Top European target, Germany’s captain Michael Ballack, will not renew his contract with Bayern Munich but looks unlikely to accept Manchester United’s overtures. The 29-year-old, set to increase his 56 caps by leading his country during the World Cup finals, has expressed his desire to win the Champions League – something he sees himself doing with Real Madrid, not United.
Arsenal are willing to part with 30 million euros to secure the services of prolific Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres, pre-empting the possible summer departure of Thierry Henry. Chelsea are also interested in the Spanish forward. Carlos Vela has cost the Highbury treasury a lot less at 4.2 million euros – the 16-year-old Mexican talent will stay with Valencia until he turns 18, however.
Liverpool’s continuing perusal of Benfica captain Simão Sabrosa has prompted the Portuguese champions to slap an 18 million euro price tag on the striker’s head, which might place the international out of Anfield’s reach. Having said that, manager Rafael Benitez is keen to bolster his squad with Real Betis winger Joaquim – at a cool 30 million euros!