'Half-price' Adebayor close to Milan move

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The Independent Online

Club owners such as Roman Abramovich, who apparently have a money-no-object approach to signing players, have reinforced the notion that football inhabits a world of its own where the economic rules that govern any other business do not apply. So prepare for a shock. Arsenal are having a half-price summer sale.

That's the case if the agent Vincenzo Morabito is to be believed. He says that Milan are closer to taking his man Emmanuel Adebayor from the Emirates to San Siro after Arsenal dropped their asking price.

"We're working to make the deal easier," Morabito told Antenna3, the Italian television channel. "The signs are very positive. We're arriving at more reasonable figures. They're still a lot, but a lot less than the €45 million [£36m] that were initially asked for. A bit more than half. More than that of [Samuel] Eto'o and [Didier] Drogba, but they are a little bit older."

Milan have been pursuing the 24-year-old Togo international striker for a month, and Arsenal's attitude to the sale has cer-tainly softened from their original stance that he was not available.

Later the Italian club's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, said Arsenal told him they had changed their minds and were open to an offer from Milan.

Adebayor attracted their attention by scoring 30 times in 48 games last season, but after a prolific start to the campaign his supply of goals slowed to a trickle.

Interestingly, Andrei Arshavin, who is eager to take over Adebayor's role at Arsenal, is worried that his club, Zenit St Petersburg, will demand too much money for him.

Milan need a striker after selling Alberto Gilardino to Fiorentina but they will face competition for Adebayor from Barcelona. However, they are also said to be poised to pay £12m for the Spanish club's Brazilian forward Ronaldinho.

The man they have lined up on a two-year deal has lately not looked the same man who became world player of the year for a second successive time three years ago.

Pele, the greatest Brazilian player ever, has offered Cristiano Ronaldo some simple advice about his possible switch from Manchester United to Real Madrid – don't do it. His comment was not intended as a slight to Real, but rather as a criticism of Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, who offered the opinion, eagerlyadopted by Ronaldo, that the modern player is a slave.

Pele said: "You are a slave if you work without a contract or you don't get paid. If you have a contract then in any job you have to finish the contract. I think that when he [Ronaldo] finisheshis contract, then he should be free to go wherever he wants to go."

Whether or not Ronaldo plans to honour the remaining four years of his contract with United, he will start the new season in rehabilitation after an operation on his ankle.

Pele was speaking before a charity football match at Stoke's Britannia Stadium yesterday in aid of the Gordon Banks Foundation. Banks was regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world in his heyday and, back in 1970 when he denied Pele at the World Cup finals in Mexico with a miraculous save, England was thought to have a production line of fine goalkeepers.

How times change. Aston Villa were thought to be interested in reviving the career of the former England No 1 Paul Robinson by signing him from Tottenham. They have instead opted to add Brad Guzan to the list of Americans to have stood between the posts for top clubs.

The 23-year-old, who will receive the work permit he was denied in January because he has now played in five of the past eight US international matches, will join Villa from Chivas USA in a £2m deal and follow in the gloveprints of Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann and Kasey Keller.

Villa have lost both the keepers they had last season. Scott Carson's loan from Liverpool ended and they released Thomas Sorensen.

Villa's snub of Robinson should not prove much of a worry for Spurs, even though they would appreciate having some money coming in to cover the cost of their extensive and expensive team rebuilding. Manchester United, long-time admirers of the strikerDimitar Berbatov, are reported to be ready to offer Spurs about £20m for the prolific Bulgarian international, perhaps this week.

The Portuguese international defender Ricardo Rocha could soon be heading north out of White Hart Lane to join Hull City for their first-ever season in the top flight.

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