Summer transfer talk: Will the deals go through for Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado?

This summer’s transfer market has been clouded by confusion. Tim Rich cuts through the fog of claim and counterclaim and weighs up the chances of Rooney and co heading for pastures new

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United to Chelsea) 7/10

It feels like the final scene of a Hammer horror film where a grave opens, a gnarled hand emerges and the hero is dragged down among the dead. Even in retirement Sir Alex Ferguson’s influence is being felt on Wayne Rooney, a man who in Ferguson’s view, has twice held Manchester United to ransom.

Although Rooney denies handing in a second transfer request at the fag end of last season, he appears to have comprehensively lost the battle for hearts and minds at Old Trafford. Today's Manchester Evening News had as its back page an interview with Joe Ruane, who as an 11-year-old held up a placard telling Ferguson: “Please buy Wayne Rooney”. He did and Joe was invited to the signing ceremony in 2004. Nine years older, Joe thinks Rooney “absurd” and “arrogant”.

The tricky part for United is that a deal with Chelsea breaks Ferguson’s rule about never selling a major player to a domestic rival – and also that David Moyes’s first home game is against Chelsea. It may be a long drawn-out affair. However, Rooney is discovering, as Beckham, Keane and Van Nistelrooy discovered, that Ferguson has the final word at Old Trafford, even though he has gone.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Arsenal)  Probability 9 out of 10

A prime example of why footballers’ statements should never be taken at face value. During the Confederations Cup last month, Luis Suarez made it explicit that he wanted to leave England and especially the English media. “I have suffered too much. My daughter and wife have suffered. I am not prepared to put up with the English press any more.” The new season should have seen Suarez in a clearing in the Amazon rainforest playing football with the Guarani tribe as far from the internet or a copy of the Daily Mail as possible. Instead, he is agitating for a move to the capital of England, where every English national newspaper is produced.

Arsenal’s bid of one pound more than the £40m buy-out clause in Suarez’s contract is like a poker player saying he knows your cards. After wondering for five minutes where the Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, could possibly have got this information, Liverpool’s only option is to extricate themselves from this with as much dignity as possible. The last club to try to block Suarez’s demands for a move, Groningen, found themselves sued by the player Kenny Dalglish used to call “a wee smiley guy”.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham to Real Madrid) 6/10

It was hardly Margaret Thatcher shouting, “No, no, no!” on the floor of the House of Commons. When asked about the finest Welsh footballer since Ryan Giggs departing for the Bernabeu, Andre Villas-Boas said: “He is a player we are willing to continue to have.” Still, Sir Alex Ferguson once announced he would not “sell that mob a virus” and ended up flogging Real Madrid £120m worth of footballers.

Swapping one white shirt for another seems a no-brainer. However, like a man who buys a Ferrari Testarossa without considering the fact he has three kids, Real Madrid is a club that goes for the glaringly obvious without considering how the transfer will impact on the player. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have only ever played in a European Cup final for Manchester United and Michael Owen would have done had he stayed at Liverpool.

Real’s mouthpiece Marca published a vivid account of a meeting between Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, and the Madrid president, Florentino Perez, that climaxed with Barnett showing a picture of Bale, aged 10, in a Real Madrid shirt. It had the ring of truth but, far truer, was Marca’s observation that “they know negotiations are likely to be long and tedious”.

Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona to Manchester United) 8/10

It may seem like United are attempting to collect the Arsenal team of 2008 on an instalment plan but the Cesc Fabregas deal makes sense. It is the kind of big-name signing that David Moyes needs to put his stamp on  Old Trafford and, should Wayne Rooney leave, it will render his departure that more palatable while introducing someone who knows instinctively how to play with Robin van Persie.

Fabregas may wonder why Arsène Wenger, a man he described as “a second father to me”, has not exercised Arsenal’s right to buy him back from Barcelona. The Glazers may wonder why they are offering increasing sums of money for a midfielder – a second £30m bid has gone in – who has seldom delivered anything truly substantial at the Nou Camp. Lars Bender at Bayer Leverkusen is two years younger and a more natural partner to Michael Carrick in central midfield. And yet the big question for Fabregas is: with Spain defending their World Cup in Brazil, will precious time playing first-team football be more likely to come in Manchester or Barcelona.

Roberto Soldado (Valencia to Tottenham) 9/10

Finally, a transfer that does what it says on the tin. Valencia’s president, Amadeo Salvo, admits the 28-year-old striker’s contract is “running down” – which is a way of saying it is unlikely to be renewed. Salvo added that if only someone met Soldado’s buy-out clause he would reluctantly have to agree to the move.

At Spurs, Andre Villas-Boas talks of “conversations” followed by photographs of Tottenham’s director of football, Franco Baldini, conversing with Soldado’s agent, Alberto Toldra. A bid suspiciously close to the buy-out clause is lodged and what could go wrong? Except for reports that Liverpool might “hijack” the deal. Transfer deals are hijacked more frequently than an airliner in the 1970s. But why would Liverpool need a striker? See Suarez, Luis.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk