City move fast to thwart late Juventus bid for Kolarov
Saturday 24 July 2010
Manchester City are confident they will see off a late bid from Juventus and sign Lazio's Aleksandar Kolarov this weekend as they continue to close on James Milner.
City have been tracking Kolarov all summer and thought they had beaten off competition from Real Madrid to a £17m deal, but Lazio yesterday revealed that other clubs were interested in the Serbian left-back.
The Juventus coach, Luigi del Neri, is looking for a new left-back as the Turin club rebuild after a disappointing season in Serie A. "The priority is to see if there are players who can improve the defence," Del Neri said yesterday.
As recently as Thursday, Lazio's sporting director, Igli Tare, insisted that there were no problems with the deal, but the Lazio president, Claudio Lotito, muddied the picture yesterday by apparently opening the door to Juventus.
"If Juventus are interested and present an adequate offer, anything can still happen," Lotito said. "Everyone has a price."
However, the City manager, Roberto Mancini, hopes to complete a deal for Kolarov this weekend and wants to stop the transfer becoming the sort of saga that has dogged their efforts to sign Mario Balotelli from Internazionale.
Although the European champions expect the striker to leave San Siro, they are not happy with the £23m offered by City and want a further £5m. The club president, Massimo Moratti, has indicated that Inter will not budge on the asking price of £28m and is courting other offers.
"At this moment there are contacts with Manchester City, but we must find an agreement that satisfies both us and them," Moratti said. "Roberto Mancini says that we raised the price? No, we ask what we think is right – nothing exaggerated. However, we are evaluating other offers. We are looking at offers, but there is no final decision on my part."
City are confident that Aston Villa will drop their £30m valuation for Milner after their manager, Martin O'Neill, admitted that the England midfielder wants to leave. City's veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira feels that Milner would be a significant addition at Eastlands and thinks that his club's pulling power is growing all the time.
"Milner is a terrific player," Vieira said. "Of course, it is not my place to say if he has to come or not, but when you look at players we have around it will be good. The attraction of City is that the future is fantastic. We have a really competitive team and I think every single player will want to play for City because the future is bright for City."
The club's transfer embargo has been lifted to allow the squad to be increased to 20 players. Manager Steve Cotterill is expected to target Ibrahima Sonko, previously released goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and defender Stephen Jordan.
Nemanja Vidic has signed a new contract worth £90,000 per week , extending the Serbian centre-half's deal to 2014. "I am very pleased to confirm that we have agreed terms with Nemanja," the United chief executive, David Gill, said.
The Eagles are set to come out of administration after Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs yesterday declined to protest against their Company Voluntary Agreement. Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle said: "This is now the beginning of the end of the rescue of Crystal Palace FC."
The club have confirmed the signing of Scotland Under-21 midfielder James McArthur for £500,000. The Scot joins from Hamilton. "James is a really exciting prospect," manager Roberto Martinez said. "We are all delighted that he has chosen to join Wigan."
Veteran midfielder Lee Carsley will join the Sky Blues on a one-year deal from Birmingham City. The 36-year old becomes manager Aidy Boothroyd's fifth signing of the summer. "He has played at the highest level and knows what is required to win on a regular basis," Boothroyd said.
The Argentine full-back Marcos Angeleri has finally joined the club from Estudiantes after his passport problems were resolved. "The reports we've had on him from Argentina were all outstanding," the Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, said of the 27-year-old. "He'll bring something extra to our squad."
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