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Chelsea tobeat Manchester Cityto Mehdi Benatia

Roma's Mehdi Benatia.
Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/
Getty Images
he Mill suspects that in much
the same way that paranoid
dictators do not go anywhere
without first sending several
doppelgangers somewhere else so
as to mislead would-be assassins,
Manuel Pellegrini has let be
known that he likes nothing
better in the morning than a big
steaming mug of cabbage water.
The canny Chilean’s plan, of
course, is to fool José Mourinho
into spending his entire summer
trying to buy up all the cabbages
in the world in order to let them
rot in a mighty Stamford Bridge
compost heap or perhaps lend
them out to scrawny clubs who
need much more than a roughage
boost to become threatening. And
while Mourinho is doing that,
Pellegrini can sit back every
morning and enjoy a nice cup of
That ruse, of course, follows
Pellegrini’s realisation that after
spending the last year gazumping
Liverpool and Spurs, Mourinho
now seems intent on thwarting
City’s attempt to bolster their
defence. After joining the chase
for City’s No1 target, Porto’s
Eliaquim Mangala, Chelsea are
now hot on the tail of City’s No2
target, Roma’s Mehdi Benatia,
and are prepared to hand over
£18m plus Romelu Lukaku to seal
the deal.
It would be quite amusing if
Pellegrini responded to these
spoiling tactics by buying Diego
Costa from under the nose of
Chelsea, but that seems unlikely
as that deal is all but done, with
Atlético Madrid just waiting to
secure a replacement before
announcing it: their preferences
are Tottenham flop Roberto
Soldado or … City’s Álvaro
Negredo . Ay ay, there’s scope for
City mischief-making yet.
Meanwhile, Juventus fancy luring
Stevan Jovetic back to Italy.
Oblivious to the risk of having a
ball whacked at him by an irate
Diego Simeone, Arsène Wenger is
also poking around Atlético.
Indeed, the club has rejected a
bid of £9m for right-back
Juanfran, a decision that invites
irresistible quips about Wenger
preparing to come back with a
bid of £9.000001m. While in the
Spanish capital, Arsenal
representatives will trot on over
to the Bernabéu to experience the
thrill of having an offer for Ángel
di María rebuffed. Arsenal are
also considering a move for West
Ham’s Mohamed Diamé .
Mauricio Pochettino is determined
to sign the highly rated
Argentinian forward Erik Lamela,
Tottenham Hotspur officials
having failed to convince their
new manager that they weren’t
joking when they said the player
is already at the club. It has not
escaped other clubs attention,
however, that Hugo Lloris is still
at White Hart Lane and that’s a
fact that Real Madrid, Paris Saint-
Germain, Monaco and Roma all
want to change. Spurs reckon
Fraser Forster could be an ideal
replacement. Rafael Benítez,
meanwhile, reckons the time is
ripe to spring Diego López from
Manchester United’s attempt to
avoid going the way of Liverpool
23 years ago entails going the way
that Liverpool attempted to go last
January and signing Dnipro
attacker Yevhen Konoplyanka .
PSG still have their sights firmly
set on Eden Hazard but, on the
off-chance that Mourinho doesn’t
fall-out with the free-spirited
creator, the French clubs are also
eyeing up Lazio’s Antonio
Candreva, for whom they will
offer money and Javier Pastore.

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Posted By bobricky On 04:14 Fri, 30 May 2014

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