Afternoon ticker: Portsmouth launch new Crouch bid, Villa and Silva to stay at Valencia, Martins interested in Arsenal

Afternoon ticker: Portsmouth launch new Crouch bid, Villa and Silva to stay at Valencia, Martins interested in Arsenal

European Soccer

Afternoon ticker: Portsmouth launch new Crouch bid, Villa and Silva to stay at Valencia, Martins interested in Arsenal

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It’s truly a slow day in soccer when a third-choice striker on the move is the most notable snippet of news. SBI correspondent Carl Setterlund put together some tidbits to get you through a slow soccer Saturday.

Crouch close to Pompey switch

The Telegraph reports that Liverpool forward Peter Crouch is close to moving to Portsmouth for a rumored £11 million. Pompey manager Harry Redknapp had an initial bid of £9 million rejected by Liverpool and Rafa Benitez, who has put a (rather exorbitant) £15 million valuation on Crouchie.

Portsmouth look to add the 27-year-old England international to an attacking unit that already includes Jermain Defoe and an aging Nwankwo Kanu in preparation for their UEFA Cup run next season. Crouch is believed to want consistent first team football at Liverpool or away and Benitez, still looking to raise funds for Gareth Barry and Robbie Keane, looks happy to oblige.

Several sources say an ulterior motive for Portsmouth was that Redknapp just couldn’t resist the idea of partnering the 6-7 Crouch with the 5-7 Defoe if for nothing else than the great photo opportunities. (I kid, but here’s to hoping Crouch brings back his robot dance).

Villa and Silva pledge allegiance to Valencia

All of you can take off your manager caps and stop speculating how much it will take to bring Euro 2008 Golden Boot winner David Villa or dynamic winger David Silva to your favorite team.

Despite interest from numerous top clubs across Europe, Spanish heroes Villa and Silva want to remain at Valencia. Los Che managed only a disappointing 10th-place finish in La Liga last season leading to speculation that the club’s two biggest stars might jump ship, but Valencia have made strong efforts to keep the pair from moving, including an increase in wages for Villa.

The bad news (or good if you’re a boss) is that European soccer fans will have less to daydream about now that there will be no dream swoop of either player. In all seriousness though, it’s a little refreshing to see guys succeed in big tournaments and remain happy at their club. Not that Valencia is a small club, but you know what I mean.

Obafemi Martins eyes Arsenal

With rumors of Emmanuel Adebayor’s departure from the Emirates persistent, the Togolese hitman could be replaced by another highly-touted African international. Nigeria striker Obafemi Martins has indicated that he would be interested in a move to Arsenal if Arsene Wenger came calling.

“Arsenal is a big club that everyone wants to play for. I am thrilled and it will be nice to play for such a team," the Newcastle striker told British paper The Sun.

Like Crouch, Martins has supposedly had a £15 million price-tag slapped on him, but the 23-year-old also has a £13 million buy-out clause. While Martins certainly fits into Wenger’s usual preferred age range, I can’t help but think he would shy away from that cost.

Do I think he can replace a top forward like Adebayor? No, not really. I’m with Ives that Wenger should be knocking down Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s door if he really thinks Adebayor is on his way out. A club like Arsenal has too much on the line not have a world-class player up front.

Is Crouch going to be a big addition for Portsmouth? Should Villa and Silva have rode the wave back to a Champions League club? Is Obafemi Martins capable of starting for any of the Big Four? Share your thoughts below…

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