End of the road: Fergie all but admits Darren Fletcher's playing career is over
Man United boss also hints at further new signings to come<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Darren Fletcher: sad end to his career...
Sir Alex Ferguson has effectively admitted Darren Fletcher's playing career is over.
Midfielder Fletcher has been out of action since December suffering with the bowel condition colitis.
And the Manchester United boss suggested Fletcher, 27, was unlikely to make it back to playing ever again.
"Darren has not started training with us," said Ferguson.
"He has got challenges that we are happy to be patient with. But he won't be starting the season.
"It's a shame because he's such a magnificent professional and nice guy.
"If it doesn't work out for him he knows he has always got a position at this club."
Ferguson's hinting at a coaching role for Fletcher comes after the midfielder helped out with the reserves last season, during his enforced absence.
NEW RECRUITS ... Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell with Alex Ferguson
Dream move: Nick Powell moved from Crewe to Manchester United
More to come? Ferguson is looking to add more signings to those of Kagawa and Powell
ALEX FERGUSON admits he is eyeing one more summer signing.The Manchester United boss was speaking at a press conference to unveil new boys Nick Powell, signed from Crewe, and Shinji Kagawa, who has joined from German double-winners Borussia Dortmund..
And the United manager is keen to add one more new face to his squad before the quest to regain the Premier League title from Manchester City begins next month.
He said: "There will possibly be one more. We have always done well in terms of getting players in at the end of the season. That is the right time.
“But always in a European Championship or World Cup year, there is a delay in the transfer industry.
“That is over now and we are still trying to get one more in.”Edited by zocoss 12 Jul `12, 10:29PM
Real Madrid's £40m offer for Luka Modric paves way for Joao Moutinho's move to Tottenham Hotspur
Real Madrid have bid more than £40 million to sign Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur, paving the way for the midfielder to finally leave.On his way out: Luka Modric is on the cusp of a move to Real Madrid Photo: REUTERS<!-- remove the whitespace added by escenic before end of </a> tag -->
Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are also attempting to sign the 26-year-old Croatia international but it is understood that a deal could be struck with Real in the next few days.
Real had cooled their interest, after an inquiry earlier this summer, in which they had offered cash plus Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin but talks are understood to have resumed over a straight cash offer.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been quoting an asking price of £50 million for Modric but the Real offer is expected to be the best one he will receive with the player preferring to move to Spain rather than join PSG.
Levy is adamant that if Modric quits Spurs then he will also leave the Premier League and the chairman will not even countenance an offer from Chelsea whose interest may, indeed, wane now that they have agreed a deal to sign the exciting young Brazil playmaker Oscar for around £22 million.
That move came about after Chelsea hijacked Spurs’ bid to sign the 20 year-old from Internacional and should Modric go it is likely that Spurs will make a move for Joao Moutinho although they will not meet Porto’s asking price of more than £30 million for the Portuguese midfielder. A deal, however, does seem likely for Moutinho to eventually move to White Hart Lane.
On Wednesday Spurs’ new head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, confirmed that the club would listen to offers for Modric after he once again informed them he would like to leave. “The interest Luka is getting from a number of different clubs is the same as he got last year,” Villas-Boas said.
“Luka is a player of major importance for the football club and that is why he attracts so many clubs. At the moment, it’s in the hands of the chairman to accept the right proposition.
"Chelsea was involved last year so there is nothing new in the situation. If the player’s ambition is to move to another club, we can respect that decision, but there are club interests that the chairman will defend and I think only when the right offer is met, there will be more news.”
Liverpool to be first Premier League club represented at official LGBT event
Club's managing director Ian Ayre said it underlined their determination to rid football of homophobiaLiverpool supporters hold up their scarves. The club is to be involved in next month's Liverpool pride march. Photograph: Marc Atkins/BPI
Liverpool FC will become the first Premier League club to be officially represented in a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) event in Britain when a banner featuring its crest is carried by club staff and members of the women's team at next month's Liverpool Pride.
Ian Ayre, Liverpool's managing director, said the club's involvement underlines its determination to rid football of homophobia. "We continue to demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that equality and principles of inclusion are embedded into all areas of Liverpool Football Club and, for many years, we have taken positive steps to promote our stance against homophobia both on and off the pitch," he said.
"The event is … an excellent platform to attract local communities and people from across the country to experience the diverse culture of our fantastic city."
