Chelsea Transfer Round Up: Juan Mata linked with a shock move to Barcelona - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Ever since Jose Mourinho has returned to the Chelsea managerial hot-seat for the second time around, there have been wide spread rumours that the Portuguese is not a big fan of Juan Mata and could sell him in the summer as he wants to raise funds to re-shape the squad according to his own taste.
Mata recently admitted that he is not aware of such rumours as nobody ever told him that he is unwanted at Chelsea. The Spaniard insisted that he is happy at the London club and will meet his manager after the Confederations Cup is over.
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo has published a story on their front page that claims La Liga champions Barcelona are interested in buying Mata and he is seen as a perfect replacement for David Villa, who is a target of the Premier League side Tottenham.
Barcelona could lose youngster Thiago Alcantara to Manchester United, if the Red Devils trigger his release clause of £18 million. Malaga’s highly rated prodigy Isco (target of Manchester City), Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Chelsea’s Mata are some of their preferred targets.
In other news, striker Fernando Torres has brushed off speculations linking him with Barcelona and is eager to hold talks with Mourinho.
The 29-year-old admits that he has a personal relationship with Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president but he is currently not thinking about moving elsewhere.
Torres, who is in Brazil with the Spain squad at the Confederations Cup told Onda Cero as quoted on Sky Sports:
“I look forward to talking with Mourinho and to know what plans he has for me.
“The first thing I am aware of is he will expect much more from me, I expect more from me. Now I have pressure Mourinho adds and that’s a challenge for a player.”
“I want to talk with Mourinho and then prepare for the coming season.”
Michael Zorc, Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director claims that Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne would like to join the German club.
The 21-year-old spent the last season on loan at Werder Bremen and is interested to join the Champions League runners’ up.
Zorc told Ruhr Nachrichten newspaper as quoted on Sky Sports:
“We are interested in the signature of Kevin De Bruyne. We are not at the helm in this respect, of course.
“I am, however, able to confirm the player does want to make a transfer to our club.”
To wrap the segment, Chelsea are looking to sign £10 million rated French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who plays for Sevilla. The 20-year-old, who finished his first season at the Spanish club after joining from Ligue 1 side RC Lens, has still four years left in his contract.
According to reports from the Evening Standard, Chelsea scouts have watched the defensive midfielder extensively even before Jose Mourinho was appointed and the youngster could join the club in the summer.
Fabregas reiterates his desire to stay at Barcelona - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Cesc Fabregas has insisted that he hasn’t received any concrete offers from any clubs and reiterates his desire to stay at Camp Nou.
The former Arsenal skipper’s future has been well speculated in the media while the player has been linked with a return to the Premier League.
Fabregas joined Barcelona in the summer of 2011 and won silverware with the Catalan club, but he often struggled to secure regular first team football, fueling speculations that he might leave the club in the summer.
Despite all criticisms, Fabregas has the numbers to speak for himself. The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals and racked up 12 assists for the Blaugrana in all competitions last season.
When asked about a possible move to Old Trafford, Fabregas said as quoted in the Spanish newspaper AS:
“People talk a lot but the truth is that no-one has spoken with me,”
“I want to triumph in Barcelona, that club is my home and I always dreamed of playing there, so I will try and succeed there as long as I can.”
The Spaniard also feels that it would be foolish of Real Madrid to pay a world record transfer fee for Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale.
The La Liga giants have the habit of dishing out ridiculous sums of money for top players, and recently club adviser Zinedin Zidane has hinted that the Los Blancos are ready to pay more than £80m which they paid for signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009.
“For me it seems foolish to pay 100 million euros for Gareth Bale. I don’t know how any club could spend that amount of money in these circumstances.
“He is a great player with all the right attributes, but we will have to see if Madrid sign him and if he can perform there.”
Barcelona themselves have flexed their financial muscles this summer, having already signed Brazilian superstar Neymar for €57m.
Fabregas feels that Neymar would need time to adapt here as he has come from a different footballing culture.
Arsenal have moved in to pole position to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid and have tabled a club record of £22 million offer for the striker.
The 25-year-old striker, who served the Los Blancos for seven long years, clearly stated that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.
Juventus were in negotiation with Madrid over his signature and were ready to pay up to £18.5 million for the Argentina international.
However, Madrid president Florentino Perez insisted that Higuain won’t be available for cheap and that any potential buyer will have to pay around £25 million for the striker.
Juventus are refusing to increase their bids for the Argentine and according to reports from The Evening Standard; they have switched their attentions to Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, whose future is uncertain at the club.
The 29-year-old is entering his final year of his contract, and could be available within £10 million should new manager Manuel Pellegrini sanction his departure.
That leaves Arsenal as the only bidder in the battle to sign Gonzalo Higuain and the Gunners could force the Madrid hierarchies to reduce their demands a little bit.
It is understood that Arsene Wenger has tabled a bid of around £22 million to make Higuain the first signing of the season for the Gunners.
Daily Mail also reports that the striker has privately agreed to make the switch to the Premier League with Arsenal.
Arsenal paid £15 million to Zenit St Petersburg for Andrey Arshavin in January 2009 and till date it was their record purchase, but here the deal could easily surpass that record, which only shows how desperate the Gunners are to land a quality striker.
However, Higuain’s situation is further complicated with the managerial situation at Madrid. The La Liga outfit have yet to announce their new manager, with Carlo Ancelotti expected to take charge at some point of time, though PSG are reluctant to allow him leave until they have found any suitable replacements.
The most important signing Liverpool will make this summer - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Andy Hughes, Liverpool’s new chief financial officer, could be the best appointment the club makes in any capacity this summer.
Hughes has been drafted in to over see Liverpool’s financial plans all over the world, including the redevelopment of Anfield which will increase the current capacity of the stadium up to around the 60,000 mark.
Hughes starts his role next month and he faces one of the biggest challenges in Liverpool’s history considering the unique atmosphere and tradition which currently surrounds Anfield.
It’s a job he’s well equipped for because he comes from a solid background of managing, developing and financing hotels for the Hilton Hotel brand all over the world.
“I am very proud to join Liverpool Football Club – a brand that is recognised all over the world. It’s an exciting time to be joining and there is real opportunity to further develop the club’s financial operations,” said Hughes on his appointment.
Not only can he oversee and enhance the development of Anfield, he is well placed to commercialise it, which will help the club in the long run as they are bound to incur debts in the redevelopment process.
He will also be crucial in the sponsorship and advertising processes which apply to the club all over the world and eventually with the redeveloped stadium.
That can only increase the chance the club has to reach the John Henry goal of being self-sustainable in a financial capacity, securing the short and long term future of the football club.
