Galliani says Destro could join Milan

Milan have confirmed their interest in Siena forward Mattia Destro, who is also tracked by other Italian giants.

The young striker is co-owned by Siena and Genoa, but he looks set to leave for greener pastures this summer.

Roma, Inter, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have all expressed their interest in the 21-year-old, and Milan are the latest club to be linked with the promising player.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani has confirmed reports that Destro could join the Rossoneri this summer.

“Thiago Silva will stay at Milan and we might bring in Destro,” the Milan chief told Sky Sport Italia.

Siena sporting director Stefano Antonelli admits the club will probably not be able to hold on to their prized asset.

“Milan are a great club, so their interest is not surprising,” Antonelli said to Sky Sport Italia.

“I would be honoured to keep Destro, as he is one of the brightest young talents in Italy, but we know it would be tough.”

The Italy Under-21 international has exploded onto the biggest stage last season, scoring 12 goals in 30 Serie A games for Siena.

The talented forward also made provisional Italy squad for the Euro 2012, but missed the final cut.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Tasci confirms Barca interest

Stuttgart defender Serdar Tasci reveals that he is aware of the reported interest from Barcelona.

It is no secret that the Catalans are looking for a new central defender and the 25-year-old has been mentioned as one of the possible targets.

The player has a contract until June 2014 with the Swabians, but his release clause stands at mere €10 million.

Tasci now explains that he knows that Barcelona have shown interest in his services.

“I have heard that I am a target for Barca,” Tasci was quoted as saying in German newspaper Bild.

The 25-year-old explains that he has heard of the interest not only through media but also through other channels.

“Yes. But, there is no direct contact, so I do not want to talk about nothing big.”

Serdar Tasci started his career at Stuttgart and has scored 9 goals in 155 Bundesliga appearances for the Swabians.

The highly rated defender was in fine form last season, scoring 3 goals in 28 league games.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Welbeck backs Spain to retain crown

England striker Danny Welbeck has tipped defending world and European champions Spain to beat Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final in Kiev.

Vicente del Bosque’s team are looking to become the first nation to win three consecutive major tournaments, having emerged victorious in Austria and Switzerland at Euro 2008 beforewinning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Spain are yet to suffer defeat this time around and beat Portugal on penalties to set up the clash against Cesare Prandelli’s team at the Olympic Stadium.

“It’s hard to look beyond Spain,” Welbeck told the Times of India.

“They have the experience of winning big tournaments — they’ve won the last two. And they have fantastic players who know how to play big games.”

Welbeck was playing in his first tournament for England but they crashed out in familiar fashion at the quarter-final stage after a penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy.

Roy Hodgson’s team did not lose any of their four matches in normal time, however, and the Manchester United star was positive about the experience in Poland and Ukraine.

“It was a great experience,” Welbeck said.

“I was really excited to be involved in a major competition for England for the first time, and obviously to start games was incredible.

“The atmosphere in the squad was brilliant too. Everyone was gutted at the way it ended because we felt we could go further; but it wasn’t to be. There are things we can work on and do better next time.

“Italy played very well, especially Andrea Pirlo, and we had to defend a lot in the game. I thought we defended really well as a team but we needed something more to win it.”

Ashley Young and Ashley Cole were guilty of missing spot-kicks for England but Welbeck insisted that no blame was placed on the left-sided duo in the aftermath of the game in Kiev.

“Obviously they were really low, but so was everyone and all the lads rallied round them,” Welbeck said.

“We win as a team and lose as a team and penalties are just a lottery.

“It was a horrible feeling for all of us. Penalties are a lottery. It’s very hard to understand and obviously the mood in the dressing room afterwards was terrible.

“In training, we had been sticking away penalties all week. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we didn’t get through.”

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Porto chasing Napoli midfielder

Porto are exploring the possibility of signing midfielder Walter Gargano from Napoli, La Gazzetta dello Sport understands.

