Manchester United are preparing to re-establish their position at the top of the English game by making a £33m transfer war chest available to Sir Alex Ferguson, according to the News of the World.
Ferguson is reported to be confident that a £14m double deal for the Ajax midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and the full back Hatem Trabelsi is virtually sealed, and is also said to be looking at the Roma defender Jonathan Zebina. The newspapaper says the United manager is also ready to sell Diego Forlan and Nicky Butt for around £5m each, with Birmingham confident they can land latter in the summer.
However, the Sunday Mirror suggests Ferguson might be wide of the mark in thinking he has Van der Vaart in the bag. According to the Mirror, the player rated the hottest talent in the Netherlands has set his heart on joining Barcelona. His mother is from Catalonia and he is said to have supported Barça since he was a boy.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have been knocked back in their £80m bid for the Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko but may still reach a deal with the Italians for the prolific Ukrainian goalscorer. The News of the World says the Milanese have indicated privately that a deal involving the midfielder Claude Makalele and the striker Hernan Crespo might persuade them to talk.
The same newspaper says Chelsea are set to sign Roma's £10m-rated Argentina defender Walter Samuel as a replacement for Marcel Desailly. The Mirror reckons Chelsea are ready to pay £22m plus two players said to be worth £12m for the Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, even though the Spanish club says no one has enough money to buy their prized asset.
But the West London club have crossed the name of Fabio Capello off their managerial shortlist, according to the same newspaper, after reckoning his demands for a £5m salary plus numerous other conditions relating to coaching staff, training facilities and transfer targets are simply too much.
If Sven Goran Eriksson will not be in charge at Stamford Bridge next season, that does not necessarily mean he will still be the England coach. The Mail on Sunday says Real Madrid have not given up hope of landing Eriksson as their new coach, a story echoed by the Sunday Express, which says Internazionale still have the Swede on their wanted list, reasoning that the get-out clauses in his England contract mean he is not exactly shackled to Soho Square. The Mirror reckons a £15m pay-off will buy his signature.
A bitter transfer war between Aston Villa and Birmingham could in the offing, according to both the News of the World and the Express. The former says that the Villa manager, David O'Leary, could snatch the striker Mikael Forsell, who has been on loan at Birmingham most of the season, wants to return to Chelsea but might be prepared to quit Stamford Bridge for Champions' League football if Villa can finish in the top four. The Express says the Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, has been in talks about an £8m deal for the PSV Eindhoven striker Mateja Kezman, reported by the News of the World to be a target for Villa.Reuse content