Rio Ferdinand, recently released by Manchester United after a decorated career there, has linked up with the man who gave him his first league start – Harry Redknapp. Rio will be a Queens Park Ranger in the 2014/15 season, with the signing to be confirmed soon. 35 year old Ferdinand is still a great leader and a very good player when fit, and a typical ‘Arry the Dealer transfer. He’ll do fine in London with less pressure and expectation.
Rio’s former employers don’t seem to be having all that much luck however. Manchester United’s Thomas Vermaelen bid has been rejected, and it sounds like Southampton are really digging their heels in over Luke Shaw, with new Saints boss Ronald Koeman adding an extra £10m to the previous asking price. They have Patrice Evra under contract for another year, but reserve left back Alexander Buttner is ready to leave. Buttner is still smarting over Louis Van Gaal omitting him from the Dutch World Cup squad, and says he has no interest in playing for a guy that doesn’t value him.
On the plus side, there is an emerging rumour that Manchester United have signed Atletico Bilbao’s Ander Herrera, a classy midfielder who United failed to get a year ago (one of Moyes’ many misfires – though blame should really go to Chairman Ed Woodward there). Hererra has a release clause that ramps up from the start of July, so expect a deal quickly if it’s gonna happen at all.
Luis Suarez. What to say? His father-in-law says Luis has nothing left to prove in England and ought to head to Spain. Barcelona and Real Madrid would fight to the death over him. Suarez himself keeps going on and on about the English media not respecting him. Yeah, the same English media that just named him player of the year. Who knows what goes on in that man’s brain?
The done thing these days seems to be playing dumb and confused. Everybody’s doing it. Angel Di Maria is the latest to say he’s not sure where he’ll be playing next season, despite being under contract for the European Champions. Arsenal and Manchester United are both keen, as are Juventus and Monaco. Chile’s/Juve’s Arturo Vidal is another not sure where his future lies. Maybe it’s just that players of clubs with revolving door transfer policies never feel safe? That could be why Alvaro Negredo (Man City) keeps being tipped to join Atletico.
Speaking of Atletico, they’re denying that any Diego Costa to Chelsea deal is complete. Now that Costa is out of the World Cup, he may have more time to put pen to paper.
Inter Milan are ready to stump up £12m for Man United winger Nani, which seems like a deal worth making on both parts.
And across town, AC Milan’s president has been quoted as saying that as good as Mario Balotelli is, he isn’t irreplaceable. This only adds fuel to the fire that he’ll be joining Arsenal for £25-30m. To replace him, Samuel Eto’o is a possibility. After a very poor season, AC Milan are ready to mix things up, and may offer Nigel de Jong to Man Utd as well.
World Cup Heroes:
Memphis Depay (Netherlands) – 20 year old Dutch star, scored against Aussie and Chile. Plays for PSV and has been dubbed ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’. Real Madrid are favourites, Man Utd have the Van Gaal connection and Spurs are sniffing round too.
Alexis Sanchez (Chile) – One of the best players at the Cup so far, the Barca winger doesn’t really suit their style and could be better suited to an EPL, Serie A or Bundesliga club. Juventus were leading the race, followed closely by Manchester United and Liverpool, the latter in a prime position given Barcelona’s interest in Luis Suarez.
Enner Valencia (Ecuador) – Bagged a 3 goals already, looks pretty classy. Newcastle, Spurs and Everton are all interested in the 25 year old, currently playing in Mexico.
Antoine Greizman (France) – The young French winger has been a standout for Real Sociedad and the 23 year old is being watched by the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and PSG, though with Carlos Vela staying at Sociedad, Greizman has admitted that he may after all stay put.
Divock Origi (Belgium) – After the 19 year old scored the winner over Russia, obviously Spurs and Arsenal were gonna be interested. Liverpool too, apparently. He’s currently on the books of Ligue 1’s Lille.