Carlos Tevez saga to be sorted out, and City desperately need to find a buyer to pay his astronomical wages and to help them recoup some of their capital outlay.

    And with City being who they are, they will definitely look to buy as well. I doubt if any of the four possible incoming players mentioned above will move, because their clubs are still in the Champions League. But with all the riches of the world at his disposal, who knows which rabbit Roberto Mancini will pull out of his hat.

    What's likely to happen

    Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure and a few other surplus players will be sold. Nobody new will come in.

    Source: Click here

2. Villareal: Submarine Going Down

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    Priorities

    To avoid relegation from Spain's Primera Division.

    Rumored out

    Borja Valero (Tottenham), Bruno Soriano (Manchester United)

    Rumored in

    Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

    The Big Story

    Here, again, the big story is the team itself. Champions League qualifiers last season, the Yellow Submarine find themselves off the boil and off the pace at 17th place in the Spanish league table. They are already 14 points off fourth place, so the Champions League next season is a distant and unlikely dream.

    This year's Champions League campaign was a complete disaster, with Villareal losing all six group games, scoring just two goals and conceding 14. 

    What's likely to happen

    The rumor mill seems to suggest that Harry Redknapp is interested in midfielder Borja Valero to cover for the injured Tom Huddlestone. Frankly, I don't see him spending £9 million on a former West Brom player.

    Source: Click here

3. Lille: The Dukes of Hazard

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    Priorities

    To win Ligue 1 and to progress as far as possible in the French Cup and the Europa League.

    Rumored out

    Eden Hazard (Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Liverpool), Moussa Sow (Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool)

    Rumored in

    Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham), Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal)

    The Big Story

    Eden Hazard, who else.

    This is a rumor that just won't go away. Arsenal have been the front runners for the Belgian's signature for the longest time, but there have also been murmurings that Wenger may be priced out of a deal by Lille's asking price. 

    Once money became a rumored sticking point, it was but obvious for the likes of Real Madrid and Chelsea to join the fray. 

    And then Arsene Wenger went and spiced things up by saying that Arsenal "can afford to buy if we want to buy." The Gunners certainly have the cash. They need an attacking player. Hazard's old buddy Gervinho is a Gunner. And Lille will eventually sell Hazard. The £30 million question is "When?"

    What's likely to happen

    The Hazard-to-Arsenal rumors will go viral come January 1, and Arsene Wenger will finally get his man.

    Source: Click here

4. Manchester United: Feeling the Pain

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    Priorities

    To win the Premier League and the FA Cup and to reinforce the squad after a litany of injuries.

    Rumored out

    Dimitar Berbatov (Anzhi Makhachkala, PSG, Valencia, Galatasaray), Rio Ferdinand (Tottenham), Paul Pogba (Manchester City, AC Milan)

    Rumored in

    Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Mehdi Benatia (Udinese), Milos Krasic (Juventus)

    The Big Story

    Move over Wesley Sneijder.

    The treatment room is now the talk of Old Trafford. Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher are seemingly out for the season. Anderson and Hernandez are long-term absentees as well. The twins are injured too. And "sicknote" Michael Owen can't put a run of two games together before crippling himself.

    Did I forget anyone?

    What's going on?? I thought it was Arsenal's medical staff that sucked. Trouble brewing at Carrington, it seems. Where's the press??

    Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest priority in this transfer window will be to make sure that his squad has enough depth and quality to sustain a title challenge through the end of the season. He is too canny and experienced to make panic purchases, but at the same time, he isn't shy of spending a bob or two.

    Wesley Sneijder seems to be his No. 1 priority, but his arrival may disrupt United's wage structure and may also delay the progress of Tom Cleverley.

    What's likely to happen

    United will sign Sneijder and an experienced central defender.

    Source: Click here

5. Ajax: Jan the Man

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    Priorities

    To win the Eredivisie (or at the very least, finish in the Champions League places).

    Rumored out

    Jan Vertonghen (Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Inter Milan), Christian Eriksen (Liverpool, AC Milan, Manchester City), Gregory van der Wiel (Valencia, Manchester City, Chelsea)

    Rumored in

    None

    The Big Story

    Jan Vertonghen, without a shadow of doubt.

    With Thomas Vermaelen again establishing himself as the best center half in the Premier League, the very similar Vertonghen is setting tongues wagging. With Arsene Wenger facing a ridiculous injury situation with his full backs, and Vertonghen said to be available for around £10 million, two and two are being put together by all and sundry.

    If Arsenal are interested, can Spurs be far behind? Harry's apparently interested too.

    But who wouldn't be, when your highlights video looks like this?

    What's likely to happen

    Nothing. Ajax won't sell till season-end.

    Source: Click here

6. Valencia: Win, Lose or Bust

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    Priorities

    Finish at least third in the Primera Division. Make some money.

    Rumored out

    Daniel Parejo (Arsenal, Fulham, Everton), Paco Alcacer (Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona), Ever Banega (Everton, Bayern Munich), Roberto Soldado (Arsenal, Tottenham)

    Rumored in

    Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax)

    The Big Story

    While Daniel Parejo has been the subject of more rumors than any other Valencia player, the real big news at the moment is the possible transfer of hit-man Roberto Soldado to Arsenal. 

    Soldado is Valencia's most marketable asset, and with the club still in dire financial straits, they might look at cashing in during the January window. Soldado is currently on a fairly hot goal-scoring streak this season, and sits fourth in the La Liga chart behind Gonzalo Higuain and the two ever-presents, Ronaldo and Messi.

    Arsenal need a striker, and at £15 million, the former Real Madrid striker represents value for money. 

    What's likely to happen

    Soldado will be sold, but not to Arsenal.

    Source: Click here

7. Borussia Dortmund: Something's Goetze Give

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    Priorities

    Winning the Bundesliga

    Rumored out

    Mario Goetze (Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United), Shinji Kagawa (Liverpool, manchester United, AC Milan, Juventus), Neven Subotic (Manchester United, Chelsea)

    Rumored in

    Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham)

    The Big Story

    Mario Goetze, obviously.

    With his eye-catching displays for Dortmund and Germany over the past season and a half, Goetze has become one of Europe's hottest properties. And with his club now eliminated from the Champions League, stories of his departure are many and varied. 

    He is said to command a price-tag of approximately £30 million, so he won't come cheap. But one thing is certain—his days at Dortmund are numbered.

    What's likely to happen

    Nothing. German football is cash-rich and no big club needs to sell. Goetze will leave Dortmund some day, but that day won't be in January 2012.

    Source: Click here

8. The Rest: Much Ado About Nothing

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    Priorities

    Qualifying for next season's Champions League.

    Rumored out

    Hulk (Porto to Arsenal, Manchester City), Konstantinos Mitroglou (Olympiacos to Glasgow Rangers), Kevin de Bruyne (Racing Genk to Chelsea, Manchester United), Mateo Kovacic (Dinamo Zagreb to Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City), Jadson (Shakhtar Donetsk to Liverpool)

    Rumored in

    Nobody important

    The Big Story

    The incredible Hulk definitely towers above the rest of the players named above, and as with his erstwhile compatriot Radamel Falcao, he will, in due course, certainly seek his fame and fortune elsewhere. 

    However, I don't think he will move in January. I can't see him fitting in right now at either City or Arsenal and for the time being, he might have to bide his time bullying defenses in the Portugese League. 

    What's likely to happen

    Don't know. Quite frankly, don't really care!

    Source: Click here