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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Man City straining at head of transfer window

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 08:15 PM PST

Tottenham Hotspur will resist any poaching of their popular Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, here signing autographs at the Euro 2008 tournament in Oberwart, Austria, June 17, 2008. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 31 — Football's month-long January transfer window opens on Saturday. Following is a roundup of likely transfer action in the major European leagues:


All eyes will be on Manchester City as the window opens, with Roberto Mancini expected to add more firepower to a squad who have emerged as genuine contenders for the Premier League title.

Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg's Bosnian striker, is top of their shopping list, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz likely to depart, most probably on loan.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Manchester United's Alex Ferguson are not keen on signing players in January, but Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur could both be active, with Robbie Keane expected to leave Spurs.

Chelsea's squad look stretched, and Carlo Ancelotti will be in the market for flair and goals, although any attempt to sign Tottenham's Croatian Luka Modric would be strongly resisted.

Bottom club West Ham United have identified several targets to help their cause, with Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell, Everton striker Yakubu and Tottenham's Keane possible captures.

Liverpool's new owners will be under pressure to spend as Roy Hodgson's side continue to slide.


Ronaldinho is set to be the biggest departure from Serie A, with his former Brazilian club Gremio keen to take him from AC Milan. The former world player of the year, whose form has declined rapidly in the past five seasons, has mainly been a substitute under new coach Massimiliano Allegri and, with his Milan contract up in June, the league leaders may cash in now.

Italy forward Antonio Cassano will sign for Milan from Sampdoria, making it more likely Ronaldinho will leave.

A long-term injury to Filippo Inzaghi and fitness worries over Alexandre Pato mean the Rossoneri may want another striker but Genoa have denied contact over Luca Toni.

Champions Inter Milan, in seventh, have already rewarded new coach Leonardo with Genoa centre back Andrea Ranocchia and a forward or midfielder such as Chievo's Kevin Constant could follow.

Juventus are searching for a striker, with Fiorentina's Alberto Gilardino the latest to be linked to the Turin club in the media while Lazio are interested in Manchester City's forgotten forward Roque Santa Cruz.

The future of Gianluigi Buffon is also uncertain and they could decide to cash in, with stand-in keeper Marco Storari impressing during Buffon's layoff.


Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has made it clear he would like another striker as cover for Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain, whose back injury may require surgery and could sideline him for a couple of months.

However, club officials have been guarded about the idea, and the Portuguese may be forced to deploy compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo at centre forward, with fit-again Brazil playmaker Kaka playing just behind and Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria providing width and creativity on either flank.

France striker Karim Benzema is another option for the centre-forward role.

Barcelona have strengthened their squad with Netherlands attacking midfielder Ibrahim Afellay, and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has said the league leaders are not planning to make anymore purchases in January.

In an otherwise quiet La Liga transfer market, Atletico Madrid completed the purchase of Brazil midfielder Elias, and have loaned goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo and sold midfielder Ignacio Camacho to struggling Malaga.


VfB Stuttgart are expected to be active in the transfer market as they attempt to climb out of the relegation zone under Bruno Labbadia, their third coach of the season.

They finished the first half of the season with consecutive heavy defeats at home to Bayern Munich — 5-3 in the Bundesliga and 6-3 in the German Cup. Japanese forward Shinji Okazaki has been named as one target.

Bayern are not expected to go wild, with striker Mario Gomez having found his scoring touch, Franck Ribery back from injury, and Arjen Robben also set to return to the side.

There is speculation linking them with Swiss teenage winger Xherdan Shaquiri, though he is likely to be an investment for the future.

The champions are also reported to be chasing Hoffenheim's Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo, another indication that Mark van Bommel's days at the club could be numbered.

Schalke, who signed Real Madrid striker Raul during the summer, are now reported to be chasing defender Ezequiel Garay from the same club.

Bottom club Borussia Moenchengladbach have moved to bolster their defence by signing Austrian Martin Stranzl from Spartak Moscow and Norwegian youth international Havard Nordtveit from Arsenal.


Lille have reportedly received an offer from Liverpool for Ivory Coast international Gervinho, who has been one of the club's key players this season.

The league leaders are also seeking to reinforce their defence and have shown interest in former Lyon and Portsmouth left back Nadir Belhadj, who plays in Qatar.

Belhadj, 28, would make up for the departure of Adil Rami, who is expected to sign for Spanish club Valencia during the window before joining La Liga at the end of the season.

At Olympique Lyon, question marks surround midfielder Jean II Makoun, who is regularly booed by his own supporters and has been linked with a move to Aston Villa or Tottenham Hotspur.

Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra has also been linked with a transfer to the Premier League, possibly to Manchester City, even though club president Jean-Louis Triaud has been lukewarm on that idea.

Lorient striker Kevin Gameiro, who has voiced his desire to leave the Breton club, could become a target for many Ligue 1 clubs, while at 17th-placed Monaco, everything will depend on the fate of under-fire coach Guy Lacombe. — Reuters

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Celtics’ Garnett faces two weeks out with a calf injury

Posted: 30 Dec 2010 07:43 PM PST

Kevin Garnett leaves the court after a possible leg injury in Boston Celtics' match against the Detroit Pistons in Michigan, December 29, 2010. — Reuters pic

BOSTON, Dec 31 — Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett will be ruled out for up to two weeks because of a strained calf muscle, the NBA team said yesterday.

Garnett suffered the injury in the Celtics' 104-92 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, and there were initial fears he could be out for a longer period if his right knee was hurt, but subsequent tests came back negative.

"Kevin had an MRI and a thorough examination," Celtics president Danny Ainge said on the team's website.

"It's a muscle injury, a strained calf. It's actually the muscle just off the side of the leg, just below the knee, and it's not anything to do with his knee, which is great news.

"It's one of those injuries that, you know, he may be out for a couple of weeks, at the most, I would say."

The 16-year veteran was averaging 15.4 points and 9.8 rebounds coming into Wednesday's game.

The Celtics (24-6) have the best record in the Eastern Conference despite playing without injured starting point guard Rajon Rondo and centre Kendrick Perkins, who has been sidelined for the whole season following knee surgery. — Reuters

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