Liverpool FC will also have a stall at the festival's Waterfront site on 4 August and will provide signed merchandise for fund-raising auctions. The club has already worked with Liverpool Pride in establishing the Football v Homophobia tournament, which was hosted at the club's academy for the first time earlier this year. The club also supports the Justin Campaign, which campaigns against homophobia both at grassroots level and in the professional game.
Liverpool Pride has offered other football clubs and their supporters the opportunity to join the march, whether they are professional or pub league outfits. Supporters not wishing to march behind a Liverpool FC banner can register as a separate club and bring their own banners.
Zoran Blackie, the chair of Liverpool Pride, said: "Liverpool Football Club have been going through huge changes, and one of them is to work closely with all their supporters – and they've showed that before by hosting our Football v Homophobia tournament."
Liverpool Pride takes place at the city's Pier Head and throughout the Stanley Street quarter. The festival's Nautical but Nice theme this year, chosen in a ballot by the local LGBT, takes its lead from Liverpool's commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, while also celebrating the city's rich maritime history. More than 40,000 people were estimated to have taken part in the 2011 event which is the country's biggest free-of-charge gay pride festival outside London.
Liverpool seeking clubs to take striker Andy Carroll on loan but £35 million player wants to stay at Anfield
Liverpool have started contacting clubs to explore whether they want to take £35 million striker Andy Carroll on loan for the forthcoming season.
Several clubs – including Tottenham Hotspur – who have previously expressed interest in Carroll were contacted on Tuesday. Liverpool's representatives are specifically looking for a season-long loan rather than, for now, selling the 23 year-old.
Spurs have decided against making a move and will concentrate on securing the permanent transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City. A deal is understood to be close for Adebayor, who spent last season on loan at Spurs, and could even be announced this week dependent on the pay-off he is expected to receive from City.
Newly-promoted West Ham would like to take Carroll and will make an inquiry of their own but their best chance of success may rest on the England international’s close friendship, forged at Newcastle United, with West Ham captain Kevin Nolan.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also shares an agent, Mark Curtis, with Carroll and that might help their cause, but the club would want the player’s wages to be subsidised by Liverpool.
It is understood Fulham are also weighing up whether to make a move and Liverpool, who are keen to sign Clint Dempsey from the Craven Cottage club, might be interested.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has already suggested that the England international needs to prove he can fit into the 4-3-3 system he prefers or be sent out on loan, especially with an £11 million bid now submitted for Roma striker Fabio Borini.
Rodgers said loaning Carroll is “something I would have to look at” and although he indicated he would give him time to prove he fitted into his plans, it appears Liverpool are, at the very least, testing the market to see if there is interest.
They may face a battle to secure a deal — not least from the player himself. Carroll would rather stay at Liverpool and fight for his place.
Liverpool have not had the sort of return they expected when they paid Newcastle United a British record fee for Carroll in January 2011. The striker did reasonably well for England at Euro 2012, yet it is difficult to see him slotting into the sort of system Rodgers deployed at Swansea.
Carroll would not command anything like the same fee should Liverpool look to sell him this summer and it is only sensible Rodgers is contemplating a loan move for a player whose strengths seem at odds with his preferred style of play.
Having broken back into the England squad under coach Roy Hodgson, Carroll needs to be playing regularly to stay there and it is unlikely he will remain opposed to a loan move if it becomes clear he will struggle to start games at Liverpool.
One player who should have no trouble making the transition under Rodgers is Luis Suárez and there is even the prospect of a new contract being agreed with the Uruguayan.
“I have had a good conversation with him over the phone,” said Rodgers when asked about Suárez’s absence from pre-season training because of his Olympic selection. We have exchanged lots of texts. He sent me a text on the first morning, wishing me good luck. He has really bought in to what we are trying to do.
“He was really excited about how we played at Swansea last year. He is really keen and looking forward to playing in a similar sort of model.
“We hope we’re getting closer to agreeing a new contract with him. There has been good dialogue. People always talk about the players coming, but what is important are the ones you already have. I look at this group and I see a really good group of players.”
Rodgers will try to add to the squad he inherited from Kenny Dalglish, but has already made it clear there will not be a major change in personnel. The Italian international forward Borini is expected to become Rodgers’s first signing.
The 21 year-old, who only moved back to Italy after failing to break into the first team at Chelsea last year, could link up with the squad in time to feature on their pre-season tour of North America.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, 20, has signed a new contract with Liverpool despite having made only 37 appearances since he joined from Charlton in May 2010.Edited by zocoss 11 Jul `12, 3:40PM
Fergie hurry: United make £20m quickie bid for Brazil superteen Lucas
Manchester United now in official talks with Sao Paolo, but it's got to be wrapped up BEFORE Olympics<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Little wonder: Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura gets his scurry onRising in value: A good Olympics would sharpen the focus on Lucas
Manchester United have made a £20million-plus bid for Brazilian wonder boy Lucas Moura - and want him signed before he plays in the Olympics.
United are now in official negotiations for the Samba starlet who is their top target for the new season, as Mirror Sport revealed, and the opening offer could rise in the coming days.
Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has given the go-ahead to spend a chunk of his budget on the Sao Paulo sensation who would walk into his side even at the age of 19.
And the Glazers will also finance the move because of Lucas's age and potential 'sell-on value' - with the Americans under pressure to deliver a big name after a trophyless season.
Fergie has been after Lucas for weeks but the attempt to land him has now got serious, with Inter Milan also in the hunt - and the youngster admitting he could possibly move.
United do not want Lucas to light up the Olympics this month and push his value higher again. Sao Paulo scent a killing and are looking for a jackpot deal.
The Brazilians claimed to have had a £32million bid from Chelsea last season and would like that figure. United are convinced they currently have the best offer on the table.
Lucas has opened the door to a switch and said: "I cannot guarantee that I will stay until the end of my contract. Much has changed and the situation is not up to me anymore.
"I don't have a crazy desire to leave but when the time comes I will speak with my family and decide what is best for my future.
"I'm very calm and down to earth about it. My job is to play football so that these clubs continue to be interested."
He has no choice as Spurs have lost most of their defenders at the same time, Harry didn't do a good job in this area. King may retire, Gallas is too old and may leave, Dawson is too injury prone. In midfield, Vdv could be on his way, Modric will also be going... In goal, Brad Friedel will be 42, Gomes is still a clown...
If we look at the numbers that are going, the replacements are still not enough...
Modric = Moutinho
VDV = Gylfi Sigurdsson
King / Gallas = Jan Vertonghen
Friedel / Gomes = Hugo Lloris
Adebayor = Adebayor . . .
Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could be on his way to Tottenham after reports in France claimed the French side is in talks with the London club over his transfer.
The France international is ready to leave Lyon and has a queue of clubs interested in bringing him to the Premier League, including Arsenal and Liverpool.
Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aaulas admitted before Euro 2012 that the keeper had told him he could be tempted by an offer from a "great European club".
Now according to French newspaper L'Equipe it is Tottenham who are in pole position to snap him up, after they opened talks over the 25-year-old.
The proposed fee is reported to be around 20 million euros.
Tottenham already have Brad Friedel and Heurelho Gomes on their books, but Brazilian Gomes has fallen out of favour and Friedel is already 41-years-old and new boss Andre Villas-Boas is keen to bring in a younger replacement.
The ex-Chelsea boss has already has already completed the captures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen as he prepares for the new season.Edited by zocoss 10 Jul `12, 9:53PM
Porto star for Spurs: AVB closes in on Moutinho to leave Chelsea in pole position to sign Oscar
Tottenham are also set to sign Emmanuel Adebayor, but reports Chelsea have agreed a deal for Brazil starlet Oscar appear to be prematureHeading for White Hart Lane? Porto star Joao Moutinho is closing in on a move to Spurs
Tottenham were today closing in on a deal to sign Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho - after leaving the field clear for Chelsea to land Brazilian schemer Oscar.
Andre Villas-Boas, who has already completed the captures of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen, is on the brink of adding Moutinho to give him the dressing room disciple he lacked during his short-lived spell at Chelsea.
And that has left the Blues as odds-on to capture Oscar, with Tottenham sources insisting the club pulled out of any interest in the South American at the end of last week.
Spurs had been tracking the Internacional midfielder and made an initial £11million bid for the 20-year-old.
But as the move for Moutinho became more concrete, Spurs switched targets and White Hart Lane sources are adamant Tottenham told Internacional they were no longer interested in the youngster three days ago.
Blue boy? Internacional's Oscar could be on his way to Chelsea
That leaves Chelsea the favourites to get their man although suggestions of a £25m deal having been struck appear slightly off target.
Oscar's agent, Carlos Meinberg, told Brazilian paper Terra: "Chelsea did offer 25m (£19.8m) but there is still no agreement between the clubs.
"That may happen in the next few days. Oscar's other agent, Giuliano Bertolucci, will travel to England to finalise the remaining details.
