Scolari plays down Chelsea speculation

Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari on Saturday played down a possible move to Chelsea, insisting the Premier League side have made no contact with him over their managerial vacancy.

The Brazilian has been hotly tipped for a move to the Stamford Bridge club since the departure of Avram Grant last weekend.

Scolari is out of contract at the end of Euro 2008 but he insists he will make no decision about his future until after the championship.

“I am working normally around the national squad,” said Scolari, also linked with Manchester City recently, on Sky Sports News.

“It is normal at the end of a contract for a coach to be mentioned with other clubs.

“If I take a decision, I will tell my president. But I haven't made a decision yet. My only decision now is to work until after the European Championship.

“My president is Gilberto Madail. He is my representative. If he had any contact with Chelsea, I haven't been told about it.”

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Pompey target Man City´s Dunne

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp confirmed Saturday that he is hoping to sign Manchester City defender Richard Dunne.

Dunne, 28, is expected to leave City this summer and has been linked with Newcastle and Tottenham among others, but Redknapp is hoping the prospect of European football will lure him to Fratton Park.

When asked if he is interested in Dunne, Redknapp told BBC Radio Five Live: “Very much, I like Richard Dunne.

“I think he's a top player but I think there's a couple of clubs in for him at the moment, but I think we've got as good a chance as anyone now.

“We've got in the UEFA Cup for next year and we've got some good players so hopefully we can start to compete with the Tottenhams and the Villas and teams like that.”

However, Redknapp played down rumours linking Pompey with a move for out-of-favour Liverpool striker Peter Crouch.

“I haven't spoken to Peter. I haven't had any conversations with anyone at Liverpool so there's definitely been no contact,” added Redknapp, who signed Crouch during his first spell at Portsmouth.

Reports have claimed however that Liverpool may be willing to settle for 10 million pounds (19.7 million dollars) for Crouch rather than the original asking price of 15 million pounds, to which Redknapp said: “That's getting more interesting.”

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Newcastle’s Emre moving to Fenerbahce

Turkish club Fenerbahce claim they have agreed a deal to sign Newcastle midfielder Emre, according to SkySports.

The Turkey international is currently away preparing for Euro 2008, and is expected to sign a three-year contract early next week.

A statement on the Turkish club’s official website said: “Fenerbahce reached an agreement with Newcastle United in order to sign the Turkish superstar Emre Belozoglu.”

At a younger age, Emre was one of the most sought after players in Europe and held the nickname “Maradona of the Bosphorus”, after being compared to Argentine legend Diego Maradona.

The 27-year-old moved to Newcastle from Inter in 2005 for a £3.8 million transfer fee.

[Source: SkySports]

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Newcastle´s Emre set for Fenerbahce move

Newcastle's Turkish international midfielder Emre will sign a three-year deal with Istanbul side Fenerbahce next week, the Turkish press reported Saturday.

Fenerbahce confirmed on their television network FP TV that they are currently negotiating with the Turkish team captain and his manager, but did not reveal further details.

But according to press reports the 27-year-old will sign a contract on Monday in a deal worth 10.5 million euros (16.3 million dollars).

Emre joined Newcastle from Inter Milan for 3.8 million pounds in 2005 and is under contract until 2011.

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Australia´s Verbeek warns of Iraq counter-attacks

Australia coach Pim Verbeek has urged his players to be patient and wary of Iraq's counter-attacks if they are to remain unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying group here on Sunday.

The Dutchman expects the Asian champions, reprieved after FIFA on Thursday lifted a 12-month international ban, to defend in depth and use hit-and-run tactics to sneak a goal to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Australia have four points from their first two qualifiers, while Iraq have just one point. Defeat here Sunday will all but kill off their chances of reaching the final phase of qualifying.

But Verbeek, who was in charge of South Korea when they were beaten by Iraq on penalties in the semi-finals of last year's Asian Cup, has warned the Socceroos to stay alert for Iraq's fast-breaking counters.

