Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I’m glad it’s over. It’s hard work. The reaction at West Brom was overwhelming. They were fantastic and gave me a brilliant send-off. I think Steve Clarke should have got the award – anyone who gets five against United deserves it but they will always remember that game.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “It’s a presence and an aura and a way with people. He galvanises people. His own self-confidence reflects back on his teams. He did that to me personally. Tactically he’s fantastic. He’s very astute. As a team he sets you up brilliantly. But what he does is he gets the best out of players and gets this togetherness that I’d never known until he came to the club and I haven’t seen it again since then. He might rub people up the wrong way. [But] as a manager, he’s brilliant with his team, tactically, he’s brilliant with individuals and I think he’s brilliant with the press. I know it creates a storm, but he does protect his players.” – Frank Lampard.
Bale Bombshell! Spurs face paying star £200k a week to stay (Charles Sale, Daily Mail) Tottenham’s failure to secure Champions League football is going to impact heavily on contract talks with their star performer Gareth Bale. The triple Footballer of the Year, who scored 26 goals for Spurs in a brilliant personal campaign, is expected to commit his future to White Hart Lane for at least one more season. But Tottenham are going to have to improve his salary to around the £200,000-a-week mark — putting him on a par with the best-paid players in the Premier League such as Yaya Toure, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie — to make up for his huge disappointment at not taking part in European club football’s flagship competition.
Why Spurs will break the bank to keep Gareth Bale this summer (Sam Wallace, Independent) For a player who has taken English football by storm in the last three years, the remarkable thing about Gareth Bale, according to those who work with him on a daily basis, is that he is so low-maintenance. He could be the most demanding player at the club if he so wished but most lunchtimes he can be found in the canteen at the training ground sitting with the backroom staff rather than acting the big star. There is no doubt, however, that a big star is what Bale has become – the first and possibly last man to persuade Tottenham Hotspur’s famously conservative chairman Daniel Levy to tear up his own pay structure more than once. Bale, at 23, is the ideal for any coach. He lives to play and his life is unaffected by any other distractions. His partner and young daughter are based mainly in Wales while he lives just a short distance from Spurs’ old Essex training ground.
Special gone! Mourinho will leave Real Madrid on June 1, paving the way for Chelsea return with Spanish giants dropping £12m release fee (Neil Ashton, Daily Mail) Jose Mourinho is free to return to Chelsea after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez last night waived the £12million compensation clause in his contract. Perez announced that Mourinho’s troubled and chaotic three-year stint at the Bernabeu will end next month after holding talks with the Portuguese coach over the weekend. Mourinho had four years left on his contract. He will take charge of Sunday’s clash at Real Sociedad and then bow out at home against Osasuna on June 1.
José Mourinho clear to rejoin Chelsea as Real Madrid confirm his exit (Sid Lowe & Dom Fifield, Guardian) Chelsea will not have to pay compensation for José Mourinho after Real Madrid confirmed that the Portuguese manager will leave the Bernabéu at the end of the season by mutual consent. Nothing now stands in the way of Chelsea and Mourinho formalising an agreement that was reached in principle months ago. The 50-year-old, whose position at Madrid had become untenable, has long been preparing for next season at Stamford Bridge – preparations that include contacting potential signings. Chelsea hope to confirm his reappointment in the middle of next month. Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, called a meeting with Mourinho at the club’s Valdebebas training ground on Monday morning during which the two agreed to bring an end to the coach’s contract, which was due to expire in 2016, after the final game of the season on 1 June. That decision was then ratified by the board in the afternoon and made public at a press conference at the Bernabéu at 8pm. Pérez said that no compensation would be payable either by coach or club.
Brave Blue world (Rob Beasley, Sun) The Champions League and Europa League holders want £50m flop Fernando Torres out in the summer to make way for a big-name replacement. They have been linked with Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Robert Lewandowski, Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani. Ronaldo is a no-go for a variety of reasons — not least that the Madrid superstar and boss Mourinho have fallen out. The incoming Chelsea boss is also convinced the £80m world-record signing will stay at the Bernabeu for at least another season. Chelsea also believe Borussia Dortmund’s Lewandowski will sign for Bayern Munich after Saturday’s Champions League final and Rooney will stay at United. And they have also been told that Atletico Madrid’s Falcao has already agreed a deal elsewhere, with Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain both keen. So Cavani is the one — but the Uruguayan will not be cheap and he will not be easy.
The Moyes-Rooney meeting
Moyes ready for Rooney D-day (Neil Custis, Sun) David Moyes will meet Wayne Rooney to demand 100 per cent commitment to Manchester United — or give the go-ahead for his exit. New boss Moyes does not want the uncertainty of a sideshow as he takes the huge job of succeeding Alex Ferguson. The 50-year-old will not officially start until July 1 — but Fergie gave him a tour of United’s Carrington training centre yesterday during which he met backroom staff. And with the Rooney problem top of his agenda, he aims to sort it out this week. England star Roo, 27, has asked to quit United for a second time, after first doing so in October 2010. He was subsequently left out of Ferguson’s final two squads.
