What can we expect from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, Juventus, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich on Transfer Deadline Day? TheHardTackle presents a special prequel to the craziest day of the summer – August 31, 011. Brace yourselves for 24 hours of pure madness!

Note: This article is a combined work of many resident writers, so a difference in opinion is likely as you move from one sub-section to another.

Arsenal

ARSENAL

The last 24 hours for Arsenal, have been frantic to say the least. They have been linked with a host of players, all around Europe. Arsene Wenger’s claim that the backroom staff are working hard behind closed doors to sign players was true indeed. The transfer deadline day promises to be a very busy one for Arsenal with at least 3 players expected to sign.

Park Chu Young, the South Korean international, has already been confirmed as an Arsenal player. The transfer fee agreed between Monaco and Arsenal is said to be around £3m. The forward will provide Arsenal with much needed cover for Captain Robin Van Persie. According to reports from Turkey last night, Andre Santos is reportedly on his way to London for his medical. Arsenal and Fenerbahçe have reached an agreement of around £6.2m. In all probabilities, this signing should be official by tomorrow.

In another big move, it is reported that Arsenal and Werder Bremen have reached an agreement over the transfer of Per Mertesacker. The German defender’s transfer is on the verge of completion. The player is set to undergo a medical at Arsenal. Reports about this signing surfaced after Mertesacker was released from the German squad for a day by Coach Joachim Loew to complete his transfer. The transfer fee is reported to be around £8million. The signing of the German International will ease the anxiousness of the fans, who have been crying out for a world class defender.

In what has been one of the most anxious days (regarding transfer speculations) in the history of the club, many players have been linked with a potential move. According to various sources, Arsene Wenger is very much interested in the Chelsea’s duo – Florent Malouda and Alex. It has been reported that Wenger is all set to launch a £8million bid for the French midfielder and a £7million bid for the Brazilian Center Back. It is also believed that Chelsea values Alex at £10million, and a deadline day swoop for the duo is a possibility.

Other sources have reported that Arsenal have made an enquiry about Clint Dempsey who is valued at £10m by Fulham and it is said that Martin Jol is already looking for replacements. Meanwhile, Arsenal has had a second bid for Gary Cahill rejected by Bolton but a deadline day move by Wenger still remains a possibility. However, the failed bid for Cahill might have just re-ignited Arsene’s interest in Samba, and with Blackburn moving for Scott Dann, Samba’s transfer rumors have suddenly increased. Meanwhile, with reports surfacing that Liverpool outcast Joe Cole is on the verge of joining Lille for a season-long loan, sources claim this might have paved the way for Arsenal to make their £26million move for Eden Hazard.

According to another news that circulated late in the day, Arsenal have made an inquiry for Juan Manuel Vargas of Fiorentina. Meanwhile, it is been said that Arsene Wenger is in France at the moment and suggestions are that Yann M’Villa might return with him! It was rumored that Arsenal initial bid of $22 million was rejected by Rennes, but Wenger seems to be very keen on the midfielder. Reports also surfaced that Arsenal are interested in out of favor Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun, but later on Tottenham emerged as his probable destination.

Armand Traore has completed his move to QPR today for an undisclosed fee. His departure has signaled what could be a long list of players leaving the club before the deadline. Henry Lansbury is also said to be in talks with QPR for a potential move away from the Emirates. The midfielder has found it hard to break into Arsenal’s first team and with a host of clubs interested, this could be the end of the road for him with the Gunners. Nicklas Bendtner is also keen on a move away from the club, with Sunderland, Stoke and Wolfsburg reportedly interested in signing the Danish Striker. Arsenal’s youngster Daniel Boateng is also set to join Swindon Town on loan.

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CHELSEA

Thus far in this window, Chelsea’s focus has been on youth, and quite rightly so. Courtois, Romeu, Lukaku, Mata and Davila are all talented, have high potential, have been acquired for a reasonable price and will have a resale value, if the club wants to recover the cost or make a profit, sometime in future. Thus far, Chelsea haven’t really opened the war-chest for any single player.

If January 31, 2011, perhaps the craziest deadline day ever, gives us any indication, it would be foolish to say that Chelsea will definitely not spend big in the next 24 hours. The need, as reiterated by the manager himself, is clearly there – a central midfielder is clearly the priority. Another position which can use a quality player is that of a right winger.

Chelsea have been after Luka Modric all summer, but Tottenham have thus far not budged from their stance – Luka Modric is not for sale, at any cost. From £22m the bidding amount has reportedly risen to £40m, still the diminutive Croatian remains elusive! It would be advisable for Chelsea to not give into the temptation and ridiculously overpay for Modric. However, on the deadline day, all will depend on two men – Abramovich and Levy. It remains to be seen for how long Roman can resist making an offer that Tottenham cannot refuse.

