London bosses race to boost squads and make up lost ground
LONDON clubs are braced for a whirlwind 36 hours as the capital’s managers scramble to bolster squads that have been left trailing by the twin superpowers of Manchester before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.
Weekend results merely underlined the need for Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham and QPR to hasten their activity, while Chelsea will certainly sell and may yet sign one or even two more players.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who apologised to fans yesterday for the 8-2 drubbing at United on Sunday, has £80m with which to reinforce. Brazil left-back Andre Santos is due for a medical today after a £6.2m fee was agreed with Fenerbahce last night and South Korea striker Park Chu-Young is poised to arrive from Monaco.
Wenger retains an interest in Bolton defender Gary Cahill and has enquired after unwanted Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun. Arsenal, who have offered refunds to supporters who endured the Old Trafford humiliation, look unlikely to land Belgian winger Eden Hazard.
While Benayoun looks certain to leave Chelsea, who have started well but without the fireworks of United and City, the Blues are hopeful of two more arrivals in Luka Modric and Alvaro Pereira.
Modric has told Spurs he wants to leave but a fee remains a stumbling block, while Porto have also proved reluctant to sell full-back Pereira. However, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp wants to recruit and is likely to need to sell before he buys, which could force chairman Daniel Levy to reconsider selling Modric.
Redknapp, who has softened his stance on losing the Croatian playmaker, also appears set to offload Wilson Palacios to Stoke, where he could be joined by striker Peter Crouch. West Ham midfielder Scott Parker is expected to arrive at White Hart Lane, while the north Londoners are also interested in forwards, with City outcast Craig Bellamy mooted.
QPR’s new owner Tony Fernandes has demonstrated his ambition by sanctioning the signing of Joey Barton from Newcastle and Aston Villa’s Luke Young, and Arsenal full-back Armand Traore looks set to follow after having a medical yesterday.
Fulham manager Martin Jol, meanwhile, is known to want a striker but could face a fight to retain Clint Dempsey, who is wanted by Sevilla.
Budget: Likely £5-10m
What they want: Primarily a forward
Targets: Cameron Jerome, Bryan Ruiz, Wilfried Zaha, Max Gradel, David Bentley
Budget: £10-15m, but owner Tony Fernandes is flexible
What they want: Proven quality to give squad depth
Targets: Shaun Wright-Phillips, Armand Traore
Budget: Up to £80m
What they want: Centre-back, midfielder, striker
Targets: Andre Santos, Gary Cahill, Yossi Benayoun, Park Chu-Young
Budget: At discretion of Roman Abramovich
What they want: Creative midfielder, full-back
Targets: Luka Modric, Alvaro Pereira
Budget: Have to sell to buy
What they want: Forward, midfielder
Targets: Scott Parker, Craig Bellamy, Gary Cahill, Lassana Diarra, Joe Cole