The pick of today's European football transfer rumours, news and gossip for 4 July 2011. Any transfer news surrounding Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Roma, Barcelona and Real Madrid will be covered here.
After a bloated Sunday of transfer news excess this column was hoping for a gentle Monday to ease into the week but alas, the never-ending cycle of football transfer rumours keeps on a-turning and today we have a 15-chain transfer merry-go-round to get through, so let's get started.
With Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas set to leave the Emirates, we all knew life wasn't rosy at Arsenal, but even this column didn't comprehend quite how far the club's stock had fallen until we opened the Daily Mirror this morning to hear that Arsene Wenger was lining up a £12m bid for goal-shy Wolves striker Kevin Doyle. With Andrei Arshavin also heading for the Emirates exit the Gunner's should have seventh place nicely wrapped up for next season.
Talking of players-who-used-to-be-good, Manchester United have reportedly turned their attention to Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after missing out on his international team-mate Wesley Sneijder. Sir Alex is also weighing up an 'audacious £30m swoop' for Bayern Munich playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Back in London, Chelsea and Real Madrid are tipped to become embroiled in an unseemly summer bidding war for Benfica defender Fabio Coentrao. Benfica sporting director Rui Costa has stopped gleefully rubbing his hands together long enough to remark that the club haven't yet received a suitable offer for the £26m-rated player.
Marca suggests that promising young manager Andre Villas-Boas is also keen on Real Madrid defender Pepe, and is prepared to pay him €5m a year to run around sweeping up after John Terry at Stamford Bridge.
Talking of clubs with more money than sense, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini had the decency to provide the red-tops with a whole week's worth of news in one pithy sound bite over the weekend,
"I like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani," Mancini said. "I like Javier Pastore a little less. Then, when I think of Udinese, I can think of Pablo Armero and Mauricio Isla. And I must say Antonio Di Natale. It's a pity that he is now getting on in years."
Meanwhile, Chelsea and Man City target Hulk has rejected the opportunity to move to England, much to the chagrin of tabloid headline-writers everywhere, after the Brazilian committed himself to Porto for another five years.
Frustrated after losing out on Phil Jones, Ashley Young and Gael Clichy Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish isn't telling any other tabloids about his summer transfer targets, choosing instead to leak a smattering of 'exclusives' to an endless trail of rumour peddling websites. In the space of three articles with absolutely no quotes to back them up, the Reds are linked with Tottenham's Aaron Lennon, Newcastle defender Jose Enrique and M'Baye Niang of Caen. It's almost as though anything people write on Twitter will then be parroted as fact in the national media.
According to Il Corriere dello Sport -- via ESPN -- Inter Milan defender Maicon has hinted he could move to Real Madrid after the Copa America.
"I am happy at Inter, but we will speak about Real Madrid and Inter after the Copa," he said. "I want to win a trophy with Brazil and this is my only objective right now."
Madrid have also been linked with teenage wonderkid Souleymane Coulibaly, who, for no other reason than he has played for the Ivory Coast, is billed as 'new Drogba', according to talkSPORT.
Barcelona...Alexis Sanchez...Cesc Fabregas...nothing doing.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport Juventus are currently loitering quite close to Atletico Madrid officials, casting a series of suggestive sideways looks and waving £42m in their direction in hope of capturing Argentina striker Sergio Aguero.
But Aguero could arrive to a half-empty Turin after Alex Manninger, Zdenek Grygera, Marco Motta, Fabio Grosso, Momo Sissoko, Tiago Mendes, Felipe Melo, Luca Toni, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Jorge Martinez and Amauri were all told they are surplus to requirements.
Staying in Italy and AC Milan have apparently been tipped to make a €20m move for Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio after having their advances towards Marek Hamsik rebuffed by Napoli.
Finally, L'Equipe reports that Inter have recently contacted Eden Hazard's representatives about a potential move to Italy.