BEIRUT

Football

Luka Modric isolated as he pushes move to join Real Madrid

Spurs value Modric at around 32 million pounds. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

BEIRUT: Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric has been forced to train alone by Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, as the Croatian continues to seek a move to Spanish champions Real Madrid.

Villas-Boas is said to be planning for life without the talented Croatian but the two sides are thought to be some way from agreeing a fee for the 26-year-old.

Real President Florentino Perez is close to calling off negotiations, determined not to be held to ransom by Tottenham.

Perez has offered 30-million pounds ($47 million) for the player, some way off Spurs’ 40-million-pound asking price, and is said to be unwilling to budge.

The impasse has left Modric in an awkward position, with the playmaker having already made clear his determination to leave White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu this summer.

The player did not travel to Spain for Tottenham’s friendly with Valencia, which they lost 2-0, with British daily The Mirror reporting that Modric is close to becoming an outcast at the club.

Spurs have accepted that retaining the services of a player who wishes to leave is neither pragmatic nor feasible but are loathe to allow Modric to leave on the cheap while he still has four years remaining on his contract.

Manchester United’s pursuit of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie looks set to continue over the weekend, with the London club having already rebuffed offers of 10 and 15 million pounds for the Dutchman.

Van Persie has told Arsenal he wants to leave and that Old Trafford is his preferred destination.

Arsenal are determined not to sell to their Premier League rivals but interest from Italian champions Juventus has cooled after the club were unwilling to meet Arsenal’s asking price.

The banning of Juventus manager Antonio Conte for ten months after allegations of match-fixing has further dampened the chances of van Persie joining the Turin side.

Britain’s The Daily Telegraph reports that should United up their offer to 20 million pounds, a deal is likely to be brokered between the clubs.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, who had harbored hopes of signing van Persie, has revealed his frustrations with the club’s recruitment policy, suggesting that the club had missed out to their city rivals in the pursuit of the Arsenal captain.

Asked specifically about City’s chances of landing the Dutchman, Mancini said:

“Van Persie is not our player. He is an Arsenal or United player.

“These questions you should ask other people. I don't know what I can say. After three or four months ... nothing.”

The Italian placed the blame firmly at the feet of City’s CEO Brian Marwood when asked about the club’s inactivity in the transfer market this summer.

“You should talk to Brian Marwood for this,” he told reporters. “Not me. Talk to Marwood please.”

Asked if he was satisfied with the club’s transfer policy, Mancini was forthright in his frustration: “No I'm not happy. I don't want to say anything at the moment. For me we have a good team, but we need to continue to improve.”

Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has urged his club to sign City midfielder Nigel de Jong, amid rumors that the Dutchman is contemplating leaving the English champions.

De Jong has impressed during his time at City, demonstrating his versatility in a number of defensive roles, but struggled to make the starting XI last season.

Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Roma are thought to be interested in the Dutch international.

Sneijder told Italian reporters that he would be delighted if Inter make a move for the former Hamburg player.

“Inter must sign de Jong,” Sneidjer said.

“He's football mad! I know him well and he would be fit in here.”

But De Jong has two and a half years remaining on his City contract, and Mancini will not consider selling the player for less than 8 million pounds.

Arsenal and Ateltico Madrid are competing for the signing of Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung, with the Gunner already having offered 6-million pounds for the Korean international.

The Daily Mail reports that Spanish side Atletico are desperate to beat the London club to the signature of the 23-year-old, who impressed during Korea’s participation in the Olympic football event.

QPR have also shown an interest in Ki, nicknamed the South Korean Steven Gerrard in his home land, but the player is said to prefer a move to the Gunners.

Craig Bellamy has completed a move from Liverpool to Cardiff City, signing a two year deal with his hometown club.

The 33-year-old has been allowed to leave the Redsfor free after the player expressed a desire to move closer to his family in Wales.

Bellamy previously spent the 2010/2011 season on loan at Cardiff from Manchester City, scoring 11 goals in a successful spell with the Welsh club.

“I am sure that Liverpool will agree that their loss is this football club's gain,” Bluebirds chief executive Alan Whiteley said in a statement.

 

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