Besiktas close in on Chamakh

Besiktas have targeted Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh as a potential replacement for Hugo Almeida or Ricardo Quaresma.

Club board member Ahmed Nur Cebi outlined the situation regarding Almeida and Quaresma, as well as identifying Chamakh, plus Mevlut Erding of Rennes, as potential arrivals.

Chamakh joined the Gunners in 2008 from Bordeaux but has found first-team opportunities difficult to come by after his initial promising form at the Emirates Stadium fading.

Cebi confirmed the club’s interest in the Moroccan but suggested that he may have expectations of joining a bigger club.

“Chamakh, I’d love but we’re different from his expectations,” he said.

Cebi went on to reveal that Besiktas’ interest in Gokhan Unal, of Fenerbahce, and Necati Ates, of Galatasaray, had ended but said the club had been in contact with Erding.

“Necati and Gokhan are not the names on the agenda at the moment,” he said.

“Mevlut Erding has been spoken to, but I do not know the status of it.

“We remain in favour of Almeida, but he wants to go and he’s hard to keep. Quaresma is a difficult issue. The fans want him in the team but he has troubles, continuous issues keep coming up.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Schweinsteiger out, Podolski in for Germany

Bastian Schweinsteiger is a notable absentee from Joachim Loew’s squad for Germany’s first two 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Arsenal duo Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker were both selected for matches against Faroe Islands and Austria on September 7 and 9 respectively, but Schweinsteiger’s name was missing when the squad was announced on Friday.

The 28-year-old has been a firm fixture in the national side since 2004, amassing 95 caps and scoring 23 goals.

But Loew has left him out of his latest squad, saying that the player is not fit enough to play a part after struggling with injury over the past 12 months.

“I have spoken at length with Bastian,” Loew said.

“We have agreed that it takes a while to get back into the rhythm of playing again. Our plans are to have him back for both matches in October against Ireland and Sweden.”

Philipp Lahm has been recalled to the squad, while Miroslav Klose will play as the sole attacker.

Germany squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Ron-Robert Zieler, Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, Benedikt Howedes, Per Mertesacker
Midfielders: Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus, Julian Draxler, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller, Andre Schurrle and Lars Bender, Lukas Podolski
Forwards: Miroslav Klose

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Lyon president slams Spurs

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has blasted Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s negotiations with Hugo Lloris.

Spurs have been heavily linked with the French goalkeeper throughout the off-season, with a fee of 12 million pounds being agreed between the two parties.

However, the Ligue 1 club’s chief has hit out at how Levy has handled the transfer, claiming the Premier League outfit have changed its stance over certain agreed aspects of the move.

Aulas told reporters: “We have had people speaking all night with Daniel Levy. He talks a lot and goes back on what we’ve agreed in writing.

“The things as they were at 5am were not the same at 10am. I think we have to make sure we get a certain amount of value because it’s important that Hugo can go to a quality club that allows him to do himself justice from a value point of view, so that he can feel right about it.

“At the moment we’re talking about whether he can come back to say his goodbyes to the supporters, to his team-mates, so we can honour him, this truly great player and brilliant man.

“I would put it at 50-50 that Hugo goes to Tottenham. Although from the outset we’ve submitted to agreements I would now put it at 50-50 that he’ll be going there.

“Agreements have not at all been respected. We’ve done what we can. Hugo has been troubled by the difficulty in these negotiations.

“He’s one of the best in Europe in his position. Our transfer window is open until 4 September but for Tottenham the English transfer window closes on 31 August.

“Either it happens tonight or not at all for Hugo Lloris.”

Aulas, who is known for being a notoriously tough negotiator, revealed the keeper has agreed personal terms but is still not convinced on a switch to north London.

“It’s been very, very difficult,” he said.

“I’ve got 25 years of experience as a president of a club and it’s our 16th participation in a European competition in a row. But this is very rare in the football world.

“The negotiation with the Tottenham directors has been the hardest I have ever had to undergo in these 25 years.

“We had email exchanges which have been contradicted, so that’s made it very complicated. It’s difficult. The Tottenham board’s theory is to explain that the economic market is very hard and so we have to get used to renegotiating.

“But for us, who are attached to a player of the quality of Hugo Lloris, and such is the value of the transfer, that causes us to ask questions.

“He has agreed personal terms with Tottenham, he remains under that impression, but since we have had Hugo Lloris on the telephone for a long time overnight and this morning and he’s completely undecided about what happens next.

“We’ve been negotiating all night. The first negotiation was at the start of the window, about a month-and-a-half ago, through an intermediary who was a French lawyer, who lives in Lyon.