It’s also possible that Hughes could play a key role in the development of a hotel inside the redevelopment of the stadium, something which has been successfully completed by several other football clubs.
At the moment the redevelopment stage seems to be stalled by the fact Liverpool need to buy certain properties surrounding Anfield in order to be able to put together legitimate plans for expansion.
That’s something which the club’s managing director Ian Ayre has said remains on track and it’s something which allows the redevelopment process to begin as soon as every property has been purchased.
“Our goal is to extend Anfield but we need certainty and that comes with the acquisition of properties. Real progress has been made in acquiring them. Once they have all been acquired we will go through the planning process,” said Ayre earlier this month.
Buy the properties, get the plans approved and then the work can begin. It’s going to be a longer process overall but it’s something Liverpool fans will gladly put up with as it means they don’t have to relocate to another stadium.
The bigger stadium is something that Hughes and Ayre can encourage the club to use to increase their support base in the United Kingdom.
That not only increases the amount of money they club makes through gate receipts, it also improves the club as a brand, which makes Liverpool more appealing to sponsors all over the world.
There is naturally the chance that the new or redeveloped stadium could be sponsored in the same way it is with Manchester City and Arsenal but the fact it stays in the same place means no need for the fans to change their common association with Anfield.
Changing Anfield is without doubt one of the biggest challenges the club has ever faced but they have brought in an experienced and knowledgeable person to pull it off.
How do you think a redeveloped Anfield help Liverpool?
Joe Kinnear is already proving to be the biggest joke of the summer for Newcastle - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Joe Kinnear is a great entertainer. Just when you thought that Newcastle United are moving in the right direction (cough!), they quickly switched on their laughing-stock button, happily proving you wrong again, following the appointment of their new director of football, Mr Kinnear.
Really, what an appointment! Just 24 hours have passed since he has taken the charge (albeit unofficially), and already the 66-year-old is pushing syringes of Nitrous oxide into our veins.
The former Toon boss was greeted with widespread criticism from the Magpies’ fans but instead of clarifying his position, Kinnear went on with a foul-mouthed rant directed towards the fans and the media.
Of course, we knew, he has a problem with pronouncing names. Remember, Charles Insomnia? But we also thought, he might have corrected that disease, after long years of managerial absence.
Oh, No. We were so wrong!
He pronounced Yohan Cabaye as ‘Cabab’, managing director Derek Lambias as ‘Lambezee’, Shola Ameobi as ‘Amanobi’ and Jonas Gutierrez as ‘Gaultierez’.
Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. These are tough names to pronounce and are not mono-syllable either. Everyone can make mistake.
But what about B-e-n A-r-f-a? Kinnear pronounced his name as both ‘Ben Afrie’ and ‘Ben Afra’. Glad, Frank Lampard doesn’t play for Newcastle; otherwise he would have certainly called him Frank Lamping or something like that.
Kinnear will mainly handle the transfer side of things at Newcastle. He boasts of having extensive world-wide contacts and insisted that he has “more intelligence” than the club supporters. Kinnear was quoted in the Guardian:
“I heard a silly comment of ‘what can I attract?’ I can open the door to any manager in the world, anyone, that’s the difference.
“I’ve spent my whole life talking to [Sir] Alex Ferguson, week in, week out. I can pick the phone up at any time of the day and speak to Arsene Wenger, any manager in the league. In all the divisions.”
There you see, you’re wrong to criticize him. Kinnear claimed that he had played more than more than 400 games for Tottenham, while in reality it was 258.
Never mind. Sometimes it is better to ignore stats, when someone is blazing guns with his rant. He was quoted in the Mirror:
“Already they’re jumping on the bandwagon and saying, ‘look out, Pards’. But I expect it, it’s water off a duck’s arse.”
The above linked article was written by Simon Bird, who of all journalists probably knows how ugly Kinnear can become when he transcends in his own world of rants. Just a brief extract of what he said in October 2008 to the fellow journo. Click here to hear that infamous rant in full. Expect explicit language!
“Which one of you is Simon Bird?” Kinnear asked.
“Me,” Bird replied.
Kinnear continued: “You’re a c*nt.”
Kinnear, who claimed the responsibility of signing Tim Krul (signed by Graeme Souness) and James Perch (Chris Hughton), said he has spoken to Alan Pardew on the phone and will meet him on Tuesday for lunch.
Liverpool Transfer Round Up: Andy Carroll edges closer to Anfield exit - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Liverpool striker Andy Carroll will undergo a medical on Tuesday at West Ham United, as the £35 million striker is looking to fly back from his holiday trip in the United States to complete the formalities at Upton Park.
The Reds are left with no other options rather to sell the striker for £15 million (a huge loss, keeping in mind the investment they put in two-and-a-half years ago) to West Ham, where he played the entire last season on loan, as it became increasingly clear that he doesn’t fit into the plans of Brendan Rodgers.
Doubts cracked up over Carroll’s desire to leave the club, which made the situation complicated over the last few weeks; but as per reports from The Telegraph, the former Newcastle United player has agreed a six-year contract worth £100,000 a week to make the switch permanent.
Over to Luis Suarez and the club is getting increasingly annoyed with his pesky behaviours and interviews, where the Uruguayan is simply playing a flirting game dropping enough hints of his desire to join La Liga giants Real Madrid.
The Reds will demand a written confirmation from the player so that the club can swiftly act on this saga over his future.
Liverpool are expecting him to submit an official transfer request, reports the Daily Mail, while the club is looking to recoup a fee around £50 million if Suarez decides to leave though Madrid have yet to make any formal bid for the 26-year-old.
According to this report from the Guardian, Liverpool are edging closer to secure double deals for Sunderland goal keeper Simon Mignolet and Shakhtar Donetsk’s highly rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Reds have had their initial offer (£6.5 million) rejected for Mignolet as the Wearside club are demanding around £10 million for the Belgian, but there is a genuine optimism that a deal can still be struck.
The signing could leave an impact on Pepe Reina’s future at Anfield. The Spaniard’s agent recently stated that Reina would stay at the club amid strong interests from Barcelona and Napoli.
Liverpool are also expecting to conclude a deal for Mkhitaryan, who would cost around £22 million. The 24-year-old, who scored 25 league goals last season would be a great addition to the side and the Anfield club are hopeful about concluding the deal, although no formal offers have been placed yet for the Armenia international.
Barcelona need a central defender in the summer and according to Sport.es, the Catalan club have set their sights on Denmark international Daniel Agger.
