Baines is not for sale, reiterates Martinez

The 40-year-old says Everton are under no pressure to sell the full-back, who has yet to be offered a new deal, while Steven Pienaar was full of praise for his new Spanish boss

Roberto Martinez has reiterated Everton’s desire to keep hold of England left-back Leighton Baines.

Baines was the subject of a rejected bid from Manchester United during the summer and with the January transfer window approaching, the 29-year-old’s future is set to come under scrutiny again.

However, Martinez insists Everton do not need to sell and are under no pressure to raise funds, while he also revealed that the club have yet to enter negotiations over a new deal for the defender.

“If I want a player I need to match the valuation to then put the other club and the player in a situation to make a decision,” the Spaniard told the Sunday Mirror.

“We have never been in a situation where the valuation has been matched with Leighton.

“We don’t want to sell Leighton. When you are in a position when you have to bring money then you are relying on what you can sell. We are not in that position.

“As a club we don’t need the money. We don’t need to balance the books and that is a situation we wanted to have – to make football decisions, not financial decisions.

“We’re not in talks with him about a deal. We don’t have to say it publicly but nobody is for sale.”

Martinez, who succeeded current United boss David Moyes at Goodison Park, has been hailed by midfielder Steven Pienaar for placing trust in Everton’s players.

The Toffees sit fifth in the Premier League having lost just once this season and Pienaar is delighted to see Martinez’s style of play reaping rewards.

“This season we’ve been more patient. His [Martinez’s] philosophy is if you keep the ball, you’re not going to work as hard as the other team,” said the South African.

“The trust the manager has in his players is unbelievable. He wants us to go out there and dominate a game. It takes a lot of courage and hard work. To keep the ball is not only passing – you have to move, you have to be fit.

“He came in and told us, ‘Listen, you have to get over your fears now – just go out and enjoy the game’. He is so positive and it carries over to the team and makes us more relaxed.”

Zenit join Juve & Inter in race for Kolarov

The Russian outfit contacted the agents of the Serbian, with the full-back, who earns £90,000 a week, open to a move away from the Etihad Stadium

By Paul Clennam

Zenit St Petersburg are the latest club to check on the availability of Manchester City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov.

The Russian outfit contacted the agents of the Serbia international earlier this week, having recently seen the defender linked to both Inter and Juventus.

Kolarov, 28, will have 12 months remaining on his existing deal next summer and boss Manuel Pellegrini has already made it clear that he will be going nowhere in the January transfer window.

Zenit are willing to match Kolarov’s current €107,000-a-week wages and pay a fee in the region of €8.4 million to land the former Lazio left-back.

The player wants to see if City will offer him a new deal before the season is out and recently said that he would be interested in a move back to Italy.

Serie A champions Juventus have distanced themselves from a deal for Kolarov, however, with general director Giuseppe Marotta confirming that the club have no intention to initiate negotiations for the 28-year-old.

Kolarov has had to play second-fiddle to Gael Clichy during the majority of his City career, with the Serb starting just 11 Premier League games during Roberto Mancini’s ill-fated final season in charge last term.

He has enjoyed something of a renaissance under Pellegrini, however, making 19 appearances in all competitions for the Chilean coach this season, including the full 90 minutes of Saturday’s 4-2 win over Fulham.

Cellino: Nainggolan & Astori free to leave Cagliari

Apparently irate at the ongoing safety issues surrounding the Sant’Elia stadium, the Rossoblu supremo has claimed that all of his most valuable assets are up for sale

Cagliari president Massimo Cellino has sensationally announced that star players such as Radja Nainggolan and Davide Astori are free to leave the club.

Both players have been repeatedly linked with moves away from the Sant’Elia, but the Sardinian outfit have previously rebuffed all previous attempts to acquire their services.

However, Cellino, having been driven into a rage by the fact that Cagliari are forced to keep large sections of their stadium closed because of ongoing safety issues, has now claimed that all of his most prized assests will be allowed to leave.

