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Who will be market movers?

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Phil McNulty | 10:30 UK time, Monday, 29 June 2009

Manchester City's "stratospheric" efforts to muscle in on the Premier League's elite Gang of Four have set a searing pace in the summer transfer market.

Gareth Barry has already been snared from Aston Villa, along with Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz - but they increasingly appear to be mere warm-up acts for the forthcoming main attractions.

Carlos Tevez looks certain to swap Manchester sides by exchanging United for City - a notion that would have been laughed out of Old Trafford 12 months ago - while Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o would be elevated to one of the world's highest-paid players in the increasingly unlikely event that he takes the Abu Dhabi riches on offer at Eastlands.

Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Everton defender Joleon Lescott are two other priority names on Mark Hughes' shopping list. And all the smart money is on the pair being successfully recruited to add some foundation to the attacking riches City intend having at their disposal.

City may be claiming the headlines and signing the largest cheques - while neighbours United bank the biggest in receiving £80m from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo - but it is a safe bet that the rest of the Premier League will not be shy in spending to reshape their squads for next season.

So who will be the prime movers in the market as clubs prepare to return to pre-season training this week?

Manchester United suffered the rare emotion of disappointment as the form that deservedly secured a third successive Premier League title collapsed when confronted by a vastly-superior Barcelona in the Champions League final in Rome.

Throw in Ronaldo's departure and the decision not to sign Tevez - a move I do not believe Sir Alex Ferguson will live to regret - and United's manager will have had plenty to ponder at his French holiday retreat.

Ronaldo's brilliance will be missed, but his time at Old Trafford was over and £80m is adequate compensation for his absence, especially with Wayne Rooney primed for a return to a more central attacking role. Tevez, in my opinion, pulled up short when it came to serious influence at Old Trafford, despite the affection lavished on him for his very obvious effort.

Ferguson will bring in Wigan's Antonio Valencia as a starting point, while being armed with a vast fund to attempt to sign the world-class talent to replace Ronaldo. He has never been above springing a surprise in the transfer market, but you can be sure one predictable target is on his radar in the shape of Lyon's gifted Karim Benzema.

Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero is another gifted star reportedly under examination, but the prospect of Franck Ribery making his way from Munich to Manchester has receded, with the ever-present shadow of Real Madrid lurking should he leave Bayern.

And might he be tempted to spend some of his newly-inflated war chest on a goalkeeper? Edwin van der Sar showed signs of wear and tear last season, being badly at fault for Eto'o's crucial first goal in the Champions League final, while Ben Foster continues to be dogged by injury.

Chelsea are something of an unknown quantity in the market, given their impressive finish to the last campaign and the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as replacement for interim coach Guus Hiddink. AC Milan have already warned Chelsea away from Brazil striker Alexandre Pato by suggesting (with more than a sprinkling of wishful thinking) that a £50m bid will be turned away.

Gifted midfield man Andrea Pirlo has also been touted, but is £20m for a 30-year-old sound business? One man who seems certain to have a future at Stamford Bridge is Yuri Zhirkov, CSKA Moscow's Russian international, who is equally adept anywhere down the left flank. He is on his way, his reputation propped up by a glowing reference from Hiddink and the admiration of Abramovich.

It is surely a matter of minor tweaking, and the addition of a couple of quality signings, as opposed to a major influx of new faces under Ancelotti.

The same mantra will apply at Liverpool, who put together their most consistent attempt at winning the title in years last term. And yet the loss of only two league games still left them second behind Manchester United.

Time will tell if this was a case of Liverpool missing their big chance or a primer for the Premier League crown to return to Anfield this season.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has moved to address weaknesses in the full-back position by paying £17.5m for Portsmouth's Glen Johnson. Johnson is much-improved player, but this is an eye-watering amount for a defender.

Benitez may benefit from further strengthening down the flanks to provide competition for Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera, with Valencia's David Silva a contender. A hand on deck to provide serious support for Fernando Torres should also be a priority.

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Liverpool face a fight to keep the disaffected Xabi Alonso, while Javier Mascherano has also been linked with Barcelona. Alonso will be the main worry for Benitez, and he must act quickly to ensure he is left with enough time to buy a replacement in the likely event he needs one.

Arsenal ended last season as a very firm fourth in the Premier League - and need work despite the optimistic outpourings of manager Arsene Wenger. Endless potential is one things, four years without a trophy is another and this is a piece of history that cannot be rewritten.

Wenger has responded to demands to toughen up Arsenal's perceived soft centre by signing Ajax's Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen in a £10m deal. This would offset any loss of Toure should he follow the money trail to Manchester City.

Arsenal's next port of call is likely to be central midfield, with Fiorentina's Felipe Melo a prime target - urged towards a move by his Brazil team-mate and former Arsenal midfield man Gilberto Silva.

Manchester City's mountainous transfer fund will make life even harder for those clubs on the outside looking in at the prestige and financial firepower afforded by a place in the Champions League.

Indeed, City's outlay is nowhere near a guarantee that they will finish in the top four - the pressure on boss Hughes to succeed after being handed an open cheque book will be enormous.

Aston Villa harboured hopes for long spells last season, but Martin O'Neill's side faded desperately in the closing months and his need for re-inforcements has taken on fresh urgency with the loss of experience and influence caused by Barry's departure to Eastlands and the retirement of his successor as captain Martin Laursen.

Villa have been linked with Portsmouth's Sol Campbell, while a realistic target will be Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton, who fits O'Neill's preferred profile of young and English talent.

Spurs outcast David Bentley revealed he was in talks with Villa, but this is surely a case of "buyer beware" unless Harry Redknapp is happy to take a huge hit on the £17m paid to Blackburn Rovers last season.

O'Neill is aware of the holes in the squad that need filling and owner Randy Lerner insists funds are in place. So over to Villa's boss to find the men who can bring him his first trophy (or a Champions League place) in his fourth season at the club.

Everton finished "best of the rest" in fifth for the second successive season, and supplemented that with a place in the FA Cup final, losing to Chelsea.

The test for manager David Moyes is to prove that Everton are not now banging their head on a glass ceiling and that fifth is not the new first at Goodison Park. And he will once again have to try without the aid of a huge transfer fund.

The talk is of around £12m plus any raked in from sales - an amount that is likely to double and more besides if Lescott does make the move to Manchester City, although striker Jo, on loan at Everton last season, may return in any potential package.

Moyes' policy will be to pursue young, and preferably British talent, which means he may rival Villa for Sheffield United's Naughton and follow up a long-standing interest in Cardiff City's Joe Ledley.

It does not, however, rule out a move to bring Michael Owen to Goodison Park and the hardy perennials Joao Moutinho from Sporting Lisbon and Rennes' midfield man Stephane Mbia have been linked once more.

Everton need to improve down their right flank and whispers on Merseyside continue to link Moyes with Jermaine Pennant now his unfulfilling spell at Liverpool has drawn to a close. Intriguing speculation, a move that would be brave for both manager and player.

Moyes will have Yakubu, Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka back at various intervals next season, but chairman Bill Kenwright must resist the urge to peddle the line that "they will be like three new signings." Only real signings can keep Everton where they currently stand, let alone have any chance of improvement.

Spurs, inevitably, will be busy as they go in search of silverware and an improved league placing. White Hart Lane's revolving door will be spinning off its hinges as manager Harry Redknapp overhauls his squad and waves off talent like David Bentley, Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Robbie Keane has even been whispered as another who might find his way out of Spurs just months after his return from Liverpool, but surely this is fanciful, even by the transfer market's unpredictable standards.

