<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->
Valencia follows George Best and Eric Cantona into number seven shirt...
Come in No.7: Valencia will be handed the iconic shirt number this season
United's pre-season tour begins with two games in South Africa against AmaZulu FC and Ajax Cape Town before they move on to China to face Shanghai Shenhua, Norway where they will play Valerenga, Sweden to take on Barcelona and finishing in Germany against Hannover 96.
The travelling party has yet to be confirmed - as have shirt numbers for the majority of United's squad.
Only three have been confirmed so far with winger Antonio Valencia requesting the iconic seven shirt - worn by club greats such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo - after it became available following Michael Owen's departure when his contract expired this summer.
New signings Nick Powell and Shinji Kagawa will wear 25 and 26 respectively.
There could be some new additions to that squad list, however, as Ferguson is working on bringing in at least a couple more players before the start of the season.
When asked if he is hoping to make further signings Ferguson added: "Yes, there's a possibility.
"We're working on one or two things but there's nothing really to tell you to be honest.
"We always try to get our work done at the end of the season - we spent a good deal of time sorting the deal with Shinji and we'd agreed a deal with Nick Powell before the play-offs which was a good move by us because the boy had an outstanding final at Wembley.
"When you don't get deals done immediately and you're negotiating with a club over a long period, then you can't expect to just snap your fingers and get it done."Edited by zocoss 04 Jul `12, 9:54AM
REAL MADRID JUGGLE FIGURES TO POACH LUKA MODRIC FROM CHELSEA BID
Chelsea and Real Madrid are in a tug-of-war for Luka Modric
REAL Madrid are in the process of juggling figures to clinch Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric.
The Spanish club are desperate to poach the player from their competitors Chelsea who have put in an alleged £36m bid for the player.
Roman Abramovich has vowed to dig deep as he wants a replacement for Frank Lampard in midfield with the addition of Tottenham's Modric.
But now the Spanish club are hoping to balance the books in order to offer the Croatian international a bid nearer to Cheslea's.
Modric has previously claimed that he would prefer a move to the Spanish side so the extra capital offered could push the move his way.
At the Bernabeu, Real Madrid are hoping that they will be able to offload Kaka which would bring in 10million euros but the club's number 8 is digging his heels on his decision to complete his three year contract.
Bye bye Baines? Left-back admits Everton may be forced to sell him to United as Fergie adds Porto star Moutinho to his shopping list
“It can be a problem for Everton given the financial situation at the club," says England full-back Baines as United plot a £12m bidBlue to red? Leighton Baines has admitted Everton's cash problems may force them to sell him to Manchester United
Leighton Baines has admitted that cash-strapped Everton may be forced to sell him to Manchester United.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed in April that Sir Alex Ferguson had targeted the 27-year-old left-back as a replacement for Patrice Evra – and United are expected to step up their bid to land him by tabling a £12million offer this week.
United are also ready to hijack Tottenham’s attempt to sign Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho from Porto by making a £30m bid.
But landing Baines will be Ferguson’s next piece of business after spending £20m to recruit Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell from Crewe last month.
Nicked: Manchester United have already signed Nick Powell from Crewe Alexander
United were hoping to take advantage of Everton’s crippling financial situation by getting the England defender at a knock-down price of £5m.
Everton value Baines at £15m, but will accept less as they look to give manager David Moyes some funds of his own for summer signings.
Baines is happy at Goodison Park after signing for his hometown club in a £6m deal from Wigan five years ago.
But he is aware of both United’s interest and Everton’s track record in recent years of being forced to cash in on their best players.
Baines said: “I’m aware of what’s been said about United, but I don’t know much beyond that.
“It can be a problem for Everton given the financial situation at the club.
“Over the years the manager has lost players I am sure he would have liked to have kept hold of.
“Maybe the club has needed the money or maybe they have received a substantial bid for a player.
“The club has always done good business in that sense because the manager has always done a good job bringing players in for a certain amount of money.
“When players have moved on he (Moyes) has always been quite savvy about the way he has gone about his business.
“Losing players hasn’t really hindered us because the team never seems to perform worse than it did before.
“Maybe it would have been nice, though, to have hung on to some of the players that have left, added a couple ourselves, and actually improved as a team.”
United are also tracking Moutinho following his outstanding performances for Portugal at Euro 2012.
Portuguezer: Alex Ferguson is hoping to snatch Porto's Joao Moutinho from under Spurs' noses
The 25-year-old was being earmarked by Tottenham as a replacement for Luka Modric if the Croatian midfielder moves to Real Madrid.
