Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “We understand this type of player revolt is not new but clubs have to protect themselves. We have to hold on to our values. The player is under club discipline. The chairman feels the way he has behaved is not common, professional behaviour. We’ve been open with him, saying we are ready to listen to offers for him, which is uncommon. He’s had a lot of interest in him before but he has behaved very professionally. This is the first time he has acted like this. We don’t know what sort of advice he is receiving. We are not so sure where he is at the moment. As far as I know he is back in London.” – Andre Villas-Boas on Luka Modric.
Runner-up: “The decision was his anyway and he said if he was going to leave Chelsea, he wouldn’t play for another club in England. So that answered the question, But I could’ve been [tempted to move for Didier Drogba].” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Luka Modric isn’t AWOL anymore
Modric grovels (Pat Sheehan, Sun) Luka Modric has made a grovelling apology to chairman Daniel Levy for going on strike. The Croatian playmaker stopped off at Tottenham’s HQ to play down his latest bust-up with Levy before he eventually flew to America for his club’s pre-season tour.
Modric is unprofessional, blasts AVB as furious Tottenham demand £40m for misfit (Sami Mokbel, Daily Mail) Andre Villas-Boas has branded Luka Modric unprofessional over his mini-strike. And Sportsmail understands Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is determined to resist being forced to sell the midfielder for less than £40million, feeling his tantrum has undermined the club’s promotional drive in America. The Croatia midfielder has been fined £80,000 after failing to attend pre-season training last week and then snubbing the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, infuriating club chiefs.
Tottenham try to play it cool over Luka Modric transfer request (David Hytner, Guardian) Levy’s stance has softened. Last summer he made it clear that Modric was not for sale at any price and he unceremoniously knocked back the proposed deal with Chelsea, which was worth £40m. This time he is willing to sanction Modric’s release if Madrid offer close to £40m; £38m, for example, would do the trick. He might even accept a little less in the end.
Parker to miss Prem kick-off (Paul Jiggins, Sun)
Manchester City fear they have lost the race for Robin van Persie
Roberto Mad-cini: City boss seethes as he sees RvP slipping through his fingers (John Cross, Daily Mirror) Roberto Mancini has had a major bust-up with his Manchester City bosses over their failure to land Robin van Persie. City manager Mancini is on the warpath and has urged the club’s hierarchy to back him and not chief football administrator Brian Marwood in what has become a stand-off between the two men. Marwood is determined to offload players – including Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Edin Dzeko – before going for Arsenal striker van Persie, and is stressing the need to balance the books and prepare for the new Financial Fair Play rules.
Mancini fears City are losing chase for wantaway Arsenal skipper Van Persie (Matt Barlow, Daily Mail)
Juventus up the ante
Arsenal’s Robin van Persie in Juventus’ sights again as Italians prepare to offer club record wages of £190,000 (Jeremy Wilson, Daily Telegraph) “Juventus are also prepared to make Van Persie the highest paid player in their history, with wages of around £190,000 a week on a potential five-year deal. Manchester United and Manchester City have also had respective offers of around £10 million and £12 million rejected, but are yet to return with second bids. Arsenal will not listen to offers below £20 million and, having got £24 million for Samir Nasri in similar circumstances last year, regard the first round of offers for Van Persie as completely unrealistic. If it is decided to sell Van Persie and Juventus are now massively out-bid, however, there is an obvious attraction in sending him to Serie A rather than a Premier League rival.
Wilshere hopeful of August return
Wilshere says he could be back in action next month (Sam Wallace & Pete Jenson, Independent) “The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is still hopeful of returning to action by the end of August, despite the latest gloomy update from Arsene Wenger that the player’s comeback is still so far off that he cannot even put a date on when he may play for the club again. The 20-year-old is approaching an entire year out of the game – he last played against New York Red Bulls in the Emirates Cup 12 months ago, a week today – and has not travelled to Malaysia for the club’s tour of Asia. Wenger hinted this week that Wilshere may not be fit to play before October but the player is understood to be more optimistic about his return date.”
Rosicky starts as a sickie (Charlie Wyett, Sun) Tomas Rosicky will miss the start of Arsenal’s season after undergoing an Achilles operation.
Arsenal in for Santi Cazorla
Arsenal keen to sign winger Santi Cazorla from troubled Málaga (Sid Lowe & David Hytner, Guardian) The Spain winger Santi Cazorla has told Arsenal that he is prepared to leave Málaga to join them. Arsène Wenger is keen to sign Cazorla, whom he monitored last summer, and he is hopeful that an offer of €20m (£15.6m) can close the deal. Negotiations have taken place between the clubs and, although Málaga’s initial response was to point to Cazorla’s €45m buy-out clause and effectively discourage Arsenal’s interest, the Spanish club’s worrying financial situation, which could see them relegated if they do not pay outstanding debts, might force them to sell.”
Manchester United’s summer tour
Manchester United and other Premier League big boys face domestic competition in battle to ‘crack’ China (Mark Ogden, Daily Telegraph) “It has become this summer’s destination of choice for the Premier League’s top clubs and players, but Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal are now facing domestic competition in their battle for hearts and minds in the world’s most heavily populated country. The biggest names in English football have been trying to ‘crack’ China for years, with United, in particular, working overtime to position themselves as the number one club in a nation of over one billion people.”
Tim Cahill off to the USA
Everton star Cahill set for New York as Toffees agree terms with Red Bulls (Dominic King, Daily Mail) Tim Cahill is on the verge of ending his eight-year association with Everton by joining New York Red Bulls. Everton have agreed a £1million fee with the Red Bulls and the Australian international, who had two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park, will sign terms a lucrative deal in the next 24 hours.
Barton bombshell! Bad-boy is joining League Two side Fleetwood Town (Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror)
Blackburn will demand compensation from QPR over Junior Hoilett transfer (Ben Rumsby, Independent)