Premier League – Transfer Talk: The backlash starts
Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra is about to find out why his recent treatment of Sven-Goran Eriksson was a bad idea as the great summer exodus from Eastlands begins.
The fact that City finished in the top 10 last season and will be appearing in Europe next time around seems to have been entirely lost of the former Thai premier, who is still likely to jettison Sven ahead of the forthcoming campaign, despite a huge show of support from City fans for the Swede.
And first out of the well-oiled door will be influential skipper Richard Dunne – who more than lived up to his ‘monster’ nickname last season – with Tottenham reportedly close to finalising a deal for the 5 million pound Irishman – that is 5 million pounds sterling, of course.
Juande Ramos is apparently prepared to go against his policy of only recruiting players with Spanish passports to take the bulky centre-back to White Hart Lane, where he will form a long lasting partnership with Jonathan Woodgate, assuming Ledley King fails to maintain fitness for more than two weeks at a time.
Should the pair go, Thaksin will have a choice to make – either he can use the £13 million to help pay his legal bills back in Thailand, or he can splash it all on CSKA Moscow striker Jo . The latter option is more likely.
Meanwhile, City flop Rolando Bianchi is unlikely to return to Manchester following his loan spell with Lazio. The Italian ‘ace’ is being tracked by French club Monaco and ambitious Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
Down on the south coast, Harry Redknapp is far from betraying his East End roots, with more wheeling and dealing than market day in Albert Square expected at Fratton Park this summer.
Top of Portsmouth‘s wish list is Transfer Talk favourite Peter Crouch, who could be the perfect foil for Jermain Defoe in the Pompey starting XI. For some reason, Rafa Benitez rarely gives Crouch a chance to shine at Liverpool and the gangly ace is becoming increasingly restless with his lack of opportunities.
Should Crouch slip through Pompey’s fingers, like any wise old sage, Redknapp has a back-up plan – Emile Heskey. The Wigan bruiser’s future at the JJB Stadium has been brought into question with talk of the Latics landing Egyptian star Amr Zaki.
Much like Crouch, Liverpool defender John Arne Riise wants to know where his future lies – sooner rather than later. The unfortunate Champions League goalscorer is no longer first choice at Anfield and with the Reds linked to Andrea Dossena of Udinese, the Norwegian’s time on Merseyside could well be up. Aston Villa and Newcastle lie in wait.
Moving further north to Middlesbrough, where George Boateng is moving ever closer to an exit from the Riverside. The Dutchman claims both Rangers and Celtic are looking at him, although Sunderland are may have something to say about that.
Premier League new boys West Brom say they will not be held to ransom by Kevin Phillips, who is out of contract in the summer and is yet to reach a new agreement. Zoltan Gera and Martin Albrechtsen are in the same situation and could end up losing all three – not the best of ways to start a new campaign in the top flight.
And finally, Reading‘s £5 million-rated midfielder Stephen Hunt is being tracked by Sunderland while Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is after Australia international Mark Bresciano and Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood.