The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Di Matteo’s Warning
Roberto Di Matteo ignored warnings that he would lose his job as Chelsea manager if he dropped club-record signing Fernando Torres, the Sun reported.
Chelsea officials were aware that Di Matteo, who was fired yesterday and replaced on an interim basis by Rafael Benitez, was thinking of axing the 50 million-pound ($79.7 million) striker for the Champions League game against Juventus two days ago and advised him not to, the newspaper reported.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to take the job permanently and has offered to make him soccer’s highest-paid manager with an annual salary of 15 million pounds, the Daily Mail reported.
Guardiola is currently on a year-long sabbatical and his representatives say he won’t make a decision on his future until the new year, the newspaper said. A deal with Chelsea is said to have been agreed in principle, the Mail added.
Manchester City is seeking to beat Manchester United and Real Madrid to the signing of Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Alen Halilovic and is prepared to spend about 6 million pounds on the 16-year-old, the Mail reported.
A three-man delegation from the English champion traveled to Croatia this week to negotiate with Zagreb over the transfer of Halilovic, who has recently been allowed to train with Real, the newspaper reported.
Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who is being watched by Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, says he’ll stay at Everton provided the team qualifies for the Champions League, the Daily Mirror reported.
“I want to play in the Champions League, and if Everton finish in the top four then I’m happy to stay here, I’d love to do that with Everton,” the Mirror cited Fellaini as saying.