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have conceded defeat in their attempt to lure the midfielder Andrea Pirlo after the 30-year-old said he was “very happy” to end his career at Milan.
It suggests that Chelsea will begin the new Premier League season having added only Yuri Zhirkov, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull to their squad this summer and without the marquee signing Bruce Buck, the chairman, said they hoped to secure this transfer window.
Chelsea had never spoken publicly about the club’s interest in Pirlo but he is greatly admired by the head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with the playmaker during his eight years at Milan.
On Saturday Milan claimed they had turned down an offer for Pirlo – thought to be have been in the region of £6.5m – which at the time appeared to be a bargaining ploy. His subsequent decision to stay in Italy will be a particular disappointment for Ancelotti, who had hoped to field him at the base of his proposed diamond formation, where he was to control the tempo of Chelsea’s play.
“Today is a very good day,” Pirlo said. “I am very happy to be able to finish my career here. This is thanks to the president, Silvio Berlusconi, to [the vice executive president] Adriano Galliani and to Leonardo [the head coach] who, by taking me off the market, have given me the possibility to end my career here.
“When they told me the news I was very happy, finally the saga of this summer is over and we can continue the adventure in Rossonero. I had the possibility of changing teams and adventure but at the end in mutual agreement, the club and I, decided to continue and we are all happier. It was a turbulent summer with many doubts but at the end, in my family, we are all happier to remain in Milan.”
Pirlo’s renewed commitment to Milan came after Berlusconi had met Galliani and Leonardo at Milan’s training ground today before holding a press conference to announce the decision. “Andrea Pirlo has been taken off the market. He will stay with us and finish his career at Milan,” he said.
“We received some important offers for him, especially from Carlo Ancelotti who wanted to take Pirlo to Chelsea with him. But we decided that he will stay. Leonardo told us that Pirlo is too important for our team. So we decided he will end his career here at Milan.”
Alongside Kaká, who joined Real Madrid from Milan, Pirlo is the latest box-office name who has decided against a move to west London. Carlos Tevez, Milan’s Pato, Sergio Agüero of Atlético Madrid and David Villa of Valencia were also on Chelsea’s shopping list this summer, as was Franck Ribéry who may have been priced out of a move by Bayern Munich.
There was, though, brighter news for the club with the confirmation that Didier Drogba has signed a contract extension, thought to be worth about £100,000 a week, that will keep him at the club until 2012. Drogba had seemed certain to leave following his conduct after the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona in May, when he abused the referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, and was subsequently banned for three European games.


Chelsea have conceded defeat in their attempt to lure the midfielder Andrea Pirlo after the 30-year-old said he was “very happy” to end his career at Milan.

It suggests that Chelsea will begin the new Premier League season having added only Yuri Zhirkov, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull to their squad this summer and without the marquee signing Bruce Buck, the chairman, said they hoped to secure this transfer window.

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Chelsea had never spoken publicly about the club’s interest in Pirlo but he is greatly admired by the head coach, Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with the playmaker during his eight years at Milan.

On Saturday Milan claimed they had turned down an offer for Pirlo – thought to be have been in the region of £6.5m – which at the time appeared to be a bargaining ploy. His subsequent decision to stay in Italy will be a particular disappointment for Ancelotti, who had hoped to field him at the base of his proposed diamond formation, where he was to control the tempo of Chelsea’s play.

“Today is a very good day,” Pirlo said. “I am very happy to be able to finish my career here. This is thanks to the president, Silvio Berlusconi, to [the vice executive president] Adriano Galliani and to Leonardo [the head coach] who, by taking me off the market, have given me the possibility to end my career here.

“When they told me the news I was very happy, finally the saga of this summer is over and we can continue the adventure in Rossonero. I had the possibility of changing teams and adventure but at the end in mutual agreement, the club and I, decided to continue and we are all happier. It was a turbulent summer with many doubts but at the end, in my family, we are all happier to remain in Milan.”

Pirlo’s renewed commitment to Milan came after Berlusconi had met Galliani and Leonardo at Milan’s training ground today before holding a press conference to announce the decision. “Andrea Pirlo has been taken off the market. He will stay with us and finish his career at Milan,” he said.

