THE RUMOUR MILL
Pedro, Barcelona to Arsenal
The last couple of summer transfer windows have seen Arsene Wenger do that which has so frequently been requested of him by fans; spend big and bring in top players. Gone are the days of Wenger making shrewd forays into the transfer market, looking only for bargains and potential. The Frenchman is no longer afraid to put his hand in his pocket and pay top dollar, and that has Gunners fans salivating this summer. Pedro, who has starred sporadically during his Barcelona career, has fallen further down the pecking order over the last 12 months, which is what tends to happen when players like Messi, Neymar and Suarez are in the same team. It’s likely that Barcelona would be willing to let him go, and he’d definitely fit with Arsenal’s style of play, so this transfer makes a lot of sense. I expect it to happen.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United to Fenerbahce
Ok, so perhaps it’s not certain that RvP will end up at Fenerbahce, but what IS undeniable is that he’s reached the end of his Manchester United career. He is no longer the player he once was and, at the age of 31, will never return to his prolific best. If LvG is to build a side capable of challenging for the Premier League crown then he needs a squad full of world class talent; unfortunately, van Persie does not fit in that category. Expect him to be shipped off within the next few weeks, and a big name (Cavani, perhaps) to take his place.
Matteo Darmian, Torino to Manchester United
This one has been rumbling under the radar for a little while now, but it finally seems as though the deal is going to go through. Manchester United have made no secret of the fact that a new right-back would be welcome at Old Trafford; Rafael looks like he’s on the verge of leaving, while Jones and Smalling are clearly happier playing directly ahead of the keeper. Darmian is an Italian international, and he shone in Serie A last season as Torino finished a creditable 9th, so a move to a bigger club was always on the cards. This one should happen.
Joel Matip, Schalke to Newcastle
Newcastle have been linked with a plethora of players this summer, which isn’t surprising considering how poor they were last season. Steve McClaren has a huge task on his hands if he is to make the Magpies a force to be reckoned with, and one of his key priorities must be to build a solid defence. Matip, who can play equally well at the back or in midfield, was a major reason for Schalke’s impressive league campaign last season. And, at 23, he’s only going to get better. If the rumours are to be believed, then the young Cameroonian is available for only £10m; he would be a terrific buy for Newcastle, but he’s good enough to play for a better team, and I expect that he’ll end up at a side playing Europe competition.
James McCarthy, Everton to Tottenham
As a Spurs fan, I would love this to happen. McCarthy is, to my mind, the most underrated player in the Premier League. He would improve any team in England – aside from perhaps Chelsea – and I’m surprised that neither of the Manchester clubs have made a move to acquire his services. A number of newspaper are reporting that £20m would be enough to secure his signature, and if that’s true then Tottenham should be bidding for him immediately. Unfortunately, this rumour would appear to be infused with very little fact, so I would be incredibly surprised if it happened.