Round-up of all the latest transfer speculation.
By Bhaskar Maji
Newcastle United will try to sell Kieron Dyer before the transfer window closes at the end of this month, after the midfielder treated the captain’s armband with contempt. Skipper Alan Shearer gave the armband to Dyer, aged 25, after being substituted. He kept it at arms length before handing it to Jermaine Jenas who in turn threw it to Aaron Hughes to wear.
Many of the St James’ hierarchy saw this as an unforgivable offence and want the troublesome star out for overstepping the mark once too often. But Newcastle may struggle to find a buyer with many teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United relinquishing their interest the player.
Problems between Robson and Dyer allegedly began after the England midfielder refused to play on the right wing against Middlesborough. The armband incidence is believed to be the final straw.
West Ham United are losing patience with Michael Carrick and told him to either sign a new long-term contract, or leave Upton Park immediately. The 23-year-old midfielder, valued at £3m, can quit the Hammers at the end of the season on a free. But Carrick’s dream move to Premiership champions, Arsenal, was dashed when the North London club pulled out of the deal.
Everton and Portsmouth are monitoring the events. West Brom were also interested in signing the highly rated youngster, but Carrick ruled out a move to the Black Country.
Southampton rejected a second offer from Aston Villa for striker James Beattie last night. Villa, who had a £6m bid turned down last week, offered the Saints £4m plus Swedish misfit Marcus Allback for the 26-year-old forward.
But Saints chairman, Rupert Lowe, dismissed the offer and reiterated: “James Beattie is not for sale – and certainly not at £6m.
“He has two years left on his current contract and we do not need nor want to sell him.”
Villa manager, David O’ Leary is keen to land Beattie and sees him as the key to bolster his team’s chances of qualifying for a European place.
But he said: “We have £6m. If Southampton want more it won’t be from us.”
Southampton themselves are targeting Swedish defensive duo Daniel Majstorovic, aged 27, and Tommy Jonsson, aged 28, from Malmo FF and Halmsted respectively.
The pair are seen as ideal cover for injured fellow countryman, Michael Svennson, and the departed Fitz Hall, who left for Crystal Palace, by Saints boss Paul Sturrock.
Liverpool have completed the signing of Spanish winger, Antonio Nunez, from Real Madrid on a three-year deal. The 25-year-old joins the Reds as part of the deal that saw Michael Owen move to the Bernabeu last week.
Liverpool are also to complete the signing of Xabi Alfonso on Thursday for £10.5m. The Real Sociedad midfielder, aged 22, has agreed a four-year deal at the Merseyside giants and flies into Anfield for final talks after Spain’s friendly with Venezuela tomorrow. The Reds will pay £8m with the rest dependant on appearances. His arrival could spell the end of German Dietmar Hamann’s Liverpool career.
New Liverpool boss, Rafael Benitez, will also step up his bid to swoop striker Mista from his ex-club Valencia and Barcelona midfielder Luis Garcia. Valencia, still bitter after Benitez left the current La Liga and UEFA cup champions for Liverpool, will resist doing business with their former employee. But the possibility of £6m may be too much to refuse for the cash-strapped club.
Republic of Ireland defender, Steve Finnan, is also set to leave Anfield. The full-back, who has not been guaranteed first team football by boss Benitez is poised to join Spurs for £2m. The north London team regard Finnan as an ideal replacement for Stephen Carr who joined Newcastle.
Spurs are also reported to be signing PSV Eindhoven’s Portuguese striker, Edson. The fee is undisclosed but has been masterminded by former PSV general manager and new Spurs sporting director, Frank Arnesen.
Former France and Chelsea captain, Marcel Desailly, says he has not retired from football and is listening to offers. Desailly, aged 35, was handed a free transfer after six years service to Chelsea.
And the defender said: “I still want to play. I always feel powerful and I am convinced that I can give service to certain clubs.”
Manchester United have dismissed rumours that they want to sign Tottenham striker, Jermaine Defoe, over this weekend. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson is without senior forwards Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskaer and said last week that the club were considering buying another player.
Defoe, aged 21, was linked with a move to Old Trafford, but the directors believe the problem is short-term and are reluctant to spend more money. This means out of form Diego Forlan, and youngster David Bellion will be asked to support new £7m acquisition Alan Smith.
Early Premiership leaders, Bolton Wanderers, have taken Italian Mauro Milanese on trial. The former Inter star, aged 32, has been released by Ancona and is a free agent. Trotters’ boss, Sam Allardyce, has been tracking the defender who has also played for Cremonese, Torino, Napoli, Parma and Perugia in a 10-year spell at Serie A.
Meanwhile, Bolton have nearly completed the signing of Liverpool striker, El-Hadji Diouf, on a one-year loan deal. The Senegalese striker is available for signing, as new Liverpool boss, Benitez, didn’t issue him with a squad number.
A club spokesman said: “It is imminent and will go through shortly. He still has to pass his medical and sign.”
But his failure to sign today could go against the Lancashire club as Italian club Fiorentina are planning to hijack the deal.
If Diouf was to snub a move to the Reebok Stadium for the newly promoted Italian club, then Allerdyce will renew his interest in bringing back Spanish striker Salva Ballesta from Valencia.
The marksman scored 19 goals for Malaga whilst on-loan last season from the Mestalla. He also spent a month on loan to Bolton in January 2003.
Portsmouth are set to make another move for Preston North End striker Ricardo Fuller.
The Jamaican international, aged 24, was supposed to join Pompey last month but failed a medical due to persistent knee problems. Now Fuller has seen an American specialist who claims the forward does not need an operation.
