TIDYING UP ALL THE LOOSE STORIES IN FOOTBALL THIS WEEK
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
DEMBELE NOT HIP ENOUGH
Mousa Dembele’s excellent start to his Tottenham career has ground to a halt following the re-occurrence of an old hip injury that will rule him out of Saturday's north London derby.
As one source well acquainted with the lavishly talented Belgian explained, the midfielder’s delayed return is not a surprise.
“Mousa is not one of those players who will play through pain,” The Sweeper was told. “If he is not 100 per cent right, he will not step on the training pitch.”
MAN CITY NEARLY PULLED OUT OF SINCLAIR DEAL TO GET WALCOTT
Manchester City sealed the signing of Scott Sinclair from Swansea City in a frenzied finish to the summer window.
But The Sweeper has learned that the Premier League champions came close to pulling out of the Sinclair deal in order to land Theo Walcott from Arsenal.
City had tabled a £6million bid for Sinclair 10 days before the end of the window after agreeing to sell Adam Johnson to Sunderland in a move that was finally completed on August 24.
Curiously, Sinclair’s switch stalled even though the winger had agreed personal terms and Brian Marwood, City’s then-director of football administration, and Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins had agreed the terms of the transfer, which also included £2m of potential add-ons.
It is understood that Roberto Mancini wanted to pull the plug on the Sinclair deal at the last minute after it emerged that Walcott’s contract talks with Arsenal had collapsed.
Mancini regarded Walcott as an upgrade on Sinclair, even though the former Chelsea player had been earmarked as a direct replacement for Johnson back in early August.
However, Walcott was not sure that City was the right move for him because of concerns about playing time, while the Abu Dhabi-owned club were unwilling to foot the increased bill for the Arsenal man as they closed in on the four other signings that were eventually completed on deadline day.
The England international would have cost twice as much as Sinclair, in terms of both transfer fee and wages.
When Mancini’s push for Walcott failed to get off the ground and he opted to stay at Arsenal despite failing to extend a deal that was in its final year, the champions pushed ahead with the signing of Sinclair and he was confirmed as a City player at lunchtime on August 31.
There is a possibility that Mancini could make another move for Walcott in the forthcoming window, although any attempt will depend upon the outcome of the winger’s final round of contract talks with Arsenal.
FULHAM EXPECT TO HANG ON TO BREDE
The future of Brede Hangeland has come under the microscope in recent weeks as the clock ticks down to the expiry of his Fulham contract next summer.
But there is little sense within the Craven Cottage corridors of power that the club are about to lose their 31-year-old captain.
The Sweeper has learned that even if Hangeland does not sign a new deal, there is the option within his current agreement for a 12-month extension.
It is believed this can be activated by either party at a specific date written into the central defender’s contract.
Should this not occur, there is the opportunity for Hangeland to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January ahead of a free transfer next summer.
DIADORA READY TO FILL THEIR BOOTS
Sportswear firm Diadora are ready to enter the bidding for kit supply contracts with Premier League clubs.
The Italian company have agreed deals to manufacture the kits and training wear of Birmingham City, St Mirren and Ross County over the last 12 months.
The Sweeper has learned that Diadora will now aim to carve out a niche in a market dominated by traditional heavyweights Nike and Adidas.
With several leading clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal, ready to negotiate new deals with kit suppliers, there is an opportunity for Diadora to attach itself to one of the world football’s elite brands.