Premier League – Transfer Talk: United nations


With the Olympic Games due to get underway in a haze of celebrations in Beijing, today’s edition of Transfer Talk boasts an appropriately international feel.

FOOTBALL Olympic Games flags - 0

Alex Ferguson’s conviction that mere English players are good enough to win pots does not seem to be shared by the majority of his fellow Premier League managers, who have been busying themselves lining up the latest and greatest in foreign talent of late.

So much so that it is difficult to find an Englishman at all in amongst today’s transfer speculation as the Premier League embraces that oh-so-Olympic ideal of multi-national sporting brotherhood.

First up is Cameroon international Stephane Mbia who, whilst on international duty in China, has rather astutely decided to use the Olympic platform to tell the world of Everton‘s interest in him.

The Rennes midfielder claims the Toffees have made an offer of “more than eight million euros” for his services and that he has already spoken to boss David Moyes about a switch to Goodison Park.

Moyes himself is yet to comment on the matter, but if true it would give the club a boost after the disappointment of hearing their new stadium plans have been called in by the Government for further scrutiny.

More better news for Toffees fans is that Moyes is expected to splash the £10 million he received for new Fulham player Andrew Johnson (English!) straight away – namely on Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho, who will be subject to an improved bid according to reports in Portugal.

Representing Algeria, striker Rafik Djebbour has appeared on Stoke‘s radar. Who, you say? Well, over in Greece the French-born hitman is a bit of a star, netting 14 times for Panionios last season and attracting interest from the likes of Olympiacos and Benfica.

Blackburn and West Brom are also thought to be keen on recruiting the 24-year-old, who could arrive in England as early as the weekend to open talks with the interested parties.

Talking of Blackburn, the Mirror reports that new Rovers boss Paul Ince is close to sealing a deal for Anthony Annan – a Ghana international who currently plies his trade in Norway for IK Start.

The former Guvnor has set aside £1.5m for the midfielder, but is yet to decide on French trialists Julien Sable and Paul Baysee .

The foreign theme continues over at White Hart Lane where Juande Ramos has refused to rule out a departure for Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, despite the Tottenham boss’s claims that he has had no contact with Barcelona over a possible move.

And Andrei Arshavin – representing Russia – has voiced his frustration over his stalled move to Spurs after Zenit St Petersburg slapped an enormous £27m price tag on his head.

While Arshavin’s deal is not quite dead in the water, any move for Vedran Corluka appears to be just that after Spurs failed in an £8m swoop for the Manchester City and Croatia defender.

There is some kind of transfer activity in N17 though and it centres on French defender Younes Kaboul, who is poised to become Martin O’Neill’s third defensive signing in the last 24 hours.

Having secured the signatures of both Nicky Shorey (English!) and Luke Young (English!) yesterday, the Aston Villa boss is set to spend a whopping £6m on the Spurs flop, much to the annoyance of Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp had wanted both Shorey and Kaboul all for himself but as the Sun reports, Pompey have no cash left in their coffers to bring in any more new players.

A similar fate has befallen Liverpool according to the Mirror, and that means Gareth Barry will not be arriving at Anfield this summer. But to soften that blow, both Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Holland’s Dirk Kuyt will stay.

And finally, the future of Newcastle midfielder Alan Smith (English!) has prompted an all-too familiar headline in the Star. “Toon in chaos” screams the banner on the back page as the peroxide Yorkshireman’s on-off £3m move to Everton threatens to boil over the simmering tensions between boss Kevin Keegan and owner Mike Ashley.

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Mike Hytner / Eurosport