With the gossip, speculation and downright wishful thinking continuing unabated on the information superhighway, here is my update of the week’s transfer activity from four of the Premiership’s teams.
The Baggies have been searching for competition for Scott Carson all summer but have, to their frustration, had a third bid for Preston goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan turned down. North End’s manager Darren Ferguson values the 26-year-old at an incredible £20m forcing the West Midlands’ club to turn their attentions elsewhere – namely Sheffield Wednesday’s £1m-rated ‘keeper Lee Grant.
Midfielder Borja Valero has joined La Liga side Villareal on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal. The 25-year-old had only just returned to West Brom for preseason training following a loan spell at Real Majorca but is desperate for a return to his native Spain citing family reasons. He became Albion’s record signing at £4.7m two years ago after joining from Mallorca but he has struggled to adapt to life in England.
Wolves are currently battling alongside West Ham and Blackburn to secure the signature of ex-Man. City striker Benjani who was released by Mancini this summer after failing to make an impact either at Eastlands last season or whilst on loan at Sunderland.
Mick McCarthy has also confirmed that Doncaster have made enquiries over the availability of Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh. The 24-year-old made 15 appearances in the Premiership last season but is thought to want more regular first team action.
Avram Grant has apparently been handed a £25m war chest to ensure that the Londoners avoid the threat of relegation next season but seems to be more concerned with who might leave. The Hammers’ owners announced that the whole squad would be up for sale except for Scott Parker who is now the subject of several reported bids from around the Premiership. Aston Villa and Spurs are keen to entice the influential midfielder away from Upton Park but will have to meet West Ham’s £10m-plus valuation if they are to stand any chance of succeeding.
Meanwhile Mikael Silvestre has emerged as a free transfer target for the Hammers. Avram Grant was thwarted in his bid to sign Ben-Haim from his former club Portsmouth after the Israeli failed his medical and sees the former Arsenal and Man. Utd defender as a perfect replacement. The 32-year-old is of course a free agent following his recent release from the Emirates.
Ian Holloway is yet to make any signings for the Premiership new boys and says that he wants to retain the spirit that saw the club win promotion at Wembley in May. In other words he’s got bugger all money to spend and wants to save some face by honourably sticking by the XI he had in the Championship last season.
However, the gaffe-prone Bristolian is close to signing Israeli defender Dekel Keinan. The 25-year-old has already undergone a medical at the Seasiders and is now awaiting a work permit to complete his move from Maccabi Haifa. Finally, ex-Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers is training with the club.
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