Real Madrid CONFIRM interest in Liverpool star

Real Madrid legend and B-team coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that the Spanish giants are watching Raheem Sterling‘s contract situation at Liverpool with interest ahead of a possible move this summer.

The England international has turned down a £100,000-a-week deal with the Reds and talks will not resume until the summer – by which point Sterling will know if he can play Champions League football at Anfield next season.

If the Reds fail to finish in the top four, it is looking increasingly likely that Sterling will depart with Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich all linked.

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But it’s Madrid that could be the most attractive option for the 20-year-old attacker and Zidane has labelled Sterling as “one of the best young talents in the world”.

“We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player,” Zidane is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.”

“There are very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad, so it is going to make sense we monitor the progress of the best young players in the world.”

Madrid usually get what they want when it comes to signing star names, and Zidane went on to mention that by comparing interest in Sterling to that which saw Gareth Bale, Isco and Raphael Varane all sign for Los Blancos.

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“We monitored Bale for over a year, the same with Isco and also Varane.

“We monitor many of the best young players in Europe, then if we feel they have something to offer Real Madrid we will contact their club and try and make the next step.”

Brendan Rodgers will be desperate to try and keep his squad together ahead of next season but has admitted that it will be difficult to attract big names to Anfield without Champions League qualification.

If you can’t get big names in, star players usually head out the exit door. Steven Gerrard has already got his move to LA Galaxy arranged, while Jordan Henderson is also being linked with a move away from the club amid interest from Chelsea.

Liverpool have slapped a £50 million price tag on Sterling’s head but will not want to see their young star leave as they look to renegotiate a new contract at the end of the season.

Is Raheem Sterling destined to leave Liverpool this summer? Would Real Madrid be the best move for him?

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Chelsea, United and City dealt huge blow for Real Madrid targets

Real Madrid stars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been linked with Premier League returns this summer but moves away from the Santiago Bernabeu look highly unlikely now.

Both the Welsh superstar and Cristiano Ronaldo are reportedly being targeted by Premier League giants Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City this summer, but Real club president, Florentino Perez has told clubs to forget about signing their star players.

Perez has revealed he is not interested in seeing Bale or Ronaldo leave the club and that the star duo are not for sale at any price.

“We shall never listen to any offers for Bale,” Perez told Marca. “He is the key to the club’s future, just as I cannot imagine a future without Cristiano Ronaldo.”

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Bale has scored 12 goals in 25 Liga BBVA appearances this season while Ronaldo has 31 in 25. Both players are clearly integral to the club and Perez’s plans going forward.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Bale may want a move away from Madrid after his car was targeted and attacked following Madrid’s defeat to Barcelona earlier this month, which further fuelled talk of a return to England.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked but it looks like they will have to search elsewhere for top quality talent this summer.

Can you see Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale returning to the Premier League this summer?

Chelsea, City and United £75m target not bothered by critics

Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has come in for some heavy criticism over the past few months but insists he is not bothered by what people think.

“I don’t need to answer the critics. I know, and everyone around me knows, what I can do,” he told Sky Sports after Wales’ 3-0 win against Israel.

Since the criticism has set in, Bale has been heavily linked with a move back to the Premier League with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea reportedly interested in signing the former Spurs star for his buy-out clause of £75 million.

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Bale gave nothing away on the talk of a move away from the Spanish giants and insisted he is fully focused on just playing football.

“There are ups and downs in football. You have to take it with a pinch of salt and all you can do is respond with performances on the pitch, like that.”

Bale impressed in his national sides win over Israel, scoring twice as Wales moved to the top of Group B, sitting ahead of both Belgium and Bosnia.

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“I don’t feel like I need to prove anybody wrong or right, I just need to play my football.

“I love playing for Wales. It’s a big honour and the most important thing is I focus on my football and I don’t listen to anyone else.

Will Gareth Bale move back to the Premier League this summer?

Chelsea plotting HUGE £165m summer spree for star trio

Chelsea are being linked with three huge moves for Real Madrid duo Raphael Varane and Gareth Bale, as well as Everton’s Ross Barkley as Jose Mourinho looks to further strengthen the Premier League leaders’ squad.

Gareth Bale hasn’t even completed two seasons with Real Madrid but is being linked with a return to the Premier League after coming under fire from Los Blancos supporters. Manchester United and Manchester City have already been rumoured as possible destinations but now Chelsea look like they are planning a mega move.

