HO HO HO and welcome to Tuesday’s Christmas-tinged edition of the Departures Lounge.
Christmas in July? Well, it looks like Santi might be getting into his red suit a little bit early this year — Malaga winger Santi Cazorla that is, rather than than the big lad from up north (no, not Andy Carroll).
The Guardian are going pretty big with the news that 27-year-old Cazorla has agreed personal terms to move to Arsenal. All that’s left to do now is for the Gunners to settle on a fee with the La Liga outfit. Arsene reckons that somewhere in the region of €20m should be enough to do the trick, making a mockery of the €45m escape clause that the Spanish international has written into his contract.
Good news all round then for Arsenal fans after the club announced that they have tied French defender Laurent Koscielny down to a “long-term contract”. There’s absolutely no indication of how long that might be but the 26-year-old has started more games for the club than anyone else over the past two seasons (85) so it’s safe to presume that Wenger wants him there for a couple more seasons at least.
In a development that can be filed under “not at all surprising”, it seems that Lucas Moura might not be heading to Old Trafford. We did suspect something fishy when Alex Ferguson started publicly talking up his interest yesterday and now that the 19-year-old’s agent is suggesting that United can’t match Sao Paolo’s valuation, it’s all nicely set up for Fergie to pin this one on the big bad Glazers and their miserly ways.
But that’s yesterday’s news. Today’s is much more interesting because it concerns The Best Footballer in the World (© Nicklas Bendtner) and a possible move to AC Milan. Yes, you read that correctly. How do you replace the gaping hole left by the departure of football’s biggest ego Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Paris Saint-Germain? You bring in the only man who can rival him in that department. £7.5m is the asking price (bookmaker-branded boxers sold separately).
In news that will be of interest to Republic of Ireland fans, Simon Cox is back in the shop window again. The striker didn’t get much of a look-in under Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns last season and now Blackburn Rovers are rumoured to be interested. At least the Championship will be a bit more competitive than a Rangers-free SPL which is where the 25-year-old could be headed if Celtic have their way.
Liverpool fans look away now. Not only is Slovak hero Martin Skrtel (rhymes with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) being linked with anyone in the market for a menacing centre-half but it now looks like Craig Bellamy could be packing up his golf clubs and heading out of Anfield for a second time. Mark Hughes — who signed his old Welsh buddy at Blackburn and Manchester City as well — is clearly running out of ideas and wants to bring the 33-year-old to QPR.
Finally, some real transfer news. Start spreading the news, Tim Cahill‘s leaving today. The New York Red Bulls and Everton have agreed terms for the 32-year-old Aussie to move to the Big Apple for an undisclosed fee. We’ll miss the headers and the shadow boxing, Tim. You say hi to Thierry for us.
And in the only other mildly consequential piece of news we could dig up, West Brom have signed Argentinian international midfielder Claudio Yacob on a free from Racing Club. When we say “Argentinian international”, we mean “has been capped three times” but hey, that’s three more than anyone here.
Until tomorrow, gossip-lovers…