Portsmouth's Muntari courted by Juventus, PSG midfielder lined up as replacement?
Reports today indicate that Portsmouth's Sulley Muntari may be being tracked by Italian giants Juventus. The Turin based side have been linked with several central midfielders and were thought to be close to making a move for Liverpool's Xabi Alonso. However, sources in Italy suggest that if they fail to land Alonso they may switch their attention to Muntari.
The Ghanaian has enjoyed an outstanding first season for Portsmouth helping Harry Redknapps' men to a fine 8th place finish in the Premiership, as well as winning the FA Cup and securing a European position for next season. Whilst selling Muntari will certainly not be on the agenda of Portsmouth over the course of the summer, the lure of playing for one of Europe's biggest sides may be too great to resist for him.
Muntari has plenty of experience of playing in Serie A after breaking through with Udinese and has spent 5 seasons playing in Serie A. Muntari also had an excellent African Cup of Nations for hosts Ghana, helping them to the semi finals and scoring one of the goals of the tournament in the opening day win against Guinea.
Juventus have been looking at overhauling their midfield options after their first season back in Serie A ended in a fine third place and Champions League football was secured. The next stage is to challenge Inter Milan and AS Roma, who finished ahead of them in the league, and the acquisition of a central midfielder has been made a priority.
Xabi Alonso was thought to be the prime candidate for Juventus, but if talks break down between Liverpool and the Italian side, then Muntari has been touted as a potential fall-back.
Spurs have also been linked with a move for the player and were thought to have offered Pompey £7 million plus Younes Kaboul, but that was understood to have been rejected out of hand.
Portsmouth may be one of the busiest sides over the course of the summer as Harry Redknapp, famous for his ability in the transfer market, seeks to hold onto his best players as well as secure the signature of other's that could improve. With Portsmouth in the UEFA Cup for next season, the club will be keen to avoid over stretching a squad with the burden of playing both domestic and European football.
If Muntari does leave Portsmouth over the summer one potential replacement is PSG midfielder Didier Digard. Despite enduring a difficult season with PSG, the 20 year old was one of the brightest players in the midfield and caught the eye in the cup runs that the Parisian side enjoyed this season. The youngster first came to attention after impressing in the Emirates Cup, a pre-season tournament hosted at Arsenal, when a young PSG side had an excellent match against Valencia, with Digard prominent in the midfield.
Similar to Muntari in style, Digard can be relied upon to get forward and contribute to the attack as well as get back and defend. However, it isn't only Portsmouth who have registered their interest, with the North-East pair of Newcastle and Middlesbrough also being linked with the player.
In other transfer news Manchester City full-back Richard Dunne is thought to be close to coming to the South Coast to link up with his old team-mate Sylvain Distin, who made the move south 12 months ago. Meanwhile want-away Marseille striker Djibril Cisse has issued a 'come and get me' plea to Portsmouth as he seeks to further his international ambitions away from Ligue 1 after failing to make the 23 man French squad that went to Euro 2008.
Posted by Walter Townsend on Wednesday, 11th June 2008