Arsenal track Alonso, Toure, Mbia, Turan, Inler & Bullard

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I do not think there will be any January transfers. I am happy with what I have got. We are probably going to bring back a couple of young players who have been on loan. That may just give us extra protection. We took 23 players to Japan and they are very substantial players. I would be happy to play any one of them… If we get within a point or two of the leaders by New Year’s Day then we are in with a chance. The second half of the season is the most important because if you lose a game it means something, particularly when you get to March and April.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.

Runner-up: “When you miss a world-class player it will always be a problem but we have covered really well. It speaks ­volumes for the squad that they have been able to stay at the top with Fernando being unavailable for lengthy periods. But we are always optimistic here and our aim is to win things and be top. We are not surprised by the position we are in.” – Sammy Lee.

Today’s overview: Merry Christmas! With most news outlets shutting down for Christmas Day, there are slim pickings of new news into today’s round-up. That has left the majority of the stories dealing with potential transfers in the January sales, beginning with Arsenal’s need to plug the hole left by Fabregas’ injury.

According to Cameron Macphail, Arsene Wenger is set to renew his interest in Xabi Alonso while keeping his eye on several other midfield targets. “Should Liverpool wish to sell, the potential transfer price may be lowered as Alonso would be cup-tied in Europe having played in the Champions League. Other Arsenal targets include Yaya Toure, the Barcelona midfielder, Juventus youngster Sebastian Giovinco and Stephane Mbia, of Rennes and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato.” The Gunners’ likely spending spree is further analysed by John Ley, who lists a hosts of potential targets including Goekhan Inler, Arda Turan, Yaya Toure, Scott Parker and Mark Noble. Peter Carline also offers his two cents, adding Jimmy Bullard’s name to the list of potential purchases in the transfer window.

The headline grabbing transfer rumour of the day sees the Daily Mail pick up on a story released in Marca yesterday, claiming Real Madrid’s “hierarchy are working on a deal to prise” Ashley Young from Aston Villa knowing that “any deal will cost in excess of £25million and Real could also struggle to convince Young to quit Villa Park.”

On Chelsea’s effort to recruit new players, the Daily Mail report that due to a limited amount of funds “Scolari may have to settle for a short-term deal for unwanted Inter Milan striker Adriano.”

Tottenham are also looking to bring in fresh faces, but while the Daily Mail claim that the Lilywhites “have reportedly had a £6 million bid for striker Craig Bellamy turned down by West Ham,” in a separate article in the Mail a replacement target has already been lined up as “Fernando Cavenaghi is considering his future at the Ligue 1 club Bordeaux after being used as a bit-part player in Europe this season.”

The Telegraph’s Steve Wilson compiles a list of the 50 top transfer targets for Premier League clubs this January.

Lastly, Scott Murray casts his festive eye over the six best holiday sporting events ever including the story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies team who attracted 67,000 to Goodison Park on Boxing Day 1920.