Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “At this moment, Van Persie is a very important player for United. He has scored 14 goals in the league and it’s clear he’s changed their situation. We wanted Van Persie because we wanted to improve our team. We were very close. But it did not happen and now we can do nothing. I know what decided it — but I won’t say. It was not money. We were very close.” – Roberto Mancini.
Runner-up: “I could not stay in Liverpool any longer. I was recognised too much and sometimes women would suddenly climb all over me. The paparazzi also took some getting used to. I don’t want to be a big star. “People in Manchester treat me with more respect.” – Marouane Fellaini.
January 1st, 2013: The Transfer Window Re-opens
Open for business! (Mail) The names most likely to attract the most interest are Arsenal’s hat-trick hero from the weekend, Theo Walcott who is out of contract in the summer, just like Chelsea’s match-winner from Sunday’s game against Everton, Frank Lampard. Liverpool have long been admirers of Walcott while a move abroad looks to be the most likely option for Lampard, unless of course he fancies helping his uncle Harry (Redknapp) out down the road at QPR. One transfer that should be concluded early on, is Daniel Sturridge’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool after Rafa Benitez revealed the striker had a medical on Merseyside last weekend… Clubs will also look overseas to try and snap up a bargain, and two of the biggest names in European football could be heading to the Premier League, with Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder and Barcelona striker David Villa both available for moves.
Manchester United Transfer Lies
Sir Alex Ferguson’s in for Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole (Star) Sir Alex Ferguson will offer Frank Lampard AND Ashley Cole the chance to join Manchester United when they are dumped by Chelsea… Both Lampard and Cole are out of contract at the end of June and Fergie believes the pair can make a huge impact on and off the pitch at United.
United anger Chilean fans by loaning striker Henriquez to Wigan (Mail) Manchester United have blocked Angelo Henriquez from representing Chile to allow him go to Wigan on loan. The striker had planned to play for his country in the South American Under-20 championships in Argentina next month but United are keen to see him stay in England. Henriquez, 18, has revealed United have ordered him to stay put in order to gain some Premier League experience.
Chelsea Transfer Lies
Chelsea close on Negredo (Sun) Chelsea are homing in on striker Alvaro Negredo. Hard-up Seville are looking to cash in on Spain’s Euro 2012 £14million-rated hitman, 27, and a deal could be struck in the next few days.
Still dreaming of the Blues: Demba Ba’s Chelsea move still on despite contract hitch (Mirror) Demba Ba’s agents expect talks with Chelsea to resume his week after a hitch in his move to Stamford Bridge. The Newcastle striker, who has already hit 13 goals this season, is wanted by the Blues but talks broke down yesterday over wages. Chelsea have offered Ba £70,000-a-week but his representatives see the amount as not much more than the money he is currently on at St James’ Park. Ba earns £35,000-a-week basic and £25,000-a-week for appearances. His people are unhappy that he was not offered any kind of bonus or appearance fee.
Chelsea and Demba Ba’s agents locked in £2m stand-off over move from Newcastle United (Telegraph) Demba Ba’s £7 million move to Chelsea has been held up over the club’s refusal to pay his agents the £2 million in fees they are demanding.
No brainer: Why signing Demba Ba could be the best business Chelsea have done for a while (Martin Lipton, Mirror) His performances this season – Saturday’s double at Arsenal took him to 13 in the Premier League – have under-lined the fact that Ba is a goalscorer, pure and simple. That is exactly what Chelsea need, especially with Torres have started every game this season – except the Capital One Cup clash with Manchester United for which he was wrongly suspended.
Newcastle’s Demba Ba has the skill but is dodgy knee a gamble too far? (Louise Taylor, Guardian) For a man with a chronic, degenerative knee condition Demba Ba remains exceedingly sprightly but the Newcastle United striker is full of contradictions. The Senegal international says very little in public yet has an apparent army of representatives who make it abundantly clear he rather fancies doubling his salary and playing Champions League football.
Manchester City Transfer Lies
No-go Balo (Sun) Mario Balotelli is staying at Manchester City — because club owner Sheikh Mansour is his No1 fan. The transfer window reopened this morning with AC Milan ready to make a bid for the Italian bad-boy. But boss Roberto Mancini said: “Sheikh Mansour likes Balotelli because he recognises the talent and he exports the name of City over the world. We need to realise Mario was signed as a major investment and this is not a club that throws its capital through the window. I think Mario will stay but the future depends mostly on him.”
