The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable links to the Web.
Liverpool Goes Dutch
Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group is actively looking at candidates to replace director of football Damien Comolli with Dutchmen Johan Cruyff and Louis van Gaal the early contenders, the Daily Mail reported.
Cruyff, 64, helped to set up the academy system at European champion Barcelona and has consultancy roles at Ajax and Chivas Guadalajara, while the 60-year-old van Gaal is available immediately, the Mail added.
The departure of Comolli yesterday 18 months after being hired by Fenway Sports leaves manager Kenny Dalglish in a more vulnerable position even though he received a vote of confidence from Chairman Tom Werner, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Comolli’s exit removed the last layer of protection for Dalglish as some supporters hunted an alternative scapegoat for the club’s poor Premier League performance to their icon, the newspaper added.
Balotelli to Stay
Mario Balotelli will stay with Manchester City for the next two years even after a controversial season at the Premier League club in which he’s received three red cards, the Guardian reported, citing the Italian striker’s agent Mino Raiola.
“There is enormous pressure from the fans on Mario but Manchester City do not intend to sell him,” the newspaper cited Raiola as saying. “He must grow here, then in one or two years we’ll see. He must stay here. It is not true he is unhappy.”
Raiola, who also represents Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, said the French midfielder faces a straight choice between signing a new contract at Old Trafford or joining Juventus, the Daily Mail reported.
Although Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and AC Milan are also interested in the 19-year-old, the Mail cited Raiola as saying that Pogba “can remain at Manchester United or go to Juventus.”
Chelsea and Tottenham face a fight to sign Juventus’s Milos Krasic after Turkish club Fenerbahce bid 10 million pounds ($16 million) for Serbian winger, the Sun reported. It’s the first firm offer for the player, the Sun added.