Date: 11th July 2009 at 10:08am
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Martin O’Neill said yesterday: ‘We have lost Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen so we are looking at replacements. I hope we’ll be able to add to the squad over the next couple of weeks.’ Full article from Mike Field: Never Fear, Monny’s Here

Sheffield United have granted Everton permission to talk to 20-year-old right-back Kyle Naughton with a bid now accepted. The Daily Mail says the deal could rise to around £6million after the Toffees went back with an improved offer following the rejection of a £3.5m bid last month. They also say that Villa were interested. Now fair enough, everyone is getting frustrated at the lack of signings so far (well, not everyone.. some are calm!) BUT we have to remember this is paper talk. Some are saying in the forums that we’ve lost out on this player, have we? The papers say we were interested, that doesn’t mean that we WERE interested!

It could also be that Villa match the bid IF they are interested and also get to talk to the young blade. The Yorkshire Post claims that Everton will have competition for the lad, saying Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Villa and maybe even Manchester United are tracking him.

Just seen another article in the Sun saying the race for Naughton will be between Everton and a last minute dash from Spurs… The Sun call it a dog fight!

Obviously the old nerves will be settled when some players start to arrive, ideally this week as most of the squad, excluding our full and U21 internationals, are now back in pre-season training!

The Mirror gossip column says Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will be in the region of £3million for Villa defender Zat Knight. They can bid all they want, without TWO central defenders arriving, there is no way Villa can sell one.

A short article in the Daily Mail says that Villa will offer young striker Nathan Delfouneso on a season long loan in order to complete the signing of £6m rated Leeds youngster Fabian Delph.. This, they claim, is to fight off competition from Everton for the 19-year-old.

The Sun are still on the rumour that Villa are set to pay £18million for Middlesbrough duo 27-year-old Tuncay and 24-year-old Stewart Downing. The report claims Gareth Southgate has given the nod to the deal. Downing could be out until Christmas following an operation on his foot, so it’d be interesting to see what sort of deal was struck?!

The same report says Boro have given a hands off warning for 22-year-old England U21 defender David Wheater.

Southgate said: ‘It depends whether clubs want to take him now. In January, there might be four or five clubs involved but we’ll concentrate on getting him fit. Tuncay’s the captain of his country and I don’t think we can hold on to him. But David’s not for sale. He’s a leader and we have to build around him.’

Further quotes from Southgate about Wheater are available in the Northern Echo where the Boro boss says ‘David’s not for sale. He has expressed his desire to stay, and the likes of him and Matthew Bates, who’s also committed himself to the club, are the types in terms of quality and hunger and desire that we want. We have to build our team around those types of characters and the guys who are coming in now are the same. As far as I’m concerned, and the club is concerned, we wouldn’t welcome bids for David. I think the key to that is that he’s expressed his desire to stay. The agents that work with him have been very supportive in that, and that’s been refreshing for us as well.’ How nice to see a player being loyal to a relegated team, sort of says a lot about the man doesn’t it?

Players linked to Villa but going elsewhere?

Everton have launched a £12m bid for Standard Liege captain Stephen Defour according to The Sun.

Linked to us over the last week, reports today are saying Portsmouth striker, who I think has now been given the green light to leave, see Vital Pompey – Crouch is ‘available’ are the ‘latest reports’ – could be on his way to Fulham according to the Daily Mail, who want the England man for £11million. Meanwhile the Times say that Sunderland want Crouchie but may have to pay £15million having had an £11m bid turned down. Thought the papers yesterday said they’d bid in that region for Spurs striker Darren Bent?

And that looks to be that for the gossip this week. Must admit the rumours were so strong, I was starting to believe we’d got a couple of deals already done ready for the start of July. Evidently not. Maybe this coming week will bring the excitement we all want…!


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