Barcelona set to sign Inter's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in swap with Samuel Eto'o


• Swap deal hinges on players agreeing terms
• Barcelona still keeping David Villa option open

Barcelona have confirmed they have agreed a deal for the Internazionale striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with their own forward, Samuel Eto'o, travelling in the opposite directionl. The conclusion of the deal depends on both agreeing personal terms, according to Barcelona's official website.

The fee involved was not specified, although Spanish media have reported it will be in the region of €40m. Barca's out-of-favour midfielder Aleksandr Hleb could also be heading to Inter on loan as part of the deal.

Barcelona's president, Joan Laporta, has made clear the deal had not yet been completed and the club were still considering other options, including the purchase of Valencia striker David Villa.

"The Ibrahimovic deal is not done and dusted and it would be too early to say which of the two options is the most satisfactory," Laporta said. "In the end we will choose the option that is best for Barca."

Ibrahimovic would be Barcelona's second buy of the close season following the signing of Inter's Brazilian left-back, Maxwell, in a €4.5m deal which could eventually rise to €5m.

Emmanuel Adebayor completes move from Arsenal to Manchester City


• Arsenal expected to receive £25m from City
• Adebayor signs five-year deal worth £150,000-a-week

Emmanuel Adebayor has boldly stated he wants to "make history" at Manchester City after completing his £25m move from Arsenal. Several hundred City fans welcomed the striker at Eastlands after he completed a medical and signed a five-year-deal worth £150,000-a-week, and Adebayor's message to them was one of bullish intent.

City's Arab owners have embarked on a lavish spending spree this summer, and Adebayor is the third forward to join, following the arrivals of Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez. Those signings have created a groundswell of optimism that City could break into the top four this season, and Adebayor immediately tapped into the optimistic buzz.

"It made me feel really welcome and special and I can't wait to play for City's fans and show them what I can do," said Adebayor. "I was born to play football and that is what I want to do. I have come here to make history for this club and those supporters. It is what the chairman and the manager told me that they want too and I can't wait to get started."

The only potential stumbling block over the transfer had been Adebayor's fears that accepting City's huge offer would be poorly received in Togo. However he flew into Manchester for a speedy medical today, before ending his three-year association with Arsenal. Although he failed to find form last season, Adebayor scored 30 goals in the 2007-08 season, a record which was enough to convince City's manager, Mark Hughes, of what he will offer City.

"Emmanuel has been one of the top forwards in the Premier League since he arrived from France and we are delighted he has agreed to come and join us," Hughes said. "Along with the other signings we have made in the last two windows he will greatly enhance our ability to compete with the top sides.

"His arrival is another clear indication that we are determined to augment the players we have here with the best of international talent. He adds vital balance and power to our attack. He has everything a top forward needs. He is versatile, powerful, quick and agile on the ball.

"I am looking forward to working with him as are the rest of the staff. He will definitely add a new dimension to our play. I have been a great admirer for a long time."

Emmanuel Adebayor on verge of signing for Manchester City


• Arsenal accept offer believed to be worth close to £25m
• Adebayor will be paid £150,000-170,000 per week at Eastlands

Manchester City are on the verge of completing a deal to sign Emmanuel Adebayor from Arsenal, the Guardian understands. The two clubs have agreed a fee, believed to be closer to Arsenal's asking price of £25m than City's original offer of £20m, and the striker is in Manchester discussing terms on a five-year contract worth between £150,000-170,000 a week.

Adebayor, who would become the ninth striker on City's books, was identified as a realistic target last week, leading the club to end their interest in Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o. Talks with the Togolese have moved rapidly over the last few days, and though the striker was initially keen on a move to Serie A, it is believed the scale of the salary persuaded him to move north.

City hope the 25-year-old will now be able to take some part in their pre-season tour to South Africa, with Mark Hughes's squad due to fly out tomorrow. Carlos Tevez will be on board after the club confirmed his arrival on a five-year contract.

"Carlos is an international player of the highest class who possesses all the attributes that will help drive this club forward," Mark Hughes, the City manager, said. "He is not only outstanding technically but he is a reliable goalscorer and someone who will contribute fully to the team ethic. He gives us another exciting, attacking dimension. I cannot wait to welcome him to City."



Although Milan have signed the United States centre-back Oguchi Onyewu, it remains to be seen whether the transfer deal can quell supporter unrest over their transfer policy.

The 27-year-old, who impressed in the US side's run to the Confederations Cup final last month, has joined on a free transfer from Standard Li├Ęge and penned a three-year contract. Onyewu holds a Belgian passport and will therefore not count as one of the two non-EU players Italian sides are allowed to sign each season.

Milan's interest in the defender had barely been mentioned in the media and his signing comes just a day after hundreds of fans protested at the first day of the club's pre-season training.

Ultra fans chanted slogans and unveiled banners criticising the owner Silvio Berlusconi and the decision to sell their playmaker Kaka to Real Madrid for €67m.

The Rossoneri, who lost coach Carlo Ancelotti to Chelsea having finished third in Serie A last season, had previously signed only the Brazil defender Thiago Silva and little-known young players. They are seeking a new striker with the Real forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Sevilla's Luis Fabiano, the Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and VfL Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko in the frame.

Onyewu could end up partnering Silva in central defence after captain Paolo Maldini retired at the end of last season and the ageing Alessandro Nesta and Kakha Kaladze's susceptibility to injury.

Milan, now coached by the rookie Brazilian Leonardo, have also announced that midfielder Massimo Ambrosini will be the new captain.

Michael Owen tonight signed a two-year contract with Manchester United after completing a rigorous medical examination to dispel some of the concerns


Michael Owen tonight signed a two-year contract with Manchester United after completing a rigorous medical examination to dispel some of the concerns surrounding his injury problems.

