Barcelona after Arsenal's Alex Song, Almunia finally leaves
Barca could make Arsenal's summer even worse, Andy Carroll objects to West Ham loan
BARCELONA certainly know how to rub Arsenal's face in it and, rather than just watch Arsene Wenger's discomfort as he fights to replace his wantaway captain Robin van Persie, the Catalan giants have elected to make matters worse for him by going after one of the candidates to replace the Dutch striker as Arsenal skipper.
According to the ever-reliable Spanish newspaper Sport, Barca have seen how solid the Gunners midfield can be and decided that they could do with some of that steel at the Camp Nou, and will therefore make an offer for Alex Song.
TalkSport picks up the story by saying that after Seydou Keita left earlier in the season Barcelona were left short of cover, and have so far failed to land their main transfer target Javi Martinez thanks to Athletic Bilbao's refusal to lower their asking price. And that has prompted Tito Vilanova to turn his attention elsewhere. So, much to Wenger's chagrin he is lining up a £11.7m bid for Arsenal's 24-year-old Cameroonian enforcer, who may be tempted to link up with Cesc Fabregas once again.
Talking of unlikely transfers, West Ham have agreed a loan deal with Liverpool that would see Andy Carroll move to Upton Park – but the striker will do his best to resist the move, according to The Guardian.
The deal involves the Hammers handing over £2m in return for taking the England centre-forward on loan for the coming season. But they must then hand over another £17m to make the deal permanent if they're still in the Premier League at the end of the season.
The arrangement would reunite 23-year-old Carroll with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, who was the boss of Newcastle when Carroll emerged on the scene a few seasons ago. But the Guardian reports that Carroll will "resist" the move because he prefers a return to Newcastle, the club whom he left for Anfield in a £35m deal 18 months ago.
Italian giants AC Milan and Inter have joined the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin after we revealed yesterday that Arsenal were closing in on the Turkey international. According to Talksport, the Gunners were becoming increasingly confident of signing the 23 year-old after Jose Mourinho made it clear Sahin could leave the Bernabeu. But that was before the two Milan clubs entered the fray.
It could all come down to which club stumps up more cash for Sahin, who moved to Real last summer from Borussia Dortmund, with Talksport reporting that AC Milan have a considerable war chest following their sale of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain.
Arsenal could also have a hefty budget if they offload Robin van Persie but with Arsene Wenger known to be tighter than Tom Daley's shorts it might still be that the Gunners miss out in a bidding war with their Italian rivals.
There was some good news for Gooners after it was announced that new Watford boss Gianfranco Zola has decided clean sheets are not a priority and has signed Manuel Almunia. The former Arsenal keeper was released earlier in the summer but is one of seven new signings to head to Vicarage road, says The Daily Telegraph.
Goal.com reports that Spurs are finally about to complete the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor after chairman Daniel Levy met with the striker's representatives. The Togo hitman spent last season on loan at the Lane from Manchester City but talks to sign Adebayor have moved as slowly as Team GB up an Olympic medal table.
Negotiations had stalled over Adebayor's £170,000-a-week wage demands but now goal.com claims that the deal will be finalised "in the next 48 hours". Apparently the Lilywhites will pay Adebayor a £5m signing-on fee while City have agreed to meet some of Adebayor's wages because they're desperate to sell the frontman so they can bring in Van Persie from Arsenal.
In other news the Metro reports that the form of Team GB goalkeeper Jack Butland has caught the eye of Liverpool scouts and a move could be in the offing. The Birmingham City keeper has impressed between the sticks in the Olympic Games and the Metro says Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has made the 19-year-old Butland his "top target".
Pepe Reina is the Reds' current keeper but Rodgers is believed to be building a team for the future and that doesn't include the 29-year-old Spaniard. Birmingham would be reluctant to lose Butland but the Metro says that an offer in the region of £8m could lessen the pain.
Turkish club Galatasaray have posted a statement on their official website denying reports that they have signed Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United. Speculation has been growing in recent weeks that the Bulgarian striker is set to leave Old Trafford but according to Galatasaray the stories are as inaccurate as a British archer.
In addressing the stories, the statement ran: "The club would like to declare that there is no transfer and no attempt has been made in that regard."