"Recession Art" by World of Good on Flickr
A preview of the possible transfers our fantasy team of London-born players might make this month, along with other rumours
Though rarely as thrilling as its summer equivalent, football's winter transfer window already looks to have already found its marquee storyline — the fate of Jermain Defoe, star performer for Londonist United, currently at Portsmouth but coveted by his previous employer. Tottenham sold the striker this time last year for £12m, but Pompey want at least £15m, fee that was agreed by the clubs this morning, despite Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who managed Portsmouth a year ago, saying that his old club would be mad to sell their best player. Still, it's got the Spurs faithful dreaming — one blog thinks that a front pairing of Defoe and the suddenly scoring Roman Pavluchenko could work wonders, while other pulse-racing names reputedly on their way to White Hart Lane include Stephen Appiah, David James, and £12m worth of Stewart Downing.
West Ham fans aren't so lucky — preoccupations at the Boleyn centre on whether the club will even exist in a few months, given their financial status. Piling 'em high and selling 'em low appears to be the strategy. Scott Parker was rumoured to be on his way to Manchester City for a (probably unwarranted) £12m, with Crystal Palace's Ben Watson ready to step up to the Premiership and into the Londonist United side. West Ham have since denied that Parker is leaving, which is bad news for the purse-string holders, though they can still cling on to the hope that Craig Bellamy (Spurs again) might disappear, while Arsene Wenger is considering eating a rare helping of humble pie and simultaneously helping the Hammers wage bill by re-signing Matthew Upson, if Kolo Toure joins Manchester City. Less thrilling news for the Gunners: thanks to the club's baffling reluctance to sign him to a new contract, they could lose the services of England saviour Theo Walcott for a mere £400,000. Chelsea are said to be sizing the situation up.
A bigger story at the Bridge, though, is the buzz surrounding Luiz Felipe Scolari's future as manager, with odds on him being the next boss to be axed dropping from 33/1 to 10/1. If the stories about Abramovich's money problems are true, few signings can be expected, though the subject of Joe Cole's future might be under discussion following his increasingly rare appearances. Chelsea's near neighbours at Fulham have spent the first half of the season quietly going about their business, sitting comfortably in the middle of the table. It will chill the Craven Cottagers to contemplate that one of the players responsible for their success, Jimmy Bullard, could be off soon — with the apparently limitless confines of the Tottenham locker room welcoming him.
Will any of it come to pass? Spurs could be looking at the biggest squad in history if it does. In any case, we'll be back at the end of the month to round up the winners and the losers - for both the London clubs and, of course, our motley rabble of a fantasy side.