Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “All the news about my renewal with Real Madrid are false.” – Cristiano Ronaldo.
Is Ronaldo heading back to Manchester United?
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United return odds tumble after he denies signing new Real Madrid deal (Martin Lipton, Daily Mirror) Cristiano Ronaldo has angrily denied claims he had signed a new Real Madrid contract. The odds tumbled on the 27-year-old making a dramatic return to Manchester United when he tweeted: “All the news about my renewal with Real Madrid are false.” United manager David Moyes is hoping he can persuade the Portuguese superstar to return to Old Trafford as he tweaks the title-winning squad he’s inherited following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but Ronaldo plans to see out his current deal at the Bernabeu. He has two seasons left on the six-year Real contract signed after his world record £80million move from the Reds to Madrid in 2009. It is understood that Ronaldo’s strategy is to run down his contract – allowing him to leave for nothing in 2015 – then demand a £60m signing-on fee from his next club.
United on red alert as Ronaldo denies he has signed a new Madrid contract (Simon Jones, Daily Mail) Cristiano Ronaldo’s move back to the Barclays Premier League was a step closer after the £80million forward dismissed reports that he had signed a new contract with Real Madrid. As Sportsmail revealed last month, Manchester United are confident of re-signing the 28-year-old and that view will be strengthened by Ronaldo’s public rejection of claims that he is ready to sign a deal to stay at the Bernabeu for the rest of his career.
If not Ronaldo, then Bale for United, say The Sun
Bale of the century (Neil Custis, Sun) Manchester United are ready to smash the world transfer record to prove there is life after Alex Ferguson. The Glazers will hand new boss David Moyes more money than ever before to land Cristiano Ronaldo OR Gareth Bale. Ronaldo yesterday opened the door to a return to Old Trafford by insisting his future at Real Madrid is far from certain. But if he signs a new deal at Real, Moyes is set to splash a record £85million to land Tottenham’s double Footballer of the Year Bale. United’s American owners are determined the club will continue to be a major European force despite Fergie’s retirement.
Cavani too expensive, Chelsea turn to Lewandowski
Chelsea refuse to take part in bid war for £53m Edinson Cavani and turn attentions to Robert Lewandowski (Jason Burt, Daily Telegraph) Chelsea have finally agreed an £18 million deal to sign Germany international André Schürrle, but will not enter a bidding war for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and are now considering a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski instead. Cavani is among the targets being pursued by Chelsea as new manager Jose Mourinho is given the funds to strengthen his forward line. It will contain Schürrle, who can play on the left of a three-man attack, after a deal was finally thrashed out with Bayer Leverkusen for the 22-year-old. Telegraph Sport revealed a year ago that Chelsea were bidding for Schürrle, who had been identified as a potential signing by Andre Villas-Boas when he was the club’s manager.
Mourinho’s dangerous game
Jose Mourinho is playing a dangerous game at Chelsea (Jim White, Daily Telegraph) If nothing else, the new Chelsea methodology is a shrewd way to circumvent FFP. It goes like this: buy up a bus-load of youthful prospects at prices much lower than you would have to pay for a fully formed player. Then get other clubs to run your research and development programme by loaning the youngsters out to see if they are made of the right stuff. If they are not, well you can still probably turn a profit on the original investment by selling them to the borrowing club. But if they are, you bring them back. As a system it can be brilliant. After a season polished by Steve Clarke at the Hawthorns, Romelu Lukaku will return to Stamford Bridge a much more significant – and valuable – prospect. As Mourinho put it, a major signing but at zero apparent cost. Sure, there is nothing new in the methodology: Manchester United have used the loan system to hone players since David Beckham was dispatched to Preston in the mid-Nineties. But in scale and reach, Chelsea have taken it to a new level.
Martinez fights to keep Baines at Everton
Everton ready to make Manchester United target Leighton Baines their highest earner (David Anderson, Daily Mirror) Everton will offer to make Leighton Baines their best-paid player in an attempt to stop him being lured to Manchester United by David Moyes. The Goodison club are aware that outgoing boss Moyes would like to take Baines with him to champions United, where he will spend the summer tweaking the squad he is inheriting from the retiring Alex Ferguson. They want to head off the Scot by offering their England left-back a new deal. Baines, 28, has two years left on a £44,000-a-week contract, and the Toffees are ready to offer him £65k per week to stay.
Gervinho set for Arsenal exit
Gervinho nears Arsenal exit as Marseille confirm interest in winger (Simon Jones, Daily Mail) Marseille have confirmed their interest in signing Arsenal striker Gervinho. The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international cost Arsenal £11m from Lille and has struggled to make an impact in the Premier League. Marseille assistant coach Franck Passi said: ‘This is a profile that interests us, yes. We want flank players, with dribbling, passing and scoring and Gervinho has this profile.’
Pellegrini still heading to City
Manchester City not concerned by delay in appointing Manuel Pellegrini (Andy Hunter, Guardian) Manchester City are unconcerned at the delay in appointing Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager and maintain that the arrival of the 59-year-old remains a formality. Pellegrini held talks in Spain last week with City’s sporting director, Txiki Begiristain, the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and the academy head, Brian Marwood, but, while personal terms have been agreed and transfer targets discussed, his appointment has yet to be confirmed. City have refused to comment on whether contractual issues between Pellegrini and his former club Málaga are responsible for the hold-up but are adamant the deal to replace Roberto Mancini with the former Villarreal and Real Madrid coach is not under threat and will be announced shortly.
Can he fix Et? (Martin Blackburn, Sun) Manchester City hope new boss Manuel Pellegrini will help them build something special at the Etihad. And that should be no problem to the man known as ‘The Engineer’ — if his past achievements are anything to go by. The Chilean, 59, combined the final couple of years of his playing career with studying for a career in civil engineering. Today, back in Santiago, some families boast of living in homes built by the experienced former Real Madrid coach. And, soon after starting his coaching career at Universidad de Chile, he even constructed a summer house for the club physio. Dr Alejandro Orizola — now head of the club’s medical team — still enjoys it to this day and claims it was a typical gesture by his close friend.
Who next for Wigan?
Steve McClaren and Owen Coyle lead field to manage Wigan Athletic (Andy Hunter, Guardian) The Wigan Athletic chairman, Dave Whelan, hopes to appoint the club’s new manager on Friday with Steve McClaren and Owen Coyle the front-runners to succeed Roberto Martínez. The former England coach McClaren and former Bolton Wanderers manager Coyle are among 15 candidates whom Whelan has interviewed for the position this week. Mike Phelan, who recently left his role as Manchester United’s assistant manager, and the United coach René Meulensteen are also under consideration, though Whelan has indicated his preference for an out-of-work candidate. “I expect to announce something,” said the Wigan chairman. “I still have two more lads to see. I’ve seen some great lads, top managers, and it could be we have to speak to one or two of them again.”