Sissoko still main target for Juventus
Tuesday 22 January 2008
The Juventus coach, Claudio Ranieri, is hoping to resurrect a move for the Liverpool midfielder, Mohamed Sissoko.
The Juventus president, Giovanni Cobolli Gigli, said last week that the club would not make any signings during this month's transfer window, negating Sissoko's statement that he was "very close" to securing a move. But Ranieri still hopes to be reunited with the Mali international after working with him at Valencia. "Sissoko could arrive," Ranieri said. "He is another piece of the jigsaw to add to my team."
Sissoko joined Liverpool in the summer of 2005 but has struggled to hold down a starting place and the Anfield manager, Rafael Benitez, has confirmed that the 22-year-old can leave if the right offer comes in.
One player who could make way for Sissoko is Tiago, for whom Ranieri paid £10m last summer. The Portugal midfielder has started only four games for Juventus since moving from Lyons, and Ranieri admits he is at a loss as to why the 26-year-old has failed to make an impact at Stadio Olimpico.
"Certainly, people were expecting something more from certain players – that's undeniable," Ranieri added. "But being unable to fulfil expectations is something that can happen when you pull on the Juventus shirt.
"Tiago? He is my biggest worry, he has class and he doesn't lack anything to do well. I'm very concerned."
The French midfielder Olivier Kapo, who moved from Juventus last summer, has said that he wants to remain at Birmingham City amid speculation concerning a move elsewhere in the Premier League.
Kapo, who was signed by the now Wigan manager Steve Bruce, has vowed to fight for his place at St Andrew's under the stewardship of Alex McLeish.
"I am confident about our team," Kapo said. "We have a good manager and staff, we have good players. I like the city, my family is happy, it's good here. There are no problems. The most important thing for me is that we win games, because now the [league] situation isn't the best.
"It's good for me [the speculation] but I play for Birmingham. I have signed for three years and I like it here. What matters is our next game. Nothing else. I am looking forward to it and looking forward to helping the team."
Kapo, 27, spent the two previous seasons on loan at Monaco and Levante before leaving Turin for the Blues, for whom he is the joint-top scorer with five goals this season.
Birmingham have signed the Argentinian striker Mauro Zarate on loan until the end of the season in their campaign to keep Premier League status.
Zarate, whose move from Qatar's Al Sadd could be made permanent in the summer, follows the arrivals of David Murphy and James McFadden at St Andrew's. The 20-year-old hit his country's winner in the final of the Under-20 World Cup last year.
"He's one of the Argentinian young guns that were successful in the championships last summer," McLeish said. "I don't want to compare him to the Argentinian greats but he is of that mould. He has great balance and mobility. He can play anywhere along the front four. It's another bit of competition up there but, more importantly, it's somebody that we think can create something out of nothing."
Birmingham are 16th in the table but sit level on points with Sunderland, the team occupying the final relegation place
Blackburn have offered a loan deal to the Bulgarian striker Valeri Domovchiyski until the end of the season. The 21-year-old has been on trial and the Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes, wants to take him on loan from Levski Sofia with a view to signing him permanently in the summer if he makes the grade.
Levski Sofia have yet to respond, but it is thought other clubs may also be interested in Domovchiyski, a Bulgarian Under-21 international.
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