City hoping to catch Gutierrez 'the Greyhound'

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The Independent Football

Manchester City should find out within the next 48 hours whether their £7m bid to sign the Argentina international winger Jonas Gutierrez has succeeded.

The Independent revealed City's interest in the 25-year-old on 1 January, although competition for his signature has come from Portsmouth. The South Coast club yesterday completed the £5m signing of Lassana Diarra from Arsenal and sold Matthew Taylor to Bolton Wanderers for more than £3.5m – with around £500,000 due to his former club, cash-strapped Luton Town, through a sell-on clause.

Gutierrez is known as El Galgo – "the Greyhound" – and is a colourful character who celebrates scoring for his present club, Real Mallorca, by donning a Spider-Man mask and throwing imaginary nets into the crowd. A complication for any move has been that 50 per cent of his transfer value would go to his former club, Newell's Old Boys, which is why Mallorca are holding out for a high fee.

City's manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, has intimated that the club are close to making two signings, although they are unlikely to include the 22-year-old striker Lukas Podolski. Bayern Munich have rebuffed City's approach. Once City do secure a new striker, and Gutierrez can play through the centre as well as on either wing, they look likely to allow Rolando Bianchi, their £8.8m signing, to return to Italy on loan while they still hope to sell Georgios Samaras.

Birmingham City had appeared favourites to sign the Greece international, but have been busy securing other targets. Following a meeting with Birmingham's managing director, Karren Brady, earlier this week, their manage, Alex McLeish, has been given substantial funds – and is set to commit more than £12m to preserving the club's Premier League future. The biggest deal is set to be James McFadden's arrival from Everton for at least £5.75m. The fee is far in excess of what Birmingham wanted to pay for the Scotland international and could rise further, depending on success.

Everton are delighted with the fee and are looking to reinvest the money immediately with a move for the highly rated Russia international Andrei Arshavin, who plays for Zenit St Petersburg.

McFadden was in talks with Birmingham yesterday as David Murphy completed his £1.5m move from Hibernian. The left-back's arrival should hasten the departure of Matt Sadler, although Birmingham, who are close to completing the £1m loan of Argentine striker Mauro Zarate from the Qatar club Al-Sadd, would prefer to sell Franck Queudrue. McLeish also wants to sign another defender, Aston Villa's £4m-rated Gary Cahill, and was last night given permission to talk to him.

Villa remain keen to sign Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, although Spurs denied claims yesterday that their striker had already met O'Neill. Defoe has been told he can leave, although Spurs would prefer to sell Darren Bent. Portsmouth are also interested in Defoe, but Spurs have ended their interest in the Lyons striker Fred after failing to agree terms. The Brazilian's wage demands are understood to have been too high.

Spurs, meanwhile, have told potential buyers that they will have to pay £2.8m for winger Wayne Routledge even though he has no future at the club. Queen's Park Rangers have held talks with Routledge, who wants to join them, and offered £1.8m, but have been told to up their bid.

Two strikers were close to agreeing moves yesterday with Watford accepting Fulham's offer of at least £5m for Marlon King. That figure could rise substantially, based on results and goals, with Collins John moving to Vicarage Road as part of the deal on loan until the season's end, with a view to a permanent transfer for a fee that has already been agreed and is tied to the sale of King.

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