Nigel De Jong to AC Milan & the transfers that could be sealed on the final day of the window

By Kris Voakes

The final week of the summer transfer window has fast become one of the most fascinating stages of any season, and this term is certainly no different. With just one day now left for Europe’s top clubs to finalise trading ahead of the 2012-13 campaign, the next 16 hours could be make or break in the big boys’ hopes of gaining major silverware over the nine months which follow.

With some notable gaps still remaining in first team squads across the continent, there are many clubs still fighting over a host of big names who could be switching allegiances in the final moments of the market. Goal.com takes a look at some of the more high-profile transfers that could be set to take place before the curtains are drawn across the transfer window on Friday night.

IBRAHIM AFELLAY – BARCELONA TO SCHALKE

The former PSV man has struggled to make himself a key member of the Barcelona squad since his move to Catalonia in January 2011, particularly since picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out of much of last season.

As a result, the Blaugrana are looking to loan out the 26-year-old Dutchman to give him extra playing time, with Schalke leading the chase for his signature. Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar recently asked for the Konigsblauen to bolster their ranks, and the addition of Afellay could well further his and the club’s ambitions for the season ahead.

NICKLAS BENDTNER – ARSENAL TO JUVENTUS

The Denmark striker has had something of a rollercoaster experience since arriving in England, gaining quite the reputation as one of the more brash, bolshy figures in the Premier League during a spell which has seen both highs and lows with Arsenal, Birmingham City and latterly Sunderland.

His talent is without question though, and Juventus seem set to finally end a striker search that has seen the likes of Edinson Cavani, Stevan Joevtic, Fernando Llorente and Dimitar Berbatov come into consideration by snapping up the great Dane. Bianconeri director general Giuseppe Marotta went as far as to admit on Thursday: “Bendtner is already in Italy and will undergo a medical tomorrow, [but] until the final paperwork is concluded, I will not say that the player is ours.”

NIGEL DE JONG – MANCHESTER CITY TO AC MILAN

Another Dutchman set for a move in the final hours of the window is Manchester City midfielder De Jong, who has found himself gradually sliding down the pecking order with the Premier League champions. What’s more, manager Roberto Mancini’s pursuit of Roma’s Daniele De Rossi has left the former Hamburg man in little doubt that he is not in the club’s plans longer term.

Milan’s massive summer clear-out has left them short in midfield, where the tenacity of Gennaro Gattuso and Mark van Bommel has still to be replaced. De Jong could well come in as the Rossoneri‘s final purchase before the window closes, with CEO Adriano Galliani having travelled to Manchester on Thursday to finalise a deal that could be worth anything between €4-7 million.

CLINT DEMPSEY – FULHAM TO LIVERPOOL

Clint Dempsey has been part of the furniture at Fulham since his arrival from New England Revolution in 2007, but his career-best 17 goals last season have led to him becoming hot property around the Premier League. The USA international’s head has since been turned, with Cottagers boss Martin Jol admitting that his player wants to leave the club.

Liverpool have led the chase for Dempsey to such an extent that Fulham made an official complaint regarding the Reds’ unrelenting pursuit of the midfielder, but the Anfield club’s efforts may finally come to something before Friday is through. The 29-year-old is not without further options though, with Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill also interested in adding him to his squad for the 2012-13 season, but it is Liverpool who remain favourites to complete a deadline day deal.

BENAT ETXEBARRIA – REAL BETIS TO ATHLETIC BILBAO

Benat remains one of Europe’s must sought-after players as the summer market reaches its climax, with his displays for Real Betis having been noticed right across the continent. It has led to interest from Wolfsburg, with Felix Magath looking to add a top quality midfielder to his ranks.

However, Athletic Bilbao have emerged as serious candidates for the 25-year-old’s signature, with the €40m earned from the sale of Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich set to be used on the purchases of a couple of additions to their first-team squad. Athletic are favourites as things stand, meaning Wolfsburg could avert their gaze towards Guadalajara’s Marco Fabian, although both suitors could yet miss out after Thursday’s suggestion that both Betis and Benat may look to extend their relationship beyond the transfer deadline.

KAKA – REAL MADRID TO AC MILAN/SAO PAULO

The Brazilian has been courted by former employers Milan for much of the summer, but with Real Madrid refusing to accept their terms of a proposed loan deal, he could well be offloaded to first club Sao Paulo.

With the Rossoneri having all but given up on the 30-year-old, and Madrid looking to rid themselves of the player three years after paying €65m for his services, Kaka has become the most high-profile subject of the transfer window, and his future is likely to remain unresolved until the final hours of trading on Friday.

HUGO LLORIS – LYON TO TOTTENHAM

A key player in Lyon’s run to the Champions League semi-final in 2010, Lloris has remained in the European spotlight ever since thanks to his form for both club and country despite the chaos often going on around him. With Les Gones having missed out on the Ligue 1 title for four straight years since his arrival, the keeper looks set to make the move away from his homeland.

The France captain has been courted by Tottenham throughout the summer, and a deal finally appears likely to be completed during the Friday, though the saga could go right down to the wire. Les Bleus goalkeeper has agreed terms with the north Londoners but the two clubs are “significantly apart” in terms of a transfer fee.

RAFAEL VAN DER VAART – TOTTENHAM TO HAMBURG

While Lloris could be added to the ranks in N17, Van der Vaart could be set to follow Luka Modric out of the exit door. The White Hart Lane club are open to offers for VDV and Scott Parker, paving the way for the Dutchman to leave over the next 24 hours.