Fergie wins award
Alex Ferguson relieved retirement celebrations are over after winning LMA manager of the year award (Daily Telegraph) Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was relieved the celebrations to mark his retirement were over as he was named the League Managers Association’s manager of the year for an unprecedented fourth time. The outgoing Manchester United manager picked up the award at a dinner in London on Monday night and said that he was confident he was leaving the club in good shape. The farewell celebrations culminated in his last match in charge on Sunday – a 5-5 draw at West Brom. Ferguson, who also won the LMA’s Premier League manager of the year award, said: “It has been overwhelming. The club has been fantastic and congratulations to West Brom with the way they handled yesterday. “In a way I am glad it is all over now – because it has been hard work. “I think (West Brom manager) Steve Clarke should get an award because anyone who scores five against United deserves it.”
Arsenal’s £70m summer spree
Arsenal’s £70m summer spree: And that’s just what Arsene Wenger can spend on transfer fees (John Cross, Daily Mirror) Arsene Wenger will be given a huge budget to transform Arsenal back into genuine contenders next season by making summer signings. The Gunners’ chief executive Ivan Gazidis will back Wenger with a transfer war-chest, thanks to lucrative new commercial tie-ups with airline Emirates and sportswear giants Puma as well as the Premier League’s huge new TV deal that comes into effect in August. Wenger will be able to spend the £70million-plus windfall on fees, as a major summer clear-out could clear more than £350,000-a-week off the wage bill. Arsenal’s highest earner Andrey Arshavin, who was on £90,000-a-week, is leaving. Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, a return to his native Russia or a move the Middle East are options for the former Russia captain.
Arsenal consider record £19m bid for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain in summer transfer window (Jeremy Wilson, Daily Telegraph) With £70 million to spend, Arsenal are preparing for their most adventurous transfer window under Arsène Wenger and are conscious of the need to move quickly within a market that will become intense following all the major managerial changes. Wenger was interested in Higuaín before he even joined Real Madrid from River Plate in 2007 and there is a feeling that he could now be attainable for what would be a club-record transfer fee of £19 million. Arsenal have also watched Stevan Jovetic, the Montenegro and Fiorentina striker, but there are doubts over whether he will leave Italy. Wayne Rooney is another striker to have been considered, but he is unlikely to fit into Arsenal’s wage structure.
Liverpool close in on Kolo Toure
Liverpool close in on City’s Kolo Touré to shore up central defence (Andy Hunter, Guardian) Liverpool are close to making Kolo Touré their first summer signing as part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans to add experience to a central defence without Jamie Carragher. The 32-year-old is available on a free transfer when his four-year contract with Manchester City expires next month and he has not been offered an extension, having fallen down the pecking order under the former manager Roberto Mancini. Touré wants to stay in English football, ideally in the north-west where his children are settled at school, and has been offered the ideal solution by Rodgers. A deal is believed to have been agreed in principle with Touré, who is in the United States for City’s end-of-season tour and will undergo a medical on his return.
Napoli want Rafa
Benitez on brink of a Nap hand (Sun) Rafa Benitez has been offered a swift return to management by Napoli. The Spaniard is stepping down as Chelsea interim boss after leading the Blues to the Europa League title and third place in the Premier League. Napoli now want the 53-year-old to replace Walter Mazzarri, who has quit after four years in charge of the Serie A club. And Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has sent representatives to London to offer Benitez a contract.
QPR sign (Brooklyn) Beckham
Brooklyn picks up the Beckham baton after joining QPR’s academy side (Charles Sale, Daily Mail) David Beckham’s retirement doesn’t mean the end of his family’s playing involvement with a professional football club. His eldest son Brooklyn has just started with relegated Queens Park Rangers’ Under 14 academy side, who train near the Beckhams’ new family home in west London. Brooklyn, who was 14 in March, started playing at Spurs as a four-year-old and has had trials with Chelsea juniors. He was also on the Under 14 roster at LA Galaxy and would join his dad in training at Paris Saint-Germain.
Excellent Jurgen Klopp interview
Jürgen Klopp rallies neutrals to support ‘special’ Borussia Dortmund (Donald McRae, Guardian) Klopp has previously compared Bayern to a remorseless superpower like China but he waves away that reminder. “I was tired,” he smiles. “Bayern want a decade of success like Barça. That’s OK if you have the money because it increases the possibility of success. But it’s not guaranteed. We are not a supermarket but they want our players because they know we cannot pay them the same money. It could not be our way to do things like Real and Bayern and not think about taxes – and let the next generation pick up our problems. We need to work seriously and sensibly. We have this amount of money so we can pay that amount. But we lose players. Last year it was Shinji Kagawa.” He hits his head with his palm. “Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others’ arms, when he left. One year before that Nuri Sahin went because Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world. [Sahin is back at Dortmund after just four appearances for Madrid and an unhappy loan spell at Liverpool]. If players are patient enough we can develop the team into one of the biggest in the world.”