“We received some important offers for him, especially from Carlo Ancelotti who wanted to take Pirlo to Chelsea with him. But we decided that he will stay. Leonardo told us that Pirlo is too important for our team. So we decided he will end his career here at Milan.”

Alongside Kaká, who joined Real Madrid from Milan, Pirlo is the latest box-office name who has decided against a move to west London. Carlos Tevez, Milan’s Pato, Sergio Agüero of Atlético Madrid and David Villa of Valencia were also on Chelsea’s shopping list this summer, as was Franck Ribéry who may have been priced out of a move by Bayern Munich.

There was, though, brighter news for the club with the confirmation that Didier Drogba has signed a contract extension, thought to be worth about £100,000 a week, that will keep him at the club until 2012. Drogba had seemed certain to leave following his conduct after the Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona in May, when he abused the referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, and was subsequently banned for three European games.
Source : The Guardian

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LONDON – Sunderland signed England striker Darren Bent from Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, agreeing an initial fee of 10 million pounds that could rise as high as 16.5 million.

“England international Bent, 25, has signed a four-year deal after the two clubs agreed a 10 million pound fee,” a statement on the Sunderland website said.
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Tottenham added in a statement that their Premier League rivals could end up paying as much as 16.5 million pounds for Bent, depending on appearances.

Even the initial fee is a club record for Sunderland, beating the nine million pounds they paid Scottish Premier League club Hearts for goalkeeper Craig Gordon in 2007.

Bent, who has won four England caps, joined Tottenham in June 2007 for 16.5 million pounds from Charlton Athletic. He was Tottenham’s top scorer last season with 12 Premier League goals.

“The club made a real play to get me, they made me feel wanted and that meant a lot to me,” Bent told the Sunderland website.

He becomes Sunderland’s fourth major signing of the transfer window joining striker Fraizer Campbell (from Manchester United), Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana (Olympique Marseille) and Paraguayan defender Paulo da Silva (Toluca) at the club.
Source : FourFourTwo

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Liverpool have agreed a fee, believed to be in the region of £20 million, with Roma for midfielder Alberto Aquilani.

The 25-year-old – who has previously been linked with Arsenal – has made more than 100 league appearances for the Stadio Olimpico outfit since making his debut in 2002, scoring nine times.
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And with Spanish international Xabi Alonso passing his medical with Real Madrid on Wednesday, Anfield boss Benitez is keen to spend some of the reported £30 million transfer fee on a replacement, which is now expected to be the Italian who has 11 caps for the Azzurri.

“Alberto is a very good player and I’m delighted we’ve reached agreement with Roma for his transfer,” Benitez told the club’s official website. 

“He will travel to Merseyside later this week for a medical. Alberto has a winning mentality and great experience in both Serie A and the Champions League.

“He has long been recognised as a top class talent in Italy, captaining his country at both Under 19 and Under 21 levels before establishing himself in the senior national side.”

Rafael Benítez secured a bittersweet victory over Real Madrid tonight when the Spanish club met his £30m demand for Xabi Alonso and took their summer spending spree through the £200m barrier.
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Alonso will undergo a medical in the Spanish capital tomorrow after Real finally relented over an asking price that Benítez had steadfastly refused to lower all summer. The 27-year-old is expected to sign a four-year contract at the Bernabéu worth £3.8m a year after tax, a package that was agreed in principle between Real and Alonso several months ago and prompted the Spain international to tell Benítez that he wished to end a successful five-year stay on Merseyside.


Liverpool
had previously rejected a £25m offer from Real for their popular midfielder, who was Benítez’s first signing at Anfield in a £10.7m move from Real Sociedad in 2004, with the manager adamant that only a fee of £30m would trigger a deal. Liverpool’s new managing director, Christian Purslow, reiterated there would be no compromise on the fee in a meeting with Real’s executive director general, Jose Angel Sanchez, at a meeting in Barcelona on Sunday.

Two days later, while Alonso was training with Liverpool at Melwood this afternoon, Real returned with the full asking price and the midfielder was withdrawn from a scheduled pre-season trip to Oslo and travelled instead to Madrid.