With Brazilian midfielder Fernando set to leave the club this summer, the Dragons are in the market for a new holding midfielder.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, they have set their sights on Napoli star Walter Gargano.

The Uruguayan has three years left on his deal at San Paolo, but the Azzurri could decide to cash in on the player as they already have Gokhan Inler and Blerim Dzemaili in the centre of the park.

Malaga are also showing interest in the experienced midfielder, but the Portuguese giants appear to be leading the race.

Porto and Napoli are in advanced talks over a €15 million deal that would take Alvaro Pereira to San Paolo and they will use the opportunity to negotiate for Walter Gargano as well.

The Uruguayan international has spent last five seasons at Napoli, and has scored 4 goals in 165 Serie A appearances.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Kalou uncertain on Chelsea future

Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou is still unsure where he will be playing his club football next season.

The striker is on holiday in the United States, and took part in Steve Nash’s Showdown, a charity event for underprivileged children staged annually by the basketball star who has twice been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

Kalou, 26, was himself named the game’s top performer, and after the match, talked about Chelsea’s penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich in last month’s Champions League final.

“The Champions League, every footballer dreams of that,” he told Goal.com.

“It’s such a great competition and a lot of big players have gone without winning the Champions League.

“It is a moment in my career that I’ll remember forever.”

However, that moment was possibly his last as a Chelsea player because Kalou, whose contract expires this weekend, is not expected to re-sign for the club.

The Ivory Coast star scored 36 goals in 153 appearances for the Blues, and his versatility – he can play as a striker or on the wing – has reportedly attracted a number of clubs, including Liverpool, Juventus and several from Turkey’s top flight.

At Nash’s event, Kalou made light of the transfer speculation, joking: “You never know, maybe I can play here (in New York). Why not? I love the city.”

When pressed, he admitted that while on holiday he has allowed his agent to focus on his future.

“Right now, it’s hard to say because right now I’m here to enjoy my holiday,” he said.

“After that, I will decide my future.”

Kalou’s appearance in this year’s Showdown was the third time he has been involved in Nash’s charity, and he revealed that the pair have become friends.

“I know him for a couple of years. I met him through a mutual friend,” Kalou said.

“This is my third game playing. When he invited me for the first one, it was a great honour. Every time I come out here, I enjoy myself.

“It is always important to come and help support kids.”

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Sacked Thompson settled with Celtic

Celtic have settled their dispute with Alan Thompson over his recent dismissal as first-team coach.

The Glasgow club relieved Thompson of his duties via telephone on June 3, after he alledgedly refused to attend a meeting with manager Neil Lennon.

The 38-year-old immediately signalled his intention to fight the Glasgow outfit for compensation, claiming that he had been wrongfully dismissed.

However, the legal dispute has now been resolved “amicably”, just three weeks after Thompson’s initial dismissal.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Celtic PLC and Alan Thompson are pleased to advise that they have reached an agreement to amicably settle their legal dispute.

“Celtic PLC extend their thanks to Alan for his services to the club as a top-level player and a first-class coach.

“Alan would like to express his deep gratitude for the overwhelming and heartfelt backing he has received from Celtic fans everywhere, and for the support of his legal team at Bridge Litigation UK Solicitors.

“Alan intends to continue his coaching career, building on the invaluable experience gained during his time with Celtic.

“Alan wishes Celtic Football Club and the fans every success for the future.

“Celtic would like to thank Alan for the contribution he has made to the club over a number of years as both a player and a coach, and we sincerely wish him well for the future.”

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Wanderers add to A-League squad

Western Sydney Wanderers have added four more players to their inaugural squad.

Former Sydney trio Michael Beauchamp, Mark Bridge and Shannon Cole have joined the fledgling A-League club, which has three months to assemble the rest of the squad before making its A-League debut.

The addition of the experienced trio, who all started their careers in western Sydney, is sure to make the rivalry between the Sky Blues and the Wanderers even more intense.

Former Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley has also joined the Wanderers after being released from his Jets contract.