Marseille forward André Ayew has insisted that he is a fan of Liverpool and has followed the Reds since childhood, but is currently not looking to leave the club.
And finally, Liverpool will conclude all documentations and other formalities for Iago Aspas when the transfer window opens at the end of the month, while the club will try to wrap up deals for Tiago Ilori and Luis Alberto within this week.
Since Barcelona’s 7-0 aggregate defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals last month, football in Spain has been written off by many as yesterday’s news, with Germany now the fashionable country to admire in terms of footballing philosophy.
Spain’s outstanding display against Uruguay on Sunday night, in their Confederations Cup opener in Brazil, made the world sit up and realise that they are still the best international team on the planet, however.
Vicente del Bosque’s side enjoyed over 70 per cent possession on the night, and the scoreline was actually very generous on the South American team.
Led by the sensational Andres Iniesta, who was an absolute joy to watch, the reigning World and European Champions showed the doubters that they have lost none of their attacking zest, producing football that was as good as anything Barcelona have conjured up over the last five years at times.
Goals from Pedro and Roberto Soldado sealed the victory, but it was the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets who really stole the show. Their ability to keep the ball in tight areas, with an elegance in the way they do it, was pure artistry to watch.
Perhaps these great players have been stung by the criticism aimed in their direction in recent months. The performance certainly looked like that was the case.
One of the reasons Barcelona have been found out slightly this season is because their defence has looked suspect, with Dani Alves often too far forward with dangerous opposition wide players exploiting the spaces in behind the Blaugrana‘s high line.
Spain are far more solid and consistent, however. With Iker Casillas in goal, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence and Jordi Alba and Alvaro Arbeloa at full-back, they are a very tight unit who rarely look in trouble.
Admittedly they invariably have less to do than other sides because Spain dominate so many games in terms of possession, but when they are called upon they rarely make an error.
While everybody talks about their tiki-taka style and relentless pressing game, it is easy to forget that Spain have not conceded a goal in the knockout stages of a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup. That’s 10 clean sheets in a row in important, high-pressure games.
There can be no doubt that Barcelona’s unforgettable period of dominance is over, with Bayern Munich taking over at the top of the domestic game – especially with Pep Guardiola taking over this summer – but at international level Spain are still unstoppable.
They are arguably the greatest international side of all time, and there appears to be no sign of them slowing up just yet.
While the Confederations Cup may not be the most meaningful, competitive, international tournament in the world, Spain’s opening display suggests that they will remain the team to beat at next summer’s World Cup.
Those Spain doubters may just have to eat some humble pie for the foreseeable future.
Gundogan won’t rule out a Manchester United switch - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan hasn’t ruled out the possibility of joining Manchester United at some point in the future.
Gundogan has been one of Dortmund’s stand out players in recent times and one of the Jurgen Klopp crop tipped for a move away from the German giants this summer.
However, any Dortmund fans out there worried about his departure can rest easy because he’s revealed he’s not planning on jumping ship any time soon.
However, he’s left the door open on a move to England further down the line, which should alert the interest of Manchester United if they are serious about trying to sign him.
“Everyone has a childhood dream on what he would like to achieve on day and my dream always was to play in England or Spain,” he told German newspaper Bild.
It puts David Moyes into a very tricky situation at Manchester United because they need a central midfield player right now, as opposed to having to wait for one.
Gundogan’s numbers last season were competitive although not majorly impressive with three goals and three assists in 28 Bundesliga games for his German club.
Waiting means United risk not only the chance of signing him but the chance that he’ll be substantially more expensive when he is available.
It’s not impossible that United may have moved on by the time he becomes available from Borussia Dortmund, as the club can’t afford to wait around several years when the position in the United squad needs improving right now.
There is also a more substantial chance that Gundogan’s transfer will be more competitive when he is ready to move on and United may not be in a position where they can justify paying well over the odds for him.
“Next season I will definitely play for Borussia Dortmund. Where do we go then, you will see,” he added.
His current contract with Borussia Dortmund is set to expire in the summer of 2015 which means next summer only two things can happen.
He will either be sold by Borussia Dortmund and that’s when United can pounce or he’ll extend his current contract with the club beyond that 2015 cut off point.
If it’s the later than it signals the end of United’s interest because they are too big a club and under too much pressure to simply sit around and wait for this transfer to happen.
For more transfer stories, keep checking the Premier League transfers page.
Who will get the sack first? David Moyes or Manuel Pellegrini - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini have both just started their journeys with Manchester United and Manchester City respectively but they are under different types of pressure with different sets of expectation.
David Moyes signed a four-year deal at United as the Old Trafford club look to seek out longevity following the 26-year reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.
United fans need to accept that Moyes is a long term signing and resist the urge to call for his head if things don’t go according to the plans they’ve become used to during his first season in charge of the club.
Manuel Pellegrini by contrast seems to be an appointment aimed at shaping the future of the club but also maintaining the recent success that Manchester City have become used to because of their wealth.
Pellegrini has wasted no time with his comments about various things he believes the club can win, which isn’t exactly the right sort of noise to make if you want to protect your position for a very long time.
“It was not successful this time but I am sure in the next years we will win — maybe the Premier League, the Champions League. But we’ll try to win the lot,” said Pellegrini following his appointment.
Both clubs expect the highest standards but Moyes looks to have time on his side whereas Pellegrini seems more focused on short term success over shaping and changing the future of the club.
The expectations of the fans are also very different and needs to be taken into consideration.
A lot of United supporters will still be very much in ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’ mode and those are the fans Moyes has to work very hard to overcome.
The club’s chances of winning trophies next season and beyond have been altered by Ferguson’s retirement but they have the same squad in place, which was good enough to win the league last year.
United fans won’t want to see any backwards progress, it’s all about maintaining their current position, making sensible signings this summer and then moving forward next season.
For City fans it’s different because all they seem to want is success over United in any way, shape or form.
If Pellegrini can put trophies in the cabinet, he’ll have the fans on his side and he’ll have the backing of officials at the club.
Again, it’s more of a short term vision but City fans will be expecting the club to go big again next season and that means winning things. Changes do need to be made to the basic infrastructure of the club but that’s not a main concern of fans.
If Pellegrini throws some cash at high profile transfers and maintains the clubs chances of winning silverware, the fans will be happy.
In terms of realistic chances of winning trophies, United have as good a chance as any other English club next season.
Ferguson is leaving behind a good core group of players that Moyes can work with across all competitions; the Premier League, the Champions League and domestic cup competitions.
They are under pressure to win something but Moyes will be safe if they don’t, by contrast if City fail to win anything following Pellegrini’s outrageous arrogance then he will more than likely face the chop long before the Old Trafford boss.