"Tottenham also made an offer, but he should accept Chelsea's offer as there is more exposure there."
Spurs will fund the likely £22m capture of the 25-year-old Moutinho, a huge success under Villas-Boas as he guided Porto to an unbeaten season in 2010-11, by the imminent sale of Luka Modric to Real Madrid.
Madrid have offered £28m plus former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is sticking to his demands for a package valued nearer £35m in order to assent to the Croatian's departure.
Levy has made it clear he will not sell to a Premier League rival - both Chelsea and Manchester United were keen on Modric - and while the negotiations are continuing it seems a deal will be reached in the next few days.
Levy also seems to be getting close to reaching an agreement with Manchester City to turn Emmanuel Adebayor's loan deal in N17 into a permanent move.
Thumbs up to Spurs: Emmanuel Adebayor is set to rejoin the club on a permanent deal
City need to offload Adebayor - and Bosnian Edin Dzeko, a target for Bayern Munich and AC Milan - in order to find space for Arsenal's want-away Dutch skipper Robin Van Persie - and appear ready to accept a £5m bid for the Togo striker, who will bank a huge signing-on fee to get his wages more in line with Tottenham's normal policy.Edited by zocoss 10 Jul `12, 9:44PM
Emmanuel Adebayor close to signing permanent deal at Tottenham Hotspur
• Move opens way for Manchester City to sign Robin van Persie
• Tottenham ready to pay large signing-on fee but lower salaryEmmanuel Adebayor scored 17 Premier League goals for Tottenham last season while on loan from Manchester City....
Emmanuel Adebayor is on the brink of completing a permanent transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, as Manchester City remove one obstacle to their pursuit of Arsenal's Robin van Persie. Tottenham believe that they can secure the signature of Adebayor for £5m, although they may have to pay a slightly higher fee, and they are close to a compromise over his salary demands.
Adebayor, who spent last season on loan at White Hart Lane, has one year remaining on his £170,000-a-week City contract. During his loan, City contributed £100,000 of his weekly wage. But Tottenham are ready to give the striker a massive signing-on fee and a lower salary to fit him into the chairman Daniel Levy's pay structure.
Adebayor is keen to remain at Tottenham, where he scored 17 Premier League goals last time out and the club's new manager André Villas-Boas wants him to join permanently. Villas-Boas likes to play a 4-3-3 formation and Adebayor would fit in as the lead striker. Villas-Boas also has an interest in the Brazil and Internacional striker Leandro Damião.
Tottenham's move for Adebayor has implications for Van Persie's future. City are resolved to sign the Dutchman after he made it clear last week that he wanted to leave Arsenal but, first, they must trim the number of strikers on their payroll, which currently stands at seven.
Van Persie played with Adebayor at Arsenal but the pair are confirmed enemies after the notorious afternoon at City in September 2009, when Adebayor raked his studs across his opponent's face. Van Persie accused him afterwards of a "mindless and malicious stamp". "He set out to hurt me," Van Persie said. "The contact was only centimetres from my eye."
There is no chance of Van Persie joining City while Adebayor remains at the club. City are poised to make an offer of around £15m for Van Persie, who has one year to run on his Arsenal contract and they do not want to go above £20m. Arsenal's valuation of the double footballer of the year is considerably higher.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said last season that there was no possibility of him selling Van Persie to City and the club have threatened to hold him to the final year of his contract, whether he likes it or not.
Wenger has signed the strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud for a combined £24m.
Park Ji-Sung: I will never forget my time at Manchester United
The South Korean completed a move to QPR on Monday and has issued an emotional farewell to the Old Trafford outfit where he enjoyed a successful seven-year spell<!-- /widget:sharebar, time:0.0004889965057373s, cache:no --><!-- end social_media div -->Park Ji-Sung has insisted he will never forget his time with Manchester United after ending his seven-year stay with the club to join QPR.
The South Korean, who joined the Red Devils from PSV Eindhoven in 2005, officially announced his departure to Loftus Road on Monday for an undisclosed fee.
And the four-time Premier League-winning midfielder described playing for the Old Trafford outfit as a "privilege".
"My time at United will last in my heart for the rest of my life," he told the club's official website.
"It’s been a great privilege to be part of such a great team, to have won so much and to have played with special teammates and for the greatest manager in the game.
"I would like to thank everybody at the club who give their best every single day to put every player in the best condition to enjoy their football and achieve success."
