Sabtu, 29 September 2012

Arsenal wanted to sign Hazard, reveals Wenger

EPL - Chelsea v Newcastle United, Eden Hazard
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he would have loved to have signed Eden Hazard for the Gunners.

The Belgium international was highly sought-after during the summer, before finally joining Chelsea and the Arsenal boss has admitted he wanted to capture the 21-year-old.

Yes, Wenger told The Telegraph when asked if he pursued Hazard. The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level.

He has been voted best player of the French league for two consecutive years. You need some quality to do that at his age. Im not surprised at all that he has gone to Chelsea, and straight away is one of their stars because everybody knew about him.

"Lets not forget that all the big budgets in England were after him. We are not scared to spend the money, but we feel that even if we spend our money, with some clubs we cant compete on certain players.

Wenger believes the introduction of Hazard to the Chelsea side marks the beginning of a new era of creative, technical players at Stamford Bridge, a style he is looking forward to playing against.

Chelsea have gone with a different style, they have rejuvenated because they bought some very young players with maybe a more technical style, Wenger said.

They have gone a little bit more creative. Until now it has worked well for them so it is a good challenge for us to beat them.

The Sweeper: Wenger stalls Walcott contract talks due to fitness concerns


The Arsenal future of Theo Walcott remains up in the air with no breakthrough in the contract stalemate that has dragged on in to the last nine months of his deal.

Arsene Wenger urged the forward to be patient after he indicated this week his plans may rest on whether he plays in the centre-forward role that he has coveted since joining the club as a 16-year-old.

The Sweeper understands that, privately, Wenger has concerns about the longevity of a player who has been plagued by injury during his seven years at Emirates Stadium.

The Frenchman is believed to have expressed reservations about Walcotts capability of playing regularly beyond his late 20s for a top Premier League club because of the demands on his body.

The 23-year-old has inherited a congenital fault from his father Don, which means the shoulder ligaments are too slack, and this has affected his ability to withstand the physical rigours of the English top tier.

The winger established himself as an undisputed first-team regular last season, starting 29 of Arsenals 32 first Premier League matches and only succumbing to injury in the final weeks of the season when he tore his hamstring.

Although he scored twice for Arsenal in the 6-1 League Cup win over Coventry he has had to put up with bit-part role in the league this season.

Although Wenger is genuine when he says he wants to keep Walcott and, in turn, the player has a real affection for the club, those close to the situation believe the England international might be best served by a move to the Continent next summer.

Walcott can sign a pre-contract with a European club in January and then leave Arsenal on a free transfer at the en d of the season.

- Wayne Veysey UK Correspondent


Roberto Martinez has a strategy for dealing with unruly players at Wigan Athletic in the shape of his no-nonsense No.2.

The Sweeper has learned that the Spaniards style is to simply give the cold shoulder to players who fail to meet the precise disciplinary guidelines he lays down at the Latics.

Trouble-makers are said to be dealt with by his long-serving sidekick Graeme Jones, the former striker who spent his playing career in the lower echelons of the game.

The Wigan assistant manager, 42, held talks with Swansea City about succeeding Brendan Rodgers in the summer but negotiations broke down and he continued an alliance with Martinez that stretches back five years.

- Wayne Veysey UK Correspondent


John Terry could take a huge financial hit through loss of sponsorship agreements after being found guilty by the FA of using racially abusive language towards Anton Ferdinand, says a leading sports lawyer.

Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 for the incident, having been cleared in a criminal trial at Westminster magistrates court in July.

Daniel Draper, sports lawyer at Farleys Solicitors in Manchester, says that sponsors could activate clauses in Terrys endorsement contracts to drop him as an ambassador, while the guilty verdict make him toxic for brands.

The wider effect on Terrys commercial potential off the field is really set to suffer, said Draper.

The sponsorship, promotional work and ultimately his long-term plans for telev ision or coaching work once his playing days are over could all be jeopardised as a result of the FAs verdict. Being tarred with the stigma this charge could create will significantly curtail Terrys options.

It goes without saying that any brand that is looking for brand ambassadors in the future would want to avoid association with someone who has been publicly branded a racist.

Furthermore, it is commonplace for any sponsorship or endorsement agreement to include a clause that in the event of the misbehaviour of a player, they can invoke a right to bring the agreement to an end. Reports are that Terry has already been dropped by his former boot sponsor Umbro this season, at a reported financial loss of 4 million per year.

This is surely only the tip of the iceberg for a player of Terrys standing, and any sponsor involved with him will most likely be dusting off their agreements as we speak; turning straight to the termination provisions se ction.

- Greg Stobart Correspondent


Manchester City were dumped out of the League Cup in midweek at home to Aston Villa after manager Roberto Mancini was forced into a last-minute reshuffle of his plans.

Midfielder Jack Rodwell was in line to start the match but pulled out at the very last minute, which could be a matter of concern for the Premier League champions given his history of injury problems.

Another summer signing, Brazilian full-back Maicon, is also suffering with a troublesome ankle injury connected to the hamstring issue that caused him problems while at Inter.

- Greg Stobart Correspondent

Jumat, 28 September 2012

Montpellier rule out Yanga-Mbiwa exit in January

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - Montpellier
Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has made it clear that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will not leave the Ligue 1 champions in the January transfer window.

The France international was believed to be close to joining AC Milan earlier this summer, but the move eventually fell through as the Rossoneri refused to meet Montpellier's valuation of the defender.

A number of recent reports suggested that Milan could make another move for Yanga-Mbiwa in January, but Nicollin has stressed the centre-back is going nowhere.

"Is there any possibility that Yanga-Mbiwa will leave in January? Absolutely not," Nicollin stressed to

"Were working on extending Yanga-Mbiwas contract. In any case, the only thing thats certain at the moment is that Yanga-Mbiwa wont leave in January.

"Are Juventus and Barcelona are also interested in Yanga-Mbiwa? To be honest, nobody has asked us about him.I dont know if any c lubs have been in contact with Yanga-Mbiwas agent, and I honestly dont care."

Yanga-Mbiwa's current contract with Montpellier is due to expire at the end of the season.

Fulham set to complete Chris David signing in January

Chris David
Fulham are set to complete the signing of FC Twente striker Chris David in January after missing out on the 19-year-olds signature in the summer transfer window.

Martin Jols men had an agreement in place with the Eredivisie side on the final day of the window and a move almost went through for a nominal fee until time ran out on the deal.

Davids move will be resurrected in January though, with reports in the Netherlands suggesting he has undergone a medical with Fulham already in preparation for the New Year switch.

After the striker refused to sign a new contract with Twente, he has not been included in first-team matches. And he is now reportedly planning talks with the Dutch club to smooth things over for his remaining time with Steve McClarens team and to ensure he is allowed to move to England in January.

Twentes domestic rivals Ajax were also in the race to sign David but have missed out to the pulling power of the Premier League side.

Fulham had a busy transfer deadline day, completing deals for Dimitar Berbatov, Kieran Richardson and Ashkan Dejagah.

As well as missing out on David, they also saw moves for Lyon left-back Michel Bastos and Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng fall through in a frantic day of transfer market trading.

Moratti rules out January arrivals at Inter

Massimo Moratti - Inter

Massimo Moratti says Inter will not be making any major purchases in January, as the club's new vision advocates sound financial management and the development of youth.

The Nerazzurri have made an inconsistent start to the Serie A season, winning all of their away games but failing to pick up points at home, and unlike in previous years, the supremo will not be sanctioning any significant buys midway through the campaign.

"Inter will continue with the model that is based on sound management and the development of youth," Moratti told reporters following a meeting with the board.

There can be slight improvements, but a club has to pay attention to finances and balancing the books for both the Financial Fair Play rules and the sake of responsibility.

I think we have something important growing in this squad and a youth academy that continues to bring us quality players. It is a policy that contrasts greatly of the Inter in ye ars gone by, when major signings were made frequently.

"Should we all forget the type of investment we once made on Christian Vieri? Absolutely yes. At that time we got it all wrong."

