So here we go…. and before the transfer window has even opened clubs have been making moves to strengthen their squads in preparation for the new season. Monaco (as expected) have celebrated their return to the French top tier by financing a large scale revolution to make them instant heavyweights alongside PSG in Ligue 1.
Bayern Munich have already wrapped up the signing of Gotze (who had a very well timed injury for the Champions League final) and Barcelona have concluded the least interesting transfer saga in years by sealing the signature of Neymar ahead of arch rivals Real Madrid.
In Blighty – Fulham have made a good start by completing the transfers of Derek Boateng and Fernando Amorebieta whilst Liverpool have confirmed that Kolo Toure will join them from Manchester City after the expiration of his contract. Basically – it’s all kicked off.
And whilst players cannot officially move clubs until the transfer window opens – there is nothing to stop clubs putting moves into place (as we have already seen). Hundreds of moves are touted on a daily basis – but only a small number of them actually come to fruition – but which rumours are based on truth? And which ones are based on a journalist scribbling frantically on the toilet whilst trying to meet a deadline?
Let’s take a look at some of the rumours from the last week…
Now don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a new rumour. But over the last week or so it has gathered some pace as journalists now have less actual football to write about. So David Villa, once strongly linked with Arsenal could now actually end up moving to N17 instead. Now there must be some interest from Spurs (who are widely expected to improve their forward line this summer) and a bit from Villa (who hasn’t shot the story down) but my question about the transfer actually lies in the Villa camp…. would he be happy sacrificing Champions League football to move?
My gut feeling – is that this transfer could well happen – but I don’t think it will be early in the window. It could even be right at the very end to allow for Villa to weigh up all of his options.
Wenger caused controversy this week when he was asked about Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier and admitted that Arsenal had been following him. The internet erupted with rumours that Arsenal were going to make a move for him and that a potential swap deal could be on the cards with Gervinho (actually – take that bit back – that’s just my dream).
So the internet moved apace with noise of an Arsenal move for him and in the midst of all of the noise most outlets seem to miss the response from Lyon’s president who said that he valued Grenier at the same price as Gotze (perhaps Lyon’s president has forgotten that Grenier is in the last year of his contract?)
Grenier has apparently made a promise to Lyon though that because they qualified for the Champions League – he will stay for a year. Logistically though - Lyon are having a hard time financially (understatement) – so if an offer came in from a club financed by oil (price driven up by cleverly timed Lyon president comments) the chances are that they would take it. But that means a figure much higher than the £8m being mentioned by the press and probably closer to the £18m mark (at a guess).
On Tuesday afternoon though, talk emerged that Liverpool were rumoured to have made a firm offer for Grenier. Rumours that happened to be remarkably sourceless….
It wouldn’t surprise me if Wenger is in contact with Lyon – but not about Grenier - actually about Gonalons (a rather typical Wenger smokescreen). As far as Liverpool are concerned though - they have more pressing ways to spend the reported £13m mentioned in the article than to take a punt on a French player who has only just been called up to the senior squad.
This is a really quick rumour to take apart. Not only do Arsenal (apparently) have first option on Fabregas – but it’s also worth having a look at this quote from Fabregas before he left:
“Apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. I will definitely be going back (to Arsenal) whenever I have time to watch games and to see the guys… and if there is one place to go back to (to play), it is Arsenal for sure.”
Basically, it’s not happening.
Darren Bent wants out of Villa due to a lack of playing time. Villa want him off the wage bill and are prepared to make a loss on him. Fulham need quality players and have already started the window well……Basically – it makes a lot of sense. But I would be very surprised if Fulham get him for the £4m fee being mentioned – and if Villa do accept an offer of that size - then I would expect there to be a queue of clubs after his signature including a couple of the bigger clubs willing to take a risk….
Money talks. Levy will have an acceptable figure in his head for selling Bale. Real Madrid will know that figure and how Levy works from dealing with him last year with Modric. Bale won’t rock the boat. So if that figure is met, Bale will be off. If it isn’t then Spurs will get another season out of him.
Yeah. That’s going to happen. ;)
image: © Ronnie Macdonald