Madrid will not try to sign Thiago behind Barcelona's back, insists Perez

The Santiago Bernabeu side have no intention to harm their relationship with the Liga champions, while they have yet to make a formal bid for Malaga star Isco

Florentino Perez has insisted that Real Madrid will not attempt to lure Thiago away from Barcelona by triggering his exit clause, but will get in touch with the Catalans first if they were ever to make a move for the midfielder.

Both Madrid and Manchester United are believed to be closely monitoring the 22-year-old’s situation at the Camp Nou side amid reports that he’s unhappy with his lack of regular first-team action at Barca.

However, Perez has made it clear that Madrid have no intention to put their good relationship with Barca at risk by trying to sign Thiago behind the Catalans’ back.

“Thiago is a very good player. I do not know whether Barcelona are willing to sell. I can assure that Madrid will not trigger his buy-out clause, though,” the Madrid president told Punto Pelota.

“We will not do anything hostile toward Barcelona. If we were ever to make a move for Thiago, or any other Barcelona player, we will speak to Barca first.”

Perez then went on to discuss Madrid’s interest in players such as Napoli star Edinson Cavani and Malaga youngster Isco.

“Cavani and Isco are both very good players. It’s only normal that a club like Manchester City like Isco. However, we have not talked to him about a potential transfer.”

The 26-year-old Cavani has a contract with Napoli until June 2017, while Isco, 21, is under contract with Malaga until 2016.

Arsenal in talks with QPR to sign Julio Cesar

The Gunners are willing to pay up to €1.17 million to land the Brazil No.1 this summer and are looking to tie up a deal for Swansea City defender Ashley s

By Wayne Veysey

Arsenal are in talks with QPR to sign goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

The Gunners have indicated they are willing pay a nominal fee of no more than €1.17 million to land the Brazil international after identifying him as their No.1 shot-stopper target.

Arsene Wenger wants a proven Premier League keeper who is comfortable with Arsenal’s intricate passing game that starts from the back.

Asmir Begovic has been under serious consideration but Arsenal baulked at Stoke City’s €14m valuation of the Bosnian. The north Londoners also enquired about Pepe Reina ahead of the January window but their interest has currently subsided as the Liverpool man sets his sights on a move to Barcelona.

It is Cesar who is now the clear front-runner to provide competition for Wojciech Szczesny at the Emirates Stadium next season.

The 33-year-old had an impressive debut season at QPR after joining from Inter but was unable to prevent them sliding out of the Premier League.

The Brazilian is on a lucrative contract at Loftus Road, believed to be worth around €91,500-a-week, and Arsenal are aware that QPR need to off-load him from their wage bill as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Negotiations are at the preliminary stage, with Arsenal keen not to pay over the odds.

The north Londoners have put a €1.17m ceiling on Cesar’s valuation and have even raised the possibility that he could be released from his QPR contract and leave on a free transfer.

Arsenal are willing to match Cesar’s Rangers salary and offer a two-year contract with the option of a third year.  

Speaking ahead of Brazil’s friendly against England on Sunday, Cesar admitted negotiations were ongoing with other clubs.

“There are indeed talks with some teams, but nothing definitive,” he said. “I want to stay in England. I am enjoying London and I love the Premier League.”

“I won’t name the teams as it would not be ethical since I am under contract with Queens Park Rangers. I let people responsible for my career deal with it.”

Arsenal are also closing in on the signing of Swansea City central defender Ashley s as Wenger begins making use of the biggest transfer kitty in the club’s history.

s has agreed personal terms with the Gunners and the Londoners are negotiating a fee with Swansea for the Wales captain, with the Londoners confident of making him their first major signing of the summer.

Arsenal want to pay between €9-11m for s, who is valued at £14m by Swansea.

It is understood that the north London club have already completed the signings of youngsters Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre and Daniel Crowley from Aston Villa.

France Under-21 striker Sanogo passed a medical last week and finalised a deal that, under Fifa rules, will cost Arsenal a fee of €350,000 in compensation to Auxerre for training costs.

Highly-rated creative midfielder Crowley, 15, has also been snapped up from the Aston Villa academy after Wenger personally gave the green light to sign the player who has already been capped at England Under-17 level and is widely tipped to be a future star for the national team.

The signings of Sanogo and Crowley are expected to be announced imminently by Arsenal.