Last night, news broke out that Liverpool have rejected a player plus cash deal (£8m + Benayoun) for Raul Meireles. Now, the Portuguese midfielder is clearly a back-up option, if whatever Chelsea are trying to do, doesn’t materialize. Liverpool are, however, expected to let him leave if they recover the £11.5m spend on him by Roy Hodgson.

Another player whom Chelsea have courted has been Alvaro Pereira, the Porto left wing-back. He is one player, who would be nothing more than a luxury at Chelsea, as the West London club have Ashley Cole, Florent Malouda and Juan Mata for the left flank, in addition to a couple of talented, young left-backs. Ergo, spending over £20m on such a player makes no sense at all, when there are other more pressing areas on the pitch that need to be dealt with. This deal was apparently notoriously close to being completed, but as per the latest reports, there’s still some way to go. Either way, Pereira will definitely be in the news on deadline day.

Yossi Benayoun has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, with clubs such as Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Lille and Galatasaray amongst those interested in him, and will leave Chelsea in all likelihood. Other players rumored to leave before the transfer window ends have been Alex and Malouda (Juventus, Arsenal), and Kalou (Lille). The Brazilian center-back is expected not to leave, as that would make the Blues weaker at the heart of defense. Whereas, a preferred destination for the rest will be a club which has something, rather someone, Chelsea want to sign. Benayoun, Kalou, and Malouda may just hold all the keys on August 31, 2011.

Chelsea youngsters such as Gael Kakuta, Ryan Bertrand and Patrick van Aanholt may be sent for a season-long loan.

There are other interesting players, who can fill the void in central midfield, such as Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina or Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund, but Chelsea have so far not shown any concrete interest.

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LIVERPOOL

It’s going to be a busy Wednesday for Damien Commoli and Co., as at least two players are on their way out, while as many as 2-3 players might make their way into Anfield.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with Craig Bellamy who is available for free, after Man City decided to let the player leave. Sources now claim that the move is off, unless City compensates the player’s wages (90,000 Pounds), which Liverpool are unlikely to pay.

Liverpool look set to offload Ngog, if they are able to arrange a replacement – someone who could cover up for Suarez and Carroll, if the two are out injured. A striker is definitely on the radar, and the question is “Would it be Bellamy or some one else?”

Chelsea, surprisingly, have made a bid for Meireles who looked like staying put, after Aquilani left for AC Milan. Selling Meireles would mean, betting on Henderson who has had a mix start to the season at Liverpool. It would be interesting to see if Liverpool make any attempt to sign a replacement for the player. If they do, it would add to the depth, which becomes all the more important once the season moves beyond February. Liverpool might also tempt Chelsea to sell Sturridge, in order to land Meireles!

According to media sources, Joe Cole is on his way to Lille, on a 1-year loan deal. That would free up 100,000 pounds from the wage bill every week and will allow the club to to make a big signing on the deadline day. Well, only if they want to! Liverpool had apparently made a bid for Abrahim Affelay for around 10 million Euros. However, Barcelona look poised to retain the player, but a bid of around 13 to 15 million might just make them rethink!

Poulsen has signed for French club Evian, after being linked to clubs such as Espanyol and FC Copanhagen. And, the transfer of Uruguay’s promising center-back Sebastian Coates from Nacional has been confirmed.

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MANCHESTER UNITED

The Old Trafford club went about their business in a very astute manner by identifying their transfer targets early and then fending off interest from other clubs to seal the deal. Sir Alex Ferguson had reportedly made an offer for Ashley Young in the January window but the move couldn’t materialize back then. However, Fergie finally got his man from the midlands club for a price reported to be in the region of 16 million pounds. It’s fair to say that so far the Englishman has lived up to the gaffer’s faith.

After Edwin Van Der Sar hung up his boots, the Red Devils were linked with a plethora of shot stoppers but Ferguson and United’s goal-keeping coach Eric Steele had their heart set on Athletico Madrid’s David De Gea. The young Spaniard moved to Old Trafford in a deal worth 18 million pounds, and with big money transfers come big expectation. The Old Trafford crowd is yet to see the best of the Euro Under-21 champion but De Gea surely has time on his hands. The surprise purchase of the window was Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers; Ferguson was prepared to wait at least one more season for the supremely talented center-back but United were forced into the market after a lot of big clubs showed their interest in obtaining his services.

