Real Madrid are expected to offer the Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao as part of a proposed world-record transfer deal for Gareth Bale. The Tottenham forward pulled out of his side's squad for last night's 5-2 friendly defeat by Monaco ahead of a potential £105 million move to the Spanish capital.
Details of the fee are yet to be agreed between the two clubs and Coentrao, a left-back or winger who was a late withdrawal from Madrid's squad for their friendly with LA Galaxy in Phoenix on Thursday, may be a makeweight for the deal. In May, the 25‑year-old hinted he was likely to be sold this summer. Coentrao is valued at about £10m and is represented by Jorge Mendes, the same agent as Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager.
Asked about Bale's likely switch to his former club, Mourinho yesterday claimed he tried to sign the Welshman during his reign at Madrid. "I asked the club to buy him last season but it was not possible," Mourinho said. "It looks like it is happening this season so I am happy for them because they get a fantastic player. But, of course, the numbers are huge and the kid has to go now and, with pressure, prove that he is worth that investment."
Seattle sign Dempsey
Clint Dempsey, the Tottenham forward, has joined Seattle Sounders in his native United States for a fee in the region of £6m. The 30-year-old only joined Spurs last summer for a similar price from Fulham but is not deemed to be part of manager Andre Villas-Boas' plans.
'Suarez price is too low'
Luis Suarez is worth far more than the £40m that Arsenal have offered for him, according to Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers.
The Uruguayan striker was warmly welcomed by a sell-out crowd yesterday for Steven Gerrard's testimonial on his first appearance at Anfield since being banned for biting in April. Although Suarez made a second-half substitute appearance in the 2-0 victory over Olympiacos, his future at Liverpool is still in doubt following reports he is considering legal action over the club's refusal to sell him.
"We are in no hurry to sell Luis or any other player," said Rodgers. "Of course, every player will have a value but you only have to look at the market and the £40m figure... For Gareth Bale they are talking about nine figures. Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez were arguably the two best players in the Premier League last season and you can't say Bale is valued at more than 100 per cent more than Luis."
Fabregas 'must decide'
Gerardo Martino, the Barcelona coach, is confident Cesc Fabregas will spurn interest from Manchester United but says the Spain midfielder will decide his own future. The Catalan club have already rejected bids of £25m and £30m from United. "I would prefer him to stay with us and I dare say he will, but it's his decision," said Martino. "I think he will stay but there's a part that he has to decide – although it's not occurred to me that I won't be able to count on him."
Coventry gloom deepens
Coventry City made a miserable start to their League One campaign following the imposition of a 10-point deduction penalty for going into liquidation. Steven Pressley's side were beaten 3-2 by Crawley Town with Michael Jones scoring the winner six minutes from time. There were minor distrubances in the crowd with a small number of visiting fans invading the pitch.
Perfect start for Coyle
Wigan Athletic raised hopes of an immediate return to the top flight with a 4-0 win at Barnsley in Owen Coyle's first game in charge. Ben Watson opened the scoring in the first half before Grant Holt marked his full debut with a goal shortly after the interval. The rout was completed by Leon Barnett and Shaun Maloney. Barnsley had 10 men for the final 25 minutes after Dale Jennings, their new signing from Bayern Munich, was sent off for a lunge moments after coming off the bench.
Zebroski earns his Newport stripes
Newport County made a spectacular return to the Football League with a 4-1 home win against Accrington Stanley. Chris Zebroski, a new signing, struck twice with Harry Worley and Christian Jolley also scoring in the Welsh side's first game since promotion from the Conference.
Celtic saved by Stokes
Anthony Stokes scrambled in an 87th-minute goal to spare Celtic's blushes and seal a 2-1 win against Ross County on the first day of the Scottish Premier League season. Darren Maatsen put the visitors ahead before Stokes equalised.