“And then nothing for about a month-and-a-half. The negotiation then picked up again about a week ago.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Liverpool, Spurs handed tough Europa League groups

Liverpool and Tottenham have been handed tough Italian tests in their Europa League campaigns.

Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side were first out of the hat and were given Udinese as their first group opponents, before being joined in Group A by Swiss side Young Boys and Anzhi.

The wealthy Russian side, who have Samuel Eto’o in the squad, will be a tough opponent for the Reds who face a fair bit of travelling in this competition.

Tottenham were also given a tricky challenge as they were drawn alongside Lazio, Maribor from Slovenia and Panathinaikos in Group J.

England’s final entrant in this season’s Europa League are Newcastle and they were drawn in Group D alongside French side Bordeaux, Belgian Pro League’s Club Brugge and Maritimo from the island of Madeira.

Reigning Europa League champions Atletico Madrid will face Hapoel Tel Aviv, Viktoria Plzen and Portugal outfit Academica Coimbra.

“We have never played any of these teams. We could have had tougher rivals but we have these, and we will fight to be champions of the group,” Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said.

Inter Milan will take on Russian team Rubin Kazan, Partizan Belgrade and debutants Nefti from Azerbaijan.

The full groups are:
Group A: Liverpool, Udinese, Young Boys, Anzhi
Group B: Atletico Madrid, H. Tel-Aviv, Plzen, Academia
Group C: Marseille, Fenerbahce, Borussia Monchengladbach, AEL
Group D: Bordeaux, Club Brugge, Newcastle, Martimo
Group E: Stuttgart, Kobenhavn, Steaua Bucharest, Molde
Group F: PSV, Napoli, Dnipro, AIK
Group G: Sporting Lisbon, Basel, Genk, Videoton
Group H: Inter, Rubin Kazan, Partizan Belgrade, Neftci
Group I: Lyon, Athletic Bilbao, Sparta Prague, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Group J: Tottenham, Panathinaikos, Lazio, Maribor
Group K: Bayer Leverkusen, Metalist Kharkiv, Rosenborg, Rapid Vienna
Group L: FC Twente, Hannover, Levante, Helsingborg

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Lazio extend invite to Gascoigne

Lazio have invited former Tottenham midfielder Paul Gascoigne to their Europa League clash with Spurs at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio general manager Maurizio Manzini has invited Gascoigne in celebration of the link he forged between the two clubs.

The England international joined the Serie A outfit in 1992 for a fee of 5.5 million pounds from Spurs and won favour with the fans by scoring his first goal for the club against Roma in the capital city derby match.

The two clubs were drawn together in Europa League Group J, alongside Greek side Panathinaikos and Slovenian club Maribor, where they will face each other in a competitive clash for the first time.

“Tottenham is a team Lazio knows very well, a great team with great traditions and we are very familiar with White Hart Lane starting from the time we had Paul Gascoigne,” Manzini told reporters.

“There is always a corner of Tottenham in our hearts. He is a mythical figure for Lazio fans and very popular in general in Italy.

“I remember the Atlanta ultras, who had a reputation for being really tough, opened an enormous banner with a picture of a huge bottle of beer saying ‘This is for you Gazza’.

“I hope we will have the chance to see him in London and for sure we will invite him to the match in Rome.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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M´Bia London bound, says Hughes

QPR manager Mark Hughes said Marseille defender Stephane M’Bia is travelling to London for a medical ahead of a potential deadline day deal.

The Rangers boss was confident that the deal for the versatile Cameroon international would be completed ahead of the transfer deadline late on Friday.

“He is en route as we speak,” he told a press conference.

“Hopefully we will get him in to a medical quite quickly.

“A lot of discussion has taken place in terms of his contract and expectations from both sides so that’s pretty much been concluded.

“So once we get through the medical hopefully we will be able to conclude the deal very quickly. He is another player that can play in a couple of positions. I like that flexibility in players. He is a good age, and we have paid a good price for him.”

The 26-year-old began his career as a defensive midfielder at Rennes, before earning a move to Marseille, where he was played at centre back under manager Didier Deschamps with great success as they won Ligue 1 in 2010.

Rangers’ move for M’Bia is likely to end the club’s interest in Michael Dawson, who is set to remain at Tottenham after Younes Kaboul sustained a knee injury.

Hughes was also confident of agreeing a season-long loan deal with the French club for Joey Barton, who incurred a 12-game ban in the final match last season and is surplus to requirements at Loftus Road following the arrival of Esteban Granero.

The French transfer window shuts on Tuesday, but Hughes hoped for a quick resolution, commenting: “I would have thought it would be concluded quite quickly. I would be surprised if it wasn’t.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Neuer aims to build on momentum

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the team is focused on capping their first home game of the season with a win on Sunday.

