Tag Archives: Luka Modric

Premier League’s Top Five Biggest Spenders In The Last 10 Years

torres-chelsea-signs

The 2013 transfer window will be something special not only because of all the potentially exciting deals that can happen but also it marks the 10th anniversary of the transfer window.

In 2003 the rules were changed to ensure that all transfer were carried out either in the summer or in January alone, leaving the rest of the season free of speculation and allowing everyone to focus on the football. So, since it’s introduction in 2002/03 right up to the summer window just gone over £4.4 billion has been spent – but who has splashed the most cash and who has pulled off the worst deal?

Luckily, thanks to TransferMarkt and GiveMeFootball, we have a list of the top 5 biggest spenders over the last decade. Have a look at it below..

1. Chelsea

Total spend: £861,498,000
Biggest spend: £151,536,000 (2003/04)
Most expensive deal: Fernando Torres, £50 million (2011)
Best deal: Didier Drogba, £24 million (2004/05)
Worst deal: Andriy Shevchenko, £30 million (2006/07)
Average season spend: £78,318,000

2. Manchester City

Total spend: £662,521,200
Biggest spend: £160,556,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Sergio Aguero, £39.5 million (2011/12)
Best deal: Sergio Aguero, £39.5 million (2011/12)
Worst deal: Robinho, £32.5 million (2008/09)
Average season spend: £60,229,200

3. Liverpool

Total spend: £533,683,040
Biggest spend: £85,822,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Best deal: Fernando Torres, £20 million (2007/08)
Worst deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Average season spend: £48,516,640

4. Tottenham Hotspur

Total spend: £496,663,200
Biggest spend: £125,400,000 (2008/09)
Most expensive deal: Luka Modric, £16.75 million (2008/09)
Best deal: Rafael van der Vaart, £8 million (2010/11)
Worst deal: David Bentley, £16.5 million (2008/09)
Average season spend: £45,151,200

5. Manchester United

Total spend: £484,884,400
Biggest spend: £91,080,000 (2007/08)
Most expensive deal: Dimitar Berbatov, £30.75 million (2008/09)
Best deal:  Cristiano Ronaldo, £12 million (2003/2004)
Worst deal: Owen Hargreaves, £17 million (2007/08)
Average season spend: £44,080,400

El Clasico – Barcelona v Real Madrid Preview

There are very few fixtures in world football that capture the imagination quite like the meeting between the two giants of Spanish football – Barcelona and Real Madrid, as the El Clasico returns tonight.

Two old adversaries will lock horns at Camp Nou in the latest installment of a derby dual which will perhaps decide the fate of the league at a point sooner than ever before. Barcelona are currently at the top of the table and hold an eight-point lead over their arch rivals. It’s no rocket science that anything apart from a win for Real Madrid will mean a huge task for them to overturn the deficit and defend their league title.

TEAM NEWS

Barcelona

Barcelona will assess Gerard Pique’s fitness ahead of Sunday’s Primera Division showdown with Real Madrid at Camp Nou. The Spain defender has not played for two weeks because of a foot injury but managed to train in the gym on Friday. Carles Puyol (elbow) and Thiago Alcantara (knee) are ruled out, meaning converted midfielders Alex Song and Javier Mascherano are likely to resume their partnership in central defence.

Real Madrid

Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria are set to return to the starting line-up for Real Madrid, who have no injury concerns. The biggest selection dilemma for boss Jose Mourinho is likely to be over the playmaker role, with Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric, Kaka and Michael Essien all vying for a starting berth.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 221
Barcelona Wins – 87
Draw – 46
Real Madrid Wins – 88

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

29-Aug-12 – Super Cup – Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
23-Aug-12 – Super Cup – Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid
21-Apr-12 – La Liga – Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
25-Jan-12 – Copa del Rey – Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
18-Jan-12 – Copa del Rey – Real Madrid 1-2 Barcelona

FORM GUIDE

Barcelona – WWWWW

02-Oct-12 – Champions League – Benfica 0-2 Barcelona
29-Sep-12 – La Liga – Sevilla 2-3 Barcelona
22-Sep-12 – La Liga – Barcelona 2-0 Granada
19-Sep-12 – Champions League – Barcelona 3-2 Spartak Moscow
15-Sep-12 – La Liga – Getafe 1-4 Barcelona

Real Madrid – WWWWL

03-Oct-12 – Champions League – Ajax 1-4 Real Madrid
30-Sep-12 – La Liga – Real Madrid 5-1 Deportivo
24-Sep-12 – La Liga – Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid
18-Sep-12 – Champions League – Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City
15-Sep-12 – La Liga – Sevilla 1-0 Real Madrid

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The Argentine magician was an ever-present threat in the Champions League on Tuesday, setting up goals for Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas in the 2-0 win at Benfica. Barcelona will need Messi to be at his best again and keep the action firmly in the Real Madrid half to prevent the understrength defence from being troubled by the visitors.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Madrid’s star striker comes into this clash in the fine form and on the back of two consecutive hat-tricks against Deportivo and Ajax respectively. The torment of Barcelona in April when he scored the winning goal in this fixture last season which won Real the title, the Portuguese will again look to take command of this fixture.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Alex Song, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi, David Villa.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Iker Casillas; Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo; Karim Benzema.