Sinc can swim with Everton (Sun) David Moyes is eyeing up a six-month loan deal for Manchester City flop Scott Sinclair
Arsenal Transfer Lies
Walcott stay hint (Sun) Theo Walcott last night dropped the biggest hint yet that he is ready to sign a new Arsenal contract. The Gunners forward, 23, said: “I’m sure that something will be sorted very soon. I’ve always said I wanted to stay and I enjoy playing for this team. Now we will just see what happens.”
PSG gunning for hotshot Theo Walcott (Star) Paris Saint Germain will this week try to lure Theo Walcott to France… PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti has the next few months to try to persuade him to sign a pre-contract agreement with his team. Only overseas clubs can offer this to Walcott and the French giants are at the head of the queue.
Joh to go (Sun) Arsenal outcast Johan Djourou is wanted by German club Hannover. The Swiss centre-back, 25, has played just two League Cup games this season.
Arsenal step up pursuit of £5m-rated Shaw with talks to be held TODAY (Mail) If Arsene Wenger has anything to do with it, Luke Shaw will be Arsenal’s next Saint. Gunners officials will use New Year’s Day’s trip to St Mary’s to hold talks with Southampton in their attempts to land the 17-year-old left back. Arsenal will make an offer for Shaw this month and it is hoped Tuesday’s discussions will pave the way for the club to end their two-year quest to land the latest jewel to emerge from Southampton’s ultra-productive academy.
Shaw shapes up as the ‘new Bale’ (Independent) Shaw, 17, was singled out by Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, when asked ahead of this evening’s match what he thought of the outstanding output of the Southampton youth system, which also includes Gareth Bale of Tottenham and Wales. “It is exceptional what they have done,” Wenger said. “Three wingers and Luke Shaw…” With problems at left-back, where Kieran Gibbs has struggled to stay fit consistently, Wenger is certain to have watched plenty of DVDs of Shaw, as well as had him scouted several times. But the England Under-17 defender has also been linked with Chelsea, where Ashley Cole’s future is uncertain. It may seem fanciful to suggest that a player with only 10 Premier League appearances to his name could step into either team, but Shaw shows a maturity way beyond his years.
Liverpool Transfer Lies
Cough up if you want Villa! Bold Liverpool loan move rejected as Barca hold out for £16m (Mail) Liverpool have been rebuffed in a bold attempt to take Barcelona striker David Villa on loan. The 31-year-old is frustrated at the Nou Camp due to his lack of game time and is keen to come to England. However, Barcelona will not entertain the idea of letting the Spain international go out on loan and will only consider a bumper transfer offer to sell in this window.
Go Wes: Liverpool and Tottenham enter the race to sign Wesley Sneijder (Mirror) Liverpool and Spurs are leading the chase for Wesley Sneijder… Sneijder maintains he has not agreed a deal with any club but Milan are so keen to get the £200,000-a-week midfielder off their wage bill that they are willing to accept a cut-price £10million fee – a drop from the £14million they paid for him three years ago… Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is ready to pull the plug on Nuri Sahin’s loan stay at the Kop from Real Madrid.
Liverpool hope to seal loan deal for Paris St-Germain striker Kevin Gameiro but move for Thomas Ince stalls (Telegraph) Liverpool are pressing ahead with a loan bid for Paris St-Germain striker Kevin Gameiro, despite the imminent arrival of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea… The 25 year-old would be a versatile addition to the squad, able to play in a variety of forward roles. His age also fits the profile of the club’s American owners, who have made it clear they do not want to sanction expensive deals for players in their late twenties or thirties.
Tottenham Transfer Lies
Spurs planning £10m Wilfried Zaha raid (Star) Tottenham are ready to offer £10m for Crystal Palace whizz-kid Wilfried Zaha… Spurs are set to test the water with an offer of £5m up front with a further £5m in add-ons and hope a bigger overall package for Zaha will work in their favour.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs monitoring Wilfried Zaha (Guardian) Once United, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal confirm their interest Palace will try to secure a price in the region of £15m to £20m but in reality Zaha is expected to fetch £10m. Zaha has never played in the Premier League but has made more than 100 appearances in the Championship and has scored 12 times since making his debut in March 2010 as a substitute against Cardiff City.