Add Didier Zokora, Pascal Chimbonda, Alan Hutton, Jermaine Jenas, Tom Huddlestone to your list and we can be sure of one thing - whether they all go or not, it will be eventful down at the Lane again this summer.

Potential ins? Take your pick, but Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben, Ashley Young, Scott Brown and Gabriel Heinze have all been in and out of the frame at various points.

And how about this for an outsider as a summer arrival? Chelsea's Joe Cole - not my tip but I will happily name our office expert who is hanging his hat on that one should it come to pass.

Spurs captain Keane has been mentioned in dispatches as a potential target for Sunderland, who will be big players in the market as new boss Steve Bruce is heavily backed by owner Ellis Short's fortune.

Niall Quinn will hope Bruce's shrewd operating at Wigan, where Wilson Palacios and Antonio Valencia proved stunning investments, can be repeated at the Stadium of Light.

He can move at the top end of the market and intends to do so. He has been monitoring Darren Bent at Spurs as well as Richard Dunne at Manchester City. Eidur Gudjohnsen's availability at Barcelona has not gone unnoticed, while any change in Peter Crouch's position at Portsmouth could be the catalyst for action.

South America has proved a fruitful hunting ground for Bruce in the past, and he is casting his net worldwide again, with Honduran Hendry Thomas is in his sights. He tried to bring the midfield man to Wigan from Honduran side Club Olimpia last season but ran into work permit problems - but is now ready to try again.

So, the wheels will start to spin in the coming weeks as cash flows around the Premier League transfer market.

And the teams above will not be the only ones making the moves - who should your team bring in and ship out as the countdown begins to the new Premier League season?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    If Lescott is off to City we've got to take a leaf out of Eto'o's book and ring every penny we can out of them.

  • Comment number 2.

    Firstly, and not without irony considering the current worldwide economic climate, it appears as if this summer's transfer market is shaping up to be the most competitive yet.

    The catalyst for this has of course been Real Madrid, but not far behind them are Man City, and put them together with the likes ot Chelsea et al and we have a situation where too many clubs and too much money is chasing too few players. It will therefore be impossible to get a big name player at good value this summer.

    I personally hope Chelsea avoid going for a big name as I don't want to see them pay crazy over the odds money for a player, perhaps Pato being the exception, but he is staying at Milan I am sure.

    I am a bit worried on our dependency on Lampard. Last season he was just brilliant and there really is no one else at the club who can do the job he does for Chelsea. He has a tremendous fitness record, but there is always more risk to suffering longer term injury as you get older, however fit you are.

    But instead of signing Pirlo who could cover for Lampard if he did get injured, I would prefer Chelsea to sign Dagostino from Udinese. He is 27 years old, can play alongside Lampard but also play the Lampard role if my worst fears happened.

    Chelsea also need a 3rd striker but I don't have anyone to suggest.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm not sure I agree with you with regard to Tevez. He was excellent at West Ham and many of your peers suggested that he kept them in the league. He was also excellent in the last world cup for Argentina. At United he didn't have the long run of starts that a striker needs to get into a rhythm of scoring goals. Undoubtedly he was surrounded by better players than when he was with the Hammers and this will have made him appear more ordinary, as his chance to shine was lessened but I still think he is an excellent player who will be missed by United. Let's not forget some of the vital goals he scored for them, which will have helped them win the title. No, he will certainly be missed by United (who tried to keep him by offering the asking price and a decent wage packet). It is only because he will be missed less so than Ronaldo that you, perhaps, have this perception. I think United's loss is certainly City's gain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Phil,

    Do you believe that Moyes's policy would be to procure British players if he had money to spend? He was being lauded last season for playing the youth, but surely that was down to need rather than ethos. Saying that he did a fantastic job with no recognised strikers at times.

    Alonso's quotes have been ambiguous but why do the press only jump on the negative conotation? His last quotes sounded like he wasn't particularly disaffected as you put it.

    Benitez seems to be slated by one and all in the media for thinking about selling Alonso last season but what is never taken into account in their/your criticism is the fact that Alonso's form that past season was not the best due to injury. A manager has to make a decision? Will his form return because he is a class player or will the injury have taken its toll. Can Benitez take that chance? It turned out that his form returned, which was the cue for the slate Benitez brigade.

  • Comment number 6.

    The Premier League merry-go-round of high transfer fees is in danger of ruining football as a spectacle for the fans. The "I'm too good for this team" attitude when things go wrong is rubbish. Football comes a long way behind money, and the Championship is a better bet for true football fans.

  • Comment number 7.

    Think people should look again at Scott Brown at Celtic, not the finished article yet but well on his way to being a great midfield player -and he wouldn't be as expensive as some of the players being talekd about. Probably the most improved player in scotland in the last two years, think he's ready for the step up to the EPL.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'd like to see Silva at Liverpool but just hope he isn't too light weight. If Alonso goes we should go for Javi Martinez, I've heard great things about him and he is only young. I'd love to sign Ashley Young.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sam_Red_Galactico:

    Exactly who has knocked Utd back left, right and centre?
    There has not been confirmation of any bids being accepted and the players turning down a move to Old Trafford from any reliable source. I am not sure where you are gettting this idea from, Tevez leaving perhaps? and Ronaldo finally going (we have all seen that for years now, its not exactly being knocked around is it?)

    I agree with you that Ferdinand was an awful lot of money, but he is far more established and was when bought, than Glen Johnson is or probably will be for at least a few years if he succeeds at Anfield.

    Very good blog Phil.

    In my opinion I would love to see Fergie bring in some unknown talent (if there is any in this day and age with all the scouting) for a more reasonable amount of money than splash out a fortune on a player not yet proven in England i.e. Benzema, Aguero. Im not sure exactly who would be able to come in apart from Valencia who looks very likely, but Fergie will know exactly who he wants and what they will bring to the team, I cant wait to see what he does.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry to be a pedant but Honduras isn't in South America

  • Comment number 11.

    What clearly matters most is Southend United. All this Premiership tittle-tattle is boring. If i was a betting man, my money would be on the title ending up in Manchester, just not sure which of the two I fancy more.

    Southend need a left back, centre half and left winger. I don't think we've got £2 to pay for them so we'll have to see what bargins we can pick up from Pitsea market

  • Comment number 12.

    It's been a suprisingly quiet transfer window so far.

    All the transfers that have gone through are ones we knew were going to happen before the season ended - Ronaldo, Gareth Barry (OK, the Man City bit was a suprise), Kaka, Glen ohnson, Roque Santa Cruz.

    Expecting Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea especially to get busier, while Man City continue building towards a 1-1-8 formation.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 13.

    To ScottishScouser says "send more Bees!"...I think it is fair to say that Moyes would widen his net if he did have more money to spend. He may well do that if he eventually has to sell Joleon Lescott. Everton will look for £20m from Manchester City and Moyes is sure to get that to spend if he reluctantly parts with the England defender.

    As it stands, Moyes needs to seek out gems either abroad or, as he has done so successfully with the likes of Lescott, Tim Cahill and Phil Jagielka, in the Championship.

    Xabi Alonso's quotes can be regarded as ambiguous, but they can also be construed as a missed opportunity to unequivocally pledge his future to Liverpool. The same can be applied to Lescott - he could end all the speculation surrounding his future with a simple statement of commitment to Everton. This has not happened.

    As far as Alonso's form goes, I actually thought he was outstanding last season, better than his previous couple of campaigns.