Moratti then discussed tactics and offered support to coach Andrea Stramaccioni, who switched to a 3-5-2 formation against Chievo on Wednesday with immediate results, as Inter recorded a 2-0 victory.

The important thing is that there is enthusiasm within the squad. We are only here to support them, he continued.

Any combination of players is fine as long as the mechanism works. Whats really important is that [the tactics] work for the team and the coach, as it can give them a sense of certainty during games.

Its not that only one tactic exists and the others are failures. It all depends on the players you have at that moment. Right now, it is useful to use a three-man defence."

The oil-magnate was then asked about Antonio Cassano, who arrived from AC Milan in the summer and got back on the scoring trail against the Flying Donkeys, and he had nothing but praise for the Italy international.

[Antonio] Cassano is bringing a great deal to the table, not just on the field but also in terms of his relationship with the coach and his team-mates. When I say he is wise now, he is certainly proving me right.

Inter are due to host Fiorentina in the next match, and while his side have not won at home this season, Moratti is confident his team will put on a good show, though he admitted it will be a tough game.

In my view, they [Fiorentina] are the best team Ive seen play so far this season. They put in a great performance against Juventus and its going to be very difficult, but well make it hard for the m too," he concluded.

Kamis, 27 September 2012

Arsenal are not scared to spend money, insists Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended his club's transfer policy after the Gunners revealed healthy pre-tax profits of 36.6 million.

The north London side's 2011-12 financial results were boosted by the funds raised through the sales of the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, but spending on player wages increased from 156 million (124m) to 180m (143m).

Match-day income has also risen slightly to more than120m (95m) for the year, with the cheapest tickets for Saturday's game against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium priced at 78 (62) - making it the most expensive game in Premier League history.

"Our numbers are good," Wenger told reporters. "They are pleasing, very pleasing. We are very lucky because we have good support and the income of our gates is very high.

"We have to maintain that by keeping our fans ha ppy and to continue to manage well in the way we do it.

"We are not scared to spend the money but we feel that even if we spend our money we can't compete with some clubs on certain players. We want to spend our money in the right way."

Despite the increase in outlay on salaries, Wenger admitted that Arsenal were priced out of the race to sign Belgium star Eden Hazard, who eventually joined Chelsea for 32m.

"All the big budgets in England were after him [Hazard]," Wenger revealed. "The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level.

"I cannot tell you how close we were because I don't know what Chelsea paid in the end."

Hazard is in line to face Arsenal when they meet the Blues on Saturday but one player who will not be taking part is striker Didier Drogba, who departed for China after an illustrious spell at Stamford Bridge that ended in Champions League glory.

"I don't know how much they miss him but we don't," Wenger joked. "He did a lot of damage against us every game. I feel last year, honestly, he had an average season in the Premier League but in the cups he was absolutely influential and decisive.

"He was a big part of their success in the FA Cup and Champions League because he was massive. He has that quality and even when he was on a bad day for 80 minutes he didn't give up and kept his focus and his desire to be efficient. He was an exceptional player.

"Chelsea have gone with a different style, they have rejuvenated because they bought some very young players with maybe a more technical style. They have gone a little bit more creative."

QPR agree 5 million Hoilett settlement fee with Blackburn

 Junior Hoilett
QPR have agreed a settlement fee with Blackburn Rovers worth up to 5 million for summer signing Junior Hoilett.

The two clubs have come to an amicable agreement over a compensation figure for the winger following two months of negotiations, which will avoid the case going to a tribunal.

The west London club will pay Rovers 3.8m rising to 5m for Hoilett, who signed for Mark Hughes' team in July after his Ewood Park contract expired.

Although the 22-year-old had become a free agent, Uefa rules state that Blackburn are entitled to a training fee because the player is under the age of 24.

Hoilett joined the Blackburn academy as a 13-year-old and went on to make 92 appearances for the first team before he moved to Loftus Road on July 27 after signing a four-year contract.

Blackburn were hopeful that a tribunal would award them a similar fee for Hoilett to the 7.5m paid by Chelsea to Manchester City when they signed Daniel Sturridge in 2009 but a maximum 5m is enough to convince the Championship club to stay out of court.

Hoilett was one of 11 new players signed by QPR during the summer in what was a radical overhaul of a squad that only avoided relegation from the Premier League on the final day of last season.

The Canadian claimed he shunned interest from Liverpool, Newcastle United and Sunderland to join the west Londoners.

Guardiola will work in Milan in 2013, says Mazzone

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona
Carlo Mazzone believes that former Barcelona trainer Pep Guardiola will be in charge of either AC Milan or Inter in the 2013-14 campaign.

Guardiola is currently enjoying a one-year sabbatical after leaving Barca at the end of last season, and the 41-year-old has been linked with a number of English and Italian clubs in the past few months.

Nevertheless, Mazzone, who was Guardiola's coach during the his spell at Brescia, has little doubts about where the Spaniard's future lies and believes he is on his way to Serie A.

"Next year Pep could work in Milan. For Inter or Milan? That I don't know," Mazzone told Il Subsidiario.

"Pep called me on the phone and told me he was coming to see me soon. I asked him if his visit would be as a tourist or as a coach of an Italian team and he told me both."

Mazzone's comments come hardly a month after former Barcelona attacker Bojan Krkic claimed that Guardiola has set his sights on the AC Milan job.

Rabu, 26 September 2012

Newcastle Jets sell out of Heskey shirts

Emile Heskey - Aston Villa
Australian side Newcastle Jets have had to place an order for an additional 5,000 Emile Heskey jerseys after they sold out of their first batch following the striker's move to the New South Wales club.

The former England forward had been without a club after leaving Aston Villa in the summer before choosing to rejuvenate his career down under in a switch that has brought much excitement to Aussie fans.

The 34-year-old's move comes shortly after Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero signed for rivals Sydney FC. The arrival of these two former internationals looks set to boost the profile of the A-League and Jets boss Gary van Egmond believes that the former Liverpool striker can have a big impact for the club both on and off the field.

The coach told Fox Sports of Heskey: "He ticks all the boxes, in a footballing sense, with his ability and experience ... and from a commercial and marketing point of view. He's going to be a g reat fit.

"We are obviously all hoping he is going to be ready to go. From my understanding, he's been training at Wigan and has kept himself in really good nick.

"Everyone's hopeful it's all OK and he's in decent shape but, as I say, we can't do any more at this stage except wait until we see him in the flesh and then go from there."

Heskey's new team-mate, Swiss defender Dominik Ritter, voiced his delight at the big names heading to the A-League and the chance to play alongisde the ex-Three Lions man.

"When I came here, I didn't know much about Australian football," Ritter declared. "Then a couple of weeks ago, Del Piero signed [for Sydney] and everyone from Switzerland, my family and friends, all texted me saying how great it was.

"Now Emile Heskey is coming to play with me and my team. It's very, very exciting."

Bartra: I have no intention to leave Barcelona

LIGA BBVA: Marc Bartra (FC Barcelona), Juan Domínguez (Deportivo Coruña)
Marc Bartra has made it clear that he's very happy with life at Barcelona and is not thinking about a move away from the Catalans.

The 21-year-old is seen as one of the club's biggest defensive talents and made his official first team debut back in February 2010.

Bartra has since been unable to secure regular first team action, though, and there are doubts as to whether he has what it takes to succeed at the Camp Nou side.

"I have only just begun and I have no intention of leaving the club just yet," the defender was quoted as saying by AS.

"I am happy, I play in the best team in the world and the only thing I have to do is train well and wait for my opportunity. I need to react to this, train harder and if I do I will get games."

Despite the absence of defenders such as Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol due to injury, Bartra did not feature in last weekend's 2-0 league win over Granada.

Dani Alves: I'm looking forward to seeing Messi & Neymar together at Barcelona

Dani Alves - Barcelona
Dani Alves is hopeful that Santos attacker Neymar decides to join Barcelona once he makes the decision to leave his current club.