Tottenham sell goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini to Los Angeles Galaxy (Guardian) The 39-year-old moved to White Hart Lane in 2009 but has found his opportunities limited due to the presence of Heurelho Gomes, Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham join race for Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby (Telegraph) Tottenham Hotspur are bidding to sign Schalke’s Lewis Holtby in the January transfer window. The attacking midfielder is also wanted by Liverpool and has already announced that he will leave the German club when his contract expires this season. Schalke are expected to try to keep Holtby, the captain of the German under-21 side, for the rest of the campaign even though he could then leave for free in the summer.
Other Premier League Transfer Lies
Saints But in for £5m Jack (Sun) Southampton are set to pip Liverpool and Everton to sign England keeper Jack Butland. Crisis-club Birmingham are resigned to a new Saints offer for 19-year-old Butland. The South Coast club came in with a £6million bid for Butland last summer.
Toffees could come unstuck in battle to keep Hitzlsperger as Eintracht Frankfurt line up bid (Mail) Eintracht Frankfurt want Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger. The 30-year-old Germany international is out of contract this month as he only signed a short-term deal after joining as a free agent.
Norwich in £3m raid for Murray (Sun) Norwich will offer £3million for Crystal Palace hotshot Glenn Murray.
Norwich target Palace hotshot Murray while keeping tabs on Arsenal’s Chamakh (Mail) Murray, who has scored 22 goals this season, is out of contract in the summer but Palace will not want to let their top scorer leave and will offer the ex-Brighton man a new deal to keep him at the club. Chris Hughton is also keen on Arsenal misfit Marouane Chamakh who is on West Ham’s target list but would struggle on wages.
Reading to bring in Sporting captain Carrico in January to shore up defence (Mail) Reading have pulled off a surprise coup with a £500,000 deal for Sporting Lisbon defender Daniel Carrico. The 24-year-old centre-back, who can also play defensive midfield, has been scouted by Manchester United, City and Chelsea over recent years.
Royals in bid to nab Joe Cole (Star) Reading are trying to hijack Harry Redknapp’s bid to sign Joe Cole… Rangers are set to offer Cole £30,000 a week, while Reading are prepared to go as high as £25,000. But Reading are willing to offer Cole a two-and-a-half-year deal, while Rangers have tabled one for only 18 months.
New Year’s Day Op-eds
My team of the season so far… and why I’ve picked more Stoke players than from City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal! (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) If you had told me at the start of the season, I would be picking a half-term team with more Stoke players than Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal, I would have asked for the smelling salts. Swansea too have two players, as do Manchester United. There are no Arsenal players in my XI. No Wayne Rooney. No Sergio Aguero, or David Silva. But my team has goals: Michu in midfield, Bale, Suarez and Robin van Persie in attacking positions and Michael Carrick to supply the passes. I have two attacking full-backs, including the excellent Leighton Baines. Imagine Baines, Bale and Mata lining up for a free-kick.
Strange as it seems, Suarez has become a model, modern hero (James Lawton, Independent) [Suarez] always plays as if the fate of the world depends on his next move. Even more than the relentless Steven Gerrard, he has become the heart and the dynamo of his team. How many times has he been encouraged to shrug his shoulders as if to say his task is hopeless? But how many times has he played on to the limit of his sometimes astonishing ability? On every occasion he has been asked. This meant, surely, that Liverpool’s American ownership would have been in desperate dereliction of their duty had they not moved to provide him and his manager, Brendan Rodgers, with the means to prosecute the huge task before them. Daniel Sturridge may not be a sure-fire filler of the vacancy, but if Suarez cannot inspire him to new levels of consistent performance, it is impossible to imagine who might.
What will happen in 2013? (Sun) Which young star is your player to watch in 2013? VENABLES: I AM going to go for Oscar. The Brazilian midfielder, 21, has made an excellent start for Chelsea since arriving from Internacional for £25million last summer — and I am expecting big things from him in the months ahead. REDKNAPP: TIKA MUSONDA at Chelsea. You probably haven’t heard of him yet but you will. He is a Belgian defender-come-midfielder who is about to turn 19. And I hear he has got loads of potential. Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany tells me Belgium have very high hopes for this youngster.