But Moutinho’s head has been turned by the new interest from Old Trafford – and United have been told that they will get their man if a fee can be agreed with Porto.
Moutinho has a £40m buy-out clause in his contract, but a bid of around £30m would persuade Porto to sell.
He was signed for Porto by Andre Villas-Boas two years ago and was expected to follow his former boss to White Hart Lane.
But Ferguson knows he must strengthen his midfield after being forced to bring Paul Scholes back out of retirement last season as great rivals Manchester City took the title.Edited by zocoss 01 Jul `12, 10:45AM
CHELSEA SET TO BEAT REAL MADRID TO LUKA MODRIC WITH £36M BID
Chelsea target Luka Modric with £36 million deal
CHELSEA look set to beat Real Madrid's offer for Luka Modric after it was alleged they are preparing a £36m bid for the midfielder.
Roman Abramovich has vowed to dig deep as he wants a replacement for Frank Lampard in midfield and Tottenham's Modric has come under the spotlight.
The midfielder looked set for a move to Real Madrid after he showed a preference for the club.
But his dreams of Spanish stardom could be at an end as the club are only able to stump up £20m for Modric.
Chelsea are hoping to lure the Croatian international away from Madrid.
Tottenham are in need of a boost financially following their failure to make it into the Champions League.
Gareth Bale has already renewed his contract at Spurs leaving Luka Modric as their only high-priced player to sell this summer.
Ivanovic said previously of Modric: “Chelsea as a team has needed a player with these qualities. He would fit in quickly and strengthen the squad.
"He has exceptional quality, and moving to a bigger club is necessary for him to take the next step in his career. He should come to Chelsea – it won’t be a mistake!”
Tour blimey: Fergie wants Baines bought before big pre-season trip starts
United leave for South Africa on July 16 and it's hoped the Everton defender will be with them - but a Modric swoop is looking unlikely<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Sign here, Son!: Fergie is eager for Baines to put pen to paper soon
Manchester United are stepping up their efforts to capture Leighton Baines.
Sir Alex Ferguson has identified the Everton and England left-back as one of his summer transfer targets, and is keen to conclude a deal as swiftly as possible.
The Toffees value Baines at £20million, but United are unwilling to pay that much for the 27-year-old.
They view a fee of around £15m as more realistic.
Ferguson would like to have Baines on board before July 16 - the day United embark on their pre-season tour to South Africa and China.
But with Everton determined to hold out for the best possible price, the saga seems likely to drag on throughout next month.
Meanwhile, Ferguson is resigned to losing out in the race to sign Luka Modric as United unwilling to meet Tottenham's £35m valuation of the playmaker.
Adios: Modric looks set for Spain as United won't pay the £35m Spurs want
Real Madrid are the new favourites to sign Modric, who is desperate to leave Spurs for a new challenge this summer.
United new-boys Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell will be in the squad Fergie takes globe-trotting in a couple of weeks' time.
"We are all looking forward to the pre-season tour," said Ferguson.
"It's obviously very difficult in a year when we have had a Euro tournament and we also have the Olympics this year.
"The final tour squad hasn't been decided yet but we will be taking the strongest team we have available.
"I am delighted our new newest signings, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell, will be in the travelling squad, along with more established players such as Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Ji Sung-Park.
It was never like this at Crewe!: New-boy Powell will get a crash course in life as a Manchester United player with trips to South Africa and China
"I've always said how important it is to get a good pre-season behind us.
"We saw the impact a good pre-season had on the start of last year's campaign.
"We have incredible support in South Africa and in China and I am looking forward to returning to both countries to start our preparation for the new season."
Making his Mark: Bolton's Davies could be on his way to Liverpool
Rodgers looks set to lose out to Spurs on Sigurdsson so is eyeing Trotters attacking midfielder he almost signed for Swansea<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Plan B: Davies is on Rodgers' radar as Sigurdsson heads for Spurs
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is eyeing Bolton’s Mark Davies in a £6million swoop after missing out on Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Iceland midfielder Sigurdsson, who starred for Rodgers at Swansea last season on loan from Hoffenheim, is set to complete an £8million move to Tottenham next week, once Andre Villas-Boas is confirmed as their new manager.
But Rodgers is also a big fan of Davies and previously considered signing him for Swansea.
The attacking midfielder, 24, shone last term, scoring four goals for a Wanderers side that ended up being relegated to the Championship.
