It's the first Monday in August and every team knows the window on improvement, banking, or whatever else a team desires is rapidly closing. The action will be fast and furious, especially in a summer that has seen most teams try and wait out the market because of Real Madrid's spending frenzy early on. Lots of rumors, but almost no moves yet, though we'd be expecting that to change quickly.
The news on Xabi Alonso's move to the White House is literally all over the place. Alternatively he has been signed, is very close with Real up to 30 million euros, or is moving farther away with Liverpool unwilling to move on the 40 million euro price tag. (In hilarious fashion, the link stating that Xabi might not be moving was replaced with one assuring that the English are reporting the move was complete for between 32 and 34 million euros). It appears Florentino's dream may be coming true, but one must wonder at what price.
Several sources are reporting that Chelsea has 118 million euros at is disposal and is looking to sign Aguero, Ribery, and Pirlo. Pirlo appears to be the most realistic aspiration, with Atletico directing all comers to the buyout clause on el Kun (60 million euros) and the Bayern Munich/Ribery/Real Madrid/90 million euro paradox being rather well advertised by now.
Wesley Sneijder has moved from the most likely to stay in the Bernabeu to the most likely to go. Pellegrini had wanted the Dutchman to stay, but it seems the final push for Xabi, and perhaps even a last ditch effort being prepared for Ribery have changed his mind. Not to mention the fact that Pellegrini has six surplus players to dispose of. Seriously linked with a move to Inter Milan this weekend, Sneijder is now looking at an offer from Peace Cup champions Aston Villa. Earlier this summer Chelsea and Liverpool were also suitors. There is still word that a Inter Milan loan is an option too.
Meanwhile, Chelsea look set to fight any overtures from Tottenham to sign Joe Cole. But just the interest in these moves from the likes of Tottenham and Aston Villa show that it's not just Manchester City that smells the blood in the water as Arsenal's lack of signings seem to open up that prized fourth spot.
Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh seems to have gotten the message about late summer last chances and has started doing his part to hasten a move to Arsenal. He is very unhappy with Les Girondin's attitude toward the move.
Barcelona keep pushing for Mascherano and Chygrynskiy. Liverpool's pitbull seems unlikely to move at this point, with Rafa pricing him at 50 million euros. The Shakhtar centerback's move has been complicated by his play in the Champions League qualifiers. Barcelona believe this should lower his price since he is cup-tied, while Shakhtar are sticking close to their original figure.
Gianfranco Zola, who played with Eidur Gudjohnsen at Chelsea, is seeking to sign the Icelandic striker for West Ham. The move could be completed this week, and means that Guddy is rethinking his early retirement on the Barcelona banch.
Why should the Eurpoeans have all the fun? Corinthians is interested in bringing Riquelme in to accompany fat Ronaldo (less fat now, post-liposuction). Now all they need to sign is a time machine.
FutbolNation will likely be previewing the EPL as well, but that's no reason to keep you from this well written team-by-team preview. First up: Arsenal.