  • Comment number 14.

    The English clubs should have a look in the Madrid Classifieds, with a whole range of Dutch players being advertised. Huntelaar, Sneijder, Robben, Van der Vaart, Van Nistelrooij and Drenthe all for sale at bargain prices...

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Phil

    Suggestion if I may.

    Perhaps your researchers could help compile a similar article focusing on transfer activity on the continent? We all know what's happening in Madrid but it would be interesting to hear what's running the rumour mill in Europes other top clubs.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 17.

    Cheers Phil,

    I think you missed my point. When I was talking about Alonso's form I was refering to the season before last; the season before he was meant to be sold. I don't see why Benitez is slated for thinking about selling him then for the reasons I put forward in my earlier post. His form wasn't great. Last season he was arguably Liverpool's best player.

  • Comment number 18.

    Liverpool definitely need a little more depth to make sure that the top liners can rest against the lesser teams and recover for the big Euro games. It cost them any chance of winning the League last season. But the cost of these players is starting to get obscene. Also, trying to keep them all happy is not an easy task. Some managers do it better than others.
    Some of the young talent at Liverpool needs to be given a chance in the first team. There is some real quality in the reserves and youth ranks that will probably never see the first team. It is a real shame.
    A classic example will be Man City. Watch their youth system start to falter (one of the best in the UK) as they just buy the players that are needed rather than progressing the youngsters through the ranks. Any talented kid would be silly to go to a top 4 (or Man City) as the chances of getting first team action are slim to none. They are much better off going to a mid to bottom team and making a name for themselves there instead and then getting bought by the big teams if they are any good.
    I also think that you will see managers searching further and wider than ever before. Especially for the teams outside the top 4. It will be the only way to be competitive. Steve Bruce seems to have a Knack of getting a few gems on the cheap and selling them on for huge profits. Scouts are going to really be earning their money from now on, that's for sure.

  • Comment number 19.

    Sam_Red_Galactico


    you can't say that mate. how could you even suggest 17.5 for an improving England regular is expensive. of course Phil won't mention Rio or the untried Boswinga or the 10 mil spent on Bridge after he spent 6 seasons warming any bench.

    Silva would be a nice addition as he can play any where along the attacking line, but i'd be concerned about his physical presence. that said, Torres was light weight when he arrived and has developed into a strong athlete.

    one thing i am sure of though is that if Benny and Kuyt keep their form from last season then we don't need much more and the most important thing is not who we get but who we keep. Javi Martinez is a promising prospect and may be a cheap replacement for Alonso. people may disagree but i think if are to lose one from Mash and Xabi then we need to keep Mash.

    our financial situation seems to have settled a bit now so we don't have to sell players to balance the books. the only reason a player is leaving is if he wants to go, then so be it, or if they are not needed, possibly Arbeloa.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    If Everton do decide to off load Lescott (I hope they don't), then I'm anticipating players and cash. I'm guessing Jo or Micah Richards will be used as bait and possible Michael Johnson. I think 2 players plus cash would be tempting, though not sure how realistic that would be

  • Comment number 22.

    Manchester City are the side whose transfer dealings I am watching with the most interest. I never saw the signing of Gareth Barry coming, but it is an extremely shrewd one, while the probable addition of Tevez and Eto'o brings experience and class. However, I just cannot see how Roque Santa Cruz is worth anything like the £17m paid for him. His injury record is dire and, quite simply, Eto'o, Tevez and Robinho are better than him. A poor signing in my view. But if they can snap up Lescott and/or Toure quickly, so the team has sufficient time to gel before the start of the season, they could do very well.

    Meanwhile I would think that the signings of Antonio Valencia, Karim Benzema and one other attacking player would leave United well set once again. In my mind spending £18m on a right-back was risky by Rafael Benitez, when what he most needed was a creative influence in the shape of David Villa or David Silva. It's going to be interesting...

  • Comment number 23.

    I think whatever money Moyes has will be used wisley. Lescott wont go. Moyes and Kenwright have both said it and Lescott has said he is an Everton player till he is told otherwise. Moyes has said he will reject any offer even if it was £20M and i trust his word. He will probably end up getting Naughton £6M, Cana £5M, Delph £4M, Pennant £0M and Owen £0M in the summer and we will hopefully challange for 4 spot.

  • Comment number 24.

    im not a man city fan (quite the opposite) but would be interested to hear how people think all these new players will fit into their team? It seems to me Mark Hughes has been playing too much old skool Championship Manager, trying to buy lots of good players without really thinking how they will fit into the team.

    By my counts they have the following to play cm at the moment - de Jong, Johnson, Barry, Fernandes, Kompany and Ireland. And then the following strikers (assuming the rumoured transfers are affected) - Tevez, Santa Cruz, Robinho, Eto'o, Jo, Benjani, Bellamy, Caicedo etc. Seems to me they will have far too many players to keep happy.

    I understand that you need a good squad to cope with the demands of the league these days, but i think this might be going a little bit over the top.

    And lastly, i would just like to say that i think some of the figures being paid or bandied around in this transfer window have been absolutely shocking - 80m Ronaldo, talks of upto 70m for Ribery, 45m for Aguero, 50m for Pato, seems to all be getting ridiculous again.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm quite surprised to see that no-one has tried to get players from any of the relegated teams yet. Middlesbrough and West Brom especially looked to have some good young players who could play a bit - but those teams were lacking experience and steel - the likes of Downing, Johnson, Wheater, Tuncay (who I think could fit in at nearly any premiership team), for starters from Boro, whilst Koren and Brunt looked good for Albion. Not really sure how many are going to attract interest from Newcastle mind besides Bassong and Martins...

  • Comment number 26.

    The situation at Manchester City is escalating to the point of ridicule - does anyone realize they have 10 senior strikers, or a squad of 35 players at the moment? And with talk of Tevez coming in (I find Eto'o highly unlikely to be honest) what do they do with the likes of Jo, Benjani, Bojinov, Evans, Sturridge, Bellamy, Caicedo and Vassell?
    Not to mention they bought Taylor as cover for Given... what ever happened to Schmeichel, a promising young keeper?

  • Comment number 27.

    So £17.5m represents an 'eye-watering' fee for England's 24 year-old first-choice right back? What terminology can we use to describe the mooted £20m fee for the 26-year old fringe-international Lescott? Heart-stopping maybe?

  • Comment number 28.

    Phil,

    Pretty good analysis of the current insane transfer market. Whilst I think Johnson is a good player I do agree that it is a massive amount of money to pay for someone who is essentially unproven at the very very top. I hope we dont get stung like we did with Keane or United with Berbatov in paying big bucks for the big fish in the small pond only to put him in the ocean and realise he aint all that big after all. I hope that Liverpool dont get dragged into all these massive bidding wars between the likes of Real and City and Benitez has an ace or two up his sleeve to bring someone of quality in at as close to reasonable money as you can get in modern top flight football.

    I do agree with ScottishScouser on the Moyes issue. I dont think it is his grand plan to always dig around in the championship (Jagielka was signed from Sheff Utd at the end of their Premiership campaign by the way) for English talent (Cahill is an Aussie also) but that is what he has had to do. If he was given £50m to spend this summer I am confident that we would see some names in the Everton side that you wouldnt normally expect to see on the Scotland Road electorial roll. Thats not to say he hasnt dont a fine job. But he has done his job that way more through need than want. When he has had a few quid he has bought the likes of Yakubu, and Fellaini.

