Friday 27 June ~
As Euro 2008 comes to an end, various players who made an impact at the tournament, and some who didn't, are being linked with English clubs. Johan Elmander, who looked resoundingly ordinary for Sweden, seems to be set for a move to Bolton and will hope to make a bigger impact than the last Swedish striker who joined an English club after a major tournament, Mattias Jonson, who failed to score in 28 games for Norwich in 2004-05. Meanwhile, Croatia defender Josip Simunic may be confused about which team in London are interested in him after observing that “Fulham are a huge club”.
Some transfer targets seem to have escaped already. Hulking midfielder Orlando Engelaar's name had never been mentioned in connection with a move to the Premier League prior to his eye-catching performance in Holland's opener against Italy but while Everton and Newcastle's interest was said to have been stirred, he has opted for a Bundesliga club with a long tradition of Dutch signings, Schalke 04.
As you might expect, Chelsea are being linked with half the Russian team with Avram Grant claiming in an interview with Israeli media yesterday that he could have signed Andrei Zhirkov last season. Andy Townsend was one of many pundits who suggested that Andrei Arshavin would be looking for a move to “a big club” on the back of his two starring performances for Russia, as though UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg are small fry. Townsend had the Premier League in mind but Arshavin had indicated that he wants to go to Spain. Whether his preferred destination, Barcelona will still be interested in him after his anonymous performance yesterday is another matter.
Hull City manager Phil Brown had said that he would be scouting for bargains at the Euros and reports are linking him with Turkey's rising star, Colin Kazim-Richards. You would have thought that the latter wouldn't have any difficulties in settling in, given that he has only been away from the UK for a year. However, news of Hull's interest has sparked a surprising outburst from Motherwell boss Mark McGhee, who managed the player at Brighton: “I can't say anything positive about the boy. He is impossible to work with”.
Several of the English strikers who didn't get an opportunity to perform at Euro 2008 may also be relocating. Portsmouth are still favourites to sign Peter Crouch from Liverpool although there has been a rumour that Arsenal might see him as a replacement for the allegedly Milan-bound Emmanuel Adebayor. Darren Bent seems to be surplus to requirements at Spurs, with Everton said to be interested but only if they can offload Andy Johnson. With David Moyes preferring a 4-5-1 system, Johnson was mostly used as a substitute last season and is said to be pressing for a move, although possibly not to Wigan who have offered £10 million. There doesn't seem to be any overseas interest in any of these players. Odd, that.