The 20-year-old is one of the most sought-after players around and is continually being linked with a move to Europe as clubs such as Barca, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and Juventus are believed to be keeping tabs on him.

Santos are hopeful of holding on to their star player until after the 2014 World Cup, but Dani Alves hopes Neymar's future will be resolved before then.

"I hope that the Neymar-saga will end soon and that the outcome will be satisfying for everyone," Dani Alves stated to RAC1.

"I am looking forward to seeing Neymar and Messi play together. He would fit in very well. Barcelona will arguably have the two best attackers in the world with him."

The right-back then went on to say the Barcelona squad feared the departure of Pep Guardiola at the end of th e 2011-12 campaign would lead to a number of changes, but he's happy that Tito Vilanova has stuck to the Barca philosophy.

"Guardiola has left the team in good hands. We were a bit concerned that Tito would embrace another philosophy, but nothing has changed."

Barcelona have won their opening five Liga games of the 2012-13 season and sit atop of the table.

Jovetic had agreed to join Juventus, claims Marotta

Vidal e Jovetic in Fiorentina-Juventus (Serie A)
Giuseppe Marotta has claimed that Fiorentina attacker Stevan Jovetic had already given a transfer to Juventus in the summer transfer window the go-ahead, before the move eventually fell through due to financial reasons.

The reigning Serie A champions had earmarked the Montenegro international as the perfect addition to their attack, but they failed to reach an agreement with Fiorentina over a transfer fee.

Jovetic revealed earlier this month that Juve pushed hard to sign him in the summer, but that he opted to stay at the Viola as he's happy with life at his current club.

Nevertheless, Marotta claims that the 22-year-old was ready to make the move to the Champions League hopefuls.

"Jovetic? It's a positive thing that the player and his entourage gave us the green light in the summer. It is useless to further discuss it. I can only say that we are closely monitoring a number of great players," Juventus' general dire ctor said to reporters.

Jovetic is under contract with Fiorentina until June 2016.

Selasa, 25 September 2012

Malaga target Isco contract extension

Francisco Alarcon - Malaga ( Images)
Malaga have announced their intention to hand Isco an improved contract, as they fear that his 21 million buy-out clause may soon be met by a rival club.

The 20-year-old only arrived at La Rosaleda last summer from Valencia, but has already garnered the interest from Tottenham and other sides, as their sporting director Mario Husillos has revealed.

"There have been no calls from Russia for him. Tottenham tried to sign him before the market closed. He remains ours and with his clause, no-one has activated that." the official told Radio Marca.

"We will talk with him as soon as possible. We know his potential, his growth and in the Champions League his profile has grown. He is a fantastic player.

"He is playing football in his home country at a club that suits his style. He has tremendous potential and room for growth that could lead to him becoming a full Spain international.

"We believe that the best place for him to do that is Malaga. We want to enjoy him for many years without impeding his growth."

Despite their recent financial troubles, Husillos insisted that any potential move for Isco would have to be approved by coach Manuel Pellegrini.

"The person leading this whole institution is Pellegrini," he added. "It sounds obvious but it's true. We try to collaborate as much as possible, and I give him options, but the final choice is his."

Sabtu, 22 September 2012

David Luiz signs new five-year Chelsea deal

UEFA Super Cup,David Luiz,Chelsea v Atletico Madrid
David Luiz has signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea which will keep him at the club until 2017.

The Brazil international moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2011 in a 21 million deal from Portuguese side Benfica.

Having been linked with a switch to Barcelona in the summer, the 25-year-old, who won both the Champions League and the FA Cup with Chelsea last season, has ended speculation regarding his future by committing his long-term future with Roberto Di Matteo's side.

"I am very happy to sign a new contract with Chelsea," Luiz told the club's official website.

"It is a great club and I look forward to winning more trophies here. I want to play for a long time at the top level - which is what playing for Chelsea means.

"I love everything about the club and especially the fans, who have made me very welcome and given me great support."

Muricy confirms Santos interest in Kaka

Kakà - Real Madrid
Muricy Ramalho has confirmed that Santos are closely monitoring the situation of Kaka, as they look to strengthen their squad.

The Peixe are in the market for a new attacking midfielder following the departure of Ganso to Sao Paulo, and they see the Real Madrid man as an ideal replacement.

Ramalho realises that it will not be easy to lure the 30-year-old to the Vila Belmiro, but refused to rule out a potential move in the near future.

"Who would have thought that Sao Paulo could pay that kind of money for Ganso? Anything is possible. Kaka is an option, and so are Diego and Robinho," the Santos coach said at a press conference.

"They are three important players. As I said, anything can happen. It is not just an economical question, but we have to take other aspects into account as well. And we have to act quick.

"We have to support the players we already have here, but it would be good to bring in players who can add something to the team."

Kaka appeared to be on his way to AC Milan earlier this summer, but the move eventually fell through as the Serie A giants were unable to meet Madrid's financial demands.

Lewandowski will honour Dortmund contract, says agent

UEFA Champions League: Borussia Dortmund - Ajax Amsterdam, Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic & Marcel Schmelzer
By Kornel Pracki

The agent of Robert Lewandowski has made it clear that the striker is not thinking about leaving Borussia Dortmund at this point, as he is committed to seeing out his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

The Poland international and BVB have been in talks about an extension to his current deal, which ends in the summer of 2014, but his hefty wage demands have so far proved to be too much of an obstacle.

Lewandowski, who is currently on a salary of 1.5 million, reportedly wants to earn as much as star players Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, who make 5m per season, but Dortmund are reluctant to offer him more than 3m per year.

Nevertheless, even though talks have hit a stumbling block, his representative Maik Barthel has insisted that his client is not thinking about a transfer just yet.

"We are not thinking about a potential move to a European top club at this point," he told

"We have an ongoing contract with Dortmund, and we're fully aware of the terms of the deal when we signed it. We will honour his current deal.

"That doesn't mean that we can't say it when another team is interested in signing Robert, though.

"Fortunately, the transfer window is already closed and Robert's completely focused on Borussia Dortmund.

"He's only thinking about the Bundesliga season, the next DFB Pokal trophy, and Champions League progress.

"Robert is the best striker in the Bundesliga football-wise, and still has plenty of room for improvement. He doesn't get as much attention as some of the other players at BVB.

"That's an advantage for Robert and allows him to develop quietly."

Lewandowski has progressed into a key player at Signal Iduna Park since arriving from Lech Poznan in 2010, with 42 goals in 96 official appearances.

Jumat, 21 September 2012

Messi will be the best of all time, says Barcelona boss Vilanova

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova says Lionel Messi is on the way to becoming the best player of all time, and has revealed that everyone at the club hopes he will end his career there.

Blaugrana president Sandro Rosell confirmed this week that the Catalan side are planning to offer the Argentina international a new contract, despite his current deal running until 2016.

And club trainer Vilanova has echoed the desire to keep Messi with the Liga giants for the foreseeable future.

"He is the best in the world. If he is not already the best in history, he will end up being so," the 44-year-old told a press conference.

"To all at Barca it would be a joy to have him end his career here. You will not see a player like Messi again."

The former Celta player also denied suggestions that he has one eye on the upcoming Clasico on October 7, saying Saturday's home clash with Granada is the only thing occupying h is thoughts.

"I am not thinking about the Clasico," said the former Barcelona B midfielder. "What concerns me is reaching 15 points from a possible 15 this weekend.

"It has not been done many times in history. In my head there is only Granada, Granada and Granada. It's like you [reporters] asking me about the game in Madrid in the second round of fixtures.

"Against Granada, the incentive is to win, not to think that we move 11 points ahead of Madrid. As it is not up to us, it is not worth wasting time.

"I have seen games of Granada's and they are organised and do very well on the counterattack."

Vilanova also intimated that he was undecided as to who would play in central defence in the clash, with Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique both absent through injury. Talented youngster Marc Bartra could instead get the nod, while Alex Song is also in consideration.