Who do you think will go first?
Is Joe Kinnear really a ‘very good judge of players’? - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Joe Kinnear’s transfer history as manager of Newcastle United didn’t exactly set the world alight during his brief spell in charge of the club during 2008 and 2009.
For some bizarre reason he’s been drafted in by Mike Ashley as the Director of Football at the club, making Alan Pardew’s eight-year contract look pointless but more significantly increasing further chances of poor transfer business.
“I will have the final say on transfers. My job will be to find players that will improve the club,” he said on his appointment.
Kinnear oversaw four deals during his time as Newcastle manager before his contract ended and there were two decent players coming in but his decision making in terms of letting players go was questionable.
Kevin Nolan and Ryan Taylor both joined the club under his managerial reign and formed two very respectable signings.
Indeed Nolan furthered his reputation as one of the best midfielders in the country and for some reason was moved on to West Ham United just two years later, joining West Ham in 2011.
Where the news will probably concern Newcastle fans majorly is the players that Kinnear let go during his time in charge; Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia.
Given was highly rated and regarded as possibly the best goalkeeper in the Premier League during his time at the club and Kinnear allowed him to join Manchester City rather than putting up a more sever fight to keep him as the number one at St James Park.
“I believe I’m a very good judge of players, a good tactician and I intend to make Newcastle far better than they are now,” he added.
His decision to let Charles N’Zogbia leave the club as a 23-year-old after spells of inconsistency in the North East would certainly suggest otherwise.
The French winger has since gone on to be one of the most important attacking players for Aston Villa and his departure was embroiled in what seemed like personal issues Kinnear had with the player.
The issue seemed to lay at the heart of an apparent desire by N’Zogbia to force a move away from Newcastle United, which led to less than flattering comments, eventually resulting in the exit that everyone seemed to want.
The problem is Newcastle lost an extremely talented player and attacking midfielder, with good basic skills because of the individual they have now given control of transfers to.
Whatever the motives were behind Ashley’s decision to bring back Kinnear, it doesn’t seem to have gone down well.
The writing also appears to be on the wall for Alan Pardew in terms of his position at the club because Kinnear is now going to tell him who he can have rather than Pardew being allowed to say who he wants.
It’s only going to end one way and that’s with the exit of Pardew who is bound to be undermined in several ways, more so than he already has been.
How Manuel Pellegrini is setting himself up for a big fall at Manchester City - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Manuel Pellegrini has only just been confirmed as Manchester City’s new manager and he’s already ruffling feathers in the new role.
If winning over neutrals was one of his main ambitions as Manchester City boss then he’s not doing a very good job because he’s made some big, bold claims over what City will win next season.
In short, he expects them to win the Premier League with the Champions League being the club’s other priority, setting himself up for a very big fall if he doesn’t make good on the promises.
“Everyone knows if you arrive at a club like Manchester City you need to win titles – I am sure we are going to win – maybe the Premier League, the Champions League. We will try to win a lot,” he told ManCityTV.
If he thinks it’s going to be as easy as his comments imply then he is greatly misguided and has been severely blinded by his spell with Malaga in La Liga.
Pellegrini is going to be seriously challenged for the title by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and David Moyes with Manchester United.
Mourinho guarantees success wherever he goes and the expectation with the Blues next season is going to be getting back to the top of English football.
He’s also a tactician who is more than capable of taking apart any system Pellegrini puts before him in a match between Chelsea and Manchester City next season.
Moyes is going to have a tough job getting Manchester United to maintain recent expectations and dominance over Manchester City but it’s more than capable.
Moyes has an edge over Pellegrini in the respect that he knows English football having just moved to Old Trafford after 11 years with Everton.
He knows all the tricks in the book, has seen all of the different tactics and systems managers use to get the better of his sides and he knows how to counter those tactics in high pressure situations.
“With Malaga I reached the quarterfinal of the Champions League, with Villarreal also and the semi-final. All my experience will be very useful for me,” he added.
That European experience will be needed because City have not performed well since their wealth pushed them into the folds of the best tournament in European football.
City struggled massively in the Champions League last season and they are a target for all clubs, both high and low profile, that would like nothing more than to City confined to another season in the group stages.
Pellegrini already has fans wanting him to fail and he’s already put himself under a lot of pressure.
He’s made all of the right noises as far as City fans and club officials are concerned but if he doesn’t deliver on what he’s just said the club are capable of, he’ll be shown the same amount of loyalty and time as Roberto Mancini.
How do you think City will get on next season?
Footballers on Holiday 2013 – ‘The Boys of Summer’ - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
It’s the holiday season for the professional footballer. A time to slip off the boots, slither out of the muddy jersey, and jet off on a hard-earned vacation of sand, sea, and hard-earned recuperation. Fans will be flocking to Twitter to see the sneaky snaps of their favourite stars in unfamiliar territory.
Be it in a rather revealing pair of trunks on a far-flung beach; sipping champagne on a luxury yacht with their mates; or enjoying good, wholesome family time with their loved ones; the pro footballer’s vast wage-packet easily allows for a tailor-made, dream excursion.
Cristiano Ronaldo, always one for the shorter of shorts, has been spotted lounging like a fat cat aboard just such a yacht with some close friends in Miami.
The Portuguese flyer has been the subject of some curious musings in the rumour-mill, of which are included a massive-money move to the ominously wealthy, AS Monaco; as well as a shock return to Manchester United this summer. Yet, these concerns seem to have been temporarily banished in the Miami heat.
United’s current stars are themselves, enjoying exuberant getaways of their own. Danny Welbeck has cropped up in Ibiza, seen with some female companions as he unwinds from a successful Premier League campaign. Jonny Evans has been found in Barbados, enjoying a romantic getaway with his new bride, MUTV presenter Helen McConnell.
Tom Cleverley washed up in Bangkok this summer, ‘hash-tagging’ his love for Thai cuisine, while celebrating the birth of his new daughter, Nevaeh Rose.
Holiday photos can sometimes lead to dire repercussions, as Chelsea man, Ashley Cole may discover after he was photographed smoking while living-it-up in LA with some pals.
Returning boss, Jose Mourinho, is known to be a demanding coach, and no boss would stand for such flagrant displays of unhealthiness; especially if further reports that he is chain-smoking with abandon turn out to be true. A source told the Daily Mail,
“Ashley always smokes heavily during his annual summer holiday in LA. Even some of his friends have told him it is stupid.
“He has been spotted smoking before, but Mourinho wasn’t his boss then. He is known for expecting the best standards from his players and will not be impressed.”
