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Unread 14-03-2012, 09:40 AM
fred tissue
Default Football transfer rumours: Arsenal or Spurs to sign £22m Jan Vertonghen?

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Today's tittle-tattle has a clean heart, a killer blow and knows love is stronger than pride

"He's a smooth operator, smooth operator … smooth operator, smoo-". Oh, apologies readers, the Mill is somewhat distracted this morning, unable to get out of its head yesterday's news that Sade is the biggest-selling British singer in the US money list right now. Bigger than Elton John, bigger than Sir Paul McCartney, bigger, even, than Adele, and she's [Snip - Karl Lagerfeld Ed].

Sade's re-emergence is surprising yet heart-warming news, proof that being a big success in the 1980s is no barrier to being a big success some three decades years later. Something Liverpool can take heart from. The Mill jests, of course. Anfield has been a hub of much joy in recent times, most recently, indeed, last night, thanks to a Steven Gerrard-inspired 3-0 win against Everton. Sadly for Kenny Dalglish's side, however, they have failed to get a mention in this morning's catalogue of paper-based rumours, a fact that is sure to take the edge of their Merseyside derby victory.

First up, then, is regurgitated news that Eden Hazard is "excited" by Manchester United's interest in him. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Lille-based Belgian playmaker has been watched by United in recent weeks and they have now joined the race to sign him in the summer. And what a long, tedium-inducing race it is. Hazard has been linked with English clubs, most notably Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, for months now, with the 21-year-old expressing his keenness to join each and every one of them. "Of course United interest me," said the 21-year-old serial flirt. "But for now my focus in on Lille." Yeah, right.

Hazard is not the only player Arsenal and Spurs may be tussling for this summer. According to the Times, the London rivals both also want Ajax's captain Jan Vertonghen. The 24-year-old has been valued at £22m and has also attracted the interest of Bayern Munich, but is apparently open to a move to the Premier League.

If Vertonghen does decide to move to Arsenal, he is likely to be lining up alongside Lukas Podolski next season after the Germany striker completed a medical ahead of a £10.9m move to the Emirates Stadium. According to the Daily Star, Arsenal officials travelled to Cologne on Tuesday to finalise the procedure and were happy with what they saw.

And with men stationed in Germany the Star also claims Arsène Wenger is looking to begin the process of signing Borussia Dortmund's £30m-rated "golden boy" Mario Götze. Good luck with that Arsène.

Speaking of golden boys, Barcelona's Xavi has expressed his fear that Pep Guardiola will not renew his contract with the Spanish and European champions and, against all common sense, hotfoot it to Chelsea next season. "We're not ready to have a 'no' from Guardiola," the midfielder is quoted as saying in the Telegraph. However, according to the Times, Barça are confident Guardiola will sign a one-year extension in the summer. Phew.

News of Guardiola's desire to stay at Camp Nou is a blow for Wolves in their not-so-secret search to appoint a proper manager having given Terry Connor the job for a laugh. They can, however, take heart from the Mail's story that Steve Bruce is ready to resume talks with the Molineux club about taking over there.

Staying in the Midlands and according to the Daily Mirror, the Aston Villa manager, Alex McLeish, wants to sign Andy Johnson on a free transfer from Fulham. Johnson's contract runs out soon and McLeish, hilariously presuming he will still be at Villa next season, believes the 27-year-old can bolster the club's attacking options.

And finally, Wigan are in talks to sign the Gambia Under-20 winger Alieu Darbo, says the Mail. The Swedish-born 19-year-old was released by Le Mans in January and now wants to move to the DW Stadium.

What's that, you want an encore? Oh, all right then. Sticking with the Mail, Swansea are "eyeing up" Doncaster defender Mustapha Dumbuya. The 24-year-old, who is on loan at Crystal Palace, is out of contract at the end of the season. Right, that really is it. The Mill is leaving the stage now and heading for a post-gig Martini. We're gonna party like it's 1984.

Sachin Nakrani

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