Chelsea are not giving up on their pursuit of Spurs midfielder Luka Modric and are expected to lift their offer to £30m in the next few days, despite Tottenham's repeated insistence that the Croatian is not for sale.
In what is becoming a bitter struggle, Modric upped the stakes by handing in a transfer request earlier this week, on the day he joined the Spurs squad to fly out on a pre-season tour to South Africa. It was refused.
Spurs are becoming increasingly angry at Chelsea's persistence, having rejected their bids of £22m and £27m, and insisted they will not listen to offers for the player, who 12 months ago signed a six-year deal.
Given close to deal
Manchester City 'keeper Shay Given is expected to sign a £3.5m deal with Aston Villa, once he has negotiated a settlement on the remainder of his contract, as a replacement for Brad Friedel.
And Villa have also stepped up their interest in Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia with a £10m bid. Manager Alex McLeish rates the France winger his top target to replace the Liverpool-bound Stewart Downing.
N'Zogbia has just a year left on his deal with the Latics. McLeish tried to sign him for Birmingham last year only for the move to break down over personal terms.
Cole staying put
Carlton Cole's transfer from West Ham to Stoke appeared to have fallen through yesterday. The Potters agreed a fee for the 27-year-old earlier this week, but the Hammers have said Cole would be staying put.
The exact reason as to why the deal has collapsed is not known, although West Ham released a statement which seemed to suggest that Cole was unable to agree personal terms.
It read: "In being given permission to talk to Stoke, the negotiations did not break down as a result of him asking for too much money. He was discussing wage parity with other key players and was well within his right to do so."