Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Some Say No, Some Say Yes

Some say no, some say yes
Less or more or more or less
Leave me alone right now...
Several reports in this morning's papers suggest West Ham United have rejected a second Tottenham approach for Craig Bellamy. According to The Sun, the offer was somewhere in the region of an eye-popping £12 million, double the initial bid tabled on Christmas Eve. Andrew Dillon reports that Harry Redknapp is determined to boost his options in attack, particularly after lowly Spurs failed to score a goal over Christmas against Fulham and West Brom. Bellamy, 29, scored twice in United's 4-1 win at Portsmouth on Boxing Day and the club remain insistent they do not need to sell their best players. This latest move represents a bold attempt by Tottenham to beat competition from Manchester City, also known keen admirers of the Wales striker.

The Telegraph reiterates that City manager Mark Hughes has placed Bellamy on his list of potential January targets. And should City and Spurs become locked in a bidding war, the London club know they cannot hope to win. For their part, City are rumoured to have made an earlier £15 million approach for Bellamy and midfielder Scott Parker, which was rejected by West Ham. However, a fresh approach is likely, with City almost certain to be the Premier League's biggest spenders next month.

If Bellamy is no longer a viable option for Tottenham manager Redknapp, he may turn his attentions to Jermain Defoe. According to the Mail, Defoe has told Portsmouth manager Tony Adams he wants to be allowed to leave Portsmouth to return to White Hart Lane. Defoe, who Redknapp signed for Portsmouth from Tottenham in 2006, was frustrated to be left out of Adams' side to face Arsenal on Sunday. And the Mail says Defoe has since met with Adams to request a transfer back to White Hart Lane. Martin O'Neill, the Aston Villa manager, is also understood to be monitoring the developments with both strikers ahead of the January transfer window.

According to the Mail, Nantes are showing an interest in Julien Faubert, who has struggled to establish himself at West Ham following his £6million transfer from Bordeaux in 2007. The French midfielder struggled with an Achilles tendon injury last season which ruled him out of action until January when he made his belated debut against Fulham, featuring in eight games over the remainder of the campaign. Faubert has struggled to claim a regular place in Gianfranco Zola's side but returned to action at the weekend as a replacement for the injured Lucas Neill - at right-back rather than his usual midfield role. Nantes coach Elie Baup is quoted as saying: "If I had to sign anyone in January, the priority would be Julien Faubert."

Meanwhile, David Di Michele has refuted suggestions that he could be set for a quick-fire return to parent club Torino. The Hammers striker is currently on loan at Upton Park from the Turin club, with that agreement scheduled to run until the end of the season. The 32-year-old had first sought to leave Italy after suffering a fall-out with then Torino manager Gigi De Biasi. But with Walter Novellino having now taken the Stadio Olimpico hot-seat there have been suggestions that Di Michele may welcome the opportunity to head back home.

However, despite struggling to hold down a regular role in England, the experienced front-man insists he is happy to fight for his place with the Hammers. "I have heard news regarding my return to Turin, but I am only thinking about doing well for West Ham," he said. "Anyway, it does not depend on me since I am on loan. Here in England I settled well and although I haven't been playing much recently I want to prove myself."

Elsewhere, Fiorentina striker Giampaolo Pazzini has again been nominated as a possible transfer target for United, this time with the added complication of interest from Everton. The Mirror claims David Moyes is in desperate need of a striker following injuries to Yakubu, Louis Saha, Leon Osman and James Vaughan, while Gianfranco Zola previously knows the 24-year-old in the Italian U-21 set-up.

Pazzini has scored 24 goals in 96 league starts for Fiorentina, but is perhaps most famous for scoring the fastest goal, first official goal and also the first hat-trick at the new Wembley Stadium – all in the same U-21 international against England. You can see all the action from that game as well as other goals from the striker in the following fan compilation video; curiously sound-tracked by Hooverphonic's Human Interest.

Another Italian on Zola's watch list could be Juventus midfielder Sebastian Giovinco. Media speculation has it that any move would likely be a loan deal, with Arsenal also reported to be watching the situation closely.

In separate news, the agent of Inter player Luis Jimenez has sought to end talk the Chile international will leave the San Siro in the upcoming transfer window by discussing all those clubs who have reportedly targeted the player. Rocco Dozzini confirmed he has fielded inquiries about the player from West Ham as well as Italian duo Sampdoria and Lecce. Despite that interest, Dozzini has denied the 24-year-old attacking midfielder is seeking a move away from Inter.

"Everybody is asking about Jimenez. That is quite normal because we are talking about an excellent player," he told El Mercurio newspaper. "But he will stay at Inter because they have decided he will not be transferred. Luis belongs to Inter and there is absolutely no chance he will leave. West Ham, Sampdoria, Lecce call me every day. Regarding Lecce, I like (Mario) Baretta, I am a friend of the sporting director of the club, but there is nothing to talk about."

Finally, the three most reassuring words in the English language "Sky Sports understands"... that United have handed a trial to Brescia midfielder Bartosz Salamon. The 17-year-old Salamon arrived in the country on Boxing Day and is said to be well known to Hammers technical director Gianluca Nani who is aware of him from his time at the Italian club.

The 6 ft 3 in Pole has already broken into the Brescia first team after joining the club from Lech Poznan in 2007. Salamon is highly regarded and the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid have been credited with an interest in his services in the past. He would not be the first young Pole to be courted by the club in recent times. Promising young defender Filip Modelski was procured back in July.

Gianfranco Zola is keen to bolster his squad and he will cast an eye over Salamon in training before deciding whether or not to pursue his interest in the midfielder. Nani will be hoping to use his contacts at Brescia to help West Ham seal a deal for Salamon if Zola does opt to try and bring the Pole to Upton Park.

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