The Groggy Gossip

Date published: Sunday 25th January 2015 3:03

The Groggy Gossip

ARSENAL WANT LUCAS SILVA
They are one of four Premier League clubs – along with Southampton, Manchester United and Chelsea – who are apparently interested in Real Madrid midfielder Lucas Silva, very much surplus to requirements at Real Madrid after the signing of Mateo Kovacic.
Arsenal were interested in Lucas Silva before he signed for Real in January so that may be a slightly lazy link from AS, who seem to think that Olympique Marseille are a likelier option.

ILLARRAMENDI SET FOR SOCIEDAD

‘Arsene Wenger to anger Arsenal fans as Real Madrid star cleared for Liverpool move,’ was the headline on the Daily Express website. But it seems that Asier Illarramendi will be heading to Real Sociedad in a £10.9m deal (according to Marca, at least).
It’s almost like he was never going to join Liverpool or Arsenal.

LJAJIC TO VILLA

Adem Ljajic was Erik Lamela’s replacement at Roma – but has now been replaced by Mo Salah – and it seems that the Serb attacking midfielder is bound for Aston Villa, with Italian newspaper Il Tempo claiming the clubs have agreed a deal.
Now it just remains to be seen whether Ljajic fancies playing alongside Rudy Gestede and Ashley Westwood. He might when he sees the wages on offer in the Premier League.

LAMELA IN INTER TALKS

(I considered trying to crowbar the headline as ‘Lamela Inter-lks’, by the way. So be grateful for something).
With a week left of the window, it seems that clubs are sitting down to eat a meal of humble pie and regret. Juan Cuadrado is leaving Chelsea, Mario Balotelli is leaving Liverpool and now Sky Italia report that Internazionale are in discussions with Tottenham for Erik Lamela.
What Spurs could really do with right now is losing another player without buying anyone else, so supporters will presumably be pleased to see Lamela leave. Particularly if they make a huge loss on him.
Sky Italia say that the clubs are in talks over a fee. Let’s hope someone at Spurs is being sent off with a big clipboard to work on some incoming business too.

MARIN OFF TO TURKEY

Mohamed Salah, Juan Cuadrado, Kevin de Bruyne and Marko Marin. Jose Mourinho does something to wingers, doesn’t he?
Anyway, the last one on that list might finally be off for good after three years as a Chelsea player. He’s managed six Premier League games (and a total of 143 minutes), scored one goal and been loaned out about 30 times. He also seems to get injured once every month, which is useful.
After signing Marin for around £6m, Chelsea are on the verge of selling him to Trabzonspor for a fee of £2m.
Marin is now 26. What an utterly bizarre career.

ITURBE BEING FLOGGED TO ENGLAND

Word now from Italy, with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Roma director Walter Sabatini has flown to England in order to try and negotiate the sale of Juan Iturbe to a Premier League club.
They say that Iturbe is free to leave Roma after the arrival of Mohamed Salah, which is a line to dent any footballer’s ego.
It all marks a sorry fall from grace for the 22-year-old. The Argentinean was predictably dubbed as the ‘new Messi’ by various silly sods, but moved to Roma only a few weeks after signing permanently for Verona. The fee was around £15m.
Now it is reported that Everton and West Ham are the clubs being targeted by Sabatini. Any club that needs a forward, basically.

‘NEYMAR WANTS MOVE’. SIGH

Oh good, we’re off on another journey of woe.
Two days ago the Daily Star claimed that Karim Benzema wanted a move from Real Madrid to Arsenal. On Monday Benzema called them (and many others too) ‘clowns’. He’s right, too.
Now the Star have another big story, namely that Neymar also wants a move to England. Let’s hope that this goes as well as the Benzema deal.
The paper pin the blame on The Sun for saying that the Brazilian fancies the move, so we should probably point out that they say nothing of the sort.

COSTA UNHAPPY AT CHELSEA?

