Cast your mind back to a world before Graham Carr. Newcastle signed players from this country - Darren Ambrose, Danny Guthrie, Leon Best, all the greats - and Arsene Wenger cornered the market in buying French.

Carr has stolen Wenger's thunder somewhat in recent years, so the Arsenal boss has decided to change tack - if you can't beat them, unsettle them and sign them from Newcastle anyway.

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The talk linking Mathieu Debuchy with Arsenal has assumed deafening levels in recent days - and now must be loud enough to have Alan Pardew worried.

The Northern Echo:

Newcastle have slapped a £12m price tag on Debuchy's head, but if the full-back starts agitating for a move to the Emirates, it's hard to see how the Magpies will be able to stand in his way. The Yohan Cabaye saga proved that in January.

Nothing will happen until Debuchy has finished representing France at the World Cup, but it's increasingly difficult to see how Newcastle can hold on to one of their prize defenders beyond the end of the transfer window.

A selling club? It's increasingly looking that way.

Transfer likelihood rating: 7/10

Having failed to pluck Pierre-Michel Lasogga from Hertha Berlin's grasp, Hamburg are prepared to sit tight in order to land the striker on a free transfer next summer.

That seems to suit Lasogga, who has set his heart on remaining in the Bundlesiga rather than leaving Germany to play elsewhere.

The Northern Echo:

Where does that leave Newcastle? It leaves them looking like a child with their face pressed up against the window of the sweet shop, while everyone else sweeps inside to stock up on ten-pence chews. They can see what they want, but their tummy is rumbling and their mummy won't give them the money to go inside.

Transfer likelihood rating: 3/10

Alan Pardew used his weekend newspaper column to complain about the cost of signing British players and claim he had recently been quoted a price of £14m about an unused player at one of the country's leading sides.

The rumour mill has been going into overdrive to try to work out who he's on about. Andros Townsend? If it is, then with Daniel Levy involved, £14m is probably at the lower end of the scale.


Another day; another World Cup star linked with a move to a North-East club. This time its Joel Campbell and Sunderland, a marriage made if not in heaven, then in the mind of an internet rumour-monger with too much time on his or her hands.

The key problem here is that Arsene Wenger is telling anyone who is willing to listen that he wants to have Campbell back at the Emirates next season.

The Northern Echo:

With that in mind, it's hard to see how Sunderland are going to lure him away to the Stadium of Light, let alone be able to afford the transfer fee and wage payments that Arsenal and Campbell would demand.

Still, don't let the facts get in the way of a World Cup transfer tale eh?

Transfer likelihood rating: 1/10

The Ashley Williams saga rumbles on, with Sunderland ready to make a renewed approach for the Swansea defender, who remains unwilling to sign a new deal at the Liberty Stadium.

Sunderland officials are clearly getting vibes that Williams wants a new challenge away from Wales, but Swansea's reluctance to lose one of their leading centre-halves means they'll have to pay a premium to get him.

The Northern Echo: Ashley Williams

Will that happen? It's one of the more likely transfers bubbling under the surface, although it wouldn't be a surprise to see other Premier League clubs joining the fray if Swansea were to give a firm indication that they're willing to do business.

Transfer likelihood rating: 5/10

A couple of former Sunderland players are being linked with moves in the next few days.

John Egan looks set to join Blackburn, while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is on the verge of moving to Brighton following his release from Wearside at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Jozy Altidore is set to return to the United States squad for tonight's last-16 tie with Belgium. Whether that's a boost to Jurgen Klinsmann's men or not is open to debate....


After a weekend of waiting, the man from Real Betis has delivered his answer to Boro - and it's a resounding 'No'.

The lure of the penthouse suite at Rockliffe Hall and as many parmos as he could eat was insufficient to persuade Juanfran to swop the Spanish Second Division for the Championship.

The Northern Echo:

In fairness, the full-back is almost certainly holding out for a move back into La Liga or a switch to Italy, with Boro's interest having flushed out other suitors.

Regardless, Aitor Karanka's search for a new full-back will have to take him elsewhere, with Stephen Ward, who has also been linked with Brighton, understood to be in the mix.

Transfer likelihood rating: 0/10

Wolves are clearing the decks as they return to the Championship, so as well as being linked with Ward, Boro are also back in the market for Kevin Doyle.

The Teessiders wanted to sign Doyle in January, but were unable to agree a deal for a player whose stock has fallen faster than a tub of Bisto tumbling off the top shelf at Tesco's in recent seasons.

The Northern Echo: Kevin Doyle

Doyle has been told he can leave Molineux this summer, and having spent the second half of last season on loan at QPR, the striker is likely to attract considerable interest from across the Championship.

Transfer likelihood rating: 3/10