"Tomorrow I will decide who plays. If [Marc] Bar tra is in the first team it is because he has the ability," said the Barca coach.

"Marc will get games, but the season has only just begun. Bartra is in the first team because he deserves it, not because his contract may say so.

"Song can also be brought in to play at centre-back. He has many levels. He fits perfectly and can also play in defence. I was surprised because he understands everything I explain to him first time," he added.

Manchester United enquired about Muslera and Semih Kaya, claims Galatasaray vice-president

Fernando Muslera - Michael Carrick, Manchester United - Galatasaray
Galatasaray vice-president Ali Durust has claimed Manchester United enquired about the availability of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and defender Semih Kaya in the aftermath of the club's 1-0 Champions League defeat at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's charges narrowly won their European opener thanks to an early Michael Carrick goal and despite keeping a clean sheet, the Scot has been rumoured to be searching for a centre-back, having been recently linked to Torino's Angelo Ogbonna.

However, after seeing the 21-year-old Kaya a product of the Turkish club's academy - perform against his team and making his interest known, Durust ruled out a potential move.

He told reporters: "Semih came from our youth academy. He is a valuable member of our squad.

"We didn't set an asking price for him. He is indispensable at that moment.

"Muslera has the same value too. Both of them are in our future plans. We never want to sell them."

The Uruguayan shot-stopper foiled Nani from the penalty spot and put in an assured display against the Red Devils, later admitting he held the English top-flight in high esteem.

"The Premier League is my childhood dream," Muslera said.

"I would like to make this dream come true in the future. But right now I'm totally focused on Galatasaray's success."

The 26-year-old goalkeeper was part of Uruguay's memorable run to the World Cup 2010 semi-finals and is entering his second year at Galatasaray after moving from Lazio in 2011.

Rai: Signing Neymar will not be easy for Paris Saint-Germain

Olympics Day 15 - Men's Football Final - Brazil v Mexico, Neymar
Former Brazil international Rai hopes that Paris Saint-Germain will succeed in their attempts to lure Santos star Neymar to the French capital.

Rai, who wore the PSG jersey between 1993 and 1998, realises that the Ligue 1 giants face stiff competition in the race for his compatriot's services, but has pointed out that it would not be the first time they had pulled off a surprise purchase.

"Paris Saint-Germain have already signed Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lucas Moura. I believe they are all players who were difficult for PSG to convince as well," Rai stated to 10Sport.

"It will be even more difficult to convince Neymar to move to Paris, because there are a lot of clubs after his signature. We're not talking about one or two clubs, but about the best clubs in the world.

"PSG will face stiff competition for his signature, so you can't make any guarantees. I hope that they will manage to sign him, though. It will be very difficult, but it's definitely possible."

Neymar has also been linked with clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo's unhappiness has nothing to do with Paris Saint-Germain, says club owner

Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al Khelaifi has insisted that the Ligue 1 giants have not approached Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo to discuss a possible transfer.

The Portugal international recently revealed that he is unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu side, but Al Khelaifi has made it clear that PSG do not have anything to do with the attacker's unhappiness.

"It's not true that Cristiano Ronaldo's unhappiness has anything to do with PSG. If Cristiano is sad it's not because we've been in touch with him. If we were interested we would speak to Madrid first," he stated to Marca.

"I'm not going to talk about other club's players. I respect Madrid and Florentino [Perez] is a great chairman. It's too soon to talk about Ronaldo. He's very professional."

However, Al Khelaifi did admit that having both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the same team at PSG is a tempting thought.

"Ronaldo and Messi are t he two best players in the world and it would be great to have them both in your team. They have a unique charm. I like them both," he added.

Paris Saint-Germain are currently preparing for the Ligue 1 match away against Bastia.

Official: Ganso completes move from Santos to Sao Paulo

Ganso - Santos FC
Sao Paulo have announced on their official website that they have completed the transfer of Ganso from Santos for an undisclosed fee. The attacking midfielder has signed a five-year deal with his new club.

The Morumbi side were eager to bring in a replacement for Lucas Moura, who will leave the club for Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window, and have now found their man in Ganso.

The Tricolor Paulista have acquired 45 per cent of the attacking midfielder's economical rights, with the remaining 55 % remaining with investment company DIS.

"I am very happy with this move. This is a dream come true. Other clubs also showed an interest in signing me, but Sao Paulo was my first choice right away. I can't wait to repay them for all they've done to sign me," Ganso commented on his transfer.

Ganso had set his sights on a move away from Santos after the club refused to meet his wage demands, following h is request for a significant pay rise.

Flamengo and Gremio had also shown an interest in luring the player away from Santos, but the 22-year-old will now continue his career at Sao Paulo instead.

Kamis, 20 September 2012

Official: Heskey joins Newcastle Jets on a free transfer

Emile Heskey ,Aston Villa(Getty Images)
Former Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey has joined Australian outfit Newcastle Jets on a free transfer.

The 34-year-old had been linked with a reunion with former boss Steve Bruce at Hull City, but opted for a move down under, just in time for the start of the 2012-2013 A-League season.

He told the club's official website: "This is an exciting new period in my life and I am looking forward to making a special contribution to the A-League and most importantly, to the Jets.

"I hope I can help grow football at the grass-roots level and also provide advice to young players at the Jets.

"The season isn't far away, so I will be in Newcastle soon, training with my new team-mates and be ready for kick off on October 7."

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond spoke of his delight at Heskey's arrival, citing his international experience as something the club had been missing.

"Emile is someone who has unbelievable experience, havi ng played for England 62 times," van Egmond said.

"His effectiveness in being able to hold the ball up and invite other players to play off him is going to be a big benefit to us.

"He's someone who can really lead the line and is exactly what we've been missing."

Former Sunderland and Newcastle United striker Michael Bridges also plays for the Australian side, and expressed excitement at the prospect of linking up with Heskey.

"I think Emile is a tremendous signing for the Jets, Bridges said.

"He has just left Aston Villa where he was playing in the Premier League last season and that says a lot about his quality.

"It is a massive coup for the club to bring someone of his stature to Newcastle. He is a big target man who is a powerhouse, a work horse and can lead the forward line.

"If you look at his strike-partners at the teams he has played with, theyve all been goal-scoring machines because of his work rate and supply ."

Ogbonna will cost Manchester United 20m, says Torino director

Angelo Ogbonna - Torino
Manchester United are thought to be in the hunt for Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna's signature, but he will cost the club as much as 16 million (20m) according to the Italian side's director Gianluca Petrachi.

With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling still out injured and 33-year-old Rio Ferdinand approaching the end of his career, Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly has an eye on tying up a deal for the highly-rated Italy international who has attracted attention from the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and AC Milan recently.

However, the Premier League side have been warned that the defender is not a cheap option.

"I guarantee there are observers of many foreign clubs who follow our games, including Uniteds scouts," Petrachi told Tuttomercatoweb.

Most of the time they come just to see Ogbonna because he is a player who has great potential.

Last year we refused 10m (12.5m) for him but it is clear he is worth more than 16m (20m).

Angelo has the desire to do better but I believe he should continue to grow with Torino.

His price will have risen since last season having made Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad for Euro 2012 and helping Torino win promotion back into Serie A. Ogbonna also featured in August's 2-1 friendly defeat against England in Switzerland.

Robinho advises Neymar to join Barcelona over Real Madrid

Robinho - Milan
Robinho believes compatriot Neymar would be better suited to joinBarcelona rather than Real Madrid if he were ever to leave Santos for the Primera Division.

The Brazil striker is continually being linked with a move away from his current club, with clubs such as the Blaugrana, Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly keeping tabs on his situation.

In the eyes of the AC Milan forward, the Catalan giants would serve as the best option for Neymar if he wants to become the best player in the world.

"It will be very difficult for Neymar to become the best player in the world in the Brazilian league. That's why he should make the move to La Liga," Robinho was quoted as saying by Lancenet.

"If he decides to leave Santos and he has the choice to join Real Madrid or Barcelona, I would advise him to pick Barca.