Midfielder Cole and forward Bridge both worked with Tony Popovic when the 38-year-old was an assistant with Sydney, while Beauchamp, joining his sixth club in as many years, played alongside his new coach with the Socceroos.

Topor-Stanley had wanted to remain with the Jets but was released eight days ago, and could now be lining up alongside Beauchamp at the heart of the Wanderers defence.

Popovic said he was pleased to have signed the experienced quartet.

“I’m very pleased to have players with the experience of these guys in my squad,” Popovic said.

“All four players have excellent pedigree in the A-League and each brings something different to the squad.”

Beauchamp, Topor-Stanley, Bridge and Cole join Aaron Mooy, Tarek Elrich and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi as the players signed so far.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Bent happy with time in Indonesia

Former Mitra Kukar striker Marcus Bent has described his six-month stint in Indonesia as a positive experience.

The 34-year-old former Everton, Blackburn and Birmingham City player was released by Mitra Kukar in April talked about his time in Indonesia with the Merseyside club’s official site as the club prepares to tour the region.

“My first impressions were that it was a good place, it was humid and hot from six in the morning until eight in the evening. The stadiums looked good and they were trying to do things the right way,” he said.

“They will look after you. When a western team comes out they pull out all the stops. The hotels are awesome, especially in Jakarta. Jakarta is westernised; it’s a little bit like Dubai or Abu Dhabi with big malls and things like that.”

Bent also expressed his admiration to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, the 80,000-capacity main stadium of Indonesia national team which is placed in Jakarta as well as the Merah Putih supporters enthusiasm.

“The main stadium is huge, it looks awesome from the outside and the pitch is nice as well,” he said.

“The fans have all got banners and horns, they are mad for them. You come out of the stadium with your ears ringing from the horns.

“They are into their fireworks; in a couple of games I played you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face because of the smoke.”

About the popularity of Everton in Indonesia, Bent explained that David Moyes’ men have a huge fanbase there.

“Everton are a massive name over there but Manchester United are the biggest, you have got Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney on the billboards,” he said.

Everton will take part in a four-team tournament with Turkish champions Galatasaray and the Indonesian and Malaysian national teams between July 26 and 29.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Fergie allows Park to play

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung will play in Thursday’s 2002 World Cup 10-year anniversary match.

Park confirmed he has received permission from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to take part in the match.

Members of South Korea’s 2002 World Cup squad, including Park and coached by Guus Hiddink, will take on a current crop of K-League All Stars in Seoul.

“I wanted to join in this rare opportunity to play with all my former team-mates from the World Cup team, as well as manager Guus Hiddink, for the first time a decade,” Park told reporters.

The South Korean will join Manchester United training on July 9, having expressed his strong desire to Ferguson to be part of the anniversary game.

Park’s presence will be a major boost for the match which will commemorate the Taeguk Warriors’ dream run to the semi-finals in the 2002 event it co-hosted with Japan.

The 2002 team includes Hwang Sun-Hong and Hong Myung-Bo, who are both coaches, however Canada-based Lee Young-Pyo and Sagan Tosu boss Yoon Jung-Hwan are unavailable due to conflicting schedules.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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Gullit wants Netherlands job

Ruud Gullit feels he is the right man to guide Netherlands to success again after their disastrous Euro 2012 campaign.

Bert van Marwijk resigned as coach in the wake of the European Championship in Poland-Ukraine, and Gullit is reportedly among the candidates to take over at the helm.

The former AC Milan star did not shy away from playing up his credentials, although he insisted that there has not been any contact yet from the Dutch Football Association (KNVB).

“I know that I have the qualities to replace Van Marwijk as national team coach. I have often lost as coach, but people tend to forget that I won a lot as well, both as player and as coach,” Gullit told Voetbal International.

“There’s nothing concrete at this point. The KNVB has never approached me. It would be a huge honour, though.”

Gullit, 49, has been out of work ever since he was sacked by Russian club Terek Grozny in June 2011 just six months into his tenure.

Sat 30 June, 2012
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