Real Madrid launch bid to sign Wayne Rooney
Transfer Talk: Spanish giants turn to the United striker after Champions League exit
Poor old Real Madrid. After being dumped out of the Champions League by Lyon and being told in no uncertain terms by Arsene Wenger that he has no intention of managing their raggle-taggle band of Galactico mercenaries, the club now appears to believe that it can lure Wayne Rooney away from Old Trafford.
According to the Spanish paper Sport, Real's president Florentino Perez will launch a bid to land the striker this summer in the futile belief that it will cause such a sensation that everyone will forget about their humiliating Champions League exit.
Real acknowledge that getting the player will not be an easy task. But they seem to think that because they managed to get two players who wanted to leave United, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, to join them, they can persuade a player who obviously does not want to leave United to do the same.
Quite how they intend to convince Sir Alex Ferguson, who famously said he wouldn't sell Real "a virus", to sell them his best player remains to be seen. There is also the fact that Rooney has only blossomed into the best striker in the world because he no longer plays in the same team with Ronaldo.
However, reason and sense rarely get a look in when it comes to Real Madrid's transfer policy, so expect them to make a bid soon.
One upshot of Real's Champions League defeat could be of interest to Premier League managers, particularly Wenger. Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain had a nightmare against Lyon and is not a favourite of Perez, so he could be shown the door, and Arsenal have already expressed an interest in the player.
Roma, the club with more front than Margate, are reported to be eyeing another Arsenal ace. As the First Post reported yesterday, the Serie A side despatched their "dealmaker" Daniele Prade to London earlier in the week with the aim of persuading defender William Gallas to sign along the dotted line for next season. It now appears that Prade, who sat in awe in the Emirates as Arsenal crushed Porto 5-0 in the Champions League, is trying to lure Gallas's Gunners' teammate, Emmanuel Eboue, to Roma instead.
Gallas has apparently cooled on the possibility of joining run-of-the-mill Roma – whose only European silverware was their Inter-Cities Fair Cup' triumph of 1961 – after Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reached out a hand of friendship to his fellow Frenchman. "I am not concerned," Wenger replied when asked if he thought the 32-year-old Gallas would leave at the end of the season after his four-year spell at the Emirates. "He is under contract until the 30th of June. We have not found an agreement yet. I meet his agents again next Thursday and we will try to find a solution. I feel I have to respect both parties and not to come out about the details of negotiations. William is speaking to us and our desire is to keep him here. I think he wants to stay here."
So with Gallas likely to remain a Gunner, Italian daily Gazetta dello Sport is reporting that Roma have ordered Daniele the dealmaker to turn his attention to Eboue. The paper says Roma "are attracted by the versatility" of Eboue, who can not only play in defence or midfield, but who can also score stunning goals as he showed on Tuesday when he netted Arsenal's fourth against poor Porto.
The 26-year-old Ivorian international joined Arsenal in 2004 and has grown in stature ever since thanks to Wenger, the man Eboue refers to as "the daddy". Not surprisingly, Eboue's agent, Franjo Vranjkovic, has been quick to address the rumours, saying: "It isn't true that Emmanuel is close to Roma. He is happy in England, he has a nice role. I don't understand why this news has spread in Italy."
The Daily Star reports that fading Chelsea star Joe Cole is "almost certain" to join Manchester United in the summer. The paper says that the 28-year-old midfielder has been left "humiliated" after the Blues offered him only a one-year extension to the contract that expires at the end of the season, a deal that would also see his wages slashed by 40 percent to just £36,000 a week, barely enough to buy enough Farley Rusks for the baby Cole and wife Carly are expecting next month.
But help is at hand, according to the Star, and thanks to Manchester United Cole won't end up selling copies of the Big Issue to make ends meet. The paper says that United are "ready to offer a three-year deal" to the former England star.
Finally, the never ending saga involving French winger Franck Ribery has taken another turn with the Bayern Munich winger telling Spanish rag AS that the speculation concerning his future will soon be at an end. "In late March or early April, I will decide," said Ribery, who has been linked with several clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid. "I want to go to the World Cup with a clear head, it's a very important tournament for me." But with Madrid dumped out of the Champions League this week by Lyon, the 26-year-old Ribery is rumoured to have cooled on a move to Spain. ·
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