Cole is regarded as one of the very best full-backs in the world, and his success has been arguably built upon his extraordinary athleticism. Ash may have his knuckles rapped on his return to Stamford Bridge, as any sort of complacency will surely not be tolerated by the ‘Happy One’, as we saw with his dealings with Real Madrid stalwart, Iker Casillas last season.
Some of Cole’s Chelsea and England teammates have opted for a more conservative approach to their time away from the field. Frank Lampard, with fiancée Christine Bleakley in tow, chose Ibiza like Welbeck, and have enjoyed lavish dinners, and relaxing boat rides in the sun.
John Terry, holidaying in Portugal, also hopped aboard a boat – a £430,000 boat to be exact – and rumour has it that the former England captain is looking to buy his own yacht outright. He can certainly afford it, what with his £150,000-a-week pay-check.
If the highly unlikely were to happen in the transfer window, he could watch the Monaco Grand Prix from it, if he so wishes…
Perhaps quite aptly away from the glamorous, sun-soaked destinations, we find the much-maligned, Marko Marin. The German winger endured a torrid first season at Chelsea, and decided on a city break to Belgrade instead of an island paradise.
A snap with 007 legend, Pierce Brosnan is his offering on the world’s social networks, and he may well be hoping his chance meet with the actor somehow heralds the arrival of glad tidings for the coming season, or that he may die another day, if you would pardon the pun.
The Arsenal lot have hopped over to Vegas, with Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott experiencing the sweaty embrace of the sweltering ‘Sin City’. Wilshere was not part of the dismal England U-21 campaign in the European Championships in Israel, with the midfield man opting for ankle-surgery to avoid burnout.
England and Arsenal will both be hoping that this, along with his holidays, will bring a fit, fully-charged Wilshere back into the action next season.
It has not been all pedalos and sunburn for every player however, as the Confederations Cup is in full swing in Brazil, and with impressive squads being hauled over to South America, many top players will be having a tiring summer of activity.
The man-of-the-moment, Neymar, only took three minutes to remind the world that his is an awesome talent, and Barcelona are lucky to have acquired yet another brilliant Brazilian to add to their ranks.
With the likes of (the real) Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Romario, and Ronaldinho having donned the Barca colours in recent years, Neymar has an illustrious history to live up to. Something tells me he will simply take it in his swagger.
But soon we will be back to the weekly, 90-minute battles of the football season; us football fans’ lifeblood. The tans will fade, the foreign coins will be stashed in a drawer, and the blow-up floats will be deflated.
But for now, the uncertainty bred from yet another fascinating transfer window will surely keep us occupied, along with the respective international tournaments. Football never takes a break, and us patrons are glad for it.
What does the Ferguson and Mourinho ‘secret pact’ mean for United and Chelsea? - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Jose Mourinho has spoken of a pact between himself and Sir Alex Ferguson which suggests the pair share secrets and close guarded issues which have repercussions for both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Mourinho has just revealed how he knew about Ferguson’s retirement before plenty of others and how he was very open with the former United boss over how he wanted to leave Real Madrid and go back to Stamford Bridge.
“I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago and I was so happy to have his trust. It was big news for the world. I can imagine that just a very close circle around him knew that and it was a big responsibility,” he told the Guardian.
The news means that while Ferguson holds some sort of role in any capacity at Old Trafford, Mourinho will have to encounter him when it comes to any dealings with the club.
Where that is most contemporary is the case of Wayne Rooney with the Manchester United striker being linked with a summer move to West London.
Ferguson managed during a spell where he encountered two Wayne Rooney transfer requests combined with bringing the striker to United for a huge fee as a teenager from Everton.
Ferguson is a better judge than most when it comes to players and how disruptive they can be at a club and he holds all the power in terms of being able to put Mourinho off from signing Rooney.
That is a very important aspect for United in keeping him on as a director because regardless of Rooney’s character or nature, he remains a very important player for David Moyes looking ahead to next season.
As far as Chelsea are concerned, that is definitely something that works against them rather than this positive relationship working in their favour.
The apparent pact of trust also goes a long way to dispelling the myth that Mourinho was considered too unstable or too arrogant to be able to follow sir Alex Ferguson as the manager of Manchester United.
Ferguson’s decision to opt for David Moyes as his successor doesn’t seem to have been based on the fact that United were never going to get Mourinho, it seems to be based on the fact that he never wanted to ideally go to Old Trafford.
“Of course I told him. For Chelsea, I would turn down every job in the world,” he added.
Ferguson is now in the unique position where he’s under less pressure and can even grill his friend in London for little snippets of information he can give to David Moyes to try and get an edge over Chelsea next season.
Which team will benefit more, Chelsea or Manchester United?
Confederations Cup preview: Spain, Brazil and Italy favourites - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
The 2013 Confederations Cup kicks off this weekend in Brazil, with a number of the favourites for next year’s World Cup taking part. The mini-tournament only features eight teams, but the hosts, Spain and Italy will look to flex their muscles ahead of the real event next summer.
The trio of traditional giants are clearly keen to win the tournament, as all three have selected all but full-strength squads. If you fancy a bet on an outsider, the likes of Japan, Mexico or Uruguay will give good online betting odds, but chances are that it will be one of the big three that win the tournament.
Hosts Brazil have swapped managers and now have Scolari back at the helm. It is important that the home nation put in a good showing to build confidence ahead of next year’s competition, and the new coach has picked a squad capable of winning the tournament.
Although Internacional forward Leandro Damiao is unavailable through injury, all the other big names are there with the exception of omitted Kaka and Ronaldinho. Neymar, Oscar, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Hulk, Lucas Moura – the list of talent available to Luiz Felipe Scolari for the Confederations Cup is enviable.
Italy have been drawn alongside Brazil in Group A, and have also looked to take their best players to the competition. There is no off-season rest for mercurial veteran Andrea Pirlo, who is joined by seven of his Serie A winning Juventus club teammates. Mario Balotelli will look to makes amends for a recent red card, and Cesare Prandelli also has AC Milan star Stephan El Shaarawy in his contingent.
Spain go into this and every tournament nowadays as the team to beat. Although Xabi Alonso will miss out, the other big names such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi and company are in attendance. 13 of the 23 players selected play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid, while seven play in the Premier League. Fernando Torres and Roberto Soldado are the designated strikers, making the cut ahead of Alvaro Negredo.
All in all it should be an interesting and exciting Confederations Cup. Tahiti get a chance to mix it with the big boys, while the hosts will be out to prove a point, and deliver success on home soil in this World Cup warm up.
