Rabu, 31 Oktober 2012

Lotito prepared to sell Zarate

Mauro Zarate - Lazio (Getty Images)
Lazio president Claudio Lotito has invited interested parties to make a bid for Mauro Zarate with the forward appearing to have been frozen out at the club.

The striker spent last season with Serie A rivals Inter but the Milan side chose not to keep the player beyond his initial loan spell and he went back to the Biancocelesti.

The 25-year-old has since been linked with a move to Genoa or Torino in the January transfer window and Lotito insists he is willing to listen to any offers which would see the out-of-favour attacker move away pernamently.

"I have not heard from Genoa or Toro," Lotito told Tuttosport. "If the Granata really do want him, then they just need to tell me.

"The situation with Zarate has been clear since the summer as the player turned down several clubs, including Galatasaray and Marseille.

"In January when the transfer window opens, we will be prepared to speak with a ny club that makes an offer," the 55-year-old continued.

"If Toro want Zarate, then make us an offer and we will evaluate it. However, there will be no loans considered, including a loan with an option to buy.

"I know how these things go. Everyone promises to buy the player at the end of the season and then [they] don't keep their word."

Son Heung-Min unsure of Hamburg stay

Germany: FC Augsburg - Hamburger SV, Heung-Min Son

Hamburg's Heung-Min Son has admitted that he does not know whether he will sign a contract extension with the club.

The South Koreans current deal expires in 2014 and the striker is not certain about his future, but emphasised that he is enjoying life at the Imtech Arena.

"I am as yet unaware whether I am to sign a new deal with Hamburg this winter," Son told the Hamburg Morgenpost.

"Still, there is no doubt that I am very happy with my current situation at Hamburg. I like the club and I love the fans as much as they love me."

Son has scored five goals in nine Bundesliga appearances this season, with his side sitting seventh with 13 points from nine games.

Begiristain makes Betis star Benat his first Manchester City target

Benat Etxeberria of Real Betis
By Greg Stobart

Manchester City's new director of football has quickly identified one of his first targets - Spanish midfield sensation Benat.

Former Barcelona technical director Txiki Begiristain, who took up the post earlier this week, is now charged with identifying the best talent around the globe for boss Roberto Mancini.

Mancini has been handed reports on Benat, 25, who is currently hot property at Real Betis, after finally making the breakthrough into the Spanish national team this year.

Begiristain is also a big admirer of the busy playmaker, who is likened to Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez, a player City failed to capture in the summer.

The club's expanding Spanish network have been tipped off that talks over a new contract for Benat have stalled - his current deal expires in 2014 - and the player has a 20 million (16.2m) release clause.

Both Arsenal and Liverp ool have previously been linked with the player but City, aside from being able to offer Benat superior wages, have a decent relationship with Betis, having bankrolled Roque Santa Cruz's loan stay last season.

Begiristain is making swift progress in his new role after being re-united with former Barcelona vice-chairman Ferran Soriano, who was appointed as City's new chief executive in August as the club went ahead with restructuring plans exclusively revealed by Goal.com in January.

Begiristain held a similar position during seven years at the Camp Nou, where he brought in the likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Dani Alves - and City hope he will have similar success at the Etihad Stadium.

Benat has started the season in sparkling form, scoring one goal and providing seven assists in seven league appearances for Betis.

Follow Greg Stoba rt on

Messi: I will not leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain

Leo Messi, Málaga-Barcelona
Lionel Messi has made it clear that he is not interested in joining Paris Saint-Germain and says he is happy with life at Barcelona.

The Argentina international stated on Monday that he dreams of staying at the Blaugrana until the end of his career, and not even a lucrative offer from the Ligue 1 giants would tempt him to move on.

"Paris Saint-Germain's project tempting? No, no! I have the best team-mates in the world at Barcelona. We fight for trophies every season," Messi was quoted as saying by France Football.

"Barcelona is a beautiful city and Barca are the club where I was raised. I can honestly not even imagine leaving Barcelona."

PSG lured players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gregory van der Wiel to the French capital in the summer transfer window, but Messi is unsure whether they can compete with the big teams in Europe this term.

"I don't know whether P SG already have the means to challenge the big teams in the Champions League this season," he continued.

"I think that they can win the Ligue 1 title with all the players who can be decisive. But it takes time to build a team.

"Their situation reminds me a bit of Manchester City. It's not easy to build a team when you have players coming from all corners of the world."

Les Parisiens currently sit atop of the Ligue 1 table and second in their Champions League group.

Selasa, 30 Oktober 2012

Holtby considering English proposal, says agent

Lewis Holtby - Schalke 04
The agent of the Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby has suggested his client could be in line for a move to the Premier League, following a very interesting proposal from an English club.

Although Markus Noack did not name the club in question, the news follows a recent Goal.com exclusive, revealing Liverpools recent pursuit of the 22-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

"Lewis is very good at Schalke but above all there is an English club which has made a very interesting proposal, Noack told Calciomercato.com.

"We are talking with Schalke about a possible extension for another three years. Talks are going well at the moment but the situation has definitely changed in the last period because several offers from Spain and England came in.

A big decision awaits the German, who has begun the season in fine form having netted three goals in Schalkes opening nine league games. His agent was, however, keen to dismiss rumours linking Holtby with Inter Milan, claiming that a move to Italy would be unlikely.

"My client will have to decide whether to continue to grow in Germany or to try a new experience at the end of this season.

"Inter Milan? We have not received any proposals from Italy and he would prefer [to play in] the Premier League and La Liga"

Falcao not thinking about Atletico exit

Radamel Falcao - A. Madrid
Radamel Falcao has dampened speculation about his potential move away from Atletico Madrid by promising that he will honour his contract at the Vicente Calderon.

The Colombian has scored 10 goals in just eight Liga games this season, and speculation about a transfer is rife, with Real Madrid and Chelsea reportedly ready for a battle to secure his signature.

"I am happy and enjoying myself at my club," he told Spanish television show Punta Pelota.

"I am not thinking about leaving at the moment. I never think about it. That idea is not in my head but we will see what happens in the future."

Falcao has been named on the 23-man shortlist for this year's Ballon d'Or, but refused to talk about his chances of winning the award.

"Others are responsible for choosing, I just really appreciate being on the list alongside [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who are both great players."

AC Milan start search for Allegri replacement

Massimiliano Allegri - Milan
By Elijah Raimondo

AC Milan's poor start to the Serie A season could cost Massimiliano Allegri his job, and owner Silvio Berlusconi has already created a shortlist of coaches to replace the 45-year-old, Goal.com understands.

After a turbulent summer which saw big names such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic leave San Siro, the Rossoneri have been in poor form, losing five of their first 10 Serie A matches, and speculation is rife that the former Cagliari boss will soon be sacked.

Top of the shortlist is Pep Guardiola, who resigned as Barcelona boss last summer, citing exhaustion, but is unlikely to make a move to the club due to their financial situation.

Next on Berlusconi's list is Zenit St Petersburg trainer Luciano Spalletti, due to his vast experience in Serie A, having coached Udinese and Roma for a number of years.

The rest of the contenders are Rafa Benitez, wh o was sacked by Inter in December 2010 after just six months in charge, and Roberto Mancini, who is currently under pressure at English champions Manchester City, but has won three Scudetti.

Filippo Inzaghi could also be in contention to replace Allegri. The former Italy international ended his playing career last summer, but has been working with the club's youth ranks, and would be a popular choice amongst fans.

AC Milan take on Palermo on Tuesday, with kick-off scheduled at 20:45CET.

Arsenal must pay up & give Walcott industry benchmark deal to prove their ambition

EPL - Stoke City v Arsenal, Theo Walcott
By Wayne Veysey Chief Correspondent

When Peter Hill-Wood tried to explain why Arsenal handed chief executive Ivan Gazidis a 35 per cent pay rise last season to inflate his salary package to 2.14 million-a-year, the chairmans response was telling.

