The Transfer Insider Betting Column 15th July

It seems every week the sagas involving Carlos Tevez, Luka Modric, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas take new twists and turns so I’ll cover these four before moving on and getting into other, faster moving, speculation.

Tevez – He wants to go, City have set a figure of £50million and no one is willing to match it.  This is pretty much the excepted situation so we’ll work on that basis.  Corinthians, his first club, have made a bid in the region of £38m.  They say this is their final offer and so far City haven’t taken it, they’re probably waiting to see if Real Madrid are ready to make a better offer, or if a deal can be struck with Los Blancos involving a player-swap deal.  If no one comes in with a better offer than Corinthians they might take it.  Granted, £38m is cheap for a player of Tevez’s calibre in today’s market but he is desperate to leave and there is little chance of him coming back to haunt his former club if he’s shipped off to the other side of the world, the Brazilian outfit are 5/6 with Blue Square and 888Sport to capture the forward, City are 5/2 to keep hold and Real Madrid are 4/1 to snap him up with the same bookmakers.

Modric – Again, he wants to go but Spurs won’t sell.  Chelsea are the ‘frontrunners’ in that he wants to go there but it just doesn’t look like Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy are going to give in – certainly not for anywhere under £30m, maybe more.  He could move on in the closing stages of the window if Redknapp can find a replacement, although personally I’d give Niko Kranjcar a go but that doesn’t seem to be the thinking at White Hart Lane.  It is essentially up in the air and Redknapp and Levy may see sense and cash in, but at the moment Modric looks more likely to stay than leave – although the bookmakers don’t see it like this and the Croat is 4/7 with 888Sport, Blue Square and Victor Chandler to join Chelsea, or 6/4 with Victor Chandler to stay at SpursThis looks a pretty decent price to me – especially as Spurs have made such a massive point of insisting he is not for sale.

Nasri – As far as I can see this one is case closed.  Arsene Wenger has said he’d rather keep him for a season and lose him for nothing next summer than sell him for £20m now.  This may seem a little strange but the Gunners don’t really need the money (after recent investment) and he could always change his mind if they’re doing well.  It would probably take money no one is willing to pay, given his contract situation, to prise him from the Emirates and his many suitors will probably hold out until next summer.  Man Utd, though, believe that Nasri is going somewhere – just not to them and in this age of player power it rarely happens that players hell-bent on moving don’t get their way. Ultimately the player rather than Arsenal probably holds the whip hand. The Frenchman is 1/2 to stay a Gunners with 888Sport and Blue Square, or 9/2 to join Manchester United with the same bookmakers.  Interestingly, Nasri is just 4/6 with Skybet to move to Eastlands but 9/4 with Blue Square and 888Sport.

Fabregas – He is going to Camp Nou and I’d rule all other destinations out at this stage.  Barcelona are yet to match Arsenal’s valuation and reports in Spain have indicated they will hold out until the end of the transfer window before trying to push through a deal. It reads like a game of poker where everyone knows the outcome in advance and only the details of the deal are up for grabs.  The bottom line is that Fabregas will be a Barcelona player at some stage and presumably later this summer. That is about it with Fabregas, everything else just seems to be hearsay and random quotes from various Barca players all saying essentially the same thing – “He wants to come here, and we want him” – the same stuff we’ve read for over a year now. Paddy Power are offering 8/13 that he moves on, or 6/5 for Fabregas to stay.

Back to Eastlands…

Man City boss Roberto Martinez is the bookies favourite to sign Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero in a £40m+ deal.  The Argentine may not be an exact like-for-like replacement for Tevez but as one of these modern winger/striker/forward type players he basically fits the bill, and his probable arrival could convince City to part with Tevez.  Real Madrid and Juventus will provide plenty of competition for Aguero AKA Diego Maradona’s son-in-law but City should have the financial clout to win the battle (they could even cut some sort of Tevez related deal with Real to get them to back off).  Aguero is 6/5 to join City, 11/4 to move across Madrid to the Bernabeu or 9/4 to move to Juventus, all with Skybet.

Liverpool have all but picked up Stewart Downing for £20m – at time of writing personal terms are being discussed- but one question springs to mind ‘why?’.  This is a huge price for the occasional England international and this isn’t the sort of inspiring piece of business that makes you think Liverpool  have a chance of mounting any sort of title challenge.

Downing’s move is expected to see Villa move for Wigan’s £9m rated Charles N’Zogbia, although they will probably face a bit of competition from other similar profile sides.   Villa boss Alex McLeish is also thought to be close to securing keeper Shay Given from Manchester City, after Brad Friedel joined Spurs earlier in the summer.

