Arsenal signed Joe Cole

According to reports, Arsenal are close to finalising a three year deal with Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole. Cole’s representatives held a meeting with Arsenal officials to negotiate the deal yesterday.

The deal is expected to be finalized soon, and an announcement is expected before the World Cup begins on June 11th.

The report emerged after Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said that he believes Cole has signed a deal with a club.

“It looks to me that someone’s going to make a great free transfer,”

“I genuinely don’t know who that is, but I don’t think it’s going to be Tottenham.”

“I’ve got a feeling—and I may be wrong—that he’s already agreed a deal with someone.”

“I’m a big fan of Joe’s, and I would be interested if he didn’t stay at Chelsea, but the feedback we’ve had is that he might well have already done something.”

Cole’s contract negotiations with Chelsea stalled some time ago, apparently due to the fact that Cole wanted £100,000 a week wages, from his current £80,000 a week deal.

Cole also failed to establish himself as a first team player under manager Carlo Ancelotti.

If true, the news will be a massive boost for the Arsenal fans, who were left shocked when inspirational captain Cesc Fabregas revealed that he wants to join Barcelona.

Cole will be a welcome addition to an Arsenal squad that lacks English talent.

A young sensation, Cole started his career at West Ham and was touted as one of the hottest prospects in the game as a 16-year-old. He helped the Hammers win the FA Youth Cup, but when the Hammers were relegated from the top flight in 2003 he signed with Chelsea for £6.6 million.

Technically one of the best players around, he has a great passing range and his creativity can unlock a defence.

He can play on either wing and as an attacking midfielder. His game will suite Arsenal’s style of play and will be an excellent addition to the squad.

But the signing may mean that Arsenal have all but resigned to losing Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. Arsenal have rejected an initial bid from the Catalan side, maintaining that their captain is not for sale.

Update: Benitez in Sardinia

Rafael Benitez will leave Liverpool today after the club’s board made it clear he was no longer wanted as manager.

The Anfield hierarchy has blinked first in the Mexican stand-off by offering their 50-year-old manager a compromise compensation deal to quit the club.

The offer was made in a conference call to Benitez, who is in Sardinia. It is believed Sammy Lee has been put in temporary charge of team matters.

The Spaniard believed for some time he had the whip hand in his dealings with the board, but the negotiations about his future became a vicious circle – although he did not realise just how vicious it was to become.

In a vote of no confidence, the Liverpool board approved a proposal which would see Benitez depart with a lucrative pay-off worth in the region of £4million.

Liverpool, ultimately, have decided it is time to move on and progress. The Dallas-style soap opera that has blighted the famous club’s name over recent months had to stop and Benitez will be the cast member to depart.

That was inevitable after a disastrous season in which Liverpool finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and Benitez blamed a dwindling transfer budget for his squad’s inane performance.

That did not sit well with owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who, despite declaring their intention to sell the club, knew action had to be taken swiftly for the Anfield outfit to move forward or risk implosion. With every penny counting, doing nothing was too big a risk to take.

Benitez has spent more than £220m on more than 70 players in his colourful six years at Anfield.

Yet, as Sportsmail revealed last week, his budget was severely restricted and he wanted written assurances from the club’s board that money from every player sold could be re-directed into the coffers enabling him the funds to bring in new ones.

Confidence in his ability to wheel and deal, particularly on the back of last season’s £17million acquisition of Alberto Aquilani, was evidently not there.

Instead Benitez was allowed to grow increasingly frustrated. Despiteoffers for his players he did not want to sell for fear of his squad being further weakened.

Had Benitez received the guarantees he had been looking for during talks with chairman Martin Broughton then the current situation would not have arisen but with both parties unable to envisage a way of working together a parting of the ways was and is inevitable.

When Juventus came knocking, Liverpool believed an easy exit was apparent for the Spaniard but he did not have enough faith in the Juventus project and harboured hopes that Liverpool’s fortunes would change with new ownership.

However, with annual losses of £55m, debts totalling £351m and the club out of the Champions League, Liverpool is not an easy or, more importantly quick, sell.