Gazids, Hill-Wood told shareholders at a feisty AGM, had overseen an extremely good year and his deal had been benchmarked against industry competitors.

Few could blame Theo Walcott and his advisers for quoting those words back at senior Arsenal figures when a final attempt is made next month to break the contract stand-off between the player and the club.

It is inconsistency on a grand scale to have one rule for one board member and another entirely for the playing staff.

How Hill-Wood and the remuneration committee concluded that Arsenals 2011-12 financial year was so impressive when revenues remained flat and the club continued to rely o n Arsene Wengers transfer wheeler-dealing for its healthy profit surplus is unclear.

It is not too hard to imagine gin being spluttered around the boardroom when word reached the septuagenarian-dominated directorship that Manchester City had offered Robin van Persie a 300,000-a-week salary to stop him joining Manchester United.

Yet, is Walcott being so unreasonable in his request for a 40 per cent upgrade on his current 60,000-a-week contract?

If we are to use the Hill-Wood rule of thumb from which Gazidis benefited so handsomely, the answer is no.

Measured against his fellow England regulars, Walcotts stance is perfectly valid. The forward need only glance around at second and third tier internationals like James Milner, Gareth Barry, Glen Johnson, Frank Lampard, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill and Andy Carroll (who all earn six-figure salaries per week or more) to gain an appreciation of his market value.

Like these co lleagues, Walcott has not produced the goods consistently on the international scene for an extended period.

But he is not asking to be parachuted into the top tier of earners with English passports, such as Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Joe Hart.

Instead, he wants what he feels he is worth. This comes after Walcott established himself as an undisputed first-team regular last season, starting 29 of Arsenals 32 first Premier League matches before succumbing to the kind of injury that has pockmarked his career.

He finished as the clubs second leading scorer behind Robin van Persie in a season which yielded a personal-best 11 goals in all competitions. Even this season, in which he has only started two matches for his club, Walcott has plundered four goals.

By running down his Arsenal contract to the last eight months without reaching a breakthrough in talks, Walcott has manoeuvred himself into a strong ne gotiating position.

Admirers at home and abroad are fluttering their eyelashes, most notably Serie A champions Juventus and striker-starved Liverpool.

They recognise that Walcott could be something of a bargain in January, when 100,000-a-week wages may not appear so outrageous if the transfer fee is less than 10m.

The 23-year-old will be committing his prime years to the employers whose headed paper will bear his next signature.

It may be a frustration that Arsenals three chief Champions League rivals Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs are not at the head of the queue to sign him.

In any case, Walcott was unsure about whether to go to Man City in the summer when the Premier League champions floated their interest in the last week of the window.

Liverpool, the club he supported as a boy, represents a more realistic avenue, despite Wengers reluctance to sell him to a Premier League big-hitter. Juventus r epresent nothing more than a useful back-up option at this stage, given that Walcott is settled in England and is not sure if the time is right to move overseas.

He is being genuine when he says he wants to come to an agreement with Arsenal and stay. Walcott is a popular member of the squad, respected and liked by the players as well as the staff.

Clouding the issue are the contrasting views of Wenger and Walcott on the forwards role in the team. As one source close to both men said: Theo sees himself as a creative player who can play anywhere across the front three. Wenger does not see it the same way. He sees him as an impact player out wide who can unsettle the opposition over 60 minutes or come off the bench for the last half-hour and change a game.

By asking for the twin towers of a 100,000-a-week salary and a centre-forward role, some Arsenal observers may sniff that the club would be better off cutting their losses on Walcott and conce ntrate on sourcing a blue-chip replacement.

Yet Arsenal already have cash swilling around the club coffers. An estimated 50m is available for transfers next year.

If Walcott was to follow Van Persie, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy as another A-list departure over the last 18 months, the ambition of the board will once again be called loudly into question.

It should be noted that Arsenals wage bill was 143m in 2011-12. Surely, it would make sense to offer Walcott around three per cent of that annual sum and make the clubs salary structure a little less egalitarian.

Follow Wayne Veysey on

Senin, 29 Oktober 2012

Manchester United and Chelsea tracking Genoa right-back Sampirisi, claims agent

Sampirisi & Fabbrini - Udinese-Genoa - Serie A
Genoa right-back Mario Sampirisi is being tracked by Manchester United and Chelsea, according to the player's agent Giuseppe Riso.

The promising defender has recently broken into the first team of the Rossoblu, after moving from the youth setup at AC Milan in 2011, and has since attracted the attention of many top European clubs.

The player's agent has confirmed that many top Premier League clubs have shown an interest in the Italy Under-21 right-back and that he would be well-suited to playing in England.

"Chelsea and Manchester United interested in him? Yeah, they sent their scouts to follow him live but I don't know if they'll try to take him in January," Riso told tuttomercatoweb.

"Genoa do not want to sell. But I am not surprised that the Premier League clubs have their eye on him. Mario has the typical physique that British teams like.

"But also some Italian clubs are following him."

Forren is good enough for Manchester United, claims Solskjaer

 Vegard Forren

Manchester United legend and Molde FK manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed that centre-back Vegard Forren is good enough to play for his former club.

Solskjaer led the Norwegian side to their maiden league title last season, generating a great deal of speculation about his own future and whether a return to England could be on the cards.

However, the 39-year-old has instead suggested that defender Forren, 24, could make the move to Old Trafford before long.

"Yes, he could play for Manchester United, but I don't have to tell him that. At his best he is a very good footballer," he told TV2.

"He could play for United, but he doesn't need me to tell him that.

Despite his kind words, the Norwegian went on to warn Forren that he should keep his attention focused on his own burgeoning international career.

"Vegard is a v ery good footballer but he has to be focused on delivering and securing his place in the Norway team," he continued.

Molde currently sit top of the Tippeligaen, three points ahead of the pack with three matches still to play.

Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012

Manchester United's De Gea rules out Real Madrid move

David de Gea (Manchester United)
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has been touted as a possible long-term replacement for the current Real Madrid and Spain No.1 Iker Casillas, but has made it clear he is ready to stay in England and fight to become Sir Alex Fergusons first choice shot-stopper.

I am happy at United and not thinking about a return to Spain, De Gea told The Sun.

Ive accepted the challenge to learn and improve as a professional, and fighting for my place gives me a bigger incentive to play well.

He faces tough competition from Anders Lindegaard, with both keepers yet to cement a regular starting place in the United first XI under Sir Alex'srotation policy this season.

De Gea is set to start Sundays crucial Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as Lindegaard is ruled out with a thumb injury. Victory for the Red Devils would see them reclaim second position in the Premier League table behind the Blues.

'Neymar to Barca? I don't know,' says Zubizaretta

Neymar - Santos
Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta has refuted claims that the Catalans have already struck a deal with Santos for striker Neymar.

It was rumoured that in the Blaugrana's annual report, the youngster was listed as a recepient of a hefty 10 million bonus ahead of a even more lucrative agreement in the future.

The Brazilian club recently published a statement on their official website denying a deal with Barcelona, and the retired goalkeeper has dismissed the claims on the liga giants' part too.

"Neymar is Santos player. I do not know, I do not have a magic ball to see if he will play at Barca," Zubizaretta told Canal Plus.

"We have a lot of respect for Santos. I have not read the financial report, but I know that Neymar is Santos player and thats all there is to say."

Barcelona rivals Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in acquiring the services of the Brazilian striker.

Sabtu, 27 Oktober 2012

ODriscoll eager to extend Jenas' loan spell from Tottenham

Jermaine Jenas
Nottingham Forest boss Sean ODriscoll has revealed he is keen to extend Jermaine Jenas loan spell at the Championship club.

On loan from Tottenham, the 29-year-old concluded his one-month temporary deal with a goal during a 4-1 victory at Barnsley.

ODriscoll says Jenas' contributions on and off the pitch have proved vital since his arrival and is planning on approaching Spurs over a possible extension.

"His [Jenas] attitude has been great, O'Driscoll told the club's official website.

He's got great experience and we've used his opinion on things because he has an influence on the group.

"The initial first month was a suck-it-and-see thing for both parties.

Sometimes as a manager you are wary about taking a big name from the Premier League, which he is, but he's been first class.

"We'll have to revisit it over the weekend and see where we go but we'd like to keep him if we can."

Jen as original spell at Forest saw him make 29 first-team appearances for the club before leaving for Newcastle in 2002.

West Ham return for Rio Ferdinand interests Allardyce

EPL - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Rio Ferdinand

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has suggested that he could make a move for Rio Ferdinand next summer if the Manchester United defender becomes a free agent.

The 33-year-old is yet to extend his contract at Old Trafford, which is currently set to expire at the end of June, and Goal.com exclusively revealed on Monday that United are set to slash Ferdinands 120,000-a-weel wages by around half in a 12-month package.

However, Allardyce, while pessimistic, has admitted to being interested in the prospect of the centre-back returning to the club he started his professional career.

I think its highly unlikely that we would consider Rio Ferdinand at the moment, Allardyce told reporters.

But if its at the end of the season and he hasnt got a new contract and he is going to leave Manchester United then we would be interested if we can sustain our Premier League status. It depends entirely on Rio.

The chairman likes to think big and its nice to have a chairman who thinks big.

Everything has to be in place. If Rio wants to come back, the financial package and so on and so forth and whether they want to release him or not.

If he wants to live back in London eventually, which is where he comes from, which is what quite a few players like to do before the end of their careers then that might be an advantage for us.

Chelsea set for 48m Falcao swoop in January

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By Greg Stobart

Chelsea will make a sensational 48 million January move for Atletico Madrid star Radamel Falcao, Goal.com has learned.

Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, has decided to activate the 60m (48.1m) release clause in the Colombians contract as he looks to land one of the hottest strikers in the world.

Manchester City are also interested in Falcao but the Premier League champions fear the 26-year-old is destined for a switch to Stamford Bridge in the New Year, with some suggesting that he has already agreed personal terms with the Londoners.

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo wants a leading striker in the next transfer window, with Fernando Torres currently the only out-and-out forward in the first-team squad.

Falcao, who has already scored 12 goals in eight Atletico Madrid appearances this season, fits the bill as a natural goalscorer to combine with th e likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar as Chelsea target Premier League glory this term.

Atletico are desperate to keep Falcao but will have no option if a club activates the buyout clause for a player who cost 34.7m when he joined from Porto in 2011.

The deal will be complicated by third-party ownership issues - with super agent Jorge Mendes part of a consortium holding an interest in Falcao - but Chelsea have started work early to ensure the move goes through smoothly.

City could yet rival Chelsea for Falcaos signature but first need to offload one of their four main strikers - Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli - meaning the Blues are hot favourites to land the former River Plate man.

Falcao scored 36 goals in his first season in the Spanish capital, firing them to victory in the Europa League before further catching the eye with a stunning hat-trick in Atleticos 4-1 win against Chelsea in the E uropean Super Cup in August.

The Blues spent more than 70m in the summer to bring in Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and Cesar Apilicueta - but Abramovich is ready to make the money available to sign Falcao and remains confident that the club will meet Uefas Financial Fair Play regulations.

Falcaos arrival would again raise questions over the long-term future of 50m Fernando Torres, who has scored four goals in eight Premier League appearances so far this season.

Follow Greg Stobart on

The Sweeper: Tottenham outbid Liverpool by 4.5m to sign Dempsey

By Wayne Veysey Chief Correspondent


Tottenham provided a full stop to the fraught final chapter of Clint Dempseys Fulham career by signing the American in the final minutes of the summer window.

Dempsey was finally registered as a Spurs player after the Londoners agreed to pay 4.5 million more for him than Liverpool on a whirlwind deadline day in which three clubs submitted formal bids for a player who had been exiled at Craven Cottage.

The Sweeper can reveal that Spurs signed Dempsey in a deal worth 7.5m, made up of a 5m payment up front supplemented by a further staggered 2.5m, subject to appearances.

This fee comfortably exceeded the bid made earlier in the day by Liverpool, who had pursued Dempsey all summer but eventually offered a relatively meagre 3m.

Even Aston Villa had been far more purposeful than the Merseysiders as they sensed a late opportunity to end the rift between Dempsey and Fulham by making a bid less than 24 hours before the end of the window.

The offer, believed to be a 5m down-payment supplemented by 2m in add-ons, was accepted by the Cottagers. Dempsey, however, rejected the move.

With the American on the brink and Liverpool and Fulham locked in stalemate, Tottenham came to the rescue with a more substantial offer just as the sun was beginning to set on deadline day.


A thigh injury will keep Kieran Gibbs out of the Arsenal team for the third consecutive match against QPR on Saturday afternoon.

However, The Sweeper has learned that the left-backs latest spell on the sidelines has b een born out of the clubs desire to manage his workload rather than any serious injury.

Up until this season, the 23-year-old required injections before every match to treat a long-standing hernia problem, a situation that continued even after he had surgery last autumn.

It is understood that Gibbs no longer requires injections to play but Arsenal are wary of overloading a player who has been plagued by injury since breaking into the first team as an 18-year-old.

Although the England international took part in full training on Thursday and, then, had a light session on Friday, he is not yet available for selection.


Blackburn Rovers turned their attention during the week to prising Billy McKinlay from Fulham after failing in their attempt to land No.1 target Tim Sherwood as their new manager.

Intriguingly, The Sweeper unde rstands that McKinlay, the Fulham first-team coach who spent five years at Rovers as a player, is close friends with fellow Scot Steve Kean, who was forced out as manager last month.

This association, prompted by the satirical suggestion that McKinlay might want Kean on his Rovers backroom staff, led to opposition from Blackburn fans to his appointment.

As a result, both McKinlay and Rovers chiefs got cold feet, even though the club had been close to agreeing a compensation package with Fulham for the 43-year-old former midfielder, who was keen for his first crack at management.


Dougie Freedman finally took charge at Bolton Wanderers on Thursday, three days after being given permission to speak to the Lancashire club by Crystal Palace.

The Sweeper has learned that Boltons pursuit of the Scot began long bef ore the recently demoted Premier League club made their interest official on Monday.

Intermediaries representing Bolton first made contact with the former striker 10 days before the approach, making it clear that the clubs resources and budget made the top flight a more realistic prospect than it was at Selhurst Park.

Jumat, 26 Oktober 2012

Santos deny Neymar to Barcelona rumours

Neymar - Santos FC
Santos have moved to deny rumours that Neymar could be on his way to Barcelona as early as next summer.

Reports had circulated that the Blaugrana had paid an initial 10 million for an unnamed player - whom fans believed to be the young South American - who would move to Camp Nou at the season's end.

However, the Sao Paulo giants have now ruled out a sale of the Brazil international before 2014, when his current deal at the club expires.

"Santos reject any possibility of selling Neymar to Barcelona or any other team," a statement on the club's official website read.

"There are no negotiations under way, and the club reiterate that the attacker has a contract until 2014, which he will see out until the end."

The 20-year-old has won 25 caps for his country, scoring 16 times in the process.

Fulham boss Jol admits uncertainty over Hangeland future

Brede Hangeland of Fulham
Fulham manager Martin Jol has conceded he is unsure over the future of club captain Brede Hangeland, admitting the two parties have been locked in contract talks for the past six months.

The 31-year-old defender is yet to agree terms with the club he joined in 2008, meaning Jol may have to consider any bids that are made for him should they come during January's transfer window.

Amid speculation that Fulham may be forced to sell a number of star players after the current campaign, Jol suggested it could only be the Norway centre-back who departs.

"Our culture is that we always like to keep the players we want to keep," the Dutchman told Sky Sports. "I don't know where the story that our star players are going is coming from.

"Brede is the only problem, but we've been talking to him for the last five or six months. But we've made him a good offer so if he wants to stay that would be fantastic.