  • Comment number 29.

    cant see united getting benzema, simply because of a certain world cup next year. he could happily move, and im sure its what he's love to do, but, he knows what he can do in France, he knows he is massiven his performances grant him a better chance of getting into the french squad come the 2010 world cup. If however he were to move and he just didnt work over here, which is a real possibility, then that would cost his his place maybe in the french squad... something i dont think he is willing to contemplate at the moment.

    as for my beloved liverpool... silva would be ideal, and i think upfront we should have a punt at Vagner Love, who i think would compliment torres and gerrard much much better. the lad has a great shot, is bulky but quick and the ball sticks to him pretty well, the knock on effect is that torres and gerrard would happily feed of this all day, plus he can be a battering ram much to the extent of drogba against the smaller sides intent on defending with all men back. plus he has played for many a year in russia, so the climate over here (a pointed drawback for alot of south americans) and the league isnt (physically) lightweight, so the toughness should be there

  • Comment number 30.

    Criticise Wenger, who's he going to buy? At what price ? We're competing against bottomless pits of resources ? Now we may have Portsmouth thrown into the equation then QPR ? How much you going to spend on average players ? It's another world.

  • Comment number 31.

    next yr could be the first time in decades that Man City's squad would be more talented on paper than Utd's. Whether they actually finish better would have to be seen. As an Arsenal fan I have been left disheartened first by Chelsea and now Man City's spending. I have no issue with a club spending its own money but rich billionaire owners who don't mind losing hundreds of millions ruin the league for soundly run clubs. Sometimes the whole building the club up properly stuff seems so pointless, Arsenal today has turnover of over 200 mn yet clubs like Man City will eventually race past them by spending more money than they could ever afford. Some 500-600mn pound lost by Abromavich are just a joke to these people.

  • Comment number 32.

    The 50% tax band coupled with the weakness of the pound will have a more profound effect on the number of foreigners in the EPL than any of Platini's proposed measures. Add to that the physical demands and the less attractive environment and there should be a steady drain away from the EPL over the coming seasons. United seem to have lost some of their draw, perhaps potential targets are mindful of the treatment handed out to Ronaldo and Tevez? Tottenham have been turned down more times than Michael Owen. City are playing Championship Manager(badly), Real have the Los Galacticos and Chelsea Los Geriatricos and Arsenes shopping at Mothercare with A benefit cheque. The only team looking strong are Liverpool, no wonder their players are in such demand.

  • Comment number 33.

    Chelsea wise I'd be happy to see Yuri Zhirkov turn up at the Bridge and a decent striker as back up for Drogba and Anelka.

    The problem with UTD is that while they now have £80m to play with the club's new policy of not spending big on players over £30m cuts them off from a lot of talent. Add to that the bigger problem that anyone UTD want Real Madrid want too. Also, many players especialy Spain's top guys all seem to want to stay in Spain over England.

    £80m was great business but they need to get something back from it soon.

  • Comment number 34.

    I reckon it's slow on getting off the ground. I can see a few americans arriving after the showing in the conferderations cup.
    I think Liverpool will fall away if they loose players... Villa had their season it will be season after next before there is another significant improvement.
    City to replace them this year. Hull to go down.

  • Comment number 35.

    Now that the reality of the top flight has sunk in, things seem to have changed somewhat. I feel like James Stewart returning to Bedford Falls or Marty McFly confronted with his alternate future of greed and money engineered by Biff. The money being thrown about is quite frankly disgusting. It seems the power within the Prem League lies squarely with the Top Four. For years now, the remaining sixteen teams have been content to turn a blind eye to the introduction of a continental league via the back door. They shuffle their feet and look to the ground, simply grateful that they are in the Premier League. What happened to competition? Max Mosely may be an egomaniac, but he has a point about restricting budgets in order to level out the pitch a bit. If the 'rest' of the Premier League teams are happy to be the Top Four's whipping boys season after season, why not just sanction and expedite the creation of a European Super League, and allow the remainder of the teams to have some decent competition, for a proper title - not just for a UEFA cup spot?

  • Comment number 36.

    Just a question for any Man United fans on the forum.... How concerned are you by the exit of Ronaldo and Tevez??? Before I start, I am the first to agree that Man U could afford this more than Liverpool could because you have more strength and depth. However, if we lost 2 of the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano it would be of great concern for our silverware hopes next season. And before any posts, I am aware that there is a possibility of us still losing 2 of the above 4 players although I believe it's unlikely. I think it's even more concerning for the Man U contingent when replacements uttered around are Valencia (done deal) and Benzema (more than likely). Those 2 players are quality, I wouldn't dispute, however, are either of them near the quality of Ronaldo and Tevez??? It's open for debate but I seriously doubt it. If Liverpool can get the likes of Silva and a quality striker in I think Man U have something to worry about, even more than last season.

  • Comment number 37.

    collie21 wrote:

    "I think Liverpool will fall away if they loose players."


    Yes. Looseness usually results in falling away.

  • Comment number 38.

    Well nothing new in this blog. I can't believe that Wenger hasn't tried to sign Lescott for Arsenal already. He should of rung him the same day that the FA cup ended. Can't believe that the CL final has been brought up again. The one thing that hasn't really been discussed is that CR (according to one of the MU players) told the rest of the team before the game that he was leaving. Barcelona were not massively superior. Man Utd just played their worst game in Europe for the last 5 (maybe 10) years.

    If anyone has heard any rumours about Hulk coming to Liverpool I want to hear them. I haven't heard any rumours but if I ever had a chance of starting one then now is the time :)

  • Comment number 39.

    To ToonBoy105...take your point about Santa Cruz. A lot of money to spend on someone with his injury record - and he has never been a huge goalscorer in his career, although he did have an outstanding first season at Blackburn.

    Gareth Barry will prove to be a sound signing I am sure, although I remain to be convinced that any of the incoming deals being speculated upon will actually catapult Manchester City into the top four. This is the pressure they, along with manager Mark Hughes, will face.

    And also fair comment from poster 28, pointing out that when Moyes has had big money to spend, he used it to buy Yakubu from Middlesbrough for £11m and Marouane Fellaini from Standard Liege for £15m. It proves he would go further afield if he had more money to play with.

    Liverpool need to strengthen their squad. Alan Hansen put it perfectly in a BBC column recently when he said they can match anyone from numbers one to 11 but the problems start between 12 and 20.

    Last season proved Rafael Benitez does not need to make major changes to his squad, but he will be concerned at transfer speculation surrounding Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano.

    And to ayjayz...I would suggest, based on Liverpool's willingness to spend £17.5m on Glen Johnson, Everton would be well within their rights to demand £20m for a player who is outstanding in central defence and excellent at left-back.

    Lescott also contributed 10 goals for Everton the season before last playing mainly at left-back. I am not saying Lescott is a £20m player, but take it from me Everton will have noted the fact that Portsmouth got £17.5m for Johnson and will price him accordingly should they decide to sell.

  • Comment number 40.

    Spot on about Tevez Phil.. I have been puzzled for 2 years how lots of my fellow Stretford Enders have confused graft for talent.

    Ok, Berbatov didn't set the world alight last season, but I'd have him over Tevez any day.. Berb's return last season was not bad at all and this season I think he will benefit from actually having a pre season and not having 2 big egos' around the place reminding everyone how good they are. (1 was right and the other was staggeringly misjudged)

    Rooney and Berbs upfront with a couple of new signings helping out (a ball winning midfielder is a must) and I think the Prem should be Utd's again, with Chelsea in hot pursuit.

