With transfer deadline day looming speculation is rife over who might be going where. The Cutter has attempted to scythe through the tangled mess of rumour and gossip to bring you eight moves that are either probable or just make damn sense.
Man Utd – Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) Val: £15m
After a hugely impressive start for United the temptation is to utter ‘Paul who?’ But no matter how often Sir Alex Ferguson insists that his young side do not require a further addition to his summer spree the likelihood is that an entire campaign – Champs League and all – is far too big an ‘ask’ of their current midfield options. Scratch at the surface of a flourishing, but inexperienced, Cleverley and an in-form but inconsistent Anderson and you soon find yourself amongst the Fletchers and Gibsons. Missing out on Sneijder needn’t be too much of a disappointment however with the purchase of Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund. The free-scoring attacking midfielder has long been on Ferguson’s radar and though he won’t come cheap he will at least come, saying earlier this summer, “If I get a formal offer, I’ll be strongly interested in listening to what they have to say. The Premiership is one of the leagues I want to challenge. If it is United, I’ll be still more eager to go’.
Kagawa was a revelation in the Bundesliga last term and will add further thrust, adventure and creativity to United’s heart. At just 22 he will also still allow the fawning press to keep up their ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’ nonsense too.
Liverpool – Craig Bellamy (Man City) Valuation: Loan deal
The fiery Welshman is far too good to be rotting away amongst the training fields with the City youth team and still has an abundance of chippy drive to offer in the top flight. Furthermore you suspect that Dalglish would get the best out of him in the same manner that Hughes did during his tenure at Eastlands. With Suerez and Carroll as top dogs Bellamy would have to content himself mainly with bit parts from the bench but Liverpool would benefit from his harrying passionate style of play, troubling wearied full-backs and creating opportunities late on. If they manage to finally move on N’Gog the two million a year they’d save on his wages, in addition to whatever fee they receive, would more than cover this loan deal that suits all parties concerned.
What Tottenham require is creativity down the middle
QPR – Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City) Val: £3m
While Ákos Buzsáky and Hogan Ephraim are decent enough players they won’t be causing Premier League full-backs to have sleepless nights any time soon. QPR were over-reliant on the craft and guile of Taraabt for all of last season and they got away with that through somehow getting a full season out of him and by doing so in the Championship. The Loftus Road outfit need the energy and boundless enthusiasm of little SWP in order to eke out whatever they can from a limited forward line who will struggle to reach double figures apiece. The England winger also offers them the ability to turn defence into attack within a few explosive seconds and when you’re expecting to encounter numerous games where you are under siege for long periods this is a priceless commodity. Three million makes him an absolute steal.
Like the Bellamy deal it’s a move that suits all concerned and besides, a midfield made up of Taraabt, Faurlin, Derry, Barton and Wright-Phillips should be enough to ensure safety from the drop.
Tottenham – Christian Eriksen (Ajax) Val: £20m
Redknapp appears to be concentrating his search on strikers he questionably doesn’t need (see other article in today’s Cutter) and combative midfielders in Parker and Diarra who will arguably just replace the departing Palacios on the Spurs bench once Sandro returns to fitness. What Tottenham require is creativity down the middle because either Modric will leave a huge gaping hole there when he follows the money to Stamford Bridge or he will sulk until January…when he will leave a huge gaping hole there when he follows the money to Stamford Bridge. There’s an abundance of top quality creative midfielders around but most have already been snapped up elsewhere. Only one potential suitor however has thus far attempted to lure the Danish teenage sensation Christian Eriksen to the UK from Ajax and that was Man City. The recent £20m bid looked like getting through only for the talented youth to decline City’s offer because he felt he wouldn’t get enough first team action. So he is accomplished like Modric, only a few years younger, would cost half of what the goblin Croat retails for, and values football over money. Harry, you know it makes sense.
Hazard is a ready-made replacement for the departed Samir Nasri
Arsenal – Christopher Samba (Blackburn) Val: £12m
You get the feeling that Samba is third choice behind Cahill and Jagielka in Wenger’s preference for a British-based centre half. However, after yesterday’s shocking capitulation at Old Trafford the Gunners’ need for experienced quality reinforcements at the back has gone beyond the urgent and into emergency mode. The Cutter understands that the Jagielka deal is dead in the water but we can expect another final-day push for Cahill from the Arse. That’s all well and good – and the Bolton stopper will combine fantastically with Vermaelen as a duo – but it would be a very risky strategy to put all your eggs into the Bolton basket. Should the bid fall through suddenly Wenger is looking at a long bleak winter. Samba has been one of the most consistent performers around for several seasons and would instantly give the Arsenal back-line a solidity they desperately lack.
Arsenal – Eden Hazard (Lille) Val: £25m
Hazard is a ready-made replacement for the departed Samir Nasri and, according to the Lille chairman back in March, is available for the same ballpark figure too. It’s hardly quantum physics and possessing a Masters degree in Economics Wenger should have no difficulty in joining the dots here. Hazard is a phenomenally gifted prospect who would light up the Prem with imagination and vision. He would also offer Gooners a reason for optimism following a torrid month of general misery.
The only possible glitch on the horizon is that, after already losing Gervinho, the French club may be unwilling to lose another of their stars to the same club.
Newcastle – Carlton Cole (West Ham) Val: £8m
After wasting an entire summer chasing two French-based strikers (PSG’s Melvlut Erdinc and Sochaux’s Modibo Maïga) one of whom is so desperate to join the Toon he has effectively gone on strike – Maïga – whilst the other adds condition after condition to his switch Alan Pardew must be feeling ‘absolutely raped’. This week’s arrest of Nile Ranger hasn’t exactly helped matters either.
If Pardew would only look south rather than across the channel he’d find an England international disgruntled to be in the Championship with a manager who is clearly already planning for a future without him.
Carlton Cole may not be everyone’s idea of a potent front man but he’s a damn sight better than Ameobi and Leon Best combined. And he’ll guarantee you a few goals too.
Stoke City – Cameron Jerome (Birmingham) Val: £3m
The Potters are desperately short of firepower going into this campaign whilst the proficient Jerome is looking for a swift return to mix it with the big boys. The stumbling block comes in the shape of Fulham who are equally determined to snag the imposing bruiser. However, by their own acknowledgement the Craven Cottage side are seeking cover for Zamora whereas Pulis can offer Jerome the much more tempting proposition of first team football.