Defoe considering future despite love for Tottenham


Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe fears that he may have to quit White Hart Lane in search of first-team football as new boss Andre Villas-Boas assesses his striking options.

The England international admits that the campaign was “heartbreaking” due to his lack of opportunities, though he still managed 17 goals despite being restricted largely to appearances from the bench.

Villas-Boas remains keen on Internacional hitman Leandro Damiao and is also confident of securing the services of Emmanuel Adebayor on a permanent basis, but Defoe is the only senior striker currently at the club.

“Everyone knows how much I love Tottenham,” the former Portsmouth man told the Daily Mirror. “Everybody knows that they are the club I want to play for.

“But last season was heartbreaking for me in terms of putting my body on the line, being prepared to give everything for the club and not getting a game.”

Defoe spent most of last season on the sidelines despite putting himself through a gruelling training camp in France in the summer.

He was included in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England squad for Euro 2012, however, and the 29-year-old is now considering a fresh start away from London with Sunderland, Reading and QPR all reportedly monitoring his situation.

“Obviously I have to think seriously about my future,” he added. “I will talk to the club and see what happens but right now all I want to do is what is best for Tottenham.”

Defoe has two years left on his current deal at White Hart Lane.

Kompany reiterates admiration for Van Persie: 'He would make any team stronger'


Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has heaped yet more praise on Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, insisting that any team would be made stronger by his arrival.

The Dutch forward’s future has been subject to widespread speculation this summer after he revealed that he would not sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

Both champions City and Italian giants Juventus have expressed their interest, but it appears that Manchester United are the frontrunners to secure the 29-year-old’s signature.

“It’s very easy to say you want to play next to Robin van Persie,” the Belgium international told Sky Sports, having previously declared him as potentially an “incredible addition” for his side.

“He’s a great player. He’s proved it so many times last season and any team he would play for he’d make it stronger.”

Kompany is set to lock horns with the Gunners captain when Belgium face the Netherlands at the Koning Boudewijn Stadion on Wednesday evening.

Juventus ready to spend €20m on Llorente


EXCLUSIVE
By Romeo Agresti

Juventus are prepared to increase their bid for Fernando Llorente to €20 million in order to secure the want-away Athletic Bilbao striker.

Goal.com exclusively revealed at the weekend that the Bianconeri had tabled an offer of €16m for the 27-year-old, as they continue their search for a top-class centre forward.

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia stated on Monday that Llorente has no intention of renewing his contract at San Mames, but insisted the Basque side would only let go of their talisman for his buy-out clause of €36m.

However, Goal.com understands that Juventus do not wish to go that far for the towering attacker, and will only go as high as €20m plus bonuses in their attempts to sign Llorente.

The coming days will prove decisive for a potential deal to be struck as Juventus want to wrap up the signing of a new striker before the summer transfer window enters its final week.

Llorente has also been linked with a number of Premier League sides in recent weeks, but the Italian champions’ interest currently appears to be the most concrete.

Manchester City make Arnesen approach


EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | UK Correspondent

Frank Arnesen could be in line for a shock return to the Premier League after being approached by Manchester City to become the club’s director of football.

The English champions have targeted the former Chelsea backroom man as they seek to rebuild both their recruitment and scouting operations.

Arnesen, who is currently the sporting director at Hamburg, is believed to be interested in the role, which could have repercussions for Brian Marwood, the most senior football administrator currently at the club.

Goal.com understands that an appointment is not imminent but there have been discussions between Arnesen and City about him arriving at the Etihad Stadium next year.

The 55-year-old Dane is said to be frustrated at the budget available to him at the Bundesliga side, where he has recruited mainly emerging players, including four from former side Chelsea and another on loan.

City appear to be paving the way for Arnesen’s arrival. His son, Sebastian, left Hamburg’s scouting team last month to take up a similar role at the club, where he was joined by Jan Ricka, who he had worked with at the Bundesliga club.

The Premier League holders’ pursuit of Arnesen may explain why manager Roberto Mancini has spoken about Marwood with barely concealed contempt in recent weeks.

Mancini has been agitated by the lack of top signings this summer and has a strained working relationship with Marwood, with the pair frequently at odds over how to improve the playing squad while satisfying the requirements of Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

“I am not the sporting director, it is his [Marwood’s] job, not mine,” said the Italian boss, speaking last Friday before the £15 million (€19m) capture of Jack Rodwell from Everton. “They ask me about the market but I don’t know anything, it is better they talk to him.”

Marwood, who carries the exotic title ‘Director of Football Administration’, but is effectively the director of football, has seen his position come under threat since the departure of Garry Cook as chief executive last September, his close ally from their Nike days.

His role is mainly centred on opening dialogue with other clubs over potential targets rather than cherry-picking players or finalising deals.

Arnesen left Stamford Bridge at the end of 2010-11 season following six years at Chelsea, where he had several roles in that period, including controlling player recruitment and the development of young players in the academy.

Chelsea paid Tottenham £5m (6.3m) for Arnesen to join them in June 2005 after a 12-month spell at White Hart Lane.

The former midfielder made his name in the specialist role during 10 years as director of football at PSV, beginning in 1994 after abandoning aspirations to become a coach.

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Jovetic, Pazzini, Matri & the Serie A stars who could leave before the end of the summer transfer window


ANALYSIS
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer

With the summer transfer window close to being slammed shut, time is beginning to run out on those clubs looking to strengthen their first-team squads. And it means that any players looking to move on to pastures new before the start of 2012-13 had better get their skates on.