    Any Liverpool fans' who think they have already won it (many do if radio phone ins are anything to go by.. did you not know they threw it away last year?)are sadly mistaken once again.

  • Comment number 41.

    if we let joe cole go, especially to tottenham, i will go ape sh()t.

  • Comment number 42.

    £17.5m for Portsmouth's Glen Johnson. Johnson is much-improved player, but this is an eye-watering amount for a defender.
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Rio Ferdinand cost Man Utd nearly double that amount.
    Nani and Anderson each cost Utd about the same as Johnson. The pair haven't exactly set the world alight and Johnson is proven in the premier league as well as in the England set up.
    In the current market the 24 year old represents good value and will be a potent supplier for the Liverpool attack; something that has been missing in recent years.

  • Comment number 43.

    To YNWA87 - Of course loosing Ronaldo is massive. he has been the driving force for us the last 2 seasons. But it will be interesting to see who Fergie has lined up to replace him as he must have known this was coming for a while now. Will be interesting to see who we get. Im not commenting on our chances at the title next season until the transfer window closes.

    Tevez will be less of a loss. he was more an impact substitute. Hard working yes, but not a high quality striker. ironically he may find himself in a worst off position at City than he is at Utd if Eto'o arrives, but he'l have a lot of cash so he'll be ok.

  • Comment number 44.

    yet more transfer muppetry...i`m sick of it already with all these tabloids running after every player n ridiculuous story! Wait until the bbc/sky/reuters/press association/official football clubs confirm the signings and it would make life a whole lot easier. I find it fascinating how van der sar was amazing the whole season but is remembered for a small error in this article, is football really at a stage when such minute errors can cost you a transfer?

    Anyway as a man utd fan, i would like to see Karim Benzema arrive, although their should be a limit on how much is an acceptable amount of money even in the current "man city" climate. I have a feeling that he wont be dropping in at Manchester Airport though as Lyon are perennial difficult negotiators. I think the missing piece in the jigsaw is the fitness of owen hargreaves, if their was one player i would love to see in a man utd strip it would be Micheal Essien. Our defence is solid, we have creativity, i'm sure we`ll sign a solid striker to replace tevez/ronaldo.

    Oh and Eto'o needs to stop creating a circus, last time he was in Kazakhstan for a big money transfer, this time hes being offered £250k per week. What a joke.

  • Comment number 45.

    If he really is available,I'd love to see Joe Cole play for Liverpool, and even Robben. These fellas could unlock some of those 10 man defences that came to Anfield last year. Some of those Dutch bargains at Madrid must be interesting Benitez. There's some real talent [pardon the pun] there, at decent prices. Huntelaar has to be on the radar for starters.

  • Comment number 46.

    If I was everton I would look at picking up Michael Owen, if you could get him fit and put him with say Yakubu he would score some goals, plus swap Lescott with Man City for Johnson and Richards plus cash they would be laughing.

  • Comment number 47.

    To add to my previous comment, will any managers be shrewd and save their money for the january window as the current price hike is seriously dodgy? Why pay £30 mill for a player now who will go for £20 mill in a few months?

  • Comment number 48.

    in reply to 42.

    Are you puttin johnson in the same class as rio? did you not bother checking the price of vidic and evra? check bosingwa and ashley coles price? or sagna? they cost nothing compared to glen johnson and would displace him in any team

  • Comment number 49.

    Hey Ayjayz,
    if Johnson can command a fee of 17 mill then Lescott is worth 30mill and Moyes would be a fool to sell him for anything less.

  • Comment number 50.

    What on earth do Man City think they are doing? Are they literally trying to buy all the big name strikers in the game? They must have at least 15 strikers... surely the Abu Dhabi owners must be a little concerned looking at the team and realising strikers ratio 2:1 for the whole team!

  • Comment number 51.

    42...
    In the current market the 24 year old represents good value and will be a potent supplier for the Liverpool attack; something that has been missing in recent years.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not many will dispute with you on what Johnson can bring to Liverpool offensively, but the price tag is questionable because he has yet to dispel fears about his defensive abilities. At the end of the day he is a RB not a winger.

  • Comment number 52.

    I would like to see Berbatov leaving United because he hasn't made a huge impact to our season, other than destroying Tevez's chance of going into the team. In fact, we did not needed to sign anyone because we've got adequate cover (September onwards) but the fact remains, why didn't Ferguson sign Tevez during the summer? It was imminent that Ronaldo would be leaving this summer but 2 fans favourite? I'm pretty shocked and surprise. I was hoping that SAF would actually sign David Silva and Karim Benzema because Valencia isn't exaclty the type of player you would sign if a World Class player leaves. Unless he develops rapidally, I don't think signing Valencia is a good move.

  • Comment number 53.

    Real Madrid's wild spending has the potential of back firing. They thinks because they have 2 of the best players in the world they will win everything. Maybe they will, only time will tell. The only way to achieve return on investment for Real Madrid is to win everything next season.

  • Comment number 54.

    Are you puttin johnson in the same class as rio? did you not bother checking the price of vidic and evra? check bosingwa and ashley coles price? or sagna? they cost nothing compared to glen johnson and would displace him in any team
    ------------

    Rio was showing as much potential 6 or 7 seasons ago as Johnson is now. and at 12 mil cheaper, i'd say we have a good deal. ah but then Peter Kenyon was such a muppet he didn't realise a cash strapped Leeds would have probably sold him for half what United paid.
    and Cashley Cole? how much? Boswinga? how much? about 20 mil and 18 mil respectively.

    i see you mention Evra and Vidic, but we got Skrtel and Insua and Aurelio all for under 9 mil.
    nice try.

  • Comment number 55.

    Some obvious trends might dictate the course of this transfer season.

    Most managers will try and complete their signings as early as possible this season, after a rash of last minute signings last summer (Spurs, Man City...), to get a squad that works together from the beginning.

    The African Cup of Nations will also have a major bearing on transfer dealings - the usually prolific of movements of players from Africa into the premier league will be sharply down. Again, some managers might overstock their cupboards this season to cover for this. Arsenal have 4 players who will play the ACN, with 3 of them playing in defence - expect Wenger to buy more than he needs.

    Finally, we might have seen the death of the "unknown" and surprise signing. A Palacios or a Clichy may no longer warm the supporters what with the media tracking every move.

  • Comment number 56.

    @36

    As a ManUtd fan I believe that the loss of Ronaldo was a necessary loss because the player had lost the passion to play for the team. The loss of Ronaldo is a blessing in disguise because it will allow the likes of Rooney to step into the spotlight. Manchester United has a history of always attracting new talents. We loose some and we also gain some. We lost David Beckam and Ruud Vanistlerooy but they were eventually forgoten.

  • Comment number 57.

    Dandolinho no.29 - why would Love want to compliment Torres? Doesn't he get enough compliments and accolades as it is?

  • Comment number 58.

    United will need a striker but one area that is being overlooked is central midfield - Scholesy and Giggs are not getting any younger, Anderson can blow hot and cold - only leaves Fletch and Carrick. I don't think we can rely on Hargreaves so that might leave us short. Especially as SAF often likes to play 3 across the middle

  • Comment number 59.

    and Cashley Cole? how much? Boswinga? how much? about 20 mil and 18 mil respectively.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think not!

    Cole was simply brilliant last season and Bosingwa not too far behind.

    Using Johnson's fee as a base and considering Cole and Bosingwa are still quite young, you would be looking at 25mil and 21mil repectively.

