Thursday, 22 January 2009

Truth Undistorted

German philosopher Hans Margolius once wrote that only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. So it is that on a sedate news day during the transfer window, one's mind sets to wonder if today's stories linking the club with a bargain buy from the Championship, and an unheralded young defender from Greek abstrusity, might actually more accurately reflect the club's intentions and ambitions for the immediate future. Is it too much of a stretch to believe that for all the talk of lavish indulgence on exotic transfer fruit... Osvaldo, Nsereko, Saviola, Cavenaghi, Balotelli, Pazzini, Cavani, Acquafresca et al... the tastes of the club come the end of the month might turn out to have been nauseatingly prosaic.

So, Fulham and West Ham want to hijack Middlesbrough's move for Ben Watson, according to this mornong's Mail. The versatile Crystal Palace midfielder had been due to seal a switch to Teesside on Thursday after Boro's £2million offer was accepted by the Championship club, but both London sides have now reportedly matched that bid. Watson, 23, had gone to the north-east for a medical and talks over personal terms last night, but is believed to have a preference for staying in the capital. Wise boy.

Palace boss Neil Warnock, however, has moved quickly to scupper the speculation. "Middlesbrough have got the opportunity to speak to him first and I’m not sure if he’s going to speak to anybody else," he revealed. "Once we agreed a fee other clubs quite rightly can match the fee and talk to him. We’ve had a couple of Premier League clubs, but it’s not West Ham or Fulham. I’m pleased for Ben, the club and Simon Jordan because we had such a derogatory offer from QPR. We’ve got a realistic valuation now - £2million is realistic for someone of Ben’s quality."

Meanwhile, today's Mirror claims West Ham have taken a shine to defender Bryce Moon at Panathinaikos. The South African, 22 and rated at £500,000, has caught the eye of technical director Gianluca Nani - and the fullback last night admitted the two clubs have made contact. Moon said: "I know about the interest of West Ham but I have nothing official yet in my hands. My agent is working on it." Also linked is Bochum's centre-half Antar Yahia, as Gianfranco Zola looks to strengthen his resources in defence.

Finally, the Daily Star believe Birmingham boss Alex McLeish remains hopeful of signing West Ham defender Calum Davenport on loan with a view to a permanent £3m switch at the end of the season. Also, Wolves are apparently set to take Nigel Quashie on loan until the end of the season. The player is at the Compton training ground today with a view to completing a deal that will see him become the second loan arrival from Upton Park in the space of a week.

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