They have Rooney, Hernandez, Wellbeck and some Dutch fella. You would have thought that the last thing that Man United needed in the summer was a striker. However during the winter transfer window there were plenty of rumours that United had already done a deal to sign Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund.
The story is back in the news again this week with differing reports from Germany about where the player’s future will be.
On Saturday German legend Lothar Matthaus claimed that the deal had already been done to sell the player to Bayern Munich
As ESPN reports Mattheus told Sky the only question remaining was whether the Poland international, who has also been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford, joined the champions-elect in the summer or when his deal expires in 2014.
“I have heard that Lewandowski and his management have already reached an agreement with Bayern,” Matthaus said.
“His contract runs out in 2014. Dortmund could cash in on him in 2013. They would get a high fee – I have overheard something like €25 million to €30 million – or he could join Bayern on a free in 2014.”
However Bayern President Uli Hoeness has a different view,
He told German paper Abendzeitung: “If Lothar confirms this, then soon he will be the general manager at Bayern.”
Matthaus then struck back telling Sky
“Uli Hoeness also knows I have been in the business for 30 years now. I have good contacts, not only domestically but also internationally. A reliable source – one who would know – told me that Lewandowski will join Bayern. If you have such information – and in this case I am no coach, but a pundit – I have the duty to pass this information on. If I am wrong, I will apologise to Uli Hoeness.”
Some really interesting gossip is coming out of The Potteries this morning. Firstly Stoke have apparently bid for Birmingham City keeper Jack Butland. Butland, who is also being tracked by Fulham among others, turned down a move to Chelsea yesterday because he wants to be a first choice keeper.
Stoke obviously know this – so why are they bidding for him when they have Asmir Begovic?
There’s also Arsenal who might even offer Begovic Champions League football as their first choice keeper ahead of Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole made a couple of serious errors yesterday against Liverpool. And even if Szczesny did remain number one Arsenal are very short of quality in reserve.
It might just be that cash-strapped Birmingham have to cash in on Butland and that he might prefer to join a Midlands club as understudy to Begovic.
Nevertheless this is definitely one to keep your eye on.
So just how good is Wilfried Zaha. Julius from one Gunner Gooner blog might be an Arsenal fan, but he has also seen a lot of Palace in the last few years. Here is his assessment of Zaha and his take on whether Arsene Wenger should have tried a little harder to sign him.
I like to call Crystal Palace my South London club. My first ever football match was to watch The Eagles at Selhurst Park, and ever since I have kept up the connection. I always keep up with Palace’s results and, if possible, watch them down in SE25.
This deep lying love for the club means that I have been lucky enough to watch Wilfried Zaha turn into the player he is today. Frankly, how he’s gone unsnatched for this long is nothing short of remarkable. Although it seems he shall don the colours of our fierce rivals Manchester United from next season, he is still a wonderfully gifted footballer that should be appreciated by lovers of football in general.
What Sort of Player Is He?
Since Darren Ambrose left for Birmingham in the summer, Zaha has become Palace’s new talisman. And a better one at that. Put simply, he is their only star player. Crystal Palace play with a basic 4-2-3-1 formation, and strong defensive midfielders in Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi give the three attacking midfielders a licence to roam. Yannick Bolasie, Oven Garvan and Andre Moritz all rotate in the AM positions, but Zaha is the only consistent starter.
It speaks volumes about the raw quality he has. He can do anything. He has astonishing pace, a low centre of gravity for someone as moderately tall as 5ft 11 and a brilliant shot. At times, Palace just give him the ball and he’ll do something special. Against Peterborough in November, when desperately needing a winner to remain top, they gave the ball to Zaha. He ran half the length of the field and cut it back for Dikgacoi to score in the final few minutes. He’s that kind of player for Crystal Palace: a talisman but also a leader by example.
If he had moved to Arsenal, he could have slotted in quite nicely. He would most likely have operated down the left flank. As a right footer, he has an unbelievable talent for bamboozling full backs before cutting inside then passing or shooting. Think of him in dribbling form as the Gervinho of the Championship. But before that puts you off, his end product is one of the strongest points of his game, and some of the goals he scores and assists are extremely impressive.
What Is His True Value?
