Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou continues his guest coverage of the Premier League rumour mill. News and gossip from Bolton, Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton and Fenerbahce, Derby and Portsmouth are also among clubs featuring in the newspaper rumour market today.
Manchester United are set to launch a fresh bid for Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov (The Times). So the vultures are circling over White Hart Lane, keen to pounce and capture star players such as the Bulgarian.
Sir Alex is a big admirer of the talented hitman, who took the Premier League by storm last term. Their advances had been ignored in the past, but what now? United need strikers but they seem more in need of a quick fix and nothing more; someone to fill the injury void created by the loss of crocked trio Wayne Rooney, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Louis Saha. Their absence has led to such extremes as John Oâ€™Shea being drafted in as makeshift striker on occasion this season.
Meanwhile, The Times is linking Spurs with Bolton‘s El Hadji-Diouf. Now I know things seem bad at White Hart Lane right now, but surely it hasnâ€™t come to this. The troublesome striker is not just a liability off the pitch but none too successful on it, either. He has a strike rate that even Oâ€™Shea could muster, given time – just 43 goals in over 250 outings. Apart from anything else, Sammy Lee is asking Â£10m plus for the Senegalese international, a price mistakenly met by Liverpool five years ago and unlikely to repeated any time soon.
The Sun reports that Manchester United have made an inquiry about Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins – better than Diouf, but still surely not what is needed at Old Trafford. Sir Alex is also ready to up his bid for want-away Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka (Daily Star), again as a short-term solution. What exactly would Fergie do when Rooney is fit and he has to choose from Saha, Carlos Tevez, Solskjaer and one other, inevitably frustrating any player who is not happy to be a replacement for an injury to either of the top two choices.
Carlo Cudicini wants to leave Chelsea by the end of the month – but has missed out on the chance to join Manchester City (Daily Mirror). Things are not helped as the keeper has been told he cannot leave Stamford Bridge as he is needed as Petr Cech’s understudy (The Sun). However, Arsenal need Chelseaâ€™s No.2 to replace fumbling Jens Lehmann (Daily Mail). Youâ€™ve got to feel sorry for 33-year-old Cudicini, who at this stage of his career needs to be more than bench-warming.
Will Chelsea let him go to Arsenal? The answer to that is quite frankly, no. Newcastle are also keen (tribalfootball.com), but as reported previously, this would probably end with Carlo being second choice once again. Arsenal fans are surely growing increasingly concerned at Lehmann’s bouts of lunacy andÂ Milan-born Cudicini would be a perfect figure to move in before undoubtedly Lukasz Fabianski steps into the breach.
West Ham are closing in on Fenerbahce midfielder Stephen Appiah. The Daily Mail says the Hammers are set to land the Ghana international sometime before the transfer window snaps shut. Class act Appiah, creative and assured, is a world-class talent and surely the kind of player who would thrive in the Premier League and assist West Hamâ€™s push to avoid another relegation battle.
Under-fire ref Rob Styles is on the board of a firm which paved the driveway of Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich (various). Well, well, that will get the conspiracy theorists talking and Liverpool fans enraged. I doubt very much this is anything more than a coincidence, however if you hear that Jose has suddenly decided to put in an order for a new patio, then someone call the police!
Derby boss Billy Davies is ready to make a shock move for Portsmouth striker David Nugent (Daily Mirror). Well, thatâ€™s not going to happen! IfÂ Everton decided to make a bid, then who knows.