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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Berbatov on brink of £28m move to Old Trafford

Manchester United are believed to be on the brink of signing Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Spurs have been holding out for a fee in the region of £38million for their star striker, but it is thought they have now reached agreement with the Premier League champions on a £28million deal. Spurs are closing in on a replacement signing and have also been boosted by the form of striker Darren Bent who has hit 13 goals in pre-season.

The Bulgarian has been tracked by United for months and their conduct had angered the White Hart Lane club, who believe the Red Devils were pursuing a public transfer campaign. United were reported to the FA by Spurs but it is likely any deal would see this complaint withdrawn.

Reports suggest the 27-year-old could be a United player by the time the Premier League kicks off this weekend, with some claiming he was at United's Carrington training ground for talks on Tuesday.

Berbatov has made no secret of his desire to move to Old Trafford, something which has frustrated bosses at Spurs who felt he should have shown more loyalty, and he has been criticised for his lack of application since returning from the summer break. It will come as a second blow in a matter of weeks after Robbie Keane insisted to be given permission to move to Liverpool.

Zenit St Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin and Spartak Moscow star Roman Pavlyuchenko both remain at the top of coach Juande Ramos' wanted list, and the sale of Berbatov could free up enough funds for the Russian strike pair to be reunited in north London. West Ham United striker Dean Ashton - reportedly told to shed pounds by England coach Fabio Capello - has also been tracked, but a move for David Villa would appear to be doomed to failure.

Berbatov has scored 27 Premier League goals in 63 starts since moving from Bayer Leverkusen but his time at the club has been dogged by transfer rumours and questions over his commitment.

United, meanwhile, have apparently failed with a bid for Valencia's attacking midfielder David Silva - according to the player's agent.

'Manchester United made an offer for David Silva, but this has been turned down by Valencia,' Julio Llorente said. 'Silva doesn't want to play in England because he is happy at Valencia.

'His family are settled and if he was to move it would only be to another Spanish club, like Real Madrid or Barcelona. David Silva will start the new season at Valencia.'

Valencia president Vicente Soriano echoed the sentiment, insisting to Spanish sports tabloid, Marca: 'I can assure you that Villa and Silva will continue this season at Valencia.'

Kenyon hopeful of Robinho coup

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has sealed the future of Frank Lampard and is hopeful of now getting Robinho to sign at Stamford Bridge.

Real Madrid have turned down an offer from Chelsea for 24-year-old Robinho but Kenyon believes they can still sign him before the end of the transfer window.

The Brazil forward would bolster the options of boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, who can now be certain of Lampard being in his midfield after 18 months of contract stalemate ended in the England international signing a five-year deal.

On the possibility of signing Robinho, Kenyon said: 'It is continuing. Hopefully not for as long as the speculation about Frank.

'We've still got a few days left of the window and hopefully we'll get a result.'

Lampard was pushing for a five-year deal rather than four and is among the club's top earners with his new deal.

Kenyon added: 'This announcement is a massive boost and comes at the best possible time to give us a boost going into the next season.

'There is a great sense that it is done for the next five years and we don't have to concentrate our efforts on it anymore. It certainly sees Frank seeing out his playing career at Chelsea. The speculation has been around for the past 18 months.

'While we had approaches from Inter Milan we were never going to sell Frank, Chelsea are not going to sell their best players and Frank certainly comes into that category.

'We were just delighted that following the talks we could finalise this pretty quickly. It's something at the end of the day that we always wanted to achieve and I think Frank obviously wanted to achieve it.'

Silva agrees improved deal

David Silva has agreed an improved five-year contract with Valencia, the Primera Liga club announced on Wednesday night.

Silva has been the subject of intense transfer speculation recently, with European champions Manchester United and Barcelona among the clubs reportedly trailing the 22-year-old attacking midfielder.

However, Valencia have moved to try and end the speculation by agreeing new terms on the Spanish international's existing contract, which runs out in 2013.

'This is a new contract with Valencia with different conditions,' Silva's agent Julio Llorente confirmed.

Terry: Ronaldo and United have 'peaked'

Chelsea captain John Terry has suggested that Manchester United do not have the capacity to better last season's performances and that the double winners have reached their peak.

Having beaten the Blues to the Premier League title and the Champions League trophy, United are in good shape to mount another assault on both competitions, but while Terry insists Chelsea can only grow stronger he is adamant United - including their 42-goal hero Cristiano Ronaldo - are unable to rescale the heights of their remarkable double.

'I think Sir Alex realises we weren't too far away from United when they were at the very top of their game,' said the Blues skipper.

'I don't think United have another level to go to. They had a lot of players in their team who have been at the peak of their form for the last two years.

'Rio Ferdinand has been awesome for the last two years and Cristiano Ronaldo was unbelievable - I don't think you'll see that again.'

Ronaldo's stunning goal haul underpinned United's trophy bid and led to Real Madrid's summer pursuit of the Portuguese winger, but Terry is confident that Chelsea's new recruits can match the Red Devils this season.

'I think we can close the gap because Man Utd were at the very top of their game last season. I'm taking nothing away from them because they've been unbelievable over the past two years, but we've been very close to them and we had injuries and a change of manager.'

Terry has been impressed with Chelsea's business in the transfer window under new boss Luiz Felipe Scolari and believes a good start is key to wrestling the title from United.

'The new manager has come in and made a few changes. He's made some great signings. Deco looks awesome so I'm excited to see him play,'' he said.

'We need to start well and get off to a flyer, just keep winning.

'Man Utd have a few tough games early on. Liverpool have made some good signings and will be stronger this year. We need to focus.

'We have a good home record and if we can continue that and get off to a good start we'll be all right.''

Source: Soccernet