"Barcelona are a great club and Brazilians have always done well there."

Neymar has a contract with Santos until the summer of 2014, but the Peixe have a one-sided option to extend his stay by two years.

Selasa, 18 September 2012

Besiktas official: Quaresma rejected moves because of the climate

Portugal - Ricardo Quaresma
Ricardo Quaresma has been blamed by officials at Besiktas for his proposed transfers collapsing, after the Turkish outfit failed to offload the international winger in the summer.

Director Ahmet Piper has explained that the former Porto and Barcelona player rejected several moves because of the climate at his potential destinations.

A move east to the Russian Premier League was initially dismissed by the 28-year-old as he regarded Russia to be too cold, Piper told Milliyet.

"Offers came after Russia, this time from Qatar and Dubai, but these proposals were rejected because the countries are too hot," Piper added.

Piper has s aid that further talks with between the Super Lig club and the player will aim to reach a conclusion where "all parties benefit".

Wenger wary over Walcott contract future

EPL,Arsene Wenger,Stoke City v Arsenal
Ahead of the clubs opening Champions League encounter this evening, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his concern over the contract status of winger, Theo Walcott.

The England international received a mixed reception from the Emirates faithful as he came onto the field to net during the Gunners 6-1 win over Southampton.

This came after speculation had mounted during the final weeks of the transfer window that Walcott had rejected a new deal, worth 75,000 a week and was instead, holding out for 100,000.

And with the 23-year-old now entering the final year of his current deal, Wenger did little to calm fears he may be the latest big name to depart the Emirates.

He told the Guardian: At the moment, I still hope to extend his contract so, at the moment, it doesn't affect me.

Of course at some stage if, in April, it's not done, you can think it will be difficult to do."

Wenger also respo nded to the groans around the Emirates expressed at Walcotts introduction on Saturday, describing them as, a worry

It is a worry. You want your players to be supported, no matter what kind of contractual situation they are in. I hope it will not affect him and that it will not affect our fans.

Theo has gone through a lot at 23 years of age. A lot of positives, a lot of negatives and he's level-headed."

The Arsenal manager has left Walcott on the bench in each of the clubs first four league games this season and looks set to repeat the selection for the Gunners opening Champions League tie against Montpellier tonight.

Wenger serves the first of a three-match touchline ban tonight following an outburst at officials during the clubs quarter-final defeat to Milan last season and admits it is somewhat of a problem.

"It [the ban] is a nightmare.

"Honestly, many people in Uefa, even [Michel] Platini, said that w e should still let people work, even if they are suspended. It's part of the job and therefore a restriction of work.

"But I don't make a fuss of it. They love to suspend me. How should they punish people? Financially? But they do both. They punish you financially and they ban you."

This is Wengers third touchline ban in just over a year, following evidence he communicated with the clubs bench while serving a similar suspension against Udinese in last years Champions League qualifiers.

"Honestly, nobody knows really, even at Uefa, what is allowed and not allowed. Let's not forget that I was suspended last year for having done what they told me I can do.

"When I went back there and said: 'Why do you want to punish me?' They said: 'Because you communicated with your bench.' I said: 'But you allowed me to do it.' They said: 'We made a mistake. But we punish you anyway'."

Assistant Steve Bould will take charge of Arsenal to night for the visit to Montpellier and Wenger is predicting a tough test in France for his Gunners side.

"Montpellier wait for this game and maybe they missed a bit their championship because there is so much attention on this game," he continued.

"What they did last season is a miracle because a few years ago, they were in the second division. For this club, it is something exceptional."

Senin, 17 September 2012

Silva signs new five-year deal with Manchester City

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Manchester City have secured the long-term future of David Silva, with the Spaniard signing a new five-year contract with the club.

As exclusively revealed by last week, the 26-year-old's representatives have been in negotiations with City throughout the summer over a new 200,000-a-week deal for the player.

And with Spanish giants Real Madrid, who City meet in the Champions League on Tuesday, believed to be keen on bringing Silva to Santiago Bernabeu, the Premier League side have moved to ensure the playmaker joins a number of first-team stars committing their future to the club.

Speaking to the club's official website, Silva insisted the champions ambition was a key factor behind his decision to remain at Eastlands, with Roberto Mancini's men now eyeing European success.

Im very pleased because Ive been here for two years now and I feel very happy here at the club, in the city and with all the peop le," he told the club's official website.

"So now Im delighted to be extending my contract and being here really does feel just like home for me.

Weve won the Premier League title and two other trophies too, and the team is growing and we are now aiming at the Champions League and so that also is another reason to want to stay here.

"As I said, I feel very comfortable here and I want to try and win trophies like those. These last two years have gone very well and so lets hope that the next five go as well or even better.

"The fans have always given me their support since I arrived here, and recently theyve been wanting me to sign, so hopefully this goes someway to thanking them for the affection theyve shown towards me, something which also helped me decide to put pen to paper.

'There's no reason to go anywhere' - Bale insists he never considered leaving Tottenham

EPL - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion, EPL - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion, Gareth Bale

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has stressed that he never thought about leaving the club, despite reported interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona in the summer.

The Wales international has been heavily linked with a move to the two Spanish giants since his rise to prominence at the north London club, but the 23-year-old committed his future to Spurs by signing a new four-year deal in June.

To further silence doubters, when asked if he considered leaving White Hart Lane at the end of last season, he told reporters: "No. I've always been focused on my game, playing football, and I'm enjoying myself here at the moment so there's no reason to go anywhere.

"I'm enjoying my football, we've got a great squad now and hopefully next season we can get Champions League football, where we should be."

Andre Villas-Boas' men ended their winless start to the campaign by beating Reading 3-1 at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday, with the f ormer Southampton man contributing a goal.

The left-sided player remains confident of their chances this year, while citing the new state of the art training ground as another reason to be cheery.

"We didn't have a great start last year and we were in a similar position this year," he continued. "We went on a run last season and there's no reason why we can't do it this year.

"It feels like a new club at the moment with the new training ground. It has excited everybody, and has brought everybody up again."

Reports had suggested that Villas-Boas had three games to save his job at Spurs after the lacklustre start, however the Portuguese denied that he was under pressure, with the Welshman adding that he deserves time to settle.

"I haven't heard anything about [his] future," Bale continued. "He's here to build a team and it's a new way of playing for us, compared to last season.

"It does take time. E verybody should understand that. There has been an improvement in every game and you saw that at Reading.

"Everybody just has to be patient. Things will come and it'll start to click like it did yesterday and, hopefully, we can push on from there.

"Everyone feels fresh again and we've got the new signings now, which is great.

"We've got a stronger squad now than we did at the start of the season. Our plan is to win every game and we'll be trying to do that."

Questions were raised when Tottenham allowed both Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric to leave the club over the summer, but Bale is sure that new man Mousa Dembele, who scored on his debut against Norwich City, can go on to be just as successful.

"Mousa's come in and he's been absolutely fantastic," the attacker added. "He scored on his debut, played unbelievable against Reading and he's been a great addition to the squad.

"Obviously it's not nice to see your big players go but I'm sure he can fill [Modric's] boots and more."

Minggu, 16 September 2012

'I am here to start a new career' - Del Piero lands in Sydney

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Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero has landed in Australia ahead of his move to Sydney FC, and is looking forward to a new chapter of his career.

The veteran forward's deal with the Bianconeri expired at the end of last season, and after a month of speculation, he eventually chose to ply his trade in the A-League.

And the former Italy international was quick to deny that he had made the move to the Sky Blues for a final pay day before retiring.

"I am not here for the end of my career," he told reporters at the airport.

"I am here for the start of a new career."

The 37-year-old spent 19 years with the Turin giants, and won six Scudetti and one Champions League with the Old Lady.

Arsenal tried to sign me, claims Vertonghen

EPL - Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion,  Jan Vertonghen and Shane Long
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has revealed that he was also contacted by Arsenal during the summer transfer, but eventually opted to join the Spurs as they gave him 'a good feeling'.

