After accepting a sordid envelope with £20m for “Lass” Diarra, Portsmouth rejected shrewd dealer Harry Redknapp’s £30m overture for Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch. Pompey then lessened Defoe’s value markedly, by announcing they would sell him for a fair price.
“It looks like Jermain wants to go,” Portsmouth executive chairman Peter Storrie said. “If Jermain goes it will be at our price and if there is an offer which appeals.”
Spurs remain favorites to sign the striker.
West Ham, contrary to previous statements, confirmed the club’s inevitable fire sale this winter. Icelandic chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson was severely crunched by the collapse of an Icelandic bank. Manager Gianfranco Zola will “not be compelled” to sell anyone, but the club will listen to any offer for any player, probably ones he’d want to keep such as Craig Bellamy and Matthew Upson.
Arsenal may flout tradition by making a £12m bid for ready-made Everton man Mikel Arteta. The Spanish midfielder would be Arsenal’s ideal signing. He’s an experienced 26, plying his trade in the Premier League the past few seasons. Arteta can provide a credible Fabregas facsimile in the middle for the next few months. He can also fill in on the wings when Fabregas returns.
Arteta would be a perfect fit for Arsenal, so expect Arsene to balk at an extra £2m for him and sign a 19-year-old raw French African.
The Gunners may also sell defender Kolo Toure in January, after he handed in a subsequently rejected transfer request. The defender, not surprisingly, has struggled to regain fitness after a bout of malaria in the summer. He and William Gallas also hate each other, though why you would choose Toure over Gallas is unclear. Out of the squad for much of the season, Toure’s potential £10m fee from Manchester City could give Arsenal funds to strengthen the midfield.
Manchester City have a £60m transfer budget for six players to help them avoid relegation. Hughes has made a £10m offer to Chelsea for left-back Wayne Bridge. They may bid over £20m for Craig Bellamy and Scott Parker from West Ham and throw in £17m to Blackburn for Roque Santa Cruz, just for shits and giggles.
Finally, Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant may join Hull City after rejecting an overture from Real Madrid, in what would undoubtedly the first time that statement could be made. The Tigers would like Pennant “at the right price,” but will face off with Wigan, who view Pennant as a replacement for Luis Antonio Valencia, possibly on his way to Real Madrid.