I’m a little surprised Scott Parker hasn’t moved anywhere yet but I’m sure he’ll leave West Ham before the window closes.  Villa could well be an option for the Hammers midfielder as McLeish has seen a lot of Villa’s creative talent in midfield move on and he’ll be keen to bring a bit of quality to replace the likes of Downing and Ashley Young.  Spurs could be an option too, keeping the midfielder at home in the capital. This could come into play especially if Spurs lose Modric. Chelsea have also been linked with the tiny Croatian playmaker but in all fairness I can’t see it.  However, the Stamford Bridge side are the 10/11 favourites with Skybet (maybe they know something I don’t), Villa are 2/1, while Spurs are 5/1 with the same bookmaker.  I wouldn’t be rushing in to follow the money in this Modric market.

I could really have included Bolton’s Gary Cahill in the list of lengthy sagas but this one seems to have hit a stalemate, and crucially the Wanderers are essentially looking to sell at this point.  Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City have all been linked, with the Gunners seemingly the most likely.  No one seems to want to pay £17m though, but there could be room to manoeuvre later in the window – Arsenal midfielder Denilson is apparently attracting their interest and could potentially form part of a cash-plus-player offer.

In a bit more Wanderers news Stoke are after Matt Taylor, and chances are it is on the money.  It isn’t the first time Tony Pulis has been credited with an interest in the versatile left-sided  defender/midfielderwith the explosive shot. At £1.5million he would be fairly cheap.  Despite the fact, the ex-Portsmouth man, managed to force his way into the Bolton side last season, I’m not sure boss Owen Coyle is a massive fan of Taylor, having inherited him when taking over. The Scot bought Martin Petrov last year and has been linked with a few potential rivals for Taylor’s position.  Coyle is also keen on Man United striker Danny Welbeck, a scorer v Spain and one of the few decent performers for England in the U21 Euros earlier this summer. The youngster is available on loan, and considering the Bolton boss’ penchant for borrowing players from the bigger sides there could be something in this one – although Daniel Sturridge is probably Coyle’s first choice, if possible, Bolton and Sunderland could yet find themselves in a battle to secure Wellbeck’s services.

Newcastle have always stressed they’re going to reinvest the money raised from Andy Carroll’s sale into the squad and boss Alan Pardew remains keen to pick up a big name, or at least highly-rated, striker to inspire The Toon Army.  The Geordies have already signed Demba Ba, who should flourish at St James’, and PSG’s Mevlut Erding has been linked with a move to Newcastle for some time now.  The Parisians have already picked up Kevin Gameiro, ironically beating Newcastle to his signature, which could tempt them into allowing Erding to move on to the North East.

Update on the New Boys

I’ve expressed my concerns about QPR before but now they’ve finally made a significant move, of sorts, by securing free agent Jay Bothroyd.  A few Premier League clubs had been linked with the striker – so some must think he can cut it in the top flight, having failed to cut the mustard previously.  Certainly, his  former boss Arsene Wenger is on record as suggesting that he regrets letting Bothroyd leave Arsenal too early. QPR Boss Neil Warnock has also picked up free agent Kieron Dyer. Obviously, the former England midfielder, best known for having the Newcastle team bus re-route to Birmingham after he has left an diamond-encrusted earring in the dressing room, won’t be fit all season but should do the job whenever he is and is probably a decent acquisition.

One of Warnock’s key issues will be replacing Adel Taarabt, if/when he heads for pastures new.  Paris St Germain are keen on the Moroccan and the QPR boss has turned his attentions to Lazio’s Pasquale Foggia as a replacement, according to the player’s agent anyway.  I’ll be totally honest, I don’t know enough about Foggia to make a judgement on this one and I can’t recall seeing him play for Lazio, but he seems surplus to requirements in Rome and if Warnock is genuinely interested he could be well placed to seal a deal.

Swansea are still hunting a new keeper to replace Dorus Devries, who has signed for Wolves. Boss Brendan Rogers is also seemingly resigned to the fact Fulham’s David Stockdale is off the market.  The Cottagers number two was their top target so boss Brendan Rodgers will have to look elsewhere.  The biggest coup the Swans have pulled off this week is keeping hold of Neil Taylor, who has decided to stay at the Liberty despite interest from Newcastle. That reversal could stall any exit for Jose Enrique from Tyneside, with Liverpool, Arsenal and a couple of Spanish sides in the hunt for his signature.

Norwich boss Paul Lambert has already done a fair bit of business and has now indicated he is planning to scour the loan market to bolster his options.  It worked well with Henri Lansbury last year and the Arsenal academy graduate could head back to Carrow Road for another loan stint.

