The Transfer Insider Betting Column 1st July

Welcome to this week’s transfer column. I’ve added a handy little update sheet at the bottom of the page to help you plot all the major transfer ins and outs from here on in.

Don’t take it as 100% accurate as I may miss some minor deals, or get the transfer fee wrong, but all the big stuff will be on it and hopefully it will provide a decent reference point for your Premier League bets when you are considering squad changes.

De Gea – A Big Risk?

I’ll start with a few updates on some speculation covered in earlier editions, Manchester United have signed keeper David de Gea from Atletico Madrid as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar.  They’ve forked £20m and some may feel this is a bit of a risk for a 20-year-old keeper but this looks great business considering his experience in La Liga with a relatively big side, and the competition he beat off to secure the top spot in Madrid. However, the transfer has apparently not been greeted with universal approval within United’s camp, with one notable high profile scout at the club offering noted opposition behind the scenes.

Last week I covered Swansea’s pursuit of Villarreal’s Marcos Senna and I genuinely thought there was a good chance it could happen.  You can’t win them all though and a move to the Liberty looks all but dead in the water for the veteran defensive midfielder.  Swans boss Brendan Rodgers has confirmed he did speak to Senna – but the two parties are too far apart in terms of wages and he’s staying at Villarreal.  I feared this could be a gambit to improve Senna’s offer from his current employers, and that could well be the case.

Bolton have snapped up free agent Darren Pratley, who left Swansea after their promotion.  Owen Coyle is a good manager but he’s lost one of his key men already in Johan Elmander and it looks like Gary Cahill will be heading off, probably to Arsenal.  Coyle will certainly needs to strengthen further in what remains of the close season.  Pratley looked a decent player in the Championship and should be able to make the step up.  That would leave the Wanderers with four pretty decent players in the middle of the park, but Coyle could still do with a striker or two, depending on whether or not  he can get Daniel Sturridge back on loan from Chelsea.  Coyle will certainly need a centre-half if Cahill moves on.  I’m sure the Wanderers would like to strengthen in other areas as well but whether they can or not remains to be seen and could all depend on whether Cahill makes his big money move. The England international is just 1/5 with Skybet to join the Gunners but it isn’t set in stone yet and Man City (10/1 to sign Cahill) and Spurs (14/1) remain interested.

Man City’s Numerous Targets

Manchester City have pulled out of the battle for Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez, apparently, and the transfer betting market reflects this.  The Chile international is just 1/8 to join Barcelona with Skybet and 8/1 to join City with the same bookmaker. City have been unusually quiet so far but they will certainly make some big moves later in the summer, and there have been some interesting rumours.

City are also chasing Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi but any deal looks in the balance.  Lavezzi is a full Argentina international and has been included in their Copa America squad. The Argentinean striker also has a £26m release clause that the powers that be at Eastlands are reluctant to meet.  Napoli say they won’t lower their valuation and any transfer will probably be put on hold until after the Copa America. If he impresses the suitors could just line up, if not City could perhaps negotiate the fee downwards.

In other City related news Shaun Wright-Phillips is willing to take a pay cut to leave, according to Bolton’s Zat Knight who reckons he’s Reebok bound. I am not sure on that one. I am sure though that City boss Roberto Mancini is hoping the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Craig Bellamy follow suit as City look to fall at least somewhere into line with the UEFA Financial Fair Play requirements that will come into sharper focus from this season onwards. Keeper Shay Given seems set to leave Eastlands this summer, he had been linked with Arsenal but a move to another potential title contender seems unlikely and a switch to Aston Villa, who need a keeper, is a more realistic possibility. One place he won’t be going I suspect is Chelsea. A leaked team report, compiled by new Chelsea boss Andre Villa Boas, in his previous guise as an opposition analyst for Jose Mourinho, was less than complimentary about the Irish stopper’s inconsistent handling of crosses. Finally, City are being linked with two left backs, Arsenal’s Gael Clichy and Everton’s Leighton Baines.  Clichy is coming to the end of his deal and will be the cheaper option, while Everton will be reluctant to sell Baines but may consider it to raise funds for their own transfer targets. Sources at Everton have been steeling themselves for the loss of Jack Rodwell and Baines since the end of the season, with the acknowledgement that David Moyes must sell in order to buy.

The New Everton Wonderkid?

In the medium term though, the loss of Rodwell may be offset by the emergence of the latest Goodison wonderkid Ross Barkley. His manager has already told The Liverpool Echo that he expects the player to make the breakthrough this season after recovering from a freak triple leg break in an England U19 game against Belgium. Publically it’s a softly, softly approach from the Everton PR machine, but behind the scenes the latest  Finch Farm academy prospect is being talked of in reverential tones. The youngster, who hails from Wavertree has been at Everton since the age of 11 and burst onto the scene with a Victory Shield goal against Northern Ireland for England U16s at the tender age of 14. Already considered to be one of the hottest prospects in English football, seasoned Everton watchers describe the boy as an exciting box to box midfielder in the style of former England captain Bryan Robson.

While Everton are relying on their own youth conveyor belt to produce future first team stars, Sunderland have won the battle for Ipswich’s teenager Conor Wickham, for a cool £8m, allegedly beating off competition from Liverpool.  From what I’ve seen he looks a decent player but even though he’s a pricey buy Steve Bruce might ease him in next season rather than just throw him in at the deep end.

