Manchester City: Toure worth 12 million

Manchester City will make a £12 million bid for Kolo Touré, the Arsenal centre back, now that the North London club have concluded the signing of Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax. City tried to sign Touré in January, but while Arsène Wenger was loath to lose the defender in mid-season, the manager has accepted that Touré wants to leave and would rather sell now than lose him for nothing when his contract expires next summer. With the African Cup of Nations taking place in Angola in January, Wenger is also aware that he would probably lose the Ivory Coast defender for about a month anyway. Mark Hughes, the City manager, wants to pair Touré with Joleon Lescott, 26, of Everton and England, to form a more balanced, new-look central defence next season.

Hughes wants a left-footed central defender who can also operate at left back if necessary, but with Everton opposed to selling Lescott and likely to demand at least £20 million, Hughes may turn to Matthew Upson, of West Ham United. City are expected to make their second signing of the summer early next week, when Roque Santa Cruz joins from Blackburn Rovers in a deal that could be worth up to £18 million. With William Gallas, the France defender, likely to follow Touré out of the exit door, Wenger is in the market for another centre back and is monitoring Sébastien Bassong, 22, the Newcastle United defender. Vermaelen, 23, who has signed a four-year contract, will cost up to £10.2 million.

Matt Derbyshire, 23, the striker, will join Olympiacos early next week after Blackburn accepted a £3 million bid. Roberto Martínez has made his first signing as Wigan Athletic manager with the £1.5 million capture of Jordi Gómez, the Spanish midfield player, from Espanyol on a three-year deal. Djimi Traoré, 29, the Portsmouth defender, has joined Monaco on a two-year contract. Víctor Valdés, the Barcelona goalkeeper, has ended speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United by signing a four-year contract extension that will keep him at the Nou Camp until June 2014.

Sean Davis, the Portsmouth midfield player, has turned down a new deal and could join Bolton Wanderers. Burnley have made an approach for Jason Scotland, the Swansea City forward, but their offer, thought to be in excess of £1 million, does not match the Coca-Cola Championship club’s valuation. Panathinaikos want Djibril Cissé, the Marseilles striker who spent last season on loan at Sunderland. Tottenham Hotspur are considering a move for Mario Balotelli, 18, the Inter Milan striker, after West Ham failed to agree a fee for the player. Valencia say they will not sell David Villa unless they receive a “scandalously” big offer for the striker, who is wanted by Real Madrid and Chelsea.

(source: james ducker,


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