Round-up of all the latest transfer speculation.
By Alex Hough
Cameroon international forward Samuel Eto’o, who has been the subject of an apparent tug-of-war between Real Madrid and Barcelona all summer, could be on his way to the Camp Nou, provided club president Joan Laporta and coach Rijkaard settle their differences over the player.
Real Madrid, who have first refusal on the player have indicated that they would be willing to let Barcelona sign him, but internal strife is threatening to keep Eto’o at Mallorca for another year.
Manchester City’s striker Nicolas Anelka is in demand with Monaco seeing him as an ideal replacement for Fernando Morientes, and Barcelona, regarding him as back-up if the Eto’o deal fails to go through. Indeed, ‘L’Equipe’ states that Anelka is “eager to return to Spain, after the year he spent with Real Madrid.”
And still the Patrick Vieira saga rumbles on. Two months after the deal was first mooted, Spanish sources still maintain that Vieira will move to Real Madrid.
Arsenal and Real Madrid have made no comments on a reported official bid of £18m for the French international midfield player. Arsenal say it is not their policy to discuss transfers before completion, whilst Real have stated that “we cannot say if there has been a bid”. Please put us out of our misery.
Barcelona’s star striker Saviola, who had a good campaign last year alongside Ronaldinho, is apparently on the move – but only on loan. President Joan Laporta said that if Eto’o doesn’t arrive, then no-one willl depart, but inside talk claims Saviola is the player expected to move aside, with Monaco are very interested in signing the Argentinian. There have also been links with Manchester United and Liverpool, but France seems the most likely destination.
Tottenham Hotspur are said to be interested in signing their second Swede of the summer.
Christian Wilhelmsson, who starred for Sweden in Euro 2004 can play at full-back or in the midfield, and would be a valuable asset to Spurs in the coming season. Wilhelmsson, 24, currently plays in Belgium with Anderlecht.
Freddy Adu, the American 15-year-old wonderkid is now being linked with Italian champions Milan. The Italian giants have been in the States this summer as part of their pre-season training, and have reportedly taken the opportunity to talk to the hottest property in American football. A deal is unlikely to go through though at least for the time being, with the MLS reluctant to see one of their hottest properties leave the US.
The Divine Ponytail could be back after all. Roberto Baggio has revealed that he has received offers from Serie A side Bologna and also Fiorentina, where Baggio began his top flight footballing career. The former golden boy of Italian international football said: “I must evaluate my own physical fitness before giving them a response.” Baggio retired last season, and won the last of his 56 caps against Spain in a tribute match back in April.
Hugo Ibarra, surely one of the few players to have the curious record of both winning and losing the same European Cup final, is on his way out of Porto. The Argentine midfielder, on loan at Monaco last season, has been linked with a moves to Boca Juniors and Spanish side Espanyol, but is definitely being touted for a move away from ‘the Dragons’.
The former Brazilian international Marcio Amoroso is being tipped for a return to Brazil, with either Palmeiras, Corinthians or Cruzeiro. A talented but unpredictable striker, Amoroso, who achieved international recognition through his exploits with Udinese and Parma, had been on trial with Celtic, but the two parties were unable to come to any agreement. Therefore, Amoroso was forced to leave Britain and concentrate on finding a new club elsewhere. He is said by his trainer to be in perfect form, and “ready to make his debut at anytime.” Assuming somebody wants him.
Aston Villa’s main summer objective could be completed by the end of the week. Former French Under-21 star Matieu Berson has finally been given permission to speak to Villa by his current club Nantes.
The midfield player is understood to be eager to move to England, and David O’Leary is happy to pay the £1.5m, believing it to be a bargain. Nantes president Jean-Luc Gripond defended his decision to let Berson go, arguing: “Is it clever to keep a player who wishes to leave?”
Following another disagreement with manager Graeme Souness, Dwight Yorke is on his way out of Ewood Park, with Portsmouth early favourites to land the former Manchester Utd hitman.
The player who cost Blackburn £7m just 2 years ago will be allowed to leave for a fraction of that fee, providing personal terms can be agreed. Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp said recently that his side were in danger of relegation unless they significantly strengthen their squad. Yorke would be a direct replacement for the departed Teddy Sheringham.
Carlos Puyol, the newly-appointed Barcelona captain has been linked with a move to Real Madrid. Florentino Perez is set to break to ‘pact of non-aggression’ currently held between the Spanish duo, by trying to lure Puyol away from the Camp Nou. It would be included as a part of any Barca deal for Eto’o, who, as mentioned earlier, is part-owned by Eto’o. However, Puyol is a Catalan through and through, and furthermore, a Barca fan – so whether he would want to make such a move, remains doubtful.
Craig Moore, the former Ranger’s captain, stripped of his captaincy because of his decision to travel to the Olympics with Australia, is close to a move to Blackburn Rovers. Graeme Souness is known to be an admirer of Moore’s qualities.
“I’m also aware of his desire to have a crack at the Premiership,” said Souness.
Due to Moore’s Olympic commitments, he would miss the beginning of the new season.
Sylvain Wiltord’s search for a new team, after being released by Arsenal could be over. UEFA Cup runners-up, Marseilles, have expressed an interest, and talks have been ongoing. However, there may not be an immediate starting place for Arsenal’s former record signing. Manager Pape Diouf declared: “We’re going to leave the current team as it is and see what they are capable of on the pitch.”
This despite the recent sale of Didier Drogba. Wiltord is currently training with the Rennes youth team, in an effort to preserve his fitness for the new season.
Another Porto player who could be on the way out is Edgaras Jankauskas. The Lithuanian international is now behind Brazilian pair Carlos Alberto and Derlei, Benni McCarthy and now Helder Postiga for a place up front.
However, new manager Luigi Del Neri has said that he is unaware of any desire for Jankauskas to leave, but admitted that if he requested a transfer, Porto would onl;y sell him to a non-Portuguese outfit.