Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “There are certain managers you build relationships with and feel closer to. He’s [Benitez] not that kind of bloke. Other managers draw a bit of a line and keep it that way. Rafa’s more like that. He was not really the sort of manager you could sit and talk with. We had a couple of conversations about my future in which he was quite honest saying that he wasn’t really involved. So that’s where that conversation ends. He’s not a manager who goes round putting his arm around every player — and I’m not saying that’s wrong. There are a lot of managers like that, Fabio Capello was like that with England.” – Frank Lampard.
Runner-up: “Listen, every player has their price but there’s certainly no pressure for the club to sell him [Luis Suarez]. We’re trying to build that bit of quality so he’s not for sale. I don’t have any doubts there will be interest in him this summer, because he’s up there. There’s a small percentage of players who are world class and he’s in that bracket, so I don’t think it will be too dissimilar to when I first came in last summer, with clubs making their interest known. People will want to take him, but I think we all recognise how integral he is. The owners have been absolutely unequivocal in their resolve in terms of wanting to keep him.” – Brendan Rodgers.
Should Bale Dump Spurs?
Real Madrid Want Bale Now (Paul Brown, Star) Florentino Perez, who wants Bale NOW. He will offer him even more money to join the Spanish giants. There is a five-year deal on the table for Bale, which guarantees to match whatever wages he would earn at White Hart Lane. But it also includes a lucrative image rights deal which would earn him even more millions. However, Real insist they will not pay more than £43m, way below Tottenham’s valuation of the double Player of the Year. Madrid have offered Spurs four players as potential makeweights in the deal – Pepe, Marcello, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria.
Bale is a Champions League player in a Europa League team. He’s done all he can at Spurs and now is the time to get out (Neil Ashton, Mail) After Gareth Bale’s stunning strike at White Hart Lane on Sunday, it was confirmation the forward has outgrown this Tottenham team. He is a Champions League player in a Europa League team… He has spent six largely successful years at Tottenham, establishing himself in the team after a tough start and going on to become their biggest asset. Spurs know time is running out and all they can do after finishing fifth in the Premier League is to offer him more money.
Arsenal Close in On Jovetic
Arsenal balk at Jovetic’s £25m price tag as Fiorentina dig in their heels (Sami Mokbel, Mail) Arsenal have been told primary transfer target Stevan Jovetic will cost £25million… Arsenal are not willing to pay more than £20m for the 23-year-old who has been on the club’s radar since 2011. Though both clubs are keen to make a deal, Arsenal have also talked to Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain after the Spanish club stated they wanted to sell the 25-year-old Argentine.
Fiorentina warn Arsenal top target Stevan Jovetic will cost them £30million (John Cross, Mirror) The Florence-based side are determined to hold out for a huge price for Jovetic, as they know their Serie A rivals Juventus are also keen on him.
Moyes To Shaw Up United
New United manager set to fight Chelsea for Shaw (Neil Moxley, Mail) David Moyes will rival Chelsea in the battle to sign 17-year-old Luke Shaw this summer. The Southampton left back is on Moyes’s shortlist as the new Manchester United manager attempts to put his own stamp on the squad left by Sir Alex Ferguson. Shaw was scouted last season by Moyes, then Everton boss, who had earmarked him to provide competition for Leighton Baines. Shaw would then have taken the left back role if Baines moved to Old Trafford.
£15m: Carroll To West Ham
West Ham agree £15m fee with Liverpool to sign Carroll on permanent deal (Dominic King, Mail) Andy Carroll is expected to join West Ham on a permanent deal after Liverpool agreed to take a £20million loss on the striker. While Carroll is yet to say yes to the move, West Ham have had a bid of £15m agreed in principle by Liverpool for a forward who cost a record £35m for a British player when he signed from Newcastle in January 2011. Carroll is believed to be keen on moving to Upton Park but the club want a definite answer from him by the end of next week.