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Will Rybolovlev’s Riches Reap Rewards for Revitalized Monaco? - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
While the future is filled with promise for AS Monaco now, this time a decade ago, it was very much up in the air.
For much of the last couple of decades of the 20th century, Monaco were a fixture at the top of French football. They were there before Marseille’s run of dominance started in the late 1980s, stayed steady in the top three during OM’s five-year run at the top, and scaled the summit again after it all came crashing down for Marseille in 1993.
In 23 seasons between 1977 and 2000, Monaco captured five first division titles, captured three Coupe de France crowns, and finished in the top four 18 times.
Under the leadership of club legend Claude Puel, Monaco captured their most recent title in 2000, with the strike duo of Marco Simone and David Trezeguet combining for 43 goals. However, in the close season, Trezeguet and three other key pieces of the triumph – Fabien Barthez, Willy Sagnol, and Sabri Lamouchi – all departed, and this is where the trouble started.
Following two awful seasons – their two worst seasons since relegation in 1976 – ASM’s finances were brought into full focus, and it wasn‘t a pretty picture. In October 2002, it was reported that Monaco had to borrow €180 million to cover debts related to their recent failures.
With one early Champions League exit followed by consecutive failures to make it back, much-needed millions were missed out on. Sure, the sales of Barthez, Trezeguet, Sagnol, John Arne Riise, and several others post-title brought in a lot of money, but Monaco invested heavily to build and rebuild, and the royal family didn’t do nearly as much to keep the coffers well in good stead as outsiders might have thought.
Meanwhile, fortunes on the pitch began to trend upward again. An 11th-place finish and Champions League and domestic cup failure brought about the end of Puel’s tenure a year after the title, and in came former France captain Didier Deschamps, who hung up his boots at 32 and immediately stepped into the role.
After finishing 15th in his first season and starting slowly in his second, things came together, and despite a large, dark, €50 million plus debt cloud hanging overhead, there was an emergence as a leading contender in a packed title race and a cup run to boot.
The title charge continued well into May, when a 3-1 defeat at Guingamp in the penultimate round handed Lyon their second of seven successive successes. But a runner-up finish was a massive improvement, and in the same month, Sochaux were brushed aside comprehensively in the Coupe de la Ligue final. With a talented, fairly youthful core in place, there should have been a lot to look forward to.
But shortly after the close of the season, the DNCG – the financial arm of the LFP, French professional football’s governing body – dealt what could have been a mortal blow, ordering Monaco to be relegated to Ligue 2 after failing to receive satisfactory assurances about the club‘s financial plight.
Fortunately, the royal family stepped in to save the day, and the decision was overturned on appeal. They were allowed to remain in the top flight and keep their automatic place in the group stage of that next season’s Champions League, but the reprieve came with a restriction on player movement into the club.
That could have proven quite troublesome when striker Shabani Nonda went down in late August with what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury (it wasn‘t, as he would return in April). Available on loan, however, was Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes, a three-time Champions League winner.
Cloud, silver lining, light, dark tunnel, etc. Morientes would score nine Champions League goals, including two vital quarterfinal strikes against parent club Real and a decisive goal against Chelsea in the semis, topping the competition’s scoring charts as Monaco stunningly reached the final.
In the final, they met another unexpected finalist in Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto side. After a bright start, captain and creative force Ludovic Giuly was forced off with a groin injury, and the tide soon turned. Porto scored three without reply, bringing a bitter end to what had been an amazing run.
To compound their misery, while they had been flourishing in Europe, they were floundering domestically. Once again, they entered the final months of the season well-positioned for the Ligue 1 title, and once again, they faltered and were overtaken down the stretch by Lyon (and by PSG, who nipped ahead to finish second).
The best could have been on the horizon, but the key characters didn’t stick around long enough to see if they could take that next step, and the positive momentum quickly faded. After several indifferent seasons, their luck finally ran out two years ago. They were closer to average than awful, but too many draws and too few goals and wins proved to be their downfall.
A draw at home to Lyon would’ve been enough for a last-day escape had SM Caen lost at home to Marseille, but Caen held on for a 2-2 draw, and Lyon scored twice in the last 25 minutes to win 2-0 and send ASM down to the second tier.
Fast forward to the present, and not only are Monaco back in the top flight, they’re armed and aiming to do much more, led by the wealth of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
When Rybolovlev completed his purchase of a majority stake in the club in December 2011, a second successive relegation looked much more likely than a quick return to the top flight. It took eight rounds to record the season’s first win, and that would be the only win in 18 matches before the takeover.
With the aid of the Russian, they went on to finish 8th and comfortably safe, and this past season, they topped the table for most of the way and secured the title with a round to spare.
Now, instead of simply trying to consolidate a Ligue 1 place, Rybolovlev is thinking much, much bigger and flashing the cash to back up his ambitions. The transfer bill is already well past the €100 million mark, and there’s more to come. Porto duo João Moutinho and James Rodríguez were signed for a combined €70 million, but the move that’s made the most waves is a €60 million deal for finisher extraordinaire Radamel Falcao.
Among the names on the club’s purported shopping list for the remainder of the summer are Hulk, ASM old boy Patrice Evra and his Manchester United teammate Nani, Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, Galatasaray keeper Fernando Muslera, and last but not least, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Monaco’s previous Rybolovlev-era moves garnered a fair amount of attention, most notably their attempt to land Roberto Mancini before having to settle for renowned builder Claudio Ranieri, but by comparison, that was a mere ripple compared to the attention that’s now focused squarely upon them. And beyond no shortage of initial sniggers and snipes of jealousy and incredulity, there are many legitimate and understandable questions.
Is it the “right” approach? Perhaps not for the purists, but in this situation, it’s the only one there was ever going to be. A consideration of Rybolovlev‘s track record for extravagant personal spending and the intent that the club‘s shown since immediately after his takeover, and it looks a lot less shocking. And, there’s something more than a little fitting about a club based in Monaco exhibiting such flash and ambition.
An extension of the above is whether Monaco’s spending, and PSG’s along with it, is “good” or “bad” for Ligue 1. To fully dive into this would take much more than a few sentences, but here’s the short(ish) answer: When it’s time to negotiate a new TV deal (the present rights deal expires in 2016), the possibility is very high that those negotiations will end with far more positive feelings than last time.
The presence of top talents like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Falcao, and others that follow can only boost international interest, and success in Europe – which has been rare for Ligue 1 – will do that as well.
Yes, the presence of two teams with far superior talent makes it harder for everyone else to reach the top, but the most talented team doesn’t always come out on top (to use a couple of the most recent examples in Ligue 1, Nantes were not the most talented team when they won the title in 2001, and Montpellier weren’t last year), and money talks, money talks, money talks.
