Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “We are in discussions with our lawyer and our lawyer is in discussion with the London Speaker Bureau, who we booked him [Reginald D Hunter] through. Whatever he was paid was too much. We are obviously very upset, because he was briefed. We are very aware that we have a very diverse audience there. I can’t think of a redeeming feature where you could say that was positive because I actually think the whole performance from start to finish was dreadful.” – PFA deputy chief executive, Bobby Barnes.
Runner-up: “You have to look at the structure of the club at present, in terms of the number of first-team players we have at 23 or under. David de Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alex Buttner, Nick Powell, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. Shinji Kagawa and Chicharito [Javier Hernández] are 24. Jonny Evans is 25 and Wayne Rooney is hitting his peak at 27. Older players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand may be coming towards the end of their careers, but these younger players are the foundation for the next five or six years, irrespective of the players breaking through, like Adnan Januzaj, the Belgian boy, who’s really looking very good.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Real Madrid: Out The Champions League, Jose To Chelsea
How Mourinho’s subs helped Real score two and almost scrape through (Michael Cox, Guardian) Real Madrid purchased Luka Modric for contests like this: fast-paced matches where José Mourinho needs another creative outlet, and someone who could skip nonchalantly round opposition challenges in an action-packed midfield zone. Mourinho’s attempt to include him last week – high in midfield, with Mesut Ozil moving wide – proved unsuccessful, but he remained committed to using the Croatian.
Mourinho: I wanna be loved (Steven Howard, Sun) Jose Mourinho last night dropped a huge hint that he is on his way back to Chelsea. The Real Madrid boss admitted he is hated in Spain and insisted: “I want to be where people love me to be. I know in England I am loved by the fans, the media, some clubs and especially one. In Spain the situation is different because some people hate me.”
Bungling ITV cut off Mourinho after he drops huge hint he’s leaving Real Madrid to be ‘where people love me’ (Riath Al-Samarrai, Mail) Jose Mourinho issued a come-and-get-me plea to Chelsea after Real Madrid were dumped out of the Champions League semi-finals by Borussia Dortmund… But Mourinho was cut short just as he looked set to reveal all, sparking criticism of ITV. Mourinho had been giving a post-match interview when reporter, Gabriel Clarke, wrapped things up so the channel could go to an advert break. Clarke said: ‘Maybe next season with Real?’, to which Mourinho said: ‘Maybe not… I want to be where people love me.’ Clarke responded with: ‘We’ll take that as England, we’ve got to go.’
Abramovich will hand Jose Mourinho £100m kitty to buy back Chelsea’s good old days (John Cross, Mirror) Jose Mourinho crashed out of the Champions League last night, but will be given an incredible £100m transfer kitty to rebuild Chelsea if he makes the move back to the Blues this summer… Atletico Madrid’s £50 million striker Radamel Falcao is top of Chelsea’s wish list – but the Stamford Bridge deals will not stop there. Abramovich is also ready to bankroll a £20m move for Bayern Leverkusen star Andre Schurrle who is believed to have agreed personal terms on a five year deal. Blues have a longstanding interest in Everton’s Marouane Fellaini who hopes to be allowed to leave Goodison if a top four club comes in with a bid in excess of £20m. Chelsea also fancy Southampton’s highly-promising teenage left back Luke Shaw.
Morals In Football?
Stumbling through a moral minefield… football condemns the comedian but applauds the rapist (Martin Samuel, Mail) The sport is no longer in a moral maze but a moral cul-de-sac. We are at a dead end with our perception of ethical principle. We do not know where to turn, we cannot retrace our steps, we see no way out… Why book a comedian and then declare what jokes he can tell? Employing Reginald D Hunter and forbidding him to mention race is much like engaging Rod Hull but telling him to lose the emu. Race is what Hunter does. The PFA were like Alan Partridge slathering over the prospect of strip-troupe Hot Pants on his show, only to be horrified on discovering they are male.
