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Villa Players Celebrate O’Neill Quitting, Mirror Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.

Text Celebration

Aston Villa players texted images of champagne bottles to each other to celebrate manager Martin O’Neill quitting yesterday, the Daily Mirror said.

O’Neill lost the dressing room and was frustrated by financial cutbacks at the club, the Mirror said. Players griped about his tactics, training and team selection and O’Neill told a group of them last week they looked liked they “hated” him, the newspaper said.

Moyes to Villa?

Villa chairman Randy Lerner wants Everton’s David Moyes as O’Neill’s replacement, the Daily Star said.

Lerner was left staggered by O’Neill’s quitting and will move swiftly to fill the void, the Star said. U.S. World Cup coach Bob Bradley is also a candidate, the newspaper said.

Ready to Quit

Shay Given is ready to request a transfer if he isn’t Manchester City’s starting goalkeeper, the Daily Mail said.

Manager Roberto Mancini has yet to decide between Given and Joe Hart. Since Hart is expected to be named England’s No. 1 for European championship qualifying, there is pressure on Mancini to select him, the Mail said.

Given, who joined City for 6 million pounds ($9.5 million) from Newcastle 18 months ago, has made it clear he’s not prepared to be a backup and will seek a meeting with the coach next week if he doesn’t get the starting job, the newspaper said.

Cole Inquiry

Liverpool has made an inquiry about West Ham’s Carlton Cole after Tottenham wanted 15 million pounds for Peter Crouch, the Mail said.

West Ham has asked for 12 million pounds for the England striker and Liverpool could use money received from the proposed sale of midfielder Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan, the Mail said.

Oezil’s Dream

Manchester United’s move for Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Oezil could face a challenge from Barcelona, the Sun said.

The Spanish champion is weighing up a move and the 21-year-od Germany star said it was his “dream to play for them,” the Star said. United manager Alex Ferguson had been linked with Oezil after watching him in an exhibition over the weekend in London.

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