January 29th, 2009
09:32 AM ET

Ravenous Real Madrid still hungry to buy

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com's daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe's sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/29/alonso.jpg caption="Liverpool's Xabi Alonso is said to be Real Madrid's main target."]

The transfer window may be fast drawing to a close but Spanish giants Real Madrid are still on the hunt for some big January purchases.

Real, along with Manchester United are believed to be interested in Wigan's Antonio Valencia, but the English Premier League club has put a £18 million price on the midfielder, reports The Sun. After losing Emile Heskey, it seems they don't want to lose any more of their class players.

The Daily Mirror says Real Madrid are focusing most of their attention of Liverpool's Xabi Alonso, while there is also believed to be an interest in bringing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, the Gunners' captain Cesc Fabregas and AC Milan star Kaka to the Bernabeu.

Back to the English Premier League, where The Sun reports that the Shay Given move to Manchester City will be completed today for an estimated £8.5m.

After making a big impact for Blackburn in Premier League action on Wednesday night, there's more talk today that Roque Santa Cruz will be the subject of a £20m Tottenham bid before the window closes.

One thing that has gone quiet is suggestions that Liverpool and Chelsea are about to be sold - though nothing has been ruled out. If you want to read about how Middle Eastern investment is changing English football go to Football Fanzone.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail reports that Chelsea are to sign AC Milan goalkeeper Marco Storari after Carlo Cuducini left for Tottenham, and the Daily Express says that in-form West Ham are interested in Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli.

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January 26th, 2009
11:21 AM ET

Keane on the way out?

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com’s daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe’s sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/keane.jpg caption="Is Robbie Keane ready to leave Liverpool?"]

The future of Liverpool's £20 million man Robbie Keane is uncertain today after he was not at Anfield for his side's 1-1 FA Cup draw with Everton.

Various media are speculating that the Republic of Ireland international is hoping to leave Liverpool after he was replaced on the bench for Sunday's game by Frenchman David Ngog.

The Daily Mirror says Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given is all but signed for Manchester City in a £10m move, with officials reportedly meeting Monday to tie up the deal.

On Sunday, the News of the World reported that Arsenal are keen to sign Manchester City defender Micah Richards. Richards, an England international, could make the transfer for about £7m.

Another Manchester City star, Robinho, is apparently back in his club's town and scheduled to have talks with manager Mark Hughes after his controversial departure from the team's training camp in Tenerife, according to The Sun.

The Sun also reports that Portsmouth boss Tony Adams is set to announce a £4m offer to buy Joey Barton from Newcastle.

Sunderland's Pascal Chimbonda is believed to have settled his £3m return to Tottenham.

And in Italy there's no shortage of talk about David Beckham's possible desire to stay at AC Milan after he scored in the team's 4-1 Serie A win over Bologna at the weekend.

If you want to debate what David Beckham should do, whether players should be able to change countries, or tell us how much it costs to support your football team: tell us at Football Fanzone!

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January 23rd, 2009
01:21 PM ET

Beckham in Italy for long haul?

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com’s daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe’s sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/23/beckhamart.jpg caption="Having fun? Is David Beckham considering staying with AC Milan?"]

LONDON, England – In Italy there is renewed talk today that David Beckham may be considering leaving his L.A. Galaxy contract to stay at AC Milan.

Beckham is currently at the San Siro on a two-month loan deal, but Italy's Gazzetta Dello Sport reports that Beckham may want to stay as he has been making an effort to study Italian and is loving his time with the Rossoneri.

The paper suggests that Beckham may be willing to make the financial sacrifice of leaving the Galaxy to further his hopes of playing for England in the 2010 World Cup.

What do you think David Beckham should do? Tell us on Football Fanzone.

There's more talk about Chelsea striker Didier Drogba leaving for Manchester City today - and now we're getting down to figures.

According to The Sun, Manchester City have offered Drogba a £180,000 per week salary - which would double his current earnings at Chelsea.