Kop eye Vic if Sig bid failsTARGET ... Victor Moses
LIVERPOOL will move for Victor Moses if top target Gylfi Sigurdsson chooses Tottenham.Hoffenheim midfielder Sigurdsson was top of Brendan Rodgers’ wish list, after a superb loan spell under the new Kop boss at Swansea last year..
But Spurs are offering higher wages than the Reds, in a near £8million move.
And if they do miss out, that will see Rodgers switch his attentions to Wigan wing wonder Moses, 21.
Latics owner Dave Whelan knocked back a £4m bid from Chelsea last week, insisting he wants more than double that figure.
BARCELONA star Seydou Keita has rejected the chance to join Liverpool. The Malian said: “I won’t be going to Anfield.”
Manchester United end interest in Modric as Tottenham star edges towards Real Madrid
Sir Alex Ferguson is not willing to meet Spurs' £40m asking price for the Croatian playmaker as the Londoners discuss a deal with the Spanish giants
<!-- google_ad_section_start --><!-- end social_media div -->
Manchester United have conceded defeat in their efforts to sign Luka Modric as the Tottenham midfielder edges closer to a move to Real Madrid.Sir Alex Ferguson made the Croatian playmaker a top target for the summer transfer window but the United manager has been stunned by Tottenham’s £40 million asking price.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is likely to accept a £35m bid but United feel the transfer would not make economic sense, even though Modric’s wage demands would be well within the Old Trafford club’s budget.
United have signed attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund and Ferguson does not feel pressure to enter the transfer market, particularly as Paul Scholes has extended his contract to play next term.
There had been suggestions that Modric had already agreed personal terms with United but Spurs’ asking price was always likely to be a stumbling block.
Modric, 26, is also a target for Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Anzhi Makhachkala - but the midfielder looks increasingly likely to become Jose Mourinho’s big summer signing at Real Madrid.
Reports in Spain this week have suggested Modric’s representatives have already held talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez while the player will re-iterate his desire to leave Spurs in a meeting with Levy this week.
Spurs refused to sell Modric to Chelsea last summer but accept that the former Dinamo Zagreb man is almost certain to be sold this year after the north London club missed out on a place in next season’s Champions League.
“Here I am no longer able to fulfil my dream,” Modric told Marca this week. “I’m going to play in the Champions League - I want to win this competition.”
Tottenham would prefer to sell Modric abroad, rather than strengthen a Premier League rival, while there is a good relationship at boardroom level between Spurs and Madrid.
Discussions over the transfer of Modric to the Spanish capital have already taken place, with Spurs keen to negotiate a player exchange deal to meet their valuation. Players mentioned as possible makeweights include Nuri Sahin, Ricardo Carvalho and Lassana Diarra.
Mourinho has been tracking Modric and his Spurs team-mate Gareth Bale - who signed a new four-year contract on Wednesday - for the last three years and decided to make his move at the end of the season.
Modric impressed for Croatia at Euro 2012 and would add creativity to the midfield at the Bernabeu as they look to retain their La Liga title and win the Champions League next season.
Andre Villas-Boas, who is expected to be named as the new Spurs manager in the coming days, is a huge fan of Modric having tried to sign him for Chelsea last summer. The Portuguese, however, accepts the player’s desire to leave and is already involved in the search for potential replacements.
Spurs are expected to complete the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim for £8m early next week but the Icelandic midfielder is not considered a like-for-like replacement for Modric.
For Mod's sake: Real ready to throw Turkey trotter Sahin into pot for Modric (report)
Jose Mourinho putting together £30million bid for Tottenham's Croatian wantaway Luca that includes midfielder Nuri in a part-ex<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Let's have a knees-up! Modric (left) tangles with Fernando Torres
Tottenham are reportedly being tempted to get the deal done on wantaway Luka Modric, with Real Madrid now thought to offering midfielder Nuri Sahin plus something like £30million cash.
Real remain the frontrunners to land the Croatian midfielder despite renewed interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.
Tottenham value Modric at £40million, but the inclusion of Turkey midfielder Sahin, 23, in a £30m package might tempt them.
Eeeh, that's champion, is that! Jose Mourinho celebrates winning La Liga – now he wants Modric for his Champions League push
Modric is on holiday after Croatia’s exit from the Euro 2012 group stages but will soon tell Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy that he wants to leave.
Sahin, born in Germany, has 31 caps for Turkey and only arrived from Borussia Dortmund last year. His chances of nailing down a first-team spot under Mourinho are slim.
Spurs could also be offered former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho as part of any deal but his age - 34 - is against him.
