Friday, 16 January 2009

The Beat Goes On...

To paraphrase The Mill, Kaka still belongs to Jesus and AC Milan. This blog still belongs to anyone who'll buy it a plastic rose and treat it like a lady for half an hour. Craig Bellamy still belongs to West Ham. Jesus belongs to all of us. And about £150m still belongs to Manchester City. For now.

This despite the news that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was locked in talks on Thursday night with Craig Bellamy after West Ham accepted a £12million package for the Wales striker. Or so salivates the Daily Mail, in an article that contains no credible facts, quotes or even a scintilla of credibility. Redknapp has reportedly agreed to pay £10m up front with a further £2m based on performance in a bid to head off interest from Manchester City for the 29-year-old forward. The Mail expects/hopes/preys/is engorged by the prospect of City matching the Spurs offer today, having had their last bid of £9.5m rejected. That will leave Bellamy facing a choice between linking up with Redknapp at Tottenham or rejoining Mark Hughes, whom he played under for Wales and Blackburn, slavers the paper. Although Spurs would be unable to match personal terms available at City, Redknapp will hope Bellamy's initial preference for a move across London will prove decisive.

Meanwhile Mark Hughes last night stepped up his game of transfer-window brinkmanship with West Ham and Blackburn. The City boss took time off from his pursuit of Kaka to warn he will pull the plug on deals for Roque Santa Cruz and Craig Bellamy if their clubs fail to lower their valuations. According to the Express, Hughes believes no other club would match the £16million offer City have made to Blackburn for Santa Cruz, or the £9.5m they have slapped on West Ham’s table for Bellamy. He believes both clubs are running the risk of ending up with two unhappy players who will command fees nowhere near as high if they try to offload them in the summer.

Blackburn are asking £20m for Santa Cruz, a player they bought for £3.8m 18 months ago, while the Hammers want £15m for Bellamy, who cost them £6m in 2007 – or £20m for both the striker and team-mate Scott Parker. Hughes accepts that City, flush with the wealth of Abu Dhabi ­billionaire Sheikh Mansour, will have to pay a “premium”. But he thinks Blackburn and West Ham are trying it on. They, in turn, are angered by City’s apparent ‘two-tier’ transfer policy, arguing that if City can pay £100m to land Kaka they should not be baulking at a few more million for Santa Cruz and Bellamy.

"We’ve made bids, had bids rejected, and now must decide if we go back to the table. January is always a difficult transfer window because if clubs don’t want to sell, there’s ­nothing you can do about it. That’s where we are at this moment in time. And we are well aware that Manchester City will always be asked for a premium. We always said we would look at each ­individual situation. We have ­values which we have placed on players, and we feel that those ­values are realistic. Maybe as we get towards the end of the window, situations and attitudes to deals will change. Maybe we will revisit or maybe we will walk away from some deals. That’s for us to know, and other clubs to take the ­gamble with. We still have some time until the window closes and we have to wait and see. We will get the right deals which we feel are correct for us. If the club doesn’t feel the value at this moment in time is good for Manchester City, then we’ll walk away from the deal."

The Express thinks West Ham are ready to sell Bellamy, who has made them well aware he is keen to join City. But they are thought to be highly irritated that City have only been ready to improve their offer from an original £7.5m to £9.5m. Although the Hammers want £15m, the word is they would sell at £12m. The paper quotes an insider as saying: "The ­manager has made clear that we can’t do any more to keep him at West Ham and we would all prefer it if Craig stayed. But we would obviously have to listen to offers of that sort [£12m]. However, there will come a point when this will all go away which would be fine by us. That, or they can make a realistic offer. We don’t have to sell."

Newcastle have been warned off Lucas Neill after West Ham said he was not for sale. The Geordies last night abandoned a seemingly muddled and one-sided attempt to the United captain after the Hammers said they were "astonished" by talk of any move. Just hours after Joe Kinnear, Newcastle's manager, had spoken of taking the Australian full-back on loan until the end of the season, a Newcastle spokesman said: "With regards to Lucas Neill, West Ham United have made it clear he is a player they value as a highly important member of their squad and who they have no desire to sell. Newcastle United respect West Ham's position and will therefore not be pursuing this matter."

This was all news to West Ham, who released a statement on the club's website, saying: "West Ham would like to make it clear that Lucas Neill is a contracted West Ham United player and that we have received no approach from any club for his services, including Newcastle United. We are astonished by reports that a Premier League manager has claimed contact with one of our players." Earlier Kinnear had spoken of the move as if it were well under way. "It would be a loan until the end of the season," he said. "Being happy to match his wages would probably be one of the reasons why we are taking him, or probably one of the reasons why they want to get rid of him."

Arsenal have been linked with a move for West Ham defender Matthew Upson. According to the Mirror, manager Arsene Wenger is desperate to sign a centre-half in the January transfer window and has earmarked Upson as the deal candidate. Should the 29-year-old move to the Emirates, in what is being suggested will be a £12 million deal, it would mark a "remarkable u-turn" (the one that would see Arsene Wenger re-signing a player he shifted on in 2003, and not the one pulled by Gianfanco Zola's tiny yellow bathtub Fiat in the Emirates car park on hearing he's being offered Nicklas Bendtner in return, snarks The Guardian).

West Ham will be reluctant to part with Upson. They have already rejected £12m bids from Tottenham and Manchester City for Craig Bellamy and have made a point of saying that their prize assets - namely Upson, Bellamy and Scott Parker - are not for sale. However, reveals the article, it has been suggested that Upson would welcome a return to the Gunners, who would provide him Champions League football and a regular shot at the Premier League title.

A couple of others snippets floating around the websphere this morning has West Ham United being encouraged to bid for Fiorentina striker Daniel Pablo Osvaldo. The Times says Fiorentina want to offload the 23-year-old forward for about £7 million. He has played for the Italy Under-21 team, for whom Gianfranco Zola was a coach. Osvaldo's representatives have confirmed West Ham's interest, though Bologna are also said to be keen. The same paper thinks striker Davide di Michele could be on his way back to Italy. Reggina are thought to be chasing Di Michele, who is on-loan at Upton Park from Torino.

Finally, as I write this, it is emerging that West Ham have rejected new bids from Manchester City and Tottenham for striker Craig Bellamy. Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson 'understands' that the tug-of-war for Bellamy's services has intensified in recent days but Upton Park chief executive Scott Duxbury remains determined to retain the services of the former Liverpool forward. The Telegraph are reporting Mark Hughes tabled a fourth offer for the player, believed to be in the region of £11 million, though West Ham remain adamant he will not be sold, unless a figure they are unable to turn down is forthcoming.

So Kaka still belongs to Jesus and AC Milan. Craig Bellamy still belongs to West Ham. And Jesus belongs to all of us, except the Daily Mail. They sold their soul a long time ago. And so the beat goes on...

No comments:


Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari