Robinho can leave the Bernabeu for £32m & Drama at Soho Square

Quote of the day: “I’m talking about players who are different animals to when I was a player. They’ve had opportunities to go to clubs, particularly on loan, and were reluctant to do it. Footballers are changing these days. Some don’t love the game as much as they should do. If you love football you want to play. It doesn’t annoy me but it’s a sad reflection on the people themselves. One or two have had opportunities in the last few weeks to go to very good clubs, at a very good level, just to get games. There’s no hidden agenda. They said no. Footballers are a strange breed these days, trust me. I thought I was strange… Some professionals have no intention of moving anywhere. There’s one or two of those at every club. They are going nowhere unless Real Madrid came in for them.” – Roy Keane.

Runner-up: “All the players cannot wait for the Croatia game because of what they did to us, they embarrassed us a bit and we can’t wait to get over there and beat them.” – Wayne Rooney.

Today’s overview: Whilst England’s poor performance and Brian Barwick’s departure from the FA continue to dominate there are some intriguing transfer rumours on the backpages this morning.

The lead story in the Guardian from the double act of Sid Lowe and Dominic Fifield is that “Real Madrid have told Robinho that he will be allowed to leave the Bernabéu” if Chelsea are willing to pay £32m. The Guardian’s other transfer story of the day, claims “Manchester City have drawn up a shortlist of some of the biggest stars in world football, headed by Thierry Henry, as they look for a ‘box-office signing’ to fill the role they had hoped to create for Ronaldinho.” In the Daily Mail, Neil Ashton (Daily Mail) reports on Arsenal’s interest in Gareth Barry.

There are some dramatic reports on how Brian Barwick was forced out of the FA. Jason Burt (Independent) writes in an article titled “The F.A. coup: Drama at Soho Square,” on how “ruthless infighting brought down football’s most powerful man.” Harry Harris claims “FA axeman Lord Triesman is ready to declare war on the Premier League after ruthlessly ousting his chief executive Brian Barwick.” And Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph praises Brian Barwick for the job he did at the FA.

England’s disappointing performance against Czech Republic is chewed over in great detail, with numerous columnists suggesting ways England can improve and others fearing the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Sam Wallace (Independent) claims Wayne Rooney is not a “natural centre forward,” and Harry Redknapp in The Sun argues that Capello should drop David Beckham and play Wayne Rooney in his place. Tony Cascarino in The Times also questions whether David Beckham should be part of the England team: “Will someone have the balls to put ‘Goldenballs’ in his place?”

Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph) believes that Steven Gerrard can solve England’s midfield problems. (“England will struggle to impose themselves on opponents of substance unless Gerrard is deployed in the centre.”) Whilst both Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror and Oliver Kay in The Times worry about the away game in Croatia in September. Kay writes: “He [Capello] can only hope that the start of meaningful action galvanises his team, because right now that Croatia game looks like it is coming around too soon.”

Other articles of interest include Jonathan Wilson on the amazing story of Croatia international Darijo Srna’s father in the Guardian. And in the same paper Sean Ingle (Guardian) writes of the Women’s football final at the Olympics yesterday, with a special focus on Brazil’s star player Marta (“Pele in a skirt”).

The lead story in the Guardian from the double act of Sid Lowe and Dominic Fifield is that “Real Madrid have told Robinho that he will be allowed to leave the Bernabéu after all, though only if Chelsea offer what would amount to a British record sum of £32m for the Brazil international as negotiations between the clubs continue to crawl towards a resolution. The Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, travelled to Madrid on Wednesday to meet the Real director, José Angel Sánchez, though the Londoners’ second bid for Robinho, worth about £26m, has been turned down. Negotiations between the two clubs remain ongoing, with Chelsea confident a compromise can be reached. Kenyon has since returned to England but is expected to travel back to the Spanish capital today in an attempt to break the impasse over the 24-year-old’s future as the transfer deadline of September 1 edges closer.”

And, The Guardian’s other transfer story of the day, this time written by Daniel Taylor and Dominic Fifield claims “Manchester City have drawn up a shortlist of some of the biggest stars in world football, headed by Thierry Henry, as they look for a ‘box-office signing’ to fill the role they had hoped to create for Ronaldinho. The club are determined to investigate whether Henry would be tempted to leave Barcelona in the January transfer window if he has a difficult first half of the season in La Liga. At the same time, feelers are being put out across the world to bring in the “superstar” that City’s executive chairman, Garry Cook, believes will take the club to another level. Cook has not been put off by City’s long and ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of Ronaldinho, when the Brazil international led them to believe he was keen on moving to Eastlands before signing for Milan.”

Neil Ashton (Daily Mail) reports on Arsenal’s interest in Gareth Barry, “Arsene Wenger confirmed Arsenal’s interest in Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry after a move for Xabi Alonso collapsed. Alonso had agreed personal terms on a move, but Wenger pulled out after Liverpool said Arsenal’s £10million offer was not enough. Barry, also a long-term Liverpool target, has already played for Villa in the UEFA Cup and is ineligible for the Champions League until February. But Wenger will decide whether or not to move for the midfielder after the draw for the group stage next week.”

Shaun Custis (The Sun) continues to report on the fact that Dimitar Berbatov signed a Manchester United shirt a couple of days ago. “Berbatov signed the shirt for British fan John Russell at Sofia Airport on his way to Bosnia with the Bulgaria squad. And we can reveal that the Bulgarian striker even put his signature right next to the badge on the United shirt he hopes to be wearing soon.”

Steve Brenner in The Sun reports that “Anton Ferdinand will today complete an £8million switch to Sunderland. The West Ham defender becomes Roy Keane’s NINTH signing this summer, just 24 hours after bagging Fulham striker David Healy for £2m. Ferdinand thought long and hard about moving to Wearside but has now given boss Keane the green light. The centre-back, 23, rejected a move to Newcastle in the off-season.”

According to David Maddock in the Daily Mirror, “Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and chief executive Rick Parry have called a truce after clear-the-air talks last night. Their relationship has broken down completely over the past year, and Benitez blamed Parry for blocking his £18m move for Gareth Barry. But the Spaniard said: ‘It was a positive discussion and we will now move forward together.'”

Harry Harris has the lead story in the Daily Express, claiming “FA axeman Lord Triesman is ready to declare war on the Premier League after ruthlessly ousting his chief executive Brian Barwick. Triesman is hell-bent on making the FA the most powerful and influential force in the game to ensure that the England team and football’s grass roots can prosper. He is determined that the England team become winners, that they have the right man as coach, that the right men have the dynamic approach to win the World Cup bid for 2018. He wants the FA to take the lead and not to be pushed around.”

And the Daily Mail report on events at the FA, that “Lord Triesman’s ruthless chairmanship of the FA was in danger of spiralling out of control as it emerged his own board had to take collective action to curb his dictatorial rule of English football’s ruling body. But there is going to be more blood on the Soho Square carpet with three high-profile executives being lined up to follow chief executive Brian Barwick through the FA’s exit door.”

Less dramatically, Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph praises Brian Barwick for the job he did at the FA. “It is impossible to take sides in the battle between Barwick and Triesman, between two good men. Few people are more obsessed with the sport of football than Barwick, who always felt that being chief executive of the FA was a dream job because it allowed him to get up close and personal with the game he cares so passionately about.”

Many of the papers report how Fabio Capello has been assured of his future after the departure of Brian Barwick. Jason Burt (Independent): “Fabio Capello has been reassured by the Football Association that the departure of chief executive Brian Barwick is, according to one source, a ‘business decision’ which will not affect the Italian’s role as England’s manager.”

In a seperate article, titled “The F.A. coup: Drama at Soho Square,” Jason Burt reports on “ruthless infighting which brought down football’s most powerful man.”

Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph features Lord Treisman. “Having been chosen from 1,000 applicants to become the FA’s first independent chairman, Triesman began work at Soho Square in February. At that point, he said: ‘I am delighted that I have the opportunity to make a significant difference to the FA,’ he said. ‘My background is bringing people together and finding agreement.’ Brian Barwick, for one, might beg to differ.”

Sam Wallace (Independent) claims Wayne Rooney is not a “natural centre forward” in the lead story in the Independent. “If the game against the Czech Republic taught us anything it is that it might be time that we stopped thinking about Rooney as an orthodox centre-forward altogether… It should not diminish Rooney to play on the wing. He has done it on and off for United for three years and now finds himself a European champion – even if he has had to learn that the world does not revolve around him. So far he seems to be dealing with it well although if Ferguson and then Capello ask him to do the same job again you can never be sure. Just as when he trudges slowly to the substitutes bench, it is impossible to know quite how Rooney will react to bad news.”

Henry Winter (Daily Telegraph) believes that Steven Gerrard can solve England’s midfield problems. “One way to improve England’s balance would be to reposition Steven Gerrard from a left flank which feels like Siberia to the Scouser. England will struggle to impose themselves on opponents of substance unless Gerrard is deployed in the centre. If he needs to test support for that theory, Capello has only to ask any England fan or consult any England player who does not hail from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. If Gerrard is off the pace, and he has had some international shockers, then replace him with Lampard, an able understudy. But not the two together. Gerrard cannot work with Lampard. Fact. Gerrard is better than Lampard. Fact. Ergo start just with Gerrard. Simple.”

Harry Redknapp in The Sun tells Charlie Wyatt that Capello should drop David Beckham and play Wayne Rooney in his place. Redknapp: “Wayne would do damage on the right. Becks is a good character to have around and is still a good player. But this is a position where Rooney could really do us proud in the World Cup qualifers.”