Park, who enjoyed cult status amongst the club's fans, also had kind words for the Old Trafford faithful upon his departure.
“The fans have been fantastic to me and I will always remember them with great affection," he added.
"Now, I’m looking forward to giving everything for a new challenge at QPR, where I will bring all my ambition and spirit I have gathered at United. [Those qualities] will be with me forever."Edited by zocoss 10 Jul `12, 10:39AM
Reds closing in: Liverpool boss claims 'exciting deal will be completed this week'
There won't be many signings this summer says Brendan Rodgers – but Kop fans now braced for the arrival of a bundle of joy in next few daysPress gang: Brendan Rodgers meets the media... and makes a surprise announcement
Clint in their eye: Liverpool want to tie up deal for Dempsey before US tour starts next week
Fulham would sell star man to free up cash for new recruitsClint Dempsey: heading home with Liverpool?
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is ready to bid £7.5 million for Fulham's American star Clint Dempsey in his first major transfer raid.
Rodgers wants to snap up Dempsey quickly and tie up a deal before the Kop fly to the shooting star's homeland next week.
Dempsey had a sensational season for Fulham but may have to be sold as his deal is running down and he fancies a 'glamour' move at this stage of his career - with the Anfield club prepared to pay.
Rodgers wants a couple of new faces and has the funds to land Dempsey - with Fulham willing to sell and also open to a possible exchange deal involving one of Liverpool's fringe men.
Sources close to the Dempsey camp claim a deal may be pushed through as soon as Wednesday.Edited by zocoss 10 Jul `12, 9:46AM
Korea opportunities: Ji Sung Park in the frame to replace Joey Barton as QPR skipper
Mark Hughes also identifies Djibril Cisse as a potential candidate<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Ji-Sung Park: turned down a monster Asian payday to go to West London as he still wants to play in the highest level.
New QPR signing Park Ji Sung is in the frame to replace disgraced Joey Barton as captain.
The former Manchester United midfielder, 31, has signed a two-year deal at Loftus Road.
Barton has been banned for 12 games and fined £75,000 by the FA for his sending off in the Hoops’ last game of the season at Manchester City. The Scouser was also fined £420,000 by Rangers, stripped of the captaincy and axed from the club’s pre-season tour
Boss Mark Hughes said: “I’m sure people will want the role and will step forward for it.
“And Ji will get that opportunity if it is one he wants to take. We have other guys with experience, people who have won Champions League like Djibril Cisse.
Djibril Cisse: will he stay on the pitch long enough to lead?
“Characters in the dressing room who can take on that mantle.”
Park turned down a monster Asian payday to go to West London.
But he said: “I still want to play in Europe because Europe is the highest level in the world.”
Tottenham on the verge of completing transfer of Jan Vertonghen
• Spurs have agreed a fee with the defender's club Ajax
• Vertonghen was Eredivisie player of the year last seasonJan Vertonghen is set to complete his transfer from Ajax to Tottenham after the two clubs agreed a fee for the defender. Photograph: Olaf Kraak/EPA...
Tottenham Hotspur are set to finally complete the signing of the Ajax captain Jan Vertonghen after the London club announced they had agreed terms on Sunday.
Spurs have been tracking the Belgium defender since last season, when he helped Ajax claim a second consecutive Eredivisie title. Vertonghen, 25, is due to undergo a medical before completing a deal valued at around €12m (£9.5m) that will make him the second arrival since André Villas-Boas took over as manager.
"We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Ajax for the transfer of Jan Vertonghen, subject to a medical," a statement on the club's website read. "The 2011-12 campaign was the Belgium international's most successful season to date – being named Ajax captain at the start and going on to lead the Dutch side to their second straight league title.
"The centre back's impressive performances did not go unnoticed as he was named Eredivisie player of the year as well as Ajax's player of the year in a season that saw him score 10 times in 37 appearances. In total, Jan made 220 appearances and scored 28 goals for Ajax since making his debut for them in 2006."
Vertonghen will bolster a Spurs central defence that has been weakened over the summer following the departures of the long-serving former captain Ledley King and Ryan Nelsen.
"I'm 25 years old and I feel ready to play in the Premier League," Vertonghen said. "I've heard a lot of good stories from my Belgium team-mates, so I think I'm ready for the club."
The defender is also hoping Spurs can keep hold of their key players, such as Luka Modric. "They have a lot of good players and I hope the most important players will stay," he told Sky Sports News.
Gylfi Sigurdsson moved to Tottenham from Hoffenheim for £8m last week.