Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “All those who think Wenger made the right decision about Wojciech should think where his worse form came from. Wenger already started to look for a scapegoat and found Wojciech. You don’t do such things. Obviously, he is in worse form now than a year ago but not for no reason. He had two bad injuries. With the first he played through April and May last season. It was unreasonable that he got persuaded by an experienced manager. I have huge complaints for this manager. He played with Wojciech’s health and Wojciech got persuaded to do this stupidity. Mr Wenger messed up a lot during April and May last year. I don’t blame a young man that he got persuaded — I would be persuaded, too” – Wojciech Szczesny’s dad, Maciej Szczesny.
Runner-up: “I’m very happy at Liverpool but you never know in football. A player’s ambition is always there, the ambition of wanting to play for the elite is always there. I’m in a world class team, an elite team like Liverpool. And if another team comes around with more prospects of competing in international club competition games which is willing to have me, they are welcome. We would talk to the club. We would see if I want to go.” – Luis Suarez.
Suarez Talks Up Leaving Anfield
Luis Suarez shocks Liverpool by ‘welcoming’ transfer bids (Ian Herbert, Independent) Liverpool’s Luis Suarez has issued the words which are his club and manager’s worst nightmare – that if another team with better prospects of competing in the Champions League approached him this summer, “they are very welcome”. The 26-year-old, who has carried the side for much of the season, will have put Europe’s top clubs on alert with his comments, made in his native Uruguay. Bayern Munich, whose next coach Pepe Guardiola is the brother of Suarez’s own agent, Pere, would be the prime contenders. Juventus and Manchester City are also likely to consider a move for the striker.
Suarez warns Liverpool he would ‘welcome’ talks with Champions League clubs this summer (Charlie Skillen, Mail) Luis Suarez has warned Liverpool that he would consider any offers in the summer from clubs that can offer Champions League football. German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and Italian giants Juventus head up the chase for Suarez, who has scored 29 goals in 40 appearances for Liverpool this season.
Suarez: I may quit Liverpool (Dave Lyons, Star) Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG have all been linked with the striker, who is enjoying his best scoring run in the Premier League but has also been involved in a string of controversies. Bayern will be coached next season by Pep Guardiola, whose brother Pere is also Suarez’s agent. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was given assurances by Suarez’s representatives recently that he was happy to stay. But the Reds could miss out on Europe altogether this season and he could be tempted by the chance to play in the Champions League.
You Off Yaya?
Chelsea lead Yaya chase (Sun) Chelsea and Real Madrid are leading the chase to land £22million Manchester City star Yaya Toure… Toure, 29, still has two years of his £220,000-a-week deal to run and will have to stump up £22m to buy his way out of City. Chelsea will hand him that in a signing-on fee if it means they do not have to pay a transfer fee for a player who cost City £25m from Barcelona three years ago. But they face stiff competition from Real Madrid, whose boss Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Toure.
Ferdinand Outed For 15-Hour Flight
Plane Stupid! Rio’s England farce continues as he flies 15 HOURS for TV gig despite injury ruling him out of action (Charles Sale, Mail) Rio Ferdinand, who withdrew from England’s World Cup qualifiers to look after his chronic back problem, will fly to Qatar to work on a television broadcast of Friday’s game against San Marino. The Manchester United defender has agreed to be a pundit on Al Jazeera for the San Marino match, even though it will entail a 15-hour round trip to their headquarters in Doha. The travel schedule will hardly help a back problem so delicate that Ferdinand pulled out of Roy Hodgson’s squad so as not to jeopardise his treatment.
Rio Ferdinand ‘to fly to Qatar to cover San Marino v England for TV’ (Neil Rowlands, Mirror) Rio Ferdinand is to spend FIFTEEN hours sitting on planes so he can work as a pundit on TV coverage of an England game he pulled out of to protect his dodgy back.
The England Chat
England match in Montenegro faces television blackout threat (Owen Gibson, Guardian) Live television coverage of England’s World Cup qualifier in Podgorica could be affected by a dispute between the agency that sold the rights to the match to ITV and the Montenegro Football Association. Unless the wrangle is resolved by kick-off, it could lead to ITV’s team and their cameras being locked out of the stadium. The match, due to be broadcast by ITV in a primetime slot next Tuesday, is expected to go a long way to deciding whether Roy Hodgson’s injury-hit team qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. But, as things stand, ITV is believed to be caught in the middle of a bitter dispute between the Montenegro FA and Kentaro, the global rights and events agency that counts the football agent Jerome Anderson and former France international Emmanuel Petit among its advisers.
Rooney remains an England enigma, 10 years after his spectacular debut (Matt Barlow, Mail) At 27, Rooney can still leave his mark on international football and paste new images over those red-mist moments with some unforgettable goals. Where better to start than San Marino? Where better to prove a point on Tuesday than Montenegro, scene of his last England meltdown? Where better to make an impression than a World Cup in Brazil?
Arsenal boss wants showdown talks with England manager Hodgson over Wilshere’s use (Sami Mokbel, Mail) Arsene Wenger will seek talks with England manager Roy Hodgson over his use of Jack Wilshere during the end-of-season internationals.
Man United revive interest in £36m Porto youngster Rodriguez with Anderson a willing makeweight (Mail) Porto’s Colombian winger James Rodriguez is back at the top of Manchester United’s wanted list and is coming under growing scrutiny at Old Trafford. Sportsmail revealed last year how the 21-year old’s release clause had shot up from £24million to £36million. But United still have room for manoeuvre, with Nani and Anderson both likely to be available at the end of the season and candidates for a part-exchange deal.
Dede back on Liverpool wishlist as Vasco admit Brazilian defender could leave (Mail) Liverpool have revived their interest in Brazil defender Dede, 24, after Vasco da Gama admitted they have to sell. AC Milan and Manchester United have also watched him.
Brazil defender Dede sparks transfer tug-of-war between Prem giants (Mirror) Liverpool are ready to commit massive funds to take on Manchester United in the race to land the next Brazilian superstar… The club from Rio have hit massive financial problems after being pursued by federal tax authorities for unpaid debts, and they have admitted they will be forced to sell to the highest bidder to stave off the threat of liquidation. That means attempting to get an auction going to realise an asking price of around £15million, with the likes of Liverpool, United, Juventus and Benfica all making enquiries about the 24-year-old.
Chelsea and Man City on alert as Henrikh Mkhitaryan plots Shakhtar exit (Mirror) Chelsea and Manchester City target Henrikh Mkhitaryan has stated his intention to leave Shakhtar Donetsk this summer.
Sergio Aguero wanted by Real Madrid (Star) Starsport can reveal Real Madrid have made Aguero their No.1 target and will test the Blues’resolve with a £45m bid at the end of the season. Aguero is becoming disillusioned with life in Manchester following the break-up of his marriage to Diego Maradona’s daughter Giannina.