MATCH ODDS

Barcelona 17/20, Draw 11/4, Real Madrid 3/1

PREDICTION

With Barcelona having to deal with many injuries in the heart of the defence and Real Madrid having their best players in top form, its Real Madrid’s game to lose. As all games between these two sides, this one is also expected to be an open, end-to-end game of football with both sides going for the win. A win for the Catalan giants and they go eleven points ahead of their fierce rivals, but a win for the reigning champions and they are back in the race. An exciting match is expected followed by a win for the defending champions.

Predicted Score: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid

Five ‘Big Name’ Premier League Signings That Never Happened

The transfer window is finally over, and Premier League managers and chairmen can rest easy and concentrate on the matters on the pitch, for another few months at least.

Now that the dust has settled, we can take a look at the five ‘big name’ transfer deals in the Premier League which were very close to happening but never happened in end.

1. Hulk (Porto) to Chelsea
The Brazilian was continuously linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout June and July and at one stage it looked like it was almost a done deal. Hulk even admitted he wanted to leave Porto and join the European Champions, but the Portuguese champions insisted they had never recieved an offer from the Blues. In the end, Chelsea gave up the chase because of his hefty price tag and wage demands and instead signed Wigan’s Victor Moses. The powerful left-footed forward joined Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg this week, for a fee of around £40m.

2. Joao Moutinho (Porto) to Tottenham Hotspur
The Portuguese playmaker was the man Andre Villas-Boas wanted to replace Luka Modric at White Hart Lane. But Spurs had to first sell the Croatian to free up funds to buy new players and Modric’s transfer to Real Madrid took weeks to be agreed and completed, which left the London club with just few days to wrap up the Moutinho deal. On deadline day, Spurs did agree a club record £20m fee with Porto but problems surrounding personal terms and third party ownership issues scuppered the deal.

3. Lucas Moura (Sao Paulo) to Manchester United
The Brazilian wonderkid was Manchester United’s top transfer target this summer after the Red Devils failed in their pursuit of Eden Hazard. After seeing a £23m bid rejected by Sao Paulo, United came back with an improved offer and also reportedly had a bid in the region of £30m accepted by the Brazilian club. But the mega-rich PSG came in at the last minute, paid £35m for the youngster and snatched him away from under the noses of Sir Alex Ferguson

4. Yann M’Vila (Rennes) to Arsenal
The French midfielder was reportedly very close to joining Arsenal before the Euros in Poland & Ukraine but a training ground bust-up with his France teammates made Arsene Wenger to reconsider. The sale of Alex Song to Barcelona saw the rumours start again, but Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham had also entered the fray and in the end, Wenger decided against a late move for the Rennes midfielder and stuck with his players.

5. Clint Dempsey (Fulham) to Liverpool
Liverpool’s American owners were so confident of signing the Fulham forward that they announced on their official website the US international had signed for the club in July. A month later, the Reds did look favourites to complete the deal on transfer deadling day, with the 29-year-old desperate to leave Craven Cottage and join the Merseysiders. But with Liverpool refusing to pay anything more than £4m for the forward, Dempsey joined Tottenham late in the day for £6m, leaving Brendan Rodgers with just two senior strikers at his disposal.

Premier League’s Twenty Most Expensive Transfers Of The Summer

The summer transfer window has shut down and as expected the Premier League clubs were the most busiest this summer, spending a total of around £480 million. In our today’s Picture Special, we look back at the twenty most expensive transfer deals of the season.

Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille to Chelsea – £35.2m)

Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid – £30m)

Oscar (SC Internacional to Chelsea – £25m

Robin van Persie (Arsenal to Manchester United – £24m)

Joe Allen (Swansea City to Liverpool – £16.7m)

Santi Cazorla (Malaga to Arsneal – £16.7m)

Moussa Dembele (Fulham to Tottenham Hotspur – £16.7m)

Javi Garcia (Benfica to Manchester City – £15.8m)

Alex Song (Arsenal – Barcelona – £15m)

Steven Fletcher (Wolves to Sunderland – £13.3m)

Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund – Manchester United – £13.2m)

Jack Rodwell (Everton to Manchester City – £13.2m)

Matija Nastasic (Fiorentina to Manchester City – £13m + Stefan Savic)

Gaston Ramirez (Bologna to Southampton – £12m)

Fabio Borini (AS Roman to Liverpool – £11.7m)

Lukas Podolski (FC Koln to Arsenal – £11.4m)

Adam Johnson (Manchester City to Sunderland – £11m)

Jan Vertonghen (Ajax to Tottenham Hotspur – £11m)

Matt Jarvis (Wolves to West Ham United – £10.7m)

Olivier Giroud (Montpellier to Arsenal – £10.7)

Premier League 2012/13 Predictions

The wait is finally over as the new Premier League season kicks-off today and here my predictions for the 2012/13 campaign.

Champions?

Manchester City are the favourites for me to win the title again this season. They broke their duck last season and got the monkey of their back. They now know how to cope with certain situations and how to get through games. Roberto Mancini and City both will have learnt a lot from last season. I know they haven’t sign anybody – except for Jack Rodwell – but they already have a very strong squad which is more than capable of winning the league again.

At the same time, I expect the title race to be very close like last season and may again go down to the very last day. Manchester United have got Robin van Persie and they will surely be right up there. They have also go their skipper – Nemanja Vidic coming back from injury, and he would be like a completely new signing for the club.

Top Four?

The two Manchester clubs will occupy the top two places and it will be either Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham for the remaining two places. I will go with Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Blues will be a better team than what they were last season. They have bought some very good young players like Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar, that are going to attack a lot. With Didier Drogba moving to China, Fernando Torres will have a big season, as he will have to fill the big shoes of the Ivorian. If Torres could get his old Liverpool form back, which made him one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, then the Blues could even challenge for the title.

It’s going to be very tight between Arsenal and Tottenham for the final Champions League spot. I fill Arsenal will just sneak into fourth because of the great football they play. They may have lost Van Persie and might also lose Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud they have bought in some quality players. As for Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas is a very talented manager but he needs to get the forward line sorted soon and also find a replacement for Luka Modric.

Bottom Three?

It’s really tough to call who will go down this season. Every year I feel Wigan will be relegated but they somehow stay up. This season again I am going to say Wigan. They have made two good signings in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone, but they could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again. Norwich had a very good season last term under Paul Lambert, but with him moving away to a bigger club they are going struggle along with Reading. I really hope the Royals stay up but they are a very attacking side. That will make them entertaining but also vulnerable.

Surprise Package?

With the expected arrival of Gaston Ramirez, it makes Southampton one of the entertaining teams in the Premier League. They have lots of exciting attacking players throughout the side and I can see them doing what Norwich or Swansea did last season. At the same time, I think Mark Hughes’ QPR side will be the overachievers this season. Hughes kept the R’s up on the final day last season and I am expecting a very good campaign from them this year. They have made some very good signings in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett and Jose Bosingwa. They will be very hard to beat and could even finish in the top half of the table.

Top Scorer?

We will be looking at a lot of the same names again this season. Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will form a deadly combo at United, while Luis Suarez – if he can control himself – will benifit a lot in Brendan Rodgers attack-minded Liverpool side and with Arsenal creating lot of chances Lukas Podolski will also be up there. But in the end Sergio Aguero will win the Golden Boot this season. He had a tremendous first season in England and I expect him to get even better this season. If City do go on to defend their Premier League crown, it will be because of his goals.

Player to Watch?

There are so many exciting players to watch in the Premier League this season. As a United fan I love watching Steven Gerrard play because he is a true inspiration to his team-mates and can single handedly win a game for Liverpool and I hope he stays fit for the whole season.

However, I feel Eden Hazard will be my player to watch this season. His transfer saga went on for months and in the end he revealed on Twitter that he had decided to join Chelsea. He is one of the top talents in world football and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the second consecutive time last season. He will have a huge role to play for Chelsea this season and will also have to justify his big transfer fees. If he can star as he did for his previous club then the Blues could be in with a shout for the Premier League title.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Tottenham Hotspur

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Tottenham Hotspur’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Andre Villas-Boas.
Captain: Michael Dawson.
Stadium: White Hart Lane (36,230).
Last season: 4th.
Leading scorer (PL): Emmanuel Adebayor (17).
Odds: Title 25-1. Relegation 200-1.

In: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.8m, Hoffenhiem), Jan Vertonghen (£11m, Ajax).

