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Unread 18-12-2009, 09:30 AM
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Default Football transfer rumours: Matthew Upson and Scott Parker to Tottenham? | Simon Burnton


Today's rumours a licky boom boom down

There is an excitement about snow that no other form of precipitation can offer. We all hate hail. Sleet is an evil menace. Nobody really feels like singing in the rain. But snow is sublime. When it gets its act together snow doesn't even fall, it floats. They get it right in Switzerland, where for much of Wednesday's match between Basel and Fulham the snowflakes looked so large and peaceful it was as if an enormous squadron of blow-dried white mice were gently parachuting to land.



In London, though, it rarely snows. This is because snow is pure and true and honest and good, and London is filthy and dirty and full of bankers and politicians. Snow, quite understandably, would prefer to fall elsewhere if given the choice. Although Switzerland, to be fair, is also full of bankers and bureaucrats and it doesn't mind falling there.



And so, with promises of a 5cm overnight snowfall ringing merrily on high, the Mill drifted off to sleep last night with a contented smile. And awoke this morning to a patchily covered, windy, grubby, slushy, dirty mess of a city. 2cm at best, the Mill reckoned, as it shook its fists at the heavens and shouted that it was mad as hell and not going to take this any more.



It's a level of fury that, the Mill imagines, we share this morning with Harry Redknapp. Last week the Tottenham manager banned his players from holding a Christmas party. "This is a busy period, a working period," he said. "If they tell me they're having a Christmas party, I'll tell them they're not having one." So they told him they were going on a golfing trip to Ireland, coughed up £2,000 a man and, reportedly, ended up in Copper Face Jacks, a not particularly exclusive nightclub in Dublin. They then came home, lost at home to Wolves and hoped, ludicrously, that the papers wouldn't find out about it. Well, they have.



Redknapp's revenge will be swift, vicious and, by all accounts, involve the £8m purchase of West Ham's Matthew Upson and, quite possibly, Scott Parker as well. Alan Hutton, Gareth Bale and David Bentley have meanwhile attended their last illicit Christmas bash, with Birmingham after Bentley and Nottingham Forest readying a £3m move for Bale, plus another to make on-loan full-back Nicky Shorey's transfer to the City Ground permanent.



Manchester City. inevitably, are also interested in Upson, though 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic might be more their style, costing as he does about twice as much. They are interested in Arsène Wenger and Guus Hiddink, though neither is being considered for the centre-back role and Hiddink, according to his agent, "will stay in Russia".



Chelsea have abandoned hope of signing Franck Ribéry, except if you read the Telegraph, and decided to buy £25m-rated German international Bastian Schweinsteiger instead. They have added Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko to their shopping list, and finally seem to have got Sergio Agüero excited by the idea of a move to our soggy, sloppy, slushy capital. "I think I fit with their style of play," he said. "I watch the Premier League on TV and I think it is the best league in the world, along with Spain."



Wigan's incredibly active Latin American scouting operation have come up with another gem in 27-year-old Chile defender Waldo Ponce, who could move to England in January. Another defender on the move, perhaps, is Sean St Ledger, who hasn't even officially moved to Middlesbrough yet and already wants to move after falling out with Gordon Strachan.



Ipswich want £2.5m Derby striker Rob Hulse. Wolves, Newcastle and Middlesbrough want him too, but Ipswich want him the most. Derby will replace him with Bournemouth's Brett Pitman, valued at £800,000. Victor Moses wants to leave Crystal Palace in favour of a club that actually pays their players' wages, and Blackburn are about to steal a march on Celtic by signing De Graafschap's 16-year-old Marko Maletic for £250,000.



And in the day's other big news, Wayne Rooney has taught his in-laws' pet parrot to say his child's name, and now it won't stop. "It's driving everybody round the bend," said a "pal". "Nobody knows how to stop it. At first it was hilarious, but now it's really wearing thin. Nearly two months on, the blooming bird still won't shut up."



The Mill can sympathise with that, but would like to assure the McLoughlins that even the most annoying, infuriating, dull voices do eventually turn silent. As occasional early-morning listeners to Radio 2 are finally finding out.


Simon Burnton

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