The day before the big celebration is upon us: Transfer Deadline Day Eve. Excitement is building, lots of last-minute present-shopping is planned and mince pies, carrots and milk are being left out in the hope of amazing gifts tomorrow, though Arsenal fans are already braced for a stocking-full of coal.
It may be a Bank holiday, but this is the most chaotic time of the year for the elves working overtime in the rumour-mill workshop, with this trifecta of striker rumours among their latest handiwork:
Nikica Jelavic to West Ham
After exhausting almost every option on the first ever 100-page shortlist – with Javier Hernandez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Charlie Austin, Burak Yilmaz and Mattia Destro a mere few of the thousands considered, it looks like West Ham have finally identified their Forward X.
The man who will be called upon in between the synchronised injury absences of Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate is long-term target Jelavic, who they first pursued in 2012. Various sources claim that a fee has been agreed with Hull, with £3 million the figure cited.
Slaven Bilic worked with the 30-year-old in his time as Croatia boss and, though he is inconsistent, two hot spells – nine goals in ten Premier League starts on arrival at Everton and eight in 16 for the Tigers between August and February last term – show that the potential for a positive impact exists.
Fabio Borini to Sunderland
In a déjà-vu moment, Sunderland and Liverpool have sussed out a sum at which both are happy to do business for Borini. The same thing happened last July, only for the Italian to decide against a full-time move to Wearside, a call which he said “protected the man and the player that I am today”.
It didn’t end well for anyone: Borini made five Reds starts across all competitions and scored once, the Black Cats hit a hopeless 31 Premier League goals as they clung on thanks to another late escape and Liverpool must now settle for £7 million instead of the £14 million that they negotiated last July.
With the 24-year-old short of alternatives and even lower down the Anfield food chain since Danny Ings and Divock Origi overtook him in the barely-featured-understudy stakes, he is unlikely to say no again.
Charlie Austin to Bournemouth, West Brom or Man Utd
Whereas the Jelavic and Borini situations appear relatively straightforward, nobody seems too clear as to what the next 30-odd hours hold for Austin.
The Daily Mirror say that Bournemouth are frontrunners, The Telegraph view West Brom as being in the ascendancy and there are even some whispers of Manchester United interest in the QPR front man, who was the fourth highest scorer in the Premier League last season with 18 goals.
The betting picture is similarly cloudy, with the bwin.com bookies rating the Cherries and Red Devils as 5/2 joint-favourites and going 5/1 on West Brom. It is an intriguing 4/1 that no deal is done and he remains in west London.