The 22-time Bundesliga champions got their 2012/13 campaign off to the best possible start last weekend when they brushed aside newly-promoted outfit Greuther Fuerth 3-0.

Jupp Heynckes’ men host Stuttgart at Allianz Arena on Sunday and Neuer is refusing to take the 2007 Bundesliga winners lightly, despite their opening-day defeat at the hands of Wolfsburg.

“For us it’s our first home game,” the German international said.

“We started well with a 3-0 win against Greuther Fuerth and a home win against Stuttgart is our top priority.

“It is definitely a dangerous team that, on a good day, can beat anyone in the Bundesliga.

“Similarly to when we played Greuther Furth we need to make sure that we don’t take our opponents lightly, and hat we try to keep the ball up front.

“We need to keep our concentration – we are very motivated and want to win that first home game.”

Meanwhile, Bayern and German captain Philipp Lahm is determined to build on the side’s winning start and make it two wins from two.

“Definitely it’s an important game,” he said. “But at the beginning all the games are important.

“We want to carry on with our good start to the season. We have started well but we need to carry on with a win at home now.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Saints assured of Ramirez capture

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins has revealed the club are confident of signing Gaston Ramirez from Bologna.

The Uruguayan has been the subject of an ongoing saga throughout the off-season, with the winger firstly linked with a move to Liverpool or Tottenham.

However, after any agreement seemed to be unlikely, the south coast outfit emerged as favourites to sign the 21-year-old in what would be a massive coup for the newly-promoted side.

Adkins told reporters: “We are very, very close. All being well, he will become our player.”

The Saints boss had been coy on the potential move last week, but reports in Italy suggested the highly rated player had said he would not play for the Italian club again, after Bologna were blocking the transfer.

With the fee for Ramirez thought to be at around 12 million pounds, any move would break the club’s transfer record set earlier in the summer when the Premier League outfit signed Jay Rodriguez from Burnley for 7m pounds.

The move would add to a fairly busy off-season for last season’s Championship runners-up, who have already completed a number of signings including Japanese centre-back Maya Yoshida, former Rangers’ midfielder Steven Davis and ex-Crystal Palace full-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Fri 31 August, 2012
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Rodgers chasing goalscorers for Liverpool

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that signing a goalscorer before the transfer window shuts is his top priority.

But he dismissed reports linking Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with a move to Anfield.

The Reds have made a mixed start to the new season, losing 3-0 to West Brom before drawing 2-2 with Manchester City in the Premier League, while also scraping past Hearts in their Europa League playoff.

In terms of new signings, Rodgers has already added names such as Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Nuri Sahin to his ranks, but the Northern Irishman has suggested that he is not finished in the market yet.

“We’re hopeful of adding to the squad,” he told reporters. “There are a number of players we’re looking at.

“Do the players who’ve left free up a whole lot of money for me? I don’t believe so.”

Fulham’s Clint Dempsey has been the subject of intense speculation throughout the summer, with the midfielder rejecting a move to Aston Villa having been linked to the Reds.

Huntelaar, along with the likes of Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge, have also been named in connection with Rodgers’ team but the 39-year-old ruled out a move for the Netherlands international.

“No, definitely not,” Rodgers replied when asked about a move for the former Real Madrid hitman.

The former Swansea boss admitted that he a goalscorer remained a priority but suggested that the club may have left it too late to secure any deals with the resources available to them as prices begin to inflate.

“There’s no doubt we need to add goals to the team,” he said. “Getting people who are recognised goal scorers to come in is the number one objective.

“It’s very difficult to get deals done at this stage. As a manager, the earlier you can get things done the better.

“In the current climate it is difficult but I love being here and I’m used to working with limited resources.”

Fri 31 August, 2012
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City sign Inter´s Maicon

Manchester City have completed the signing of Brazilian defender Maicon from Inter Milan.

Goal.com revealed on Wednesday that the Premier League champions were stepping up their attempts to sign the full-back, with the Serie A club having now confirmed that the 31-year-old is joining Roberto Mancini’s side.

Maicon spent six years at Inter, winning four Serie A titles as well as the Champions League, under Jose Mourinho in 2010, during a successful spell in Italy.

The former Cruzeiro star is now reunited with City boss Roberto Mancini, who initially signed the Brazilian from Monaco back in 2006 during his time in charge at San Siro.

With deals for Maicon and Scott Sinclair already completed, City have also confirmed that they have finalised a deal to take goalkeeper Richard Wright to the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini is also in the market for Benfica midfielder Javi Garcia, as well as Fiorentina defender Matija Nastasic ahead of the transfer window’s closure on Friday.

Fri 31 August, 2012
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