The Belgium international signed a long-term contract with the White Hart Lane outfit over the summer, and has gone on to start two of their three Premier League matches so far.

His future was uncertain for a long time, however, and the former Ajax captain revealed he questioned Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp over both clubs.

"[Bergkamp] knows Tottenham are a very big club. He's a very good guy, and I get along with him very well," the 25-year old told Sky Sports.

"I chose Spurs because they gave me a good feeling. I spoke to Daniel Levy and Rafael van der Vaart. Arsenal did try to sign me, but I'd already made my decision that I wanted to play [for Spurs].

"[Arsenal captain] Thomas [Vermaelen] told me [the Arsenal and Tottenham rivalry] was like Ajax and Feyenoord.

"They're big rivals but when I walk down the street even the Arsenal fans have been very respectful."

Tottenham will look to secure their first victory of the season when they travel to Reading on Sunday.

Real Madrid fans will forgive Cristiano Ronaldo, says Buyo

Francisco Buyo - ex portero Real Madrid
Francisco Buyo is confident that the Real Madrid faithful will forgive Cristiano Ronaldo for his recent revelation that he is unhappy at the Liga champions.

Buyo, who made over 300 league appearances for los Blancos between 1986 and 1997, has compared the Portugal international's situation with that of Hugo Sanchez in 1987, when he stated that he wanted to leave Madrid at a time when they were fighting for European Cup glory.

"I do not think his comments were that bad. It was just a minor mistake from a kid. What Hugo Sanchez did back in 1987 was much more serious," Buyo was quoted as saying by AS.

"He dropped a small bomb when the team was winning everything. We were preparing for the European Cup semi-final when he told the president that he wanted to leave. There were some similarities to Cristiano's situation, though.

"I don't think the fans will turn against him. The people at the Santiago Bernabeu are demanding, but they are clever guys. They always supported Sanchez and forgave him. The same will happen with Ronaldo.

"The fans realise that he is the team's best player and that they need Cristiano in order to beat Barcelona. I assure you that they will forgive him."

Ronaldo returned to Madrid on Wednesday after playing two World Cup qualifiers with Portugal, and will return to match action on Saturday in the away game versus Sevilla.

Sabtu, 15 September 2012

Wenger: Arsenal will not sign Drogba

Didier Drogba - Shanghai Shenhua
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled the club out from making a move for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in the near future.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast international brought an end to an eight-year stay at Stamford Bridge at the end of last season by moving to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in a deal believed to be worth 200,000 a week.

However, since then a behind-the-scenes power struggle at the Chinese Super League outfit has led to reports that Drogba is looking for a way out already, with the club struggling to pay his wages, but Wenger has denied that he is interested in offering Drogba a dramatic and early return to the top flight.

"At the moment no. In my opinion he is not free. He has just left England," Wenger told reporters.

"I don't know about the situation because he came out with a completely different statement.

"You hear he might go to Real Madrid - but then he says 'I am stayin g in China'. Is it just because he wants to be paid off? I don't know."

The current Spanish champions Real Madrid along with Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side have been mooted as possible future destinations should he decide to leave China, although the player's representatives denied that Drogba wanted to leave last week.

Manchester City plan raid for Barcelona youngsters

Cristian Tello - Barcelona
By Greg Stobart

Manchester Citychief executive Ferran Soriano is eyeing a raid on former clubBarcelona for the Spanish giants emerging stars.

Soriano started on September 1 as Citys replacement for the disgraced Garry Cook largely due to his work as vice-president of Barcelona between 2003 and 2008.

As City plan a transfer strategy to comply with Uefas financial fair play regulations, Soriano and manager Roberto Mancini are considering cherry-picking the best young talent from Barcelona's famous La Masia academy.

The likes of Sergi Roberto, Gerard Deulofeu and Cristian Tello have all been mentioned as potential targets, with Soriano privy to the players contractual information, including wages and buy-out clauses.

Reports in Spain have also suggested that Soriano wants to sign one of Barcelonas major stars such as Xavi or David Villa, but far more likely is the prospect of Ci ty buying younger players on cheap deals.

City announced on Friday that they have started work on a 100 million, state-of-the-art training centre adjacent to the Etihad Stadium that they hope will lead them to the summit of world football.

It marks a shift in the clubs focus towards recruiting, nurturing and developing the best young talent in the game.

That will concern clubs across Europe as City attempt to focus on academy development under their Abu Dhabi owners, with Sheikh Mansour having spent more than 1 billion (1.2bn) on the club since his takeover in 2008.

Soriano is considered key to City's strategy after being credited with overseeing a huge improvement in Barcelonas off-field activities, while the 44-year-old also has a vast number of contacts in the game and has intimate knowledge of La Masia, which is considered the most productive academy in Europe.

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Buffon: Three or four teams could be dangerous this year

Gianluigi Buffon - Juventus
Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon believes that his side are favourites to lift this year's Serie A crown, but will not have an easy ride with teams like AC Milan, Inter, Roma and Napoli nipping at the Turin giants' heels.

The Bianconeri have been widely tipped to storm to a second consecutive Scudetto this year, with their rivals enduring turbulent summers, but the veteran goalkeeper believes his side will face stern competition, thanks in part to coach Antonio Conte's 10-month ban.

"There are three or four teams who might start behind us, but could be dangerous along the way," the Italy international told Sky Sport24.

"I'm talking about AC Milan, but also, Inter, Roma and Napoli, who don't have the Champions League, but have an experienced group of players.

"We are missing Conte and his absence is felt on the bench. He's a coach who gave us new belief and did a great job of turning the team aroun d with his determination."

He also spoke about former team-mate Alessandro Del Piero's transfer to Sydney FC, as well as commenting on his own future.

"He [Del Piero] made a choice with his life, and I am not only sure that he won't have any problems, and that he will still have a long career," he continued.

"My future? Soon I will talk with the club and I doubt there'll be any problems. I want to renew my contract, but the club are currently occupied with other matters.

"I think I won't play for any other Italian team, even if in football you can never say never."

New York Red Bulls sign Kaka's brother Digao

Digão - Fluminense
New York Red Bulls announced the signing of defender Digao, the younger brother of Real Madrid star Kaka, who was previously a free agent.

The 27-year-old joined AC Milan in 2005, but only managed to make one Serie A appearance for the Rossoneri, and was farmed out on loan to several clubs.

His contract at San Siro expired in 2011, but he caught the eye on trial with the MLS side and secured a permanent move to the Red Bull Arena on a one-year deal.

"Digao has impressed our coaching staff during his trial in the past week and we want to continue evaluating him for the remainder of the season," the club's sporting director Erik Soler told reporters.

"He has earned a solid amount of experience for a number of European sides and we are glad to add him to our roster."

'I'm not interested in what Maradona says' - Riquelme calls time on his Boca Juniors career

Juan Roman Riquelme has spoken of his happiness at having had his contract suspended by Boca Juniors, and says he is not interested in what Diego Maradona has to say after the Argentina legend questioned his motivation.

The 34-year-old has not played for Boca since their Copa Libertadores defeat at the hands of Corinthians, announcing his desire to leave the club.

And the Xeneizes president, Daniel Angelici, confirmed on Friday that Riquelme has been allowed to have his contract suspended, meaning that he is now officially on unpaid leave and free to sign for any team outside of Argentina.

"I've left the club and I'm happy with my decision. My last match was a Copa Libertadores final," the former Barcelona playmaker announced at press conference.

"I'm not interested in whatever that guy [Maradona] says. I won three and I lost that last one which I also wanted to win. I'm a man who always keeps his word. I have fulfi lled all my dreams as a player.

"From now on I'll just be a Boca fan and I'll wish them well. Now it's time for Leandro Paredes to shine. He is 18 years old and is a great player. I don't want to stay and stand in his way.

"I feel I play better than before. So if you have a team, just let me know and we'll kick a ball about."