Alonso’s impending departure represents a major setback for Liverpool supporters, who voted the Spaniard second to Steven Gerrard in man of the match awards last season, and also for Benítez ahead of a season that brings expectations of the club’s first league title for 20 years. The disappointment for the manager, however, will be offset by an injection of £30m into his transfer budget and the fact he has enticed an extra £12m out of Real for a player he tried to sell to Juventus for £18m only 12 months ago.

Benítez’s attempt to sell Alonso against his wishes last summer, to finance a deal for the then Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry, broke a previously close relationship between the manager and player. Alonso subsequently described their relationship as “professional” and, as his desire to leave for Real confirms, was hurt by his manager’s actions, although he responded by producing arguably the best form of his Liverpool career last season.

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Alonso’s impressive reaction to the events of last summer, coupled with the need for proven Premier League talent ahead of a title challenge, prompted Benítez to revise his view on the midfielder. But he has been aware of the player’s determination to leave for several months and knew Real’s improved spending power under Florentino Pérez could transform his transfer budget.

With £30m banked for Alonso, Liverpool are now expected to make an £18m offer for the Roma midfielder, Alberto Aquilani. The Italian international is under contract at the Stadio Olimpico until 2013 but is believed to be receptive to a lucrative move to Anfield. The Valencia forward David Silva is another long-standing target of the Liverpool manager, who has spent £17m on Glen Johnson this summer but also recouped almost £5m from the sales of Alvaro Arbeloa and Sebastián Leto to Real and Panathinaikos respectively. The defender Andrea Dossena is also expected to leave Anfield.

The Alonso deal is the first major transfer Benítez has overseen since signing a new contract that granted him greater authority on such matters last season. While Real’s offer represents a reward for the manager’s hardball stance, the agreement is also a success for Alonso, who resolved to leave Anfield this summer and handed in a transfer request last week to pressure Real into concluding a deal.

Furthermore, his arrival in Spain indicates that Manuel Pellegrini and Jorge Valdano, Real’s coach and director general, succeeded in persuading Pérez that while Alonso may not sell as many shirts as £80m Cristiano Ronaldo or £56m Kaka, his playmaking skills are “fundamental” to the president’s latest gálactico project.

Source : Fourfourtwo & BBC Sport

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is continuing to ponder whether to bring Gunners legend Patrick Vieira back to North London.

The Gunners’ arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, have been strongly linked with a move for the 33-year-old Frenchman, who made more than 250 league appearances and won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his time at Highbury.
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However, speaking in Beijing during the Barclays Asia Trophy, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp admitted that talks had stalled over a potential deal.

And it then emerged that Arsenal were believed to be weighing up a move to bring the iconic central midfielder back to the club following a four-year absence.

But the Emirates Stadium supremo has now cast some doubt over Vieira’s return, revealing that he does not believe in the philosophy of re-signing players, and adding that Tomas Rosicky’s recovery from injury may mean there is no room for a new recruit.

“I have a general policy about re-signing players but I never said I would never do it,” he said.

“I am not a big fan because I feel once the players have gone, they have gone.

“Two weeks ago I didn’t know if we would have Eduardo or Rosicky and they are both completely back so that makes the squad quite big.

“I don’t know it could have psychological impact on the rest of the squad.”


Check out this article by the Bleacher Report > Here
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Chelsea have insisted Joe Cole is not for sale after Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a bid for the midfielder.

Reports had claimed Spurs boss Harry Redknapp who gave Cole his first-team debut at West Ham a decade ago, was planning a £10million offer for the England international.

However, Chelsea have warned off any clubs interested in the 27-year-old by confirming they will not be listening to offers.

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A statement from Chelsea read: “Contrary to media reports Chelsea is not, and will not be, considering any offers for Joe Cole.

“Our sole focus, as is Joe’s, is to complete his rehab and get him fit as soon as possible so that he can play a major part in the new season.”

Cole is currently working his way back to fitness after suffering a season-ending knee injury against Southend United in the FA Cup in January.

He met with a setback earlier in pre-season and is not expected to be ready for the opening Premier League game of the campaign on 15th August against Hull City

Since joining Chelsea from West Ham six years ago, Cole has made almost 250 appearances for the club and scored 38 goals.

