Transfers – Gossip Shop: Arsenal eye Alonso
“You’ll never win anything with kids”. So claimed a television pundit at the beginning of the 1995-96 season before Manchester United‘s youngsters went on to sweep all before them.
Alan Hansen may have been horribly wrong in his assessment all those years ago, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger , having championed his kids for so long, finally appears to have come round to the Scotsman’s school of thought.
Arsenal have struggled for consistency so far this season, a fault has been attributed to a lack of experience in the side, particularly in midfield where fellow team-mates have even started tackling each other in dying moments of games.
Wenger may be one of Cesc Fabregas‘s fans but the Gunners boss has realised his new captain, just 21, needs a helping hand from a more experienced sidekick in the middle of the park.
But having continued to impress this season, and with Liverpool still interested in Barry, Wenger is preparing to make another bid for Alonso once the transfer window opens in January. The Daily Mirror claims a fee of £12 million should be enough to tempt Rafa Benitez to part with his countryman.
Meanwhile, Robbie Keane‘s rumoured return to Tottenham is likely to rest on who Harry Redknapp can offer Liverpool in part exchange.
The Reds have claimed there is still a job for Keane to do at Anfield, even though he was dropped for the weekend’s game against Blackburn and has been struggling for goals ever since his summer move up north.
But Redknapp is willing to hand over £10m-rated Aaron Lennon and £5m-rated Jamie O’Hara – plus £5m in cash – to seal a dramatic return for the Irishman to White Hart Lane just six months after he left.
With Keane featuring so prominently on their list of new year targets, Spurs have moved to distance themselves from stories linking them with Wigan striker Emile Heskey, whose future is up in the air what with his current deal at the JJB Stadium running out at the end of the season.
“He’s a free in the summer and I think he will wait to be a free agent,” Redknapp told The Times. “Then he has the power.
“I can see him waiting until the summer unless someone is really desperate to take him.”
Someone like Aston Villa perhaps. Or Liverpool. Both teams are, according to the Daily Express, monitoring the England man’s situation. But Wigan boss Steve Bruce will not take anything less than £10m for a striker he regularly describes as “the best centre forward of his type”.
Redknapp’s former club Portsmouth featured heavily in this column not so long ago, ‘Arry’s departure from Fratton Park prompting fears he could be followed out of the door by a number of players loyal to him.
But with Tony Adams having assured said players of Pompey’s aspirations for the future, the south coast club’s name has been conspicuously absent in the Gossip Shop over recent weeks.
And that looks set to continue (except for today, of course) after owner Alexandre Gaydamak assured Adams there will be no large scale offloading of staff in January, despite his decision to put the club up for sale.
Adams said: “Is there pressure on me to sell in January? The owner has said nothing changes with that and, like it was with Harry, he has said to me ‘I’m totally supportive of you.’ He thinks I’m doing a great job.
“If a ridiculous offer comes in, I’ll accept it to be honest but he has not said to get rid of anyone.”
In other news, Hertha Berlin striker Marko Pantelic has appeared on the radar of some of the Premier League’s ‘finest’, with the Daily Mail fingering West Brom, Wigan, Everton and Middlesbrough as those clubs.
Blackburn are considering a swoop for former Liverpool defender Steve Finnan, currently in Barcelona with Espanyol , while Michael Owen has blamed “hysteria” on Tyneside for his protracted contract negotiations with Newcastle.
And finally, it wouldn’t be a proper edition of GS without a mention of Manchester City. Today’s titbit from Eastlands has Robinho trying to persuade the club’s owners into splashing out on Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero, one of a long list of ‘new Maradonas’, and Milan ace Kaka.
The Brazilian said in The Sun: “Sergio and Kaka are fantastic players and if either of them came to the club I’d be very happy.”
Which pretty much equates to: “Aw, go on, get me at least one of them for Christmas. Please. Pretty please. With a cherry on top.”