Barcelona’s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas continues and it looks 50/50 that they’ll get their former academy player this summer.  Arsenal have finally relented and will sell if a decent offer comes in, but Barca are yet to meet it and despite all their recent success they still don’t have massive financial clout, befitting of their status.  Samir Nasri has also been linked with Barca. I am not sure how true that is as I can’t see why they’d need him but, then again, I’m not Pep Guardiola. Perhaps he sees something different. Certainly Nasri  could be a reasonably cheap singning, relative to his ability, simply due to the fact his contract expires next summer.  Arsenal probably don’t have much roome to manoeuvre if either player is hell-bent on moving on. Fabregas is 2/5 to join Barca with Unibet or 9/5 to stick with the Gunners, there are no markets worth betting on in terms of Nasri.

N’Zogbia to Villa Park?

Aston Villa have joined the ever increasing number of clubs credited with an interest in Charles N’Zogbia, and they have money to spend after Ashley Young’s move to Old Trafford.  Alex McLeish also went for him last summer but the Frenchman didn’t fancy St Andrew’s, maybe he’ll find Villa Park a more attractive proposition – a bit like McLeish did.  If Villa move first, a bidding war could ensue, Wigan will want the best price possible even if N’Zogbia is coming to the end of his deal.

Stoke have seen a double bid rejected for Birmingham pair Cameron Jerome and Scott Dann.  Depending on which report you believe it is either £10m or £16m for the pair, if it is the former this falls way below the Blues’ valuation and a deal looks unlikely, if £16m was their initial offer there could be room to negotiate. Scott Dann, according to a family source, has his heart set on a move to Anfield where he spent his youth as a season ticket holder.

Real Madrid appear to be leading the race to sign Brazilian international Neymar and the Spanish giants are heavy favourites at 10/11 to secure the Santos star with Skybet.  Up to five clubs are thought to have met Santos’ £40m asking price so it may not be a done deal as yet, Man City and Chelsea are also believed to have matched the Brazilian outfit’s valuation, with Chelsea 7/4 and City 7/1 to seal a deal.

Transfers North of The Border & Down The Leagues

Rangers have seen a bid rejected by Dundee United for striker David Goodwillie after failing to meet the asking price.  Widespread reports coming out of Scotland have suggested the Terrors value the 22-year-old at £2m and our information is that Rangers offered a ‘paltry’ £1m in midweek. The strikingly inarticulate striker, who has a rape charge hanging over his head currently, looks likely at this stage to be a Cardiff player next season, with the Bluebirds managed by another Scot, former Watford boss, Malky Mackay.

Make no mistake, this is is an ominous sign for Rangers, confirming our impression that their  transfer dealings will be of a decidedly cut-price variety for the foreseeable future . While the fans will ask serious questions as to how much money the new owners are willing to put in, behind the scenes we hear that new boss Ally McCoist is already frustrated by the lack of autonomy afforded to him in relation to his transfer budget.  Prior to Craig Whyte’s takeover the speculation suggested he would put in around £30m this summer but the investment, in real terms may mean that Rangers are, at best, competing alongside similar lines financially next season – an adverse judgement in the HMRC case hanging over the club would obviously throw even the most prudent financial planning at Ibrox into sharp relief.  Both Celtic and Rangers will be managed by relatively inexperienced managers next season, with Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist both in the early stages of their dug-out careers.  The Bhoys are the current favourites with  most bookmaker at just under evens, William Hill have them at 5/6 (the best price I can find), while Rangers are a best priced 11/10 with bet365, Unibet and Paddy Power.

West Ham may have been pretty woeful last season but nonetheless, they have been installed as the current favourites to secure the Championship title next season and are a best priced 5/1 with Coral to secure the top spot.  New boss Sam Allardyce has done it before with Bolton and he’s already picked up two players who probably could have found top flight clubs.  Kevin Nolan and Abdoulaye Faye have both worked with Allardyce previously, at Bolton, and are great additions who will aid a promotion push.  The Hammers will lose plenty of players as well though and Scott Parker seems a certainty for the exit, as does Carlton Cole. The former Chelsea striker is attracting interest from Stoke.

A to Z Transfer In’s and Out’s So Far




Aston Villa:

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

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



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


IN: Ali Al Habsi (loan return), Daniel Ward (loan return), 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).


IN: Andre Villas-Boas (manager)

OUT: Carlo Ancelotti (manager)





IN: Martin Jol (manager)

OUT: Mark Hughes (manager)


IN: Jordan Henderson (Sunderland, £20m)

OUT: Nikola Saric (released)

Manchester City:



Manchester United:

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

OUT: Paul Scholes (retired), Ritchie de Laet (loan, Norwich City)

Newcastle United:

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

OUT: Kevin Nolan (West Ham, undisc (£4m))

Norwich City:

IN: Steve Morison (£2.5m, Millwall), Elliot Bennett (£1.5m, Brighton), Ritchie de Laet (loan, Manchester United)





Stoke City:


OUT: Abdoulaye Faye (free, West Ham)


IN: Sebastian Larsson (free, Birmingham), Conor Wickham (£8m, Ipswich)

OUT: Jordan Henderson (£20m, Liverpool),

Swansea City:

IN: Danny Graham (£3.5m, Watford)

OUT: Darren Pratley (contract expired, Bolton)

Tottenham Hotspur:

IN: Brad Friedel (Free, Aston Villa)

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

West Brom:

IN: Billy Jones (free, Preston)



IN: Mauro Boselli (loan return)

OUT: Ali Al Habsi (loan return)


IN: Dorus De Vries (Free, Swansea), Jamie O’Hara (£5m, Spurs)

OUT: Marcus Hahnemann (released)