Benitez was always going to find it difficult after winning the Champions League famously in his first season as that dramatic Istanbul victory over AC Milan raised the roof on expectation. He and his wife Montse have fallen in love with the area and embraced the history of the club.

When the Kop sang You’ll Never Walk Alone to him they meant it and he reciprocated. He danced with them and drank with them establishing himself as a man of the people but, ultimately, the team’s demise has even weakened that bond. While he enjoys the majority of support, some fans have brought his credentials into question this season.

Transfers, team selection and substitutions have all raised eyebrows – even among the stars of his team. The Americans will always take the brunt of the blame but now Benitez will be forced to walk away and into the arms of Inter Milan.

Following in the footsteps of his great adversary Jose Mourinho will not be easy but already the Inter fans are calling for the man ‘who stole the Champions League away from Milan’. That one night in Istanbul could yet serve Benitez well. (source)

Benitez new coach of Inter Milan

Rafa Benitez is set to Liverpool with a £3m pay-off.

Inter Milan’s Marco Branca said: “I would really love to see Rafa as our coach.”

Romours already started that Rafa will bring with himself Torres (nonsense – as Inter has plenty of strikers right now) and Gerrard as Inter has €100m transfer budget for new season plus money from the players who will probably leave like Maicon Douglas for €40m, Sulley Muntari €15m, Quaresma €10m, that’s €65m more. Probably, that will be enough for Benitez (€165m).

Daily Mail:
Rafael Benitez’s six-year reign as Liverpool manager looked to be over after the club discussed offering him a £3million compensation package to quit with immediate effect.

The Spaniard’s position has been in doubt since November but the club’s American owners were reluctant to pay up his contract to the tune of £16m.

Liverpool are now likely to draw up a wishlist including Fulham’s Roy Hodgson, former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.

Benitez’s relationship with the Anfield hierarchy has grown increasingly uncomfortable as he demanded assurances over the summer transfer budget. Those have not been forthcoming and Benitez has privately voiced his frustration, despite spending well in excess of £200m during his tenure. (source)

Mourinho: Give me Maicon and Kolarov

Jose Mourinho told the press that he doesn’t count much on Marcelo, and that Ramos is better as central defender along with Pepe.

He wanted Kolarov at Inter, the same situation is here: “I like that player a lot.”

But before Jose took Real M., Kolarov said: “I only want Inter Milan!”

We will see if he’s gonna change his mind now, otherwise, they will sign Vargas from Fiorentina. The price for both (each) is around €20m.

About Maicon: “I would lie if I would say I don’t want Douglas. Maybe it’s time for him to change environment.”

Agent of Maicon said that he could be Real Madrid’s player for €30m, but Inter won’t even talk under €40m bid.

Agent was spoted these days at Inter FC office, closing deal with them about “new Maicon” from Uruguay.

But, until now, Maicon only said: “I’m happy here at Inter, and I’ll only leave if Inter want’s to sell me. I won triple, and all I can say is that I want to win this season one more, and that’s with Brazil on WC.”

Two season’s ago, Real Madrid offered €50m for Brazilian, but Inter refused to sell him. Now when they are Champions League winners, it would be silly to sell him for €30m, more likely, they will ask €60m.

But FC Internazionale still has no coach, so they won’t rush, as they want to talk with the new coach about transfer plans.

In four seasons at FC Inter, Maicon played 174 times. We suggest you watch this video clip (goals and assists for Inter this season):

Mourinho official Real Madrid coach

Jose Mourinho was presented today as new Real Madrid manager, this is what he told media’s about transfer romours:

“A club’s identity has nothing to do with nationality. The club’s identity is never going to change and the footballing identity is something I will develop with my players. I don’t want to speak of players because when Real Madrid’s coach speaks about a player, that player’s price goes up €10 million more. I am happy with the basic squad from last year and we don’t need dramatic changes, just three or four players to make a team with better chances of adapting to an ideal style of play. It will not be a summer to write about new signings at Real Madrid; I think it will be a bit more calm.”