Out: Ben Alnwick (Free, Barnsley), Vedran Corluka (£6.1m, Lokomotiv Moscow), Ryan Fredericks (Loan, Brentford), Heurelho Gomes (Released), Oscar Jansson (Free, Shamrock Rovers), Ledley King (Retired), Bongani Khumalo (Loan, PAOK Saloniki), Niko Kranjcar (£6.1m, Dynamo Kiev), Massiomo Luongo (Loan, Ipswich), Luka Modric (£30m, Real Madrid), Ryan Nelsen (Free, QPR), Steven Pienaar (£4.5m, Everton), Louis Saha (Free, Sunderland).

Kits

Key Man – Gareth Bale
With Luka Modric expected to join Real Madrid in the near future, Bale will be more important to club than he was last term. Andre Villas-Boas’ arrival should see the Welsh superstar play in a more advance role than he did under Harry Redknapp, a switch he is likely to love. Fresh from signing a new deal, the winger could inspire his team to major honours this season, as well as establising himself as one of the world’s best.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – Newcastle (A)
25-Aug – West Brom (H)
01-Sep – Norwich (H)
16-Sep – Reading (A)
23-Sep – QPR (H)
29-Sep – Man Utd (A)

Probable Formation (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Sigurdsson; Lennon, Van der vaart, Bale; Defoe.

Verdict: Harry Redknapp paid the price for failing to deliver Champions League football, but former Chelsea boss Villas-Boas will be pushed to do the same in the first year of his new project at White Hart Lane. Highly critized by the Chelsea fans after nearly getting them knocked-out of Europe and derailing their title-bid, he is out to prove himself with their rivals Spurs. He has strengthen his squad by bringing in the Ajax skipper Jan Vertonghen at the back and the Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in the middle. Villas-Boas needs to bring a new striker before the transfer window closes as he has just Jermain Defoe at his disposal, if he fails to do so then Spurs may slip out of the top four this season.

Prediction: 5th.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Tottenham Hotspur had a very indifferent season last term. They started the season in fine form and around December they looked like serious title contenders but since January their form dipped and they ended the season in 4th place.

This summer, there have been changes at White Hart Lane with Harry Redknapp being sacked for failing to secure a place in the Champions League and replaced by the former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas. Spurs have already completed the signings of the impressive midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, the young Zeki Fryers and the strong defender Jan Vertonghen, but the former Porto boss expected to add some more new names to his squad with the goalkeeper, midfield and striker positions needing strengthening. Here are Tottenham’s potential transfer targets for the summer..

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club are ready to listen to offers for the France skipper Hugo Lloris, who is valued around €20m. With Brad Friedel in his early 40s, Lloris would be a great signing for Spurs and would be a great long-term option. If reports are to be believed, Tottenham have already made a bid for the French stopper but they are expected to face some tough competition from a host of European clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and AC Milan.

KASPER SCHMEICHEL – LEICESTER CITY (GOALKEEPER)

Spurs have had a close eye on the Denmark international since the end of last season. Peter Schmeichel, the son of the great Manchester United legend Peter, has had good season with Leicester City in the nPower Championship. With Friedel in his 40s, Cudicini not way behind him at 38 years and Gomes expected to leave, Spurs will surely do with a young reserve keeper in their squad. The 26-year-old has attracted interest from many English clubs but a move to White Hart Lane may be too hard to resist.

OSCAR – INTERNACIONAL (MIDFIELDER)

The young Internacional playmaker is said to be high on Tottenham shopping list this summer as they search for a replacement for Luka Modric, who is reportedly on his way to Real Madrid. Oscar has been very impressive for Brazilian giants and is also a regular part of Brazil national team. The 20-year-old, who is rated around £25m, has attracted interest from many top European clubs including Chelsea. According to the reports, Spurs and Chelsea have both launched a bid for the Brazilian and the Blues are said to be favourites to sign him.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane since arrival of Villas-Boas as both of them worked together at Porto. With Modric expected to leave for Real Madrid, Moutinho is a perfect replacement for the Croatian but Spurs will have to battle with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to bring the Portuguese to White Hart Lane.

ALAN DZAGOEV – CSKA MOSCOW (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old had an outstanding UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and was the join top goalscorer with three goals. The Russian international, who can play anywhere behind the striker, is valued at £13m by CSKA but with just six-months left on his contract,  the Russians may be forced to accept a lower asking price or lose him for nothing. With Modric destined to leave this summer, Dzagoev could be cheaper option to replace the Croatian.

