QPR keen on Julio Cesar

23 August 2012 18:05

QPR are in talks to sign Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar, as they look for squad reinforcements before the end of the transfer window.

The 32-year-old, who was a key member of Inter’s Champions League-winning side two years ago, looks set to depart the San Siro following the arrival of Samir Handanovic.

QPR technical director Mike Rigg has met with the Brazil international’s representatives to discuss the move.

Club chairman Tony Fernandes confirmed to talkSPORT that they are in talks over a number of possible deals.

“None of those deals that have been reported have actually been done. We have been talking on many, many fronts. When they’re done we’ll announce them, if they’re done,” he said.

“But there have been many things we have been trying to do over the last eight days.”

Fernandes refuted claims the club are panic buying following their 5-0 opening day defeat to Swansea City and was coy when questioned about bids for Real Madrid and Tottenham centre-backs Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Dawson.

“I’d rather not comment. We are in discussions but QPR have got to run a sensible business. I think people out there think we are just throwing money and panic buying, all these kinds of words I hear. I think we are very calm at what we want,” he said.

“We have done some sensible business over the summer and we are not going to throw it away. We are here for the long run and we’ll do things properly.”

Fernandes was then questioned on the future of Joey Barton, who is linked with a loan move to Marseille after completing one match out of his 12-match ban.

“Nothing’s confirmed and he’s very much a QPR player at the moment. He’s done us proud in the past so we’ll just wait and see what happens,” Fernandes said.

Conte fumes at 10-month ban

23 August 2012 17:56

Furious Juventus coach Antonio Conte has maintained his innocence after an appeal to dismiss his 10-month touchline ban was rejected.

Conte was suspended by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) until the end of the 2012/13 campaign after failing to notify authorities about two instances of match-fixing during his spell as Siena boss.

The 43-year-old has now seen all of his attempts to legally clear his name fail, leaving Massimo Carrera to fill in as caretaker coach for the remainder of the season.

“The time has arrived for us to talk after hearing what everyone else had to say,” Conte told reporters.

“I’ve always respected the rules, on and off the pitch. I have comported myself in the right way throughout this whole affair.

“I’ve behaved in the right way, despite the fact that I have suffered some grave injustice. I’ve never placed a bet in my life, but I’ve become an advert for the betting scandal. Now I want to clear a few things up.”

Conte then hit out at former player Filippo Carobbio, who provided evidence against the Juventus boss that helped the prosecution achieve its guilty verdict.

“They judged Pippo Carobbio, who they painted as my best friend, as a reliable and credible person, while the federal prosecutor has deemed me not credible.

“What the federal prosecutor said is chilling. I consider a plea bargain blackmail. I’m an innocent person, yet I’m told by my lawyer to plea-bargain.

“It’s embarrassing. They have ruined my credibility in the changing room. Those people who know me know what type of person Antonio Conte is.

“I’m used to winning on the field of play. It’s all absurd. Everyone needs to understand what has been done to me because it is embarrassing.

“Now I’m afraid to argue with one of my own players. If I send one of my players into the stands then this type of thing can happen.

“They believe the word of someone who has been selling games for three-and-a-half years, someone who sold his family.

“What can I do? Take a camcorder with me everywhere which records my every move? This type of thing can now happen to anyone.

The former midfielder also reacted incredulously to the words of Italian judge Piero Sandulli, who claimed that he was lucky to have escaped a three-year ban for his involvement in the scandal.

“Yesterday’s comments (by Sandulli) seemed to be the icing on the cake. I was left appalled by what was said by one of the commission’s judges, who, perhaps in order to make the papers, said some unusual things,” he concluded.

Schaaf: Our attack can worry Dortmund

23 August 2012 17:55

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf believes his team’s attacking prowess can upset reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

Bremen, who finished ninth last season, will head to Dortmund on Friday for the opening match of the 2012/13 Bundesliga season and Schaaf believes they must press the home side.

While the loss of key playmaker Marko Marin to Chelsea will definitely hurt Bremen, Belgian attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne’s loan move the other way should help, while Schaaf has also brought in Dutch winger Eljero Elia from Italian champions Juventus.

The 51-year-old coach is confident his new attackers will succeed.

“We are able to do surprising and special things in the offense,” Schaaf said.

“That has to be our goal.

“We must challenge our opponents.

“When we get the ball we cannot think too long, we have to make our game fast and get in front of the goal.

“In many of our test matches that already worked out really well.”

Schaaf knows how difficult Bremen’s opening test in Dortmund will be but remains hopeful his team can test the champions.

Dortmund have impressed over the past two seasons with high-tempo attacking football and with Bremen set to attack, Schaaf predicts the game will be entertaining.

“Dortmund is a team that wants to dominate a match,” Schaaf said.

“They are very active and want to score goals.

“I think we can expect some kind of an open game – at least I hope so and especially for the fans I expect a highly attractive game.”

Fulham lodge complaint over Dempsey pursuit

23 August 2012 17:41

Fulham have made an official complaint to the Premier League about Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ pursuit of Clint Dempsey.

The London club have taken action against Rodgers for revealing in a press conference last month that Liverpool had enquired about buying the United States international.

Fulham believe that Rodgers has broken Premier League rules by his public courting of the 29-year-old.

The Premier League said in a statement on Thursday: “The Premier League has received a complaint from Fulham FC regarding certain comments made by Liverpool FC officials and is currently looking into the matter.”

The complaint was registered last month and was discussed at the July meeting of the Premier League board, which consists of Richard Scudamore, Sir Dave Richards, Nic Coward and Mike Foster.

Fulham’s action is believed to have been made specifically against Rodgers rather than Liverpool or the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group.

Dempsey has been heavily linked with Liverpool up to that point, culminating in a website belonging to the club’s owners publishing a story on July 18 claiming he was a Liverpool player.

The story was hastily removed but Rodgers addressed the subject at a press conference the same day.

“Clint is a player we’ve inquired about, it is as simple as that,” Rodgers said. “Ian Ayre, our managing director, has spoken with the club to see what the position is. That is where we’re at. He’s a very talented player but we don’t like to talk about other clubs’ players.”

Gervinho hoping to emulate Pires

23 August 2012 17:38

Arsenal forward Gervinho wants to have a similar impact on the club as Robert Pires, and hopes he can even do better than the Frenchman.

Pires spent six years in north London, helping the Gunners claim two Premier League titles and three FA Cup wins, as well as reach the final of the Champions League in 2006, where they lost to Barcelona.

Gervinho said he draws inspiration from the Frenchman and is hoping he can use that to improve his form in his second season with the Gunners.

“Robert is a fantastic player, very experienced, and I saw this for myself (when he was) training here,” he told Arsenal Player.

“I really hope to emulate Robert Pires in my second season, hopefully do even better, but I hope to carve out my own niche of course.

“I hope to push on personally, also to progress with the team and to showcase my qualities. I’ve learnt lots of things, coming to a new club, being new to the Premier League. I’ve learnt to adapt on the pitch and, when I think back, also in front of goal.

“I really feel that I’ve come on a lot, I feel really good in training and I’m ready for my second season.”

The Ivory Coast international managed just four goals for Arsenal last term and says he must improve, particularly now competition for places is fierce following the arrivals of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

“I’ll have to give even more and raise the bar even higher after my first season here,” he said.

“I’m up for the challenge, I’ve got lots of confidence in my own ability and I know I’ve got to keep up my standards.

“I may have to change the way I play, mix up my game a bit, but as I said, I’ve learnt and can take a lot from my first season. I’ll relish the challenge and I really want to show the club and the fans this year.”