Thierry Henry to give a hand to Manchester City?
Transfer Talk: Mancini needs former Arsenal star to lift City; Spurs want Bellamy and Nistelrooy
Fresh from steering France towards next year's World Cup finals with that infamous handball, Thierry Henry is set to return to England. The Daily Mirror reports that the 32-year-old former Arsenal legend could be heading back to the Premier League with "big-spending" Manchester City.
Roberto Mancini, the Sky Blues' new boss, sees Henry as the star name who will inspire City to a top-four finish in the Premier League. Reports in the Spanish press suggest Barcelona "are willing to listen to offers" for the player whose career has never been the same since he left Arsenal.
Henry, signed to the Spanish club until 2011, has struggled to establish himself as a regular starter in the Barcelona side this season, losing out to Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored nearly a goal a game since his arrival in the summer.
If Henry does move to Eastlands, one of his teammates will be Shay Given, the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper who might have been spending next summer in South Africa had it not been for Henry's handball during last month's World Cup qualifier.
Spurs' boss Harry Redknapp faces a taxing problem next month if the Mirror is to be believed – namely, which players he should bring to White Hart Lane. The paper says that Redknapp "has got his sights set on [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, Liverpool outcast Ryan Babel and West Ham defender Matt Upson".
He is also being linked with Craig Bellamy, who is unhappy at the way Mark Hughes was sacked by Manchester City. Redknapp tried to sign the £14m striker last January, but lost out. He may have better luck this time.
With reports suggesting that a host of Spurs names are on their way out in January's transfer window – among them Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley – Redknapp wants at least one world-class name to help Spurs push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Redknapp said of van Nistelrooy recently: "He's a top player, if he's anywhere near fit I'm sure he can still play for a while. He would come over here and score, he always has done."
However, the Mirror says Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may be reluctant to buy the Dutchman because of his track record of injury, in which case the 23-year-old Babel might be Redknapp's target. Babel has never settled at Liverpool and the Spurs manager "is confident of getting his man".
As for Upson, Redknapp has already been in talks with West Ham about the 30-year-old central defender and a deal should be concluded next month.
Spurs and Chelsea are interested in Macedonia striker Goran Pandev who has had his contract with Lazio cancelled. The 26-year-old fell out with the Italian club in the summer and has not played for them this season. Now that his contract has been anulled he is available on a free. Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus also keen on the highly-rated hitman.
Cash-strapped Portsmouth face a nightmare January as they prepare to offload their best players. Younes Kaboul could be Mancini's first purchase for Manchester City. He would cost around £8m.
David James, Aruna Dindane and Nadir Belhadj are also in the shop window and are available on the cheap.
Mame Biram Diouf has been cleared to join up with Manchester United. According to Sky Sports. The Senegal striker, who turned 22 last week, agreed terms in the summer to join from Norwegian outfit Molde, but was forced to remain in the chilly wastes of Scandinavia as United completed the correct paper work. Sky says Diouf should arrive at Old Trafford within the next couple of weeks, though he won't appear for United against Leeds in their FA Cup tie on January 3.
Ferguson has been an admirer of Diouf's for two years and says "at 22 years of age he's looking very good... If you're talking about value then you can look at our young boy Diouf." ·