By Simon Burnton
Manchester United are putting together a megabucks offer to tempt Cristiano Ronaldo back from Real Madrid, say the Star in what, they promise, is a “World Exclusive”. The deal will cost the English club £55m and force their sponsors-in-waiting Chevrolet to make the Portuguese forward their global ambassador for complicated reasons the Mill does not fully understand.
And that’s not the only rumoured Manchester-Madrid transfer action in today’s gossip columns, with news that Madrid have not only identified United’s David de Gea as their next goalkeeper but that they want to sign him this summer, even though the current No1 Iker Casillas is only 31 and has several years of impressive shot-stopping in his lithe young legs yet. United have lined up Stoke’s Asmir Begovic as a replacement.
Talking of players on their way out of Manchester, Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge, Kolo Touré, Maicon, Joleon Lescott, Edin Dzeko, Scott Sinclair, Gareth Barry, Javi García, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri are City’s current unwanted first XI. Of those the first three are out of contract in the summer and certainly off, the next four are paid much more than they should be and will be offloaded and the others are trapped in a nasty career no-man’s land described in the Mail as “futures under review ahead of summer shake-up”. The outcast XI even has its own first-team manager in the shape of Roberto Mancini, who will take the team on a post-season tour of wherever with his future still unclear and then get the boot on his return.
Meanwhile, City have made “the improvement of their wide options a main summer priority,” says the Star, leading them to shortlist Dortmund’s £30m Marco Reus and Seville’s £35m-buy-out-claused winger Jesús Navas. Also linked with the club today, and not for the first time, are Edinson Cavani and Marouane Fellaini, and if the latter does arrive Everton will use the cash to buy Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow. “If Aiden does get a really serious offer from England, which suits the management at Spartak, we will certainly consider it,” enthused the player’s agent, Jan Dreyer.
Bacary Sagna wants to leave Arsenal in the summer, a year before the end of his contract, with Arsène Wenger identifying Feyenoord’s Daryl Janmaat as his replacement. Internazionale, Paris Saint-Germain or “the Middle East” are listed as likely suitors for Sagna.
Chelsea have completed a £1.7m deal for the Chile and O’Higgins midfielder Cristian Cuevas. And Liverpool are interested in Celtic’s Efe Ambrose, though it may be a bit premature to talk about a transfer (not that that’s ever stopped us before, obviously). Metro’s story on the subject only goes as far as saying that “Liverpool are ready to step up their scouting of Ambrose”, which is at least three significant steps away from actually buying the lad.
Old ex-players-turned-managers wanting to sign as-yet-unretired ex-team-mates news now, and David James has jetted off to Iceland and could sign for IBV, managed by the former Portsmouth defender Hermann Hreidarsson. And Paul Ince wants to bring former Wolves dressing-room-sharer Lee Naylor to Blackpool.