Chelsea’s Lazar Focus & Pension Plan
Lazar quest (Rob Beasley, Sun) Chelsea are closing in on the £6million signing of Serbia’s teenage star Lazar Markovic. The 19-year-old Partizan Belgrade striker is expected to ignore interest from Inter Milan and Liverpool to join the Blues this summer… Like Romelu Lukaku last year, it is expected he will be loaned out to continue his development. Winger Kevin de Bruyne, 21, will find out whether he has a future at Chelsea next week.
Chelsea leading the race to bag £20m Markovic from Partizan to bolster attack (Simon Jones, Mail) Chelsea are favourites to sign £20million Partizan Belgrade striker Lazar Markovic, 19.
Lampard and Terry can still perform at Chelsea.. just look at Giggs and Scholes (Steve Stammers, Mirror) Lampard is the best professional Chelsea have had in more than a decade. The definitive version of the over-used expression of ” role model”… The latest on Terry is as big a concern . There is talk that he will be relieved of the captaincy to be replaced as club leader by the hugely-unpredictable David Luiz. Whatever misgivings people have had about Terry, he is the squad’s natural leader. The armband should remain with him.
Chelsea climb down as they offer Frank Lampard a new contract (Sam Wallace, Independent) Frank Lampard’s Chelsea career looks set to extend beyond next month and into another season as there is a willingness from the club to offer him a one-year extension, once the new manager is in place this summer. The saga has run all season with unhappiness among supporters that Lampard, 34, has been allowed to drift out of contract despite his desire to stay. The Independent understands that the mood has changed lately at the club and that a one-year deal, on around his current pay scale, will be offered to him.
The Battle Of Benteke
Villa will double Benteke’s money to keep star striker happy and away from Tottenham and Arsenal (Neil Moxley, Mail) Aston Villa will look to repel any bids for Christian Benteke this summer and push through a bumper new contract for their prize asset. Villa manager Paul Lambert has approached owner Randy Lerner with a proposal to add an extra year to the 22-year-old striker’s deal and the American billionaire looks set to rubber-stamp it. Lambert is desperate to keep Benteke after his sensational first season in the Premier League.
PSG’s Manager Search
PSG give up Wenger hunt (Charlie Wyett, Sun) They now realise he will not walk out on the Gunners. Instead, they will target Manuel Pellegrini and Jupp Heynkes — after also giving up on Jose Mourinho. PSG are looking for a new boss as Carlo Ancelotti is set to join Real Madrid, with Mourinho looking certain to return to England. Chelsea are his likely destination.
Wales’ Brilliant Season
Wrexham, Newport, Swansea, Cardiff and Gareth Bale: Why the Welsh rebirth is the REAL story of this season (Ollie Holt, Mirror) In some ways, yes, this has been Manchester United’s season but the bigger picture reveals something else. This has been the year of the Welsh. On Sunday at Wembley, Wrexham and Newport will contest the Conference Premier play-off final for a place in League Two next season… Cardiff has the potential to succeed in the Premier League. They have the considerable financial backing of Malaysian owner Vincent Tan.
Zidane warns Tottenham that not even £60m tag will stop Madrid moving for Gareth Bale (Mirror) Zinedine Zidane has warned Spurs that even a monster £60million price tag will not stop Real Madrid opening the bidding for Gareth Bale this summer… Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG AC Milan, Manchester City and champions Manchester United are all interested in Bale – even if Spurs finish in the top four.
It won’t be ta-ta Taarabt (Sun) QPR have slapped a whopping £15million price-tag on Adel Taarabt in a bid to keep their biggest star at the club. Boss Harry Redknapp is refusing to allow the erratic Moroccan to walk out on a cheap deal after relegation to the Championship.
Julio Cesar to go as Loic Remy eyes up QPR exit (Star) Brazil goalkeeper Cesar is poised for a move to AC Milan while France striker Remy’s £8m release clause has alerted Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
West Ham agree deal for Shakhtar Donetsk defender Razvan Rat (Star) Romania defender Razvan Rat will join the club on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk in June after agreeing a three-year deal worth £35,000 a week.