Lazio’s Hernanes in high demand

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has learned that Lazio star Hernanes has a long list of suitors among top European clubs.

The Brazilian playmaker is enjoying his best ever season since arriving at Stadio Olimpico and his scintillating displays did not go unnoticed.

AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain were the first to express interest in the Brazil international, but Manchester City and Tottenham seem to have joined the race as well.

Lazio chiefs are obviously doing everything in their power to keep hold of their prized asset for as long as possible, but it is believed they would not be able to resist a big money offer.

Despite mostly being used as a central midfielder, the 28-year-old has scored no less than 30 goals in 101 Serie A appearances for the Biancocelesti.

Hernanes has won the Coppa Italia title with Lazio, while also making his way back to the national team of Brazil.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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West Brom refute Yacob deal claims

West Brom have strongly denied suggestions of any wrongdoing in their signing of midfielder Claudio Yacob.

The Argentina international arrived in the Premier League at the start of the 2012-13 season from Racing Club, joining West Brom on a free transfer.

However, reports emerged this week alleging that two ‘unlicensed’ Argentine agents had been used to help broker the deal, with both said to be claiming that they were subsequently not paid for their services.

The club have since denied those claims, insisting that the representatives involved in the transfer were registered with governing body FIFA, and that the transfer was entirely above board.

A statement from West Brom, reported by The Express and Star, confirmed: “As with all of our transfer dealings, the negotiation process regarding the signing of Claudio Yacob complied fully with all FIFA and FA rules and regulations.

“All negotiations were conducted and concluded directly with a FIFA-registered agent.”

The 25-year-old failed to score in 29 Premier League appearances for Steve Clarke’s side last season.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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West Brom refute Yacob deal claims

West Brom have strongly denied suggestions of any wrongdoing in their signing of midfielder Claudio Yacob.

The Argentina international arrived in the Premier League at the start of the 2012-13 season from Racing Club, joining West Brom on a free transfer.

However, reports emerged this week alleging that two ‘unlicensed’ Argentine agents had been used to help broker the deal, with both said to be claiming that they were subsequently not paid for their services.

The club have since denied those claims, insisting that the representatives involved in the transfer were registered with governing body FIFA, and that the transfer was entirely above board.

A statement from West Brom, reported by The Express and Star, confirmed: “As with all of our transfer dealings, the negotiation process regarding the signing of Claudio Yacob complied fully with all FIFA and FA rules and regulations.

“All negotiations were conducted and concluded directly with a FIFA-registered agent.”

The 25-year-old failed to score in 29 Premier League appearances for Steve Clarke’s side last season.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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City and PSG battle for Digne; Fiorentina want Mario Gomez

hot-transfer-newsCity and PSG battle for Digne

According to reports from France, Manchester City are set to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for Lille full-back Lucas Digne.

Having failed to qualify for the Champions League, les Dogues need to raise some cash in order to balance the books and the only way they can do this is by selling their star players.

According to Le 10 Sport, Paris Saint-Germain have already opened talks with Lille officials over the purchase of Lucas Digne.

While les Dogues are holding out for €18 million, the Saints are reportedly ready to offer up to €15 million for the highly rated defender.

Meanwhile, L’Equipe reports that Manchester City are seriously considering making a move for Digne in the summer.

The Citizens look set to stay without Aleksandar Kolarov and they want the Lille defender to challenge Gael Clichy for a starting berth at Etihad.

Fiorentina want Mario Gomez

Serie A high-flyers Fiorentina are lining up a summer bid for Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, according to Tuttosport.

Viola officials are preparing for life without Stevan Jovetic and are actively searching for his successor.

The Artemio Franchi outfit have been linked with a number of high-profile players over the past few weeks, but Tuttosport understands they are also looking at Mario Gomez.

The Germany international might have to leave Alianz Arena if Bayern indeed sign Robert Lewandowski, and there is every chance he will be leaving the Bundesliga.

He would probably be interested in a move to Serie A, where Juventus are also keen, but the fact Fiorentina will not be playing Champions League football could prove to be a problem.

Mario Gomez, 27, joined Bayern from Stuttgart in the summer of 2009 and has since scored 75 goals in 115 Bundesliga appearances.

Galatasaray linked to Quaresma

Turkish newspaper Fanatik is reporting that Galatasaray are being linked with a move for Al Ahli winger Ricardo Quaresma.

It is no secret the Turkish giants are looking to sign a left-sided midfielder and allow Wesley Sneijder to play in his natural position behind the strikers.

Fatih Terim had initially made former player Arda Turan the number one target, but he has since switched his attention to Ricardo Quaresma.

