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Transfer rumour round-up 12/09/2008

There's been a fair few rumours around the past day or so - inevitable I guess as our very own advent calendar counts it way down to the arrival of shiny new gifts in the form of new players come the opening of the January transfer window.

David Villa was the big rumour of course, with cash strapped Valencia reportedly looking to cash in on him either in January or the summer and Valencia know that any number of clubs are ready to beat a path to their door to secure his signature. What I'm sure Valencia do know of course is that any bid by ourselves is easily able to blow the competition out of the water. Clearly he is a player with undoubted pedigree and has all of the tools to be a fantastic success with us. Previously though, he has shown no sign of favouring a move to the Premier League (even when rumours of Arsenal and Chelsea's interest were high), instead preferring to orchestrate a move to either Barcelona or Real.

Both of those sides though do look well served in attack though, so it really could open up the door for ourselves if indeed he is available. He would unquestionably be a fantastic signing, and if we were to land just one player in January, for me, this would the one.

Antonio di Natale was linked yesterday, with reports that his agent was in London conducting talks with the City hierarchy. A bit out of the blue this one as nowhere has he been linked to us previously He is very much an underrated player, who has forced himself into the Italy side ahead of some more established and glamorous names with consistent performances both domestically and in Europe for Udinese over the past few seasons.

A surprise that he has been linked though given his profile at Udinese and earlier this season he was recognised by the region for his services to the community and does appear to be a long term fixture at the club.

My concern with him would be his size, and whether he could operate in the Premier League without a bigger, more established partner to take some of the load off him. Not forgetting also, is the worrying fact that the Premier League has overwhelmingly been a graveyard for Italian strikers and the ghosts of Corradi and Bianchi still loom large around Eastlands.
Meanwhile, in a Daily Mail article regarding the clubs 'concern' over the Michael Johnson's off-field lifestyle, it did also find time to state that it was certain that January would herald the arrival of both Roque Santa Cruz and Lassana Diarra, from Blackburn and Portsmouth respectively.

The interest around Diarra would have grown even moreso following the news that Portsmouth are officially up for sale and for me, would be a good addition alongside Kompany in midfield (or afford the possibility of moving Kompany back to defence). He is undoubtedly a good player, but given he has bolted on both Chelsea and Arsenal in his relatively short career, he wouldn't arrive without one or two warning signs.

Santa Cruz is a player that I initially thought would be a sound purchase, but in a struggling side this season has done little to prove the assertion he has been a one-season wonder, and that the player who struggled so at Bayern Munich is the real Santa Cruz as opposed to the player who lit up Ewood Park least season.