Transfer news – Mascherano, Milner, Vidic sagas take new twists
Three of the summer’s long-running transfer stories progressed further today as it emerged that Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano is ready to demand a move from Anfield.
Aston Villa’s James Milner is amazingly refuting Martin O’Neill’s claims that the England man wants a switch to Manchester City, and Nemanja Vidic is to be offered an improved contract at Manchester United.
The twists in the latter two cases directly contradict news reported yesterday, when each of the club’s bosses appeared open to the possibility of the players leaving – making Villa’s chances of a top four spot, at 9/1, and the prospect of seeing United win the title, at 2/1, seem less likely.
Mascherano’s demands, however, were to be expected, with new gaffer Roy Hodgson revealing earlier this week that the Argentina midfielder had not yet returned any of his calls.
Reports say that Mascherano is ready to ask for a transfer to push through his proposed move from Merseyside to Inter Milan.
Ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez’s Inter are unwilling to offer the £30million that the 18-times league champions want (14/1 to win it this year) and instead they intend to put forward £20million with former Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari thrown in as a makeweight.
Such a deal could prove attractive to Hodgson, who would swap a wantaway player for one of proven Premier League quality, while at the same time amassing a big pot of money to bring in new signings. Hodgson is 20/1 to win the Champions League with Liverpool.
Meanwhile, a friend of Milner has responded to the Villa manager’s statement yesterday that the PFA young player of the year wanted to leave the club by saying: “James has never asked to leave Aston Villa”. Villa are 15/8 to finish in the top six.
Milner is seeking talks with O’Neill to rectify the situation amid reports that City (5/1 to win the league) are ready to offer £24million for the former Leeds United youth.
Elsewhere, United are close to offering Vidic a new £90,000-a-week deal in an attempt to steer him away from the clutches of Real Madrid.
Such is manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s desire to keep the player, he will break with contract protocol to persuade the Serb to stay at Old Trafford.
Maintaining Vidic, with whom United have a markedly better record when in the team, would increase the club’s 6/1 chances of winning the Champions League.
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