The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. newspapers, with clickable Internet links.
Spurs Signing Close
Tottenham Hotspur is close to signing Ajax central defender Jan Vertonghen for a fee of 9.6 million pounds ($15 million), the Guardian reported.
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy flew to Amsterdam on May 21 for negotiations with Ajax officials and is confident of completing an agreement, the newspaper said. Vertonghen, 25, is ready to move having been impressed by the London club’s personal touch, the Guardian added.
Gunners’ Giroud Bid
Arsenal made an 6.5 million-pound bid for Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, the Daily Mirror reported.
Giroud, who scored 21 goals last season to help Montpellier win its first French league title, has a buyout clause of 12.8 million pounds in his contract and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is said to be ready to offer a cash-plus-player deal involving Marouane Chamakh, the Mirror added.
Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan warned Liverpool’s owners it will cost them 3 million pounds in compensation to hire Roberto Martinez as manager, the Sun reported, adding that Martinez held talks with Liverpool principal owner John W. Henry and Chairman Tom Werner in Miami yesterday.
“Liverpool would have to buy out Roberto’s contract,” the Sun cited Whelan as saying. “You’re into 3 million pounds, but I am sure Liverpool would honor that. I gave him my permission to talk to Liverpool and he’s just carrying that out.”
Claudio Ranieri has emerged as a serious contender to replace Roy Hodgson as West Bromwich Albion manager, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Ranieri, who’s been out of work since being fired by Inter Milan in March, met West Brom Chairman Jeremy Peace and sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth yesterday and could return to the Premier League for the first time since leaving Chelsea in May 2004, the newspaper said.
Manchester United is set to make an improved offer of 13 million pounds for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who has one year left on his contract, the Daily Mail reported.
United is also confident that that Lille’s Eden Hazard will choose to move to Old Trafford rather than joining Manchester City or Chelsea, the Mail added.
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