Owen underwent a series of medical checks at a private hospital in Manchester this afternoon before travelling to the club's training ground in Carrington to finalise the deal which, as a free agent, will not cost United a transfer fee.

The lightning move by Sir Alex Ferguson caught the football world by surprise, the move being done and dusted in the space of three days. "I had just begun to talk to other clubs when out of the blue Sir Alex phoned me on Wednesday afternoon, invited me to have breakfast with him next morning during which he told me that he wanted to sign me. I agreed without a moment's thought," said Owen. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I intend to seize it with both hands."

United were able to confirm late this evening that the England striker will be joining Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Luis Antonio Valencia in a new-look attack, and the club have pencilled in a press conference to unveil him either next Friday or the following Monday.

"I am now looking forward to being a United player and I am fortunate that I already know so many of the players here. I missed pre-season last year and am pleased that I will be starting at Carrington from day one," the 29-year-old said.

His debut is likely to be the first game of United's tour to south-east Asia, against a Malaysia XI on 18 July. His first appearance at Old Trafford will be on 5 August when Valencia come to Manchester for a pre-season friendly.

Ferguson welcomed the new arrival by saying: "Michael is a world-class forward with a proven goalscoring record at the highest level and that has never been in question. Coming to Manchester United with the expectations that we have is something that Michael will relish."

His contract at Old Trafford is based on bonuses for playing and scoring but Owen has been happy to take a huge pay cut from his £110,000-a-week salary at Newcastle.

Felipe Melo Agrees To Join Juventus??????it's Rumors or No


Sky Sport Italia claims that there is an agreement in place for the Brazilian to join the Bianconeri, and all that is required to complete the move is for Juventus and Fiorentina to agree a transfer fee on Tuesday...

Fiorentina star Felipe Melo could become a Juventus player as early as next week after the player’s agent reached an agreement with the Bianconeri, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Juventus are well known to be in the market for a top-class centre midfielder, and their primary target had been Udinese’s Gaetano D’Agostino. However, the failure to agree on a transfer fee has seen Juve look elsewhere for possible alternatives.

Sky Italia claims that Juventus have reached an agreement with the agents of Felipe Melo to sign the 25-year-old, who had an outstanding first season in Serie A after arriving from Almeria last summer.

Felipe Melo only recently signed a new contract with Fiorentina, but a release clause was inserted in the deal that says he can leave for €25 million.

Juventus and Fiorentina officials will meet on Tuesday to broker the deal, and the Bianconeri are certain to include Marco Marchionni, already close to the Viola, as part of the exchange in order to lower the cost. Zdenek Grygera and Michele Paolucci are also likely to be offered in the trade.

Should the transfer be confirmed, Felipe Melo will become the third Brazilian member of the Juventus line-up, along with Diego and Amauri.

Update 1510 CET: An official announcement in response to this story is expected from Fiorentina imminently.

Karim Benzema sends Real Madrid's summer spending to over £ 180m


Real Madrid and an extraordinary summer spending spree continued relentlessly sending reverberations through the world of football last night when the club agreed a £ 30m deal to sign France striker Karim Benzema, a transfer that is spending more than £ 180m since Florentino Perez was appointed as his galactic-obsessed president a month ago.

Perez has now signed Cristiano Ronaldo for 80 million pounds, £ 59m Kaka, Raul Albiol for £ 13m and the man regarded as the most exciting young player in France, in an agreement that could rise to £ 35.2m, depending of his success at the Bernabeu.

Benzema, the scorer of 23 goals in Ligue 1 last season, has been strongly linked with Arsenal and in particular Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson, but long-standing admiration for the 21-year-old Lyon player never manifested in the form of a concerted attempt to take him to Old Trafford as a replacement for Carlos Tevez.

In contrast, Madrid has left to add another striker to their already bloated staffing. "We know of its importance and effectiveness in our team," Claude Puel, the Lyon coach, said. "It's an exceptional player, but we also know the financial figures of the club."

Lyon said in a statement: "The player wants to seize the opportunity offered by Real Madrid to become a key player in an ambitious new policy of more of the world's greatest players. Lyon Karim Benzema has agreed the decision and the negotiated terms of a transfer that satisfies all parties. "

Benzema, who helped Lyon win four Ligue 1 titles and has accumulated 24 caps for France, scoring six goals in the process was the completion of the operation in Madrid, while tonight, back in England, the options Ferguson now appears to have declined further provides that after the season with only two senior strikers, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

The transfer of Ronaldo was officially concluded today, with the money they receive in America a lump sum, and indications are that Old Trafford Ferguson is happy to be part of the money for the time being, despite having spent £ 16m and the signing of Luis Antonio Valencia Wigan.

"Cristiano has been a wonderful player for Manchester United," Ferguson said in a statement. "His six years at Old Trafford has seen him become the best footballer in the world.

"His contribution has been an important factor in the success of the club at that time and his talent, his ability to entertain and his infectious personality has captivated fans around the world. Everyone here wishes him well in his future career."

Ronaldo's new career as a Madrid player had an inauspicious start, however, when a car he allegedly broke the window after being followed by photographers in Lisbon. A 17-year-old was injured by flying glass and had submitted a complaint to the police.

"He [the photographer] on car chased me from the Ritz Hotel with my mother in the car with me and filmed all our actions," Ronaldo said on the website of Gestifute, the agency that represents him. "The persecution so upset that my mother had to stop and convince them to leave us." Reports suggested Ronaldo broke the window with a single shot. A police spokesman in Lisbon, declined comment.



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