Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City set to snap up Owen Hargreaves as Arsenal splash out

By Sam Wallace

Manchester City’s unexpected bid to sign Owen Hargreaves will stand or fall on whether both parties can agree a financial deal, after the club satisfied themselves that the former England international is fit enough to return to top-flight football.

City had been in contact with Hargreaves over the last few weeks, but their interest was only made public yesterday when the player was photographed coming out of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hospital and shaking hands with a member of the City medical department following tests on the knee and shoulder injuries that have plagued his career.

Both sides accept that any possible deal will have to be along “pay-as-you-play” lines but that is the final hurdle to overcome.

City are satisfied that Hargreaves, 30, who played just five times for Manchester United in his last three seasons at the club, has overcome the worst of his problems that began with a patella tendon injury at Bayern Munich before his move to Old Trafford four years ago.

It is anticipated that City will tie up a deal for Hargreaves over the next two days.

As a free agent, Hargreaves does not have to sign before tonight’s 11pm transfer window deadline.

Other big transfer news of the day included French champions Lille’s bid to sign Joe Cole on loan from Liverpool.

Frédéric Paquet, the Lille general manager and the architect of the club’s recent success, said there would be “more news” today.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger moved to spend around a quarter of his reputed £80m transfer kitty, including a deal of £10m for the experienced Germany centre-half Per Mertesacker.

The 26-year-old was given leave from the Germany training base in Dusseldorf yesterday to undergo a medical for the move to Arsenal.

The club confirmed the signing of South Korea captain Park Chu-young for around £3m and are completing a £6m deal for Andre Santos, the Brazilian left-back.

Arsenal’s interest in the Bolton centre-half Gary Cahill is said to have cooled with Mertesacker’s impending arrival.

Yann M’Vila, the Rennes midfielder, is still a Wenger target, although the French club’s valuation of the player remains somewhat higher than Arsenal’s.

Marvin Martin, Sochaux’s creative midfielder, is another who has interested Wenger.

Tottenham are expected to be one of the busier clubs ahead of tonight’s 11pm deadline.

Scott Parker yesterday handed in a transfer request at West Ham — who have signed Papa Bouba Diop — and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said he does not “envisage too many problems” in bringing in the England midfielder.

Sunderland have emerged as the latest suitors for Tottenham’s Peter Crouch.

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis may move for Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner.

Newcastle have signed Davide Santon from Internazionale for £5m. The 20-year-old has been recruited as a replacement for Jose Enrique.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has signed Almeria winger Albert Crusat and is pursuing Celtic’s Shaun Maloney.

QPR have signed Armand Traoré from Arsenal.

Czech defender Zdenek Grygera will join Fulham.

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