Only now is he starting to blossom. For a while now has he been a consistently good performer for The Eagles, but this season he has suddenly stepped up. He buzzes around more than he used to, and has worked on his strength, which invariably comes with age. Now that his potential is being realised, it allows Palace to drive a hard bargain. And my God to they cling onto their talent. Neil Danns and Nathaniel Clyne, two of Palace’s best players in the 10/11 and 11/12 seasons respectively, were in the final year of their contracts. Even when it became apparent that neither wanted to remain, instead of cashing in (it was reported that there were offers on the table for Clyne as high as £7m), they stuck to their guns and held them to their contracts. Both left on free transfers the following summers. Bear in mind that this is a cash strapped club we’re talking about that, only a season ago, managed to claw their way out of administration. Manchester United have reportedly made a down payment of £10m, with the fee rising to as high as £15m depending on his success at the Red Devils. This seems fairly steep for a 20 year old that has never played at a level higher than the second tier but these days quality costs.
Would He Have Been A Good Signing For Arsenal?
In a nutshell, probably. The jump from taking on Peterborough’s Craig Alcock to Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic is obviously a big one, and many of the Championship’s best players have often struggled to make the step up (David Nugent being a prime example). I would like to see him as another future first teamer as he is unlikely to be the kind of player that will have an instant impact. We wouldn’t have needed him at all given how stocked our wings are. This means that buying him at an inflated price in January would have been a bit silly unless every forward at Arsenal suddenly develops osteoporosis. He still needs time to develop, and the Crystal Palace setup that churned out Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne is not a bad place for Zaha to continue his footballing education.
In conclusion, Zaha has remarkable ability. Without him, Palace would be midtable or worse, and his ability to save the day for The Eagles slightly reminds this Arsenal supporter of he who shall not be named. If he is to wear the picnic shirt of our northern rivals from next season, it will be a shame but also a testament to the raw talent this winger possesses . Eagles fans often call him the Ronaldo of the Championship. Whether he could fall under the same bracket as Cristiano in the Premier League is the big question. He certainly has that little glint in his eye.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s ongoing campaign to snap up the best young British talent continues with the news that Crystal Palace’s exceptional winger Wilfried Zaha is to join the club.
The player is said to be on his way to Old Trafford to undergo a medical after agreeing a £15 million move and a five and half year contract.
It sounds like great news for United fans. But Palace have done pretty well out of the transfer too. Not only is £15 million a lot of money for Championship player – it is roughly the same amount that Arsenal paid Southampton for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – but United have agreed to loan the player back to Palace for the rest of the season.
According to the Beeb
United will pay £10m up front, with the fee potentially rising to £15m based on Zaha’s appearances and success. The player has scored 15 goals in 124 appearances for the Eagles since his debut against Cardiff in March 2010.
Zaha’s arrival once casts doubts on the long term future of Nani. In spite of apparent interest from Arsenal the player seems set to stay at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future, but when Zaha arrives in the summer the out of favour Portuguese winger will surely be on his way.
Man United’s chase of Wilfried Zaha seems finally to be reaching a conclusion with the BBC reporting that the two clubs are going to hold further talks today. The main issue appears to be whether Zaha will be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season to help the side’s promotion campaign.
Ben Smith of the BBC said earlier.
“United are understood to be willing to pay £12m for Zaha and will would then loan him back to the Championship club for the rest of the seaso. Both clubs have refused to comment on a proposed deal for the 20-year-old. But an agreement could be reached by the end of the week for a player who won his first England cap against Sweden in November.”
Meanwhile Arsenal have completely pulled out of the race for the Gunners supporting player.
Arsene Wenger told a news conference this morning that
” I don’t know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him. We were never in for Zaha.”
I think that had Theo Walcott not signed a new contract Arsenal would have been more interested in the player. Zaha has been one of the best players in the Championship this year and if he can replicate his Palace form in the Premiership he is likely to be a huge star at Old Trafford.
It seems as if Sir Alex Ferguson might have shunned the odd glass of Merlot – or maybe something warmer – with AVB last night as he had other business to attend to.
The Mirror is reporting that the United boss made a beeline for a London hotel to meet Crystal Palace’s highly rated tricky winger Wilfried Zaha.
The Mirror says
Manchester United have agreed a staggering £15 million deal to sign wonder kid Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.
Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been backed by his money men in his bid to land the England starlet and Palace have accepted a fee that guarantees them £10 million.
The extra £5 million will come in appearances and achievements and the whole total is more than the Eagles could refuse for their young attacker.
In the race to sign the winger United always seem to have the edge over their rivals Arsenal in spite of the fact that Zaha is a Gunners fan. The winger is apparently happy to move to Manchester and it shows how keen the United boss is to sign him.
