Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Basically, I could play for another three or four years [with Manchester United] — or play two or three games for England and be finished in a year. It wasn’t a contest. I couldn’t sacrifice my fitness for the sake of a few more England caps. It would not have been fair on United, it would have been a disservice to the club and to England. I’ve always been a team player.” – Rio Ferdinand.
Runner-up: “I knew Ferguson was retiring months ago and I’m happy with his trust as it was big news. I imagine just a small circle of people around him knew about his decision and it was a responsibility for me to know what he planned. He told me his plan as we’re friends. And because he’s a friend, I told him the club I wanted to coach in England was Chelsea again.” – Jose Mourinho.
The Previews Begin: 2013-14 Premier League
Moyes must win the title (Harry Redknapp, Sun) Taking over from Alex Ferguson gets you about five minutes to settle in before the expectation starts piling up. He will be expected to win a first trophy in his debut year in charge of this country’s biggest club. Success will be classified as winning the Premier League and/or the Champions League. Moyes has got it a lot tougher to improve on this United team than Fergie did when he took over with them in the doldrums in 1986.
Hacking Man City
Man City fear secret scouting database could have been HACKED by employee of Premier League rival (Steve Bates, People) Manchester City’s shocking discovery that their worldwide scouting database could have been hacked by an employee of a rival Premier League club will rock football to its core. With new boss Manuel Pellegrini set to take charge , City believe their online Scout7 performance analysis system – holding detailed scouting reports of every player they have targeted at home and around the globe – has been infiltrated. An investigation is now under way to uncover the full extent of the security breach at the Etihad Stadium , how it happened – and who the culprits are. I understand City have brought in computer espionage experts to examine any possible trails.
The Battle For Winning Lew
Manuel’s United Rob fight (Martin Blackburn, Sun) Man City are ready to go head-to-head with deadly rivals United in the £25.5million chase for Borussia Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski. Manuel Pellegrini’s Blues have been in touch with the Polish forward’s representatives to verbally register their interest. And City have indicated they are willing to make him one of their best-paid players with wages of around £200,000 a week.
City Target Guardiola (Bullshit Story!)
Is Manuel Pellegrini keeping seat warm for Pep? (John Richardson, Express) Manuel Pellegrini’s brave new world at Manchester City could be short-lived as his employers still covet former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola. A three-year contract signed by the 59-year-old Chilean won’t offer any protection if Guardiola suddenly becomes available.
Torres Wants Chelsea Stay, Wes In?
Torres: I don’t want to go to Barcelona… I want Mourinho to make me the world’s best striker again (Rik Sharma, Mail) In a wide-ranging interview with Spanish news site AS, Torres spoke of his hopes for next season. ‘I want to continue, I want to complete the contract I signed and continue winning trophies and I would like to be the best in the world in my position again,’ he explained. ‘There’s no better place than to be than at Chelsea with Mourinho.’
Chelsea set to up their interest in Wesley Sneijder after Jose Mourinho asks Roman to buy the Dutchman (Tom Hopkinson, People) Sunday People Sport believes the Portuguese, who made Andre Schurrle the first signing of his second coming at Stamford Bridge this week, asked Blues owner Roman Abramovich to sign the Dutchman before his return to west London was confirmed.
Juan Mata ignoring Chelsea exit reports (Observer) “Nobody at Chelsea has told me that Mourinho wants me out,” he said in quotes carried by the Spanish sports publication Marca. “When I finished the season I was told that they were very happy with my performances and with the two years I’ve spent with the club. “I have three years left on my contract. I’m very happy with Chelsea. Mourinho? I’d prefer to wait until I meet him and work with him before I judge him. That’s simple logic.”
Chelsea’s Mikel John Obi attracts interest from Galatasaray (Dominic Fifield, Observer) Mikel, one of five senior players who remain on the books at Stamford Bridge from José Mourinho’s first spell in charge at the club, is aware of the Turkish champions’ intent but is not agitating to leave. The 26-year-old will instead gauge Chelsea’s reaction to any offer that is tabled – it would have to exceed £12m for a player who is contracted until 2017 – and then scrutinise what personal terms Gala would put forward to entice him to Istanbul.
Nani To Arsenal?
Arsenal favourites to sign Nani from Manchester United (Tony Stenson, Star) Arsenal are surprise favourites to sign Nani from Manchester United. They have caught the bookies’ eye after leading contenders Galatasaray pulled the plug when their £6million bid was rejected.
Suarez Still Wants Out Of Anfield, Goalie Almost In
Lu must listen to what I want (Carl Long, Sun) The Uruguayan, 26, said: “I have a contract but if one day I want to sign for another club, Liverpool have to hear the offer.”
Luis Suarez’s Liverpool exit could be sped up by player’s plans for short summer break (Bill Mills, People) Luis Suarez is planning to cut short his summer break to force his departure from Liverpool. The Uruguayan striker remains determined to quit Anfield this summer and wants to meet with boss Brendan Rodgers and chief executive Ian Ayre for showdown talks once the Confederations Cup is over… Suarez feels that the chance to join a club of Madrid’s stature cannot be wasted.
Reds to Kop keeper Mig (David Coverdale, Sun) Liverpool are closing in on Sunderland stopper Simon Mignolet. Brendan Rodgers hopes to complete a deal for the Belgian next week in a move which could signal the exit of current No1 Pepe Reina. The Reds have offered £8m for Mignolet while Sunderland are holding out for £10m.
By Jove, Everyone Wants Him
Man City handed first refusal on Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic leaving Chelsea and Arsenal nervous (Matt Law, People) Manchester City think they will be given first refusal on Stevan Jovetic. And that would mean a nervous wait for Chelsea and Arsenal to see if City want to add £25million-rated striker to their squad. City struck up a good relationship with Jovetic’s club Fiorentina last summer while negotiating the Matija Nastasic transfer that saw Stefan Savic move in the opposite direction.
Tiote Forcing Toon Exit
Tiote seeks talks with Newcastle over Wonga kit deal after Cisse disquiet (Joe Bernstein, Mail) A second Newcastle player has taken legal advice over the club’s sponsorship deal with loans company Wonga. Cheick Tiote is set to meet the club this week to ask them not to use promotional shots of him wearing their new branded kit. Striker Papiss Cisse has already expressed his disquiet about the Wonga partnership but he and fellow Muslim players Tiote, Massaido Haidara, Hatem Ben Arfa and Moussa Sissoko did pose in the new strip emblazoned with the wonga.com logo in a photo session for the first-team squad in April to promote the company.
The Other Transfer Lies
New boys Crystal Palace bid to hijack Swansea move for West Brom striker Odemwingie (Mail) Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins is reluctant to buy Odemwingie, who embarrassed himself in January by turning up at Loftus Road to speak to QPR, even though Albion had not given him permission.
Thomas Rogne in demand (Express) Rogne, who played for Norway in their European Under-21 Championships win over England, is being chased by several Championship clubs including Middlesbrough and Birmingham City.