MILOS KRASIC – JUVENTUS (MIDFIELDER)

The Serbian winger, who caught everyone’s attention with his performances for CSKA Moscow in the Champions League couple of season, is not needed anymore at Juventus. Krasic was subjected to a lot of interest in January but a move away from Turin never materialized. Spurs are reportedly to be still interested in the 28-year-old, who has also interested the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea as they look to solve their wide problems. Rated at around £10m, Krasic would be a real bargain  in comparison to other players of similar ability.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Emmanuel Adebayor with his parent club Manchester City and Louis Saha released, Villas-Boas has just one striker in his senior squad in the form of Jermain Defoe. With Defoe out of favour and past his peak, the former Chelsea boss might try to sign the 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – but will face some tough competition for his signature from Arsenal and Liverpool, who have also expressed their interest in him.

LEANDRO DAMIAO – INTERNACIONAL (STRIKER)

Oscar is not the only Internacional player linked with Tottenham this summer, star striker Leandro Damiao is said to be also one of Spurs’ top transfer target. With the arrival of Diego Forlan at the club and Internacional needing to cut down their high wage bill, Damiao is expected to leave Brazil for Europe sooner than later. With Spurs needing to buy some new strikers this summer, the 22-year-old would be a great addition to squad but they will need to act fast and agree a deal before the Olympics, as his price may sour up if he has a good tournament in London.

DEMBA BA – NEWCASTLE UNITED (STRIKER)

With Tottenham in need of some serious striking reinforcements, the Newcastle United forward – Demba Ba is another name linked to Tottenham this summer. The Senegal international had a fantastic start to last season and went on to score 16 goals in 36 matches in total. With the 27-year-old available for just £7m till the end of July, due to a clause in his contract, Spurs are expected to face some stiff competition from a host of Premier League clubs including the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.

GIUSEPPE ROSSI – VILLARREAL (STRIKER)

The former Manchester United forward is a player who has been on Tottenham wish-list for many years now. With Adebayor back with Manchester City and too expensive to buy on a permanent deal, Rossi could be a good solution to the problem up front. The Italian has been in good goal scoring form since joining Villarreal in 2008 and could be available for as less as £15m since the Spanish club are relegated and are struggling with debts.

LOIC REMY – MARSEILLE (STRIKER)

Remy was one of the top transfer targets of Tottenham when Harry Redknapp was in charge of the club. The France international has expressed his desire to play for the White Hart Lane club despite the lack of Champions League football. The 26-year-old who is rated around £20m and has scored 14 goals for Marseille this past season, would be a very good addition to squad but it look like the new boss – Andre Villas-Boas doesn’t seem interested in him.

EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR – MANCHESTER CITY (STRIKER)

Adebayor spent the last season on loan at White Hart Lane, where he scored 17 goals in 33 Premier League matches. City are looking to reduce their wage bill because of the new Financial Fair Play Rules and the Togo international is most likely to be sold. According to the papers in UK, Spurs are very close to signing the former Arsenal forward on a permanent basis and the fee is reported to be in the region of £6m. If the reports are true then Adebayor will be a great signing for the club, keeping in mind his success last season.

Manchester United’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Manchester United had a decent last season as they finished second – just on goal difference – behind city rivals, Manchester City in the league but were very disappointing in both European – both the Champions League and Europa League – and the domestic cup competitions. 

This summer, United will look to strengthen their squad as they look to win back the Premier League title from their noisy neigbhours and also try and win the Champions League for the first time since the 2008. Sir Alex Ferguson has already strengthen his squad this summer by signing the Japanese international Shinji Kagawa and the highly-rated youngster Nick Powell, but the Red Devils will have to bring in some more new names if they want to challenge for trophies on all fronts. Here are Manchester United’s potential transfer targets the summer..

LEIGHTON BAINES – EVERTON (DEFENDER)

The Everton left-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for some time now and its highly likely that the England international will be a United player before the start of the season. Patrice Evra’s form dipped last term and the Frenchman is not getting any young. With Fabio away on loan at QPR, United need a new left-back and the 27-year-old would be a great choice. Baines, who is very good at set-pieces, is valued around £15m and would be a quality replacement for Evra.

