Premier League - Papers: City eye £38m Dzeko

Thu, 23 Dec 09:04:00 2010

Manchester City are ready to smash their own British transfer record to land the player who could bring them the title, according to this morning's papers.

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The Daily Express claim that Roberto Mancini has told his paymasters that Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko is "the difference between finishing fourth or finishing first" in the Premier League this season, a claim which he uses to justify the £38 million price tag that the struggling German side are demanding for their prize asset.

That price would top the current record of £32.5m which City paid for Robinho a couple of years ago. Now, remind us again how that hastily-assembled deal turned out...?

Whether Wolfsburg will sell at any price remains in doubt, however: the club is struggling in the Bundesliga this season, so much so that manager Steve McClaren has been the subject of protests from umbrella-toting fans recreating the former England boss's infamous 'wally with a brolly' moment. If they decide Dzeko is the man to keep them up, they will likely hang on until the summer.

Roy Hodgson is all over the back pages this morning, for two reasons. Firstly, the Liverpool boss turns up in the Daily Mirror and The Times warning Joe Cole that it's about time he started showing the skills that made him famous.

And secondly, in perhaps the most far-fetched story of 2011, Hodgson has been forced to defend himself against suggestions that he could lose his job to Rafael Benitez now that the Spaniard's exit from Internazionale is all but complete.

It seems inconceivable that Benitez could return to Anfield just months after receiving a multi-million-pound settlement for being fired - but several papers carry the story with no apparent tongue in cheek.

The Daily Star claims that there is "increasing clamour" for Benitez to return, while the Express carries pictures of banners left on the Anfield gates proclaiming things like "Rafa you belong in Liverpool".

Manchester City have made a bid for young Spanish defender Victor Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail, with the Espanyol 21-year-old close to a £6.5m deal.

Dutch hard man Mark van Bommel is also a target for Manchester City, with Tottenham also keen on landing the Bayern Munich star as early as January, according to the Mirror.

The 33-year-old - whose string of shocking tackles grabbed headlines during the World Cup - is out of contract in the summer, and the paper claims that the Bavarian giants could opt to get something for their club captain by selling him before he can walk away for nothing.

Van Bommel might not be the only big-tackling player to be heading to White Hart Lane. Following yesterday's revelations that Blackburn skipper Christopher Samba wants to leave Ewood Park over the treatment of Sam Allardyce, The Sun reports that Harry Redknapp is keen on bringing the centre-back to Spurs.

The Mirror claims that Redknapp is also keen on signing Turkish striker Semih Senturk from Fenerbahce, with the big 27-year-old's arrival providing cover for the expected exit of Robbie Keane.

Speaking of which, it seems that Keane might have shot himself in the foot over a potential loan move to West Ham. The Daily Telegraph reports that the Hammers have backed away from a deal over Keane's demands for a £1m bonus in the event that he helps the club stave off relegation.

West Ham would also have to pay his £65,000-a-week wages and commit to paying £6m-£7m for a three-year-deal for Keane in the summer should they stay up. In total, the paper calculates that to be an outlay of nearly £20m over the next three and a half years for a 30-year-old striker whose best days appear well behind him.

No wonder they're walking away.


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