Current Barca star Andres Iniesta revealed this week that he remembers the time he spent with Riquelme fondly, and the former Villarreal star was quick to return the compliment.

"Andres is a good guy. I was there when he made his debut at Barcelona when he was only 16. I used to hang around with him a lot during my time there.

"I have a lot of admiration for him. It makes me happy that Iniesta remembers me."

Jumat, 14 September 2012

Wright: I'd love to see Drogba at Arsenal

Didier Drogba - Shanghai Shenhua
Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright has stated that he would relish the opportunity for Shanghai Shenhua striker Didier Drogba to sign for the north London club.

The Ivory Coast international has been linked with a move away from his current side amid issues revolving around the club's boardroom.

Wright, who scored 128 league goals for the Gunners, has spoken highly of the striker who scored the winning penalty in last season's Champions League final.

"I'd love to see Didier Drogba at Arsenal, I'd like to see him come back to England," he told Absolute Radio. "And not play against Arsenal because he's always demolishing them and the back four!"

"Of course you've got to play that kind of thing down. I think if Drogba's coming back to the Premier League I'm sure there'll be a queue and I think if Arsenal are in and around it, I dont think that's a bad thing. That's not a bad signing.

"Hopefully Arsene can mak e that happen, if it can happen, because I think he will be a definite positive move in respect of Arsenal and I think he's still got something to offer in the Premier League. So fingers crossed that something can come of that."

You can listen to Absolute Radio and Rock 'N' Roll Football with Ian Wright on Saturdays on 1215AM from 17:00 BST.

Tottenham 'highly unlikely' to reignite Moutinho interest, claims Villas-Boas

Joao Moutinho
Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas says the club are "highly unlikely" to reignite their interest in Porto's Joao Moutinho, after coming close to a deal on transfer deadline day.

Spurs were negotiating a deal for the Portugal international into the final hours of the window but failed to agree terms with Moutinho before the window slammed shut.

The club was expected to make a fresh approach for Moutinho in January but Villas-Boas says that move is now very unlikely to take place.

"We were prepared for missing out on that player," he told reporters.

"We set our sights on that player in the end of the transfer window - we couldnt conclude the deal but we were ready if that failed.

"Its not likeable that we go back in January. Generally the market is very difficult and very expensive."

The return of Scott Parker from injury is a welcome boost in the centre of midfield and another reason Villas-Boas feels he doesn't require Moutinho's services.

He continued: "Its highly unlikely that we will continue to pursue that transfer because by then we will have Parker coming back, and hes a player that we want to come back as soon as possible.

"Hes a player who had maximum importance for this club last season and we feel that he can add so much to the squad that we are waiting for the moment when he can come back, so its just a question that we have to reassess at that time."

Monreal: I am focused on Malaga

Nacho Monreal, Malaga (
Nacho Monreal has insisted that he is completely focused on Malaga and is not thinking about a potential move to Athletic Bilbao.

The Basque side have until the end of the month to add to their ranks after the Spanish football federation gave them special compensation following the last-minute departure of Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich, and they see the 26-year-old Monreal as a valuable signing.

Nevertheless, the Spanish international is happy with life at his current club and is relishing the prospect of playing Champions League football.

"I am only thinking about Malaga and I believe that a great season lies ahead of us," Monreal said at a press conference.

"I have never before featured in the Champions League and I am really looking forward to doing so with Malaga."

Malaga will face AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht in Group C of the Champions League.

Toni looking to pick up where he left off at Fiorentina

Luca Toni - Fiorentina
Luca Toni has revealed that he wants to revitalise his career at Fiorentina after his deadline day move back to the Artemio Franchi.

The 35-year-old enjoyed a prolific two-year spell at the club between 2005 and 2007 which saw him score 47 Serie A goals in 67 appearances.

He left the club for Bayern Munich five years ago, and was winding down his career with Al Nasr in the United Arab Emirates, but made a shock return to Serie A this summer.

"I cannot wait to get back on the field and make the fans happy," he told the Corriere dello Sport.

"I am glad to be back, I had my most beautiful years here. I want to start where I left off. I think we can play some good football this year. It is a great project."

The 2006 World Cup winner went on to say that he is looking forward to playing alongside midfielder Borja Valero, and is hoping to make his second debut for Vincenzo Montella's si de against Catania on Sunday.

"Borja Valero is really strong. I did not know him, but I've been impressed in the days that we've trained together," he said.

"I have trained well and feel fine. I have put myself at the disposal of the coach and only he can decide if I play.

"The Catania game will be very difficult because they are a strong group. They have a settled squad, whereas we are a new team."

Kamis, 13 September 2012

Fiorentina deny agreement with Manchester City over Jovetic deal

Stevan Jovetic - Fiorentina
Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has denied that the club have agreed to sell Stevan Jovetic to Manchester City in January. exclusively revealed City's interest in the Montenegro international this summer, although the clubs were unable to strike a deal and Prade insists the player will remain at the Stadio Artemio Franchi until next summer at least.

"Jovetic's buy-out clause? I want to close this issue once and for all," he told La Nazione. "What we will do will be done in a transparent way.

"So when there will be news about Jovetic's contract, we will notify it in an official manner.

"A pre-arrangement with Manchester City? The Della Valle family [Fiorentina owners] has excellent relations with City but there is no preliminary contracts with anyone.

"Jo-Jo is our player and he will be at least until the end of the season."

La Viola's technical dir ector, Eduardo Macia, admitted that the Serie A club would be unable to keep hold of Jovetic for much longer and expects him to be sold soon.

"It will be very difficult to keep him at Fiorentina, he is a great player who will eventually play for another club," Macia told

"For us his situation is similar to that of Steven Gerrard for Liverpool. This summer we decided that Jovetic was not on the market and he understood it perfectly despite Juventus' offer."

Athletic will not take legal action over Martinez, says Rummenigge

FC Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Bayern Munich general manager Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisted that Athletic Bilbao will not take any legal action against the club regarding the transfer of Javi Martinez.

It had been alleged that the Spain international had travelled to Germany without permission to undergo a medical at the Allianz Arena, much to the displeasure of club president Josu Urrutia.

However, the former West Germany striker is confident that his side will not face any sanctions, and stressed that the Bavarians did not act in an illegal manner.

"Athletic should not retaliate. President Urrutia assured the player and his family that he will not take any legal action," Rummenigge told Sportbild.

"When a club buys a player for 40 million there must be the right to check if the player is in perfect condition before signing contracts."

Javi Martinez could make his first start for Bayern Munich as the German side take on Mainz at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

AC Milan keepings tabs on Ajax youngster Davy Klaassen

Davy Klaassen
By Elia Raimondo

AC Milan are closely monitoring the progress of Ajax starlet Davy Klaassen as they look to further rejuvenate their squad, can reveal.

The Serie A powerhouse already secured the services of promising youngsters such as M'Baye Niang and Gabriel in the summer transfer window, and they have earmarked 19-year-old Klaassen as their next youthful, potential addition.

Klaassen is a product of the Ajax youth academy, and has been linked to Dennis Bergkamp for his intelligent positioning and movement.

The attacking midfielder, who can also play as a forward, made his official first team debut in the Champions League match versus Lyon last term, and has so far netted once in 10 appearances for the Eredivisie champions.

However, Klaassen will not be available on the cheap if Milan decide to step up their chase for the Netherlands Under-21 internationa l.

He has a contract with Ajax until the summer of 2016, and the Amsterdam giants value the hot prospect at 7 million.

Wenger will be offered a new Arsenal contract, Gazidis confirms

EPL,Arsene Wenger,Stoke City v Arsenal
Arsenal are set to offer manager Arsene Wenger a new contract, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has revealed.

Wenger's current deal expires in 2014 and Gazidis maintains that the French coach, who took over in north London in 1996, is "written into [the club's] DNA".

The American expressed his confidence in the direction of the club despite their current trophyless run and insisted that the values Wenger had instilled since taking over would continue to be their foundation.

