Sportingo’s Mark Apostolou brings us his daily catch of rumours.
More rumours, gossip and perhaps just a bit of REAL news. The bulletin from the newspapers also features Aston Villa, Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Newcastle and Rangers.
Aston Villa’s impressive young striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has been linked with a £15m move to Arsenal (various), but has apparently come out and committed himself to his hometown club, which is commendable. But at the same time he could change his mind.
Gabby is a class act and has come on leaps and bounds in recent months; his speed and tenacity has brought him to the attention of the big boys, in much the same way as his team mate Ashley Young has done.
At 21, and with three years of top-level experience already under his belt, the future looks rosy for the Erdington boy. And whether Villa fans like it or not, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to keep hold of some of their rising stars. It’s an inevitable offshoot of their own success in bringing such players to the fore.
Spurs boss Juande Ramos is a busy man – at least he is if you believe everything you read, which fortunately most of us don’t. Anyway, he has been linked with a barrage of names both big and bigger. Here are the latest:
First up Barcelona’s long-serving midfielder Xavi is apparently on the Tottenham radar (Daily Mail), a move we are told could happen as early as January. The 27-year-old has plied his trade at the Nou Camp for almost a decade now and a fee of £12m has been ‘made-up’ by some sources. The deal will not happen, simple as that!
Secondly, we have Julio ‘The Beast’ Baptista, who has said that he cares little about the hatred he could inspire by moving to north London’s other club following his stint at the Emirates last season (The Sun). This move could well happen; it’s certainly more likely than Xavi, though the fee could be the sticking point – plus the fact that the Brazilian is woefully inconsistent.
Third, but certainly not finally, we have Joao Moutinho, the Sporting Lisbon creative midfielder, who has impressed a host of clubs – most recently when England’s Under-21 side took on their Portuguese counterparts. Spurs and Man United are said to be the most likely to sign the 21-year-old club captain. This Tottenham move is the most likely in my mind, and could well be the most useful addition to the White Hart Lane ranks. Moutinho is used primarily as an attacking source behind the strikers, a role that could do wonders for a side who have struggled to create chances for their myriad of striking partners.
Liverpool are being linked with Lyon duo Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema (various). This pair have been touted as potential signings for almost every side in the Champions League. A combined fee of £40m has been mentioned, but in my opinion this rumour can be firmly placed in the ‘not likely to happen’ box.
Both are talented young strikers, but I can’t see them being Rafa’s cup of tea . Anyway, apparently the Anfield purse strings haven’t been released and any potential signing is said to depend on offloading players first.
West Ham are looking to beef up their backline by considering the purchase of Atalanta defender Morris Carrozzieri (Gazzetta dello Sport). The much-travelled giant has a chequered past, most famously finding himself banned for providing information to prospective gamblers – an offence that led to him being banned for two months. That was a year ago now, but should he start scoring own goals on a regular basis, in the style of Frank Sinclair and Sami Hyypia, then Alan Curbishley should offload him! But seriously, Carrozzieri has helped to raise the average Serie A side into the top six.
Newcastle have joined Man United in the race for the signature of Rangers defender Alan Hutton (Daily Record). Walter Smith is going to have a tough time keeping the young talent at Ibrox, but I think it would make a lot more sense for the full-back to stay put as the Glasgow giants are doing Scottish football a great service in Europe.
If you’ve heard any interesting transfer news or gossip, feel free to share it with Sportingo readers. Leave your thoughts and comments below.