While Drogba looks set to leave Stamford Bridge after an unhappy season so far, there's talk that owner Roman Abramovich could also be on his way out. The Daily Star reported that a group of German investors have compiled a £750m bid for the London club - which could tempt Abramovich given the current economic climate and the reported losses he has suffered.

Back on the pitch, the other major deal that is apparently closer to being realized is Arsenal's move for Andrei Arshavin. The Daily Mail says the deal should be completed within 48 hours after Arsenal put forward an improved £15m bid for the Zenit St Petersburg star.

In The Sun, Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is claiming he has secured the services of Wigan striker Emile Heskey. It's believed Aston Villa will pay £3m for Heskey.

In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon's midfielder Miguel Veloso is attracting the interest of Manchester City, who according to The Sun are offering £19m. Veloso has previously been a Manchester United target.

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January 20th, 2009
11:41 AM ET

Manchester United and Arsenal closer to new signings

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com's daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe's sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.andrei.jpg caption="Manchester City may move into a bidding war with Arsenal for Russia playmaker Andrei Arshavin."]


After weeks of speculation, talks and unprecedented offers, Kaka has finally ruled out a move to Manchester City – meaning the football world can catch its breath and move forward.

At least you would hope so.

However, Gazetta dello Sport today suggests that Real Madrid could still launch a bid for the 26-year-old that may question his certainties about AC Milan more than a move to Manchester City would have.

Do you think Kaka made the right decision to stay at AC Milan? Have your say in the Football Fanzone debate.

With the Kaka saga at least over for City, and Craig Bellamy now in the bag, they are still looking for new blood at Eastlands, and The Sun reports that Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given is top on the target list. I guess for Given it's just a question of which relegation battle he fancies fighting.

The defending English Premier League champions Manchester United meanwhile are believed to be interested in Wigan's Antonio Valencia – according to the Daily Telegraph; while the Daily Mail says Sir Alex Ferguson wants to place a bid for French 16-year-old Yven Moyo.

The Times says Arsenal are one step closer to signing Zenit St Petersburg's Andrei Arshavin, however, it also reports Manchester City may now make a move for the Russian star. With the crazy money City have been throwing around so far, Arsene Wenger may be worried that City involvement will see Arshavin become too expensive.

Various media also report that Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has put a £40 million price tag on Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz. He clearly doesn't want to lose him as the relegation battle intensifies.

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January 14th, 2009
09:26 AM ET

City place $146 million bid for Kaka

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com's daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe's sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/kaka.jpg caption="Reason to smile: AC Milan's Kaka is believed to be the subject of a $146 million bid from Manchester City."]

LONDON, England – There is just one story on the lips of every football fan, and just one story on the back pages of almost every paper today.

Various media are reporting that Manchester City have made a £100 million ($146 million) bid for AC Milan's Kaka. It's understood the deal would also see the Brazilian earn £500,000 ($730,000) per week in wages.

See how this salary compares to the U.S. President's here.

Rumors have been circulating since long before the transfer window opened that the Eastlands club was interested in the Brazilian attacking midfielder, who won the Ballon d'Or and Fifa World Player of the Year awards in 2007.

It seems now that Manchester City has finally made a move, with various media reporting that a City delegation have met with Milan officials and entered into talks, where the unprecedented bid has been put forward.

Should the bid proceed, it would more than double the current record price for a player which sits at £46m ($67m) when France legend Zinedine Zidane left Juventus for Real Madrid in 2001.

Though seemingly excessive, raising the money should not be too much of a bother for City owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is estimated to be worth about £15bn ($22bn).

It is likely City manager Mark Hughes will be eager to complete a major signing after having bids rejected for West Ham forward Craig Bellamy and Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz, and only Chelsea's Wayne Bridge to show for January's transfer window so far.

As the dust settles, however, it seems that Kaka is less than keen and has distanced himself from a move. Mediaset, which is owned by Italian prime minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, has quoted Kaka as saying that he will never leave Milan. At least not as a young man. "I want to grow old here and my objective for the future is to become this team's captain," he said, seemingly dashing Manchester City's hopes. "I have already refused important offers in the past." Sheikh Mansour might have a long wait if he wants to get his man.