The experienced coach believes the Portugal international would be a great asset to the squad at Turk Telekom Arena despite the fact his unprofessional behaviour has often caused him problems while at Besiktas.

Quaresma only joined Al Ahli in January after ending his contract with Besiktas, but he would probably jump at the opportunity to return to Europe.

The 29-year-old had spent two seasons with the Black Eagles, scoring 8 goals in 46 Super Lig appearances.

For more news about football transfers and rumours, visit our Transfer News section. To view all football transfers for 2013/14 season, visit our Soccer Transfers section.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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Luiz drops Barcelona hint

Chelsea defender David Luiz has hinted that he would be interested in a move to La Liga champions Barcelona.

The Brazilian played a key role as the London club secured a third-placed finish in the Premier League last season and snatched the UEFA Europa League title against Benfica.



Luiz added a significant string to his bow under interim coach Rafael Benitez at the back end of the campaign, often moving into midfield from his more familiar defensive role.



And, having successfully shown his versatility, Luiz has claimed that he would be most happy playing for a club that focuses on playing the best football possible, just like the Catalan giants.




“My objective is to be happy and this is possible playing always in a team that controls the ball,” he was quoted as saying in The Daily Star.



“Barcelona is the team that has developed the best football in the last few years. I know Barca were interested in my services in the past but now I do not have any news.”


Luiz made a total of 57 appearances for Chelsea last season, while also captaining Brazil for the first time in September 2012 against South Africa.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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International Friendly Preview: Republic of Ireland v Georgia

Georgia will be looking for their first win this year when they take on the Republic of Ireland in a friendly international on Sunday.

In five matches in 2013, Georgia have scored just two goals, losing to Spain, Belarus and France, while claiming draws versus Finland and Egypt.

Georgia’s head coach Temuri Ketsbaia will be hoping he can lead his team to their first win since a 1-0 victory over Belarus in September last year, but the 45-year-old former midfielder will need to fix his side’s attack if they are to overcome Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland.

Ketsbaia has tried Levan Mchedlidze, Alexander Kobakhidze and Mate Vatsadze at the point of his preferred 4-5-1 formation this year but with that trio having notched a combined total of four international goals, Georgia clearly lack a genuine goal-scorer.

Legia Warsaw’s Vladimir Dvalishvili could be the answer for Ketsbaia with the 27-year-old striker having scored 16 goals in 33 matches for his Polish club in the past season.

Dvalishvili also has an international record of four goals in 21 matches, better than E
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mpoli’s Mchedlidze (two goals in 20 games) and similar to Kobakhidze of Arsenal Kiev (two in nine).

Trapattoni will be hoping to use Sunday’s game at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to boost his team’s confidence ahead of their World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands on June 7.

Ireland pulled off a 1-1 draw away to England on Tuesday with Shane Long scoring for Trapattoni’s men, while Russia-based midfielder Aiden McGeady was also impressive for the Irish.

McGeady, who scored five goals and set-up four more in 17 games for Russian Premier League club Spartak Moscow this season, will be Ireland’s main creative option against Georgia, while Los Angeles Galaxy veteran Robbie Keane will also provide some nous in the final third.

Keane scored a hat-trick for the Galaxy before joining his Ireland team-mates for the England friendly, while the 32-year-old forward has been involved in 11 of LA’s 21 goals so far this season, hitting the back of the net five times.

History suggests Ireland should win Sunday’s clash as they have emerged triumphant from all four previous games against Georgia.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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International Friendly Preview: Republic of Ireland v Georgia

Georgia will be looking for their first win this year when they take on the Republic of Ireland in a friendly international on Sunday.

In five matches in 2013, Georgia have scored just two goals, losing to Spain, Belarus and France, while claiming draws versus Finland and Egypt.

Georgia’s head coach Temuri Ketsbaia will be hoping he can lead his team to their first win since a 1-0 victory over Belarus in September last year, but the 45-year-old former midfielder will need to fix his side’s attack if they are to overcome Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland.

Ketsbaia has tried Levan Mchedlidze, Alexander Kobakhidze and Mate Vatsadze at the point of his preferred 4-5-1 formation this year but with that trio having notched a combined total of four international goals, Georgia clearly lack a genuine goal-scorer.

Legia Warsaw’s Vladimir Dvalishvili could be the answer for Ketsbaia with the 27-year-old striker having scored 16 goals in 33 matches for his Polish club in the past season.

Dvalishvili also has an international record of four goals in 21 matches, better than Empoli’s Mchedlidze (two goals in 20 games) and similar to Kobakhidze of Arsenal Kiev (two in nine).

