Mino Raiola is chasing a bumper deal for the Frenchman, while Rio Ferdinand could be set for a switch to Manchester United’s rivals – of sorts – and Harry Redknapp is gagged
MAN CITY KEEPING CLOSE EYE ON POGBA
Manchester City are keeping serious tabs on former Manchester United starlet Paul Pogba at Juventus.
The Frenchman’s agent, Mino Raiola, is pushing the Italians for a significant new deal to reflect his growing stature at the club, with only two years left on his present package worth £900,000-a-year.
Sources close to the Italian club have indicated that they are confident of tying Pogba down, with the promise of making him the club’s central midfield fulcrum for the long-term future. Andrea Pirlo, those close to the club say, is set to be released at the end of the season.
However, City are keeping a close eye on the 20-year-old’s situation, with the youngster’s hero, Patrick Vieira, having scouted him heavily when he was at Old Trafford. Pogba had cold feet about making a direct switch to City at the time due to his time spent in the red half of the City.
City remain close to Raiola following their dealings with the agent during Mario Balotelli’s City career, and are keen to be at the front of the queue should his negotiations with the Turin outfit break down.
– Paul Clennam
HUGHTON & MACKAY COULD KICK OFF MANAGERIAL MERRY-GO-ROUND
Norwich face Cardiff at Carrow Road next weekend in what could be a pivotal match for the managers of both clubs.
Malky Mackay’s future in the Welsh capital is under scrutiny and he is known to be furious with the decision by owner Vincent Tan to sack head of recruitment Iain Moody and replace him with 23-year-old Alisher Apsalyamov.
The Kazakh is a friend of Tan’s son and was on work experience at the club, and his appointment resulted in an intense fortnight of speculation during which Mackay was forced to deny claims he had been asked to resign.
And the whisper doing the rounds in Premier League boardrooms is that the Scot and his advisors are lining up potential new jobs should he find himself unemployed in the coming weeks.
One rumoured destination is Norwich, with Chris Hughton under pressure as his side sit in the bottom three with just seven points from their first eight games of the season.
Hughton is no stranger to controversial management changes having been sacked by Newcastle in 2010 and replaced by Alan Pardew.
The Canaries have faced a tough start to the season, including games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham – and Hughton was in bullish mood when asked about Norwich’s situation on Saturday.
“It’s not a nice feeling to be in the bottom three but we were in a similar position this time last year,” Hughton said.
RIO SET FOR CITY SWITCH?
Rio Ferdinand could be a shock target for new MLS side New York City – owned by United’s rivals Manchester City.
New York City are on the hunt for players after City owner Sheikh Mansour paid £70 million for the franchise in the summer and Ferdinand, who is known to be keen on experiencing the American lifestyle, is thought to be tempted by a switch to MLS.
Former City and Sunderland hero Claudio Reyna is helping with the recuitment drive as NYCFC director of football and is said to be targeting Premier League talent.
Ferdinand is out of contract next summer but is hoping to get a 12-month extension at Old Trafford which will take him up to 2015 – when the American franchise starts playing games.
MLS teams are allowed to recruit two big name players outside of the salary cap and NYCFC are confident that a bumper move could be sanctioned
– Paul Clennam
REDKNAPP KEPT QUIET OVER POMPEY & SPURS
Harry Redknapp’s ‘Always Managing’ autobiography grabbed the headlines – and no doubt plenty of subsequent sales – earlier in October with its colourful stories, criticism of the FA and explanation of how he turned Gareth Bale into a superstar.
But the former West Ham and Tottenham manager could have produced even more explosive headlines had the lawyers not intervened to remove stories from his time in charge of Portsmouth and Spurs.
The 66-year-old was restricted in what he could recount from his time at Fratton Park and White Hart Lane due to the financial settlements of his departures from the clubs.
The conditions of his pay-off from Tottenham, in particular, meant Redknapp was unable to lift the lid on his time at the club and his dismissal in June 2012 after the club finished fourth that season.
– Greg Stobart