North-East transfer gossip (Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough): Monday, July 7 (From The Northern Echo)
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North-East transfer gossip (Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough): Monday, July 7
In years gone by, a transfer used to be announced in the following morning's papers. Then came Ceefax and, unless you were a fan of the really big clubs deemed worthy of their own page, the wonders of waiting for the scrolling transfer news on the football round-up on page 312.
Now, the world of social media has changed things to the extent that players announce their own moves before either of the clubs involved. And then quickly deny it when they get their wrists slapped by one of the clubs in question.
Was that what happened over the weekend, when a post on Instagram seemed to confirm Mathieu Debuchy's move to Arsenal, only for the player to come out and state that he hadn't posted anything of the sort. But then quickly fall over himself to confirm that talks with the Gunners were happening.
By all accounts, the deal is done, and rather than returning to Tyneside after his World Cup break, Debuchy will be talking terms and undergoing a medical in North London. Undergoing being the term that every sports journalist is contractually obliged to use when a medical is involved.
Newcastle get around £12m, Debuchy gets the chance to play in the Champions League, and everyone is happy. Everyone except the Newcastle fans that is, who will be nervously waiting to see if the £12m is reinvested in new defenders or if Davide Santon suddenly finds himself shuffled to the right flank.
Transfer likelihood rating: 9/10
Louis van Gaal throws Tim Krul into the heat of a World Cup quarter-final seconds before the start of a penalty shoot-out. Krul saves two penalties to make sure Holland win.
Van Gaal then heads to Manchester United and starts looking for a new keeper. He gets on the phone to Krul, and offers him a promotion again.
Too simple? Not in the world of transfer talk, and unsurprisingly there's been plenty of talk linking Krul with Old Trafford in the last 24 hours.
Will it happen? Possibly if United were to pay enough. But at this stage, there's no firm suggestion that van Gaal wants to replace David de Gea, or that Krul would be happy being the Spaniard's number two.
One other quick thought. What will Newcastle do with Krul now they know he's a penalty God? Knowing the club's desperation to avoid doing well in the cup competitions, expect Alan Pardew to be subbing him off rather than on if his side are involved in a cup game that's heading towards penalties.....
Transfer likelihood rating: 4/10
Newcastle's senior players are back in training this morning, and today's Northern Echo reveals that Hatem Ben Arfa will be given a chance to start with a clean slate and earn a place in the side again.
Does that mean the Magpies are not looking to sell the Frenchman? No. But it does mean that with no firm bids on the table, the club's powerbrokers are adamant that no one will be writing off a major asset and effectively making him unsellable. Expect Ben Arfa to figure in at least some of the pre-season games.
Like a lover who has recently been scorned, Sunderland have shrugged off their failure to land Ashley Williams by heading straight off to the next available Speed Dating session to see what turns up.
Gus Poyet wants a new centre-half, and after Williams gave him the cold shoulder, the Uruguayan has started fluttering his eyelashes at Chelsea's Kurt Zouma.
Rather than Zouma-ing straight in and spending a fortune - you see what I've done there - they're trying to set up a season-long loan for a player who made a £12m move to Stamford Bridge in January, only to be loaned straight back to his former club, St Etienne.
Jose Mourinho likes Zouma, but still doesn't seem to think he's ready for Chelsea's first team, hence Sunderland's optimism about pulling off a loan deal.
Other English and French clubs are interested, but the Black Cats have shown they can improve loan players, with both Fabio Borini and Ki Sung-Yueng prospering at the Stadium of Light. If Chelsea let Zouma leave, Wearside might well be his destination.
Transfer likelihood rating: 6/10
Ignacio Scocco has been on the brink of a move to Argentina for most of the summer, but a bit like the Falkland Islands, he's currently still in British hands.
That might change soon though - Scocco, not the Falklands, although don't rule anything out if the Argentine economy continues to collapse and the ruling regime start to get a bit twitchy - with the striker's agent having arrived on Wearside with an official offer from Newells Old Boys.
The offer is unlikely to be anything close to what Sunderland paid for the striker back in January, but things haven't worked out remotely as planned and it might well be time for the club to cut their losses.
Transfer likelihood rating: 8/10
They ummed and aahed for a while, but it looks as though Boro are finally going to grasp the nettle and push through a deal for Danny Graham.
There's been contact with Sunderland all summer about the striker, but Boro had initially been reluctant to start putting money on the table until Lukas Jutkiewicz's future was resolved.
However, Watford's interest in Graham has forced their hand somewhat, and the Teessiders have had to rip up their preferred timetable and firm up their interest earlier than planned.
Graham wants to remain in the North-East, and enjoyed his time with Boro last season. His form improved after a patchy start, and given a full season in the Championship and some half-decent service, he should come good.
Transfer likelihood rating: 7/10