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Cristiano Ronaldo will retire at Real Madrid, says Perez

The club president believes that the attacker’s future lies as the Spanish giants and has insisted they have not received any offers for Gonzalo Higuain

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu until the end of his career.

The Portugal international, 28, stated in the autumn of 2012 that he was unhappy with life at los Blancos and has since been linked with a return to Manchester United as well as a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Nevertheless, Perez believes that the prolific attacker’s future lies at Madrid.

“I think that Cristiano will end his professional career at Real Madrid. And that’s not all, I can tell all Madridistas that we will soon win la Decima with Cristiano,” Perez said at a press conference.

“I don’t know whether the Madridistas are very concerned about the contract renewal of Cristiano. He still has a contract for two more years.”

The Madrid president then went on to discuss the future of Gonzalo Higuain, who recently said that he wants to leave the club and is being heavily linked with a move to Juventus.

“Nobody has told me yet that Higuain is leaving. The club have never put him up for sale. We have always told him that we do not want to sell.

“He said that he wants to leave, but there’s no concrete offer. If he wants out, they will have to pay his exit clause, but there’s no offer for now.

“I spoke to Juventus recently and Higuain was never discussed, so I’m a little surprised. You cannot open talks with another club’s player without permission. Juventus are a befriended club, though, so I guess everything will soon be clear.”

Higuain, 25, has a contract with Madrid until June 2016

Siem De Jong contemplating Ajax exit

With the World Cup a year away, the 24-year-old believes now may be the time to leave Amsterdam for a bigger club

Siem de Jong has admitted he is considering leaving Ajax this summer in a bid to make the “next step” in his career.

The midfielder played a starring role as the Amsterdam giants lifted a third consecutive Eredivisie title this season, but is now mulling over his next step as he looks to become a key player for the Netherlands ahead of World Cup 2014.

“[I grew] as a footballer and as a person. Perhaps now is the time for the next step, abroad,” he told ANP.

“I’ll see what’s coming at me in the summer and then make an assessment. I do not necessarily want to move away from Ajax, especially in the season of the World Cup, it is important for me to play a lot. Ajax does that for me.”

De Jong’s performances this term have seen him named in Louis van Gaal’s squad for Netherland’s friendlies with Indonesia and China this month and he revealed his delight at being a part of the national side.

He said: “I’m in the selection of the Dutch national team and that’s always nice. It’s just a chance to show myself on and off the field again. I have previously been called up under this coach only once. In that respect it is a great opportunity to show myself. I am absolutely excited.”

The 24-year-old then revealed his favoured position and admitted he faces tough competiton to nail down a regular spot with the Oranje.

“I see myself as a player in the number 10 position, behind the striker. When I play as a striker, that’s no problem. But I’m not a real striker. I’ve always played as an attacking midfielder since I was little,” he explained.

“In my position, the guys playing international football play at top clubs. They are great footballers. Maybe that’s a little bit my bad luck.

“I have been a midfielder two years in a row [for Ajax], and I have been the player with the most goals. That says something. Sometimes I was less focused on the goal too, and played mainly for the squad. It actually comes naturally.”

Fiorentina: Jovetic not on the market

The club’s sporting director has ruled out selling the in-demand forward while commenting on reports linking Viola with several possible recruits

Fiorentina have stated that Stevan Jovetic is “not on the market” as rumours continue to link him with a move away from the club.

Viola sporting director Daniele Prade understands the 23-year-old forward is in high demand but has ruled out a possible transfer.

“We have been clear about Jovetic. He is not on the market,” he said to Lega-Calcio.

“There is a word given to the boy by the president: at the end of the season they would talk together, but those are the conditions, otherwise we keep him happy.

“There has been no bid [from Juventus], only a meeting between the president and the agent Cognigni Ramadani. Jovetic did not say he would move. It is a discussion between him and the president.”

Prade also discussed possible summer recruits, with Mario Gomez, Burak Yilmaz and Alvaro Negredo, all linked with a move to Fiorentina.

Regarding the Joaquin rumours, he added: “It’s an open discourse with Malaga. We will discuss and see if the conditions are correct.”

Viola have also been linked to Palermo midfielder Josip Ilicic, but Prade insists there is no truth in the speculation.

“We have not started talking about Ilicic. He is strong, but we never had anything to do with him.”

Prade concluded by revealing the club are set to discuss a new deal with Adam Ljajic, while adding they would wait unti David Pizarro has completed his international duties before talking about his future.
are not interested in any deal other than a purely cash transaction for