Let's not be ridiculous not geting paid stuff... He was voted Barce no.1 target and a target for many other top clubs but obviously he has made it known all along he wanted to stay at Spurs despite on a lesser salary package...
Full credit to him for staying as he could have easily used the excuse of Harry's gone, Modric could be sold off, Ade will not be back and VDV could leave too kind of stuff to justify his move to a bigger club and bigger pay package too...
Signing a new contract shows his commitment towards the club. Modric has a contract on his table for more than a year but he hasn't sign it. So obviously he prefers to go very soon but we can't say the same with Bale.
Gareth Bale signs new Tottenham contract
Gareth Bale has signed a new four-year contract at Tottenham. The Wales winger has committed himself to White Hart Lane until 2016, ending speculation over his future amid interest from rival clubs at home and abroad....
"I've been here for five years now and I've enjoyed every minute," Bale said. "The fans have been great to me and I'd love to re-pay them and do the very best for them.".
"I love the club and the fans and I want to play my part in trying to get us back into the Champions League - where we belong.
"We’ve a good, young squad and we need to work together to get back on the biggest stage again."Edited by zocoss 27 Jun `12, 10:40PM
Breaking the Ice: Liverpool still hoping to steal Sigurdsson from under Spurs' noses
The Iceland international has yet to agree personal terms, and that has left an opening for new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to exploit<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Gylfi Sigurdsson: tug of love
Hassle in Hoffenheim: who will stump up the cash?
Liverpool haven't given up hope on signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, despite being beaten to the punch by quick-acting Spurs.
The London club stole a reach march in the race to land the highly rated striker, after agreeing an £8million fee with his club Hoffenheim.
But the Iceland international has yet to agree personal terms with Tottenham, and that has left an opening for new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers to exploit.
Sigurdsson has a close relationship with Rodgers after enjoying a lengthy loan spell under the Irishman at Swansea.
And Liverpool will hope to use that connection to persuade him to ignore Spurs' advances.
Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates scoring... but who will he celebrate signing for?
The 22 year old has originally agreed to sign on a permanent basis for Swansea, but that deal fell through when Rodgers took the Anfield job.
Liverpool have one other weapon in their armoury. The German club's manager is former Reds favourite Marcus Babbel, and he would be happy to see his striker switch to Anfield.
Rodgers is also in the running to sign Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, but again, the player's salary demands are a stumbling block given the desire to bring a spiraling wage bill under control at Anfield.
Spurs are also hoping to pursue talks with the England striker's agents, and if they land Sturridge it could pave the way for the Merseyside club to snap up Sigurdsson.Edited by zocoss 27 Jun `12, 11:17AM
Can you start right away? Spurs have offered job to Villas-Boas and want him to take over on July 1
Chairman Levy reckons Portuguese can take the club to the "next level."<!-- Can pick up the first element because is searching for author name -->Andre Villas-Boas: excited to take over at Spurs
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has offered the Spurs job to Andre Villas-Boas - and wants him to start on July 1.
Former Chelsea boss Villas-Boas has impressed the Spurs hierarchy with his plans for the club even though he was axed at Stamford Bridge after less than eight months in charge.
Villas-Boas will be expected to work with Tim Sherwood at Spurs as his star is in the ascendancy and Levy wants him to be a key part of the set-up.
France boss Laurent Blanc was also in the running but Villas-Boas impressed the most during Levy's search for a successor to Harry Redknapp.
Non! Laurent Blanc set to miss out
They also sounded out former England boss Fabio Capello who, along with Blanc, will remain in the frame until Villas-Boas is signed and sealed. Capello is interested in making a return to English football but his wage demands proved prohibitive.
Levy initially fancied Everton boss David Moyes and Wigan's Roberto Martinez and decided to go foreign because he believes a new philosophy is needed to take the club to the "next level."
Villas-Boas has some reservations about the job because he wants complete control and also fears losing Luka Modric who has made it clear he wants to leave for Real Madrd.
Tottenham also want the new manager to start on July 1 for various contractual and legal reasons while Villas-Boas is also free from any ties to Chelsea.
They are also confident of landing Hoffenheim midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from under Liverpool's noses - although Brendan Rodgers has one last ace to play.
Tottenham to trump Liverpool and Swansea in race for Gylfi Sigurdsson
• Spurs agree €10m fee with Hoffenheim
• Managerless London club leave Liverpool trailingGylfi Sigurdsson enjoyed a successful loan spell at Swansea in the second half of last season after spells at Hoffenheim and Reading.
