The penultimate transfer tattle of July aims to go out on a high
Mauricio Pochettino may not have been here before, but Tottenham have. This time last year it was André Villas-Boas wondering whether or not anyone on his transfer wish-list would make that small but important leap from being a rumoured target to a real-life-bona-fide-holding-the-shiny-shirt signing.
Then again, this time last year AVB was also still insisting that Gareth Bale was going to remain a Spurs player while the Welsh wizard was busy trying to become Cristiano Ronaldo’s best friend and learning how to spell galáctico.
But things are going to be different at White Hart Lane this season. Daniel Levy has put away his managerial axe for at least a few months and is ready to let his new man make less expensive mistakes than their technical director Franco Baldini made trying to spend the £85m they received for Bale last year.
Pochettino doesn’t want to spend £100m on players such as Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela. But he would quite like a few of his old pals from Southampton. Unfortunately everyone else seems to have signed them already. But “Poch”, as he is unwittingly becoming known around his new club, tried to get the only two that Southampton have decided to keep hold of, and Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez are staying put. For now.
While that double deal may not be as dead in the water as it seems, Pochettino wants striking back-up for the ever-reliable Emmanuel Adebayor and wants Baldini to turn his attentions to securing a deal for Swansea’s Wilfried Bony.
The Ivorian may have laid down his requirement for joining a “Champions League club” and has harboured hopes of heading to the other side of north London and Arsenal this summer.
But Arsène Wenger is (the only man in the world) convinced that Yaya Sanogo is adequate back-up for Olivier Giroud. Liverpool were another possible destination for Bony, but they have signed the younger and cheaper Divock Origi and another interested party, West Ham, have spent their summer striking cash on Ecuador’s Enner Valencia.
Swansea have admitted Bony, scorer of 25 goals last season, could leave this summer, but only for big money – Spurs will have to part with more than £15m to secure the 25-year-old.
Such figures don’t bother Harry Redknapp, who would easily have spent that amount five times over if he was still at Spurs, but unfortunately he felt the sharp edge of Levy’s axe a while ago.
Redknapp now gets to spend QPR’s cash instead, however, and is intending doing just that again on Colombia’s midfielder dubbed “The Rock”, Carlos Sánchez from Spanish side Elche.
One player Redknapp no longer needs to sign is the Holland centre-back Ron Vlaar, but Vlaar’s compatriot Ronald Koeman wants to do just that for Southampton, although Paul Lambert wants to keep the Dutch defender at Aston Villa and is suggesting clear-the-air talks with him.
Another defender on the move is Daniel Agger, Liverpool’s curiously out of favour Denmark international who may just be tempted to swap the Anfield bench for the Camp Nou bench with Barcelona willing to pay the £12m Liverpool want from the club who have already taken Luis Suárez from them this summer.
Another player ready to leave the Premier League behind is Hatem Ben Arfa, who has had enough of being told he is a luxury player by Alan Pardew and is heading for somewhere a little more luxurious than Newcastle United; Milan want the Frenchman for around £10m.