Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “When you are a kid, everybody wants to play for Liverpool. I am here now and it is a dream for me, and now I am a Liverpool fan. I am happy off the pitch because the people of Liverpool are good with me and my family. I try my best on the pitch and when you are happy off the pitch, you are happy on the pitch. I want to say thank-you to the fans because they are our 12th player. The supporters of Liverpool are unbelievable. Five or six years ago I watched on TV the stadium and the club, and now I play here and the supporters have helped me. That’s very important for me.” – Luis Suarez.
Runner-up: “It was great that he [Wayne Rooney] asked me [to play in Tony Hibbert’s testimonial] but it just worked out that Manchester United also have a game and he was quite upset when he realised. It says everything about Wayne that he was willing to do that. He probably would have got a bad reception but he is not fazed about that. He loves Everton. Deep down he is still an Evertonian. I know for a fact that he still goes to games. He will do anything for Everton. It was a great honour for me that he wanted to play in the game. I was surprised when he asked whether he could play and if I would like him to. I jumped at the chance but obviously he has other commitments.” – Tony Hibbert.
England v Italy
Lamps is a Lion again (Sun) Frank Lampard will be part of Roy Hodgson’s England ‘revolution’. The 34-year-old Chelsea veteran will be recalled for next week’s friendly against Italy after missing Euro 2012 through injury… Skipper Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry and Ashley Cole are among several senior players being rested.
Italy to rest Pirlo and Buffon for England friendly in Switzerland (Mail) England will be spared further torture at the hands of Andrea Pirlo next week with Italy manager Cesare Prandelli planning to omit some of his senior stars… Hodgson has vowed to use the fixture to look closely at the credentials of some of England’s emerging players, with Tom Cleverley, Ryan Bertrand and Daniel Sturridge among those in his thoughts.
Suarez signs on
Suarez in the Red-dies (Sun) Luis Suarez has TREBLED his Liverpool wages after signing a new four-year deal. The Uruguayan will earn £120,000 a week to end Juventus’ hopes of tempting him to Italy. Suarez, 25, was already tied to Anfield until 2015 but will extend that by a further 12 months and he now has parity with big earners like Steven Gerrard.
Triple jump: New deal sends Suarez’s salary soaring to £120k-a-week (Mirror) The Uruguay striker has signed a new four-year contract that has taken his salary from a relatively modest £40,000-a-week and put him on a par with the club’s highest earners, such as skipper Steven Gerrard.
Luis Suarez Kops a huge wage rise at Liverpool (Express) Rodgers will now look to support Suarez… on the pitch by pushing through a £15m deal for Swansea midfielder Allen before the end of the week as well as trying to secure Manchester City winger Johnson in an imaginative part-exchange switch.
Arsenal’s turn Ki?
Arsenal line up shock bid for ‘Korean Gerrard’ after sealing Cazorla deal (Mail) Arsenal are plotting a shock move for Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yeung after rubber-stamping their £16.5million move for Santi Cazorla… Influential chief scout Steve Rowley rates Ki — who would be available for around £9million —very highly and will recommend the energetic midfielder to manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsene Wenger intent on Nuri Sahin pursuit if Alex Song leaves Arsenal (Guardian) Wenger has pursued Sahin and there has been a confidence behind the scenes at Arsenal that the Turkey midfielder is attainable, initially on a season-long loan… But Wenger appears to have lined up Sahin as a contingency in the event of Song’s departure. Song is aware that a clutch of Europe’s leading clubs, including Barcelona, have made enquiries about him, on the back of his encouraging season last time out, when he developed the more creative side of his game and he wants to listen to what they have to offer.
Modric finally going to Madrid?
Spurs to get Real over Mod (Sun) Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will have crunch talks with Real Madrid today over the future of Luka Modric… A deal insider told SunSport: “Daniel [Levy] always likes to drive a hard bargain but this is a difficult one. He prides himself on getting the money he wants but the clubs are too far apart.”
This is my final offer… Real Madrid improve their bid for Spurs’ Modric (Mirror) Spanish giants are now willing to pay £30million for the wantaway midfielder but defiant Levy is adamant he’ll only sell for £40m.
Soccer & Social Media
Football Association visits clubs to clarify Twitter rules (Telegraph) In a series of voluntary meetings, the FA pointed out to players that banter on Twitter was acceptable but that tweets relating to race, faith, disability or sexual orientation risked a charge. One player was suspended for 70 days for an offensive tweet.
What’s with Michael Owen
Without a home, Owen has the clock ticking on his career (Mail) Released by Ferguson in the summer after three years at Old Trafford, Owen is running out of options… A move to the Middle East failed to materialise when the financial package on offer failed to meet Owen’s expectations. That was the banker when he left United, but Owen is looking closer to home after the initial promise of a final pay-day began to fade away. Another alternative is to take up an offer from Stoke, but even Tony Pulis has doubts about the effect can have at the Britannia Stadium. Although they are a progressive and ambitious Premier League team, Stoke are still a mid-ranking club.
You’ll go Potty for Stoke, Owen (Sun) Peter Crouch has told Michael Owen: “Don’t see Stoke as a step down from Manchester United.”
Llet me lleave! Llorente wants to quit Athletic Bilbao (Mirror) Premier League clubs are on alert after highy-rated Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente asked for a move… The 27-year-old was linked with Tottenham during the reign of former manager Harry Redknapp and has been more recently mentioned as a potential replacement for Robin van Persie at Arsenal.
Chelsea near Victor-y (Sun) Chelsea are closing in on £9million Wigan striker Victor Moses… Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is lining up a shock move for Jermaine Pennant.
Chelsea ready to offer Kakuta as bait for £15m Azpilicueta (Mail) Chelsea are considering using Gael Kakuta as a makeweight in their attempt to land highly-rated defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea’s Hulk chase looks doomed as Zenit bid £40m (Mirror) The Blues have refused to budge beyond their £30m valuation of the Porto man, and withdrew from negotiations in the hope that Hulk and his agent would force the Portuguese champions to come back to the table at a more realistic price.
Manchester City join chase for Swansea flyer Sinclair (Mail) City face competition. Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United are all monitoring the situation with the player likely to leave for around £8million. Swansea are keen on Bristol City’s Albert Adomah as a possible replacement.
Cheik him out (Sun) Manchester City and Arsenal are both eyeing Senegal’s Olympics star Cheikhou Kouyate. The midfielder, 22, also had a superb season at Anderlecht.