BEIRUT

Football

United mulling on Moura further pursuit, PSG join race for Modric

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura (L) vies with Great Britain midfielder Jack Cork during their London 2012 Olympic games warm up football match between Great Britain and Brazil at the Riverside stadium in Middlesbrough, north-east England on July 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES

BEIRUT: Manchester United are considering whether or not to make a final bid to sign Sao Paulo’s rising star Lucas Moura, despite reports emerging that the deal had been called off.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is a big fan of the 19-year-old and had hoped an offer of 25 million pounds ($38.74 million) would be enough for Sao Paulo to part company with their prize asset.

But after the club was told to increase their bid to 30 million pounds a deal bringing Moura to Old Trafford looked to be dead.

The player’s agent Wagner Ribeiro had announced Tuesday that the 19-year-old would not be moving to England.

“Manchester United made an offer which was refused and will not make another because they came up to their limit,” Ribeiro said.

“There is no possibility of him leaving now,” he added.

Later, however, Ribeiro appeared to backtrack, with The Guardian newspaper reporting that Moura had instructed Ribeiro to continue negotiating with United.

“The player is my boss, I always talk to him,” Ribeiro said.

“He determines what I do, my objectives.”

“If he says that he doesn't want to leave Sao Paulo, I won't even listen to the offer. He told me to keep negotiating when I talked about Manchester United's interest.

“It's a great offer. If it was an [impossible to refuse] one, he would leave, but he is happy at Sao Paulo too. If he stays there, life goes on.”

United remain optimistic that a compromise can be reached, with reports in the British media indicating that further negotiations are likely to take place soon.

Ferguson has confirmed the club’s interest in the Brazilian but downplayed reports of a swift resolution to the deal.

“We haven't reached an agreement for the player,” he said.

“We've shown an interest but until such time we reach an agreement we can't say he's ours.”

The talented midfielder is currently in Cardiff with the Brazilian squad preparing for their Olympic showdown with Egypt at Wales’ Millennium Stadium.

Paris St. Germain are preparing to hijack Real Madrid’s attempts to sign Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, with the French club willing to meet Spurs’ 40-million pound valuation.

Modric has been fined two weeks wages after he refused to train with the squad last week and missed the club’s pre-season tour of the U.S., seemingly in an attempt to force through a move to Real.

“The situation as it stands is he is under club discipline for not being present,” said Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas.

“We don’t know what advice he is receiving.

“There is a sense of respect for what he has done in the past but the chairman feels that the fact he is not present is not common professional behavior.”

The Spanish champions have so far offered 27-million pounds for the Croatian playmaker and insist they have not been communicating with Modric.

The Daily Mirror reports that PSG are looking to exploit the impasse, with the French side confident of landing the player should they meet Tottenham’s asking price.

The Qatari-backed club has invested heavily this summer, splashing out to sign Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from AC Milan as well as Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli.

Newcastle United have made contact with Marseille about the possibility of signing French international Loic Remy.

The 25-year-old is valued by the club at around 15-million pounds but with the forward entering the final year of his contract the Magpies are looking to negotiate a fee much lower.

Both Arsenal and Tottenham are believed to be interested in the striker who scored 20 goals last season but Newcastle are understood to have made the first move.

The Toon are said to be fearing the departure of Senegalese forward Demba Ba, with reports in Russia suggesting the player is on the cusp of completing a switch to Rubin Kazan.

Ba has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave the club for just 7-million pounds should a bid be made prior to July 31 and Turkish side Galatasaray are also said to be interested in the forward who scored 16 goals last season.

Liverpool’s pursuit of Swansea midfielder Joe Allen took another twist as it emerged the player has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave the Welsh club for 15-million pounds should a “top five” club make an offer.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed his interest in the midfielder last week and is said to be determined to land the Wales international.

Tottenham are understood to have made a bid of 10-million pounds for the player, with Swansea having reluctantly indicated a willingness to do business should an acceptable offer be received.

Former Swans boss Rodgers had announced that he agreed not to raid his former club for players for at least a year, but Tottenham’s pursuit might lead him to exploit the clause in Allen’s contract to secure a deal.

It is understood that Tottenham are not one of the “top five” clubs stipulated in the player’s contract, meaning the London side could land the player for significantly less than Liverpool.

Allen is currently preparing for Team GB’s Olympic clash with Senegal.

 

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