All the transfer speculation doing the rounds at the moment …
By Ryan Kephalas
Real Madrid’s current crisis shows few signs of abating, with news that both goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Ivan Helguera – whose contracts expire at the end of the season – have yet to sign new deals with the club, and may leave in the summer.
In both cases, it is believed that Real’s constant prevarication’s over proposed new contracts has frustrated the players, and they have intimated that they may be forced to depart from El Santiago Bernabau if deals are not forthcoming soon.
“With the way things are”, said Santander born centre back Helguera, “I see myself more on the way out than staying in at Madrid”.
It is believed that Juventus, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle are all monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, Casillas’ agent Gines Garvajel has said that the 23 year old keeper – a graduate of Madrid’s youth academy – has “yet to discuss a new deal” with Real and that, if he does not “get the call”, his player will “talk to other clubs” when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Arsenal are believed to be favourites to secure Casillas’ signature if he does decide to leave, although a possible part exchange deal with Juventus has been mooted as another possibility, with Gianluigi Buffon going the other way. Inernazionale may also be persuaded to swoop for him, with Francesco Toldo now 34 and Julio Caesar yet to convince.
One player who could be arriving at the Bernabau in four months time is 19-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach left-back Marcel Jansen.
One of the stand out players in this summers Under-20 World Cup, Jansen is eliciting interest from a number of top European clubs, with Real thought to be topmost amongst them, as they seek a long term successor to the aging Roberto Carlos. Jansen – who Arsenal have also made overtures for – has been quoted as saying that he would be keen on a move to the Spanish capital.
“It is a great honour to be linked to such a club,”,he said. “They have great players and a great history but, these things are all about timing. At the moment a transfer may be too early, but who knows?”
January could also herald an overhaul in Real’s managerial personnel. Recent reports suggest that the club may approach Liverpool’s Rafael Benitez if results do not improve under present coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
Benitez – an ex-Real Madrid reserve team player – won the domestic league and UEFA Cup double with Valencia in his last season in La Liga. Though current director Arrigo Saachi could be appointed in a caretaker capacity before then, the 9 times European champions see Benitez as their ideal long term candidate.
In Italy, it is believed that Milan may offload 33-year-old central defender Jaap Stam at the end of the season.
The Dutchman – who has come in for some heavy criticism after the Rossoneri’s indifferent start to the new campaign – may be deemed surplus to requirements if manager Carlo Ancelotti decides to sign a young centre-back and/or right-back in January.
Dais Felipe, Danielle Bonera, Jorge Andrade, Cicinho and Patrice Evra have all been linked to the Italian giants, as they seek to bolster their aging backline.
Should he be offloaded, Stam’s hometown club PSV Eindhoven – from where Manchester United signed him for £12m back in 1998 – are thought to be his most likely destination.
Elsewhere in Italy, Trevisio are believed to be lining up a deal to tempt former Italian international goalkeeper Luca Marchegani out of retirement.
The 39-year-old – who spent last season with Chievo and Verona – hung up his gloves at the end of last season, but club officials are confident that they can lure him back to the game.
After several tentative approaches from some of Europe’s top clubs, Juventus look set to finally test Marseille’s resolve and table a firm bid for their precociously talented midfielder Samir Nasri.
Likened to Zinedene Zidane, the 18-year-old was swiftly handed a professional contract by Marseilles chiefs last season to ward off interest from potential suitors, but a big money offer from the Old Lady may be hard to resist for both player and club.
Veteran German striker Fredi Bobic could be on his way to the French club Strasbourg.
The 33-year-old – who had a brief loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in 2002 – is currently a free agent after being released by Hertha Berlin and, as such, is free to sign for a new club outside the transfer window.
It is believed that coach Jacky Duguerperoux will hand the player a week’s trial, and sign him on a permanent deal if he impresses.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg are said to be lining up a bid for Brazilian striker Edu, according to local paper Wolfsburger Nachrichten.
Coach Holger Fach has been to watch the 23-year-old – currently with second division outfit Bouchum – on several occasions and, with four goals in as many matches thus far this season, the player looks to have finally convinced the coach to place a bid for his services in January.
Press reports in Argentina suggest that River Plate could swoop to sign two Argentine international legends next season.
Both Juan Sebastian Veron – presently on loan to Internazionale from Chelsea, and Ariel Ortega of Newell’s Old Boys have been name-checked by River president Jose Maria Aguilar as potential targets for the club.
“He (Veron) has expressed a strong desire to wear our shirt,”,Aguilar told one newspaper. “If he does want to play for River, we will give him the opportunity to do so.”
Financially backed by several ex-Argentine players, including Luis Gonzalez, the club should have the requisite resources to finance the deals and pay the players’ wages, though the Veron signing may be scuppered by the fact that the midfielder would prefer a return to hometown side Boca Juniors if he did indeed move back to his homeland.
Aston Villa are believed to be eyeing a possible swoop for Tottenham Hotspur duo Robbie Keane and Sean Davis.
A long term target for Villa boss David O’Leary, who signed him for £13m when he was in charge of Leeds United, Keane has become increasingly frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities at White Hart Lane and, with his contract nearing expiration, could move for as little as £3m.
Davis, meanwhile, has been deemed surplus to requirements by manager Martin Jol after the summer arrivals of Edgar Davids, Jermaine Jenas and Teemu Tainio. Though he has recently turned down a loan move to Championship side Southampton, he is thought eager to leave the club. However, if they wish to sign him, Villa are likely to face competition from Middlesborough, Everton, Blackburn and Fulham – the club Davis left to join Spurs last season. It is believed he will command a fee in the region of £1m.