Premier League – Transfer Talk: Spiel and sycophancy


Not content with continually sticking their oar in at Manchester United with their overtures towards Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid are now getting on Arsene Wenger’s wick too.

FOOTBALL 2007-2008 Premier League Arsenal Hleb - 0

This time it’s not necessarily their fault mind, as Alexander Hleb ‘s agent has been giving the usual spiel about what a great honour it is that a club like Real Madrid is interested in him blah blah blah.

Agent Uli Ferber told AS, sans blahs: “For any player in the world it is always a great honour that a club like Real Madrid is interested in him. This confirms the good work that Hleb has been doing in these last few years that he is being recognised by one of the greatest clubs in the world.”

Such sycophancy is both highly boring and highly effective, as even if it doesn’t facilitate a move to the Bernabeu then it will at least make initial suitors Internazionale spring into action.

The Gunners can comfort themselves with the fact that they will soon be able to bring in Carlos Vela, who they signed three years ago.

As Wenger was not allowed to get his hands on the Mexican striker when he signed him as a 16-year-old, he sent him off to be groomed at Osasuna. After becoming a man at the Spanish club, he is now eligible for a UK work permit, and will continue Wenger’s policy of youth over trophies.

A further twist in the tale of Liverpool’s pursuit of Gareth Barry has come with the news that Rafael Benitez is willing to let Xabi Alonso go to Juventus for £15 million, but only if he gets Barry first.

Alonso may be able to put the ball on a sixpence from 60 yards, but that won’t be enough to save him if Villa cave in over their captain.

In all of the inevitable speculative lists of Chelsea players set to leave following their European defeat, two names consistently crop up: Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda.

Fresh speculation has emerged about the Drog’s proposed departure to Milan, while today’s comedy award goes to the rumour that Malouda will be swapped for Barcelona wonderkid Giovani dos Santos.

Continuing with the theme of complete poppycock, Tottenham Hotspur ‘s alleged £2.5 million bid for Lyon keeper Gregory Coupet has been dismissed as the mutterings of a blithering idiot.

A club statement said: “Lyon categorically deny having received any offer from the English club Tottenham about the transfer of Gregory Coupet.”

The seven-time French champions then went on to give everyone a bit of a ticking off by saying: “Moreover, the club would like to remind everyone of the general fact that no discussions relating to possible transfers will take place before the Coupe de France final.” Er, sorry?

It’s a shame really, because if that Coupet story had been true, then the news that Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa were ready to duke it out for Spurs keeper Paul Robinson could have been given more credence.

Back to France quickly, and Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun has announced he wants to leave Lille, and he’s targeting Lyon as his first choice, but plenty of average Premier League sides might be interested in the man once passed over by Manchester United.

In a far more likely custodian transfer scenario, Everton are hoping Maik Taylor will become their new understudy to Tim Howard after they released Stefan Wessels just a year after the German joined on a free transfer.

The exit door just keeps revolving at Blackburn Rovers as Mark Hughes has released Roque San… No, not really. Can you imagine? Hughes has in fact told underwhelmer extraordinaire Maceo Rigters that he can leave the club.

It’s hard luck on Dominic Matteo, as the Stoke City club captain is one of four Potters players to be motioned towards the door, denying him a return to the Premier League. The others to go are goalkeeper Russell Hoult, defender Marlon Broomes and midfielder Robbie Garrett.

Finally, Fulham defender Charlie Blackmouth (or Carlos Bocanegra, as it says on his birth certificate) heads a list of eight players set to be told to shut the Cottage door on the way out. The others are Philippe Christanval, Ian Pearce, Tony Warner, Simon Elliott, Michael Timlin, Bjorn Runstrom , Ismael Ehui.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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