Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It is their [Jenkins’ and Tutumlu’s] mutual problem. It does not affect my relationship with Bayram. And it does not alter my decision to stay in Swansea. The only thing I’m interested in is having the best players available in the next season.” – Michael Laudrup
Runner-up: “Michael Laudrup is the coach of Swansea City and he will stay as the coach. He thinks only about Swansea. He has said many times before that he will stay at Swansea. I’ve not spoken to Michael, but I’m very disappointed about the situation. I only try to bring good players for Michael while Huw Jenkins wants cheap, Championship players. I did a lot of good work for Swansea and I helped to bring players like Chico Flores, Michu, Pablo Hernandez and Jonathan de Guzman to the club.” – Michael Laudrup’s agent, Bayram Tutumlu.
Barcelona Want Torres & Loftus-Cheek
Barcelona set sights on Chelsea youngster Loftus-Cheek and make first Torres move (Simon Jones, Mail) Barcelona are back on the trail of young Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The 17-year-old impressed the Spanish club’s scouts with his performance during the recent friendly with Manchester City in New York… Barcelona have also held initial talks over a £20million move for Fernando Torres.
Barca in for £17m Torres (Mark Irwin, Sun) The Spanish champs are preparing an audacious £17million bid for the misfit striker — £33m LESS than the British record transfer fee Chelsea paid Liverpool for him two years ago. New boss Jose Mourinho wants face-to-face talks with Torres before making any decisions about the club’s highest-paid player. But with the Blues chasing £54m Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, Torres knows his days are numbered.
Messi’s Tax Liability
Messi accused of £3.4million tax fraud (Karen Morrison, Sun) Superstar footballer Lionel Messi is being investigated for an alleged £3.4MILLION tax fraud in Spain. The Barcelona star and his dad, Jorge, are accused of filing fraudulent tax returns from 2006-2009 according to a spokesman for tax crime in Catalonia. The 25-year-old recognised as the best player in the world and is rumoured to earn £250,000-a-week and £13MILLION in endorsements.
Man United Want Bale To Go To Madrid
Bale the key to Ron deal (Neil Custis, Sun) United are convinced a successful £85million Real Madrid swoop for the Spurs hero will open the door for Ronaldo to return. Real president Florentino Perez claims Ron will pen a new deal but the Portuguese superstar has yet to make his mind up on his future.
Swansea Sever Laudrup Ties
Michael Laudrup undermined as Swansea City cut ties with his agent (Guardian) A South Wales Evening Post report suggested Tutumlu has tried to recruit players, including the St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Wigan’s forward Arouna Koné, “behind the club’s back”… A report in the French newspaper L’Equipe on Wednesday suggested that Laudrup has become a target for Paris St-Germain, who are searching for a replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, who is set to depart the club.
Swansea cut all ties to Laudrup’s agent who they claim is planning manager’s escape (Sami Mokbel, Mail) Relations between Swansea City and Michael Laudrup fell to a new low last night, with the club severing all ties with their manager’s representative. Sportsmail can reveal that a massive disagreement between chairman Huw Jenkins and Laudrup’s agent of more than 20 years, Bayram Tutumlu, is partially respopnsible for the bust-up that could lead to the Dane’s departure this summer. In a series of damning allegations, senior officials at the club have claimed Tutumlu has been attempting to dictate and control the club’s transfer policy for months and they have now taken the step of preventing him from holding any authorisation to recruit or sell players.
Isco For Man City
Pellegrini set for Isco raid (Martin Blackburn, Sun) Manchester City hope the confirmation of Manuel Pellegrini’s appointment could see Spanish wonderkid Isco follow him from Malaga… Once Pellegrini, 59, is in place they hope it will give them an edge over Real Madrid in the race to sign £17million-rated Isco.
Manchester City may lose Isco chase as Real Madrid enter talks with star’s agent (David McDonnell, Mirror) Isco and his father, who acts as his representative, have held talks with Real Madrid, who are ready to fight City for the 21-year-old.
Liverpool Linked to Piazon & Mignolet
Liverpool and Palace set sights on young Chelsea starlet Piazon for loan deal (Simon Jones, Mail) Liverpool and Crystal Palace have asked about taking Chelsea midfielder Lucas Piazon on loan. The talented 19-year-old Brazilian had a spell with Malaga last season and is eager to go on loan again so he can gain more experience.
Liverpool make £8m Mignolet No 1 target with Reina heading towards Anfield exit (Neil Moxley, Mail) Liverpool hope to sign Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for £8million in the next week. The Merseyside club have bid £7m but the Wearsiders are holding out for nearer £10m, with the clubs likely to reach a compromise. Manager Brendan Rodgers has taken the initiative as speculation continues to link his current No 1 Pepe Reina with a switch to Barcelona, where Victor Valdes is refusing to sign a new deal.
Spurs Sweet on Barry & Guarin
Spurs eye £3.5m Barry (Andrew Dillon, Sun) Barry, 32, has one year left on his deal and would cost around £3.5million. Spurs’ highly-rated Brazilian Sandro is still on his way back to fitness after suffering a serious knee injury in January. Interest in Barry raises big questions about the future of Scott Parker under boss Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane. Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio is tracking combative midfielder Parker, 32, after the Black Cats flirted with relegation last season.
Spurs can have Fredy Guarin if they improve bid to £21million say Inter Milan (Martin Lipton, Mirror) Tottenham are close to a deal for Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin – as they prepare to let Scott Parker leave. Italian giants Inter claim to have rejected an initial £17million bid for the Colombia international. But they are willing to do a deal at around £21m if Spurs can be persuaded to go that far for the 26-year-old, who the Londoners’ manager Andre Villas-Boas knows well from their time together at Porto.
England Are Rubbish At Football
English football has to change (Harry Redknapp, Sun) The overriding problem we all face is that English football must change. And it has to come from the very top of the game. That means manager Roy Hodgson getting involved with coaches at every level working in the same direction. We do not know how to play football. We just boot the ball up the pitch and it gets us nowhere. The U-21s are not kids. Players like Connor Wickham, Danny Rose, Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Henderson and others are pretty much A-list stars. Then think how many of those kids from Norway and Israel would get into a Premier League team. It doesn’t add up does it? But the problem is that the England team has no pattern of play.
The Rest Of The Transfer Lies
West Ham plot Demba Ba’s return on loan from Chelsea to link up with Carroll (Darren Lewis, Mirror) West Ham have launched a bid to bring Chelsea’s Demba Ba back to Upton Park on loan… It is understood the loan move for Ba – bought from Newcastle for £7million just five months ago – is unconnected with West Ham’s attempts to complete a £15.5m swoop for Liverpool’s England hitman Andy Carroll… Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is also targeting an audacious loan swoop for Manchester United youngster Wilfried Zaha.
Jores Okore closes in on Aston Villa switch (Express) Nordsjælland defender Jores Okore is set to join Aston Villa subject to a medical and personal terms.
Newcastle keen on Aston Villa striker Darren Bent, but not his £6m valuation and £70,000-a-week wages (Martin Hardy, Independent) Bent is eager to return to the north-east with rivals Newcastle. Fulham are also believed to have shown interest in a player who has already played for three clubs in the capital.