Valero: Khedira would be a great signing for Fiorentina

The midfielder says any player who left Real Madrid would make a superb addition to the squad and feels the European champions have been saving themselves for the Spanish Supercup


Fiorentina midfielder Borja Valero says Sami Khedira, or any Real Madrid player, would be a welcome signing for the club.

Germany international Khedira has long been linked move away from Madrid, with Premier League giants Arsenal and Chelsea long believed to be pursuing the 27-year-old.

Bayern Munich have also emerged as possible suitors for Khedira following the serious knee injury to Javi Martinez, although Carlo Ancelotti stressed this week that he was not looking to offload the player.

Valero, who came through the youth system at Madrid and played in Fiorentina’s 2-1 friendly win against his old club on Saturday, admits any player from Santiago Bernabeu would be welcome in Florence.

“Anyone who left Madrid would be a superb signing and a great addition for us,” he told AS when asked about a possible bid for Khedira.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck after just four minutes in Warsaw on Saturday before goals from Mario Gomez and Marcos Alonso turned the tide for Fiorentina, but Valero believes los Blancos were saving themselves for the up-coming Spanish Supercopa clash with Atletico Madrid.

“They are a great team. When they change gear, it’s hard to stop them. Their midfield is very strong and they know how to change tempo,” he said.

“They haven’t gone flat out because they wanted to avoid injuries as they have the Supercopa in a few days. But for us the game was very good and it’s great to beat them.

“I’m not going to miss it, it will be a really interesting match. With the way Atletico play with pressure and intensity, and with the great team Madrid have, it will be a beautiful final to watch.”

EPL Insider: Arsenal reject Joel Campbell approach from Liverpool

The Anfield club are still aiming to sign a striker this summer following the departure of Luis Suarez, but Arsene Wenger is keen to keep the Costa Rican at least until January


LIVERPOOL’S CAMPBELL APPROACH KNOCKED BACK

Arsenal have rejected a Liverpool approach for Joel Campbell this summer.

The Merseysiders are among a cluster of clubs who have enquired about taking the Costa Rica international on a season-long loan as they attempt to bolster their strike force.

However, Arsene Wenger has rebuffed all offers and wants to hold on to the 22-year-old at least until January.

Campbell will be integrated into the Arsenal senior squad for the first time since joining the club in 2011, following loan spells at Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos. He will join Olivier Giroud, Yaya Sanogo and new signing Alexis Sanchez in battling for the central striker’s role.

Speaking at his Friday press briefing ahead of Saturday’s Premier League curtain-raiser against Crystal Palace, Wenger said Campbell had “matured a lot” and figured in his plans for the forthcoming campaign.

“He has come from a non-competitive world to a world with hyper-competition,” he said. “He has adapted slowly, but has adapted very well, he has a very good spirit and attitude.

“He is a member of my squad at the moment, he had a good preparation and played well against Benfica.

“In training he is very focused and eager to do well. I would like to keep him.”

The Arsenal boss is expected to review the situation in the winter window depending upon the success of Campbell and his fellow front men during the opening months of the season.

Liverpool are working on signing a striker to provide competition for Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert. They have held two rounds of talks with Samuel Eto’o this week after pulling the plug on a €10 million move for Loic Remy.

– By Wayne Vesey

EVERTON PLAYERS CONCERNED OVER MCCARTHY UNITED MOVE

There is growing concern within the Everton squad that Manchester United could swoop for midfielder James McCarthy.

Senior squad members have reacted with almost dismay that the Republic of Ireland international – who had such an influential campaign for the Toffees last season – has not been tied down to a new deal.

United are huge fans of McCarthy and it is understood Goodison Park chiefs are bracing themselves for an approach from the corridors of power at Old Trafford.

McCarthy is understood to be frustrated at the lack of a new contract, which was promised to him shortly after arriving from Wigan.

Moyes: I wanted to sign Bale & Ronaldo for Manchester United

The Scot says he wanted to bring in the best players in the world during his short reign at Old Trafford, but would not blame under-fire Ed Woodward for failing to do so

David Moyes has admitted that he wanted to sign Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United.

The Scot was hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson as his successor last summer but oversaw a disastrous campaign as the Red Devils finished seventh and was sacked at the end of April.

The club’s failings in the transfer market were subject to an internal inquiry 12 months ago, and they are faring no better this time around with new boss Louis van Gaal fielding a line-up consisting of youngsters and players tipped to leave the club for the defeat against Swansea.

And Moyes, who arrived at Carrington at four in the morning on the day he was sacked, admitted that he wanted to sign the very biggest names in football during his short reign, though he was reluctant to blame executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for those failures.

“It’s been well documented that we wanted Fabregas, Bale and Ronaldo,” Moyes told the Daily Mail. “There was talk of Ronaldo when I first arrived. We were close to getting a couple of major names. I’m not getting in a blame game here but things just didn’t materialise.

“I had taken over from the most successful manager in history. The chief executive had taken over from one of the most renowned administrators in the game [David Gill]. So it was a new job for two people.”

Moyes insists he was the right man for the United job, but accepts that following Ferguson would be beyond most managers.

