The rumour mill is churning at full tilt again. This bulletin of rubbish (sorry, news) from the tabloid hacks also features Manchester United, Derby County, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Everton and Rangers.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez’s spending plans depend greatly on what he can sell, according to most reports. However, that hasn’t stopped talk of a myriad of players heading for Anfield. The latest are as follows:
Tyrone Mears, Derby’s impressive full-back, has attracted the interest of Benitez even though the Rams are defensively the worst in the Premier League. The attack-minded 24-year-old has been one of the few highlights for the Pride Park outfit and apparently a fee of around £4m would secure his signature (The People).
Next we have the age-old debate about Javier Mascherano, a player who has greatly impressed me since he left West Ham and headed north. Apparently it will take £17m to make the Argentinian’s move to Liverpool permanent and again the money may not be readily available from Messrs Gillett and Hicks. So it seems that Xabi Alonso is to leave to make funds available to the club. They expect to get around the £12m mark for the Spanish midfield wizard, who looks certain to head to Atletico Madrid, although Barcelona are also said to be considering a swoop.
Third and finally, we have the reported swap deal that may be in place which would take Peter Crouch to Tottenham and Jermain Defoe in the opposite direction (various). It’s an interesting exchange but unlikely to occur, mainly because it would surely lead to Defoe again being bench bound. However, the speedy striker may feel he has more hope of breaking into the Reds team than he has had at White Hart Lane. One thing is for sure: Benitez is going to have to use his bargaining nous to make the best use of his assets as he attempts to make up ground on the league leaders.
Mikel Arteta was awesome against Sunderland, and has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League. Everton’s biggest problem will be how to keep hold of the former Rangers player. Now it appears Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is contemplating a move for the assist machine (various).
Consistently overlooked by the Spanish national side, 25-year-old Arteta might feel that the best way to sneak into the squad would be to be playing with the big boys of the Premier League. No offence to Everton but if he was plying his trade at the Emirates he may stand a better chance of making it to Euro 2008.
Even though Arteta only signed a long-term deal in the summer, it could be that David Moyes wouldn’t stand in the way should Arsenal come in for the creative midfielder and figures of around £10 to £12m have been mentioned.
Back to Defoe and another potential swap deal in the offing, this time involving Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson, who is said to be a big fan (The People) and this has led to Tottenham considering potential makeweights in a swap deal. Top of that list is said to be versatile defender Mikael Silvestre, who is currently injured.
Darren Fletcher is another on Ramos’s list but, according to some sources, the player most likely to come to White Hart Lane is Michael Carrick, who is having an average season at Old Trafford and would very much consider a move back to London.
When it comes to swap deals, it is always interesting to consider who deserves the extra cash incentive. In this one, it would make sense for Spurs to sweeten the arrangement with a few million being sent to United, especially given that they forked out £18m+ for the Wallsend lad 18 months ago. United have a glut of midfielders right now and could afford to lose one in their pursuit of more firepower, especially given the toothless display that Louis Saha and Carlos Tevez gave against a struggling Bolton side.
Another day and another team are after Rangers impressive full-back Alan Hutton – and that’s West Ham (various). They join an ever-growing list of teams vying for the Scottish international’s signature, which includes Man United, Liverpool and Spurs. My money is on the young talent remaining at Ibrox, where he will get first-team football and ever-expanding experience of Champions League football. Why would he want to leave?