  • Comment number 60.

    This blog is pretty meaningless like most of the comments. 43 clubs have played in the EPL since 1992 and only 4 winners:

    199293 Manchester United
    199394 Manchester United
    199495 Blackburn Rovers
    199596 Manchester United
    199697 Manchester United
    199798 Arsenal
    199899 Manchester United
    199900 Manchester United
    200001 Manchester United
    200102 Arsenal
    200203 Manchester United
    200304 Arsenal
    200405 Chelsea
    200506 Chelsea
    200607 Manchester United
    200708 Manchester United
    200809 Manchester United

    So what chance for teams other than MANU, Chelski, Arse, and maybe Liv or MANcity? These are the kind of stats that make the EPL a poor example of an interesting competition except for the money wo/men of the major clubs.

  • Comment number 61.

    nd Cashley Cole? how much? Boswinga? how much? about 20 mil and 18 mil respectively.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I think not!

    Cole was simply brilliant last season and Bosingwa not too far behind.

    Using Johnson's fee as a base and considering Cole and Bosingwa are still quite young, you would be looking at 25mil and 21mil repectively.
    ---------

    so why are Chelsea looking at offloading Boswinga and why did they put a bid in for Johnson 4 times as much as they sold him for?
    don't forget Johnson had a brilliant season too. i'd also say he faired better for England than Cashley did too.

    i think not. i think not what? that's the fees that were paid.

  • Comment number 62.

    Is it just me or is anyone else getting really quite annoyed and concerned by the constant misspelling of one of the easiest words in the english language - LOSE.

    It's not LOOSE, or LOOSER or LOOSEING - it's LOSE. Or LOSER or LOSING. Please, people, it isn't that difficult a concept to grasp.

    As for transfers - I think Fergie is aiming for one big one - that of Karim Benzema, who he has admired from afar for quite a while now.

    Other than him, I cant imagine we'll go crazy spending ridiculous money on a Ribery or Villa. If we can secure Benzema for something around £25-30m I think we'll be happy - plus the addition of Valencia from Wigan.

    Personally I agree with a couple of the other posters on here - a decent defensive/ball-winning midfielder is an absolute MUST. Only problem is that there really aren't that many top-class players in that position that I can think of being able to do a job for United.

    Can anyone think of any?

  • Comment number 63.

    Good article not much info on who else arsenal are going to sign if adebayor leaves

  • Comment number 64.

    diavolorosso66

    as far as i kno he is adored at CSKA, and is very highly regarded back home. his goal scoring record is decent.. worthy of a second look (at CSKA his record is 181 appearances and 92 goals, well into the 1:2 ratio, internationally his record is poorer, but i dont actually care about his international record, it wouldnt benefit liverpool whatsoever)

  • Comment number 65.

    To Chakdey01...the problem with managers saving their transfer funds for January is that it might be too late for some of them by then. In the current climate they could already have lost their job. It would take a strong, secure and confident manager to feel he can keep his powder dry until then.

  • Comment number 66.

    LawBestCharlton

    i agree. that's why i'd rather see Mash stay if Liverpool are to "loose" someone.

    i think Ronaldo papered over some of the cracks in Uniteds team in that they haven't had a good ball winner since Keane. Carrick does a job but i think alic will look at that position now and try and get an out and out defensive midfielder. Hargreaves fits that bill but his injuries are a real concern.

  • Comment number 67.

    With Ronaldo and Tevez gone, the Valencia signing (a winger who has scored very few goals) appears to me to make the job of Man Utds strikers even harder than before.

    Are Utd expecting Berbatov and Rooney to score an extra 10 goals each to make up for the loss of Ronald and Tevez? I just can't see it.

  • Comment number 68.

    The fee for Glen Johnson is very high but may end up looking like a bargain. Over the last couple of years Johnson have performed superbly in a mid -> lower placed team plus he has become an England regular.

    If he can step up and give the same/better level of performance on the higher stage then i expect Liverpool fans will think he was worth every penny.

  • Comment number 69.

    so why are Chelsea looking at offloading Boswinga and why did they put a bid in for Johnson 4 times as much as they sold him for?
    don't forget Johnson had a brilliant season too. i'd also say he faired better for England than Cashley did too.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    None of the above can be proven at this stage other than just newspaper talk. But if true re Bosingwa, I can only imagine it as part of Chelsea trying to get Ribery. Either way it would be down to Bayern wanting him rather than Chelsea wanting him to go.

    Do you really think Johnson could have played left back agst Messi in the Nou Camp, when he struggled to play RB agst Kazakhstan at Wembley

    As for comparing Johnson to Cole, well that's just laughable!

  • Comment number 70.

    There are some very interesting points being raised here. Firstly, it just goes to show that money talks doesnt it. I mean £80 million for Ronaldo is great business but terrible news for other clubs. I agree with a comment earlier, real football naous now really lives outside the top 4 and for sure in the Championship success's or even lower.

    As for Tevez and his work rate making him a fans favourite. Well I agree he is replacable, and I dont think he will be missed by UTD too much, especially as we all know SAF will have replacements lined up aplenty.
    However, the reason Tevez was so well liked was that he gave 100% effort every game, no matter how frustrated the bench warming was. How many players chase every ball, every cause? This is why he is so well liked. I would only compare Rooney or Gerrard with this kind of effort and desire. And lets be honest, as a fan, if you are winning or losing, so long as players put in the effort we expect we will at least go home happy the players tried.

    I think the money starts to ruin this, and players will play for money, not for the fans more and more. I know this is contradictory potentially in Tevez's case if he does go to City, becasue I dont see him being a regular starter there either due to the volume of signings they are making, or potentially will make.

    As a fan, a player has talent which is a gift, effort has to be given by the player. In Tevez, you will get spades of effort. Alot of players should watch and learn.

  • Comment number 71.

    Should have said in Kazakhstan sorry1

  • Comment number 72.

    None of the above can be proven at this stage other than just newspaper talk. But if true re Bosingwa, I can only imagine it as part of Chelsea trying to get Ribery. Either way it would be down to Bayern wanting him rather than Chelsea wanting him to go.

    Do you really think Johnson could have played left back agst Messi in the Nou Camp, when he struggled to play RB agst Kazakhstan at Wembley

    As for comparing Johnson to Cole, well that's just laughable!
    ----------------

    why would Johnson have played left back? he is a right back. we may as well get Torres to mark Messi the next time they meet. interestingly though Arbeloa did mark Messi out of the game in the Camp Nou when they played. the thing is with us playing 2 defence minded midfielders, we need good pace and an attacking option on the right. Kuyt did very well last season with goals and assists, but he lacks pace and the ability to bat a player. Johnson can do that. he will provide a good over lap, where as Arbeloa is a good defender that sometimes goes forward.

    and why not compare Johnson and Cole? Cole is 4 or 5 years older and Johnson is showing just as much promise as Cole did at the same age. you can say it's laughable, but why? it's a pointless comment.

  • Comment number 73.

    The only way Everton unfortunatley can give themselves a leg up is to sell Lescott for a price which would make peope laugh. Anything around 25m would be acceptable.

    Why sell and get nothing from the deal, it's no surprise that Yobo signed a fresh deal on the back of the specualtion, having lost his place and righlty so (he still is impetuous and makes rash tackles), he knows the place is his.

