The big day is here! Finally, after months of having to endure the ‘alternative’ sports that were in the offing at cricket grounds, tennis courts and 80,000-seater Olympic stadiums across the country, this Saturday brings the dawn of a new Premier League season.
But if you thought the week in the build-up to the big kick-off was going to be too hard to bear, then the transfer window certainly showed you up, with some absolutely corking deals pulled out of the bag.
Robin van Persie ensured he will not begin the new campaign at Arsenal after sealing his switch to Manchester United on Friday, while Jack Rodwell’s move to Manchester City has proved one of the biggest surprises of the summer so far.
Now, in the latest edition of Goal.com's weekly feature, we take a look at the best, the worst and the simply ridiculous of this week's transfer rumours.
The new RV-Pea
With Van Persie sealing a sensational switch to Manchester United this week, an equally surprising move could be on the cards in the opposite direction, with Javier Hernandez linked with Arsenal.
According to The Mirror, the Mexican striker may have been used as a potential makeweight in the Dutchman’s transfer to Old Trafford, and a temporary or permanent deal has been touted.Following a disappointing campaign last season with the Red Devils, Hernandez is believed to have aired his frustrations over his current predicament to manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and the added competition for first-team places is unlikely to have improved the 24-year-old’s hopes of a starting spot.
Agger ushered towards Anfield exit?
One transfer saga that has yet to be resolved is that of Daniel Agger’s potential switch to Manchester City, with the Premier League champions already having a bid of £20m rejected for the centre-back.
While Agger reiterated his desire to stay at Liverpool this week, it is reported that if Roberto Mancini’s side can meet the club halfway towards their £27m valuation of the Denmark international, then a deal will be struck.
And Reds boss Brendan Rodgers already has his eyes on a replacement for the 27-year-old, with the Northern Irishman set to return to former club Swansea with a bid for defender Ashley Williams.
The saga of Sahin
Another transfer yarn which has continued to rumble this week is Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin’s move to the Premier League.
In recent weeks the Turkish midfielder has been linked with a move to Arsenal, yet on Tuesday, reports emerging in The Sun suggested that Liverpool were eyeing a move for the 23-year-old, as well as a swoop for Barcelona’s Cristian Tello.
Yet by Friday the red top had changed their tune, and now the Gunners were back in contention to sign the Madrid man providing Alex Song completes his £15m switch to Barcelona - a claim which was seemingly confirmed by Arsene Wenger in his pre-game press conference.
Dempsey will walk alone to become a red
Clint Dempsey showed his determination to seal a move away from Fulham this week, by claiming he would NEVER player for the club again.
After he initially refused to go on the Cottagers tour of Switzerland, the American midfielder has been forced to train with the club’s youth players, and The Mirror reported on Monday that Dempsey is hoping that Liverpool will move for him following their capture of Joe Allen from Swansea.
The 29-year-old may prove to be a cut-price bargain for sides elsewhere if Brendan Rodgers refuses to stump up the clash for the American, with Dempsey set to rot in the Fulham reserves after clashing with manager Martin Jol.
Everton look to Kop a deal for Adam
David Moyes looks set to reinvest the money raised from Jack Rodwell’s transfer to Manchester City by striking a cut-price deal for Liverpool man Charlie Adam according to reports emerging in The Mirror on Wednesday.
The Scotland international only moved to Anfield last summer from Blackpool for a fee in the region of £9m, but new boss Brendan Rodgers has warned the midfielder that he cannot guarantee him a starting place in his new-look Liverpool XI.
Adam’s move across Stanley Park could also be helped by family ties, with the Daily Mail noting that Moyes’ brother Kenny is the agent of the 26-year-old.
City swoop for Three Lions
Manchester City’s capture of Jack Rodwell from Everton could be a sign of things to come for the Premier League champions, with the Daily Mail reporting that Roberto Mancini is keen on England young guns Jack Butland, Scott Sinclair and Steven Caulker.
Swansea attacker Sinclair has been on the radar of City throughout the summer transfer window according to various reports, and the club believe young English talent could prove to be a foundation of lasting success.
Yet with goalkeeper Butland unlikely to oust Joe Hart from the City No.1 spot and Tottenham’s Caulker yet to truly prove himself at the top level, any such move could prove detrimental to the youngsters’ development.
Theo for San Siro
Reports emerging from Sky Sport Italia, and also carried by the Daily Star, suggest that Arsenal wideman Theo Walcott could be the next stellar name to depart the Emirates this summer, with Serie A giants Inter Milan believed to be interested.
Walcott only has one-year remaining on his current contract and talks over an extension have stalled. The former Southampton man has long been linked with a switch to Italy in recent seasons, with the Daily Express also reporting Liverpool are ready to test Arsenal’s mettle should there be a further breakdown in negotiations.
However, with Robin van Persie leaving the Gunners and Alex Song also set to follow him through the exit door to Barcelona in a £15m switch, as exclusively revealed by Goal.com, it is unlikely manager Arsene Wenger will allow another of his first-team assets to jump ship.
Barton set for French jaunt
Some people just land on their feet every time, and Joey Barton has certainly pulled one heck of a switch out of the bag if you believe various reports emerging on Thursday.
The QPR man, who is currently serving a 12-match ban for violent conduct in the final game of last season against Manchester City, is set for a season-long loan switch to Ligue 1 side Marseille, with Stephan Mbia moving in the opposite direction.
News emerged on Thursday evening that the 29-year-old had not received a squad number at his current club, and the midfielder even used his Twitter account to hint at a move across the channel, bidding his followers “Bonne nuit”, the French for good night.
Even if the deal does materialise, it will be ridiculous, whacky and wonderful all rolled into one.Follow Andrew Kennedy on