Top 10 summer targets
The Spanish hitman won’t have the chance to play Champions League football next season if he stays with Liverpool, who’ve had a woeful season by their high standards. This, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding the future of manager Rafa Benitez, is likely to mean he’ll move elsewhere. Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona are all thought to be preparing £70m bids for him.
The Germany captain’s contract at Chelsea expires next month and he’s revealed that talks will soon take place over his future. He told Germany’s WDR radio: ‘After the season, we are definitely going to hold talks with the [Chelsea] decision makers and then we will see where things go from there. My primary aim is to stay in the Premier League.’ If nothing satisfactory is hammered out, the 33-year-old may go back to Germany, as he’s been linked with a move to Bundesliga outfit Schalke.
West Ham may struggle to meet Ballack’s wage demands, but it is thought owners David Sullivan and David Gold are also keen admirers of the German international and would welcome the arrival of a new central midfielder – especially one who can provide a focal point alongside Scott Parker.
Sir Alex Ferguson is a huge admirer of the gifted Chelsea midfielder, but it looks like Tottenham Hotspur are favourites to sign him. The 28-year-old England playmaker has also been linked with Manchester City and Liverpool, but he’s keen on staying in London.
He would relish being reunited with former boss Harry Redknapp, who nurtured him at West Ham, and now the Spurs boss has a big carrot to dangle in front of Cole in the form of Champions League football. Not to mention regular starts.
However, Spurs would probably need to dig deep to buy him…
Arsenal are keen on securing the services of the 23-year-old Manchester City shot-stopper, who’s on loan at Birmingham City, after disappointing performances from Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski this season.
Hart has impressed, helping the Blues to a commendable top-ten finish and notching up 12 clean sheets.
However, Manchester City will block any move for Hart unless they themselves can sign a new keeper. They may swoop for Juventus goalie Gianluigi Buffon, who’s made it clear that he’s keen on playing in the Premiership.
“If I had to go I think England could be the destination,” Buffon said.
Three is the magic number for Arsenal’s William Gallas, who’s been linked with Roma, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. The France defender’s contract with the Gunners runs out in June – but he still hasn’t sorted out a new one. At 32 years old, he’s coming into the twilight of his career, but still has the skill and determination to be of use to a top-level club.
Alex McLeish is going to throw Portsmouth keeper David James a Premiership lifeline by securing his services for Birmingham. The 39-year-old will be on a free transfer after he’s faced Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
McLeish needs a replacement for Joe Hart, who’s going back to Manchester City, and he’s set to bring in James after cooling on the idea of swooping for Manchester United’s Ben Foster .
The England winger doesn’t seem to be on Roberto Mancini’s list of favourites, with his place on the Manchester City starting eleven coming under increasing threat from 22-year-old Adam Johnson. It would come as no surprise if one of the Premiership’s top four came calling… especially as they know they could offer the chance of Champions League football.
Despite being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year least season, the 23-year-old Manchester City midfielder has found himself in the surprising position of having to revive his career.
That revival could come courtesy of a move to Aston Villa. Ireland has only made 11 appearances for Roberto Mancini this season and Ireland has made it plain that he’d be willing to move on for the sake of his footballing future.
He said: “There is a question mark over next year for me. I don’t know what will happen.
“If anything changes during the summer it will be down to the club, not me. It has been a difficult year because I care so much about my job.
“I care about my game and about the club but there is a lot of frustration bottled up, because I have not played as much as I would have liked.”
The Bulgarian international has been a consistent six out of ten for the Red Devils this season and hasn’t enitirely endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful. They’ve seen glimpses of his undoubted flair, but there have been too many missed chances and not enough endeavour.
Ferguson has stated that he’s going to freshen up his Manchester United squad this summer, could Berbatov be on his way? It would certainly come as no surprise.
Arsenal’s head scout Steve Rowley will urge Arsene Wenger to make Blackburn’s Steven Nzonzi a transfer target this summer.
He watched him playing for Sam Allardyce’s side in their match against Wolves at Molinuex, and was impressed with what he saw.
Twenty-one-year-old defensive midfielder Nzonzi has been likened to Gunners legend Patrick Vieira, so he could provide much needed resilience down the spine of the team.