"So b elieve me, there isn't a situation where a lot of my best players would go. [Dimitar] Berbatov has two years, [Mladen] Petric one year and an option, so that is fine and [Hugo] Rodallega was a free transfer. [Sascha] Riether has an option."

During pre-season, the revolving door at Fulham was in full motion, with key men such as Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy all leaving the club.

"We always want to improve and don't tell anybody else, but I believe that's what we did in the transfer window," Jol added.

"With Dembele it was different, he left three days before the transfer window closed after promising he'd stay.

"We spoke to Clint 18 months before his contract expired, but he wanted to go to a Champions League club."

Rooney joining Anzhi rumours are 'without any reality', insists Hiddink

Wayne Rooney Manchester United versus Stoke

Anzhi Makhachkala manager Guus Hiddink has denied the club will move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

The Russian club, who are owned by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, are aiming to build a squad capable of beating the best in Europe and have made steady inroads and are currently topping their domestic league.

And, after Roberto Carlos stated on Thursday that Anzhi are targeting a move for Rooney, Hiddink insists the former left-back was just expressing his desire rather than actual intent.

Speaking to reporters after his teams 1-0 loss to Liverpool in the Europa League, Hiddink said: "He is vice-president, Roberto, and he can express his ideas, and he does that well.

"He hasn't said it to me so far, but it's nice sometimes to talk out of the blue without any reality."

Anzhi have already spent large amounts on transfer fees and wages for players such as Samuel Etoo, Yuri Zhirkov and Chris Samb a, but Hiddink is now focusing on promoting young local talent to the first team.

"We want star players," he added.

"But before the game [against Liverpool], I explained that the club are not making investment for investment's sake. It must be good.

"Of course, Rooney is very good. But it must be realistically achievable as well. As you have seen tonight, I was happy with the performance of some young Russian players, even though we lost.

"We are not looking just for big names. We want a good balance. I don't think the club will do anything foolish. But let's not undervalue Wayne Rooney, of course. I respect him very much."

Willian reiterates desire to leave Shakhtar

Willian - Shakhtar-Juventus - Champions League

Shakhtar Donetsk forward Willian has admitted that he wants to leave the Ukraine champions and is seriously interested in a move to Serie A.

After finding himself priced out of a move to Chelsea and Tottenham during the summer, with Donetsk unwilling to budge on their 30 million asking price, the Brazilian has again reiterated his desire to leave the Donbass Arena, with the European champions, AC Milan and Inter all interesting the 24-year-old.

"I would like to move from Shakhtar, my work here is complete," Willian told reporters.

"I would like to play in a big team in a big tournament, like the Premier League or Serie A. I like Chelsea, Milan and Inter.

"I have always followed the two Italian teams because my role models when I was young were Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, and they played for those teams."

With Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas reportedly in regular contact with the forward, the player would appear to still have his heart set on the Portuguese manager's former club at the moment, with his ultimate ambition to represent Brazil in the next World Cup on home soil.

He added: "I knew that Chelsea wanted me in the past but the club didn't want me to leave. I think it was about the price.

"I still have two seasons left on my contract at Shakhtar and the only thing I can do is keep playing well, try to go on in the Champions League and hope to move next year.

"My dream is to play with the Selecao in the World Cup in Brazil and I will have more chance to realise the dream if I play for a big team."

Kamis, 25 Oktober 2012

Arsenal loanee Bendtner could leave Juventus in January, reveals agent

Nicklas Bendtner - Juventus

Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner could be on his way out of Juventus in January despite only joining the Serie A champions in August, according to the strikers agent.

The 24-year-old has made just one league appearance - as a substitute - for the club so far, and his representative has revealed the players unhappiness with limited first-team exposure.

[Bendtner] is too strong a player to stay on the bench, so its not good for him or for Juventus to keep him there, his agent Tom Brooks told TuttoMercatoWeb.

If it continues like this, we will consider our options. Could that be from January? Well talk about it over the next few weeks.

Why isnt he playing? In all honesty, youd have to ask [Juventus manager] Antonio Conte. Every player wants to play more and do his job. Nicklas has patience and respects the club, his team-mates and the decisions of the coach.

Brooks was keen, though, to reiterate tha t Bendtner has no regrets so far about moving to Italy, and emphasised that the Danes priority is to prove himself with the Italian champions.

He added: He absolutely does not regret this decision, as he wanted to play in the Champions League and for a club of this level. It is true he turned down proposals from Siena and Fiorentina, but he couldnt let this opportunity pass by.

The important thing is that he starts to spend more time on the pitch so he can do his job. Everyone respects him and he never complains, but this situation is not good and, when he is out of patience, we will consider our options.

The boy is happy at Juventus, even if clearly he would like to play more. When he is on the field more regularly, hell be even happier."

Van Persie was sold for football reasons, claims Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood

UEFA Champions League; Robin van Persie, Manchester United v Galatasaray
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has insisted the the club's AGM that Robin van Persie was sold for "footballing reasons".

Last season's Premier League top goalscorer joined Manchester United in a 24-million move after citing disillusionment with the direction the club was being taken following seven years without a trophy and other high-profile players being sold in previous transfer windows.

When asked by a shareholder whether the Dutchman was sold to increase the club's profit, Hill-Wood replied: "We undertake our transfers for football reasons and not FFP. Money is available to Arsene."

Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis, the subject of a satirical leaflet being handed out prior to the event, stated that he felt that the club was still in a position to compete for silverware.

"Our ambition is all about football - to compete at the very top of the game here and in Europe. To win trophies. It's important we understand our off-fi eld journey if we want to understand our football future."

"The club is increasingly well positioned to take advantage of its excellent global reputation. Within the next two years Arsenal will have the financial resources to sit and compete with the biggest clubs in the world."

"I have no doubt we can and will return club to winning trophies and drive it forward to new heights. Standing together we can make Arsenal one of the leading clubs in the world."

"We have outperformed that spend every single year for 15 years. An extraordinary record of consistency."

The north Londoners were recently revealed by a survey to charge the most for a season ticket for a second year running.

And the rising cost of ticket prices has also been the subject of much criticism from Arsenal fans recently but Gazidis defended the club's position.

He added: "We've only had two season ticket prices increases in the last seven years. They have not kept us at pace with rising costs in the game."

Major shareholder Stan Kroenke reitrerated the strong financial position that the club are currently in citing that they have no debt to pay off.

"We [Kroenke Sports Enterprises] have record in sports round world. We've never put any debt on this club. We've never said money is not to be spent."

Anzhi will consider move for Rooney, says team director Roberto Carlos

Wayne Rooney

Anzhi Makhachkala team director Roberto Carlos has said his side will consider a move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

The Russian club, who signed former Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o last year, have been constantly linked with some of the biggest names in world football.

Carlos believes Anzhis owner, billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, will continue to pour money into the club and may even fund a move for Rooney to bring success to the club.

He told Sky Sports News: "Why not? [Rooney] is one of the best players in the world and any team would be happy to have him in their squad.

"He's still a very young player. Of course I could not say when, and if, it will happen.

"[Kerimov] is capable of doing everything. If the owner of Anzhi has a wish to buy somebody, he will go and do it.

"But we are trying to change the image of the club. It's not just about money. Of course we are going to buy good players bu t not only international players - we want to sign good Russian players that are not that expensive."

'Only God knows what awaits me' - Nani unsure over Manchester United future

Nani - Manchester United

Manchester United winger Nani has refused to rule out leaving the Old Trafford club in the January transfer window.

The 25-year-old has started just five of the Red Devils 12 games so far this season following the summer arrival of Shinji Kagawa and ongoing emergence of Tom Cleverley providing added competition for midfield places.

Nani has been targeted by AC Milan in a proposed 12-million move, with Juventus reportedly hesitant after concerns over their faltering striking options took precedence in the upcoming transfer window.

Only God knows what awaits me, Nani told The Sun, in response to speculation regarding a January exit.