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Here is a brief table of completed deals, it may not be a 100% accurate at time of publishing but should prove a useful reference tool.


IN: Gervinho (£11m, Lille)

OUT:  Gael Clichy (£7m, Manchester City)

Aston Villa:

IN: Alex McLeish (manager), Nathan Delfouneso (loan return, Burnley)

OUT: Gerard Houllier (manager), Brad Friedel (Free, Spurs), Ashley Young (£15m, Manchester United)



OUT: Phil Jones (£17.5m, Manchester United), Frank Fielding  (undisc, Derby)


IN: Darren Pratley (free, Swansea)

OUT: Johan Elmander (free, Galatasaray), Rodrigo Moreno (loan return, Benfica), Daniel Sturridge (loan return, Chelsea), Tamir Cohen, Jlloyd Samuel, Joey O’Brien (all released), Ali Al Habsi (£4m, Wigan), Daniel Ward (£1m, Huddersfield).


IN: Andre Villas-Boas (manager)

OUT: Carlo Ancelotti (manager), Michael Mancienne (undisc, Hamburg), Jeffrey Bruma (loan, Hamburg)



OUT: James Vaughan (£2.5m, Norwich)


IN: Martin Jol (manager), John Arne Riise (Fulham).

OUT: Mark Hughes (manager), Diomansy Kamara (free, Eskisehirspor), Kagisho Dikgacoi (undisc, Crystal Palace),               Eddie Johnson , Matthew Saunders, Pascal Zuberbuhler , Zoltan Gera , John Pantsil (all released).


IN: Jordan Henderson (Sunderland, £20m), Charlie Adam (£9m, Blackpool)

OUT: Nikola Saric (released)

Manchester City:

IN: Stefan Savic (undisc, FK Partizan), Gael Clichy (£7m, Arsenal)


Manchester United:

IN: Phil Jones (£17.5m, Blackburn), Ashley Young (£15m, Aston Villa), David de Gea (£20m, Atletico Madrid)

OUT: Owen Hargreaves (released), Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar (both retired), Ritchie de Laet (loan, Norwich), Wes Brown (Sunderland), John O’Shea (Sunderland(

Newcastle United:

IN: Sylvain Marveaux (free, Rennes), Demba Ba (free, West Ham), Yohan Cabaye (undisc, Lille)

OUT: Kevin Nolan (£4m, West Ham)

Norwich City:

IN: Steve Morison (£2.5m, Millwall), Elliot Bennett (Brighton), James Vaughan (£2.5m, Everton) Bradley Johnson (free, Leeds), Ritchie de Laet (loan, Manchester United), Anthony Pilkington (£1.75m, Huddersfield)

OUT: Matthew Gill (free, Bristol Rovers),


IN: Jay Bothroyd (free, Cardiff), Kieron Dyer (free, West Ham)

OUT: Mikele Leigertwood (free, Reading)

Stoke City:

IN: Jonathan Woodgate (free, Spurs)

OUT: Abdoulaye Faye (free, West Ham)


IN: Keiren Westwood (free, Coventry), Sebastian Larsson (free, Birmingham), Craig Gardner (£5m, Birmingham), Connor Wickham (£8.1m, Ipswich), Ji Dong-Won (Chunnam Dragons), Wes Brown (Manchester United), David Vaughan (free, Blackpool), John O’Shea (undisc, Manchester United)

OUT: Jordan Henderson (£20m, Liverpool), David Healy (free, Rangers)

Swansea City:

IN: Danny Graham (£3.5m, Watford), Steven Caulker (loan, Spurs)

OUT: Dorus de Vries (free, Wolves), Darren Pratley (free, Bolton)

Tottenham Hotspur:

IN: Brad Friedel (Free, Aston Villa)

OUT: Steven Caulker (loan, Swansea), Jonathan Woodgate (released), Jamie O’Hara (£5m, Wolves)

West Brom:

IN: Billy Jones (free, Preston), Gareth McAuley (free, Ipswich)

OUT: Abdoulate Meite (free, Dijon), Scott Carson (undisc, Bursaspor), Ryan Allsop (undisc, Millwall), Gianni Zuiverloon (undisc, Real Mallorca)


IN: Mauro Boselli (loan return), Ali Al Habsi (£4m, Bolton)

OUT: Tom Cleverley (loan return, Manchester United), Steven Caldwell (free, Birmingham)


IN: Dorus De Vries (Free, Swansea), Jamie O’Hara (£5m, Wolves), Roger Johnson (£7m, Birmingham)

OUT: Greg Halford (undisc, Portsmouth)