With Euro 2012 now long forgotten, attention is firmly fixed on players’ domestic futures, and there are many top international stars who are the talk of the transfer market right now. Big names such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi have already departed, and the lists of outgoing players at Serie A clubs could yet grow.

Providing a guide to some of the bigger potential departures, we look at some of the stars from Serie A who could be moving on before September 1.

Udinese have already lost Cristian Zapata, Alexis Sanchez, Gokhan Inler, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mauricio Isla and Samir Handanovic over the last year, but Pablo Armero may yet join them on the departures board. The Colombian wideman has made quite the name for himself over the last two seasons in Udine, but it may come back to bite the Zebrette as he now keeps an eye out for new employment.

I am fine at the Friuli, I have four years of my contract left and the chance to play in the Champions League. I am calm, but I know clubs like Juventus and Napoli are interested in me,” said Armero recently, sending out a message that he is aware of his worth in a now thin-looking Udinese side. Much may now depend on Udinese’s Champions League clash with Sporting Braga as the window nears its closure.

The Uruguayan has pulled up as many trees as any Serie A player in recent years, and proved to be the driving force behind the star-studded Napoli side which caught Europe’s imagination in the Champions League last season. But with Lavezzi having already waved goodbye to the San Paolo, many of the continent’s clubs believe they can tempt the midfielder away as well.

A whole host of teams have been linked with Gargano in recent weeks, and it looked like he could be on the move when his agent was spotted heading for Valencia. He has also recently been linked with Inter, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is unlikely to want to lose a second key man following Lavezzi’s move to France. Gargano’s unhappiness at starting the season behind new signing Valon Behrami could cause more friction between the Uruguayan and coach Walter Mazzarri, though.

Without the various departures in Serie A this season, the Montenegrin has become one of the league’s top commodities four years on from his arrival in Italy from Partizan Belgrade. Twelve months after returning to domestic play following a knee ligament injury, he looks set to enjoy a great season in 2012-13, but with whom?

His name has been linked with Juventus almost constantly this summer, and this is a deal which cannot be ruled out until the page is turned on the calendar. The longer the Bianconeri go without adding to their forward pool, the more likely they are to pursue the avenues they have already trodden in looking to add the talented youngster to their ranks. At the moment, though, Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente is a more likely signing for Juve.

There are few top class goalkeepers who do not welcome a challenge when it comes their way, and Samir Handanovic’s arrival at Inter has presented exactly such a proposition for Julio Cesar. His wife, Susana Werner, blasted the club for their show of “disrespect” in adding the Slovenian to their roster, and her reaction suggested that a serious offer could see the Brazilian leave the club he won the Champions League with in 2010.

But with the shot-stopper still an Inter employee for now, there has to be a fair chance that he and Handanovic will be fighting for one jersey in 2012-13, unless recent talks with Tottenham, confirmed by the player’s agent, lead to a deal. There was also interest from Milan, Roma and Manchester City, but those avenues seem to have been closed off for now.

Italy international Matri is in quite the juxtaposition. Having been Juventus’ top scorer last season, one would be forgiven for believing his future his safe, but the Scudetto holders are likely to want to shake up their attacking options before the new term kicks off, and with Llorente and Jovetic in their sights, they will be more than willing to listen to offers for Matri.

The former Cagliari man has been mentioned in the same breath as Milan for much of the summer, and was even asked recently by Rossoneri defender Daniele Boneri whether a move to San Siro is on the cards. Despite the striker’s denial that an exit from Vinovo is on the horizon, Juve could well look to cash in on him if they manage to persuade either one of Llorente or Jovetic to come on board.

Pazzini’s impact at Inter had initially been a revelation, with his goalscoring form helping the Nerazzurri finish 2010-11 with some aplomb. However, the sale of Samuel Eto’o to Anzhi Makhachkala robbed him of his favoured strike partner, and Pazzini struggled last season as a result.

The striker’s dip in form has left him on Andrea Stramaccioni’s list of expendables as the young coach looks to build the Inter of the future. “I’ll be honest, I believe the club have made their decision and that I’ll no longer be a part of this project,” the former Sampdoria man admitted during the summer. Having got his agent hard at work looking for him a move, it would appear that Lazio’s interest has cooled, leaving Juventus as favourites should they look to a swap move for Fabio Quagliarella.

He may have finally got his hands on his favoured No.27 shirt at Juventus this summer after Milos Krasic’s departure, but the former Napoli and Sampdoria striker may well be set for a short-lived stint with the jersey as the transfer merry-go-round reaches its final stop. A year on from a period of isolation at Vinovo which saw him go until December without a league start, he may well be used as collateral for a move by the Bianconeri.

With much being said about a possible Pazzini-Quagliarella exchange in recent times, Inter have become the favourites for his signature, but Milan have also been linked over the summer months, and if the Rossoneri end up missing out on Matri then they look likely to consider Quagliarella as one of their alternative targets.



One year on from the ‘will he, won’t he’ episode that was Wesley Sneijder’s near-move to Manchester United, the Dutchman’s market value has dropped dramatically after a hugely disappointing 2011-12 campaign. The trequartista rarely featured in the Nerazzurri‘s few bright moments of last season, and was also unable to help resurrect Netherlands’ hopes of progressing at Euro 2012.

Along with the tightening grip of their economic situation, Sneijder’s difficult year has helped scare off United, and a big-money switch to join former team-mate Samuel Eto’o at Anzhi appears to be his most likely option. However, things seemed to have reached something of an even keel of late, and the former Real Madrid man could yet spend a fourth season in the black and blue. The one lingering doubt over his future remains that for as long as the window is open, Sneijder remains one of the world’s most gettable attacking midfielders.

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