Nani has not started a game for United since the clubs home 3-2 defeat to Tottenham on September 29, and has insisted that injuries or poor match fitness are not behind his restricted exposure.

He added: I am in perfect condition - I am physically good and feeling confident.

I am the same Nani as always.

Rabu, 24 Oktober 2012

Juventus not interested in signing Drogba, says Marotta

CSL - Didier Drogba, Shanghai Shenhua vs. Shanghai Shenxin
Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta has insisted that his side have never thought about signing Didier Drogba, and have no intention to go after the Shanghai Shenhua star in the January transfer window either.

The Cote d'Ivoire international, 34, is reportedly unhappy at his current club, and has recently been linked with a move to Italy, with the Old Lady keen to add some more firepower to their squad.

However, the former Chelsea striker is not one of the candidates to strengthen the Serie A leaders' attack this winter.

"We have never considered making a move for Drogba. That's just rumour and speculation," Marotta told Mediaset Premium.

Juventus are also be said to be monitoring the situation's of Roma's Pablo Osvaldo and Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente.

Quagliarella pledges future to Juventus amid Roma speculation

Fabio Quagliarella - Juventus
Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella has committed his future to the Serie A champions after speculation arose that he desired to work under Roma coach Zdenek Zeman.

The 29-year-old attacker has scored three goals in seven appearances for the Old Lady so far this season but was excluded from the line-up for the Champions League match against Nordsjaelland on Tuesday night, heightening conjecture that he could be set to be included in a potential swap-deal with Roma's Pablo Osvaldo.

Quagliarella was quoted earlier this week as saying that he would be keen to play under Zeman because he admires his attacking approach, but the Italian striker has explained that he was misunderstood.

On a statement on his Facebook page, the 25-cap international claimed: I wanted to explain that my words have been misinterpreted.

I responded to a question about Zeman like any other player.

He is a coach who preaches an attacking brand of football that allows all of his forwards to express themselves in a good light.

But I have no intention of leaving Turin. It is a fantastic city, Im happy here with Juventus, a club whom I have won things with.

Quagliarella appears to have fallen out of favour with national coach Cesare Prandelli and also finds his Juventus position under threat from Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri and Mirko Vucinic.

Strootman's agent denies January move to Manchester United but hints at summer switch

Kevin Strootman (PSV)

Kevin Strootmans agent has ruled out a January move to Manchester United, although he hinted the PSV central midfielder may be available in the summer transfer window.

The 22-year-old Dutch star has reportedly impressed scouts at Old Trafford and Italian giants Milan, with rumours circulating in the summer an 18.6 million move to Sir Alex Ferguson's side had been prepared.

Although the tenacious midfielder eventually stayed in his homeland, Chiel Dekker suggested his client would be receptive to an approach next summer - pouring cold water on a mid-season move.

"My client could leave in January? Absolutely not. There's nothing in that," he told Calciomercato in Italy.

"We are only in October - the only thing I can say is to call me back in May."

After conceding a number of uncharacteristic early goals this season, Strootman is seen as the player to fill the screening role United have lacked sinc e the departure of Roy Keane.

The holding midfielder has played 15 times for Netherlands, scoring one goal, and was handed the captain's armband for the recent clash with Andorra and is seen as the natural successor to Mark van Bommel for Oranje.

Donovan doubts January return to Everton after hinting at break from football

Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders

LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan has thrown the prospect of a future loan spell at Everton in doubt after revealing his desire to assess his future playing career.

The USA internatonal is unsure over whether to prolong the playing dayd, revealing it is "impossible to think" about his future while he is an active progfessional.

Donovan has admitted to suffering from a lack of motivation during points in his career, and enjoys the freedom of travelling around the world away from the constraints of the modern-day game.

"Right now, I need time to think and that is impossible to achieve while I am playing," he told ESPN.

"I need to determine if I want to play, and if the answer is yes, I need to work out where and for how long.

"I plan to spend a lot of time travelling to distant places, alone. I am not sure where. I want to take time to have some freedom and not worry about my next game or being fit. It may take me two weeks, two months or a year."

Donovan insists he is not just concerned with when, or if, he comes back, but more so how he feels at that moment in time.

He continued: "I don't plan on worrying about the end result. I want to focus on being present and making the decision when I am ready.

"I am at a point where I realise that if I am to come back I need to do so with the right mindset."

And if Donovan was to return to football after a spell away, he would definitely consider rejoining Everton, with whom he enjoyed two fruitful loan spells.

"Everton was a fling that grew into a full-blown affair. I do think about them because they really stole my heart when I walked into Goodison Park," he said.

"Everyone was so unbelievably welcoming, from [David] Moyes to the tea lady. I have such affection for the club.

Tottenham set to miss out on Moutinho as PSG prepare huge January bid

Joao Moutinho
By Greg Stobart

Tottenhamare set to miss out onJoao Moutinho in January with thePorto playmaker having changed his mind over a potential switch to White Hart Lane.

Paris Saint-Germain are now hot favourites to land the 26-year-old and are understood to be preparing a huge January bid, while Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg are also likely to make a move.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas made Moutinho his top target in the last transfer window but the players wage demands - plus administrative errors and wrangling with Porto - meant the proposed 27 million deal was not completed before the deadline.

Villas-Boas had hoped to make a renewed effort to sign Moutinho in January but the finances involved in the deal are now beyond Spurs means, while the former Sporting Lisbon man has cooled on the switch and is eager to play for a club in the Champions League.

Moutinho could earn in excess of 184,000-a-week at PSG or Zenit on top of a transfer fee of up to 37m, with Porto notoriously tough negotiators and likely to increase the asking price as the sale of Hulk to Zenit for 39.4m leaves them with little need for the money.

Spurs were angered by the Portuguese champions conduct on the final day of the summer window and are considering alternative options in the knowledge that they cannot compete with the financial might of PSG.

The French club have made contact with Moutinhos representatives over a January deal, although a transfer could be put on hold until next summer depending on Portos progress in the Champions League.

Moutinhos agent, Pini Zahavi, has also tried to broker a deal with Barcelona but the Spanish giants are overloaded with creative midfielders and will not consider a bid.

Mousa Dembele has played as Spurs deep-lying playmaker so far this season but Villas-Boas wants another versatile midfielde r to add to his options, with Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian still on the clubs radar.

Selasa, 23 Oktober 2012

Shakhtar boss Lucescu: Chelsea made a big mistake in not signing Willian

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu has urged star man Willian to make Chelsea pay in Tuesday's Champions League clash after confirming that the Blues had been knocked back in attempts to sign the Brazilian in the summer.

Despite Roberto Di Matteo having completed moves for the likes of Edin Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin before the transfer window slammed shut, Lucescu revealed that the Champions League winners also tried to sign Shakhtar's gifted midfield playmaker.

The Ukrainian side's manager insists that Chelsea's offer was too low and, ahead of the crucial Champions League Group E clash at the Donbass Arena on Tuesday, Lucescu has called on Willian to show Di Matteo he made a "big mistake" in not completing a deal for the 24-year-old Brazil ace.

"Willian was far away from Chelsea," Lucescu told reporters.

"They didn't even get anywhere near to our requirements, having done nothing to make my promises to Willian come tr ue.

"Speaking specifically about the amounts, they officially offered the sum for which we had bought him young.

"I would really like them to highly appreciate his true value tomorrow and realise that they made a big mistake."

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted he had no role in negotiations to sign Willian, but did hail the former Corinthians man as a "fantastic player".

"As an assistant [at the time] I wasn't involved in those conversations but Willian is a fantastic player with good qualities," the Italian commented in his pre-match press conference.

"We have a good squad with good players and I don't know where his future is, but the way he is playing here he looks quite happy."

Lucescu also noted that Chelsea showed an interest in defender Darijo Srna during Carlo Ancelotti's reign at Stamford Bridge, while also joking he was keen for club owner Roman Abramovich to show an interest in all of his pl ayers at Shakhtar.

