Transfers – Transfer Talk: City eye Toure brothers

During the January sales, retailers often use tempting ‘two-for-one’ offers to persuade shoppers to buy more than they need.

FOOTBALL Barcelona Yaya Toure - 0

Manchester City’s oil-rich owners appear to be falling for a similar trick, as they prepare to buy two Toures for the price of… well, seven or eight.

The latest red-top rumour is that City are bidding £24 million for Barcelona’s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure (pictured).

Barca are wiping the floor with the rest of La Liga and are one of the favourites for the Champions League.

Now why on earth he would want to leave sand, sun and success for rain, ready brek and possible relegation is flummoxing Transfer Talk and, hopefully, most sane readers.

City hope to persuade him with the brotherly love of Kolo Toure, who is unhappy at Arsenal and is another target for Mark Hughes. He is a snip at just £12m.

Having been interested in Yaya themselves, Arsenal are thought to be looking at Portsmouth’s Niko Kranjcar.

The 24-year-old Croatia international has struggled with injury this season but was one of Pompey’s shining lights during their FA Cup success and is rated at £10m.

Arsene Wenger is also reported to be lining up a bid of £5m plus Nicklas Bendtner for West Ham stopper Matthew Upson – who he allowed to leave the club in 2002.

The Hammers are looking to slash their wage bill and raise cash after Iceland went bankrupt, and big-earning England defender Upson is an ongoing target for Tottenham and Newcastle.

One man who will not be joining Arsenal this January is Alessandro Rosina after Torino have poured cold water on the rumour that they offered the playmaker on loan to the North London club.

The Times claimed that Gunners scouts were looking at the Italy midfielder regarding a loan with a view to a permanent deal as they try to ease the injury crisis that has left them with a rather inexperienced midfield.

“Rosina will not go on loan to Arsenal in order to rediscover his form, because he doesn’t need that,” Torino president Urbano Cairo said.

When Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson burst on to the scene the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool were tipped to swoop for the England Under-21 international.

But injury problems have seen his stock fall and now Everton and West Ham are the clubs sniffing around Eastlands looking for a deal at around half the £20m the former Toffees trainee was valued at last season.

He could even be used in exchange for ‘pretty good but not quite as good as the good but not quite world-class Yaya Toure’ Hammers midfielder Scott Parker, who The Mirror reckon is being offered £100,000 a week to move north. Yikes!

It seems that Europe’s elite can’t get enough of Jermaine Pennant. After his move to Real Madrid stalled, Liverpool’s former Arsenal winger is now a target for Milan as Carlo Ancelotti attempts to lower the average age of his creaking squad.

The Reds are less keen on the rossoneri’s latest attempt to prise Dan Agger away from Anfield. An £8.5m bid is set to be rejected.

The Daily Express, The Star and The Mirror claim that Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari will not be allowed to spend any of the £12m earned by selling Wayne Bridge to City.

This seems mighty unfair given that he has so far only had a fraction of the budget previous managers were afforded, but funds are no longer limited and it seems a more pragmatic, recession-friendly approach has been adopted by owner Roman Abramovich.

Let’s see if that extends to not sacking Felipao when he fails to win everything in May, despite only being allowed to bring in cut-price Deco and freebie Mineiro.

Newcastle United are preparing to offer Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes a route back into the Premier League.

After Joe Kinnear’s overtures for Gers captain Barry Ferguson were rebuffed, the Portuguese midfielder could retread the ground he covered with Portsmouth and Tottenham.

Mendes – who in the SPL often looks like a senior international being forced to play for the youth team – would cost around £1.5m and could join on loan first.

Hull City are threatening to slide into freefall as the harsh reality of the Premier League kicks in.

In the event that they lose out to Fulham on James Beattie, the Tigers are understood to be preparing a £4m bid for out-of-favour Sunderland striker Michael Chopra – a sign of desperation if ever there were one.

Fellow promoted side Stoke City will have to spend if they are to add firepower to their squad in January.

Lens’s Aruna Dindane and Aston Villa’s Marlon Harewood are rated between £2-3m and loan deals for both have been ruled out.

Blackburn Rovers are allegedly preparing a swoop for former France defender Gael Givet, with Marseille open to a loan deal, Gary O’Neil is rumoured to be keen on returning to Portsmouth from Middlesbrough and Sunderland striker Grant Leadbitter wants to leave the Stadium of Light for more first-team football and a break from his local area following the death of his father, whose ashes are buried under the pitch: Bolton are tipped as a possible destination.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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