“They have come with one striker (Younis Mahmoud) and they will defend and wait until they get one or two chances and if they can score one goal they will be very happy,” Verbeek told a match-eve press conference Saturday.

“That's what we expect, they will defend, we will attack. It's our job to be alert and to be concentrated that we don't give counter-attacking possibilities away.

“The chances we create we have to finish them because we won't get many chances.”

A home victory will put Australia in the box seat when they play their return World Cup match against Iraq in Dubai on June 7.

“You must have patience when you play teams like this, they are very dangerous with counters, this is the way they like to play and we all know how good their striker is and what he can do, we are prepared for that,” Verbeek said.

Verbeek, who was appointed Australia's head coach late last year on the strength of his knowledge of Asian football, has a deep respect for Iraq.

“Iraqis are very mentally tough, they're physically tough, so they will never give up until the moment when they are completely gone, so we have to prepare for two very tough games,” he said.

“If we win tomorrow we will make an unbelievable big step and they have to finish it off in one of their remaining three games.

“The Iraqis will be looking not to give anything away because in Dubai next week there will be a lot of Iraqis in the stands and they will give a great atmosphere…. we don't under-estimate them.”

Verbeek said Harry Kewell will again captain Australia in his comeback from another injury-blighted season with Liverpool.

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Mourinho nears Inter hot-seat after Moratti meeting

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is close to being named the new boss of Inter Milan according to Italian press reports following the release of pictures of the Portuguese coach meeting with Inter president Massimo Moratti in Paris.

The lunch meeting allegedly took place on Friday with other Inter officials also reported to have attended.

Gazetto dello Sport claimed on Saturday that the meeting was held to discuss transfer targets, more specifically a 30-million-euro (46.6-million-dollar) bid for Barcelona's Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o.

Italian news agency Ansa claimed Mourinho will sign officially at the beginning of next week, before heading out to Japan to take charge of a Rest of the World team for Hidetoshi Nakata's testimonial on Wednesday.

Mourinho has been out of the game since leaving Chelsea by mutual consent early last season.

He had won two Premier League titles with the London club, the FA Cup and two League Cups in just over three seasons.

Before that he coached FC Porto to the Champions League crown, UEFA Cup, two league titles and a Portuguese Cup in an incredible two-year period from 2002-2004.

Mourinho is expected to replace Roberto Mancini who was sacked as coach of the Serie A champions on Thursday, despite having just led them to a third successive league title.

The 43-year-old former Italy international striker, is consequently favoured to take over at Chelsea.

Inter had been heavily criticised for the way they dealt with Mancini's sacking, posting a terse and uncomplimentary message on their website.

But Moratti moved on Saturday to try to improve Inter's image by finally thanking Mancini for the success he brought the club, which included two cup wins.

“There has been thanks from me for the work he did. I told Mancini personally and I'm repeating it now,” said Moratti.

However, he then repeated criticism of Mancini for announcing his departure immediately following Inter's Champions League second round elimination at the hands of Liverpool in March, before retracting it a day later.

“That statement caused many problems at Inter and destabilised the team,” added the president.

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Liverani leaves Fiorentina for Palermo

Sky Sports have announced that Fabio Liverani has joined Sicilian club Palermo from Fiorentina on a three-year-deal at the club. Much speculation had surrounded the midfielder’s future at Fiorentina with many top Italian clubs being linked with the player.

Palermo announced the capture of the player yesterday, however the club have refused to announce any further details of both the deal and contract at the current time.

Liverani, 32, may prove to be a quality signing for Palermo after playing an instrumental role in Fiorentina’s success this year. The midfielder was also on the recieving end of a slight headbutt from Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville in the UEFA Cup Semi-Final in Florence and the players reaction made Liverani into a villain for many Rangers fans.

Liverani was Palermo’s second signing of a busy day for the Italian side after Antonio Nocerino joined earlier in the day from Juventus.

Nocerino was part of the deal that saw striker Amauri join Juventus for 15 million Euro’s and Juventus’ young star David Lanzafame is also said to be part of the deal, joining Palermo in a co-ownership deal.