    Everton still need a fit, mid twenties striker and a a pair of wingers to create chances against teams who amazingly are beginning to shut up shop against us!!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Ronaldo's brilliance will be missed, but his time at Old Trafford was over and £80m is adequate compensation for his absence, especially with Wayne Rooney primed for a return to a more central attacking role...................................................

    I hope this is not based on the fact that he scored goals for England against Belarus and Andorra cos these are team equivalent to league 2 teams in England.. I like the way we all hype this dude but he has never really met our expectation has he?.. To say he has the potential is hardly a leap across the intelectual abyss is it? but has he fufilled it before? I don't think so... he is not a goal sscorer but to be fair to him he works hard for the team and that's not what we require of him...

  • Comment number 75.

    Ronaldo and Kaka aren't worth the 5 goals that we scored against them in the CL last season. Even with Arbeloa possibly joining them in defence Real Madrid have a long way to go to even get to the semi-finals of the CL next season never mind winning anything. However we now have Chelsea, Real and Man City all competing to buy success. The manager at Chelsea is the only one who hasn't managed in the respective league so far so it will be interesting to see which one of them is the most successful. If I was a Chelsea fan I would be gutted that so many players from Milan who have been rubbish in Europe for 2 seasons now and need to retire half of their squad, are being linked with the Bridge. I had hoped that Italian internationals had realised that the EPL is no longer somewhere to come and boost your pension pot. I wonder if Ancelotti even has a scouting network?? I would like Liverpool to buy the Hulk from Porto and that's it.

  • Comment number 76.

    Expecting Man United, Tottenham and Chelsea especially to get busier, while Man City continue building towards a 1-1-8 formation.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    lol!!

  • Comment number 77.

    #43

    Small t/o, didn't you mean 'diving force' not 'driving force?'

  • Comment number 78.

    If, as expected, Tevez signs for City, he will be swapping stability and a team structure put together over 20+ years for the madhouse that is Eastlands. Despite all the signings made last summer and in the January transfer window, City still looked like a team going nowhere fast. The recent additions, with more to come, will only accentuate this problem. Hughes looks out of his depth, as would most managers trying to integrate a bunch of mercenaries, and I would guess that he will be out on his ear before October.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am offended when people think LOOSE should be spelled as LOSE! The Premiership is probably going to be won by United or Chelsea. Toure and Lescott is not a good central defence. And my team, Liverpool, will be short again.

  • Comment number 80.

    Ging-Gang-Gooley, with regard to anything that comes out of KENWRIGHT's mouth, you'd be best advised to completely IGNORE it
    A few Bullsh1t Billy classics:
    "The Fortress cheque will be in the bank tommorow morning"
    "I wouldn't sell Rooney for £50 million"
    "The search for investment goes on 24/7"
    In regard to transfers: "Definitely, maybe"

  • Comment number 81.

    The problem with UTD is that while they now have ?80m to play with the club's new policy of not spending big on players over ?30m cuts them off from a lot of talent. Add to that the bigger problem that anyone UTD want Real Madrid want too.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    you hit the nail on the head there IMO

  • Comment number 82.

    united are now in a difficult position because every club knows they haave an £80 million cheque burning a hole in their pockets and the loss of ronaldo and tevez makes them (on paper at least) look a weaker team. playing with great players is an atraction for other great players. yes, some are greedy but the majority of top players already possess fabulous wealth and look for success rather than more money. why would a player go to a team that has let two of its stars go to rivals? there is also the looming spectre of fergies retirement.
    i am sure fergie will spring a surprise or two, he is not stupid.
    the league will be very intresting next year- i cant wait!

  • Comment number 83.

    2. Spot on with your comments about too much money and not enough top quality players available.

    21. You want Richards/Johnson and or Jo PLUS cash for Lescott.Bloody hell mate you dont want much do you? I didn't realise Lescott was that good.I would be very very surprised if Hughes let Richards or Johnson go but he clearly doesn't want Jo so maybe him plus 10m.
    Personally I think Moyes will want all cash but we'll see.

    22. The RSC transfer has divided opinion amongst City fans but the big question is will he stay injury free.If he does I maintain he will do a good job but his signing is a calculated risk.

    24. Hughes has gone on record as saying that he will not allow players to leave unless he has 'new' players in the squad.
    Once the incomings are sorted expect to see a lot of players being moved out.

    31. You are of course correct about the 'sugar daddy' owners but the reality is that this type of owner is here to stay.I find it ironic that the criticism from other clubs fans are in fact the ones who would like nothing better for they themselves to be taken over by the same type of owner.After all Mr Kenwright at Everton has been touting them round for the last 2 years without any joy (so far).
    Never say never .... it might be your club next.

    39. The owners again have gone on record as stating they want a top 6 finish and the squad City are building would be capable of that but with good TEAMS like Everton in the way its no foregone conclusion.Of course if it goes pear shaped early in the season our to date excellent new owners may change it but so far so good.
    Incidentally Phil our owners actually have a plan so for a City fan that takes a bit of getting used to!




  • Comment number 84.

    You stated SAF made a 'decision not to sign Tevez' but as I understand it the situation was actually that UTD offered to buy Tevez but he rejected the offer and so UTD were not in the driving seat on this one. However I agree it is not something UTD will eventually regret as the price was hugely over inflated and he is not the talent he thinks he is.

    SAF must however move to replace the players we have lost, neither of which the club wanted to lose although I am personally am glad to see the back of super brat and egotist Ronaldo as his attitude was so disrespectful to the club.

    Benzema and Aguero would be good options for the first team but Valencia will do nothing but add to our squad and is a signing I'd prefer us not to make.

  • Comment number 85.

    62. At 11:45am on 30 Jun 2009, LawBestCharlton wrote:
    Is it just me or is anyone else getting really quite annoyed and concerned by the constant misspelling of one of the easiest words in the english language - LOSE.

    It's not LOOSE, or LOOSER or LOOSEING - it's LOSE. Or LOSER or LOSING. Please, people, it isn't that difficult a concept to grasp.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    I dont make that mistake, but does it matter!! your always moaning!!

  • Comment number 86.

    I enjoyed reading the article, and can add some mutterings I have heard to it. Firstly, Kyle Naughton is unlikely to end up at Villa as their priorities are a Centre back and Midfielder. I have heard that they are targeting Mark Beevers of Sheffield Wednesday, or possibly a return for Gary Cahill. For the midfield, I have also seen a lot of links to Joao Moutinho or more likely Mark Noble, Fabian Delph or Adam Lallana from Southampton. Blackburn are in the market for a striker - Van Nistelrooy has been linked, but IMO Tuncay is the most likely. Big Sam also apparently will take a chance on Ishmel Demontagnac, who is a free agent. Also, a number of players will leave Newcastle, following their relegation. I've heard Steven Taylor linked to Man City, Everton (If Lescott goes) and Villa. Joey Barton is another player who could turn up at Blackburn, and Obafemi Martins, has, apparently, been contacted by Man City. Finally, Burnley are thought to be mainly targeting young English players from beneath the premier league, because these players can help them come up again should they be relegated. Names mentioned include Albert Adomah, Andy King, Marcus Tudgay, Aaron McLean, Jermaine Beckford, Matt Killgallon and Simeon Jackson.
    Tell me what you think of these...

  • Comment number 87.

    Meh

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    re: 22. ToonBoy15

    I agree with you somewhat that £18m for Johnson was perhaps over the odds - Benitez said as much himself.

