BEIRUT

Football

Real Madrid bid for Richards, Spurs and Chelsea fight for Hulk

A move to Real Madrid would almost certainly reignite Richards’ England career.

BEIRUT: Manchester City defender Micah Richards is a shock transfer target for Real Madrid, with the Spanish champions lining up a 20 million pound ($31.2 million) bid for the player. Real have contacted the Premier League champions regarding a possible deal, and are said to be confident of tempting the fullback to make the move to Spain.

The Daily Sport London reports that Real boss Jose Mourinho has made Richards one of his main transfer targets, and will return for the player he unsuccessfully tried to sign when manager of Chelsea.

The Portuguese manager is a big fan of the 24-year-old, and has kept a close eye on Richard’s career progression.

City’s vice captain was surprisingly left out of Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2012, but has joined the Team GB squad for this summer’s Olympic Games.

The player is said to be aware of Real’s interest, with some saying that Richards is open to the prospect of joining the Spanish champions, but remains under contract with City having only signed an extension to his deal in August 2011.

“Real Madrid made contact with City a few weeks ago and Micah is waiting to see what City do, but he would definitely be interested in the move,” a source close to the player told the Daily Star in London.

“Jose Mourinho has always rated him and reckons he would be a great addition to his squad as they look to defend their Spanish title and try to win back the Champions League.”

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is hopeful of beating his former club Chelsea to the signing of Porto striker Hulk, after the Blues’ move for the player stalled.

Villas-Boas knows the Brazilian forward from his days in charge of the Portuguese outfit, and reports in the U.K. say that the Portuguese has pulled out all the stops to ensure the striker joins the Spurs.

Chelsea had been widely expected to sign Hulk, but the club have so far been reluctant to meet Porto’s asking price of 38 million pounds.

Tottenham hope that the promise of first team football at White Hart Lane will be enough to convince the player to choose the Spurs ahead of the European champions, and are confident that Porto will eventually back down with their demands.

Hulk has scored 57 goals over the past two seasons, and received his nickname after his father commented on his resemblance to the actor who played the superhero in an American television series.

Internacional’s Brazilian midfielder Oscar has completed his medical ahead of his proposed switch to Chelsea, and has now joined up with Brazil’s Olympic squad.

Seen by many as the rising star of South American football, the 20-year-old is expected to formally complete a 25 million pound switch to the Blues.

Oscar is equally adept as either a playmaker or on the wing, and is known for his ability to score goals after netting a hat trick in last year’s under-20 World Cup final.

The player will likely be included in the Brazil side which faces Team GB in an Olympics warm-up match in Middlesbrough Friday, and has been tipped to be a key figure in the Brazilian team when the country hosts the 2014 World Cup.

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov could be on his way to Serie A after the player’s agent revealed the Bulgarian’s interest in moving to Italy.

He has admitted that his days at Old Trafford are numbered, and is widely expected to leave the club this summer.

The 31-year-old, United’s record 30.75 million pound signing, is said to be available for as little as 5 million pounds, with Milan and Juventus both being mooted as possible destinations for the player.

“He may leave Manchester United at any time,” the player’s agent Emil Dantchev told British radio station talkSport.

“His most likely destination is Italy, he’s always loved Italian football.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 19, 2012, on page 14.

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