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A report in the Daily Mail claims that the Blues are prepared to pay Madrid the £75 million buy-out clause required to bring the Welsh star back to England, though the former Spurs hero wants to stay in Spain for one more season.

Madrid would be willing to let Bale leave if the buy-out clause is met as they could then keep Cristiano Ronaldo, and would be able to go on another summer spending spree themselves.

Bale’s Madrid teammate Raphael Varane is also a target for Mourinho and Chelsea are willing to splash £40 million on the young French defender, according to the Sun.

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Mourinho worked with Varane while in Spain and described the 21-year-old centre-back as the best young defender in Europe, and now wants to link up with the Frenchman once again by offering Madrid an offer they would find hard to turn down.

Chelsea are also being linked with Everton and England international Ross Barkley but will face competition from Manchester City for his signature.

Everton are desperate to keep hold of the attacking midfield ace and will demand £50 million if they are to let the 21 year old leave.

Barkley was excellent last season as he burst on to the scene, scoring six goals in 34 appearances for the Toffees, but has come under criticism this year after only netting twice.

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For Chelsea to spend the sort of money being reported, they would need to sell once again but the club have proved to be excellent in the past few transfer windows.

Big names have left for big money in recent seasons and Chelsea have managed to make profit of around £16 million in the past two windows despite spending over over £100 million on new talent such as Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.

Oscar is one name who could be forced out the door and Juventus are believed to be keeping a close eye on the Brazilian playmaker, according to reports out of Italy.

What do you make of the reports? Do Chelsea need to spend £165 million on three players this summer?

Manchester United star reveals Liverpool duo two of the best he’s played against

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has revealed that Liverpool midfielders Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard are two of the best players he has played against in his career so far.

The 19-year-old left-back, who joined United from Southampton last summer, has told the club’s official website about some of the best stars he has come up against and has included the two Reds leaders in his selections.

Shaw believes Henderson is the fittest player he has faced and feels that Gerrard is the best passer that he has played against.

Henderson has played more Premier League games than any other Liverpool player this season and has stepped up his game in the heart of the Reds midfield, while Gerrard has registered an average pass success rate of 86%.

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The young defender did not feature in last week’s vital 2-1 win at Anfield as he is currently dealing with a hamstring problem. He has made 13 league appearances for the Red Devils since joining and is expected to be back for the home game against Aston Villa next weekend.

Shaw went on to add that former Liverpool hero, Luis Suarez is the best finisher he has come up against, while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is the fastest player the youngster has faced.

He also revealed that Stoke City’s Jon Walters is the toughest tackler he has played, while also giving credit to former teammate Jose Fonte for his tackling, saying “he loved a tackle.”

What have you made of Luke Shaw since his move to United? What do you make of his choices above?

Manchester United legend: Real Madrid star ‘would be perfect’ signing

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes believes that Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale would be a perfect signing this summer and thinks the Welshman would be a “natural fit” in Louis Van Gaal’s side.

Bale has been struggling in Spain with Madrid this season and last Sunday’s El Clasico saw the Welshman come under increased pressure for what supporters felt was another below-par performance.

Inevitably, the former Spurs star has been linked with a return to the Premier League and Scholes thinks that a move to United would give Bale the chance to shine once more.

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“My feeling is that he would be perfect for Manchester United,” he said in his column for the Independent.

“Of course, as a fan of my former club I would like to see him there but, looking at it objectively, I always felt that Bale was a natural fit for United as he developed at Tottenham from a left-back into one of the best attacking footballers in the country.

“He would be loved at Old Trafford. In return I believe he could turn Louis van Gaal’s team into serious title contenders next season.

“All good players need to be appreciated. Bale would be coming to United in a time of change when the team is looking for leaders.”

Bale lifted the UEFA Champions League at the end of his first season with Madrid, netting a crucial extra-time goal in the final, but has not been able to replicate the performances that saw him adored in Spain last year.

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He has scored 16 goals with eight assists in 39 appearances across all competitions for Los Blancos this season but that’s not as productive as he was last season.

The Welshman netted 22 times with 19 assists in the 2013/14 campaign but Scholes feels that it would be harsh to label his time in Madrid as a failure, even if he departs this summer.

“I can understand why he would want to see out his time at Madrid but even if he was to leave after two years, no one could say that, having won a Champions League title, his time there has been a failure.