West Ham have £15 milllion bid for Andy Carroll accepted but striker keen to make his mark with Liverpool (Chris Bascombe, Telegraph) Andy Carroll is stalling on a £15 million move to West Ham after Liverpool accepted a bid for the England striker. Carroll held talks with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the last 24 hours when he was informed he could move to Upton Park on a permanent transfer. Instead, the former Newcastle United forward said he remained determined to prove himself at Anfield despite knowing he would be only a squad player.
Start the Car (Phil Thomas, Sun) West Ham have agreed a £16million fee with Liverpool to sign loan striker Andy Carroll… West Ham’s bid is an initial £12m plus an additional performance-related £4m.
Chelsea Shake-Up: Luiz Out?!
Luiz to be first Chelsea casualty of Mourinho’s second reign with Real and Barca waiting in the wings (Simon Jones, Mail) Real Madrid and Barcelona are considering a move for Chelsea defender David Luiz. The Brazilian could become an early casualty of incoming boss Jose Mourinho who has concerns about the 26-year-old’s defensive abilities. Luiz cost Chelsea £21million and they will look to make a profit on their 2011 outlay should the interest turn into hardened bids.
José Mourinho will face greater expectations at Chelsea this time round (Dominic FIfield, Guardian) This time round, the fans – so disenchanted by the treatment of Roberto Di Matteo and the willingness to turn to Benítez as a stop-gap replacement – expect their idol to have a similar effect again, completing the team’s transition in a blaze of glory reminiscent of those title successes in 2005 and 2006. Yet he will arrive at a club that has secured European trophies in the past two seasons, the margins for progress so much tighter than they were. Mourinho will be welcomed by those in the stands and will savour the task ahead, but this feels like a very different challenge.
Stoke: Life After Pulis
Tony Pulis is sacked by Stoke City after seven years as manager (John Percy, Telegraph) Tony Pulis’s seven-year reign at Stoke City came to a brutal end when he was sacked by chairman Peter Coates yesterday, even though his proud record of never being relegated as a manager remained intact… Stoke will now consider young and dynamic managers including Roberto Martínez, Gus Poyet, Neil Lennon and former defender Steve Bould as potential successors in a fresh approach spearheaded by the board and technical director Mark Cartwright, whose recent appointment has been a source of friction for Pulis. Phil Neville, the former England and Everton defender, is understood to be in the frame for a role as first-team coach.
Tony Pulis sacking was largely down to Stoke’s failure to raise the bar (Louise Taylor, Guardian) Statistics have not really been Pulis’s friend, with recent Opta figures highlighting the fact that the team complete fewer passes than almost any other Premier League side while invariably unleashing a higher percentage of long balls. They regularly record the fewest shots on target of any top division team.
Stoke want Rafa Benitez (Graeme Boyce, Sun) Stoke City will try to bring in Rafa Benitez as their new boss after ending Tony Pulis’ reign. Potters chiefs are ready to put their trust in Benitez with a bumper £3million-a-year deal on the table.
The Rest Of The Transfer Lies
Liverpool looking to German keeper Zieler to replace Reina (Graeme Yorke, Mail) Liverpool are keen on Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, 24, with Pepe Reina still a target for Barcelona.
Liverpool prepare £15m bid for Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke to replace Carragher (David Maddock, Mirror) Liverpool manager Rodgers has targeted highly-rated Greece international Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and will table a firm £13.5million offer for the centre-half. At just 21, Papadopoulos has the right age profile for a big Anfield signing but already has vast experience, having become the youngest-ever player in the Greek league at the age of 15 and won 14 caps.
Villa could offload N’Zogbia to Monaco as they look to rebuild (Simon Jones, Mail) Charles N’Zogbia is the latest Premier League player to be targeted by ambitious Monaco. The midfielder, 26, could be made available as Aston Villa will have to finance rebuilding from within. Darren Bent will be sold but Villa will have to drop their asking price, and midfielder Chris Herd is a target for Middlesbrough.