Spurs linked to Villa (Barca), Damiao (Internacional) & Martinez (Porto), Arsenal eye Liverpool’s Skrtel & Chelsea chase Jovetic

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “Ashley will do the coin toss and have the armband on. He is the captain on the night. I want to give the guy who has 100 caps the honour of captaining his country for one day without taking on the other roles. Frank, who would normally captain the team in the absence of Steven Gerrard, has agreed this is Ashley’s night. Frank has fulfilled all the other functions. Ashley wanted to captain the team on the night and let his feet do the talking.” – Roy Hodgson.

Runner-up: “It’s very simple – I want to play for my country more than anything, and it still means as much to me now as when I made my debut at 18 years of age. Nothing has changed. I can never understand why players don’t want to play for their country, it’s very hard to take in.” – Robbie Keane.

The England Captaincy & Hooliganism

Oct 5 2012: You t**ts May 28 2013: I’m skipper (Charlie Wyett, Sun) Ashley Cole stunned the FA by accepting an offer to captain England tonight — seven months after calling them “a bunch of t**ts”. Cole, 32, leads the Three Lions against Ireland at Wembley as a reward for passing 100 caps, despite being fined £90,000 for his Twitter rant. England boss Roy Hodgson expected him to turn down the gesture — as he had done previously. But he shocked FA bigwigs by saying yes.

Here’s hoping England’s dark days are in the past (James Lawton, Independent) However much of it you had seen, the hooliganism that so coldly and systematically destroyed the last football match played between England and Ireland 18 years ago had a peculiar horror. It was so dismissive, so contemptuous. Football meant nothing, or at least no more than the most vulnerable stage invaded by thugs with an entirely different purpose… We can only hope that Roy Hodgson has done enough to head off the merest hint of such old embarrassment at Wembley tomorrow night.

Spurs Search Strikers: Villa & Damiao, again

Spurs eye Villa and Damiao as £30m strikeforce (Paul Jiggins, Sun) Tottenham are looking at a new £30million strikeforce of David Villa and Leandro Damiao to fire them into the top four. Spurs were last night closing in on a £10m swoop for Barcelona’s Spanish striker Villa. And they hope to follow that up by landing Brazilian Damiao for £20m.

Tottenham target Barcelona star David Villa and Porto striker Jackson Martinez as Andre Villas-Boas looks to splash out £45m (Simon Johnson, Independent) Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas plans to sign two strikers this summer in an attempt to turn the club into title challengers. Villas-Boas wants to launch an ambitious attempt to sign Porto’s 26-year-old Colombian striker Jackson Martinez as well as Barcelona’s David Villa. Spurs spent the majority of last season with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor as their only senior strikers.

Real’s Bale Pursuit

Real Madrid offer £60m for Gareth Bale (Paul Brown, Star) Real Madrid are confident they will win the battle for Gareth Bale – and have set a June 15 deadline for the deal to be done with Tottenham. The Spanish giants raised the stakes by increasing their offer for the double Player of the Year to £60m. Madrid president Florentino Perez is desperate to land a big-name signing this summer after missing out on Brazilian sensation Neymar to arch rivals Barcelona.

Everton Home In On Martinez

Martinez on brink of joining Everton after entering talks with Wigan’s blessing (Dominic King, Mail) Roberto Martinez is expected to open talks with Everton in the next 24 hours over becoming David Moyes’ successor after he resigned as Wigan manager. Martinez met Wigan owner Dave Whelan on Tuesday to inform him that he wanted to leave the DW Stadium and he will now meet Everton chairman Bill Kenwright for discussions over his suitability for the role of replacing Moyes.

Why Martinez had to leave Wigan Athletic, and what Everton would get from him (Alan Nixon, Mirror) You have to admire Martinez for his commitment to a paying style despite results that would test someone with less self-belief. Those are qualities he will need at Everton. This is a hard job for anyone, following David Moyes – the master of organised and disciplined football. The two men could hardly be more different. Moyes drilled his teams well and saw results as the goal. Martinez thinks performance matters more. Martinez is such a purist that he once said set piece goals should only count as a ‘half’ a goal. There was a hush that day. But he meant it.

Arsenal Eye Liverpool’s Skrtel After Reds’ Kolo Signing

Gunners want a bit of Skrt (Vic Holly, Sun) Arsenal are considering a £12million move for out-of-favour defender Martin Skrtel. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a long-time admirer of the Liverpool centre-back… Skrtel’s current Liverpool deal still has three years to run.

Toure completes free switch to Liverpool from Manchester City (Dominic King, Mail) Kolo Toure will officially become a Liverpool player on July 1 after he completed a medical ahead of his move to Anfield. Liverpool have agreed in principle a two-year deal with Toure, who has taken a drop in the £90,000 a week salary he was being paid by Manchester City.

Chelsea In For Jovetic

Chelsea ready to challenge Arsenal for £25m forward Stevan Jovetic (James Dickinson, Express) Chelsea are ready to go head-to-head with Arsenal for £25 million Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic… One of Mourinho’s first acts will be to launch a £25m bid to steal Jovetic from under the noses of Arsenal, with a number of the Blues striking options in the transfer market proving out of reach.

Big Spending Monaco, Flouting Financial Rules

Monaco splash out £100m on transfers despite Ligue 1 ban (Paul Doyle, Guardian) So, French football, do you really want to stop the world’s top players from coming to Ligue 1? That is the question that Monaco have effectively put to the country’s football authorities this week by agreeing to splash out around £100m on transfers despite still being banned, in theory, from taking part in Ligue 1 next season…The club from the principality may contribute little to France’s tax coffers but can the country’s football afford to shun them? The rise of Monaco under their majority owner, the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, has set practical and ethical riddles that French clubs are struggling to resolve. This burst of expenditure will focus their minds.