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Soccer

EPL Weekly News: Gallas to Transfer, Chelsea Want Neymar

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Milner caps off an expensive transfer window for Manchester City.

James Milner’s long-awaited transfer to Manchester City was finally completed this week after Aston Villa agreed to a deal worth $40 million. Midfielder Stephen Ireland will be heading to Villa Park as part of the agreement.

The 2009/2010 PFA Young Player of the Year has long been a target for City, who have also added Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure, Jerome Boateng, and David Silva to their increasingly expensive lineup. Since the summer transfer window opened, the Citizens have parted with over $200 million to bolster their squad.

“It didn’t take too much selling by the boss when you see the players who are already here and the plans for the club,” Milner said.

“The last thing he said to me was ‘be ready for the next game’, and then he said ‘be ready to win the Premier League’, and that’s my ultimate aim – that’s what I want to do and why I’m here.”

“I’m ambitious and I want to win trophies here. I believe this is a great place to do that and I believe we will do it. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.”

Milner scored in Villa’s 3-nil opening victory against West Ham, while City drew nil-nil with Tottenham at White Hart Lane. He will be available for City’s Premier League match against Liverpool this Monday.

Gallas Nears North London Switch

Former Arsenal captain William Gallas is closing in on a free transfer to Tottenham Hotspur after rejecting a deal to stay at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal offered the French international a pay cut and a shortened deal, but he will instead undergo a medical on Friday before signing a one-year deal for his former club’s cross-town rivals. If the deal goes through, Spurs will become the third London club that Gallas has represented, with Chelsea also on his resume.

The 33-year-old veteran will be bolster Harry Redknapp’s defensive options, with Jonathon Woodgate still battling back from a long-term injury layoff and club captain Ledley King struggling with chronic knee problems. He could be available as early as next week, in time for Spurs’ second leg Champions League qualifier against Swiss side BSC Young Boys, in which the Lilywhites face a 3-2 deficit.

Manchester United Sign Unknown Portuguese Starlet

Bebé (L) was officially unveiled as a United player this week after his surprise move.

Sir Alex Ferguson provided a surprising bit of transfer news this week after shelling out $10 million for an unknown 20-year-old from Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal. Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, who goes by the nickname “Bebé”, has undergone a meteoric rise, having joined Vitoria just five weeks ago from Portuguese third division side Estrela Amadora. While most supporters responded to the news with a resounding, “Who?”, Ferguson insists that the player is highly rated in Portugal.

The United boss was alerted to Bebé’s promise by former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, and the Scot, in uncharacteristic fashion, sprung to sign the young Portuguese without ever having seen him play.

“Our scouting department is very good and you have got to trust your staff,” Ferguson said. “Our scout in Portugal was adamant that we must do something quickly, and I also spoke to Carlos.”

“Sometimes you have to go on an instinct, you look at material, you look at the player’s age and whether they’re bringing pace, balance, desire to play and things like that. That’s how a category is formed.”

Rumors were also circulating that Real Madrid were interested in the player, but United struck first to sign Bebé. He was understandably excited to make the jump to the Premier League club.

“To come to a team like this is a dream come true for any player, but the Portuguese factor was a motivation for me,” he said after being unveiled as a United player.

“You have big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, who played here and became a very big player. Nani and Anderson are still at the club and I want to become like them. I will work hard to become a top quality player.”

Chelsea Chase Neymar

Brazilian striker Neymar is high on the wish list for Carlo Ancelotti, with Chelsea reportedly preparing a $38 million bid for the player. Soccernet is reporting that Santos are holding out for the $46 million buy-out clause in Neymar’s contract. The 18-year-old recently scored on his debut for Brazil in a 2-nil win against the United States.

Santos are justifiably keen to hold on to Neymar, who knocked in 32 goals in 34 appearances last season.

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