Giuseppe Rossi talks up Inter switch

Giuseppe Rossi - Villarreal

Giuseppe Rossi – Villarreal, Getty

Giuseppe Rossi has admitted he may be interested in a January move to Inter.

The Villarreal striker has spent the past 12 months on the sidelines following two successive knee ligament injuries.

And despite appearing to rule out a move to Roma, the rebuilding operation currently underway at the Nerazzurri seems to have caught the Italy international’s imagination.

“My goal is to get back on the pitch in Spain, Italy or anywhere else,” Rossi told Gr Parlamento.

“It is not true that I will undergo my recovery at Roma, but I am feeling positive about my knee. Inter? Who would not like to play there? They are a team that I like, with a project that has scope for growth.”

Rossi then gave his thoughts on the Serie A season so far, stating that Juventus should not be considered as outright favourites for the Scudetto and claiming AC Milan’s poor start to the season is nothing more than a blip.

“It’s too early to talk about the Bianconeri running away with the title,” he added. “It is evident that they are having a great season domestically, as Napoli and Lazio are also.

“[Poor spells] can happen, and surely [Milan] will continue to do what they have always done. It is not easy to start over when you lose some star players.

“Everything becomes harder but Milan still have great champions in their squad who can begin another cycle.”

Too early for Neymar to consider European switch, says Dunga

Former Brazil coach Dunga has told Neymar to resist the allure of moving to a European club for now and instead concentrate on gaining more experience in his homeland.

The Santos striker is widely expected to continue his career on the continent in the near future, with the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea reportedly registering an interest in the 20-year-old, who has 25 international caps to his name.

But at a press event organised in Kolkata to announce an exhibition friendly between the Brazilian Masters and Sports Ministers Legends on December 8, Dunga, who will feature in the match, took the opportunity to warn the forward against a transfer.

“He should not play in Europe now,” he said. “He can take a call after three years. He is currently the best player in Brazil but he needs to gain more experience. He is Brazil’s best asset to win trophies.

“For now I feel he should stay in Brazil. If he moves to Europe now, he will have to adapt to a new environment and that could affect his form.

“His target should be to do well in World Cup 2014 and for that it’s best if he remains in Brazil.”

Dunga coached the Selecao for a four-year period between 2006 and 2010 and led the nation to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa before his dismissal, with Mano Menezes taking over the reins.

And the former midfielder is desperate for the next generation to mature and begin a march up the world rankings – something he believes they are capable of doing.

“We don’t want our team there [14th in the world],” he added. “We know [Spain] are the best. The team is growing up.

“We need time. We need to keep playing and we will get there. We have good enough players. The team is getting strong. I’m sure we are going to bounce back soon.”

Some supporters booed Menezes’ youngsters following their Olympic final defeat to Mexico, but the 48-year-old does not believe there is a sizeable gap between the current crop of Brazilians and previous generations.

“There is not much of a difference in the standard of football. In the past, the winning margin would be three or four goals, while these days we are winning by only one or two,” he continued.

“We have home advantage and so we have a chance [to win the World Cup]. We have plenty of talent in the team like Neymar, Ganso, Oscar and Lucas [Moura].

“Kaka is a very important member of the Brazil national team even though he is not a regular at his club [Real Madrid], while with Ronaldinho it only depends on him.

“If he plays the way he does for Barcelona, then it would be a welcome sign. [As for Mano Menezes], he is very new. It’s too early to say anything about him. We have to see how he does in the future.”

Shakhtar boss Lucescu: Chelsea made a big mistake in not signing Willian

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu has urged star man Willian to make Chelsea pay in Tuesday’s Champions League clash after confirming that the Blues had been knocked back in attempts to sign the Brazilian in the summer.

Despite Roberto Di Matteo having completed moves for the likes of Edin Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin before the transfer window slammed shut, Lucescu revealed that the Champions League winners also tried to sign Shakhtar’s gifted midfield playmaker.

The Ukrainian side’s manager insists that Chelsea’s offer was too low and, ahead of the crucial Champions League Group E clash at the Donbass Arena on Tuesday, Lucescu has called on Willian to show Di Matteo he made a “big mistake” in not completing a deal for the 24-year-old Brazil ace.

“Willian was far away from Chelsea,” Lucescu told reporters.

“They didn’t even get anywhere near to our requirements, having done nothing to make my promises to Willian come true.

“Speaking specifically about the amounts, they officially offered the sum for which we had bought him young.

“I would really like them to highly appreciate his true value tomorrow and realise that they made a big mistake.”

Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo insisted he had no role in negotiations to sign Willian, but did hail the former Corinthians man as a “fantastic player”.

“As an assistant [at the time] I wasn’t involved in those conversations but Willian is a fantastic player with good qualities,” the Italian commented in his pre-match press conference.

“We have a good squad with good players and I don’t know where his future is, but the way he is playing here he looks quite happy.”

Lucescu also noted that Chelsea showed an interest in defender Darijo Srna during Carlo Ancelotti’s reign at Stamford Bridge, while also joking he was keen for club owner Roman Abramovich to show an interest in all of his players at Shakhtar.

He concluded: “Several years ago, I had a conversation with Ancelotti, and he was interested in Srna.

“My wish is that, after tomorrow’s match, Chelsea get interested in all of our players.”

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.