“It was a step into the unknown and, looking back now, it was near enough the impossible job,” he added.

“But it was the right job for me. I’d been at Everton for more than 11 years. We’d qualified for the Champions League, got to an FA Cup final, I’d been voted manager of the season three times. I was among the most experienced managers in the Premier League. United had always had British managers.

“I was devastated to lose the job because it was something I felt I could make a real success of. We knew it was going to take time to make the necessary changes. It was going to take time to evolve but we were in the process of making other important changes. In the end, I don’t feel I was given time to succeed or fail.”

Moyes said he would continue to follow the Red Devils’ fortunes after his first close-season without a club since he was 16.

“It’s going to hurt that I’m not managing Manchester United because that’s obviously what I’d have liked to have been doing,” he continued, “but I’ll watch the games. I won’t be running away from it. Football is something I’ve been involved in since I was a boy.”

Ronaldo, Suarez and the most expensive XI in football

Following a string of big-money moves this summer, Goal takes a look at how a team with the most priciest players in each position would look


Although the summer transfer window remains open for about two more weeks, there have already been plenty of high-profile moves across the continent.

Barcelona paid a hefty transfer fee for Luis Suarez, Paris Saint-Germain spent big on David Luiz, Manchester City splashed the cash on Eliaquim Mangala, while Manchester United made Luke Shaw the most-expensive left-back – and teenager – in history.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid lured Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez to their squad to further increase the value of their team after the record-breaking buys of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in recent years.

The Santiago Bernabeu side’s heavy spending in the past few seasons saw them field a starting XI which has cost them close to €500 million in transfer fees in the European Super Cup win over Sevilla.

With Bale, Ronaldo and James, Madrid have three creative players for whom they paid a transfer fee of at least €80m, yet they have spent relatively little on their defensive options – an area PSG have certainly not overlooked.

Here, Goal takes a look at the most expensive players in each position based on the transfer fees paid for them, with the total value of the most expensive current XI sitting at €668m.

Between the sticks, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the most expensive player following his €51m move from Parma in the summer of 2001.

At right-back, Barcelona’s Dani Alves makes an appearance, having joined his current team from Sevilla for a reputed fee of €35m in 2008.

Paris Saint-Germain made David Luiz the most expensive defender in the world earlier this summer when they paid Chelsea €50m for the Brazil international, only for Manchester City to spend even more on Eliaquim Mangala last week, with Porto receiving €30.5m for 56.67 per cent of his rights, making for a total transfer fee of €53m.

England international Luke Shaw takes the left-back spot following his €37m transfer from Southampton to Manchester United this summer.

The two holding midfielders in our 4-2-1-3 are Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez, who left Athletic Bilbao for €40m in 2012, and Zenit St Petersburg’s Belgium international Axel Witsel, who cost the Russians the same fee.

Colombia international James Rodriguez earned himself an €80m move from Monaco to Real Madrid following his sublime performances at the World Cup to become the most-expensive attacking midfielder in the world.

Up front, a trio of La Liga stars represent the attackers for whom the highest transfer fees were paid in the history of the game. Real Madrid splashed out €100m to lure Gareth Bale away from Tottenham last summer, having previously paid €94m for Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. New Barcelona signing Luis Suarez completes the XI following his €88m move from Liverpool earlier this summer.

Players who miss out in the most expensive XI despite commanding impressive fees themselves include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Fernando Torres, Neymar, Hulk, Sergio Aguero, Juan Mata and Thiago Silva.

Hart & Dzeko next to sign new Manchester City contracts

The goalkeeper and striker will follow Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero in agreeing fresh terms but there are no talks scheduled with Manuel Pellegrini


EXCLUSIVE
By Paul Clennam

Joe Hart and Edin Dzeko are set to sign new long-term deals at Manchester City but the club have no plans to extend the contract of manager Manuel Pellegrini, Goal understands.

The Premier League champions have already secured the long-term futures of David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero in the last week, as well as signing Eliaquiam Mangala and Fernando from Porto, Bacary Sagna from Arsenal and Willy Caballero from Malaga during the transfer window.

England goalkeeper Hart will face stiff competition to secure his status as City’s No.1 this season following the arrival of Caballero but is ready to commit his future to the club regardless.

Caballero started against Arsenal in the 3-0 Community Shield defeat last weekend and could do so on Sunday as City begin the defence of their title at Newcastle after Hart celebrated the birth of his first child on Friday.

Dzeko, meanwhile, looked set to leave the club this time last season following the additions of Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo but has flourished under Pellegrini with goals in three of last season’s final four matches helping to secure the title.

Despite Pellegrini winning two trophies in his first full season in charge Goal understands City will wait until the end of the current campaign before considering whether or not to extend the Chilean’s contract, which has two years left to run.

A source told Goal: “The club’s owners are of the opinion that a manager’s cycle should last three years. They do not want a repeat of the scenario whereby Roberto Mancini was offered a five-year deal after winning the title only for him to receive a huge pay-off just 12 months later.”

Bruno Zuculini, meanwhile, is close to agreeing a season-long loan move to Valencia. The two clubs held talks on Saturday and the young Argentine is expected to complete the switch early next week.