Friday, 1 June 2007

The Window Opens

The summer transfer window officially opens for business this morning, and the gentle waft of transfer rumours drifts slowly through, warm and full of promise, like vapours from a Bisto boat. The rest of the written press to finally catch up on the Scott Parker story. Alex Lowe, writing in The Independent, confirms West Ham were last night holding discussions with the Newcastle United captain over a proposed £7m move to Upton Park. It is understood that West Ham's chief executive, Scott Duxbury, was involved in talks with Parker's representatives after Spurs had also shown interest in the England international. Parker would be Alan Curbishley's first signing of the summer and the article claims the West Ham manager has been given significant funds, thought to be more than £40m, to ensure there is no repeat of last season's relegation battle and to spearhead a challenge for Europe. It also reports that the Hammers' list of targets include Charlton Athletic striker, Darren Bent, and Everton's Australian midfielder, Tim Cahill, but the club have not revealed whether they will retain Carlos Tevez.

A story in The Guardian claims Aston Villa have emerged as favourites to sign
Nigel Reo-Coker and are expected to agree a deal worth about £8million with West Ham United for the England Under-21 captain next week. Martin O'Neill returns from holiday today keen to complete the deal, which would take his spending since arriving at the club last summer beyond £20m. The piece insists that Villa's financial strength in the transfer market and Scott Parker's anticipated arrival at West Ham should ensure that the deal goes through smoothly. While Parker was last night on the verge of completing his £7million switch from Newcastle to West Ham, Reo-Coker was said to be 'excited by the prospect' of playing under O'Neill.

Interestingly, The Sun has a different take on events and claim
Reo-Coker has 'begged Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce to end his West Ham nightmare'. The article states that Allardyce, who continues to track Manchester City bad-boy Joey Barton, tried to land the England Under-21 skipper for Bolton last season but Hammers boss Alan Curbishley refused to let him go. Now, the player's increasingly desperate and incredibly inept agent Tony Finnegan has said: "Sam Allardyce knows how to get in contact with Nigel and we would welcome a call. If Sam said he wanted to speak, Nigel would be on the train in a shot. It would be very interesting to see what his plans are for Newcastle."

There are a couple of other transfer rumours. The Daily Star claim West Ham aim to complete the most combative midfield in the Premiership by signing Manchester City star Joey Barton. They insist the Hammers have started talks with the England international and aim to team him up with Newcastle's Scott Parker. West Ham are willing to stump up the £5.5m needed to activate a get-out clause in Barton's contract and hope to tie up a move by next week. Ordinarily, a rumour in the Daily Star would not be given too much credence but this story actually chimes with things I have heard from other well-placed sources. Finally, it is reported in several places that Derby County are close to agreeing a £1million deal for Tyrone Mears. "Tyrone is a young player who has plenty of potential, as we saw in the play-off final, and we are now trying to tie up the deal," said manager Billy Davies. "He is raw at times, he makes mistakes and his concentration level can dip. But with the athleticism and pace he possesses, the tackles he is capable of making and the way he can get forward, I think he is a player who, given time and support, can be a very good right-back."

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