In a week where Manchester United have been knocked out of the FA cup by League 1 side Leeds, Sir Alex Ferguson may realise it is time to strengthen his squad. Hatem Ben Arfa of Marsielle has today been linked with a switch to Old Trafford. The former Lyon starlet has failed to live up to expectations in France and was linked with a loan switch to Blackburn last week, which makes this rumour all the more bizarre.
Marsielle are reportedly looking for £40 million if they are to sell the winger. I find the fact that Ben Arfa has been linked with United to be very strange and £40 million is a staggering amount for a player that has never performed well on the biggest stage. I believe United would be better off looking for someone of the standard of David Silva, a player who has won a European Championship with Spain and a regular at Valencia.
Chance of this happening: 2/10, If Ben Arfa signs for United, it will certainly not be for anywhere near the £40 million mark.
Arsenal look resigned to losing Cesc Fabregas if they finish without silverware this season. The Arsenal captain has caught the eye of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Arsenal are unwilling to lose their talismanic captain as Arsene Wenger aims to build a side around him. Real Madrid have been linked to Fabregas for years now and finally look set to make their move.
Should any deal happen, Wengar wants young Argentine Gonzalo Higuain as part of the deal. The 21-year old striker has been in great form this season and it remains to be seen if Madrid would allow him to leave.
Chances of this happening: 5/10, I believe Cesc is destined to return to Spain one day, This may not be for another few years but if Arsenal continue their current drought of trophies then perhaps Cesc may move sooner rather than later. Having said that, I can’t see Madrid letting Higuain go as part of the deal though.
Manchester City have today completed the signing of Patrick Viera on a 18 month contract. They have also been linked with numerous defenders since Roberto Mancini was appointed. The likes of Ivan Cordoba and Christian Chivu have been mentioned but today it’s the turn of Palermo centre back Simon Kjaer. The defender is highly rated by Mancini and the former Inter boss is expected to bid £18 million for his services. A possible departure from Eastlands may be Roque Santa Cruz who has been linked with a loan move to Spanish side Espanyol. The Paraguayan has been troubled by injuries since signing for City back in July and may be given a chance to gain fitness at Espanyol.
Chances of this happening: 7/10, There is no doubt City need to bolster their back line. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know a lot about Kjaer but Mancini must have seen something in him whilst managing in Italy to make him want to spend such a large amount on him, however I think Chivu would be a better option for City as he can fill in at left back when needed also.
Ryan Babel has been linked with a move to Premier League high flyers Birmingham City. The 23-year old winger isn’t a regular at Anfiled and will need games if he is to break into the Ducth side for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Birmingham have reportedly had a £9 million bid turned down by the debt-ridden Merseyside club, as they are hoping for an offer of £12 million which is the sum they paid Ajax for his services back in 2007.
Babel clearly hasn’t lived up to expectations since making the move to Liverpool. In the limited chances he has been given, he has failed to make an impression and looks to be on his way out. Birmingham have money to spend and Babel looks to be one of Alex McLeish’s biggest targets this month.
Chances of this happening: 9/10, Babel needs to leave Liverpool, Rafa Benitz hasn’t given him a chance in the side this season and Birmingham would offer him the chance to make a name for himself in the Premier League with regular first team opportunities. Liverpool should take the £9 million on offer as, In my opinion, they are lucky to receive such a generous offer.