Arsenal have spent big on young Championship talent in the past with the £15 million forked out for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. However the club is eerily silent on Zaha, even though Wenger is known to be a huge fan.
If the deal goes through it does throw up the question of what will happen to Nani? The Portuguese winger was lined with moves to Arsenal and other clubs in December and in spite of the that it was reported that he was going nowhere he might now be deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
There’s also no word on whether Zaha would stay at Palace for the rest of the season or head straight away to Old Trafford.
Ok, so he still hasn’t actually ‘signed da ting’, but the BBC at least is confident that Theo Walcott is about to splash the ink on a new deal at Arsenal. It even suggests it could be done today.
“Agreements have now been reached between Arsenal and their top scorer, who could put pen to paper on Friday if legal formalities can be completed.”
So there’s no source and no details, but the BBC don’t tend to run stories like this unless they are very confident in their facts.
Arsene Wenger said yesterday that he was 99% sure that Walcott would agree a new deal.
Slightly disappointing news for Gunners fan comes from Goal.com which claims that Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha is on the verge of becoming a Man United player. Apparently The Reds have bid £6 million for the winger.
United made the first formal move on Thursday for the forward, who has privately told the Premier League leaders that he favours a move to Old Trafford ahead of the Gunners.
Palace have rejected United’s cash offer as they hold out for a higher fee and will wait to see if Arsenal will also make a bid.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger now makes his move.
The extended saga of the transfer of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace to a Premiership club seems finally to be heading for a conclusion. According to Goal, both Man United and Arsenal will have talks with the player (Sky Sports News is also running the story) and that ‘Zaha’s destination is “50-50″ between United and Arsenal, with the final decision to rest with the player himself.’
That might prove to be good news for Arsenal, given that Zaha is a fan of the club. However Palace manager Ian Holloway is reputedly keen to keep Zaha on loan for the rest of the season as his side pushes for promotion to the Premiership. Alex Ferguson is said to be happy with this arrangement, but Arsene Wenger, aware of his the lack of depth in his squad, would want Zaha immediately.
Zaha’s decision might also come down to money. Again this favours United as Ferguson has consistently spent big on players that he deems to be essential. Meanwhile Wenger’s cut price offers have seen him lose players to other clubs in the recent past most notably Gary Cahill and Juan Mata who both ended up at Stamford Bridge rather than The Emirates.
The bidding is likely to start at around £10 million.
Zaha had been assumed in the last few days to definitely be United bound, and Wenger himself poured a bit of cold water on the rumours a few weeks ago. Now it appears that the chase is back on.
The Indie says
Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, present at several of his games.
Admittedly no other papers are saying that Arsenal have a chance to land the 20 year old – the rest are going with him signing for United and being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.
The Indie, and a lot of other papers, also have the story that Arsene Wenger is making a late move to sign Marseilles striker Loic Remy. The 26 year old, who has been chased by QPR and Newcastle is apparently an Arsenal fan and would cost the Gunners in the region of £10 milion.
The paper says
In his first two seasons Rémy scored 37 goals in all competitions, but this campaign has been a struggle.
Inter had been keen on a move for the forward, but they preferred to offer a player as part-exchange in the deal and that has not appealed to Marseilles. Wenger is also keen on Anderlecht holding midfielder Lucas Biglia.
Lastly David Villa showed some form last night in scoring two excellent goals in Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba. According to the gossip Villa wants to go, Barca want keep him and Wenger is in two minds. I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.
Some bad news for United, Arsenal and, let’s not forget, Everton fans. French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that the Blue’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini could be a Chelsea player by the end of the week.
The report, which has also made the BBC sports news , is that that the 25-year old will sign a five-year deal with the club, for a fee of £22m. He will earn £4m a year.
It has been widely reported that the player has a £22 million transfer trigger fee and it seems that Chelsea are prepared to meet it.
Fellaini has made a total of 155 appearances for Everton, scoring 29 goals. His form this year has been scintillating.
Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer but it seems unlikely that Arsenal would match the asking price. With the move seemingly imminent will Fergie make his move now?
So have United done a deal to sign Crsytal Palace’s tricky winger Wilfried Zaha? The Telegraph seems to think so. The paper believes that other clubs have been frightened off bidding for the player because Fergie has already agreed to sign him
The Telgraoph says
The main issue is when, not if, it will happen with Crystal Palace hoping to keep the £12 million-rated 20-year-old until the summer at least.
