Morning all. Throughout January Soccerlens is going to be bringing you a daily round-up of the morning’s various goings-on. Be it juicy morsels of spurious transfer gossip or real, actual bona fide news, rest assured, we’ll have it covered.
Here’s this morning’s batch.
Mourinho exit on the cards?…
According to the Daily Mirror, coach Jose Mourinho is ‘prepared to quit’ Real Madrid at the end of the season, after reaching the end of his tether with sporting director Jorge Valdano – whom our Portuguese protagonist deems to not be doing his job entirely efficiently.
Stuck without a replacement striker for long-term lay-off Gonzalo Higuain, Mourinho apparently handed his immediate superior (in job title only) a lengthy list of potential targets several weeks ago, though none have materialised – with poor old Mou having to make do with just €30 million’s worth of Karim Benzema to tide him over.
“I am not the one to talk to about the strikers. I did all that in pre-season, when I said we needed more than two, and in November, when we all knew [Valdano] needed to give Higuain time to recover.
So I am not saying anything. You can speak to the people who send out the messages. I’ve got to where I am because I think for myself. I’m too old for them to send me messages in newspapers.
I’m a dinosaur and don’t go for that. I make my choices and if I have questions, I ask for advice from my staff.”
Rather inevitably, the Mirror also speculate that the ‘Special One’ may be set for a return to the Premier League in order to fulfil his destiny at Manchester United or replace Roberto Mancini once again, this time at Manchester City – to which I say, ‘pah!’ and ‘pah!’.
Back, and to the left…
Speaking of Manchester United, word on the street is that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ‘lined up’ Everton left-back Leighton Baines as the man he wants to replace Patrice Evra should the Frenchman depart for pastures new, i.e. Real Madrid, in the summer.
The Daily Telegraph seem fairly certain that Evra will be the subject of a £20 million bid from Los Blancos come the end of the season, a lump sum that United will find hard to turn down – especially as they may only have to spend as little as half of it to successfully bag Baines from the Toffees.
On your bike…
The agent of CSKA Moscow’s Japanese schemer (and Sun headline writer’s dream) Keisuke Honda has scheduled a series of meetings in Qatar next week, in which he hopes to flog his client to European football’s highest bidder.
Liverpool are named as one of the clubs who will be sending representatives out to the Gulf in hope of landing the £15 million-rated forward, with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Serie A heavyweights AC Milan all yet to decide whether or not they are willing to meet the asking price.
Chelsea on the defensive…
Chelsea are apparently hell-bent on bringing in a centre-back this month and have so far made faltering bids of £17 million and £21 million plus Paulo Ferreira for Benfica’s David Luiz – though the Portuguese outfit had told the Premier League champions that they want at least £26 million or the deal is off.
There are several reports suggesting that Chelsea are perfectly willing to chuck another couple of £million into the pot, but an interesting sideline in this morning’s Daily Mail speculates that the Londoners may turn to Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott as a (slightly) cheaper alternative.
The best of the rest…
- Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric has dismissed reports that he may be about to ditch the Premier League for Barcelona, telling a Croatian newspaper that there is absolutely ‘no truth’ in the rumours and that he is ‘happy to be at White Hart Lane’.
- After his £24 million defection to Aston Villa on Tuesday, Darren Bent has already begun to receive ridiculous, yet sadly obligatory, death threats from tiny-minded Sunderland supporters on Twitter.
- Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor is willing to open talks with former club Monaco over a six-month loan deal.
- Aston Villa are hoping to offload misfit midfielder Stephen Ireland to Newcastle (initially on loan), and replace him with Blackpool’s £4 million-rated lynchpin Charlie Adam.
- Sunderland are in the hunt for a ‘physical’ replacement for the aforementioned Bent, and have made enquiries about Spurs target man Peter Crouch and Cardiff’s one-time England international Jay Bothroyd – though Kevin Phillips, Hugo Rodallega, Ricardo Fuller, Roman Pavlyuchenko and the distinctly unphysical Michael Owen are all mentioned in passing in this morning’s gossip columns.