- Latest transfer updates as the window enters its final few days
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @NickMiller79
- Crystal Palace on verge of making Zaha loan permanent for £3m
- Sky to spare its reporters from humiliation on transfer deadline day
Big striker Matt Smith has extended his loan deal at Bristol City from Fulham until the end of February. Look, it’s what we’ve got, OK?
Tom Watts has word of another football-themed eatery: “I hung out daily at the Anfield cafe in Phuket Town, Thailand back in Dec 2012. Had great food, aged locals and an absolute storm of scarves from across the world hanging from the ceiling, Gerrard pictures everywhere as well as a sign that looked like it had been scalped from the stadium itself.
“Run by a really nice Thai family who despite their devotion have never actually been to Liverpool. Almost broke their hearts when I told them I support Arsenal. A few more details here.”
Interesting one from Le Progrès in France, who report that Manchester City and St Étienne over a ‘youth academy partnership agreement’, whatever that might mean. Well, actually, it probably means City get the pick of the French club’s kids while they send their own purchased youngsters out to Ligue 1 on loan. But we shall see.
And almost as soon as my rump hits the chair, we have our first nomination. Oh yes they do sir, yes they do.
I once went to a Figo-themed bar in Portugal, which was full of photos of the great man and burnt English people enjoying that classic Portuguese dish: a full English. Been to a footballer-themed restaurant? A Peter Reid-themed pop-up? A Barry Venison bar? Do let Nick know, via email or on the Twitter. He’s back from lunch. Save him. Bye!
Aaaaaand, it turns out Figo is completely and utterly legit (I think):
So it turns out that the whole Luís Figo-wanting-to-become-Fifa-president thing is true! Here is what he’s told CNN.
I care about football, so what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA – not only now but in the past years – I don’t like it.
I’ve been talking with so many important people in football – players, managers, president of federations – and they all think that something has to be done.
I think no one is untouchable in this life. If you think like that you are wrong. Of course [Blatter] is a person that is running the organisation for so long, since 1998, and a lot of people can be the favourite but I can say for me it is a fantastic challenge to try and convince the people to follow me and support me.
Hello world. Michael Butler here just jumping in for Nick Miller, who on his way to get some well-earned lunch. What better way to slip into a seamless transfer narrative than to remind Newcastle fans of Xisco: the Spanish striker signed on a £50,000-a-week contract by Dennis Wise and co back in 2008 for £5.75m.
Forget the votes, it’s Ginola v Figo in a handsome-off for the Fifa presidency
Strong rumours that Luis Figo is about to declare for Fifa presidency. CNN may tell us more in 10 minutes…
Hey, remember that Gareth Bale stuff we mentioned back in 1972, just after this transfer blog started? Well, here’s more of it.
Here’s Malaga’s Pepín, who is shortly to become Roma’s Pepín, rocking up at the airport in Italy today.
DONE DEA…no, hang on, wait – NEARLY DONE DEAL AFTER THE COMPLETION OF ASSORTED ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES
Taking a break from all this heady transfer news, here’s Brendan Rodgers talking about last night’s defeat to Chelsea. He doesn’t seem to be a big Diego Costa fan.
He is in every sense a wrestler: an opponent who looks constantly for a way to apply his strength to your weaknesses, mental and physical. With Liverpool pressing high up the pitch in one of those familiar fast starts, Chelsea were briefly rattled. Passes went astray. Nemanja Matic seemed to be the only player in possession of a defensive instruction manual and Liverpool were finding space on the flanks, with Raheem Sterling a menace cutting in from the left. At which point, enter Diego part one.
If anyone was worried about Villarreal’s defence after the departure of Gabriel to Arsenal, then worry no more. Looks like they are all set to announce the signing of a replacement, namely Espanyol’s Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly. That’s according to AS, anyway.
Not technically transfer news, but it doesn’t look like things will be getting exciting at Aston Villa/Paul Lambert will be sacked soon.
Chief executive Tom Fox (great name, Tom), told the BBC:
When things aren’t going well, fans bay for that type of blood. That’s not the way that I or the owner are going to make a decision. It’s a false narrative.”
I think football’s a funny business and I think to put it all on the manager, again, that’s a bit of a false narrative. There’s a lot of things happening at this football club, and clearly what happens on the pitch is a focal point. Clearly the manager is the one person who can really influence that, so everyone focuses on it.
…AKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS! BREAKI….
According to Sky Sources, Juan Cuadrado will be moving to Chelsea this summer, but only if they stump up the full €35million (about £23.9million) release clause in his contract. Plot, thickening.
Garry Monk wants to get stuff done, it’s just he’s not quite sure what or when yet. The Premier League’s premier ‘he looks like he could be an estate agent’ manager told the South Wales Evening Post:
I am trying to push to see what we can do and the chairman is doing the same. But as usual we have to wait on other clubs and players to see if things are going to go through. We have identified targets and hopefully we can add some more quality.
Looks like Chelsea will add to their coterie of youngsters who can start checking out Air BnB in Arnhem, for 18-year-old Partizan Belgrade midfielder Danilo Pantic seems to be on his way. The child himself said:
In the situation we are now in, going to Chelsea would be the best solution for me and for Partizan. I am not sure when I will be back in Belgrade, I believe in the next day or two, and a transfer should be done this week.
DONE DEAL! AC Meeeeeelan have completed the loan signing of defender Salvatore Bocchetti from Spartak Moscow, for the rest of the season. And yer man said:
“I haven’t spoken to Inzaghi yet, but I am happy they wanted me and very happy to be back in Italy, as it’s what I wanted. I hope to get back into the Nazionale too. Full-back or centre-back? I am ready to do anything for Milan.”
Mark Judd is, like Verbal Kint, the man with the plan: “Re: Gareth Bale dismissing a move to Old Trafford, perhaps if Man Utd offered to call their stadium ‘The Bale Old Trafford’ he might be tempted.”
Like it. Perhaps ‘The Cuadrado Bridge’ could be a goer, too. Or ‘The Messi Etihad.’ Or maybe ‘The Cristiano Ronaldo City Ground.’ Any other suggestions?
In lieu of any big breaking transfer news, sit back and have a read of Marcela Mora y Araujo’s paen to the retiring Juan Román Riquelme:
Players such as Riquelme embody the reason I love football. Romantic notions of the role of the No10 in Argentinian football say this is the position where the thinking takes place: the player who pauses. His critics often dwell on the fact that he did not run much (César Luis Menotti: “Since when do you need to run to play football?”) and in Argentina many of his opponents have labelled him pecho frío, literally cold-chested, apparently a phrase born among the gauchos to refer to a horse unwilling to pull a heavy cart and much used in football to describe players who go missing or fail to give the impression of making much of an effort.
In the tone of a professional obituary most of the Argentinian press have responded to his retirement by devoting ample column inches to Riquelme today,with La Nación offering a delectable infographic of his career in numbers whileOlé recall his first ever interview under the title “how the legend started” .
Ameya Badwe is back, discussing something that has let him down in reality, as Camden Market did for me:
“R. Morrison’s Reservoir Dog-esque picture has reminded me that I signed him when I was boss of Swansea in Football Manager 2013. He was brilliant at the top of my midfield diamond, but in reality after his burst onto the scene with West Ham he has let me down…horribly. Not signed him since.”
Could San Iker Casillas play in the Major League Soccer? He doesn’t see why not:
I have no problem in saying that I would like to play in the United States. I would like the experience of a different kind of football and if that happened tomorrow it would it would allow me to remember and value the time I’ve spent at Madrid.
Did we have this yesterday? Good lord, it’s barely 10.30am and the bottom of that barrel is already in sight…
BREAKING: A loan deal has been agreed with @ManUtd for midfielder Joe Rothwell.
In the world of transfer inactivity, the low-level DONE DEAL! is king…
Official: PAOK Salonica sign veteran Portugal centre-back Ricardo Costa. pic.twitter.com/iZPpPoi62T
While the picture is a little creepy, here’s Ravel Morrison in Rome for his medical with Lazio.
Dearie me. Dearie, dearie me…
The Santiago Bernabéu stadium will be renamed the Abu Dhabi Bernabéu, according to the Spanish sports newspaper AS.
The report has not been confirmed by Real Madrid and indeed the club has not yet explicitly announced that the stadium will change its name at all, but the president Florentino Pérez was caught on camera admitting to a member of the regional government that the stadium will be called whatever the Abu Dhabi investment group IPIC want it to be called.