    However, if I am not mistaken, Benitez bought him to provide some width from the full-back position. Kuyt provides something more to the team, whatever people think, so replacing Arbeloa was always going to come first. Johnson is also one of the best attacking full-backs in England, so he will provide extra width, which we were sorely lacking against lesser teams, such as Stoke home and away, when the full backs were reluctant to get forward. Also the actual fee was about £12m, as Liverpool were still owed about £7m from the Crouch transfer, which they have now waived.

    Finally, Johnson is English and that immediately raises his fee by a few million.

    I do think that Liverpool need another winger, such as Silva, though I feel he may be slightly lightweight for the Premier League. Perhaps someone like Mati Fernandez, I've heard he's good.
    We also need a back-up for Torres, but if we are going to continue to play the 4-2-3-1 which has served us so well recently, then the back-up should be reasonably cheap. This will avoid the problem Benitez got himself into with Robbie Keane not fitting into his team and being a huge waste of cash.

  • Comment number 90.

    Who ever it was who said that money is undermining English Premier League football is so right. The Championship and SPL are much better viewing in terms of passion and often excitment as well! Don't get me wrong the EPL is great but it is no wonder that crowds in the Championship are so much better than established premier league sides - whose fans only really get pysched for derbies or head to head six pointers! Norwich's fans were the loadest when they came up, Stoke's fans are awsomne, and Burnley's who are soon to grace the famous stadiums of England are lively aswell.
    The downfall of so many relegated premiership clubs suggests that the financial setup and polarisation of the EPL is detrimental to English football as a whole. Some trickle down effect is occuring but the difference in wealth is staggering.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Wolves fan i know that we're not going to make any big money/name signings and in some ways i'm glad about that as the transfer fees for players these days is ridiculous and most of it generated by media hype causing clubs to pay over inflated prices for mediocre players.

    It appears that it's now the smaller clubs that discover the unknown talent to nurture into the stars of the future as the larger clubs go for big name signings to protect from: shock! Horror! 'only winning ONE trophy that year or even worse 'finishing second'

    i'm very happy with the 3 new players we have so far and look forward to us unveiling more although I would be even happier if Mick mcCarthy announced the signing of Marcus Berg sometime soon.

  • Comment number 92.

    85 - JAGOMUFC

    Does it matter? No, probably not. People make spelling mistakes, it's not a big deal at all. It's just something that bothers me for some reason!

    Anyway, what do you mean I'm always moaning? I don't post very often, and I've never made this point before. So how can you say that? Unless you know me personally, of course...

  • Comment number 93.

    To LewisSheffield10...thanks for your input there. We're open to all transfer tittle-tattle here as well as your thoughts on the business likely to be done as a whole, but one rule applies...keep it believable and preferably based in fact or information. We can strike the wild ones from the record with the push of a button.

    Sheffield United's Kyle Naughton does appear to be a hot property. Have Everton signalled their intentions by not offering Lars Jacobsen a deal to keep him away from Blackburn?

    What do Spurs and Chelsea fans reckon to my mystery colleague's hot tip that Harry Redknapp will try to sign Joe Cole? I reckon not, but rest assured he is a man in the know.

  • Comment number 94.

    and why not compare Johnson and Cole? Cole is 4 or 5 years older and Johnson is showing just as much promise as Cole did at the same age. you can say it's laughable, but why? it's a pointless comment.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fair point, but what I am trying to emphasise is that A.Cole is quite some distance better than Johnson.

    Cole has proven on every occasion that he has an answer against the best attacking wingers in world football, and as yet, despite Johnson undoubted attacking abilities, he has never shown great defensive ability, quite the opposite in fact!

    Bosingwa playing at LB is relevant because it again shows that he has the defensive ability to play well, even out of position, against a player of the calibre of Messi and do a job on him. Sorry, but I would not have fancied Johnson to be able to do the same and that is why the valuation seems very high for him.

    It does not really matter though, if he improves your team enough that it proves the difference between you finishing 2nd or 1st then you will be happy.

  • Comment number 95.

    I hope Chelsea can avoid the big name signing mania of Real Madrid. We have enough first hand experience to understand that Ronaldo is not worth 80m, not when he routinely disappears or become too selfish on the big occasions, and not when a half fit Ashley Cole can keep him out of the game.
    A youngish striker would be a good addtition. If Di Santo is not cutting it then we need to let the chap go and bring in someone, otherwise its time we started using him.
    The midfield needs a tweak. Right now it is the most powerful in the world. But will Pirlo really bring what is lacking? I'm not so sure. He has a bit of power and a bit of finesse, so why go for him if we want something slightly different? Or we might just want to keep it the way it is.

    3 signings for moderate amount would do.

  • Comment number 96.

    Phil........

    Re Joe Cole---------

    Under Hiddink, the way Chelsea were playing and their preferred formation, even if Joe Cole had been fit, it is difficult to see where he would have been able to play, other than understudy to either Anelka or Malouda.

    We don't know how Ancelotti plans to set up Chelsea, but either way I would say this is a big season for Joe Cole and it could be his last for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 97.

    62. At 11:45am on 30 Jun 2009, LawBestCharlton wrote:
    Only problem is that there really aren't that many top-class players in that position that I can think of being able to do a job for United.

    Can anyone think of any?

    ==========================================================
    De Rossi (Roma) would be a good call if reports are true regarding Roma's financial issues. Whether he would come to Old Trafford is another matter.

  • Comment number 98.

    Fair point, but what I am trying to emphasise is that A.Cole is quite some distance better than Johnson.

    Cole has proven on every occasion that he has an answer against the best attacking wingers in world football, and as yet, despite Johnson undoubted attacking abilities, he has never shown great defensive ability, quite the opposite in fact!

    Bosingwa playing at LB is relevant because it again shows that he has the defensive ability to play well, even out of position, against a player of the calibre of Messi and do a job on him. Sorry, but I would not have fancied Johnson to be able to do the same and that is why the valuation seems very high for him.

    It does not really matter though, if he improves your team enough that it proves the difference between you finishing 2nd or 1st then you will be happy.
    ----------

    i see what you're saying but i'd also argue that if any one player has been told to just mark someone, Messi or whoever, and leave their usual duties, then surely at this level anyone could play out of position just to do that job. including Johnson.

    one thing Johnson had against him was being the first signing of the RA era but then being put on the bench a lot. i had to look it up but he had something like 40 games for Chelsea in his first 4/5 seasons. that would put any promising player back a step. but look how he got on at Pompey. first season was a little slow but then took the step up and not only is he a great attacking option on the right, but also his defensive side has improved.
    one final thing in favour for him is that Rafa is very good at developing the defensive side of a player. look at how well Arbeloa has developed and gone from 2.6 mil to 8(not sure it will be that much) player.

    we have to consider the current transfer climate, plus him being English to se why he was priced as high as he was. but as you say, if he helps us take that step from 2nd to 1st, he will be the best business of the summer.

  • Comment number 99.

    As far as i can see, Ronaldo leaving was always on the cards and we had a long time to sign up Tevez permanantly and didn't take it up. My main worry though is a central midfielder. I just cant see Scholesy and Anderson doing it for much longer. A hard tackling midfielder like De Rossi from Roma would be a quality signing. Hes a top player at a club not really challenging for honours at the moment. thers plenty of good quality in the Italian League and apart from Kaka Pirlo and Pato the main interest seems to be in the Spanish or English League! Any thoughts?

  • Comment number 100.

    @pineapplecraze. Have you seen the front page of the football section on here this morning? The top story is about your new record signing for £6.5million. Thats a pretty big money signing if you ask me.

 

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