“All the players are free to go; what the f*** are they still doing in this lousy stadium,” the Rossoblu supremo told reporters. “We play in a stadium worthy of Serie C.

“[Will Nainggolan leave in January?] No, he can leave in December, I tell you. He has six or seven clubs looking for him and I can’t keep hold of him again.

“It’s not an issue of money, as even if they give me less than his price tag, he’ll still go. If he doesn’t want to go, I’ll send him away.

“[Does that apply to Astori too?] It applies to everyone. I don’t rule anybody out. From tomorrow, anyone who wants to leave Cagliari is free to do so.

Allegri: Milan have too many players

The coach has played down the prospect of the Rossoneri bolstering their ranks in January and admitted that M’Baye Niang could move to Montpellier

Massimiliano Allegri has expressed his discontent at the size of his AC Milan squad as he prepares to face city rivals Inter on Sunday.

The Rossoneri have signed Adil Rami on loan from Valencia ahead of January and Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow, but the San Siro coach has no interest in additional transfer targets as he thinks his squad is already too inflated.

“We have to reduce the squad size, and I will talk with the management about it. Our squad should consist of 24 to 25 players,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“I don’t want to talk about [reported Milan target] Radja Nainggolan because he is a Cagliari player, and I don’t want to disturb him.

“We have talked a lot about the transfer market, but the management will take care of that. Rami and Honda are two good signings.

“Mattia De Sciglio and Stephan El Shaarawy have barely played this season [due to injury]. Our squad will be complete in January when our injured players return.”

M’Baye Niang broke into Milan’s first team quickly last season but has been used far fewer times this campaign and Allegri believes a loan move to Montpellier – which is on the verge of being confirmed – will aid his progress.

“Niang to Montpellier would be a good choice for him,” he added. “Niang started well at Milan, but then he perhaps felt too much responsibility.”

The Rossoneri are languishing in 10th place heading into gameweek 17 and rumours have linked the club’s former midfielder Clarence Seedorf with Allegri’s job.

Defeat in Sunday’s Derby della Madonnina against Inter could pile even more pressure on the head coach and Allegri has demanded an improvement in performance.

“It’s very unlikely that we will win tomorrow against Inter if we play like we did against Roma,” he added. “We made many mistakes in that match.

“Now our job is to climb up the Serie A table, qualify for the Champions League quarter-final and reach the Coppa Italia final.”

Ancelotti: New contract or not, Alonso will play for Madrid

The coach says the club do not depend on the midfielder, ruled Gareth Bale out of Sunday’s match and stressed the importance of beating Valencia

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says Xabi Alonso will definitely continue to start for the club – whether he signs a new contract or not.

The former Liverpool midfielder sees his current deal at the Santiago Bernabeu run out in June 2014 and with no new deal guaranteed to be on the way, los Blancos could lose the Spain international in the summer.

Despite his refusal to commit to a new Madrid deal, the Italian coach has no intention of dropping Alonso, though he stressed his team do not in any way depend on him.

“We have no new information from the club on any renewal, but he is our player until the summer of 2014 and, if available, will play,” Ancelotti told reporters on Saturday.

“We do not have dependence on Xabi Alonso, as we have important players and we played half so far this season without him [when he was injured] and the results were good, but the quality of Xabi gives us all more confidence.”

Gareth Bale picked up an injury during training this week and after missing Saturday morning’s training the Welsh winger has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Valencia.

“Bale’s injury is not as major, but he will not play tomorrow,” the former AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain boss said, confirming reports early on Saturday from Spain.

Ancelotti also stressed the importance of beating Valencia – who sacked coach Miroslav Djukic during the week – at Mestalla in what will be Madrid’s final game of the year before the winter break.

“This is a very important game,” he continued. “This is the last game of the year against a team who have had a coaching change, so they will be motivated and focused.

“We want to finish the year well with a good performance and getting three points.”