Transfer rumours

The second division still has three weeks to run and we have a major tournament to live through, but clubs are already planning for the new campaign. The first job of course is to get the new managers on board, and as usual several changes are expected before everything kicks off again at the end of August. Barcelona have already decided that B team coach Pep Guardiola will take over from Frank Rijkaard, and Valencia are hoping that Almería's highly rated Unai Emery will be the new Rafa Benítez. Almería themselves have signed on Numancia's Gonzalo Arconada to take over from Emery, and another of last season's successful coaches, Racing Santander's Marcelino, will be dropping down a division to try and get Zaragoza back up. At the time of going to press, Espanyol, Getafe, Levante and Racing are still looking for a new boss, and Betis have yet to confirm whether Chaparro will be staying on.

Several clubs have already made signings though, Barcelona having tied up Keita, Piqué and Pinto, and now setting their sights on Sergio García, Hleb, Silva and Alves (although the motion of censure against Laporta could slow things up). In the door marked "out", Edmilson has already agreed terms with Villarreal, and Ronaldinho, Deco, Zambrotta, Márquez, Thuram, Ezquerro, Gudjohnsen, Giovanni and even Eto'o could also leave this summer. Sevilla, Villarreal and Deportivo have signed up strikers Acosta, Llorente and Omar Bravo respectively, and Espanyol have strengthened their defence with Cristian Alvarez and Beranger. Real Madrid have only agreed to bring back De la Red and Granero from Getafe so far, but even people on the planet Zog will be aware that they are trying to entice Cristian Ronaldo away from Manchester United. An €80 million bid has been turned down by an angry Sir Alex, but having seen the same tactics used to sign Zidane, Figo, Beckham etc., the Spanish press are already assuming he will be at the Bernabeu by August. Watch our regular updates for news! (31.05.08)