Of course, there is some transfer activity outside of Manchester. Adriano – Inter's Brazilian striker who has a penchant for the odd night out – has been interesting Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur according to The Sun. Jose Mourinho has lost patience with the forward and is apparently now willing to sell. London should provide the hit man with plenty of going out opportunities.

Meanwhile The Guardian is reporting that Ghanaian free agent  Stephen Appiah, who has been on trial at Spurs, is to play in a specially arranged match to gauge whether he his fit enough for a contract at White Heart Lane.

Karim Benzema continues to excite Europe's sports editors after Lyon's president admitted that he will find it tough to hold on to his star man after two of the world's biggest clubs expressed an interest in signing the striker. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have enquired about his availability, according to Marca.

One player who definitely won't be playing in France next season is Didier Drogba. Most of Britain's back pages run with the news that the Ivorian striker is on his way out of Stamford Bridge after manager Luiz Felipe Scolari dropped him for tonight's FA Cup replay against Southend. Not so, reports L'Equipe, as Marseille have tried, and failed, to sign him. Apparently Chelsea refused to sell him at any cost.

Finally, it wouldn't be a proper transfer round up unless we featured yet more groveling from Newcastle United's want-away winger Charles N'Zogbia. The Frenchman has very publicly announced his desire to leave the club and asked Europe's top clubs to put in a bid for him, so far unsuccessfully. The latest recipient of his furtive glances are Lyon. "Lyon, make your move!" he shamelessly begged in French paper Aujourd'hui Sport. Tomorrow: N'Zogbia parades through Madrid wearing nothing but a Real shirt. Probably.  

If you want to read more football news and features, and have YOUR say, go to CNN's Football Fanzone.

January 13th, 2009
02:01 PM ET

Diego for Juventus?

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com's daily wrap of the latest rumors and gossip from Europe's sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/diego.jpg
caption="Werder Bremen's Brazilian, Diego, left, is attracting interest at Juventus."]

LONDON, England – We're almost half-way through January, and the transfer rumors are continuing to pick up speed.

Today, Juventus are preparing a raid to bring Werder Bremen's Brazilian playmaker Diego to the Stadio delle Alpi as a replacement for the ageing Pavel Nedved, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.  It's understood Juve officials will head to Germany next week to discuss a possible 25 million euro deal for the unsettled 23-year-old.

Other alternatives for Juve could include Valencia winger David Silva, or Dutch mid-fielder Ryan Babel, who is at Liverpool.

Reports from Ecuador's El Comercio suggest that Real Madrid have officially offered Wigan Athletic 12 million euros and Javier Saviola in exchange for Antonio Valencia. The money and Saviola combined would meet the 17.5 million euros price asked by Wigan manager Steve Bruce.

The Daily Mirror reports Portsmouth are trying to snap up Argentine Javier Saviola from Real Madrid in an ambitious bid to fill Jermain Defoe's boots.

Also in the Daily Mirror, there are rumors that Manchester City is trying to sign Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.City boss Mark Hughes believes he can land the Chelsea second string for about £3million.

And Andre Arshavin is happy to change numbers if he moves to Arsenal, The Daily Telegraph reports.  "I would prefer my present No 10 but in the team where I hope to move it's not vacant. So I'm ready for any number they are going to offer me," Arshavin said.

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January 7th, 2009
11:10 AM ET

Arshavin close to Arsenal move

Stay up to date with all the comings and goings in the transfer window with CNN.com's daily wrap of all the latest rumors and gossip from Europe's sports pages.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.andrei.jpg caption="Zenit St Petersburg and Russia forward Andrei Arshavin could be heading to Arsenal if wages are agreed."]

LONDON, England - Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin is poised to leave Zenit St. Petersburg in a £10 million move to English Premier League side Arsenal, the Daily Mirror reports.

Arshavin, one of the outstanding performers at Euro 2008, arrived in London Monday for talks with Arsenal representatives with a view to signing a three-year deal after Zenit conceded their initial £20 million asking price was unrealistic.

Arshavin's agent Dennis Lachter told the Mirror: "It's like that famous movie ‘show me the money.' It's just like that. The appetite of Zenit is huge. If they realize times have changed then the Andrei move could be very possible."

