News in Brief

SmithBojinov

Alessandro Nesta has joined Francesco Totti in international retirement. The Azzuri had hoped that Nesta would continue playing with them for another year, taking him to the European Championships at the end of the season. However in an effort to prolong his club career Nesta has opted out of making himself available for the national team. Nesta played 78 times for Italy.
West Ham and Newcastle have emerged as the front runners to sign Manchester United forward Alan Smith. Smith is looking for guaranteed first team football and is attracting attention from many Premier League clubs including Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Everton and Sunderland, as well as West Ham and Newcastle. He is thought to have turned down Middlesbrough, but with a month to go till the transfer deadline, should have no problem finding a suitable club.

Both Juventus and Barcelona are interested in signing Claude Makelele from Chelsea. The 34 year old is out of favour at Standford Bridge, and has played only 45mins of their pre season matches. A move to Barca would reunite him with his international team mates Thierry Henry, Eric Abidal, and Lilian Thuram and would be seen as a mentor figure for Yaya Toure, the man brought in to be the long term anchor to the midfield. Claudio Ranieri, the man who bought Makelele to Chelsea from Real Madrid, sees the Frenchman as the ideal, experienced, central midfielder, to guide Juventus in their return to Serie A.

Reports in Italy have suggested that unsettled Fiorentina forward Valeri Bojinov is set to sign for Manchester City in a 7-8 million euro deal. Bojinov, who has not signed a new contract at Fiorentina, has been placed on the transfer list. He could partner another striker bought by City from Seria A, Rolando Bianchi, in a new look strike force, that will be charged with bring goals to a miss firing City team of last season.

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