Van der Vaart has been keenly followed by former side Hamburg over a period of some weeks now, and with Mousa Dembele having been added to the Spurs staff, the way could now be paved for the 29-year-old’s exit. The one sticking point could be Spurs’ demands, which have been described by the German side as “not of this world”.

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'I couldn't have asked for a better start' – Modric delighted with Supercopa victory over Barcelona

Pepe and Modric with Spanish supercup

Pepe and Modric with Spanish supercup

Luka Modric is delighted to have won his first title as a Real Madrid player, following the club’s 2-1 Supercopa victory over Barcelona on Wednesday, and hopes it will be the first of many.

The Croatian playmaker came off the bench in the 83rd minute and helped Jose Mourinho’s side claim early bragging rights over their Clasico rivals by winning the season’s first piece of silverware.

Speaking to Real Madrid TV, Modric told of his happiness at wearing the Blancos jersey for the first time and thanked the home support for the rapturous reception he received during his maiden bow.

“I feel great. I couldn’t ask for a better beginning for my career at Real Madrid,” he enthused.

“I am very happy and I would like to thank the supporters for the great support during the whole match and for a great reception they gave me when I came on.”

Reflecting on the match itself, Modric was impressed with his new club’s performance and felt that they were worthy winners of the Supercopa.

“I think we did well, we deserved to win and we just need to build on this game and continue to work hard and play better every match.”

The former Tottenham star was thankful to Mourinho for allowing him to play in front of the home fans and receive a winner’s medal.

“It’s an amazing feeling [walking out onto the Santiago Bernabeu] and I’m lucky the coach gave me the opportuity to play today. In my first game I won a trophy, I couldn’t ask for more.”

“I’m looking forward to having a successful career at Real Madrid.”

Modric could make his full home debut against Granada in La Liga on Sunday.

Ajax have nothing to lose in Champions League group stage, insists De Boer

Ajax coach Frank de Boer says his side have nothing to lose in the Champions League, after they were drawn with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage on Thursday.

The Eredivisie title holders were allocated a place in Group D alonside the champions of La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

Speaking to reporters after the draw in Monaco, the former Barcelona defender should harbour no fears when they meet their opponents in Europe, insisting they will adhere to their principles.

“The pressure is on the other teams,” the 41-year-old said. “We’re just going to play our own game.”

De Boer believes being drawn with Real Madrid for a third consecutive season gives the Dutch powerhouse a chance to show how strong they are, as he analysed the other teams in the group.

“Against Real, we can prove our worth again. Last season we had a good match in Madrid and two disallowed goals at the Amsterdam Arena.

“City have an incredible quality in defence, which is very solid. And they have five or six lethal strikers to choose from, meaning they can score at any time. They’re just a strong team.

“And the same goes for Dortmund, who won the title in Germany twice in a row. Bayern Munich went to the final of the Champions League, but Dortmund won the championship twice. That says something about the power of BVB.”

Ajax start their Champions League campaign in Germany on September 18 when they face Dortmund.

Official: Granero joins QPR on four-year deal

QPR have announced the signing of Real Madrid’s Esteban Granero on a four-year-deal.

The 25-year-old, deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho, is Mark Hughes’ ninth summer signing as he aims to improve on the west London side’s 17th-placed finish last year. Hughes told the club’s official website: “He is a great player, first and foremost. You don’t play at a club like Real Madrid if you’re not.

“He has got great energy and is technically very gifted, as you would expect. He is an all-round excellent midfielder.

“He has been there from the age of nine, so this has been a huge decision for him. He is very well regarded there and for him to leave a club of that stature to come to us shows the belief he has in what we are trying to do.”

Granero spent two years at Getafe before returning to Los Blancos where he played 60 games in the last three seasons.

The midfielder will wear the No.14 shirt and added: “I love the passion of the English fans and from what I know QPR supporters are amongst the very best.

“When I spoke to Mark [Hughes] and Mike [Rigg], as well as Tony [Fernandes] I was convinced that I wanted to be part of this project, which has no limits.

“Players that have joined before me are as excited as I am about what QPR can become, one of the great teams in England.”

QPR have bolstered their squad in recent weeks, convincing Inter Milan and Brazil No.1 Julio Cesar to head to Loftus Road, as well as Park Ji-Sung, Jose Bosingwa and Junior Hoilett.

And Hughes spoke in glowing terms about the ambition of the club: “What we are doing at QPR is having an impact on players. It is probably true to say that if we had approached certain players three or four months ago about joining the club, the suggestion wouldn’t have been entertained.

“But people now know we are serious and we are trying to do something different here. And that message is out there now which is why we are able to sit in front of quality players and once we are given that opportunity, we feel we have a good story to tell them.

“That’s why players are deciding that QPR is a great option.

Seydoux denies Real Madrid bid for Debuchy

Lille president Michel Seydoux has quashed speculation linking Mathieu Debuchy with a deadline-day move to Real Madrid.

Marca reported on Wednesday that the Blancos had turned their attentions to the right-back, having already sealed Luka Modric’s transfer from Tottenham earlier in the week.

It was speculated that the Spanish champions had identified Debuchy as the ideal candidate to bolster their defence and were preparing a €12 million bid, but Seydoux has expressed a desire to retain his services.

We have not been approached. Anyway, Mathieu really wants to play Champions League with us,” the patron told reporters.

Debuchy, who has made over 200 appearances for Lille, was one of the stars of France’s Euro 2012 campaign, and had attracted interest from Newcastle earlier in the summer.

Lille were drawn in Group F of the Champions League alongside Bayern Munich, Valencia and BATE Borisov.