Chelsea Willing to Spend $99 Million on Mata, Modric: Roundup

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

Double Swoop

Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is willing to spend 60 million pounds ($99 million) to sign Valencia winger Juan Mata and Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, the Daily Mail reported.

Chelsea has already had bids rejected for both players and is now upping its initial 22 million-pound bid for Mata to 29 million pounds, the newspaper said. New manager Andre Villas-Boas has also persuaded Abramovich to “dig deep” for Modric, the Mail added.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in June said Modric is not for sale “at any price” after Chelsea’s bid for the player became public.

Diarra Deal

Tottenham is close to completing a deal for Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra, the Daily Mail said.

Diarra played under Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth and the Spurs manager hopes to have the 26-year-old training with the club within days, the Mail said.

A loan move is possible or Spurs may offer about 14 million pounds, the newspaper said. Chairman Daniel Levy must also find a way to meet Diarra’s wage demands, which are currently more than 100,000 pounds per week, the Mail said.

Hargreaves Fitness

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson is confident former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves would pass a full medical if he were to agree to join the Midlands team, the Guardian reported.

Albion was the first team to get in touch with Hargeaves after his release from United, where he was limited to 39 appearances in four years because of injuries.

“We believe he’s capable of playing top-flight football again and we’re very interested in him,” Hodgson was quoted as saying in the Guardian.

‘Publicity Stunt’

West Ham has labelled QPR’s 4 million-pound offer for midfielder Scott Parker a “cheap publicity stunt”, the Sun reported.

The Hammers won’t accept less than 8 million pounds for Parker, last season’s Footballer of the Year.

“It’s ridiculously low,” The Sun quoted West Ham co-owner David Sullivan saying. “We see it as a cheap publicity stunt.”

QPR announced Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes as its new majority owner yesterday. He pledged there would be funds available for manager Neil Warnock to strengthen the squad.

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