In a seperate article in The Sun, the Pompey manager provides his ideal England first XI. “Capello has to get the right shape and as soon as possible. I want England to play 4-5-1, not the formation we tried against the Czechs or 4-4-2. International football has changed and it has to be with one forward up front with the midfielders shooting forward. I want Lampard and Gerrard in the centre of midfield so they can press forward. I want a holding midfielder player sat in front of the defence.”

Tony Cascarino in The Times also questions whether David Beckham should be part of the England team. “Will someone have the balls to put ‘Goldenballs’ in his place? David Beckham is hurting England and I can’t believe Fabio Capello hasn’t noticed – and that Beckham’s team-mates aren’t trying to sort out the problems he creates. It’s in their interest because the way the former captain is playing is making the rest of the midfield look bad. He could cost them their places.”

Matt Lawton (Daily Mail) lays out what Fabio Capello has to do to fix this England team. “Clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right. Fabio Capello, who might now feel he is stuck in the middle of an almighty mess, needs to find a solution to England’s problems and fast.”

Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror also urges Fabio Capello to get it right before the Croatia game. “Capello has less than three weeks until what will become the defining match of his 2010 World Cup campaign, if not his entire reign. When he takes his side to Zagreb’s Maksimir Stadium fortress to take on Croatia, the Italian has no option other than to get it right. And as he sought to conjure positives from an evening of unremitting negativity, Capello’s demeanour did not suit either the mood or the harsh realities that were there for the whole world to witness. Against the Czechs, England were horribly unbalanced, one-paced and tactically inert.”

Oliver Kay in The Times is also worried about the upcoming game in Croatia. “Underperformance remains a problem, almost certainly a bigger one than Capello imagined when he took the job. He can only hope that the start of meaningful action galvanises his team, because right now that Croatia game looks like it is coming around too soon.”

Kevin McCarra (Guardian) analyses Fabio Capello’s midfield issues. “Few had really mistaken the Liverpool captain for a winger but it is true that he was usually in a narrow left position. Capello could protest that Gerrard ought to flourish there. It is a conventional stratagem to have a midfielder cutting inside from that area and on to his stronger foot as he makes for the heart of the opposition’s defence. For whatever reason, though, Gerrard does not thrive in such schemes. In order to clear a space for him in the middle, Frank Lampard would have to be dropped. Capello, though, is not given to doubting himself and, if anything was likely to preserve the Chelsea player’s place in the line-up, it was the jeering. The manager is unaccustomed to taking his orders from the crowd.”

Phillip Cornwall (Football365) defends Fabio Capello and the England team. “No, the results were not that different than under Steve McClaren. Stewart Downing or Joe Cole should get starting chances. But Capello is trying to get England to play football with the ball – that is the experiment that really matters and a challenge to whomever he picks.”

The Daily Mirror report that Liam Brady is “stable” after being rushed to hospital from the Republic of Ireland team hotel. “Irish midfield legend Liam Brady was having tests in hospital last night after complaining of chest and back pain. The former Arsenal and Juventus star, now director of Arsenal’s youth academy and Republic of Ireland assistant manager, was rushed to a Dublin hospital from the team hotel in the city. Doctors said Brady was stable and comfortable in the coronary care unit. The Football Association of Ireland said he was admitted as a precaution ‘following an episode of back and chest pain’.”

The always excellent Jonathan Wilson writes of the amazing story of Croatia international Darijo Srna’s father in the Guardian. “For his country Darijo Srna is a midfielder. For his club he is a full-back. At heart, he probably still wants to be the wing-back he was when he started his career. Tactically, the decline of 3-5-2 could have left him behind, but he has reinvented himself to become captain of Shakhtar Donetsk. Against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week, he was an obvious man of the match, whipping in a free-kick after three minutes to set them on the way to a comfortable 2-0 victory. Niko Kranjčar, admittedly his room-mate on international trips, calls Srna the most under-rated player in Europe. And yet the most improbable thing about him is that he exists at all. The series of events that go to make any life can appear dauntingly improbable in retrospect, but Srna’s career would have to take some truly extraordinary turns before his life-story became half as remarkable as that of his father.”

Sean Ingle (Guardian) writes of the Women’s football final at the Olympics yesterday, with a special focus on Brazil’s star player Marta. “As one Pele watched on, another stood alone on the turf, refusing to move, refusing to comprehend. All night Marta Vieira De Silva, who has been hailed as ‘Pele in a skirt’ by the man himself, had wriggled away from her opponents like an urchin playing tag, leaving them bamboozled but without snatching away their Olympic title. It was an enthralling display by the player who is, by some distance, the best female footballer on the planet. And it was all for nothing. The United States clung on, trusted in their organisation and fitness and, six minutes into extra time, broke Marta’s heart.”