Uruguay's Cavani celebrates after scoring against Venezuela during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Puerto Ordaz

Napoli price out another top club for Edinson Cavani


Apparently Napoli are taking the concept of selling high a little too far.

Sky Sports have reported that Manchester City are the second club to price out of a move for the Uruguayan striker.

Napoli have held firm to their stance that any club wishing to purchase the highly-coveted striker will be required to trigger his €63 million ($83 million) release clause.

Last week it was reported by Sky Italia that Chelsea had bid €40 million plus Fernando Torres, but that was rejected by Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis who said he wanted straight cash to trigger the release clause.  Chelsea then submitted a €52 million straight-cash bid which was turned down, and the London club declared that was their final offer.

Chelsea have since turned their efforts towards an attempt at prying Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund.

Now, de Laurentiis himself confirmed City have pulled out of contention for Cavani, saying the Sky Blues “do not have money to pay for Cavani because they say ‘we won’t pay that.'”

Real Madrid remain in contention according to reports, with Cavani’s father endorsing that particular move a while back, but as each top club drops out, de Laurentiis finds himself without another oasis of funds to potentially tap.

It’s understandable Napoli want to hold firm on their valuation of their 26-year-old goal machine, but if de Laurentiis fails to compromise at least a little, he may find himself stuck with a striker who wishes for bigger things and no money to show for it.

Mourinho “working like never before” to turn Chelsea around

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Jose Mourinho got the dreaded much-needed vote of confidence from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich last weekend, seemingly giving the Portuguese manager a temporary stay of execution despite the Blues’ worst start to a season in 37 years.

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Speaking this week, Mourinho has revealed that while he’s thankful to have been kept on at the club for which he regularly professes his love, he still thinks it was no-brainer for Abramovich. In other words, Mourinho’s not backing down from his incredible, seven-minute rant to one question following Saturday’s defeat to Southampton.

Mourinho, on what he’s doing to turn Chelsea around — quotes from the Guardian:

“It shows the confidence of Abramovich in the manager who has won three Premier League titles with this club. I thank him and I keep working.

“What’s going on? I do not know. The results with Chelsea at the moment have been really bad. I cannot hide that reality, and I don’t want to. And I struggle to find an explanation. But I assure you: I’m working like never before and we will come out of this. And there is also the Champions League that we will not neglect, for certain.”

What did you expect from Mourinho? Well, you know, I should probably be fired, but thanks to Mr. Abramovich for not realizing this and keeping me employed? It’s simultaneously interesting and the least surprising thing ever, though, that Mourinho claims to not know what’s wrong with Chelsea at the moment. Of course he has a theory (or five), and of course he’s “working like never before” to correct it.

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The most fascinating thing about Chelsea’s sluggish start to the season is to see, hear and read Mourinho speaking from a position of powerlessness. Always the clever one, the one dictating where the discussion goes, the one in charge of every press interaction, Saturday’s rant felt like watching a desperate Mourinho grasping for anything by which to pull himself back up.

Reports link Guardiola with Manchester City summer move

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga
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There are claims out of Spain that Manchester City has a verbal agreement to bring Pep Guardiola to town when his Bayern Munich contract expires in June.

Don’t expect comment from Guardiola, who bristles when discussing his future. In the past he’s hinted he might not be the right man for the Bavarian side, but has lamented any questions about clubs other than Bayern.

Now Mundo Deportivo writer Francesc Aguilar says there’s a secret agreement between Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain to reunite at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

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Both Barcelona buffs and former Spanish internationals, Begiristain was Barca’s director of football when Guardiola took over for Frank Rjikaard in 2008.

Manuel Pellegrini signed a contract extension this summer and has led the club to a Premier League title, though the club has struggled in European competition. For what it’s worth, the Manchester Evening News got rumor reaction from Sergio Aguero:

On the latest Guardiola rumour, Kun said: “It has been talked about a lot. I don’t know him, but he’s a great manager and it’s wonderful to have the best managers train you.”

But he also added: “I’m very good with Manuel Pellegrini, we talk a lot. I’m happy in the team and with him, but the club will be the one who chooses who comes in.”

In other words, “I’m really good, and they pay me well enough that I’m prepared to play for any big name that arrives.”

It’s a story to keep up with, even as it intrudes on the seasons of two big, rich European clubs.