City fume over Van Persie deal, United after Baines and Moura
Mancini loses patience as Van Persie deal stalls, United could resurrect Moura move
AS MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini fumes over his failure to sign Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie, his bitter rival Alex Ferguson of Manchester United is going merrily about his business in the transfer market.
Although United, like City, have so far failed in their efforts to lure Van Persie to Old Trafford they have plenty of other irons in the fire. First up is their protracted pursuit of Brazilian wonderkid Lucas Moura. Earlier this week the deal appeared to be dead in the water but today the Daily Mail reports that the move could be resurrected.
Their assertion comes after Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes, the vice-president of the 20-year-old midfielder's current club, Sao Paolo, said they were "open the possibility of more talks". United would also have to up their offer for the player, and may have to fork out £29m for a player seen as the ideal replacement for Paul Scholes.
United are also after Everton defender Leighton Baines according to Goal, which says he is seen as the long-term replacement for Patrice Evra. Fergie is set to offer £12m for the player, who is valued at £17m by the Toffees, but they may throw in a fringe player or two to sweeten the deal.
Meanwhile, back on the Van Persie front the Dutch striker's destination is no more obvious today than it was yesterday, as City grow ever more restless over their failure to land him. According to the Mail Mancini is "losing hope" of signing him and is less than pleased with director of football Brian Marwood.
The race to sign Julio Cesar is hotting up with Arsenal and Tottenham both vying for the signature of the Inter shot-stopper. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Brazilian goalkeeper realises he is now surplus to requirements at the San Siro following the recent acquisition of Samir Handanovic from Udinese.
There had been speculation that Cesar would stay in Italy and move to Roma but Sky Italia claims that Arsenal and Spurs have both made enquiries, with the Gunners said to be particularly keen to sign the 32-year-old, who has spent the past seven years at Inter.
Still with Spurs and Spanish rag AS reports that Real Madrid are increasing the pressure on the Lilywhites to come to an agreement over Luka Modric. The Croatian playmaker has allegedly agreed terms with the Spanish champions but for the moment the two clubs can't agree a fee. In an interview with AS, Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka said of Modric: "He is an outstanding footballer. It is clear that he would fit in at Madrid."
Apparently Tottenham have already knocked back a £25m offer from Madrid for Modric and are demanding the Spanish club meet their asking price of £30m. One potential cloud on the horizon for Madrid is the lurking presence of Paris Saint-Germain, with the Metro saying that the French club are ready to meet whatever price Tottenham ask.
One deal that is done and dusted is Chelsea's signing of 'Oscar' - full name Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder is currently part of Brazil's squad at the London Olympics and helped them defeat Team GB 2-0 in the warm-up game last Friday. Although the Blues didn't go into details about Oscar's deal, they did say on their official website that "he has a reputation for good pass-and-move football, protecting the ball and choosing the right moment to play passes".
In other news, Swansea City have put Joe Allen's future on hold until he returns from Olympics duty with Team GB. The Welsh midfielder is being courted by Liverpool with the Reds believed to have tabled a £13.5m offer for the highly-rated playmaker.
But in a terse statement on their website Swansea revealed: "Liverpool have expressed an interest in Joe Allen, despite a written agreement with Liverpool not to approach any players within the 12-month period of former manager Brendan Rodgers leaving for Anfield... there has also been interest from other clubs regarding his possible availability and the club is due to speak to Joe, as originally planned, about the situation when he returns from GB duty."
Finally, The Sun reports that Benfica have told Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs that they'll have to cough up £31m if they wish to land Axel Witsel. Only then will the Belgian playmaker's release clause be activated, freeing him from the five-year contract he signed with Benfica last year.
The 23-year-old is being chased by the trio of English clubs as well as Real Madrid and AC Milan but Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira is quoted as saying: "We want every club to know what is the release clause for Axel. If they want him and if they come here and pay that fee, then there is nothing that we can do." ·