By Greg Stobart
The final month of the summer transfer window is upon us and Premier League clubs across the country are refining their squads with less than three weeks until the start of the new season.
The complexity of big money transfers has been highlighted by the ongoing sagas surrounding north London stars Robin van Persie and Luka Modric, with the major deals of the summer still to come.
The leading clubs in England still have plenty of work to do after a relatively quiet start to the summer, with the cogs now turning behind the scenes on potentially season-defining deals.
Will Manchester City, for example, be able to boost their chances of retaining the title by signing Robin van Persie from Arsenal? The Gunners captain wants to leave this summer and City are ready to make a £20 million bid for the Dutch striker in addition to offering him £198,000-a-week.
|BIGGEST DEALS OF THE SUMMER SO FAR|
|Eden Hazard to Chelsea
Oscar to Chelsea
Shinji Kagawa to Man Utd
Fabio Borini to Liverpool
Lukas Podolski to Arsenal
In the meantime, the Gunners are doing their utmost to prove to Van Persie that the club’s ambitions match his own - and to avoid a repeat of their dreadful start to last season after they sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri without first lining up adequate replacements.
Arsene Wenger has already signed two internationals in Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, while the north Londoners are closing in on a deal for Malaga’s Santi Cazorla and a loan move for Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin.
Sahin had previously been offered to Arsenal’s bitter rivals, Tottenham, as part of the Spanish champions’ bid to sign Spurs playmaker Luka Modric.
Modric is widely expected to complete his desired move to the Bernabeu this summer but Spurs remain adamant they will hold out for a transfer fee in the region of £40m, the same offer they rejected from Chelsea a year ago.
And Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas first wants to line up a ready-made replacement for the Croatian playmaker, with Joao Moutinho his top target despite the obstacle of Porto’s £30m asking price.
Spurs have made astute signings in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen, but they desperately need a striker with Jermain Defoe the only senior forward in the first-team squad. The Londoners are confident of signing Emmanuel Adebayor permanently for £4m despite the former Arsenal man’s threat to see out his Manchester City contract.
|5/4||Manchester United are 5/4 with PaddyPower to sign Robin van Persie this summer
Adebayor’s anticipated switch to White Hart Lane would also free up wages and squad space for City to press ahead with their move for Van Persie, who is also a target for Manchester United and Juventus.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has made a rare step of publicly declaring an interest in Van Persie but the Old Trafford club are understood to be pessimistic about their chances of signing the Dutchman as they look to regain the Premier League crown next term.
United have signed attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, for Dortmund and Crewe respectively, but Sir Alex is still eager to add at least one more player before the start of the season. Sao Paulo star Lucas Moura has been the subject of a bid worth up to £31m, but he is now expected to stay in Brazil until at least the end of the year.
Over on Merseyside, new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has signed Fabio Borini from Roma but is looking for more new players so he can mould the side to his tactics and philosophy.
The problem for the Ulsterman is that he has limited transfer funds, hence the decision to agree a fee with West Ham for Andy Carroll in order to reinvest in new signings.
Carroll is very reluctant to move to east London despite the clubs agreeing a £2m loan fee with a view to a £16m permanent move next summer, but a return to Newcastle remains a distinct possibility for a man who cost the Reds £35m in January 2011.
Liverpool will clinch a £13.5m move for Swansea midfielder Joe Allen once the Welshman’s involvement in the Olympics is over, while they are working on a number of attacking options, with Rodgers targeting a striker and a versatile wide man.
|ARSENAL TO SEAL £18M CAZORLA
|The Spain star is expected to arrive in London for a medical in the coming days and sign for Arsene Wenger's side, who have already added Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud
Chelsea, for their part, will be very happy with their business so far having spent £70m on Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marco Marin since winning the Champions League in May.
The Blues are, however, still working on new signings. They hope to sign winger Victor Moses from Wigan after turning their noses up at Porto’s £38m asking price for Hulk, while manager Roberto Di Matteo wants a world class striker and has eyed up moves for Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao and Roberto Lewandowski.
Another London club, QPR, have been busy signing the likes of Junior Hoilett and Park Ji-Sung but Mark Hughes still wants to add a central defender and a striker, with Tottenham duo William Gallas and Jermain Defoe possible targets.
Up in the north east, Newcastle are working on moves for Carroll and Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy while Sunderland have reportedly tabled a £12m bid for Wolves striker Steven Fletcher.
Elsewhere, Wigan have beaten West Ham to the signing of defender Ivan Ramis from Real Mallorca and Stoke want to sign full-back Alan Hutton from Aston Villa, who will look to replace him with Kyle Naughton.
What remains is a month that could come to define the 2012-13 season. From the potential title challengers to the likely relegation strugglers, all 20 Premier League clubs are looking to put the finishing touches to their respective squads.
As a result, we could yet see the most exciting end to a summer transfer window in recent memory.