More to follow…

Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani is set to join Liverpool as a replacement for Real Madrid-bound Xabi Alonso, according to reports in Spain and Italy.

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The 25-year-old – who has previously been linked with Arsenal – has made more than 100 league appearances for the Stadio Olimpico outfit since making his debut in 2002, scoring nine times.

And with Liverpool confirming on Monday that they are in talks with the Madridistas over the sale of Spanish international Alonso, Anfield boss Rafael Benitez is believed to be eyeing up the Italian, who has 11 caps for the Azzurri, as a replacement.

Despite Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport  reporting last month that Benitez was weighing up an €18 million bid for the middle-man, Aquilani’s agent Franco Zavaglia insisted the player was going no where.

However, according to Spanish daily Marca, the Reds will soon complete a £15.3 million deal for the Italian playmaker, who is currently recovering from recently undertaken ankle surgery.

While Sky Sport Italia  believe Aquilani will sign a four year deal worth €4 million per season, once Alonso’s switch to the Bernabeu is rubber-stamped.

Chelsea’s offer for Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is too low to consider, AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said on Saturday.

Pirlo

Media have reported that Chelsea’s former Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has offered eight million euros plus striker Claudio Pizarro.

“At this price Pirlo is not for sale,” Galliani told Italy’s Sky television before adding that Milan were renewing their interest in Real Madrid forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar.


Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg have signed Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins from Newcastle United, the German club said on Friday.
“He’s exactly the kind of player we have been looking for to compliment Grafite and Edin Dezko,” Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh told the club’s website.
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The 24-year-old former Inter Milan striker has signed a four-year contract at Wolfsburg with Newcastle confirming the fee to be 10.5 million euros.

“The Bundesliga is one of the strongest leagues in the world and I’m very happy to be playing for the German champions. This is a massive challenge,” Martins added.

Newcastle, who were relegated from the English Premier League at the end of last season, signed Martins in 2006.

VILLA are set for talks with Real Madrid over a sensational move for star midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

The 25-year-old Holland international and former Ajax ace is available after Madrid’s summer spree.

Reports in Spain suggested a fee of 16 million euros had been agreed with Liverpool for the attacking midfielder, but Villa have now come in to make their play.

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It is believed his wages could still represent a huge hurdle for Villa to overcome but the fact Villa have gone for such a replacement for Gareth Barry is a signal at last of their intent to compete this season.

It promises to be a busy week for Martin O’Neill who is closing in on the five players he has deemed necessary to beef up his squad in preparation for the new season.

Villa will also decide over the next few days whether to pay Sporting Lisbon £12 million for play-maker Miguel Veloso.

The Portuguese club have told Villa to stop dithering and make a decision on the 23-year-old Portuguese international after giving them the asking price.

If Villa stall much further it is believed Lisbon will look for another buyer.

O’Neill must also stump up £4.5 million for Portsmouth’s Sylvain Distin, who wants to join but the fee is proving a major hurdle for a player of his age.

It is believed Villa are close to sealing a deal for Blackburn’s versatile left-back Stephen Warnock.

The only stumbling block with regards to the 27-year-old former Coventry and Liverpool player is Sam Allardyce’s insistence on finding a replacement first.

And finally after a summer of speculation, O’Neill is also now finally pondering offering veteran former Tottenham and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell a one year deal after his contract ended at Portsmouth.

Campbell turns 35 in September and may decide to continue his Premier League career rather than move abroad.

ANDREA PIRLO is poised to demand a transfer so he can force a move to Chelsea.

The AC Milan captain has become frustrated by his club’s refusal to negotiate with the Blues over a deal.

A bid of £14million plus Claudio Pizarro was rejected this week but Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti has told Chelsea chiefs to make an improved offer.

Azzurri midfielder Pirlo is keen to make the move and take up a deal worth £105,000 a week at Stamford Bridge.

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But the Italian club have yet to sign a player to replace Kaka – who quit for Real Madrid – and are resisting selling another of their key players.

That situation will be further aggravated by the skipper’s formal transfer request but Pirlo, 30, is prepared to agitate his own switch.

The deal could be made easier if Milan succeed in their move for Seville ]striker Luis Fabiano, which may be completed over the weekend.

Ancelotti, meanwhile, insists Paulo Ferreira still has a future in West London.

The Portuguese defender has been crocked since March with a knee problem and is finally returning to fitness.

Full-back Ferreira, 30, who cost Chelsea £13.2m from Porto five years ago, asked for talks with Ancelotti and was told he has a chance of returning to the first team.

Ferreira said: “It was important to me that the manager rated me.

“Ancelotti has told me that he has confidence in me and I will be part of his plans.

“I want to forget last season because I am focusing on being fit for the start of this season and I believe I will be at my best by September.

Manager targets £30m Roma deal to add steel in Arsenal’s midfield

Wenger said yesterday: “I feel we are strong enough, but if we can add we will do it. In England people think that all the problems can be sorted out by buying players. I believe the biggest target is to work hard in training, improve what we can improve and have confidence in the players we have.

“If we need to add then we will. We have money available so for us. It is now [important] to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it.”

Arsene Wenger’s preferred midfield target this summer is the Roma and Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi, and despite the Italian club’s reluctance to sell Arsenal have not given up hope that Roma’s perilous financial position could force a sale.

derossi_22850tLike Liverpool’s pursuit of De Rossi’s Roma team-mate Alberto Aquilani, the player’s future is bound up with the financial problems of the club and the long-term plans of the Sensi family who own it. De Rossi, 26, is regarded as the most important player at the club behind Francisco Totti and is valued at around £30m, which is far in excess of any transfer fee paid by Arsenal in the past.

While De Rossi’s reputation in England is not distinguished because of some of Roma’s less than impressive Champions League performances in recent years, he is regarded in Italy as one of the country’s finest players.

The Arsenal manager has made just one signing this summer, the £10m purchase of the Ajax centre-back Thomas Vermaelen, 23, who had been scouted by a number of the Premier League’s top clubs.

Source : The Independent

the Premier League champions will wait two weeks before weighing in so that a clause in Ribery’s Bayern Munich contract is active.

The French winger is due a loyalty bonus on August 14, after which he is expected to request a transfer.

Bayern have fended off interest from Real Madrid whose arrogance and lack of respect infuriated the German giants.

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But Ribery has indicated he would be willing to move to Old Trafford and wants to quit Germany.

United believe Ribery, 26, is prepared to force the issue but would not do so until any financial issues have been sorted.

Bayern are understood to be more willing to negotiate with United but are likely to demand nearer £50m.

United boss Alex Ferguson sees Ribery as Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti also revealed his admiration for the Frenchman.

More Info Coming…

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he will not rush to spend the money raised from the sales of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Wenger has generated in the region of £40m from the transfers but has made only one summer signing so far, Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m.

Thumbs Up.. Or Thumbs Down?

Thumbs Up.. Or Thumbs Down?

“I feel we are strong enough but if we can add then we will do it,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“In England, people think all problems can be sorted out by buying players.”

Arsenal have been linked with a host of players this summer but Wenger says the club are not “close to signing anyone at the moment”.

Defenders Brede Hangeland of Fulham and Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong as well as strikers Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid, Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh, have been linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.

Former skipper Patrick Vieira, 33, is also rumoured to be on Wenger’s radar after falling out of favour at Inter Milan.

“We have money available so for us it is now (important) to spend it in the right way when we do it or if we do it,” added Wenger after Arsenal’s 1-0 friendly win over German side Hannover on Wednesday.

“The biggest target is to work hard in training, improve what we can improve and have confidence in the players that we have.”

The lack of summer signings, the departures of defender Toure and striker Adebayor and the serious injury to Samir Nasri has put the spotlight on the club’s transfer policy.

The Gunners lost out in their bid to sign Felipe Melo from Fiorentina, with the Brazil midfielder opting to sign for Juventus instead.

Since moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, the Gunners boss has focused on nurturing young players rather than capturing experienced stars.
The likes of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva and Alexander Hleb have all left the club.  Similar talent is still present with starlets such as, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

In a league of purchased ready-made stars this could spell trouble for their place in the top four this coming season.