Monday, May 21, 2012

MANCHESTER UNITED TRANSFER RUMOURS: Hazard, Kagawa, Modric, Gaitan, Powell, Dembele Involved In Latest Speculation

Eden Hazard
The battle for Eden Hazard, which has long looked a two-way scrap between Manchester rivals United and City, took on a new dimension over the weekend as Chelsea emerged as front-runners for his signature.

The Lille attacking midfielder has claimed to have been influenced by Chelsea's Champions League win as he looks to decide his future.

"That's possible," Hazard said of the possibility of moving to Stamford Bridge, according to ESPN. "But until I put pen to paper I won't say where I'm going."

"Of course it makes you think as Chelsea have won the Champions League. They're a big team and will be playing in the Champions League next season. They have great players and I always said I wanted to be playing. I think there is the possibility to play as well.

"I still don't know [which club I will join] yet, otherwise I would have announced it today. Nothing is done yet but it will happen soon."

The Telegraph reports that Chelsea is closing in on a £28.3 million deal for Hazard, with both United and City said to be unwilling to match the 21-year-old's demands for a weekly wage of £170,000-a-week.

However, Lille managing director Frederic Paquet has told Sky Sports that there are still four clubs vying for the Ligue 1 Player of the Season.

It still appears a likelier option that United will instead sign Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa.Sir Alex Ferguson recently met with the Japan international and the club is said to be closing in on a deal for the 23-year-old.

One reason that the transfer has not yet been completed could well be wrangling over the size of the fee. Despite having just a year on his contract left to run, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said that the Bundesliga champions will not allow Kagawa to leave on a cut-price deal.

"It's pretty obvious what Shinji's qualities are, how old he is and how valuable he is for this team," he said, according to the Mirror. "Then I look at the money Bayern paid for Manuel Neuer. He had one year left on his contract, too. You can derive a sum from that."

After much negotiation, Bayern reportedly stumped up a reported initial €18 million for Neuer, potentially rising to as much as €25 million.

United's creativity next season could also be boosted if the club go back in for Tottenham's Luka Modric, as is being widely reported. And, with Tottenham denied Champions League qualification following Chlelsea's triumph, the Mirror reports that the playmaker will hand in a transfer request this summer.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are also said to be interested.

Last month reports suggested that United had already secured a deal for Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan, however there has still to be any confirmation from either party. The transfer may still be on, though, with United chief executive David Gill apparently discussing the deal while sat next to Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira at the Champions League final on Saturday, according to Tribal Football.

One deal that does look like it has finalized is for Crewe youngster Nick Powell. The Manchester Evening News reports that the 18-year-old will move to United for around £4 million, following Crewe's League Two Play-off final next Sunday.

The attacking midfielder scooped a clean sweep of the club's end of season awards for Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, and Goal of the Season.

Finally, there has been encouraging news for United in their alleged pursuit of Moussa Dembele. The versatile 24-year-old has rejected Fulham's offer to extend his current deal, which has just a year remaining, according to the Daily Mail.

Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham are also said to be ready to make a move for the highly-rated Belgium international.

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