Arsenal in for Hangeland  

Friday, 22 May 2009

After Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal lacked experience and leadership at the back, Fulham centre-half Brede Hangeland is being tipped for a big-money move across London.

The Norwegian colossus has marshalled what was previously a leaky back four to the fourth-best defensive record in the Premier League and, after a long meeting with chief executive Ivan Gazidis, French tactician Wenger has been promised a big war-chest to allow a £15 million bid for the ex-Copenhagen stopper.

Now £15m is a lot of money but there are very few affordable, proven centre-backs with the experience and dominance that the Gunners require.

One option - Joseph Yobo - just came off the market after signing a five-year deal to be third-choice behind Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka at Everton. Loyalty or lack of ambition?

In return, Fulham will ask for the bulk of the cash plus one of Swiss defensive duo Philippe Senderos or Johan Djourou , and promising Norway U21 starlet Havard Nordveit.

The rumours linking Emmanuel Adebayor with a move to Chelsea intensified when he failed to show at the Arsenal end-of-season party at posh Mayfair bar/restaurant/boast-house Sketch.

The Togo hit-man could argue that his time in Gaul-land has made his palate immune to the dubious delights of the venue's nouveau-French cuisine, and that the chinny-reckon hamstring injury that kept him out of the goalless draw against Manchester United needed treatment ahead of his non-appearance at home to Stoke this weekend.

But the writing is on the wall and the ex-Monaco player will join one of Milan, Chelsea, Internazionale or Juventus this summer.

Dean Ashton could be on his way out of Upton Park with West Ham ready to cut their losses on the big striker due to his chronic injury problems.

One of the best target men in the division when fit, the £7m former Crewe and Norwich goal scorer has played only 51 games in two-and-a-half years and just four this season.

With former suitors Newcastle set to drop into the Championship, A ston Villa and Everton are primed to pounce in a cut-price deal for the 25-year-old.

He could be replaced by Juve forward Vincenzo Iaquinta who, despite impressing when used, is not first-choice in Turin and, with a big-name manager set to take the reigns following Claudio Ranieri's sacking, a big-name striker is set to follow.

One man who will not be moving to London from Italy is Inter right-back Maicon.

The Brazilian had been linked with a move to Chelsea, which is bizarre enough in itself as he is effectively Jose Bosingwa without an EU passport.

However, the 27-year-old - who almost joined Manchester United in 2004 but was refused a work permit - has insisted that he will stay at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Midlands rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham have both been linked with Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia.

The 23-year-old Anderlecht man is valued at around £8m and, despite Villa having more cash to spend, Birmingham are at the front of the queue by virtue of having less options in midfield.

Should Martin O'Neill opt to sign him, it would be a clear indication that Gareth Barry is on his way to Liverpool .

Blues desperately need to add some flair to their solid but tedious squad if they are to stay in the top flight next season, and the names keep coming.

Derby duo Kris Commons and Giles Barnes - the latter currently on loan at Fulham - would cost around £6m together.

Boss Alex McLeish could also raid former club Rangers, with defender Madjid Bougherra and disgraced former captain Barry Ferguson on his list.

"He has done well but I would expect Rangers to ask for a high fee," the Scot said of Bougherra.

"Barry (Ferguson) can be anything he wants to be," he added. "I feel for him, the way it has happened. He came back from England and helped myself, my staff and the Rangers followers to a title in 2005."

A move back south of the border beckons for Ferguson.


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