Contrary to common convention that United would strengthen their midfield options, the manager has so far resisted the temptation to sign a central midfielder, although there has been no dearth of rumors. Nasri, Modric and Diarra have all been linked but to no avail. The name Wesley Sneijder has been linked over a gazillion times with tabloids reckoning the deal was imminent, yet Sneijder remains an Inter Milan player till date.

The likes of John O’shea and Wes Brown made their moves away from the Theater of Dreams in search of regular football; Sunderland acquired the services of the duo. Thomas Kuszczak, Mame Biram Diouf and Darren Gibson have all been on the periphery of a move away from Old Trafford and deals might follow soon. Fredrico Macheda would surely be loaned out to a premier club to gain match experience and further his development.

The buzz about Sneijder’s impending move to Old Trafford has died down lately owing to the fabulous performance of United’s midfield. The duo of Anderson and Cleverley has captured the imagination of the supporters, while Darren Fletcher fit again. Michael Carrick will also be there in the big games. Do United need Sneijder? Will the Dutchman lower his wage demands to seal the move? The answer will be known in the next few hours, as one of the most excruciating transfer sagas of the window nears its completion one way or the other.

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BARCELONA

FC Barcelona had clear-cut targets for the 2011 summer transfer window and of the three players heavily linked to Camp Nou – Rossi, Fabregas and Sanchez – except for the Italian, the rest have already won trophies with Barca. Fabregas and Sanchez seem to have adjusted to Barcelona’s style with ease, at least more easily than what the fans had expected.

Apparently, it might look like Guardiola is short on defenders; however, Barcelona is just doing fine with or or without them! The team has evolved in such a way that specialists are no longer a priority and versatility is more appreciated. Mascherano and Busquets can fit seamlessly in defense and Afellay and Fabregas can be slotted in as out and out offensive players. The entire team is being built of one fundamental aspect – Total Football. Every player needs to be able to adjust in a different position. In the wake of the advent of a number of promising La Masia youngsters, Barcelona will not enter the market for a defensive player. However, there were rumors about the Catalans being interested in David Luiz and Thiago Silva. They might seem to be extremely bloated, but one cannot certainly rule these moves out sometime in the near future.

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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid have had a relatively quiet transfer window, going by their illustrious standards. There were just 5 arrivals in the form of Varane, Sahin, Coentrao, Callejon and Altintop. Of these, only Sahin seems to be brought in as a core player for the “Team Mourinho”. The others are expected to play the role of a supporting cast, with Varane being a long term replacement for Carvalho.

Among the departed and potential departures, Canales has been farmed out to Valencia with a buyback option. Other potential departures on the cards are Lassana Diarra, Gago, Drenthe and Pedro Leon. Real have been trying their hardest to offload the four players, while at the same time, they are trying to protect their initially invested costs. However, since their squad is already bloated beyond the 25 player squad registration allowed by La Liga, their bargaining power has been reduced a lot.

Lassana Diarra: Madrid fans would prefer to see the back of the moaning Lass. He does not have any dearth of suitors, though his wage demands and the hefty transfer fee remains a stumbling block. However, the departures of Gago and Leon have restored some bargaining power in the Spanish Capital boardroom.

Pedro Leon: His transfer to Getafe has been all but confirmed for a loan deal with an option for Getafe to buy for 5-6 mil Euros.

Gago: His transfer to Roma is also almost confirmed for a fee rumored to be 6 million Euros.

Drenthe: He remains the odd man out. Much was expected from and promised by the youngster, but somehow due to various reasons he failed to justify the hype around him. He sits alone waiting for some suitor to come by and rescue him.

Overall, it has been a productive transfer window for Los Blancos. They wrapped up their targets very quickly, and then managed to do a fair job of selling their fringe players as well.

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AC MILAN

Probably the quietest club in the transfer market, Milan has only brought in players on a free transfer or on loan this season. The latest acquisition from has been Aquilani from Liverpool on a loan deal. Uncle Fester got a great deal for Aquilani, which means Milan will sign him only if he plays 25 matches and stays fit. With the transfer window coming to a close soon, here’s a look at the hopeful and the most ridiculous transfers on D-day.

Khedira and Diarra: With the coming of Nuri Sahin, the central midfield is getting too full at Santiago Bernabeu. Mourinho is reportedly offloading the pair and Milan would be too happy to have them both in their squad. Also, Madrid still owes 23 million from the Kaka deal, and both of these players could make their way in exchange of that cash.

Seydou Keita: The former Sevilla man has found his time to be limited at the Camp Nou. The emergence of Thiago also is a factor. However, will Barcelona sell one of their own remains to be seen.