He concluded: "Several years ago, I had a conversation with Ancelotti, and he was interested in Srna.

"My wish is that, after tomorrow's match, Chelsea get interested in all of our players."

Carroll: Liverpool never gave me a fair chance

QPR v West Ham United, Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll has aired his dissatisfaction with the way he feels he has been treated by Liverpool, revealing that his dearth of prospects at the club prompted him to accept a loan move to Premier League rivals West Ham.

As things stand, Carroll remains a Liverpool player, but the 23-year-old disclosed how West Ham manager Sam Allardyce offered him the regular first team football that was not on the cards for him at Anfield.

"I havent really had a fair chance at Liverpool," Carroll told ESPN.

"I was really told that I should move on to keep playing regular football, and obviously then Sam wanted me here and told me I would be playing regular games. So, for me it was a no-brainer coming here and to play.

"Obviously, I didnt really get a chance there."

Despite holding the title of Liverpools record signing at 35 million, the former Newcastle icon was never able to hold down a regular starting spot on Mer seyside, a situation that was exacerbated by the arrival of Brendan Rodgers in the summer.

"A new manager came in and I wasnt part of his plans," Carroll claimed. "For me to play football, that was my chance to do that. That is why I am here at Upton Park.

"I think I could fit into every system. I believe in what I can do. Obviously [Rodgers] has his beliefs and he didnt think that.

"But for me, obviously, it was better to move on instead of waiting for my chance - which he told me might not come."

Carroll also spoke of his happiness at scoring for Roy Hodgsons England at Euro 2012, and of his determination to use his chance at Upton Park to prove himself as a striker of international pedigree.

He said: "The work I put in over the season, I deserved that goal. I kept my head a lot when I could have lost it at Liverpool. I got my chance at the Euros and I took it.

"Coming here, I have got a great chance to star t games and score goals, which I havent really had many of last season.

"I dont think I have got a point to prove, that is the wrong way to put it. I know what I can do and the ability I have got. I know what I am capable of.

"If other people dont believe it, that is fine. I just get on with it. But at the end of the day, I know what I can do."

Eriksen took 10 seconds to snub Manchester City, claims agent

Christian Eriksen - Denmark
Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen took 10 seconds to reject an approach from Manchester City, according to the player's agent.

The Premier League champions, along with Zenit St Petersburg and an unnamed German club, were interested in signing the 20-year-old during the summer transfer window in 2011, while the Denmark international was also asked to meet Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini in Sardinia.

But Eriksen snubbed the interest to stay in the Eredivisie, and the midfielder's agent,Martin Schoot, has revealed the decision was based his progression at Ajax.

"He's not interested in money," Schoot told De Telegraff.

"He choose [to stay] for his development and because of that he's at Ajax. He's got a excellent relationship with Frank de Boer and he's enjoying himself in Amsterdam."

"Christian didn't think about it [the offer from Manchester City] for longer then 10 seconds."

Eriksen wil l come face to face with the Premier League champions, when they travel to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Chelsea and Tottenham made summer offers for Shakhtar attacker Willian

Willian - Shakhtar-Juventus - Champions League
Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian has revealed he had offers in the summer to move to Tottenham or Chelsea.

Tuesdays Champions League fixtures see Shakhtar play host to holders the Blues, with the Brazilian likely to be central to Shakhtars chances of getting a result. The playmaker has disclosed, though, how he could easily be lining up for the away team.

"There were two offers in the summer," he told Lancenet.

"One from Chelsea and one from Tottenham. Choosing between the two clubs would be difficult. I don't know."

Roberto Di Matteos club spent big in the summer transfer market in the wake of their Champions League win, with Willians compatriot Oscar and Belgian winger Eden Hazard amongst the more high-profile of the signatures that were secured.

Willian's club manager, Mircea Lucescu, also revealed Chelsea's coveting of his playmaker in the summer, claiming the London club had made a "big mistake" in missing out on the Brazilian.

The 24-year-old also spoke of the attraction of joining Chelseas Premier League rivals Tottenham and specifically their newly-appointed manager.

"I mean, Tottenham is a big club and it has a good person in charge. Andre Villas-Boas wanted to bring me to Chelsea and also tried at Tottenham," Willian added.

"He always sends me messages. We are always in touch, and he has become a friend, for sure. And Chelsea is Chelsea. They are a great team, with amazing players and are the champions of Europe."

Despite his contentment in his current situation, where Willian is one of a large Brazilian contingent at Shakhtar, the attacker hinted that a move to one of Europes more high-profile leagues could well boost his chances for the Brazilian national team.

He said: "Everybody knows what my goal is. I've clearly stated that I would like to play in a bigger stage, whether it be England, Spain or Italy.

"I want to come back to the national team, and being in a bigger spotlight would help me get noticed."

Senin, 22 Oktober 2012

Too early for Neymar to consider European switch, says Dunga

FIFA World Cup : Carlos Dunga (Brazil) - (Gettyimages)
Former Brazil coach Dunga has told Neymar to resist the allure of moving to a European club for now and instead concentrate on gaining more experience in his homeland.

The Santos striker is widely expected to continue his career on the continent in the near future, with the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea reportedly registering an interest in the 20-year-old, who has 25 international caps to his name.

But at a press event organised in Kolkata to announce an exhibition friendly between the Brazilian Masters and Sports Ministers Legends on December 8, Dunga, who will feature in the match, took the opportunity to warn the forward against a transfer.

"He should not play in Europe now," he said. "He can take a call after three years. He is currently the best player in Brazil but he needs to gain more experience. He is Brazils best asset to win trophies.

"For now I feel he should stay in Brazil. If he moves to Europe now, he will have to adapt to a new environment and that could affect his form.

"His target should be to do well in World Cup 2014 and for that it's best if he remains in Brazil."

Dunga coached the Selecao for a four-year period between 2006 and 2010 and led the nation to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa before his dismissal, with Mano Menezes taking over the reins.

And the former midfielder is desperate for the next generation to mature and begin a march up the world rankings - something he believes they are capable of doing.

"We don't want our team there [14th in the world]," he added. "We know [Spain] are the best. The team is growing up.

"We need time. We need to keep playing and we will get there. We have good enough players. The team is getting strong. I'm sure we are going to bounce back soon."

Some supporters booed Menezes' youngsters following their Ol ympic final defeat to Mexico, but the 48-year-old does not believe there is a sizeable gap between the current crop of Brazilians and previous generations.

"There is not much of a difference in the standard of football. In the past, the winning margin would be three or four goals, while these days we are winning by only one or two," he continued.

"We have home advantage and so we have a chance [to win the World Cup]. We have plenty of talent in the team like Neymar, Ganso, Oscar and Lucas [Moura].

"Kaka is a very important member of the Brazil national team even though he is not a regular at his club [Real Madrid], while with Ronaldinho it only depends on him.

"If he plays the way he does for Barcelona, then it would be a welcome sign. [As for Mano Menezes], he is very new. It's too early to say anything about him. We have to see how he does in the future."

Giuseppe Rossi talks up Inter switch

Giuseppe Rossi - Villarreal
Giuseppe Rossi has admitted he may be interested in a January move to Inter.

The Villarreal striker has spent the past 12 months on the sidelines following two successive knee ligament injuries.

And despite appearing to rule out a move to Roma, the rebuilding operation currently underway at the Nerazzurri seems to have caught the Italy international's imagination.

"My goal is to get back on the pitch in Spain, Italy or anywhere else," Rossi told Gr Parlamento.

"It is not true that I will undergo my recovery at Roma, but I am feeling positive about my knee. Inter? Who would not like to play there? They are a team that I like, with a project that has scope for growth."

Rossi then gave his thoughts on the Serie A season so far, stating that Juventus should not be considered as outright favourites for the Scudetto and claiming AC Milan's poor start to the season is nothing more than a blip.

"It's too early to talk about the Bianconeri running away with the title," he added. "It is evident that they are having a great season domestically, as Napoli and Lazio are also.