[Source: Sky Sports]

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Real Madrid chief: ‘Nistlerooy stays, Eto’o no go’

Real Madrid director Pedja Mijatovic has ruled out the sale of Dutch striker Ruud van Nistlerooy according to website tribalfootball.com.

Nistlerooy had been strongly linked with Italian side AC Milan, however Mijatovic told the Spanish press: “We discard totally the possibility that Ruud will leave Real Madrid.”

The Dutch striker has been a hit at the Bernabeu since joining from Manchester United, and despite an injury plagued season the striker managed to score 20 times in just 32 appearences.

Nistlerooy became Madrid’s top scorer in his first season at the club and managed to equal the record for the longest consecutive scoring streak in La Liga by scoring in seven straight games.

Mijatovic also dismissed rumours of a possible return for striker Samuel Eto’o stating the move was “mission impossible.”

The Cameroonian striker began his career at Madrid before signing for Mallorca in 2000, where he went on to become fan favourite despite off-pitch troubles involving press.

[Source: tribalfootball.com]

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Gerrard wants Barry to join him at Liverpool

Steven Gerrard intensified speculation surrounding Gareth Barry’s potential move to Liverpool by urging his England teammate to “better his career” and join him at Anfield according to The Times.

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill has already expressed his unhappiness at Liverpool’s public pursuit of Barry and Gerrard’s remarks are sure to infuriate the Villa boss further.

The Times claims that Barry informed officials at Villa Park that he wanted to join Liverpool a fortnight ago however, O’Neill is still clinging to the hope that Barry can yet be persuaded to stay at the club.

Gerrard told the press: ” Garteth would certainly help Liverpool be a better team next season.”

And when asked whether Barry would find it hard to leave Villa Park Gerrard replied: “I’m sure he will. He has been a fantastic servant, but sometimes opportunities come along in Football where you can better your career.”

“Gareth is 27 now and needs to play Champions League football. In my opinion he can do that.”

Captain Barry would be surely missed at Villa Park and many fans are said to be desperate to keep the versatile player at Villa.

However it may prove hard to keep the long-serving Barry at Villa for much longer and the player is likely to decide his future after returning from England’s upcoming friendly against Trinidad and Tobago, where Barry is likely to partner Gerrard in the centre of midfield.

[Source: The Times]

Sat 31 May, 2008
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Palace and Tottenham prepare for clash over wonderkid fee

Crystal Palace and Tottenham are set to do battle over a fee for youngster John Bostock after Tottenham claimed that they had signed the star.

The Daily Express reports that Bostock confirmed the move to White Hart Lane yesterday and a tribunal will most likely decide the fee for which he move.

However, Palace moved quickly to quash any rumours and a club statement on thier official website read: “Crystal Palace F.C would like to announce that no agreement has been reached for the services of the 16-year-old and he is still registered with Crystal Palace F.C.”

Despite this the England youth star confirmed his move to White Hart Lane telling the press: “I am defenitely ready to make this move and Spurs is the team i wanted to join.”

“I feel that this is a club with a great future and this is where I want to develop my potential and improve as a player.”

Bostock is now likely to join Tottenham’s prestiged academy in place for next season and may even make appearences in both reserve team and possibly on the bench for the first-team.

Sporting Director for Tottenham Damien Comolli said: “We are very pleased that John has decided to join us.”

“We know that he has talent but we also know that he is only 16 so we will not rush him. He will have time to develop and will be working with a very talented development squad.”

Top clubs like Chelsea and Barcelona had all been linked with the youngster however, the England-under 17 star seemed set to stay in England and with the limited chances to break into the Chelsea team it seems that Bostock is set on joining Spurs.

Bostock, 16, became the youngest every player to play for Crystal Palace when he made his debut as a second-half substitute against Watford in October 2007 aged 15-years-old.

[Source: Daily Express]

Sat 31 May, 2008
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