And Preston chairman, David Shaw, has revealed he is ready to sell the forward who requested a transfer. But Pompey boss, Harry Redknapp does not want to risk offering a full contract to the injury ravaged Fuller.
He said: “He will never pass a conventional medical. I like him but the only way I can do a deal is on a pay-as-you-play basis.”
Ex-Arsenal striker, Sylvain Wiltord, has been linked with a move to newly promoted Spanish side Levante.
Gunners’ boss, Arsene Wenger, told the Frenchman, he was surplus to requirements at Highbury and was released on a free transfer.
Levante had a bid for Manchester United’s Uruguayan striker, Diego Forlan, rejected because of the current injury crisis at Old Trafford.
French club Monaco admit they are keen to sign Manchester City’s Nicolas Anelka. Last year’s Champions League finalists want to sign another striker before the end of August as Fernando Morientes has returned to Real Madrid after last season’s one-year lone and Dado Prso has been sold to Rangers.
Monaco have targeted Anelka or Barcelona’s Javier Saviola as ideal replacements. Club spokesman Pierre-Joseph Gadeau said: “They would both be good signings but it will just be one and it should be much clearer in the next three or four days.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s manager, Kevin Keegan, is considering a swoop for Bordeaux midfielder Camel Meriem. The talented playmaker impressed Keegan last season with a fantastic campaign on loan at Marseille. But Bordeaux are refusing to sell Meriem to their French rivals allowing Keegan the chance to get his man.
But the player’s hefty £5m price tag could stall a move to the City of Manchester Stadium due to the clubs crippling £60m debt.
Austrian club Rapid Vienna have signed Chelsea goalkeeper Jurgen Macho on a year-long loan. The 26-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge behind Carlo Cudicini and new signing, Petr Cech. The Austrian shot stopper will replace regular keeper Helge Payer who injured his back and will be out for at least a month.
Macho spent time on trial with newly promoted Norwich City during the pre-season but failed to impress boss Nigel Worthington.
Norwich have renewed their interest in signing Charlton striker Jonatan Johansson.
The out-of-favour forward has one year left on his current contract at the Valley and is desperate to secure a long-term contract with a Premiership club. The Canaries are thought to be offering around £300,000 to bring the Finnish international to Carrow Road.
In Italy, Lazio have signed Barcelona midfielder, Hernando Oscar Lopez on a year-long lone. The Catalan team have also told Turkish goalkeeper, Rustu Recber, that he can leave if he likes.
Turin giants, Juventus have once again been linked with an outrageous move for Arsenal’s Sol Campbell. The Bianconeri are keen to improve their defence after it was exposed by lowly Swedish side Djurgardens in the Champions League qualifiers in a shock 2-2 draw.
The former Spurs player has been stalling over signing a new long-term contract with the Gunners. His current deal expires at the end of the season. Juve will look to sign Campbell by exchanging Stephen Appiah with the Highbury outfit.
Juventus have also had a £6.5m bid for Luis Miguel rejected from Benfica. The 24-year-old Portugal international was impressive during Euro 2004 and Juve boss, Fabio Capello is desperate to sign a right-sided defender.
Juve are expected to continue their pursuit of Miguel with the possibility of a fringe player at Stadio delle Alpi being offered in exchange.
Fiorentina have inquired about the availability of Maxi Lopez from River Plate. According to River’s vice-president, Dominigo Diaz, the Italian club have asked whether the player is for sale or not. Diaz admits that he would not like to sell Lopez but will listen to reasonable offers.
In Scotland, Celtic wing-back Didier Agathe has dismissed claims that he is on his way to Spanish team Malaga. He said: “My contract finishes in 2006 and if something was to change then I would go directly to the manager.”
Celtic are still hoping that Middlesborough misfit, Juninho, will decide to join them on Thursday. The Brazilian midfielder was left out of Boro’s squad for the visit of derby rivals, Newcastle, at the weekend. The baby-faced player has expressed his desire to stay and fight for a place at the Riverside, but his omission from the squad may ultimately influence his decision.
Should Juninho move to Glasgow, it could end Frenchman Charles-Edouard Coridon’s hopes of a £1.5m transfer from Lens to Parkhead as they play a similar attacking role in midfield. Celtic are prepared to pay any reasonable transfer sum required by Boro as Buoys boss, Martin O’Neill, attempts to strengthen his squad ahead of the Champions League.
Meanwhile, rivals Rangers have taken former Dutch international, Richard Witschge, on trial. The Gers will monitor the player’s progress on a day-to-day basis.
Aberdeen have also to take former Livingston striker, Fernando Pasquinelli, on trial.
In Germany, Borussia Munchengladbach are hoping to sign PSV Eindhoven striker Jan Vennegoor who has impressed the German team with his power and commitment.
In France, St Etienne are close to signing Bordeaux midfielder Pascal Feindouno.
Marseille are considering a bid for 24-yaer-old Greek striker Angelos Charisteas. The forward whose goal knocked France out of Euro 2004 at the quarter final stage is seen as an ideal replacement for Didier Drogba who left the Stade Vellodrome for Chelsea this summer for £24m.
In Holland, PSV Eindhoven are interested in bringing Argentine international Carlos Tevez to the Philips stadium from Boca Juniors.
Feynoord have signed youngster Santi Kolk on a 2-year deal from Heerenveen and immediately loaned him out to Excelsior.
Elsewhere, former Middlesborough and Rangers midfielder Emerson has returned to his homeland Brazil, to join Vasco da Gama.
Former Southampton striker Agustin Delgado has moved to Mexican side, Pumas, from Ecuador side Aucas.
Norwegian side Brann are close to completing the signing of Club Brugge’s Norwegian international Bengt Saeternes for £150,000.