Fergie’s bluff?

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has gone out of his way to deny that a deal has been struck with Internazionale to sign Wesley Sneijder. Which makes us immediately suspicious that a deal is about to be done.

Sources in Italy tell us that the deal has not collapsed, but that negotiations are at a crucial stage, with the sticking point said to be Sneijder’s £200,000 a week wages.

Madrid still keen on Neymar – Marca

Madrid sports daily Marca is reporting that Real Madrid are still keen on signing Brazilian starlet Neymar. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez met with his Santos counterpart Luis Alvaro de Oliveira in Paris this week. Negotiations are ongoing, with Santos keen to extract the full 45million euro buyout clause and Madrid determined to negotiate the price down.

The most likely outcome is that Neymar will not move until January, allowing him to play for Santos in December’s Club World Cup in Japan.

Marca is still pursuing the story that Madrid could sign Emmanuel Adebayor on a permanent basis

Aguero drops hint

Another possible Real Madrid transfer target, Sergio Aguero, has dropped his biggest hint yet that he could move across  town from Atletico.

The Guardian report Aguero told the Argentinian radio station Radio La Red: “I have made clear in my statement that I do not see myself at Atlético. I will seek the best for me, I know that my representatives are working and for now I don’t want to think about it. I will do something after the Copa América, when I am able to think calmly.

“But if I said I saw myself at Atletico, I’d be lying. I’d prefer to play in Spain or England – those are the two best countries.”

Leo Kirch R.I.P.

Leo Kirch, the “German Rupert Murdoch” and one of the world’s powerful media moguls, has died at the age of 84.

Kirch was one of the pioneers of buying TV rights, primarily film and football, to boost his satellite TV empire. However, his empire collapsed in 2001, triggering a financial crisis at FIFA, who had sold Kirch the rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

Champions League 3rd qualifying round draw

The draw for the third qualifying draw of the Champions League was made today at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.

Pick of the ties in the “League route” pits Dynamo Kyiv of Ukraine against Russia’s Rubin Kazan. Turkish league runner-up Trabzonspor drew Portugal’s Benfica while Dutch club Twente were paired with Romania’s Vaslui.

Twente are scheduled to play the home leg first on July 26-27 at another venue after construction works collapsed at their stadium this month, killing two people.

3rd qualifying round draw in full

Champions Route

Mogren (Montenegro) or Litex Lovech (Bulgaria) v Skonto Riga (Latvia) or Wisla Krakow (Pol)

Maccabi Haifa (Israel) or Borac Banja Luka (Bosnia) v Maribor (Slovenia) or F91 Dudelange (Luxembourg)

HJK Helsinki (Finland) or Bangor City (Wales) v Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) orNeftci (Azerbaijan)

Skenderbeu (Albania) or APOEL (Cyp) v Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) or Tobol Kostanay (Kazachstan)

Cobenhagen (Denmark) v Shamrock Rovers (Ireland) or Flora Tallinn (Estonia)

Genk (Belgium) v Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) or Skendija 79 (Macedonia)

Rosenborg (Nor) or Breidablik (Iceland) v Pyunik (Armenia) or Viktoria Plzen (Czech Rep)

Zestafoni (Georhia) or Dacia Chisinau (Moldova) v Sturm Graz (Austria) or Videoton (Hungary)

Valletta (Malta) or Ekranas (Lithuania) v Linfield (Northern Ireland) or BATE Borisov (Belarus)

Rangers (Scotland) v Malmo (Sweden) or HB Torshavn (Faroe Islands)

League Route

Standard de Liege (Belgium) v Zurich (Switzerland)

Twente (Hol) v Vaslui (Romania)

Benfica (Portugal) v Trabzonspor (Turkey)

Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) v Rubin Kazan (Russia)

Odense (Denmark) v Panathinaikos FC (Greece)

Corinthians in the clear

Corinthians have  gone six points clear in the Brazilian championship after their 1-0 victory over Internacional yesterday.
Who says they need Carlos Tevez?


Inter agree Jonathan deal

Internazionale have completed the signing of full-back Jonathan from Santos. The move could pave the way for the departure of Maicon to Real Madrid, where he could link up with former boss Jose Morinho.

Zimbabwe in a fix

Zimbabwe is the latest country to be hit a match-fixing scandal, following the publication of a long-awaited report into corruption at the Football Association.

The BBC reports that many of the players and officials named in the report have denied any wrongdoing.

The report puts the ball firmly in FIFA’s court, with the world governing body under pressure to act on the report’s findings and demonstrate that it is determined to take action to tackle the growing problem of match-fixing.

Copa gets serious

After a lacklustre group stage, the Copa America gets serious this weekend, with the quarter-finals throwing some mouth-watering encounters.

Argentina’s poor form, which resulted in their second place finish in Group A, means they face old rivals Uruguay in Santa Fe, while Brazil face easily their biggest test, against Paraguay in La Plata.

Could this be the year that Chile, who face surprise package Venezuela in San Juan, finally claim the continental title?

PSG to steal Ganso deal?

Leonardo, the new “general manager” at Paris Saint-Germain, may be about to lose some friends back in his old stomping ground of Milan. PSG are being linked with a move for Santos starlet Paulo Henrique Ganso. The teenager had previously been seen as a shoe-in at Milan. But Leonardo’s PSG, backed by serious cash from their new Qatari owners, may be about to steal the deal.