And this is why you’ll see Monaco’s current confrontation with the LFP end with a solution that is at least somewhat satisfying for both sides. To this point, both have played hardball and played a little he said/she said out of principle/stubbornness, but it‘s unlikely to continue.
For all that they’re spending, are they spending aimlessly? While their list of signings and reported targets looks a lot like a “Six Degrees of Jorge Mendes” game, there’s a method to the madness. Look down that list, and there’s a distinct lack of 30-something/past-it names. Immediate success is no doubt an aim, but there also looks to be the desire to form a core that can be built upon. And if worse comes to worst, there will be no shortage of salable assets.
What about the players who brought the club back to the top flight? There will be departures, sure. That would be the case even if the budget was much smaller. But several will, at the very least, provide quality depth next season, and there are also some real gems in the bunch.
The development and success of young talent, homegrown or acquired, was key to Monaco’s success in the past, and at present, there’s a bevy of gifted young attackers at the club, from new recruit Rodriguez, to Argentine teenager Lucas Ocampos, last summer’s big buy, and academy product Valère Germain.
So what about FFP? ASM should know all too well that the DNCG runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to keeping league clubs in line financially, so enough said there, even if there some question how a club that can‘t come close to filling the cozy Stade Louis II will stay above water in the long run.
Or what about the potential that Rybolovlev could cut and run whenever he feels like it? He speaks like a man who’s thinking beyond the short term, and while his wealth will take a hit whenever his divorce from wife Elena is finalized, the settlement she’ll receive shouldn’t affect his commitment to the club.
The biggest question of all, ultimately, if this will be where Ranieri is finally able to fulfill in the glaring holes on his CV and reach the heights that have eluded him to date. Whatever happens, his previous experiences with a billionaire Russian owner should have him well prepared.
His last season at Chelsea was Roman Abramovich’s first, as despite leading Chelsea to the aforementioned semifinal against Monaco -their first-ever Champions League semifinal – and second in the Premier League – their best First Division/Premier League finish in almost 50 years – his position was the subject of heavy speculation all season, and the inability to turn nine-figure spending into tangible success gave Abramovich a good excuse to dump him out and replace him with Mourinho.
Fortunately for Ranieri, Rybolovlev appears to be more committed to him than Abramovich ever was, and he also appears to have a realistic view in regards to expectations for next season. Time will tell if that remains the case, because football management and job security don’t exactly go hand in hand.
But if Rybolovlev is indeed a forward thinker, Ranieri will have more than the upcoming season to show where he can take the club… unless Deschamps or Arsene Wenger decide they’d be interested in returning to the scene of their first managerial successes.
There are no guarantees that this ambition will lead to the desired results. Anything, including spectacular failure, is possible. But for a club that’s had its share of great moments, the chances are high that the best days are ahead.
Andre Schurrle becomes Mourinho’s first signing as Chelsea manager - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Jose Mourinho has completed his first signing of his second spell at Chelsea with the capture of Bayer Leverkusen’s highly rated young attacking midfielder, Andre Schurrle for a reported transfer fee of £18 million.
Chelsea have been targeting the 22-year-old for over a year while the deal was at an advanced stage for several months now.
According to reports from The Guardian, Leverkusen didn’t want to confirm the deal without finding any proper replacement. On Thursday afternoon, the Bundesliga outfit confirmed the signature of attacking midfielder Son Heung-min, who had joined from Hamburg and soon after Chelsea released a statement on their website that the German star will be joining them subject to completion of a medical.
The club statement read:
“Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen have reached an agreement for the transfer of Andre Schurrle, subject to the completion of legal documentation and related matters, including personal terms and passing a medical.”
The Blues also explored the options of including Belgium winger Kevin De Bruyne into the deal as a part exchange offer. De Bruyne, who joined in the January transfer window of 2012 from KRC Genk has yet to play for the London club and spent the last season on loan at Werder Bremen.
The 21-year-old youngster is looking to seal a permanent move to Borussia Dortmund with Schalke 04 also interested in signing him.
Schurrle can play through the middle and on the left or right side of the pitch and in expected to add dynamism to an already star studded squad. The versatile winger is at his dangerous best when he operates from the left hand side of the midfield, where his natural tendency is to cut in on to his favoured right foot.
The youngster, who came through the youth academy at Mainz 05, where he was groomed under the watchful eye of Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, has scored seven goals in 24 appearances for his country.
Liverpool have confirmed that a deal has been agreed for Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas, who will become their second signing of the summer transfer window.
The 25-year-old would join the club for €9 million (£7.6m) once all the documentation process is over, reports The Guardian. The Spaniard, who can play through the middle or out left wide, completed his medical on Merseyside earlier this week. A club statement read:
“Liverpool have tonight agreed a deal in principle with Celta Vigo for striker Iago Aspas, subject to documentation being completed.
“Aspas can play through the middle or out wide and he could become Brendan Rodgers’s second signing of the summer transfer window following a deal for Kolo Toure.”
Aspas was one of the star performers for Celta this season, scoring 12 goals for his boyhood club and helped them to avoid relegation on the final day.
It has been reported that Aspas was so desperate to join the Anfield club that he even cancelled his summer holiday. He said:
“I was forced to cancel my holiday in the Caribbean, but the reason I did more than justifies why.
“When I heard of Liverpool’s interest I did not hesitate even for a minute.
“Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world and although I had offers from Italy and Portugal and other countries I decided my future was in English football.”
Defence has been one of the major areas for the Reds that needs reinforcement in the summer, but Brendan Rodgers also insisted the importance of bolstering the attacking front as he targets “20 more goals” to his team.
The Reds are also looking to finalize deals for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori and Seville’s Luis Alberto, both are expected to join in coming weeks.
The club is also preparing for few exodus as well. Defender Martin Skrtel, goal keeper Pepe Reina and star striker Luis Suarez, could all be sold in this transfer window, though no official bids have been received for the aforementioned players.
Lionel Messi has everything going his way in his career and he is only a World Cup win away from being widely regarded as the all-time best player to have graced the game. His club career is undoubtedly unmatched and the fans love him. Back home, he is not any less of a celebrity.
But all that is about to be tainted. The crime prosecutors in the eastern region of Catalonia have accused Lionel and his father, Jorge, of fraud totaling more than €4 million (£3.4m). The Argentines have been alleged to have filed fraudulent tax returns for four years from 2006 to 2009.