"[Poor spells] can happen, and surely [Milan] will continue to do what they have always done. It is not easy to start over when you lose some star players.

"Everything becomes harder but Milan still have great champions in their squad who can begin another cycle."

Bridge wants to make Brighton move permanent

Will Packwood, Wayne Bridge
Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge is eyeing a move away from the Premier League champions and is hoping to sign a permanent deal with Brighton.

Bridge, who signed for Manchester City in 2009 when Mark Hughes was the manager in a 10 million deal, made 42 appearances for City but has since fallen out of favour under Roberto Mancini following the arrivals of Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy.

The former England international has had loan spells with West Ham and Sunderland recently, failing to do enough to secure permanent moves, before joining Brighton where he has made five appearances so far this season scoring two goals.

Of his loan move to the Seagulls, 32-year-old Bridge told the Daily Mirror: "I am enjoying every day. To know you are going to run out on the pitch on a Saturday is a big plus."

Bridge's reported 90,00-a-week wages could be the only stumbling block for the Championship side to negotiate if the y were to pursue a deal for the left-back.

Manchester United look to slash Ferdinand salary with new deal

Rio Ferdinand,Wayne Rooney
By Wayne Veysey Chief correspondent

Manchester United are ready to offer Rio Ferdinand a one-year contract extension in January but on around half his current salary.

The defender, who turns 34 next month, has yet to open talks with United about a new deal even though his agreement expires next summer.

The club want to extend his spell at Old Trafford beyond 11 years but, in line with their policy of offering reduced terms to its over-30s players, Ferdinand cannot expect a renewal of his current 120,000-a-week wages.

Goal.com understands that when the two parties sit down to begin negotiations in the new year, United are preparing to offer Ferdinand a 12-month package worth around 60-70,000-a-week.

Uniteds proposal is unrelated to the Kick It Out controversy involving the 33-year-old and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Premier League giants have a well-e stablished policy of handing less lucrative deals to players once they enter their mid-30s and their first-team appearances are being more strictly rationed. The likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have all taken wage cuts towards the tail-end of their careers.

Ferdinand and his advisers have yet to test temperature in preliminary talks but are not expecting anything other than a one-year contract offer from United.

They will then have to decide whether to extend the defenders Old Trafford career, which began in 2002 when he joined from Leeds United, or accept a lengthier offer from elsewhere.

MLS clubs New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire are among those monitoring Ferdinands situation while West Ham, where he began his professional career, would also be interested if there are signs he might leave United next summer.

Since missing the opening weeks of the season through injury, Ferdinand has started seven of Uniteds eight Premier League and Champions League matches.

There were reports that the defenders future at Old Trafford could be under threat after he defied Ferguson by refusing to wearing a shirt in support of footballs anti-racism movement during the warm-up before Uniteds 4-2 win against Stoke City on Saturday.

But the manager is thought to have cleared the air with one of his most senior players during a meeting on Sunday morning at the clubs Carrington base, where Ferdinand arrived with the rest of the team for an hour-long warm-down and massage session.

Ferguson is said to have told Ferdinand he was disappointed that the player failed to inform him he intended not to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt. Ferguson thinks this made him look foolish after he told the media on Friday that all his players would wear the groups T-shirts.

It is believed that Ferdinand apologised to his manager for not disclosing that information, and he is not e xpected to be fined over the matter.

Ferguson was expecting to be grilled about the issue at his media briefing on Monday afternoon to preview Uniteds Champions League home match against Braga on Tuesday night.

Minggu, 21 Oktober 2012

Ancelotti: Paris Saint-Germain will not bid for Ribery

Ribery - Schweinsteiger - Realmadrid, Bayern munchen

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti has rejected suggestions he is preparing to bid for Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery in January.

According to the media in Germany, les Parisiens are interested in acquiring Riberys services, but the Italian was quick to quash the rumours.

It is not true that Ribery could come to PSG, Ancelotti said. He is a very good player but I cannot see where we could find a position for him in our team.

I have too many players in his position, and we are expecting someone."

That imminent arrival is Sao Paulo forward Lucas Moura, with the Brazilian international set to join in January having agreed his move to the French capital over the summer.

Ribery has been at the Allianz Arena since 2007 and his contract with the Bavarian giants runs until 2015.

Liverpool step up Holtby pursuit ahead of free summer move

Lewis Holtby, FC Schalke 04
By Hassan Talib Haji

Liverpool have stepped up their pursuit of Schalke youngster Lewis Holtby with a view to securing the 22-year-old on a free transfer next summer.

Goal.com understands that the Reds are keen to talk to Holtby in January after having reignited their interest in the in-form Bundesliga midfielder, whose father is from Merseyside.

Schalke have made clear that they would be willing to keep hold of the former Alemannia Aachen youngster until the end of the season, knowing that they would only be able to yield around 7 million (5.5m) if they were to sell him in January before he becomes available on a Bosman deal.

The Anfield outfit previously monitored Everton fan Holtby following Brendan Rodgers' arrival on Merseyside, as was exclusively revealed by Goal.com in July.

Holtby, who has also been linked with Tottenham in recent months, is considered to be a technically-gifted passer of the ball in Germany, and fits Liverpool's current recruitment model of signing young, cheap players with obvious future resale value.

The 22-year-old has made no secret of his interest in a move to the Premier League, admitting to Goal.com in July that playing for an English side was a goal of his.

Despite Liverpool's interest in the Schalke star, bolstering their striking options remains a priority ahead of the January transfer window and means they are in no rush to push through a move for Holtby.

"Liverpool only really have their eyes on a goalscorer when it comes to signings in January after missing out on deadline day in summer," a source close to the club told Goal.com.

The lack of firepower in Rodgers' squad was highlighted again as the Reds struggled to capitalise on a dominant performance against Reading on Saturday, picking up a 1-0 win thanks to a Raheem Sterling strike.
Darren Bent and Daniel Sturridge have been highlighted as potential targets by Anfield officials in recent weeks, with both players likely to be available within Liverpool's January budget of approximately 10m-12m.

Rodgers previously made a desperate attempt to sign Sturridge on loan in the closing hours of the summer transfer window, but the Chelsea man is only interested in a permanent move away from west London with the Stamford Bridge hierarchy reluctant to extend his 65,000-a-week deal.

Sabtu, 20 Oktober 2012

'We should take Falcao' - Manchester City scout reveals interest in Atletico Madrid star

Radamel Falcao García - Atl Madrid
Manchester City chief scoutCarlo Cancellieri believes Radamel Falcao is the only forward who could improve the Premier League champions' strike force.

Roberto Mancini's side are actively chasing additional attackers for January, withGoal.com revealing they have prepared a 25 million bid for Fiorentina ace Stevan Jovetic.

However, Cancellieri believes that the Montenegrin would not improve the squad at the Etihad, and that they should target the Colombian instead.

When asked about Jovetic, Cancellieri told tuttomercatoweb.com: "He is an interesting player, he has quality. But in attack City are already good, we're happy with Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli.

"Moreover, I believe that our players are better than Jovetic. He is a very good player, but he is not one who could make a difference such as Falcao.

"I spoke about him in recent days with Mancini. If we were to take a player in Januar y, we should take Falcao.

"He is an important player, the only one who could make us take the leap."

Cancellieri also claimed that City have targeted Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets, but a move for either is unlikely due to Barcelona's reluctance to sell.

He said: "A midfielder? We like Busquets and Fabregas a lot, but Barcelona don't want to give these two players."

Hernanes: I was never close to joining AC Milan

Hernanes - Lazio
Lazio midfielder Hernanes has made it clear that he never spoke with AC Milan during the summer transfer window.

The Brazil international was being with a switch to San Siro earlier this year, but the 27-year-old dismissed claims that he was considering leaving the capital club.

"There have been a lot of rumours, but I never spoke with Milan. I was at no point close to joining them," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"I am very happy with life at Lazio. I have always said that I enjoy life here in Rome."

