Gunners after zapata
Arsène Wenger's search for a powerful centre-half has led the Arsenal manager to the Udinese defender Cristian Zapata, says the player.
The Colombian believes Arsenal are one of many clubs intending to battle it out for his signature over coming weeks, with Juventus, Fiorentina, Milan and Villarreal also interested. Udinese were said to have rejected advances from Arsenal last summer when they were thought to have tabled a bid of around £9.5m for the defender. "I think if a good offer arrives then Udinese will have to consider it," he said. After making 17 league starts last season it is unlikely the 22-year-old, whose contract runs out in 2013, would be allowed to leave for anything less.
Perez wants Ribery and Silva
Returning Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has expressed his desire to bring world-class forwards to the Bernabeu, in the shape of Bayern Munich's Franck Ribéry and David Silva of Valencia. Unsurprisingly, Perez revealed that he has not contacted Bayern to enquire about Ribery, but would be doing so to ask "what they plan to do" with the Frenchman, whom club advisor Zinedine Zidane believes would "fit perfectly into Madrid's philosophy". Valencia's David Silva, meanwhile, admits he is pleased to be linked to Madrid. "It's flattering when a team like Real Madrid are interested," he said, "but at the moment I am at Valencia." However, Madrid directors are reported to have met Silva's agents to discuss a potential move.
Rijkaard's Turkish delight
Former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard has been appointed manager of Galatasaray. Rijkaard had been linked with the manager's job at Chelsea prior to Carlo Ancelotti's appointment this week, as well as positions at Sunderland and Celtic. The former Netherlands coach left Barcelona last summer after losing out on the league title to Real Madrid and being knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United at the semi-final stage. He previously won the league with the Catalan side in 2005, before capturing a league and Champions League double in 2006. The 46-year-old replaces Bulent Korkmaz, who lasted just three-and-a-half months at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.
Downing free to leave
Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb has confirmed that Stewart Downing will be allowed to leave relegated Middlesbrough this summer, should the club receive an acceptable offer. "Who knows whether Stewart will be here in August," Lamb said of the 24-year-old, who has been repeatedly linked with a move to Tottenham. "If he is he will be playing in the Championship. But if the right offer comes along he will be allowed to leave." However, Spurs and other clubs may delay a move over fears that the England international could take up to six months to recover from a foot injury he sustained in the 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa last month.