Manchester United look to slash Ferdinand salary with new deal

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief correspondent

Manchester United are ready to offer Rio Ferdinand a one-year contract extension in January – but on around half his current salary.

The defender, who turns 34 next month, has yet to open talks with United about a new deal even though his agreement expires next summer.

The club want to extend his spell at Old Trafford beyond 11 years but, in line with their policy of offering reduced terms to its over-30s players, Ferdinand cannot expect a renewal of his current £120,000-a-week wages.

Goal.com understands that when the two parties sit down to begin negotiations in the new year, United are preparing to offer Ferdinand a 12-month package worth around £60-70,000-a-week.

United’s proposal is unrelated to the Kick It Out controversy involving the 33-year-old and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Premier League giants have a well-established policy of handing less lucrative deals to players once they enter their mid-30s and their first-team appearances are being more strictly rationed. The likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville have all taken wage cuts towards the tail-end of their careers.

Ferdinand and his advisers have yet to test temperature in preliminary talks but are not expecting anything other than a one-year contract offer from United.

They will then have to decide whether to extend the defender’s Old Trafford career, which began in 2002 when he joined from Leeds United, or accept a lengthier offer from elsewhere.

MLS clubs New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire are among those monitoring Ferdinand’s situation while West Ham, where he began his professional career, would also be interested if there are signs he might leave United next summer.

Since missing the opening weeks of the season through injury, Ferdinand has started seven of United’s eight Premier League and Champions League matches.

There were reports that the defender’s future at Old Trafford could be under threat after he defied Ferguson by refusing to wearing a shirt in support of football’s anti-racism movement during the warm-up before United’s 4-2 win against Stoke City on Saturday.

But the manager is thought to have cleared the air with one of his most senior players during a meeting on Sunday morning at the club’s Carrington base, where Ferdinand arrived with the rest of the team for an hour-long warm-down and massage session.

Ferguson is said to have told Ferdinand he was disappointed that the player failed to inform him he intended not to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt. Ferguson thinks this made him look foolish after he told the media on Friday that all his players would wear the group’s T-shirts.

It is believed that Ferdinand apologised to his manager for not disclosing that information, and he is not expected to be fined over the matter.

Ferguson was expecting to be grilled about the issue at his media briefing on Monday afternoon to preview United’s Champions League home match against Braga on Tuesday night.

Bridge wants to make Brighton move permanent

Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge is eyeing a move away from the Premier League champions and is hoping to sign a permanent deal with Brighton.

Bridge, who signed for Manchester City in 2009 when Mark Hughes was the manager in a £10 million deal, made 42 appearances for City but has since fallen out of favour under Roberto Mancini following the arrivals of Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy.

The former England international has had loan spells with West Ham and Sunderland recently, failing to do enough to secure permanent moves, before joining Brighton where he has made five appearances so far this season scoring two goals.

Of his loan move to the Seagulls, 32-year-old Bridge told the Daily Mirror: “I am enjoying every day. To know you are going to run out on the pitch on a Saturday is a big plus.”

Bridge’s reported £90,00-a-week wages could be the only stumbling block for the Championship side to negotiate if they were to pursue a deal for the left-back.

Ancelotti: Paris Saint-Germain will not bid for Ribery

Ribery - Schweinsteiger - Realmadrid, Bayern munchen

Ribery – Schweinsteiger – Realmadrid, Bayern munchen – Getty

Paris Saint-Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti has rejected suggestions he is preparing to bid for Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery in January.

According to the media in Germany, les Parisiens are interested in acquiring Ribery’s services, but the Italian was quick to quash the rumours.

“It is not true that Ribery could come to PSG,” Ancelotti said. “He is a very good player but I cannot see where we could find a position for him in our team.

“I have too many players in his position, and we are expecting someone.”

That imminent arrival is Sao Paulo forward Lucas Moura, with the Brazilian international set to join in January having agreed his move to the French capital over the summer.

Ribery has been at the Allianz Arena since 2007 and his contract with the Bavarian giants runs until 2015.

Liverpool step up Holtby pursuit ahead of free summer move

Liverpool have stepped up their pursuit of Schalke youngster Lewis Holtby with a view to securing the 22-year-old on a free transfer next summer. Check out tips on football betting if you are about to bet on Liverpool FC.

The Reds are keen to talk to Holtby in January after having reignited their interest in the in-form Bundesliga midfielder, whose father is from Merseyside.

Schalke have made clear that they would be willing to keep hold of the former Alemannia Aachen youngster until the end of the season, knowing that they would only be able to yield around €7 million (£5.5m) if they were to sell him in January before he becomes available on a Bosman deal.

The Anfield outfit previously monitored Everton fan Holtby following Brendan Rodgers’ arrival on Merseyside, as was exclusively revealed by Goal.com in July.

Holtby, who has also been linked with Tottenham in recent months, is considered to be a technically-gifted passer of the ball in Germany, and fits Liverpool’s current recruitment model of signing young, cheap players with obvious future resale value.

The 22-year-old has made no secret of his interest in a move to the Premier League, admitting to Goal.com in July that playing for an English side was a goal of his.

Despite Liverpool’s interest in the Schalke star, bolstering their striking options remains a priority ahead of the January transfer window and means they are in no rush to push through a move for Holtby.

“Liverpool only really have their eyes on a goalscorer when it comes to signings in January after missing out on deadline day in summer,” a source close to the club told Goal.com.

The lack of firepower in Rodgers’ squad was highlighted again as the Reds struggled to capitalise on a dominant performance against Reading on Saturday, picking up a 1-0 win thanks to a Raheem Sterling strike.

Darren Bent and Daniel Sturridge have been highlighted as potential targets by Anfield officials in recent weeks, with both players likely to be available within Liverpool’s January budget of approximately £10m-£12m.

Rodgers previously made a desperate attempt to sign Sturridge on loan in the closing hours of the summer transfer window, but the Chelsea man is only interested in a permanent move away from west London with the Stamford Bridge hierarchy reluctant to extend his £65,000-a-week deal.

'We should take Falcao' – Manchester City scout reveals interest in Atletico Madrid star

Radamel Falcao García - Atl Madrid

Radamel Falcao García – Atl Madrid

Manchester City chief scout Carlo Cancellieri believes Radamel Falcao is the only forward who could improve the Premier League champions’ strike force.

Roberto Mancini’s side areactively chasing additional attackers for January, with Goal.com revealing they have prepared a £25 million bid for Fiorentina ace Stevan Jovetic.
However, Cancellieri believes that the Montenegrin would not improve the squad at the Etihad, and that they should target the Colombian instead.

When asked about Jovetic, Cancellieri told tuttomercatoweb.com: “He is an interesting player, he has quality. But in attack City are already good, we’re happy with Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli.

“Moreover, I believe that our players are better than Jovetic. He is a very good player, but he is not one who could make a difference such as Falcao.

“I spoke about him in recent days with Mancini. If we were to take a player in January, we should take Falcao.

“He is an important player, the only one who could make us take the leap.”

Cancellieri also claimed that City have targeted Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets, but a move for either is unlikely due to Barcelona’s reluctance to sell.

He said: “A midfielder? We like Busquets and Fabregas a lot, but Barcelona don’t want to give these two players.”