The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Premier League champion Manchester City will try to sign Athletic Bilbao defender Javi Martinez for about 25 million pounds ($39.2 million) and is expected to send scouts to watch him in tomorrow’s Spanish Cup final, the Daily Mail reported.
Martinez, who is also wanted by Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, can play as a holding midfielder too, though City is said to want to pair him with Vincent Kompany in the center of defense, the newspaper added.
Italian champion Juventus offered striker Didier Drogba, who’s a free agent next month after helping Chelsea win the Champions League, a two-year contract worth 80,000 pounds a week, the Sun reported.
Although Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua is the favorite to sign Drogba, Juventus is tempting the Ivorian with top-flight soccer and a 10 million-pound signing bonus, the paper added.
Chelsea Chief Executive Officer Ron Gourlay wants Lampard, Essien and Malouda signed to long-term deals by mid-September, the Daily Mail reported.
Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group has cooled its interest in hiring Andre Villas-Boas, who was fired by Chelsea in March, as manager, the Guardian reported.
The Portuguese coach has been a frontrunner for the vacancy following Kenny Dalglish’s firing last week, though hasn’t been approached for an interview, the Guardian added.
Bye Bye Ba?
Newcastle United risks losing striker Demba Ba for 7 million pounds by refusing to renegotiate his contract, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Magpies could have tried to remove a release clause, the existence of which was leaked to other Premier League teams before the January transfer window, by offering the Senegal international an increase in his weekly wage of 50,000 pounds, the Telegraph said.
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