"It's not a sense of sentimentalism, not a reward for our services, it's a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward," Gazidis told the Mirror.

"We're really confident about the direction that the club is heading. We're coming through strongly and we believe we're really well placed. We hope and believe that Arsene will be a part of that as we move forward.

"At the same time, as a club, we have to make sure that all of the things that Arsene has brought to the club are enshrined in our DNA to make sure that when the day comes when Arsene decides it's time to hang up his boots - I don't know what the expression is as a manager - that we are in a position to take his ideas and work forward.

"The values that Arsene has brought to the club together that the values the club had before Arsene are what will inform us - and I don't want to give any indication that this is happening - and give us the framework as to who might take over from him in the longer term."

Gazidis went on to hit out at the suggestion that the Gunners had failed to show the ambition needed to claim their first silverware since they won the FA Cup in 2005.

"We get accused of a lack of ambition or complacency because, apparently, the board are only interested in the top four - that is absolute rubbish," he claimed. "To me, this is the most ambitious foot ball club I know.

"We're trying to win. In fact, we try to do more than that, we try to win with style - we have a certain way of playing football that we take pride in. So again, it's a high ambition.

"I know we haven't achieved that in recent years. There's no-one at this football club that doesn't feel the pain of not being able to do that in recent years but absolutely that's what we're trying to do and we want to do it on a sustainable basis going forward.

"We're very optimistic about this season, even through the loss of a player as important as Robin van Persie.

"We went through some major challenges last season and yet still came near the top of the game. But it's not what we're aiming to do. We're absolutely trying to win silverware and we're trying desperately hard to do it this year."

Rabu, 12 September 2012

Juventus still looking at Llorente, reveals Marotta

Antonio Conte - Juventus
Giuseppe Marotta has insisted that Juventus are looking to bring in suitable players when the transfer window re-opens in the new year, including Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente.

The 57-year-old spent the summer trying to land the signature of a top-class centre-forward but were thwarted in their attempts to sign Robin van Persie, Stevan Jovetic and the Spain international.

The Italian champions did manage to sign Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner on loan from Arsenal but Marotta is still hoping to further bolster their attack.

"We are continuing to monitor interesting players and we will decide whether to make any moves in January," he told reporters.

"We have looked for players with a certain profile and Jovetic fits that, but he is a Fiorentina player and the Viola will decide his future. Llorente? We are continuing to work.

"The first judgements from Conte on Bendtner are very positive. He is a youngster who wants to do well."

However, Marotta dismissed reports that the Turin side were interested in signing Lazio centre-back Modibo Diakite, after the Senegalese star refused to sign a new contract at Stadio Olimpico.

"There are usually a lot of bombastic headlines about us and we get linked with moves that I can categorically deny.

"For example, we have not talked to Diakite. He is a Lazio player and will not be coming to Juventus.

Juve coach Antonio Conte is currently serving a 10-mo nth ban for failing to report match-fixing activities, but Marotta is optimistic that the former Siena boss' upcoming appeal will be successful.

We are very optimistic about the TNAS hearing," he revealed."

Real Madrid would sell Ronaldo for 200 million

Cristiano Ronaldo no festeja
By Alberto Pinero

Real Madrid would be willing to sell Cristiano Ronaldo for a 200 million fee if they cannot resolve his current situation at the club, understands.

The Portuguese superstar refused to celebrate his two goals during the 3-0 win over Granada on September 2, and claimed in the wake of the match that he was unhappy.

The former Manchester United man is one of 17 players returning to training on Wednesday after international duty and there has been a wave of speculation regarding his future at the club.

However, Los Blancos are determined to tackle the crisis and will hold talks between the player, coach Jose Mourinho and president Florentino Perez.

Although Ronaldo himself was quick to deny that a desire for a pay rise was the reason for his current state of melancholy, rumours have persisted that the Portuguese is eyeing an improved contract.

The Real M adrid No.7 earns nearly 10m annually on his current contract, a significantly lower sum than players such as Samuel Eto'o (20m) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (14.5m).

Spain's tax laws have undergone a recent change, and Madrid would now have to pay a 52 per cent tax on the player's wages compared to the current 24%. This means that if they offer Ronaldo a contract in the region of 15m annually, they will be forced to pay over 23m each year after tax.

Perez has voiced his confidence that the winger will not leave the Bernabeu, but ABC news reports that two mystery clubs, believed to be Paris Saint-Germain and Anzhi Makhachkala, would be prepared to offer him a 20m annual salary.

The capital club paid an unprecedented 100m fee for his services in 2009, and he could be set for another world-record transfer if the talks prove to be fruitless.

Inter have not yet discussed Giuseppe Rossi, says Fassone

Giuseppe Rossi - Villarreal (Getty Images)
Marco Fassone has stressed that Inter have not made a decision yet about whether they want to make a move for Villarreal attacker Giuseppe Rossi in the January transfer window.

The Italy international, who is currently recovering from a knee injury, is keen to leave the Segunda Division side, and has set his sights on a move to Serie A.

Nevertheless, despite the Nerazzurri's interest earlier this year, a winter transfer to the Giuseppe Meazza side is still far away.

"The next transfer moves for Inter? In January we'll see if we need to take action," Fassone was quoted as saying by ANSA.

"Giuseppe Rossi? We still havent discussed a potential move for him."

The 25-year-old forward joined Villarreal from Manchester United in the summer of 2007. His current contract with the club is due to expire in 2016.

Juventus pushed hard to sign me, says Fiorentina's Jovetic

Stevan Jovetic - Fiorentina
Stevan Jovetic has revealed that Juventus were eager to sign him in the summer transfer window, but the attacker is adamant that he is happy with life at Fiorentina.

The Serie A champions had earmarked Jovetic as the perfect addition to their attack, but eventually failed to agree terms with the Viola over a transfer fee.

Nevertheless, the Montenegro international is by no means upset over Fiorentina's insistence to hold on to him, and is pleased to still be with the Artemio Franchi side.

"I have to admit that Juventus tried hard to sign me," Jovetic was quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Of course that made me think, but that's only normal. The chance to play in the Champions League, to play a key role in a project, the entire atmosphere at the club.

"But there's no need to go to Turin for that, as I have that here as well.

"I don't have any regrets that the move didn't ma terialise. I'm happy at Fiorentina. It's true that the president convinced me to stay here, but talks were always positive."

Jovetic is under contract with Fiorentina until June 2016, but his current club have told him that he will be allowed to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

Selasa, 11 September 2012

Fiorentina tell Jovetic he will be allowed to leave in 2013

Stevan Jovetic - Fiorentina
By Wayne Veysey

Fiorentina have told prize asset Stevan Jovetic that he will be allowed to leave the club at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, has learned.

The Serie A outfit managed to hold on to the Montenegro international this summer despite strong interest from Manchester City and Juventus. However, the Viola have come to an agreement with the striker that he can be sold next year.

Sources have said that senior Fiorentina officials feared a huge backlash from supporters if they sanctioned the sale of Jovetic before the summer transfer window closed last Friday.

City pursued the 22-year-old as part of a double swoop which also included Serbian defender Matija Nastasic, who they secured on deadline day for 15 million.

The Premier League champions also indicated in discussions with Fiorentina that they were willing to me et their 30m valuation of Jovetic, only for the price tag to be increased to 35m as the Italian club moved the goalposts.

"The fact that he has stayed is the most beautiful thing. He has remained and is also happy," Fiorentina general manager Sandro Mencucci said when the window shut. "Was he close to leaving? There were requests but it was very good of my president to convince him to stay."

It is understood that Jovetic agreed to remain in Florence for another season on the proviso that he can leave next year.

"Fiorentina have worked out a deal with him," a well-placed source told "They said, 'Stay another year so we can plan for your departure at the end of the season'. They did the same thing with Luca Toni the year before he left."

Coincidentally, Toni, 35, has returned to the club he departed in 2007 after a goal-laden two-year spell, but he is currently behind star man Jovetic in the pecking order.< /span>