Thiago should leave Barcelona if he does not get playing time, Cruyff

The Netherlands legend has advised the midfielder to make a decision on his future based on how much playing time he will get at the Blaugrana

Johan Cruyff feels that it would be in Thiago’s best interest to leave Barcelona this summer if the Liga champions cannot guarantee him regular, first-team football.

The midfielder is continually being linked with a move away from his current club, with Manchester United leading the race for the 22-year-old’s signature, and Cruyff has advised the Spain international to leave unless the Catalans offer him more playing time.

“It all depends a bit on Barcelona’s plans. If there is little chance that he will get regular playing time, he should leave,” Cruyff told Marca.

“However, if Barca tell him that he will be a starter, he should stay put. It’s all quite simple really.

“Thiago has a lot of quality and he has plenty of time as he’s still young. Any decision he will take will prove to be a good one.”

The midfielder has a contract with Barcelona until the summer of 2015, but the failure to participate for a stipulated amount of minutes in 2012-13 has seen his exit clause plummet from €90 million to an attractive €18m.

However, his minimum fee release clause returns to €90m on August 1.

Hummels baffled by Gotze departure

The defender has voiced his dismay with the 21-year-old’s decision to say farewell to BVB in favour of a move to the treble winners

Mats Hummels cannot believe Mario Gotze chose to leave Borussia Dortmund for Bayern Munich and he feels there are no “sporting reasons” to switch clubs.

The attacking midfielder will start the 2013-14 campaign at the Bundesliga champions as Bayern triggered his €37 million buyout clause.

Hummels is not amused with his former team-mate’s decision to join BVB’s domestic rivals and hinted that money was the overriding motivation behind the move away from Signal Iduna Park.

“I do not understand Gotze’s decision and I have told him just that. Everybody at Dortmund was surprised. This only further shows that this was never an issue,” Hummels told Sport Bild.

“Everybody can see how good our team has become. I simply do not believe that there were any sporting reasons to leave BVB.

“It was clear to see that the team had really made steps forward and Mario got along with all of us very well. That’s why it annoyed me so much that he felt it was necessary to leave at such an early stage of his career.”

Gotze, 21, is a product of the Dortmund youth academy and played a key role in their Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

Celtic deny Wanyama agent claims of wrongdoing

The Glasgow giants have been accused of trying to force the Kenyan midfielder into joining Southampton by the player’s representative

Celtic insist that they have behaved “with integrity” and not attempted to force Victor Wanyama into joining Southampton.

The SPL champions had announced the agreement of a €14.5 million fee with the Premier League side but the Kenyan midfielder told Goal that he was not even made aware of the offer, with his agent, Ivan Modia, denying that his client would join the Saints, reportedly because the south coast club would not pay the representative a €1.1m fee.

Modia blamed the Bhoys, claiming that Wanyama had already lost over €1m by not being allowed to join QPR last summer and warning that the 21-year-old would not be pressured into joining a club solely because it suited the Parkhead side.

“These negotiations like any others are carried out by Celtic in a private, proper and professional way,” the Scottish club said in a statement.

“Celtic carries out its business with integrity, we work to the highest standards and in the interests of the club, our supporters and indeed our players.

“We do not need to comment any further on this player.”

Cardiff City, Everton and Liverpool are all interested in taking Wanyama to the Premier League, with the newly promoted side willing to offer a higher salary but lower transfer fee than Southampton.

Marchisio welcomes Tevez with open arms

The Italy international has welcomed the expected signing of the flamboyant attacker as he feels the forward would be a valuable addition

Claudio Marchisio has applauded the imminent arrival of Carlos Tevez at Juventus and has stressed that the Manchester City attacker is more than welcome at the Serie A champions.

The Turin giants agreed terms with City over a transfer fee on Tuesday evening and are widely expected to complete the €11.8 million signing of the 29-year-old in the upcoming days, much to the satisfaction of Marchisio.

“I have already said it before and I repeat that great champions [like Tevez] are always more than welcome at Juventus,” the Italy international was quoted as saying by Tuttosport.

However, the midfielder added that the former Manchester United striker must give his all for the club if he is to succeed and will have to focus solely on his football.

“It’s crucial that he arrives here with the right motivation and the desire to give everything for the Juventus shirt, though.”

