Defender rumour frenzy

Last updated : 22 December 2002 By Martyn Elliott

The most bizarre suggestion is that Craig Bellamy’s pal Marco Materazzi will be arriving as part of a deal that would see Laurent Robert going to Inter.

Materazzi was a joke during his previous spell in the Premiership with Everton, but since returning to Italy has improved enough to become a regular for the national team.

There’s probably very little truth in this one as I picked it up from an Australian website famed for it’s inaccurate reporting of transfers.

Interestingly though the Robert to Inter rumour continues, but if he moans that he doesn’t get the ball enough here what’s he going to be like in Serie A where wingers are rarely involved in the game?

Rumours about a swap deal involving Lorenzo Amoruso of Rangers and Steve Caldwell continue.

I can’t really see much logic in this – why swap a promising youngster for an ageing defender who has never really proved himself to be top class? Rangers would surely be the major beneficiaries of this proposed deal.

A new name is 21-year-old Argentinian Martin Demichelis of River Plate who is apparently one of the most highly rated young talents in the Apertura (I’m sure I heard that about Bassedas and Cordone once as well).

We are reportedly preparing to battle Bayern Munich, Juventus and Inter for his £2million signature, although the player claims to be happy at River Plate.

It almost goes without saying that Jaap Stam and Jonathan Woodgate are still reported to interest Sir Bobby.

One player who won’t be joining United though is Nigerian World Cup star Isaac Okoronkwo, who failed to impress during his trial at St James’.

Sir Bobby meanwhile has told the Evening Chronicle that signings in January are far from a certainty.

"We have Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United ahead of us and we are not quite there yet, although that's where we want to be," he said.

"We need a little bit more investment and while we are getting a little bit better I have to admit our defence does seem a little creaky at times.

"I am saying to all the defenders that I am giving them all their chance. But at some stage if all else fails then I might have to do something.

"But getting players into the club at the level we want have to be better than what we have already got and what we have is already very good.

"It is difficult to sign new players at the moment. Because if a player is that good he is already at a big club on a good contract and it will cost you big money.

"So everybody thinks the transfer market is easy but it's not."

Perhaps with Titus Bramble set to return soon Sir Bobby will decide against bringing in new faces.

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