Quote of the day: “Soriano? For him I was too big within the club — a manager in full control, loved by the fans, still today. He judged a person and a context without knowing anything about the people he should have dealt with. I never thought of him as an interesting person from a football perspective. We never spoke the same language. And I’m not talking about Italian, Spanish or English — I think he was from an airline. I’ve been in football since I was 13, I never heard anything about Soriano. I lost the FA Cup, it can happen. It was a bad day for the whole team. But I never expected what happened, I never believed the rumours about Pellegrini were true. I still don’t understand the reasons. I deserved more respect. City demanded I won the title within three years, I won it within two years. I’m not angry with the owner Mansour or the chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. They are two great managers and I’ll always be grateful. In 3½ years my staff and I did an extraordinary job. We rebuilt a club that was not at the top level. They wanted Champions League, I got them there. We beat Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford. For three years City played the best football in the League.” – Roberto Mancini.
PSG close in on Cavani
Cavani blow for Chelsea as PSG return with new £50m bid for Napoli’s Uruguayan hotshot (John Edwards, Daily Mail) Chelsea have been left reeling in the battle to sign Edinson Cavani after Paris St Germain lodged an improved near-£50million bid for the Napoli striker. Sportsmail understands PSG coach Laurent Blanc has followed up his initial £43million approach by offering £49.3m for the in-demand Uruguay frontman. Chelsea and Man City will now have to smash the British transfer record, which is currently the £50m Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres, if they want to sign the prolific striker.
Fergie set to stay away as Giggs takes on coaching role at United
Sir Alex Ferguson may stay away from Manchester United for David Moyes (Daniel Taylor, Guardian) Sir Alex Ferguson is contemplating staying away from David Moyes’s first run of matches at Manchester United out of concerns his presence may undermine his successor and potentially increase the pressure on the club’s new manager. While Ferguson’s natural desire is to see the start of a new era in which Ryan Giggs takes on a player-coach role, the former United manager has confided to friends that he is unsure whether he should take a visible role out of respect to Moyes. Instead, he is exploring the possibilities of whether there is an executive box at Old Trafford where he will be able to watch in privacy, or even whether it would be better to keep away from fixtures such as Chelsea’s visit to Old Trafford on 24 August, Moyes’s first home game in charge.
Ryan Giggs is being groomed as a future Manchester United manager (Paul Wilson, Guardian) Is anyone really surprised that Ryan Giggs has just been appointed a player/coach at Manchester United? Or that Phil Neville is likely to rejoin his old club and old manager sometime soon? Truly Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy to United is the gift that keeps on giving. Apart from the phenomenal length of his service Giggs has been a one-club man, and now he is moving into position to stay at the same club for the rest of his career, which in a coaching capacity could easily last another couple of decades. It is even possible to say at this early stage that Giggs is being groomed as a future United manager, an eventual successor to David Moyes, which is almost certainly what Ferguson would have wished. The exact timescale might be hazy, it all depends on how successful United are under Moyes and how forcefully the new man stamps his personality on the club, but the blueprint is fairly clear.
Liverpool eager to sort Luis Suarez’s future
Liverpool want Luis Suarez transfer saga settled before the end of the month (David Maddock, Daily Mirror) Luis Suarez has three weeks to sort out his future. After that, the controversial striker will be expected to knuckle down and commit himself to the Liverpool cause. The Uruguay international has been given until Monday July 22 to take a holiday in South America following Confederations Cup duty that only ended last Sunday, before reporting back to the club he has repeatedly said he wants to leave. No decision has yet been made on precisely where the forward will be told to join his team-mates, but it is almost certain he will be ordered to take part in the Reds’ tour of the Far East and Australia. That could mean Melbourne, and the massive game Liverpool will play on July 24 at the Aussie city’s world-famous cricket ground.
Pjanic on the streets of north London?
Spurs step up chase for £20m Pjanic as AVB targets Champions League spot (Simon Jones, Daily Mail) Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is interested in Roma’s £20million-rated midfielder Miralem Pjanic. The Bosnia international, 23, has been watched extensively by Tottenham scouts, and has also been linked with north London rivals Arsenal in the past. The playmaker even admitted that he was close to signing for the Gunners back in 2011 from Lyon, before settling on the Italian capital.
City want Pepe
Manuel opens up Pep talks (Martin Blackburn, Sun) Manchester City are stepping up their interest in Real Madrid’s Portugal defender Pepe. New Etihad boss Manuel Pellegrini has made the Bernabeu favourite, 30, his top defensive target this summer.
He wants a new centre-back as Kolo Toure moved to Liverpool earlier in the close season and Joleon Lescott has just one year left on his contract. But the Spanish giants are looking for around £20million.
Southampton in for Leandro Damiao
Southampton join Leandro Damiao transfer race after Spurs are asked to pay £21million (Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror) Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed his interest in signing former Spurs target Leandro Damiao. Tottenham, who have chased the 23-year-old for the past five transfer windows, claimed last month that their interest in the striker was at an end. Damiao’s Brazilian club Internacional have demanded a whopping £21million for him, and Spurs have since turned their attentions to other targets. Earlier this week, Damiao’s agent revealed talks had begun with another Premier League club. And Pochettinho has confirmed that club is Southampton.
Nicolas Anelka signs on at West Brom
Nicolas Anelka signs for West Bromwich Albion on a one-year deal (Daily Telegraph) The 34-year-old, who was a free agent, has signed an initial one-year contract at the Hawthorns. The club confirmed on Twitter: “Albion have tonight completed the signing of @anelkaofficiel on a one-year deal, with a further year’s option in the club’s favour.” West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke, who worked with Anelka for a short time at Chelsea, is delighted with the signing.