And something else from SportMediaSet.it, who reckon…well, I’m sure even if you’re not fluent in foreign you’ll get the gist of this one:
Il Manchester United ha rinnovato il contratto di De Gea fino al 2020 con ritocco dell’ingaggio
Truth, from David Flynn: “Ah Select magazine, it was such a superior publication to the somehow still running Q. Q had been a disappointment every month for quite some time when about two years ago one of its main features was The Stereophonics interviewed by Wayne Rooney. I haven’t bought it since.”
Here’s an interesting one, from SportMediaSet.it, who have something for us on the future of Juan Cuadrado. BUT, in a twist to rival Citizen Kane, The Empire Strikes Back and the Sixth Sense (he’s dead, it’s a sledge, he’s his father, respectively), this update doesn’t involve Chelsea.
No no, for they reckon the latest club to show an interest in the Colombian flyer is Manchester United, who according to them will make an offer of €29million plus Adnan Januzaj for Cuadrado.
Amusing news (assuming you don’t work in the accounts department at Old Trafford) from your super soaraway Guardian this morning, as it looks like Crystal Palace could be on the verge of signing Wilf Zaha back for a mere £3million.
David Hytner taps his nose and says:
Palace intend to pay £3m for Zaha, who is on a season-long loan back at Selhurst Park, with a further £3m in add-ons which would be paid if the winger meets performance-related targets.
But the deal stands to be some way short of the one that saw Zaha transfer from Palace to United in January 2013, although he was loaned straight back for the remainder of that season.
Mikel Arteta has signed a new contract, according to his agent. And, let’s face it, he should probably know. Inaki Ibanez told Footmercato.net:
“Mikel is no longer free next June, because he now has an extra year on his contract.”
Our first fib of the morning, as Ameya Badwe emails in to try and grease the wheels:
“I have some hot gossip for you. I was on the bus this morning when who do I see in Camden Market? Sami Khedira! Potentially here for a medical with Arsenal????? Me thinks so. (This is totally untrue but maybe a terrible rumor will send this window into hyperdrive!)”
More bad news for adorably optimistic Manchester United fans, although this one isn’t quite as horses-mouthy as the Bale thing.
Andrea Pirlo has been discussing his teammate and possibly most exciting young player in the world at present, Paul Pogba. He said in Telefoot, with translation via Football Italia:
For whatever reason they chose not to give him a chance and that is a mistake they will have to live with now. I can’t see that he will ever return to Manchester United.
When he first joined us in training at Juventus we knew there was something about him, and in just two years he has become one of the best players in the world.
Of course he is going to have options, he knows that. You can’t play at the level he is and not attract attention. But he also knows that at Juventus he is already at one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
I have spoken with him, and told him if he carries on working hard and makes the right decisions there is no limit to what he can achieve.
“Rumour Mill, Rumour Mill, RUUUMOOOURRR MILLL! Rumour Mill, Rumour Mill, Rumour Mill…”
Yes friends, it’s here, and this morning your oracle of the half-truths, the whispers and the word on the street brings us ‘news’ that:
An early break from the carefree joy of transfer nonsense, to bring you the reasonably demoralising but inevitable news that agents have been coining it in again.
Owen Gibson writes:
Payments to agents acting on international transfers for clubs rose to £155m ($236m) in 2014 according to Fifa figures, with a booming English transfer market accounting for by far the largest slice.
The study of the market in 2014 showed that despite the introduction of Uefa’s financial fair play rules, the booming broadcast market and growing commercial opportunities enabled English clubs to carry on spending.
Let us begin with Gareth Bale, who has been talking to Marca about Manchester United. Is it good news for United fans? Well, no, obviously not, but if you like and youi really try hard you can take solace in the fact he didn’t absolutely, 100%, for certain rule out a move to Old Trafford.
I can’t imagine myself at Manchester United. In a recent interview they asked me if I was unhappy at Real and I told them I’m really happy here. I’ve got several years left on my contract, I’m enjoying myself, we’re winning trophies and I want to keep doing that here at Real.
So then, here we are. This is the situation we’ve found ourselves in. All of us are gathered in this place, and we’ve got ourselves in the situation where we’re all talking about the movement of labour for cash, the trading of humans as if they’re stocks and shares and commodities to be shunted from Point A to Point B.
If you look to your left and right, the chances are some people are doing something to benefit the world, but…well, sod it. Let’s face it – you or I will never do that, so let’s just enjoy this frippery, this stuff and nonsense where we pick things from the ether and make mild diversion from them.
Nick will be here shortly.