The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Ferguson Misses Match
Alex Ferguson missed Manchester United’s scoreless draw against Valerenga in Norway yesterday so he could try to push through the 20 million-pound ($31.2 million) signing of Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, the Daily Mail reported.
United expects to sign the Dutch striker before its Aug. 19 season opener and also may acquire Brazilian attacking midfielder Lucas Moura in the coming days, the newspaper added.
Finalizing a deal to sign Moura, who is set to feature in tomorrow’s Olympic semifinal between Brazil and South Korea at United’s Old Trafford stadium, was probably the reason Ferguson missed the trip to Oslo, the Independent reported.
United is said to have agreed on a fee for the Sao Paulo player and has been given permission to hold talks with the 19-year-old, the newspaper added.
Mancini Gives Up
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said that he doesn’t expect to sign van Persie, who was his top transfer target, the Sun reported.
“Van Persie? No, I don’t think he will come here,” the Sun cited Mancini as saying late yesterday.
Arsenal is considering a bid for Olympiakos striker Kevin Mirallas as a potential replacement for van Persie should he leave, the Mail reported.
The Belgian forward, who can play out wide or up front and scored 20 goals in 25 Greek Super League games last season, is available for 6.4 million pounds and also has been scouted by Liverpool, the newspaper added.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole denied speculation that talks over a new contract at Stamford Bridge have stalled and that he was demanding wages of 200,000 pounds a week, the Sun reported.
“Contract talks have not stalled just started, and 200k are you for real, I’d never ask for that,” the Sun cited Cole as writing on his Twitter feed.