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Transfer rumour round-up - January 11th

UPDATE: The departure of Thatcher has been confirmed with the club stating a fee of £500,000 (possibly rising to £750,000) being involved. Alan Pardew has been talking about the 'harder edge' Thatcher will bring but no real word out of City for the reasons behind the sale. It's a decent fee to receive for him but as noted in the comments section earlier it does leave us light in that position, particularly as Jordan is struggling.

One confirmed departure in that Kaspar Schmeichel gets a chance to gain experience with a loan until the end of the season with SPL side Falkirk. Bury were alos interested but the move north of the border should provide a greater test for Schmeichel and all in all will be a good step for him.

Stuart Pearce has confirmed that the 'big three' are untouchable, and have not received any bids for either Distin, Barton or Richards and that he is not looking to sell. As the guys at the Supporters Trust say, it is good to see Pearce come out and state this to (hopefully) quash speculation regarding the trio and if any clubs are generally interested then it will take bids of stupid proportions to even entertain consideration.

Following on from Claudio Reyna, Danny Mills could also be on his way with Pearce willing to listen to offers for the out of favour full-back. It speculates that whether Mills would be prepared to take a signifcant drop in wages over the next two and half years remains to be seen, but from some of the comments I have seen from Mills he is keen to move away to get playing football once again.

Another player possibly on his way - and a little bit of a surprise perhaps, is a Tribal Football article (taken from the Times - although I've not managed to pick anything up on their site) which suggests Charlton have agreed a £100,000 fee for Ben Thatcher. A surprise for me in that since returning from his ban, Thatcher has been in pretty good form. Perhaps under the new formation adopted by Pearce he feels he no longer fits in, and Stephen Jordan has got the nod in recent games. I'll post more on this later if it is confirmed as a deal.

Stuart Pearce has been commenting on his manouvering and how he hopes to strengthen the squad:

"I am busy talking to managers at the moment about
players in and out and we just have to be hopeful that we get the players we
want in.
"If you can knock a fellow manager's head off with a price normally
that forces a deal through and if you can't do that then you have to be a bit
clever and do a swap of a player here or there.
"We will keep plugging away
and hopefully somewhere down the line we will get one or two fresh faces in
here. We are well aware of our shortcomings and what we need. I think this squad
would flourish if I could bring in another three or four quality players but
that luxury would cost £20m-£25m,"

It is quite tacit (but unsurprising) admission from Pearce which all but confirms that any players brought in will be through wheeling and dealing and 'no money sloshing around in the accounts' really does mean that. Freeing up the wages of Reyna and possibly Mills and Thatcher therefore appear to be a priority and hold the key to any new arrivals in January.