The Daily Star reports that Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia is the subject of massive demand this January. They say Fulham, Sunderland, Stoke City, Blackburn and Tottenham are all considering him as a defensive option for the latter half of the season.

West Ham are closing in on making a sale, The Times reports. It's believed Matthew Etherington could be headed for Stoke City, while the east London club is said to be considering a revised offer for Scott Parker from Manchester City. Any deal could include City's Michael Johnson joining the Hammers.

Carlos Tevez is still making headlines as The Sun says Manchester United are now prepared to offload the Argentinian striker to Real Madrid.

Tottenham have had a £14.5 million bid rejected for Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, the Sun says. Aston Villa are in the hunt for Sporting Gijon defender Roberto Canella and could be ready to pay £10 million for the 20-year-old Spaniard.

It has also been widely reported that Premier League Bolton plan to trial to 31-year-old Brazilian winger Denilson, who was once the world's most expensive footballer.

Inter Milan are also in the news Wednesday as the Daily Mirror says the Italian club is offering Brazilian striker Adriano in a potential swap-deal for Manchester City's early season disappointment, Jo.

Also out of Italy, Franco Semioli, the Fiorentina winger who has represented his country on three occasions is said to have caught the eye of Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce.

French champions Lyon insist that highly sought after forward Karim Benzema isn't going anywhere, despite Real Madrid joining his list of suitors, according to L'Equipe.

Paris Saint Germain's 18-year-old French defender Mamadou Sakho, previously linked with Arsenal and Newcastle, is wanted by Juventus, L'Equipe reports. Juve have also joined the race to sign Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski, according to Tuttosport.

Ukrainian forward Andriy Voronin, currently on loan at Hertha Berlin after being deemed surplus to requirements by Rafa Benitez at Liverpool, has been targeted by Schalke, the Daily Mail reports.

To have your say in CNN football debates and read our feature stories, go to CNN's Football Fanzone.

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November 20th, 2008
03:28 PM ET

A friendly waste of time?

So, England defeated Germany 2-1, and Brazil thrashed Portugal 6-2. There were a few other interesting results, too.

But how much did these matches really mean? Did you watch them?

While Germany had their first loss at Berlin since the 1970s and a defeat for England would have tainted an otherwise good year (apart from the fact they didn't appear at the European Championships) – the win was essentially in a game of England B versus Germany B.

The question I'm asking is: are these international "friendlies" worth the bother?

If they don't mean anything they're just upsetting the increasingly important club seasons across Europe, and if they do - then why are they called "friendlies"? If they want any kind of status then maybe they ought to be renamed as "test matches" or "ranking" matches?

You could never imagine a "friendly" in a sport like rugby union or cricket – so why should the beautiful game tolerate such nonsense?

I mean, had the England v Germany match been a crucial World Cup qualifier, do you really believe that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard would have been unable to play?

And for those who are involved in these matches - or at least the lead up to them - there is the serious risk that an injury could jeopardise their club involvement or future international involvement.

Look at Theo Walcott for instance. He gets injured training for a friendly match that essentially means very little, and now faces a spell on the sideline at a time when his Arsenal club need him most. If Arsene Wenger disliked friendlies before that happened, he must be seething now.

Now I'm not saying that the international game isn't important. It is vital to the success of football, and the value of international matches needs to be high - which is perhaps another reason why these friendly games aren't good. Could they be devaluing the international football brand by having a meaningless match where not all of the top players are involved? Maybe these games could be played by development sides in future? Or an unofficial version of the international team?

Either way, I don't believe these friendly matches should be played by the supposed elite international teams. These sides and the respect they carry should be reserved for true battles when they fight gritty encounters for World Cup places, or show their flair in regional tournaments.

I understand that international teams still need a good hit out against other sides to help prepare for big matches. So maybe it was just the timing of these matches that really irked me. Most of the important internationals for the year are long since over. England for instance has its next qualifier in April. What did they stand to gain from playing Germany, while missing their top players, in November?

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