MATS HUMMELS – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (DEFENDER)

The German defender had an outstanding Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer and was one of the best performers for his country. The former Bayern Munich youth player has been one of the reasons for Dortmund’s success in the past couple of years as they did the League and Cup double last year. The Turkish origin defender, who is rated around £30m, has stated he is very happy to stay at Dortmund having sign new contract recently, but he would be a great signing for the Red Devils and with Rio Ferdinand past his best, he would be a great replacement for the veteran.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Manchester United are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth and quality in their midfield. Chelsea are also interested in him and a chance to play alongside his Belgium teammates – Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might just incline him towards Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Luka Modric is one name that has been on the Manchester United radar for some time now. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to bring the £36m rated Croatian international to Old Trafford. But according to the reports in various papers in Spain, Modric has already agreed a deal with the La Liga champions Real Madrid and is expected to sign for Jose Mourinho’s side before July 15.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a United target since his Sporting Lisbon days and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. Some reports claim that the Red Devils have already launched a bid for the Portuguese international, but they will have to battle with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham – who are also interested in him – to bring him to Old Trafford.

KEVIN STROOTMAN – PSV EINDHOVEN (MIDFIELDER)

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be interested in the the Dutch midfielder who has been dubbed as the ‘new Roy Keane’ because of his combative style of football. With the future of Darren Fletcher uncertain and with number of injury prone players in the squad, Strootman could be the answer to all of Ferguson’s problems. The PSV star has attracted a lot of interest because of his impressive performances over last couple of years and was also a part of the Dutch squad in Poland/Ukraine. The £15m rated Dutchman, who can also play as a holding midfielder, would no doubt strengthen the United midfield.

JAMES RODRIGUEZ – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

The young Colombian is another player linked with a move to Old Trafford many times in the last couple of months. The 21-year-old had an impressive last season in the Portuguese league with FC Porto and has attracted interested from a host of Premier League clubs. With the future of Nani doubtful, Rodriguez could be a great addition to squad but it looks highly unlike that United and Sir Alex Ferguson would be ready to pay around £30m for the midfielder who has been dubbed the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’.

LUCAS MOURA – SAO PAULO (MIDFIELDER)

Lucas Moura is one of the most talented youngsters and the most hottest property in world football. The 19-year-old Brazilian has attracted interested from almost every top club in Europe and Manchester United are said to be one of them. According to the latest gossip columns, United have sent a delegation to Brazil to convince the £35m rated Brazil international – who has already been capped 13 times by his country – and his family about a move to Old Trafford, where he will join his fellow compatriots – Anderson, Rafael and Fabio.

MOUSSA DEMBELE – FULHAM (MIDFIELDER)

Dembele has had a successful time, so far, at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham in 2010. The forward who scored 24 times for AZ Alkmaar, has adapted very well to a midfield role in the Fulham team and was very impressive in the previous season. Dembele has just a year left on his contract and is in no hurry to extend it because of interest from several big Premier League sides like United and Chelsea. Some papers reported that the Reds Devils had an offer for the Belgium international rejected by Fulham over the weekend.

IKER MUNIAIN – ATHLETIC BILBAO (STRIKER)

Iker Muniain is another teenager who is on the Manchester United shopping list. The 19-year-old Spaniard caught Ferguson’s eye after he played an important role in knocking the Red Devils out of the Europa League last season. The versatile striker, who can play upfront or on the wings or just behind the striker in the midfield, scored the winner in the first leg and impressed in the second leg in Spain. The Bilbao forward, who made his international debut this year, is rated around £25m and would no doubt be great signing for the team.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus and Manchester City, United are also interested in signing the Arsenal skipper – Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Michael Owen having already left and Dimitar Berbatov expected to leave, there is place for another striker in the squad and Van Persie will be an outstanding option. The Rooney-Van Persie combination up front will be just too deadly to deal with for any team. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be enough.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (STRIKER)

The Poland international, who scored the opening goal of the UEFA EURO 2012, is another Dortmund player to be linked with a move to United this summer. Lewandowski has had an incredible past 12 months and has scored 30 goals including a hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final. The striker has just two years left on his contract and has attracted interest from many Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Chelsea’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Chelsea ended the last season on a high by winning both the FA Cup and the Champions League but were very poor in the league and finished sixth in the Premier League table.

This summer, the Blues have already strengthen their squad by adding the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Marko Marin and the highly-rated Eden Hazard to their ranks, but at the same time, they have lost a few first team players in Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa. Roberto Di Matteo – who guided them to FA Cup and Champions League success last season after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in March – was appointed the new permanent manager of the club at the end of last month and he will surely look to bring in some more new names before their Community Shield clash against champions Manchester City on August 12. Here are Chelsea’s potential summer transfer targets..

MAICON – INTER MILAN (DEFENDER)

With Jose Bosingwa having left Chelsea this summer, the Blues need a right-back and Maicon is one of the options. The Inter Milan right-back is not the same player he once was but is surely better than Bosingwa. According to the reports, Chelsea are the favourites ahead of Real Madrid to sign the Brazilian for around £6m. The 30-year-old would be a good addition to the squad but surely won’t be a long term option.

