Premier League – Transfer Talk: Four’s a crowd


You’d think that with three of Europe’s most highly coveted central midfielders already in his squad, new Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari would be content with his midfield lot. But you’d be wrong…

FOOTBALL 2006 World Cup Deco Scolari Portugal - 0

That’s because, despite already boasting the talents of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien (not to mention Steve Sidwell), Big Phil is reportedly eyeing up a £15 million move for Barcelona playmaker-cum-playboy Deco.

Furthermore, BBC Sport now “understands” that a move is imminent, a careful wording which suggests they’ve been concentrating so intently on the rumour that it’s finally clicked into place.

And just to make sure Deco doesn’t feel like the only frustratingly inconsistent Brazilian-born attacking midfielder at Stamford Bridge, Scolari is also rumoured to be bidding for Real Madrid’s Robinho and Barcelona’s Ronaldinho.

That Ronaldinho will not be at Camp Nou next season is one of the worst-kept secrets in football, but you suspect it will take the unexplained disappearance of about 30 of Europe’s top clubs for the buck-toothed magician to even consider a move to Manchester City , despite the £120,000-a-week contract they are shamelessly wafting in his direction.

Stroppy Barca striker Samuel Eto’o is another Chelsea target, but he finds himself in the middle of a particularly unpalatable tug of love between Roman Abramovich and Silvio Berlusconi, for Milan, too, are said to be in the hunt for his signature.

Sticking with stroppy frontmen, The Sun claim Dimitar Berbatov will be the subject of a £25 million bid from Manchester United, who will reportedly redress their Spanish defender deficit following the sale of Gerard Pique by bidding for Real Madrid’s rampaging right-back Sergio Ramos.

Newcastle coach Kevin Keegan’s quest for the next David Ginola/Faustino Asprilla/Temuri Ketsbaia has reportedly taken him in the direction of Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin , who the Daily Mirror claims will be the subject of an £11 million bid.

Elsewhere, England Under-21 international Fabrice Muamba is a rumoured £5 million target for Bolton, while self-proclaimed ‘richest club in football’ QPR may be aiming high but they’re certainly starting low with bids in the offing for West Ham striker Bobby Zamora and Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson.

Xabi Alonso‘s move from Liverpool to Juventus looks a step closer after the clubs reportedly agreed a £14 million fee, while John Arne Riise‘s agent has reported that Serie A runners-up Roma are definitely not in the market for woefully one-footed own goal-specialist left-backs, meaning the Norwegian will not be swapping Anfield for the Stadio Olimpico any time soon.

As a France-based, 21-year-old African striker who no-one’s ever heard of, Le Mans’s Ivory Coast forward Gervinho ticks pretty much every single one of Arsene Wenger’s boxes, so don’t be surprised if he arrives at Arsenal for a pittance in the next few months before swiftly turning into the best thing to come out of Africa since Charlize Theron.

Tom Williams / Eurosport