Tottenham Hotspur have moved ahead of Liverpool and Swansea City in the pursuit of Gylfi Sigurdsson after agreeing a €10m (£8m) fee with Hoffenheim for the Iceland midfielder.
Spurs, who are without a manager, hope to complete a deal for the coveted 22-year-old by the end of this week, but they have still to agree personal terms with the player. Their approach to Hoffenheim comes amid serious doubts over the future of Luka Modric at White Hart Lane, with Real Madrid linked with the Croatian.
Liverpool had been confident of signing Sigurdsson following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager. The midfielder flourished under Rodgers on loan at Swansea last season and the pair have spoken several times since a proposed £6.8m transfer to the Liberty Stadium collapsed as a result of the manager's departure for Anfield.Edited by zocoss 27 Jun `12, 10:59AM
Spurs seemed to be more of an European style where the president or DOF does the choosing and buying while the manager just manage together with his coach.
Anyway, it's always good to have the numbers in the midfield as Sigurdsson has shown he can manage in the PL. And to be fair, at $8m... He seems to be rather cheap in today's market value to keep around...
If he choose Spurs over Pool, i think it's just his personal preference like when he choose Pool over Swansea... I think if suddenly Chelsea or City became interested in him, he will tell Spurs goodbye as well kind.
But Pool are still in with a chance as they are known to be willing to pay more in terms of salary as compare to Spurs.
I don't think Pool can't outbid Spurs. They are both offering the same fee of $8m which Hoffenehim is happy to accept while Swansea had an agreement earlier at $6.8m with Hoffenehim... Spurs are not known to pay high salaries to their players as compare to Pool that's why they lost Joe Cole to Pool previously.
It seems this deal is all down to Gylfi Sigurdsson himself of where he wants to go. Earlier he choose Pool as his choices was compare to Swansea only. Having held discussion with Rodgers when he made it known he wanted him, things seemed to point to Sigurdsson going to Pool very soon. Then suddenly a new avenue appear. I don't know who is the one that wants him as Harry isn't there anymore... Maybe Levy is buying the players at Spurs... But it seems that didn't matter as long as they were able to match Pool's offer, he seems to be more interested with the Spurs offer at the moment. Until the deal is seal, we shell wait and see where he ends up, Anfield or WHL...
You can say that about Pirlo too apart from the free-kick.
Well, if the people at Barce, Real, Manchester & Chelsea see something in him that warrant the mention, then i suppose he must be doing something right... Right?
He is probably going to Madrid very soon to join the Spanish champions. That should be enough to speak volume of his talent.
You sure he played badly at the Euro? He was the main player Spain was worried about and his Croatia team was unlucky not to get to the 2nd stage. Spain had their keeper to thank for a string of good saved against them or the team that went home would be them instead of Croatia...
Also, Real's interest in him came about during his performance at the Euro... if he played that badly, I don't think they would be interested with him at all.
Tottenham close in on £8m Sigurdsson after hijacking Liverpool deal to sign midfielder
On the move: Sigurdsson impressed on loan at Swansea last season
Tottenham have leapfrogged Liverpool in the race to sign Hoffenehim midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The Iceland ace, who spent last season on loan at Swansea, could complete his £8million switch to White Hart Lane by the end of the week.
Sigurdsson has agreed personal terms with Spurs, snubbing the chance to work under former Swans chief Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.
Rodgers is said to be furious with Sigurdsson's decision to join Tottenham after holding extensive talks with the 22-year-old.
Hijack: Liverpool were poised to sign the Iceland international
Sigurdsson was poised to join Swansea on a permanent basis after agreeing a £6.8million switch to the Wales club. But he stalled on the move following Rodgers' departure.
New Swans' boss Michael Laudrup has admitted defeat in trying to complete the deal.
Arsenal sign Olivier GiroudDONE DEAL ... Olivier Giroud has signed for Arsenal
ARSENAL have signed France striker Olivier Giroud in a deal worth around £12million.Giroud joins the Gunners from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier and has agreed a four-year contract from July 1..
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “We are delighted to have secured the signing of Olivier Giroud.
"He has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic.
"We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season.
“He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and country and we saw what a big influence he was in Montpellier’s championship-winning side last season.
"We all look forward to Olivier joining us and seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt.”
Giroud said: “I am delighted to be here at Arsenal and to be part of one of the great teams in English football.
"It's a huge satisfaction to join this great club and it’s been a dream since I was young to play in the Premier League.
“I was attracted by the philosophy of football and Arsene Wenger’s 'touch' at this club.
"I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here.
"I’m very proud to be a Gunner and I will give my best for all the Arsenal fans.”