Transfer Update: Reyes to Benfica, Crosas to Celtic, Cuellar to Villa
Benfica have completed their fourth signing of the summer by agreeing a one-year loan deal for Spanish winger Jose Antonio Reyes. The 24-year-old makes the move from Atletico Madrid, with the Lisbon club also having the option to buy the player at the end of his loan spell. Benfica coach Quique Sanchez Flores continues to overhaul his squad as The Eagles look to soar once again after a poor season by their standards.
For the first time in a few season, Benfica failed to gain a top three finish in the Portuguese Liga and will play in the UEFA Cup this year. Reyes, combined with one of the other new signings — Pablo Aimar, should inject some creativity into the Benfica midfield and provide stronger service to striker Óscar Cardozo.
One player who has left Benfica is Cristian Rodríguez, who had been on loan from Paris Saint-Germain but has now made a 7m Euro permanent move to link up with rivals FC Porto.
Celtic FC have signed midfielder Marc Crosas from FC Barcelona in a deal which could rise to 1.4m Euros. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder joins the Scottish champions through a complex deal. Celtic will pay an initial £415,000 fee that could rise to as much as £1.6m depending on appearances. that allows Barcelona to buy back the player for £1.6m at the end of the 2009/10 season. Barcelona will also receive 25% of any transfer fee if Crosas is sold to another club. The 20-year-old was introduced to the fans at Celtic Park this past Sunday prior to Celtic’s season opening 1-0 win over St Mirren. Celtic fought off competition from Sevilla, Sporting Gijon and Sampdoria for Crosas’ signature.
Crosas made his first-team debut for Barcelona two seasons ago but has only made one appearance since. He went on loan to French champions Lyon in January and played eight times for the club before the end of the season. Crosas was not the first player Celtic targeted under this complex system. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell revealed to the Sunday Herald that Argentina forward Javier Saviola and Portugal winger Ricardo Quaresma earlier refused the opportunity to join the club.
Meanwhile, Julio Baptista’s switch to Roma could fall through due to the price tag Real Madrid have put on his head, according to the player’s agent. Roma were keen on a loan deal similar to that which took Baptista to Arsenal in 2006, whereby they would pay three million euros now with the option to shell out another 10 million to secure his services permanently next year.
After a long frustrating summer, Everton look to close some deals in the coming days. Everton have bid £6 million for Rennes midfielder Stéphane M’Bia who is being targeted as a replacement for defensive midfielder Lee Carsley. M’Bia is currently on duty with Cameroon at the Olympics Newcastle striker Alan Smith was being targeted in a £2 million transfer. Moyes has failed to bring in any new players since guiding Everton to fifth place last season and his squad was further depleted by the sale of Andrew Johnson to Fulham. Everton have had some turmoil in the boardroom after chief executive Keith Wyness resigned his position at the club. Chairman Bill Kenwright, who has come under fire from Everton fans who were angry at the lack of progress in the transfer market, has reiterated he would welcome new investment to strengthen the club’s financial firepower.
Two potential targets have dried up as Sporting Lisbon president Filipe Soares Franco insists midfielder Joao Moutinho will not be leaving the club this summer and CSKA have rubbished reports of a move for Vagner Love. Roman Babaev, the director general of the club, has reportedly stated “It isn’t true that we have loaned Vagner Love to Everton, there are no negotiations about that.”
UEFA Cup hopefuls Aston Villa have made another splash into the transfer market after agreeing a £7.8m fee with Rangers for their highly-rated Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar. Villa invoked an exit clause in the player’s contract after the 26-year-old had made it known that he wanted to play in the English Premier League.
Cuellar moved to Ibrox from Spanish side Osasuna last summer and enjoyed a terrific debut season for the club, helping them to the UEFA Cup final and winning both the Clydesdale Bank SPL and Scottish Football Writers’ Association player of the year awards.
Cuellar will be Villa’s seventh signing of the summer following the transfers of Curtis Davies (loan deal made permanent), Steve Sidwell, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, as well as defenders Nicky Shorey and Luke Young. Shorey and Young joined in recent days on seperate transfers from Reading and Middlesbrough respectively. Both have been on the fringes of the England squad and will add much needed depth to the Villa squad.
Sticking with the theme of defenders on the move, Monaco have reached an agreement with AC Milan to sign defender Dario Simic. Simic, 32, had spent the past six years at the Rossoneri after moving over from rivals Internazionale. Milan won two Champions League trophies during his stay at the club.
Lastly, Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has made French defender Younes Kaboul his newest recruit after agreeing a £6million deal with Tottenham. The ex-Auxerre man was recruited by former Tottenham boss Martin Jol but he saw his playing time diminish under Jol’s successor Juande Ramos, who preferred to play midfielder Didier Zokora at centre-back rather than Kaboul.
The 22-year-old centre-back should be available for next Sunday’s Premier League opener against Chelsea but will have to work hard to break into the Pompey defence as the regular centre-back pairing Sylvain Distin and Sol Campbell is quite solid. It is unlikely though that Campbell will be able to play all of the fixtures in the domestic league and UEFA Cup so Kaboul will be a valuable depth signing.