Transfer rumours

All the remaining first division managerial posts were agreed this week, with Schuster and Laudrup taking over as expected at Real Madrid and Getafe respectively, Cúper finally agreeing terms at Betis, and Caparrós confirmed at Athletic Bilbao following the presidential elections. Schuster had already been working behind the scenes for some time, and four new signings were announced during the last few days, Metzelder, Saviola, Dudek and Pepe. The first three had already been confirmed in one way or another, but Pepe was a surprise, if only for the €30 million price tag. Robben and Drenthe could follow this week, but who will not be coming to the Bernabeu this season is Cesc, who turned down Schuster's offer saying he wants to stay at Arsenal. The club are studying alternatives for a "play-maker", with several names including Riquelme being mentioned.

It has been a busy week for transfers in general though, with Sevilla in particular tying up De Mul, Keita, De Sanctis and Boulahrouz. Chivu finally priced himself out of the market and Barcelona went for Gaby Milito instead, and Zaragoza stunned everyone by using part of the money to buy out Ayala's contract at Villarreal before he had even played a match for Pellegrini's side! Elsewhere Betis have signed on Portuguese keeper Ricardo and Aitor Ocio moved back to Athletic Bilbao from Sevilla, the first of several "Basque" signings which Caparrós is expected to make in the next few days. For news on all these and more, check out the links above and below. (14.07.07)