Trapattoni will be hoping to use Sunday’s game at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to boost his team’s confidence ahead of their World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands on June 7.

Ireland pulled off a 1-1 draw away to England on Tuesday with Shane Long scoring for Trapattoni’s men, while Russia-based midfielder Aiden McGeady was also impressive for the Irish.

McGeady, who scored five goals and set-up four more in 17 games for Russian Premier League club Spartak Moscow this season, will be Ireland’s main creative option against Georgia, while Los Angeles Galaxy veteran Robbie Keane will also provide some nous in the final third.

Keane scored a hat-trick for the Galaxy before joining his Ireland team-mates for the England friendly, while the 32-year-old forward has been involved in 11 of LA’s 21 goals so far this season, hitting the back of the net five times.

History suggests Ireland should win Sunday’s clash as they have emerged triumphant from all four previous games against Georgia.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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Ljungberg returns to Arsenal

Fredrik Ljungberg has agreed to return to Arsenal, as a club ambassador.

The former Sweden international scored 72 goals in 328 games for the London club between 1998 and 2007 and was a key part of the ‘Invincibles’ side that won the 2004 Premier League title after going through the campaign unbeaten.



The move comes despite recent criticism of the club by the 36-year-old, who blasted the current crop of players for celebrating their fourth-placed league finish and insisted that a trophyless season should be regarded as a “failure” by Emirates Stadium officials.



On his new role, he told the club’s official website: “I’m honoured to take on this ambassadorial role. The club has a special place in my heart as everyone knows and I’m looking forward to helping the club grow.”



Ljungberg’s first task will be to promote the club’s upcoming pre-season tour of Asia, and Arsenal are happy to have a stellar name from the club’s past representing them.



The club’s head of marketing, Charles Allen, added: “We are delighted that Freddie has agreed, in this ambassadorial role, to help us reach more of our passionate supporters around the globe.



“He is much loved by our fans and it’s great to have him back.”

Fri 31 May, 2013
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FIFA approve tough anti-racist sanctions

FIFA are set to introduce tough new sanctions to combat racism in football.

The measures – including a five-match ban for players involved in racist or discriminatory behaviour – have been voted in with a 99 percent majority at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius.

The sanctions also include teams being hit warnings, a fine or being forced to play matches behind closed doors, while incidents deemed as ‘serious’ can incur punishments including points deductions, expulsion from a given competition or even relegation.

Addressing the congress prior to the vote, president Sepp Blatter reaffirmed FIFA’s commitment to stamping out the problem of racism within the game.

He said: “There have been despicable events this year that have cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society.

“I am speaking of the politics of hate – racism, ignorance, discrimination, intolerance, small-minded prejudice. That uncivilised, immoral and self-destructive force that we all detest.

“We can send a strong signal to the racists that their time is up.

“We have been through a difficult time. It has been a test for the world of football and for those who lead it.”

FIFA have also announced that the current system for players’ agents will be completely overhauled.

The current licensing framework will be scrapped entirely and a new one put in its place that FIFA hope will improve be one “that is more transparent, simpler in its implementation and administration”.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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La Liga Preview: Real Madrid v Osasuna

Real Madrid will say adios to Jose Mourinho on Saturday after their La Liga match with Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Portuguese tactician’s spell in charge has been a rollercoaster ride in the Spanish capital – successfully breaking Barcelona’s stranglehold on the Liga title last term but ultimately falling short of his aim of bringing the club their first UEFA Champions League success since 2002.

Along the way there was an eye-gouging controversy with then-Barcelona assistant Tito Vilanova, and highly publicised spats with big-name stars in his own squad such as Iker Casillas, Pepe and Sergio Ramos.

Most recently, he was sent to the stands as his team lost the Copa del Rey final to city rivals Atletico.

As the past three years have shown, there is never a dull moment with the ‘Special One’.

But that circus comes to an end on Saturday, as Real journey to lowly Osasuna in what will be Mourinho’s last official duty with his team.

Given the multitude of big games he has presided over during his tenure, Saturday’s clash – with nothing at stake but pride – is an anti-climactic end for one of football’s most perplexing characters, who is hotly tipped to reprise his role at Chelsea next season.

Real Madrid will be keen to take revenge on Osasuna, who held them to a 0-0 draw at the Estadio El Sadar in January in what was a spiteful affair.

Referee Carlos Clos brandished nine yellow cards that day in Pamplona, two of them to Real’s Brazilian star Kaka, who was dismissed with quarter of an hour to play.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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