Martinez nears move to Munich

15 August 2012 22:56

Javi Martinez is reportedly on his way to Bayern Munich with the German club set to pay 40 million euros for the Spanish midfielder.

Martinez, who has made his name as a defensive midfielder and central defender for Athletic Bilbao, has been linked with a move to Munich throughout the European pre-season.

Bayern’s sporting director Matthias Sammer labelled the buy-out clause in Martinez’s contract as ‘crazy’ money earlier this month but it now seems the Munich-based club will provide the cash required.

The Martinez transfer would break the German record with the 23-year-old apparently so keen for the deal to be finalised that he will give up two million euros of his annual salary to make it happen.

Bayern have already added Claudio Pizarro, Mario Mandzukic and Xherdan Shaqiri to their ranks this off-season, as they look to win their first Bundesliga title in three seasons after recent dominance by Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern were also hoping to sign Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender during the pre-season, only for both player and club to knock back offers.

Van Persie poised to join Man Utd

15 August 2012 21:31

Arsenal have confirmed they have agreed terms with Manchester United for the transfer of striker Robin van Persie.

Last season’s English Premier League top scorer will travel to Manchester on Thursday to undergo a medical ahead.

Van Persie is reportedly set to sign a four-year deal at Old Trafford for a fee of 24 million pounds.

A statement on Arsenal’s official website read: “Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United.

“Van Persie will travel to Manchester on Thursday in order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of the proposed move.”

The Netherlands international is likely to spearhead a formidable attack for United – Wayne Rooney finished behind the Dutchman in the scoring charts with 27 league strikes last season.

Manchester City and Italian giants Juventus were also reportedly interested in Van Persie’s signature but Netherlands international is now due to join former Crewe youngster Nick Powell and Japan international midfielder Shinji Kagawa as Sir Alex Ferguson’s off season recruits.

Kacaniklic seeks starting place

15 August 2012 20:58

Alex Kacaniklic says he is ready to feature in the first team for Fulham this season after manager Martin Jol sent him out on loan to Watford.

The former Sweden under-21 international made 12 appearances with the Hornets after joining them in January and believes he can take his experience to Craven Cottage for the new campaign.

“Last year was a really good six months for me, first the loan deal to Watford and then coming back to Fulham and getting some games here,” Kacaniklic told the Fulham Chronicle.

“The loan spell gave me the opportunity to play first-team football. Reserve team football is one thing, but first-team football is where it counts.

“I really enjoyed myself and am pushing for a place in the team for this year.”

With the transfers of Dickson Etuhu and Danny Murphy away to Blackburn, Kacaniklic has the opportunity to compete for a place in the midfield and could feature for Jol’s side in their 2012/2013 opener at home against Norwich.

Rodgers lines up more arrivals

15 August 2012 20:50

Brendan Rodgers says further targets that could be on the way to Anfield as Liverpool get ready to start the 2012/13 season.

The Northern Irish manager has signed Fabio Borini and Joe Allen already during the transfer window but suggested more players could be joining them.

“We hope that within the next number of weeks those will bear fruit” Rodgers told the club’s official website.

“The work has been continual right the way through to try and get in players that fit the profile of Liverpool and the team. Like I say, I would hope there would be a couple more signings before the end of August.

“We obviously haven’t brought in too many players, but there are some players that have gone out for a number of reasons.

“There is still a lot of work to do within the group and there will probably be more changes between now and the end of August in terms of ins and outs.

“Come the end of August when everyone is here, we can be real focused and be together, and start on the journey to hopefully having a real good campaign.”

The former Swansea manager said he is impressed with the squad he inherited from Kenny Dalglish.

“The players are developing very well and I’ve been extremely pleased with the attitude and the application of the group since I came in,” he said.

“It’s been difficult because a lot of the players returned at different times, but we’ve played two competitive games already and I’ve been encouraged and enthused by what I’ve seen.

“There’s no doubt that we always have to be looking to evolve and get better, and that’s something myself and the club are looking to do with the team.

“But certainly at this stage we’re in a good moment and we’re really looking forward to the first game – and we’ll look to get started with a nice positive result.”

Brunt retains WBA captaincy

15 August 2012 20:46

Chris Brunt has been named as captain of West Bromwich Albion by manager Steve Clarke ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

Brunt was first made captain by Roberto Di Matteo and retained under Roy Hodgson’s management.

Clarke said he had faith in the 27-year-old to lead the club for the new season despite his fight to be fit for their English Premier League opener against Liverpool on Saturday.

“I haven’t seen any reason to change the captaincy and I decided that quite early on when I came in,” Clarke said.

“There is no reason to change things.”

Brunt has missed most of pre-season with a calf strain and only made his comeback recently as a substitute against Nottingham Forest.

The former Sheffield Wednesday winger is looking to get as much preparation done as possible in order to be ready and looks set to represent Northern Ireland in a friendly before the Liverpool clash.