The attacking midfielder then discussed this weekend's Serie A clash versus the Rossoneri, and insisted that Lazio are not the favourites.

"Are we the team to beat? Let's not fool ourselves. Milan are still Milan. They have some great players."

Saturday's match at the Stadio Olimpico kicks off at 20:45CET.

Christian Eriksen is committed to Ajax, says agent

Christian Eriksen, Ajax
The agent of Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen has reiterated his client's previous claim of his commitment to the Amsterdam outfit.

The 20-year old recently labelled Liverpool's reported interest as 'flattering', but insisted that he was not interested in a move away from his current club.

Martin Schoots, his representative, has now echoed his client's statements, insisting the youngster is focused on continuing his development at the Amsterdam ArenA.

"There a lot of clubs who have asked about Christian's situation, some very seriously. But Christian never thought about switching clubs too seriously," Schoots told Tipsbladet.

"[Eriksen] is currently fully focused on his development at Ajax. That is the only important thing right now."

Ajax will travel to Heracles on Saturday as Frank de Boer's charges look to maintain pace with table-toppers Twente.

Jumat, 19 Oktober 2012

Why Nani could be the perfect signing for Juventus, but not for AC Milan

EURO 2012 Qualifier: Nani, Portugal v Bosnia
By Kris Voakes Italian Football Writer

AC Milan and Juventus have chased the same transfer target many times before, and will doubtless do so with regularity in the future, but as the two clubs prepare for a potential arm-wrestle over Manchester United winger Nani, they both face a multitude of questions over the Portugueses suitability to their squads.

Goal.com exclusively revealed on Thursday that the race for the wide man is hotting up, and United are looking set to cut their losses on the 25-year-old. With his form not matching that of Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia, his first-team chances have become increasingly rare of late, and his recent training ground bust-up with attacking midfielder Davide Petrucci smacks of a player whose frustrations are spilling over off the field.

Five years on from arriving at Old Trafford, Nani is arguably no closer now to being a first-team regular than he was when he signed in 2007, and as a result theres a very real possibility that one of the Italian giants could swoop. But where would Nani fit best?

At Milanello, much depends on the future of Massimiliano Allegri. The Rossoneri coach has finally begun to show more freedom in his tactical shape of late, and the 4-3-3 in which Nani could be a real weapon was a favourite of his at Cagliari.

Having the ability to play on either wing with a similar output thanks to his two-footedness, the former Sporting Lisbon man has the skills and the deceptive change in pace to cause defenders across Serie A some serious problems. The full-back positions are notoriously short on quality right now across Italys top-flight clubs, and a player of Nanis raw talent may well feel more confident in his ability on the peninsula than in the Premier League.

In the Milan forward line, he could supply the kind of danger which would open up space for Giampaolo Pazzini. The former Inter striker has been largely impotent due to the lack of quality delivery around the final 12 yards since moving across the city in the summer, and the Cape Verde native may be just what Pazzo needs.

However, Nanis wage demands could be a massive sticking point at Via Turati. His current 90,000 (111,000) a week wages would need to be matched at the very least he was said to have asked for 130,000 (160,000) from Zenit St Petersburg in the summer and when taking into account that United would hope to recoup the 20 million (24.6m) they paid for him in 2007, that converts to a potential total cost of 47.6m over the span of a four-year contract.

Would Milan really be ready to commit so much on a player when Thiago Silvas sale saved them just 10.4m more than that? (They made 42m in the Brazilians transfer fee, plus saved four years on his previous contract at 4m a year). He would certainly suit Pazzinis play, but what about Alexandre Patos? Or Stephan El Shaarawys? Or Robinhos? Or Bojan Krkics? Spending nearly 50m on a player to justify a misguided purchase in Pazzini doesnt make sense, especially for a club in such a financial predicament as Milan are in at the moment.

Over at Juventus, there is perhaps more room for manoeuvre. Firstly, they have the money, with the extra revenue streams of Juventus Stadium, which regularly sells out in Serie A, and the return to Champions League football meaning the Bianconeri are positively flush in comparison to Italys other big teams right now.

The Turin club have also been admirers for some time. The first mumblings of an interest in Nani came as long ago as May 2011, when Milos Krasic was struggling in the black and white shirt. Back then, Nani was still confident of attaining regular football with United, and Sir Alex Ferguson wasnt keen to sell. Things are different now though.

Doing it tough Nani is having trouble at United, but he has the skill set to suit Serie A

Much of Antonio Contes approach is about togetherness, and some of Nanis recent escapades may not fit within his vision. But Arturo Vidal has had trouble with the Chile national team since joining Juve, and Conte has been able to keep him happy. Also, the coach had difficulties with Fabio Quagliarella soon after taking over, but would eventually use the striker at key times in their successful Scudetto push last season, proving that he is not necessarily a hard-liner. One may well find that Nanis attitude would change with a regular shirt in any case.

Would he get one? Well, that would likely depend on how the Bianconeris formation evolves. Having originally set up in a 4-2-4 on day one as boss, Conte has since trialled a 4-3-3 and switched to 3- 5-2. But as they take on more and more games, he could well decide to go back to the 4-3-3 to which the vast majority of his squad seem ideally suited.

It is true that a wide man is not Juves priority, with a striker definitely needed and either a left-back or centre-back also high on the agenda, but that doesnt mean he would be a bad purchase. He has proven fleetingly at United in the past that he can usurp full-backs even when given little space in between the lines, and that could happen again if given a fresh start in Turin. Now might be a difficult time, but he undoubtedly has the talent to break out at some point.

Relations between United and Juve are not great as a result of the Paul Pogba stand-off, and that could result in the 19-time English champions playing hardball over a transfer fee, but if the Old Lady can get him at the right price, Nani could be a surprise star for the Scudetto holders.

F ollow Kris Voakes on

Mourinho hints at Barcelona interest in Pepe

Jose Mourinho, Barcelona, Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho has hinted that Barcelona were interested in signing Pepe.

The 49-year-old made the claims at Friday's press conference ahead of Real Madrid s clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday, following weeks of dispute between the fierce rivals over the player's alleged conduct in matches between the two teams.

When asked about media speculation that Barcelona had compiled videos of Pepe committing fouls in Clasico matches he said: I know nothing about a video of Pepe. I do know that while he was renewing his contract two big clubs pushed for him not to renew.

I do not know if one of those big clubs was the one who recorded a video, he added.

Madrid go into this weekends clash missing several players, with seven of the squad picking up injuries during the international break.

The defence has been worst hit, with Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao, Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa all missing.

We have some different cho ices to cover our positions, people that will adapt to the situation. It's a perfect day for you to give me the line-up, Mourinho joked with the press.

The former Inter coach then responded to speculation that he would draft in the services of youth player Nacho to fill the void.

He said: I've thought of Nacho at left-back of course, but he's just another one. I've already decided who will play there.

Just a couple of minutes after the national matches ended I had decided who would start," he concluded.

Mourinho also took time out to say his side are more similar in style to Borussia Dortmund than they are to Barcelona.

It doesn't make sense. You can compare Barca with Arsenal, they have similar styles, but not with us. You could compare Borussia Dortmund with Real," he stated.

Hitzlsperger joins Everton on short-term contract

VfL Wolfsburg, Thomas Hitzlsperger
Thomas Hitzlsperger has joined Everton on a short-term deal that will keep him at the club until January.

The 30-year-old, who has had previous playing spells in the Premier League with Aston Villa and West Ham, had been without a club since his contract with Wolfsburg expired at the end of last season.

The former Germany international has signed in time to gain international clearance and is available to be a part of the matchday squad to face QPR on Sunday.

Hitzlsperger had been training with Everton since the start of the season and featured recently in an Under-21 league game as an allocated over-aged player.

The German's last stint in England came in 2010 when he signed for West Ham on a free transfer, but was unable to make his debut until February 2011 because of injury.