According to the allegations, the fraud started before Messi came of age and while his father was in charge of his financial affairs. A complex netowrk of companies based in Britain, Switzerland, Belize and Uruguay were used to keep his income out of the sight of tax authorities. The authories told the Spanish news agency, EFE:
“The initiative to commit fraud came from his father.”
Although the court has yet to decide whether it will open a case against the four-in-a-row Ballon d’Or winner but tax prosecutors have lodged a writ at a court near Messi’s residence in Spain.
According to EFE, the punishment for the three separate crimes the two are accused of is six years in jail, with a fine six times the defrauded amount.
On his Facebook page, Messi made a status update in response to the accusations, he wrote:
“We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about the news, because we have never committed any infringement.
“We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”
Messi is one of the world’s highest-paid footballers. Forbes have listed him as the world’s tenth highest earning athlete – raking in $20.3 million (£12.96m) and an additional $21 million (£13.41m) in endorsements; a total of $41.3 million. He’s the third highest earning footballer, behind Cristiano Ronaldo ($44m) and David Beckham ($47.2m).
If the court decides to open a case against Lionel Messi immediately, he may have to return to Spain. Though it seems the court might just wait until he returns to Barcelona. As mentioned in his statement on Facebook (hard to believe Facebook is now a legitimate source, isn’t it?), he will have his tax consultants sort this out.
Lets just hope for the best while the situation gets clarified. Meanwhile, give us your verdict in the comments below.
Jesus Navas spent ten years of his playing career at Sevilla. He evaded many top European clubs’ offers to stay at the La Liga side mainly down to his issues with homesickness. Thanks to an unnamed psychologist, Manchester City were able to acquire his services for a fee of £14.9 million for four years.
Navas has made nearly 400 appearances for the La Liga side. He joined Sevilla’s youth academy at the age of 15 and worked his way up to the senior first team. His performances did not go unnoticed at the national level as he was called up for international duty in 2009. He has made 23 appearances for Spain and helped them win the 2010 World and Euro 2012.
Whether his move from sunny Seville to Manchester go well with his homesickness is still to be seen. But Man City have made the gamble which could cost them even more over the course of the season. Reportedly, the total transfer fee could sum up to £17.6 million.
Commenting on his move to England, Jesus Navas told Manchester City’s official site:
“Manchester City is an exciting project and this is the right moment for me to take this step.
“I’m very happy with the opportunity and the decision.”
Talking about the Premier League and football at City, Jesus Navas told City’s website:
“The Premier League is a competition where the football is very fast and will suit the way I play. I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m going to a great club in England and I want to continue developing my game there. The club has put a lot of faith in me and I want to repay them out on the pitch.”
Jesus Navas arrived at Manchester City with one very clear aim: to win the Champions League. Sitting in a City shirt, the 27-year-old winger told City TV:
“I’ve won some important title with Sevilla, but the Champions League is something you always have in mind. And also to enjoy the Premier League and have a really strong year.”
Navas claims that extensive counselling has helped him put his personal anxieties to rest; which had kept him from making a move away from Sevilla. He said:
“I think I’ll be fine. I love what I do, which is to play football, and for me the most important thing is to enjoy it as much as possible, because we have a great squad.
“Well, considering everything, it was the confidence that I could play there and the trust is that I’m very happy to play for such a big club. “
Navas is not the only signing to arrive at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City have paid £35.2 million to Shakhtar Donetsk to sign the Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho.
To make room for the new signings on the wage bill, City have let Kolo Toure and Wayne Bridge walk out on a free transfer to Liverpool and Reading respectively. Moreover, forgotten striker Roque Santa Cruz’s contract has not been renewed by the club administration.
Since Roberto Mancini was relieved of his duties, Manchester City have not appointed a replacement for him as yet. Manuel Pellegrini’s arrival is said to be imminent since he left Malaga but nothing has been finalised yet. It makes one wonder, who is actually controlling the transfer activity of the club.
Andre Villas-Boas is being tipped to turn his back on Tottenham Hotspur and become the new manager of French giants Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth £40 million.
With Carlo Ancelotti due to complete a move to Real Madrid this summer, it opens up one of the most exciting managerial jobs in European football.
PSG strolled to the French league title last season but seem keen to get their next permanent manager in place so they can compete against Monaco, spending big money in the transfer market.
However, there are several reasons the links to AVB are flawed and here are five of the main ones.
AVB has unfinished business with Tottenham when it comes to the top four in the Premier League and subsequently the Champions League.
He seems driven and determined to turn Tottenham into a consistent top four side, which would make it remarkable why he’d leave after failure at the first time of trying since he took over at White Hart Lane.
He has a point to prove, he’s well liked and he’s backed by the higher powers at the club suggesting he’s not going to move on until he’s completed his checklist of targets for Spurs.
His Chelsea past is an obvious reason why it would be a bad idea for him to go to PSG.
AVB lost the dressing room very early on during his days at Chelsea, which affected the results and eventually saw him sacked less than a year after Roman Abramovich had paid Porto to get him.
PSG are a big club filled with egos. AVB is a very particular manager with a precise way of doing things.
If he makes a mistake with one of the bigger players, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as soon as he goes to PSG it would mean his tenure being over before it’s even begun and a repeat of his Chelsea nightmare.
Daniel Levy seems to be one of the most difficult chairmen in football to do business with if you’re an outside party trying to take something away from Spurs, which they don’t want to let go.
Levy would make it very difficult for AVB to leave the club because he realises how important he is to everything that Tottenham are trying to achieve at the moment.
Levy certainly wouldn’t make any deal easy for PSG, lengthening out the negotiation process to ensure that the club get the maximum value possible financially for their manager.
In short, he could make PSG take the view that the deal is more hassle than it’s worth when there are other easier coaches dotted around Europe to poach away.
If Bale is wearing a Tottenham shirt next season then a large part of that will be down to Villas-Boas.
If AVB leaves for France, it means a virtual certainty that Bale will pack up his things, sign a deal with Real Madrid and head off to the Spanish capital.
Bale’s significance and importance to Tottenham has been clearly demonstrated this season as he’s carried the side at times, scoring goals in a new attacking position and he owes it all to the Portuguese coach.
Spurs can’t afford to let AVB leave because if he did, they wouldn’t benefit from his various contacts in Portuguese football.
Tottenham are still linked with the high profile transfer of players such as Jackson Martinez and Christian Atsu who would be significantly harder for the North London club to sign if AVB wasn’t their boss.
Tottenham have seen several Porto players snub them and join Monaco, which means they need any advantage they can get because the targets who are still at Villas-Boas’ former club have become rarer and more exclusive.
What do you make of the AVB to PSG rumours and speculation?