Early Doors

It’s all gone quiet over here

Early Doors

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Just as you were getting used to the idea of life without two of the Premier League's biggest players, it looks as though neither of them will be going anywhere after all.

Carlos Tevez's proposed move back to South America has evaporated, while Cesc Fabregas's long-mooted return to Barcelona may be in jeopardy of going on the back burner yet again.

Early Doors wrote last week about how Tevez moving back to his former club was a deal that suited everyone - the striker got to be back close to his children, while City made a big profit on a player with plenty of time left in the transfer window to sign a replacement (ie Sergio Aguero).

But despite being the most cash-rich club in world football, City were not happy with the proposed payment plan, preferring Corinthians at least put down a deposit rather than buy their captain on the never-never. A source inside the Brazilian club said that they "won't commit financial madness".

That quibbling over how and when the £35 million fee would be paid has dragged on for so long that it is now too close to the Brazilian transfer deadline for signing players from abroad (21:00 tonight UK time) for a deal to be done.

"While acknowledging the efforts of Manchester City and all involved in the negotiations, there isn't more available time for the transfer to be achieved, given that the transfer window to players from abroad closes on Wednesday, July 20," a Corinthians statement said.

"Aware of the fans' big dream of having the striker as a Corinthians player (again), the board looks forward to signing Tevez in the near future." 

Tevez's hope of moving back to his home continent have now taken a huge knock as the way to one of the only clubs that could afford him is now shut, albeit temporarily. City still have a key player who wants to leave, so much so that he has declared his wish to do so twice in the past eight months. But they will surely be unwilling to sell their star man to another top side in Spain or Italy that they could well meet in the Champions League next season.

Roberto Mancini will look at Tottenham's barmy rampage into the quarter-finals of last year's competition and feel confident that his outfit has the solidity and tactical nous to do even better next season, but they will need Tevez or a striker of his calibre to do so, and they are few and far between.

Another club who have been through the mill in pursuit of a former player is Barcelona.

After spending two years or more chasing the midfielder who they let join Arsenal as a teenager before watching him blossom into a European and world champion, they are suddenly playing hard to get.

Don't be fooled by the 'Guardiola: Barca will fight to the end' headline. The Barcelona manager, while remaining sure that Fabregas would definitely improve his squad, has asserted the point that the European champions are not so desperate for him that they be held to ransom by Arsenal.

"Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until August 31 and we'll try to reach an agreement," Guardiola said.

"There is a sum of money in the safe set aside for this signing but if it doesn't work out it will be kept in the box for something else."

That 'something else' may or may not be Alexis Sanchez, with conflicting reports coming out of the club over whether they can afford both the Chile forward and Fabregas or just one or the other.

Pep admitted in the same press conference that his main priority this summer is to recruit a new forward over another midfielder. It's hard to argue with that when he can already field Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantra or Ibrahim Afellay in the centre of the park as attacking options, while Sanchez is a major change-up on Bojan, who is soon to depart for Roma.

Arsene Wenger has maintained throughout the summer - indeed, since before the last World Cup - that he hopes Fabregas will remain at the Emirates, and now Arsenal are reportedly trying to call Barca's bluff, giving them 10 days to get their act together or forget about it.

If things continue at this rate, then the Premier League could well hang on to two of its biggest stars for next season, even if neither of them wants to be there.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The whole point of the game is about scoring goals. Players strain every sinew to either create or deny them, fans shout themselves hoarse exhorting their teams to score them, managers' and players' careers can be defined by them. The technology is available, it is the fairness that is important and the Premier League would introduce it tomorrow if it could. Now FIFA is constructively engaged we are hopeful the 2012-13 season is a realistic aim." - Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore believes that goal-line technology could be just a year away.

SUPER MARIO WORLD: Ah, Mario Balotelli, the gift that keeps on giving, even if sometimes the truth is circumnavigated for the sake of a good story involving the volatile striker. The latest offering involves the Manchester City striker buying a brand new Harley Davidson, only for the club to ban him from riding it. If the Italian gets too worked up about it, City can sum up their concerns in two words: Carlo Cudicini.

FOREIGN VIEW: "Schnitzler admitted to the disciplinary panel that he met a Dutch gambler and mediator and discussed manipulating five championship matches involving St Pauli between May 2008 and November 2008. He (admitted) that he received payments for four of these games, to influence the result in favour of the team's respective opponents". - The German football federation announces in a statement that former professional Rene Schnitzler has been banned for two-and-a-half-years from all football-related activities after he admitted accepting money to fix second division matches in 2008. Tuesday was certainly a big day for authorities making decisions over match-fixing, from Italy to Finland (via Singapore).

COMING UP: After Luis Suarez's brace against Peru in La Plata last night sent Uruguay into the Copa America final, who will they face in the final? Follow live coverage of Paraguay v Venezuela tonight at 01:45 to find out.

Before that, you can follow live coverage of Stage 17 of the Tour de France from 11:35 as the riders cross the border into Italy as they continue the Alpine leg of their journey, as well as the last 16 of the snooker from the Australian Goldfields Open from 10:30.

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