Cesc Fabregas is returning to London but he’ll be in blue, not red and white. Chelsea have secured the Spanish midfielder in a £30m deal from Barcelona. Arsenal fans are understandably pissed after their club turned down the chance to buy him back, and Barca don’t seem to pleased with him either, putting out a statement on their website highlighting how Fab had an apparent trend of getting worse as seasons went on after fast starts. Bagging your former player as you sell him. Not very classy, that.
Look, Arsenal never seem to win in the transfer stakes (Ozil aside). As expected Bacary Sagna will be a City player next season, having declined all Gunners interest, and picking the defending champs over a couple of offers from overseas. And to add to a growing list of Arsenal captains to be sold, Thomas Vermaelen has reportedly signed an agreement in principal to join rivals Manchester United. A fee will need to be negotiated though with Vermaelen in the final year of his contract, don’t expect much more than £5m or so if it happens. In fact, they may even demand a player swap. Both Nani and Tom Cleverley have been mentioned to go the other way. Credit to the Gunners for spreading the wealth throughout Manchester at least.
The good news for Arsenal is that their striker stocks may get a boost. Joel Campbell has spent the past three seasons out on loan but having impressed for Costa Rica in their win over Uruguay, Arsene Wenger has suggested that the 21 year old will get the chance to earn a spot with his contracted bosses. One guy who it sounds won’t be returning is Carlos Vela, despite reports. Real Sociedad are desperate to work out a deal with Arsenal for full rights to the Mexican, as the Gunners currently hold a cheap buy back option which up until recently they were keen to exercise. Instead Sociedad will pay £8m or something close to abolish that clause. Arsenal also got £5.6m from the Fabregas transfer so if nothing else the coffers are looking stacked.
West Brom have found their new manager and his name is not Tim Sherwood. It is Alan Irvine. A bit of a shock appointment, Irvine is a former manager of Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, and has spent the past three years as Everton’s head of recruitment. His managerial record isn’t all that special, though he was a strong contender for the WBA job five years ago, so he must have left a good impression. Tim Sherwood was expected to get the job but negotiations broke down and Sherwood remains unemployed.
Southampton also have a new boss in charge. Dutch legend Ronald Koeman will take over for the departing Mauricio Pochettino, having agreed terms with the club (terms that included them letting him hire his brother Erwin as his assistant). He signs a 3 year deal, having most recently guided Feyenoord to second in the Dutch league. Koeman will find out his first opponents when the EPL draw is released on Thursday NZT.
Sunderland are pretty desperate for Swansea centre half Ashley Williams. In an ongoing series of negotiations they’ve submitted an improved £6m bid for the Welshman who doesn’t seem too fussed himself and would probably be happy to stay with the Swans. Sunderland have at least bagged former City keeper Costel Pantilimon, a Romanian international, on a free.
Ivan Rakitic is a Barcelona player, as reported last week. It has been confirmed by the club, with a five year contract signed, sealed and delivered. The fee is undisclosed as of yet, but 20 year old Barca midfielder Denis Suarez (who signed from Man City a year ago) will join Sevilla on loan as part of the agreement. Rakitic is the second incoming transfer of the summer for Barca, after young German keeper Marc-André ter Stegen last month.
Gonzalo Higuain has also hinted at a Barca move (or, well, admitted that he’d like to play with Messi, but y’know how these things work) while his Argentine teammate Sergio Aguero has denied all La Liga interest.
Diego Costa is yet to be confirmed as a Chelsea player (might have to wait until after the World Cup) but we know how that saga will end. Atletico are scouting new strikers to replace him, and atop their list is City forward Alvaro Negredo.
Lazio have told all suiters to bugger off with regards to star midfielder Antonio Candreva.
Inter Milan have submitted a loan bid for Man City’s Stevan Jovetic.
Man Utd are serious contenders to sign Dutch left back Daley Blind, aka the guy who crossed the ball for RVP’s header vs Spain.
Liverpool are ready to make a much increased bid for Alexis Sanchez.
Napoli want Pepe Reina.
Atletico want Arsenal reserve left back Nacho Monreal on account of Felipe Luis is probably going to Chelsea.