Fergie rules out transfer rush
Sir Alex Ferguson expects the end of Euro 2008 to herald a busy spell in the transfer market but insists Manchester United will not be rushing to spend. The United manager has targets, but after a season in which his team won the Barclays Premier League and Champions League he is confident in the quality they already possess and could settle on just one new arrival. Ferguson said: "The European Championship derails transfer activity. Nothing really happens when the championships are on. Obviously, now that is all over, people settle down. Managers are back at their clubs and you can get some dialogue now if they are interested, but I wouldn't think (we would buy) any more than one player. We are looking at one or two things."
Ferguson will continue to monitor movement in the market but does not see many transfer dealings being straightforward.He said: "People think it's easy to buy players nowadays, but it's not because money plays a big part first of all. Clubs with ambitions don't want to sell their best players, so it's not as easy as you'd think and we tend to look for younger ones." (PA)
Digard anger over stalled boro deal
Middlesbrough are having to remain patient in their pursuit of Frenchman Didier Digard, after hitting a major snag. The furious 21-year-old has blasted current club Paris St Germain for stalling over a five million Euro deal - around £4million - which was thrashed out in principle a fortnight ago. Digard has revealed the stumbling block is PSG's insistence that the fee be paid up front rather than in two instalments. He told L'Equipe: "The story is simple. Middlesbrough are going to pay the five million Euros asked for by Paris St Germain. "Normally, a transfer is paid in two instalments - so Middlesbrough pay 2.5million Euros now and the other half later. But Paris need liquid assets. Paris want the five million euros immediately, so I am irritated. It has taken too long. I am trying to meet up with the board, but they aren't daring to make a decision. Quite simply, they are all incompetent."
Digard's outburst is unlikely to ease his passage to the Barclays Premier League, and his criticism of new PSG president Charles Villeneuve was even more scathing.
He said: "When I think that he has even refused to meet the Middlesbrough chairman, who came over especially to sort this problem out ... M Villeneuve prefers to send someone else to talk. I am going mad. This club is doing my head in. I can't stay."
Despite the hitch, Boro are hoping to conclude the deal for the former Le Havre player, who joined PSG only last summer, before manager Gareth Southgate and his squad return for pre-season training next Monday.
Meanwhile, Boro have confirmed that their Algarve Challenge Cup clash with Scottish champions Celtic in Faro on Tuesday July 22 will be screened live by Setanta Sports. (PA)
Wenger wants winners
Arsene Wenger knows full well the need to be "patient" in the quest for honours - and has challenged his Arsenal squad to prove they are winners next season.
As speculation continues over the future of leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor - who last week declared: "it is up to the directors to satisfy my demands or I will leave" - Wenger returns from his media and sponsor commitments at Euro 2008 determined to mould a squad capable of again challenging the dominance of Manchester United and Chelsea. The Gunners have already moved to bring in new personal this summer, with a £13million deal for Marseille's Samir Nasri close to completion as Wenger looks to add to the capture of promising teenage Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey from under the noses of rivals Manchester United, while 19-year-old Mexican striker Carlos Vela has been granted a work permit following his successful loan spell in Spain with Osasuna.
Yet whoever boards the plane to Austria on July 21 for the start of Arsenal's pre-season preparations, they will all have to buy in to the same ethos as their manager. "In life you need to patient to get to the very top, and don't forget some players do not start to win until they are 28 or 29 and we have many players who are still under 25," Wenger told the official Arsenal magazine. I still believe we have created something special here, through the vision we have for the game, through the vision we have for the club and through the togetherness we have in the dressing room.
Huddlestone stays, as Spurs land youth keeper
Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone has signed a new five-year contract at White Hart Lane. The club announced this afternoon the 21-year-old, called up by England for the recent friendlies against USA and Trinidad and Tobago, has committed his future to the club until 2013. Huddlestone, signed from Derby for £2.5million three years ago, has made a good impression on manager Juande Ramos during the Spaniard's first season at the club. He made 43 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring four goals and featuring as a substitute in the Carling Cup final win over Chelsea in February. He also took his tally of England Under-21 caps to 26 before the end of the season.
News of Huddlestone's new deal comes soon after the club confirmed the signing of Italian youth goalkeeper Mirko Ranieri from Perugia. The 16-year-old is expected to play in the academy team next season. "Mirko is 6ft 2in and an excellent shot-stopper," said Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli. "His distribution and decision-making is improving all the time. "He is a highly-intelligent individual and another very good young goalkeeper we have attracted to the club." (PA)