With less than a month to go until August’s Premier League kick-off, the transfer rumour mill has been ramped up another notch as managers aim to wrap up their long-term targets and also find that cut-price gem.
Nathaniel Clyne, a long-touted target for Manchester United, sealed his switch to Southampton this week, while Modibo Maiga completed his move to West Ham and on the continent Zlatan Ibrahimovic finalised his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
Newcastle have revealed their intentions to bring Andy Carroll back to Sports Direct Arena, with Liverpool set for a busy transfer window after being linked with both Clint Dempsey and Theo Walcott in the past seven days.
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.
Toon hope for cut-price Carroll
As frequently reported throughout last week, a number of top-flight sides remain in the hunt to land Liverpool’s Andy Carroll on a short-term deal, but former side Newcastle have moved to the forefront of the race to land the striker in the past seven days.
The Magpies' reported initial bid of a loan deal with a view to a permanent £13m move was rejected by the Reds, but Alan Pardew’s outfit are poised to return to the table with a £16m bid for the striker if you believe rumours emerging this week - despite the club’s manager admitting the deal was in the hands of prudent owner Mike Ashley.
And although boss Brendan Rodgers laughed off Newcastle’s offer as “ridiculous” on Friday, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle claimed on Monday that the 23-year-old had informed friends of his desire to return to the north-east.
Micah too rich for Madrid
Various reports on Wednesday suggested that Real Madrid were set to launch a shock swoop for Manchester City right-back Micah Richards.
According to the Daily Star, Jose Mourinho has made the Team GB right-back one of his top targets to bring to Santiago Bernabeu this summer as Los Blancos look to retain their Liga title – and Richards would also be open to a move to Spain.
However, as Goal.com exclusively revealed on Thursday, the Premier League champions have slapped a £25m transfer fee on the 24-year-old’s head to ward off any potential suitors, which in turn has deterred Madrid’s interest.
Sao Paulo want Mour for Lucas
Manchester United’s pursuit of Sao Paulo starlet Lucas Moura could hit the buffers after the Brazilian club increased their asking price for the 19-year-old attacker.
As exclusively revealed by Goal.com on Sunday, the Red Devils hierarchy fear they may be forced to consider alternative options after a £20m bid plus add-ons was rejected by the Serie A club, who are believed to be holding out for a fee closer to £30m.
That was until Tuesday, when The Mirror claimed that a £29.8m offer had been rejected by the Tricolor, with United now set to abandon their efforts to sign the player after his employers upped their asking price to £35m.
Dempsey's what's up for Rodgers
Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey could become the latest recruit of Rodgers’ Anfield revolution, with The Sun reporting that Liverpool were plotting a £10m raid for the American. Yet as revealed by Goal.com, the Reds' bid of just £5m fell significantly short of expectations at Craven Cottage.
Liverpool’s eagerness to land the 29-year-old seemed to get the better of them on Wednesday, when club owners Fenway Sports Group’s official website prematurely announced that a deal had been concluded for the American, with Rodgers confirming an enquiry had been made later that day.
The Reds' summer spending will continue regardless of their Dempsey purchase according to The Mirror, with their Northern Irish manager set to raid former club Swansea City for midfielder Joe Allen – although the Welsh club will play hardball with their ex-manager and demand a similar fee to the one paid by the club last season for Jordan Henderson.
Hazardous times for Chelsea
Not content with the arrival of one Hazard this summer, Chelsea are now keen to land £32m Eden’s brother Thorgan, with French newspaper L’Equipe touting the Lens attacker for a move to west London.
Chelsea’s latest recruit has even previously claimed his 19-year-old sibling is more talented than him, and with just a year to run on his current contract, the Ligue 2 side may be tempted to cash in on the player.
“I've since learned that Chelsea are interested in his possible arrival. I can understand why a player would want to leave Ligue 2 to go to Chelsea. We're in discussions,” club sporting director Antoine Sibierski told French paper La Voix du Nord, meaning the Hazards could be set to join the Toures and Nevilles in the ranks of brotherly double acts.
Walcott for the Kop?
Theo Walcott could beat Robin van Persie out of the door at Arsenal, with the winger targeted by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers in a £15m swoop, if you believe various reports emerging on Monday.
The 23-year-old, who has long been linked with a move to Chelsea and more recently Paris Saint-Germain, is believed to be stalling over negotiations to extend his current deal at the Emirates, with the wideman holding out for a £100,000-a-week package.
Walcott would be a perfect fit for the new style of football Rodgers is trying to implement at the club, but whether his wage demands could be met at Anfield is another question; while Goal.com revealed on Thursday that the ex-Southampton man is due for imminent talks with the Gunners as he looks to thrash out a new deal.
AVB keen to trump Chelsea to Hulk
Andre Villas-Boas is keen to make Porto striker Hulk his marquee signing at new club Tottenham, according to reports emerging in the Daily Mail on Tuesday.
The Brazilian striker, who touched down in England this week as part of his nation’s Olympic football team, has been linked with a move to the Premier League since Villas-Boas assumed the reins at Chelsea last season.
And although the west London club appeared to have maintained their interest in the 25-year-old despite the Portuguese’s sacking last season, Spurs hold out hope of landing a sensational cut-price deal for the attacker.
However, with the club prioritising a permanent deal for Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor - as exclusively revealed by Goal.com on Wednesday - and Hulk’s wage demands nearing the £100,000-a-week mark, any potential deal remains far off.
Toure out prices mega-rich Saudis
Manchester City centre-back Kolo Toure could be set for the exit door at the Etihad Stadium this summer to Al Hilal, with the Premier League champions commanding just a £3m fee for the former Arsenal player.
However, if last Friday’s 1-0 friendly defeat to the Saudi Arabian side was not enough to put off the club’s mega-rich owners from a bid, then the 31-year-old’s audacious demands to move the Middle East have certainly proved a stumbling block.
According to reports in The Mirror, the centre-back has demanded a £50,000-a-week, tax-free, three-year contract from the club, as well as a rent-free apartment and two cars.
Not exactly unheard of you say? Well, Toure is also asking for free business class flights as well as the captain’s armband at the club before he wouldd consider a switch to the continent! A big ask for a player who spent the majority of last year sidelined due to a drugs ban.Follow Andrew Kennedy on