That’s the whopping claim in Tuesday’s Marca, who report that Diego Costa has met with Atletico’s head honcho Miguel Angel Gil.
The paper report that the striker is not settling into English life or the Premier League, and has had disagreements with Jose Mourinho about his pesky hamstrings.
They also admit that a move during this window is impossible, but that Costa may look to move on next summer. Another headache for Jose, or just naughty meddling from Marca?

£240M? WE CAN TAKE IT NEYMAR

Having reported that Manchester United hold an interest in Neymar (as if any club in the world wouldn’t want to buy him), The Sun aren’t giving up easily. Tuesday morning’s claim is that United are prepared to spend an astonishing £240m on the Brazilian. Gulp.
It’s worth pointing out that this is the classic tabloid trick of adding together fees and wages to create the eye-watering total, but the numbers are pretty staggering anyway. They say United will pay £130m for Neymar, a fee that would rise to £165m with tax add-ons. They would then give Neymar a five-year contract worth £75m. That deal would mean Neymar is paid less than Wayne Rooney; if anything, they under-clubbed it.
The valid sticking points are twofold:
1) Why would Barcelona want to sell?
2) Why would Neymar want the move?

CHELSEA WON’T GIVE UP ON POGBA

When a paper starts a transfer story with the words ‘it may prove to be futile, but’, you know that a deal is unlikely. That’s the London Evening Standard’s take on the ‘Paul Pogba to Chelsea’ rumours.
The paper claims that concerns over the form of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas will lead Jose Mourinho to push for a British transfer record move by offering Juventus £70m for Pogba. As we’ve said before, Juve would surely want nearer £90m – this really is silly season.
‘Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas just aren’t a quick or physical enough duo to form an impenetrable barrier’, the Standard says. ‘When faced with pace and clever movement, they’re found wanting. That is not to say Matic or Fabregas are bad players, they are just not a mobile enough partnership to do the job Mourinho wants on a consistent basis.’ How much changes in 12 months.

ARSENAL WANT CAVANI

It is a move that has been touted all summer, and Karim Benzema’s very forthright statement on Monday seems to have pushed the ‘Edinson Cavani to Arsenal’ rumour back into centre stage.
In the Daily Mirror, John Cross writes that ‘Arsene Wenger is on red alert for a stunning move for Edinson Cavani’, after switching targets from Benzema.
Cross also says that Paris St Germain don’t really want to sell, which seems fair enough given that they are already prepared to let Ezequiel Lavezzi leave and have Zlatan Ibrahimovic talking publicly about going.
Finally, Cross gives perhaps the most Arsenal-esque line in history: ‘They remain in the market in case of a deal popping up late on if clubs decide to make big players available to help fund other transfers’. Screw proaction, reaction is the way forward in the last week of the window.
With lines like ‘Cavani could still happen – but the clock is ticking’ and ‘his name is suddenly being bandied around’, we’re not even sure that Cross believes it will come off.

AND THE REST

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has once again declared that star defender John Stones is not for sale…Slaven Bilic is ready to make a cut-price move for Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz after West Ham scoffed at an initial £10m valuation…Cesar Azpilicueta admits he is ‘confident’ he will remain first-choice left-back at Stamford Bridge despite the arrival of Abdul Baba Rahman…Arsenal are closing on a deal for Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak…West Ham could sign £13.2m Juventus striker Simone Zaza in time for their weekend clash with Liverpool…Southampton youngster Matt Targett has urged the club to resist any offers for Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, targets for Manchester United and Tottenham respectively.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has insisted winger Riyad Mahrez is not for sale, in light of his impressive early-season form; the Algeria international has scored four goals in his first three appearances…Rotherham manager Steve Evans says his side have ‘zero chance’ of signing free agent Joey Barton…Bournemouth and Norwich are targeting Crystal Palace’s Glenn Murray…Manchester City defender Jason Denayer is off to Galatasaray on loan…Everton are closing in on Uruguay striker Leandro Rodriguez from River Plate Montevideo…Liverpool outcast Fabio Borini has told friends that he will be signing for Inter Milan in the next 48 hours…Liverpool are stepping up their pursuit of Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi, and are readying a £15m bid, after Real boss Rafael Benitez told the midfielder to search for a new club.

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