Cesc Fabregas: “If Guardiola called me it would be different. I would be delighted to go”

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “Despite repeated media speculation on the futures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, Liverpool has received no official approach or offer from any club regarding the players. Neither is for sale and furthermore Liverpool has no interest in the long list of Spanish-based players being linked with a move to Anfield as part of any deal.” – a statement from Liverpool FC.

Runner-up: “I am not involved with Sulaiman al-Fahim’s bid in any way. I have no interest in Portsmouth FC and furthermore I have no plans to become involved in any football club in the future. I have been surprised and shocked by the media coverage and my name being linked with the club. There is absolutely no truth in this.” – a statement by Thaksin Shinawatra.

Today’s overview: Slim pickings would be an understatement this Monday, with the main talking point being Cesc’s apparent come-and-get-me plea to Barcelona.

As reported by Gary Jacob, Cesc Fabregas has caused palms to sweat after “announcing that he would consider a return to Barcelona… The Arsenal midfield player, who has five years left on his deal, said that he felt a responsibility to the North London club after being named captain last season, but ‘it would be different’ if Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, called him.” Taking out any sense of debate from the the gossip, Pete Jenson runs away with the rumour barfing “Fabregas has admitted he would go back to Barcelona if coach Pep Guardiola made a move to sign him.”

Manchester United appear dead and buried in the tug-of-war with Carlos Tevez, Daniel Taylor explaining that “the Argentinian has now told the manager that he planned to sever his ties with the ­Premier League champions.” But its not all doom and gloom, Alan Nixon reporting that “Sir Alex Ferguson is making a British record £45million bid for Valencia striker David Villa.”

Making himself look like a total tool, Mark Odgen has a blonde moment commenting “pictures of Ronaldo with the American socialite Paris Hilton during his holiday in Los Angeles have added to the perception that the player is developing a taste for the celebrity lifestyle.” But while some have eyes on LA, Martin Samuel is still mourning the loss of C-Ron from the Premier League. “The idea that United are better off without him, or that he can be easily replaced, is too far-fetched even for a sport that is right now looking back on Freddy Shepherd’s time at Newcastle as some golden age and wondering again whether David Beckham could play holding midfield for England against strong opposition.”

With the Under-21 European Championships starting today in Sweden, Steve Tongue traces the history of the competition. “It was the competition in which Laurent Blanc (1988), Luis Figo (1994), Fabio Cannavaro (1996), Andrea Pirlo (2000) and Petr Cech (2002) made their name as the Player of the Tournament.” Elsewhere, Gabriele Marcotti picks out five stars to watch.

From his lofty position in his ivory tower, Patrick Barclay barks down to Newcastle supporters that the time is right for them to buy their club. “Now is the time. The price is right. Let these people google Supporters Direct, an organisation set up for the purpose and already experienced in reviving smaller clubs, and get on with it. Let them put their “hard-earned money” where their mouth is. Otherwise, though unquestionably ‘loyal fans,’ they will not ‘deserve better.'” But, according to Michael Walker, such action now seems futile as “there appears to be some confidence in the City of London that the proposed sale of Newcastle United has entered a new phase and that an as yet undisclosed American consortium is favourite to buy the Championship club from owner Mike Ashley.”

Finally, according to the Mirror “Birmingham aim to continue their signing spree with swoops for two central defenders – Standard Liege’s Oguchi Onyewu and Ecuadorian international Giovanny Espinoza.”