GREGORY VAN DER WIEL – AJAX (DEFENDER)

At the end of last season, it looked like Van der Wiel would be playing for the European Champions next season. However, after a disappointing UEFA EURO 2012 campaign with the Netherlands in Poland/Ukraine and no further talks between the two clubs, his potential move to Stamford Bridge looks uncertain. The Dutch international right-back is already back in training with Ajax and with the Blues trying to sign Maicon, the 24-year-old looks like staying in Amsterdam for atleast another season.

LUKE SHAW – SOUTHAMPTON (DEFENDER)

Papers in UK suggest that the Blues are poised to make £4m offer for the Southampton youth graduate left back. Chelsea have identified Shaw, who turned 17 this month, as a possible backup for Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand. Shaw, who has been described as “technically very gifted” by Sir Trevor Brooking,  has made just one first team appearance and that to as a substitute against Millwall in the FA Cup fourth round replay last season but has been a regular part of the England U-16 and U-17 sides.

MAROUANE FELLAINI – EVERTON (MIDFIELDER)

Fellaini, who signed a new long term deal in November, has stated this past week that he is very happy to stay at Goodison Park but will consider a move this summer if an offer comes from an ambitious club. Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all shown interest in the Belgium international who is rated around £20m by the Merseyside club. With doubts over Lampard’s future at the club, Fellaini would be a very good addition to Chelsea squad and will add the required physical presence in the midfield.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Chelsea are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth in their midfield. Manchester United are also interested in him, but a chance to reunite with his Belgium teammates – De Bruyne, Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might incline him to Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Chelsea were highly interested in the 26-year-old last season and had also made three offers for him but all were rejected. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, papers suggests Roman Abramovich will offer Tottenham £36m for his services but will face some stiff competition from the likes Real Madrid and Manchester United, who are also interested in the Croatian international.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a Chelsea target since the start of last season and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. But the Blues will have to battle with the likes of Manchester United – who have made him their number one target this season – and Tottenham Hotspur – who are managed by the former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas – to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

VICTOR MOSES – WIGAN ATHLETIC (STRIKER)

Having helped Wigan Athletic survive relegation and stay in the Premier League last season, the Nigerian is ready to move to an ambitious club this summer and the Blues are interested in signing him. Reports suggests that Chelsea have made their move and are expected to complete the signing of the 21-year-old by the end of the week for a fee around £10m. The former Crystal Palace winger has proved he is good enough to play in the Premier League, but is he good enough to play for a club like Chelsea? Only time will tell.

HULK – FC PORTO (STRIKER)

Hulk has been a Chelsea transfer target for many years now but no deal has ever been struck between the two clubs. According to the reports, the Blues are close to signing £35m rated striker but they have been close since end of last season. With Tottenham appointing former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager, the Blues will now have to act quicker and sign the Brazil international or face losing him from under their noses to Tottenham.

THEO WALCOTT – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

With Robin van Persie snubbing Arsenal, Chelsea are set to test Arsenal’s ambitions and resolve by making an offer for Theo Walcott. The 23-year-old England international has just one year left on his current deal and has not yet signed a new contract. The former Southampton forward has improved over the past couple of season and is a regular part of the national team setup. Along with Chelsea, Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in him but the Blues remain the favourites.

STEVAN JOVETIC – FIORENTINA (STRIKER)

With Fernando Torres’ form a question mark and Chelsea having no experience options up front, Stevan Jovetic will be a great addition to Roberto Di Matteo’s team. According to reports in ItalyChelsea have had a £20m offer rejected by Fiorentina. However the Blues can get him for around £25m. The 22-year-old Montenegro international will be great asset to the club and will provide more options up front, but the Blues face competition for his signature from Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan.

SOLOMON RONDON – MALAGA (STRIKER)

Rondon is not very known outside Spain, but the Venezuelan striker is very highly-rated and was Malaga’s top goalscorer this season. According to the papers in Spain, Chelsea are interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge as backup for Fernando Torres but will face some tough competition from their London rivals Arsenal, who are reported to be preparing a £10m offer for him.

5 Issues AVB Must Solve At White Hart Lane

Andre Villas-Boas has been appointed as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur, just seven weeks after Harry Redknapp guided them to fourth place in the Premier League.

The 34-year-old’s appointment will create some concern at White Hart Lane following his disastrous tenure at west London rivals Chelsea last season where he was fired after just 27 league games in charge. The former Porto manager failed to convince the fans, the players or the owner that he was the right man to deliver them success. In order to avoid a repeat of the same fate with Spurs, here are five issues he must deal with at White Hart Lane..