Palace are hoping for a deal that would enable the player to stay at the club on loan for the rest of the season.
Zaha was attracting a lot of interest from Premiership clubs a few weeks ago. Arsenal have dropped out of the race because it seem that the club will now re-sign Theo Walcott while Spurs distanced themselves from bidding for Zaha yesterday.
Meanwhile United striker Danny Wellbeck is reported by The Mail as being on the verge of joining Reading on loan. There have been few opportunities for the player at Old Trafford this season and a move to another club might help him re-ignite his United career in the log run.
Ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that his extended sabbatical in New York is going to come to an end soon and that he is looking for a new job.
The 41 year old told the press conference ahead of today’s Ballon d’Or ceremony that he will be managing again.
“Yes, I would like to come back [to coaching]. I don’t have a team, I don’t know, but I would like to go back to coaching. My decision has been taken to coach, but beyond that there is no decision taken.”
However Guardialo wouldn’t be drawn as to where he might be in a few months time
“It would be a lack of respect to other coaches to speak about any team that is being run by a coach anywhere in the world.”
There will be no shortage of suitors for the well dressed, uber tactician. Chelsea have long been favourites to land the Catalan, and the fact that they only currently have a temporary manager in Rafa Benitez underlines that they may be looking for a new coach come the end the season.
The key question for Guardiola is whether he would be willing to work for a club that has such a high turn over of managers? If not the two Manchester clubs could be options – though this would require Ferguson to retire or Mancini to end the year with no silverware.
Paddy Power us running a book on his next destination and rates Chelsea of Bayern Munich as his most likely role, followed by Man City.
Where do you think he will end up? We ran a poll on the site a few months back – which you can see here.
Pepe Reina to Arsenal was a key story before the transfer window opened, but now it appears that the Liverpool FC Spanish keeper is interesting not just Arsene Wenger but Sir Alex Ferguson too.
According to The Mirror Fergie is ready to sell David De Gea and buy a new goalkeeper this month with Liverpool’s Pepe Reina a target.
Ferguson has apparently asked David Gill and the club’s American owners to provide funds for a new keeper, and the Scot is understood to be keen to find a goalkeeper who can play in the Champions League during the second half of the season.
Reina looks like he is surplus to requirements at Liverpool with the form of Brad Jones and the mooted move of Birmingham City’s Jack Butland.
Still, although De Gea hasn’t quite worked out in the Premiership – he seems very suspect on crosses – replacing the keeper who Ferguson spent big money on after so short a time seems bizarre.
So it appears that Frank Lampard is on his way out of Chelsea. The departure of the 34 year old midfielder, who has been at the club for 11 years, has a whiff of ravens leaving the Tower of London about it. But his exit from the Blues was pretty much confirmed at the weekend with the player expected to depart in the summer.
But where will Frank be off to next? According to Goal today he isn’t short of offers. The website says that Everton have already had an offer rejected and that Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are among the clubs who have asked to be kept informed of the 34-year-old’s situation. The Daily Mail is running the story too.
At first glance it seems unlikely that the ultra loyal Lampard would ever go and play for one of Chelsea’s rivals. However, he does want to continue playing and, according to Goal again has ruled out a stint in Italy or Spain.
The obvious destination for the player would then be the MLS following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.
The key question though is does the player think his carer at a top level is finished? And is now the right time to head west? Given his time again would Beckham have moved to the MLS when he did when he arguably had at least a couple of years when he could have played in a premium European league? Lampard is older than Beckham was when he moved to the Galaxy, but the Chelsea player seems very fit, not too lacking in speed or agility and certainly still has a keen eye for as goal.
Maybe it is due to diet, or better injury management, but over footballers seem to be playing longer and older players are more in demand than they used to be. Van Persie went for £25 million while nudging 30, and Arsenal may be about to spend £16 million on a 31 year old. At United Scholes and Giggs, who are closer to 40, seem to be going on forever.
Lampard might be too ‘True Blue’ to consider signing for one of Chelsea’s direct rivals, but then again he knows he will have one last big pay day and maybe money might trump sentimental loyalty. And would the move to United be so bad? Fergie apparently would sign the player tomorrow and the way in which the United boss has extended the careers of several of his players might swing it.
The other alternative would be a return to his first club West Ham. With Cole now at the club and move to the Olympic Stadium in the offing I wonder if Frank might see the East London club as a project that he could help develop.