Montolivo: This has been the transfer rumor all season but Fiorentina president is adamant the player will be sold outside of Italy. With his contract expiring next year, Milan might make once last splurge and buy the Azurri international.

De Rossi: A huge transfer, if this is pulled off. De Rossi’s contract expires this season and with contract talks stalling between him and Roma, Mr G might make an effort to bring him to Milan. The signing would provide a huge boost to the present injury-plagued Milan squad.

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INTERNAZIONALE

Former European and Italian Champions Inter have dipped into the market this summer in a bid to right the wrongs from last season. They kicked off the summer by hiring former Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini, choosing not to continue with Leonardo, who then left for PSG. Having sold off their best player from the last campaign, Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o to free-spending Anzhi Makhachkala, the Nerazzurri replaced him with Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan. The former Manchester United striker brings plenty of experience and quality to the table. An official announcement is expected soon.

Davide Santon, the fullback who showed so much promise, drawing comparisons to Paolo Maldini after neutralizing Cristiano Ronaldo on his Champions League debut, has left for Newcastle United for a fee believed to be in the region of 6 million Euros. Goran Pandev has also recently made a loan switch to Napoli. While promising Italian midfielder Andrea Poli has been recruited from Sampdoria on loan with an option to buy.

Inter are expected to get rid of players that are surplus to their plans, which include Sully Muntari and Nelson Rivas. They’ve been told to find new homes and indeed by the end of the market, will ply their trade with different teams. Inter might also want to cash in on Wesley Sneijder although a move away from the San Siro does seem unlikely now. While Argentines Carlos Tevez and Mauro Zarate have found themselves constantly linked with a move to the Nerazzurri, the former represents an unaffordable target and the latter certainly a realistic one. Expect one more signing by Inter before the market shuts down.

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JUVENTUS

Things have officially gone haywire in last few days. Juventus’ transfer campaign got off to a solid start with good signings, but in the last week, two very unexpected and underwhelming players in the forms of Giaccherini and Estigarribia have signed for the club. Juventus still need to plug holes in the squad, on left wing and in central defense.

A number of defenders have been linked with Juve. Diego Lugano is all set to join PSG, so he can be ruled out. Two Brazilian defenders, Alex of Chelsea and Rhodolfo of Sao Paolo, have been strongly linked with a move to Juventus. Latest reports say that Juve’s first bid for Rhodolfo was rejected by Sao Paolo, so the club is looking to launch an improved bid in next few hours. A surprising development in last 2 days saw Reto Ziegler being linked with a move to Turkey. Ziegler is yet to play an official match for Juve, after arriving as a free agent in the summer.

For the left wing, Malouda and Elia have being linked with a move to The Old Lady. One of the craziest rumors suggested that a swap deal with Chelsea for both Malouda and Alex in exchange for Milos Krasic and cash was on the cards. Hamburg’s Elia looks most likely to join Juventus currently, some sources are reporting that the deal had been completed on Monday night itself.

A number of players are set to follow Zdenek Grygera out of Turin. The biggest name to leave Juventus will be Amauri. A number of clubs including Parma and Marseille are interested in acquiring his signature. Fabio Grosso, Simone Pepe and Vincenzo Iaquinta are also supposed to leave the club with some rumors linking Leonardo Bonucci with a move to Russia. A number of youngsters such as Pasquato, Marrone and Sorensen are likely to be loaned out.

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BAYERN MUNICH

A disastrous season, both domestically as well as on the continental front, forced the management to splash the cash. Long term transfer target, German number one Manuel Neuer was duly snapped up from under the eyes of Man United. It was a masterstroke as the transfer provided an all important shield to the porous Bayern defense. Soon Rafinha and Boateng were also brought in to reinforce the rear-guard.

Injury to Olic and the sale of Klose to Lazio prompted Bayern to find fresher options in the market, and they zeroed onto Bundesliga 2 top scorer Nils Petersen and Dale Jennings of Tranmere Rovers to add to their offensive unit. In order to minimize the effect of unavailability of star duo ‘Robbery’, Bayern signed Usami on loan (with an option to buy) and have extended the contract of precocious Austrian talent, Alaba.

It seems that, at least, on paper Bayern have answered all the questions that were raised against the them last year. The midfield still lacks potent creativity. Gustavo is defensively good enough but does not add much value going forward. A lot will depend on how Muller and Kroos step up the ante to take their game to another level, giving their club no reason to miss creativity in the middle or some magic up front. In short, the team looks formidable enough to challenge for the domestic title. However, to do well in Europe, they might just need another addition in defense. Expecting Boateng, Badstuber, Breno and Van Buyten to remain impregnable against other European stalwarts is just too much.