1. Win Over The Dressing Room And The Supporters

At no stage during his spell at Chelsea did Villas-Boas got the full support of the dressing room. The former Porto manager’s age counted against him. He was 33 when he took over at Stamford Bridge, younger than senior players such as Frank Lampard and barely older than the captain John Terry. With no playing career and only a few years’ coaching experience, he lacked the dignity of older managers and when results didn’t go their way, the protesting voices grew. In the end, Abramovich directly blamed these critics within the squad for the premature end to the Villas-Boas’ tenure. But after a number of humiliating defeats, including the 3-1 defeat against Napoli that left them on the brink of exiting the Champions League, the fans had run out of patience as well.

At Spurs, Villas-Boas must create an immediate bond with his squad. This should be easier than at Chelsea with fewer big egos in the dressing room and he has the advantage of a full pre-season to shape his plans. A strong start in the league will banish the disappointment of Spurs missing out on Champions League qualification and help win over the fans, who would probably have wanted a more experienced manager.

2. Sort Out Luka Modric’s Future

An immediate priority will be to sort out the future of Luka Modric, who is reportedly wanted by Real Madrid and also is a long-term target of Manchester United. The Croatia playmaker, who was an integral part of Tottenham’s success under former manager Harry Redknapp, was promised a new deal last summer after rejected Chelsea’s approach, but he has yet to commit his future to the club. He has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football again and even though he was not at his best last season, he is still one of the most gifted midfielders in the Premier League.

With Modric not inspired by the prospect of playing yet another season in the Europa League, Villas-Boas must waste no time in persuading the most influencial players in his squad to have faith in his plans. If he still wants to leave, then Spurs should let him leave and cash in on him. A fee of £30m-£40m for the former Dinamo Zagreb playmaker who turns 27 soon, would be great business.

3. Strengthen The Defence

To compete for the Premier League or for a place in the Champions League next season, Villas-Boas needs to ensure his team have a very strong defence. That means going to the transfer market. The first priority will be to finalise a deal with Ajax for their skipper Jan Vertonghen. Negotiations for the Belgian international have dragged on all summer and a stage has come that he is already back in pre-season training with the Dutch club. But with most of the hard work completed, Villas-Boas should be able to quickly seal the deal.

Doubts remains over the future of Ledley King. He has become a hero in the eyes of many Tottenham fans after 14 years of loyal service to the club. But the question is how often will he feature in the forthcoming new season. His well-publicised chronic knee problems caught up with him towards the end of last season which may force him into retirement, where he is expected to be offered a coaching role. Such is his influence, if King breaks down again, it will leave a massive hole in the back line – despite the impressive form of Younes Kaboul and the return of Michael Dawson from injury. Vedran Corluka has already departed White Hart Lane this summer, joining Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow for £6m, but the need for defensive acquisitions is less urgent than bringing in new faces up front.

4. Bloster The Strikeforce

Following the departure of Louis Saha this summer and Emmanuel Adebayour’s return to his parent club Manchester City, Spurs have only one recognised striker in their squad – Jermain Defoe. The former Portsmouth forward scored 17 club goals last season – despite spending much time on the bench – but didn’t feature in England’s UEFA EURO 2012 campaign beyoung a 15 minute cameo against France.

Therefore, Villas-Boas will have to immediately dip into the transfer market to buy at least two strikers and his cause will be helped by the transfer budget expected to be given to him by Daniel Levy. Adebayor was a hit last season scoring 18 goals in 37 games but his wages, reported to be around £175,000 a week, have been an obvious stumbling block. If Tottenham can reach some sort of agreement with the former Arsenal man then they should. If that is not possible then another hitman must be pursued. Villas-Boas reportedly has his sights on the 22-year-old Chelsea frontman Daniel Sturridge, with a £10m bid being lined up but Roberto Di Matteo is keen to hang on to the player. Hulk would also be a perfect fit but he appears to be on his way to Chelsea. Brazil striker Leandro Damiao and Marseille’s Loic Remy are possible alternatives.

5. Get Rid Of The Deadwood

Although Andre Villas-Boas will want a big squad that will help him challenge for silverwares on all fronts, there are plenty players increasing the wage bill who could leave. Vedran Corluka, Niko Kranjcar, Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen have already left, but there are still plenty of others who could be discarded. Giovani Dos Santos, Heurelho Gomes, Sebastien Bassong, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and a couple of more reserves players were all out of the first-team picture under Harry Redknapp. Clearing them off the wage bill would free up plenty of money for new signings.