Meanwhile, Juventus are also hopeful of luring Aleksandar Kolarov away from Manchester City ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Scudetto holders are keen to add a left wing-back to their squad and they see the 27-year-old Serbia international, whose contract runs until June 2015, as the ideal signing.

Half the cost of Higuain & Jovetic – Why Carlos Tevez is such a bargain for Juventus

The Argentine has had problems at nearly every club he has represented, but his signing will be a shrewd move on the part of the Italian champions

COMMENT
By Mark Doyle

During an interview with Sky Sport 24 in May, Juventus director Beppe Marotta was asked, “Carlos Tevez or Gonzalo Higuain?” A simple question but difficult to answer. On Tuesday evening, though, it seems that the Bianconeri came to a definitive conclusion that signing Tevez would be the more sensible solution to their striking problems, with the Italian champions agreeing to pay an initial €9-11 million for the enigmatic Manchester City striker.

Admittedly, the name “Tevez” should never normally be used in the same sentence as the word “sensible”. But this is the exception that proves the rule: this is a deal that suits both clubs.

Manchester City, of course, simply want rid of a volatile 29-year-old forward with just one year left on a contract worth a whopping €233,000 per week. Juventus, meanwhile, are looking for a proven, world-class attacker for a reasonable price.

Of course, Tevez will not come cheap; he never does. His wages will be among the highest in the Juve squad. But he would still cost significantly less than the Bianconeri’s preferred alternatives, with Real Madrid and Fiorentina both demanding close to €30m for Higuain and Steven Jovetic respectively. As Marotta pointed out last month when asked about Tevez and Higuain, “It could be easier to buy Carlitos, if only for the reason that he has only one year left of his contract.” The Bianconeri will therefore be hoping that for half the price, they will be getting twice the player.

What they are most certainly getting is twice the ego – and that is why so many Juve fans will be feeling some trepidation about the seemingly imminent arrival of a forward who has proven notoriously problematic during a peripatetic career. Indeed, it is quite remarkable that he actually saw out four years at the Etihad, given the tempestuous nature of his relationship with former City boss Roberto Mancini and their now infamous standoff at the Allianz Arena two years ago.

Juventus will be well aware that Tevez can never go more than a couple of seasons at a club before complaining about… well, everything. But then, that should not be an issue in this instance. The Italian champions have been searching frantically for a goalscorer capable of making an immediate impact in Turin. Tevez is undeniably that kind of player. When he is happy, motivated and focused (i.e. not angling for a move elsewhere), he is truly a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by his debut campaigns at Corinthians, Manchester United and City.

Yes, he is 29, but he showed last season that he is still able to score and create goals in equal measure and was arguably the one City forward to play to his potential during an underwhelming season for the club. A whirlwind of destruction, like Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil brought to life and sent out to tear up a football field, he also remains one of the most industrious and combative attackers in the game today, capable of causing as much chaos on the field as he so often generates off it.

Tevez has, at the very least, another couple of stellar seasons left in him, which is what Juve are banking on. In that sense, the Bianconeri’s move to acquire the 29-year-old should be viewed in a similar light to Manchester United’s decision to pay €26.5m for a 29-year-old Robin van Persie this time last year.

Obviously, Van Persie, a Bianconeri target last summer, is not only a very different player, but a very different character. However, both Tevez and Juventus are going into this relationship with their eyes wide open. The relatively short-term nature of the commitment should suit the player as much as the club.

Crucially, Juve coach Antonio Conte would have had a massive say in this proposed deal, having made it clear during last month’s showdown talks with his superiors that he wanted a much greater influence in the club’s summer recruitment strategy. That is reassuring, as Tevez is not the type of player a club should foist upon a coach. Conte commands respect no matter what, though. The irritable Argentine will be well aware that the kind of insubordination that he so often displayed at Eastlands simply will not be tolerated in Turin, as evidenced by the way in which Conte ostracised a couple of expensive acquisitions, Milos Krasic and Amauri, during the 2011-12 season.

Juventus, and Conte, therefore seem more than capable of getting their money’s worth out of Tevez. Is it still a risk? Of course, but as Marotta alluded to, given the money involved, it is a risk well worth taking.