“He has never won anything in English football and he would be hungry for success in this country. He is a phenomenal footballer who comes ready-made for the Premier League.

“When it comes to Gareth Bale’s career, it looks like he is approaching a decision that will shape the rest of his life as a footballer.”

Do you agree with Paul Scholes? Would Gareth Bale be a perfect fit at Manchester United?

Premier League Transfers: Quality over quantity is the only way forward

Jamie Ives looks at where Premier League clubs are going wrong with regard to transfer policies and why the number of quality players in the top flight may be decreasing…

Over the past five years the Premier League has become more and more competitive and predicting outcomes has become a betting man’s worst nightmare due to the unpredictability of the league.

The Premier League is still viewed as the best league in the world by many. And the main reason for the more competitive structure is the transfer policy of Premier League clubs nowadays.

World-class players at their peak are leaving England’s top division and are not being replaced by world-class players. The best examples of this in recent years are Liverpool and Tottenham, who, over the last two summer’s have lost Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale to Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

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Spurs replaced Bale with an array of players that have yet to make up for the loss of the Welsh wizard. Attacking players Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen were all brought in using the Bale money but have not made the same impact in the side on a consistent basis.

It’s a similar issue with Liverpool. They used the money they acquired through the Suarez deal to bring in Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli – all of whom have failed to make up for the Uruguayan’s absence.

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And thus with this policy, both teams have lost pace with other big clubs in the league, such as Chelsea. The Blues have adopted the opposite strategy this year and it looks to have paid off. Bringing in Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa has fired them to top spot and they don’t look like they’ll fall away anytime soon.

It seems modern football clubs value a large squad, which has its obvious advantages due to injury problems and long fixture lists. However, there is no substitute for a world-class player, no matter how many players you bring in.

The amount of world-class talent in the Premier League is decreasing and England’s UEFA Champions League teams failures are fundamentally the reason for this.

Germany’s Bayern Munich and Spain’s Real Madrid and Barcelona are the dominant forces in the game today, and the very best players are signed by these clubs at all costs. That has ensured they remain competitive in every competition they are in.

Premier League clubs should be keeping hold of their assets, and if they do decide to sell, replacing them with players of the same calibre is a must, and not three or four average replacements.

Is Tottenham’s transfer policy hindering their progression?

Jamie Ives takes a look at where it has all gone wrong for Tottenham Hotspur in the past couple of seasons, and asks if the club’s transfer policy needs to change.

It was only two years ago that Spurs were being touted as potential title contenders following a strong flurry of performances that saw them climb into the top three in the Premier League.

However, their recent transfer policy has been questionable at best and if anything they are signing players that are worse than the players they are selling.

The best example of this point is the recent sale of Sandro – a former fan favourite, for the unbeknown Benjamin Stambouli. I’m sure that Stambouli could more than do a job for Spurs in the league and needs time to adapt, but his game time has been limited this season so far and Sandro was a first-team regular for nearly three seasons.

The biggest name to depart in the Spurs exodus was of course Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of around £85 million. However, I think the player they miss the most is Luka Modric. The Croatian star was the one player that could open a defence with one pass and turn the opposition in an instance. Spurs have yet to replace him.

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The Tottenham midfield has lacked this type of player since Modric departed. And only got by without him because of the genius of Bale during the 2012/13 season.

Once Bale left, the squad had a huge influx of players including Erik Lamela (£30m), Roberto Soldado (£25.8m) and Paulinho (£17m). Though it’s fair to say that all three of them have failed to show their worth.

They also managed to sell two promising England internationals, in Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore, which left their intentions unjust.

While long-term Spurs stars like Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Jermain Defoe have also moved on to make way for a new side that has struggled to find its own identity.

There must come a point when Spurs realise that what they are best at is producing players and not purchasing them.

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Franco Baldini has a lot to answer for as technical director. He arrived in the summer before Bale was sold and between him and chairman Daniel Levy, all of that money was blown without much to show for.

However, it is not all doom and gloom at White Hart Lane, as the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend (all from the Spurs academy) look set for game time under Mauricio Pochettino.

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Don’t miss: Is Harry Kane Tottenham’s best striker?

There is no doubt that Spurs’ season will pick up. But there needs to come a time, pretty soon, where they can take the next step and mount a strong challenge for success.

Changing manager year after year will not move the team forward, and a rethink at the very top of the club is what is needed to get Tottenham back on track.

What do you make of Tottenham’s transfer policy? What needs to change at Spurs?