Mourinho in explosive rows with his players

In recent weeks Mourinho has stunned his playing squad with a string of bust-ups. Even club captain John Terry has been singled out for verbal abuse as the Portuguese coach erupted with fury at the way Chelsea’s season threatens to disintegrate. There have been other rows with Joe Cole and Geremi and a verbal attack by Mourinho on Carlton Cole that left the young striker devastated and his Chelsea teammates astonished. A club insider said: “In recent weeks Mourinho has had numerous bust-ups with players in team meetings following poor performances on the field.” Wenger set for bumper deal Arsenal are ready to offer manager Arsene Wenger a bumper new three-year deal ‘ and a ’46 million transfer kitty this summer. The Frenchman has made history by guiding the Gunners into the Champions League semi-finals for the first time. His current ‘3m-a-year deal expires in May 2008 but Arsenal maintain Wenger has a job for life at Highbury if he wishes. Wenger has been told he will be handed at least ’20m this summer. But that figure will be boosted by a further ’26m if the Londoners win the European Cup. The Gunners earned ‘5m for their Champions League quarter-final triumph against Juventus and stand to make an extra ‘8m if they beat Villarreal in the semi-finals. They will earn another ’13m on top if they then beat Barcelona or Milan in the Paris final next month. Benitez demands transfer budget Rafa Benitez has piled the pressure on the Anfield board by demanding to know the size of his summer transfer budget. The Kop boss is keen to start the next phase of his Anfield Rafa-lution as soon as possible so he can launch a more powerful assault on the Premiership next season. Benitez said: “I don’t know at the moment what my budget is. I’m not really thinking about it although it will be easier to achieve what I’m trying to achieve if I have money.” The Liverpool board have been negotiating with several potential investors, including Spanish millionaire Juan Villalonga. He was looking to buy a ’42 million share of the club but chairman David Moores is also considering selling it completely for around ‘200m. Benitez’s summer priority will be to reshape his strike force, with Fernando Morientes and Djibril Cisse on the way out. Drogba silences critics, hopefully! Jose Mourinho has hailed Didier Drogba’s wonder show last Sunday in the Blues’ 4-1 thrashing of West Ham United and rapped: “That should shut up the critics”. Mourinho kept quiet while Chelsea took flak as title bottlers and Drogba was labelled a waste of money. But the ’24 million Cote d’Ivoire hitman (28) scored one goal and made another as Blues ran West Ham ragged. And boss Mourinho insisted: “I think Didier closed a few mouths with the way he played ‘ not mine because I have always supported him. “The best place for a player to speak is out there on the pitch and I have told him to say nothing after the match. I think Didier should go home and switch on his TV to listen to the pundits who have criticised him. “The team performance was fantastic but Didier’s effort was unbelievable. I don’t believe it will be possible to read anything critical after that.” Ground tragedy haunts player Manchester United hard-man Nemanja Vidic has revealed that he is still haunted by the day he watched his best friend die in a training-ground tragedy. Vidic, who has become a cult hero with the Old Trafford fans since his ‘7 million arrival from Sparta Moscow in January, was a promising 20-year-old defender with Red Star Belgrade when young striker Vladimir Dimitrijevic collapsed with a fatal heart problem in front of shocked teammates in October 2001. The pair had become close after growing up together at Red Star ‘ and Vidic decided to dedicate his career to his fallen friend. Vidic said: “I will never forget Vlada. He was not just my team-mate, he was my friend as well, so there will always be a deep sense of grief that he is not here with me.” Gerrard staying with Kops Rafa Benitez has assured Liverpool fans that they will not have to endure another summer of speculation about Steven Gerrard by insisting that Anfield captain has no interest in joining Juventus. The Italian giants, armed with ‘150 million from an exclusive television deal agreed in December, have put Gerrard at the top of their wish list despite the fact that the England midfielder committed himself to Liverpool last summer by signing a new four-year contract worth ‘100 000-a-week. There have even been suggestions in Turin that the runaway Serie A leaders opened talks with Liverpool about a ’30 million summer transfer at a recent meeting of the G14 clubs. But Benitez is adamant that Gerrard does not want to go anywhere ‘ and will never be tempted to leave until he has achieved his greatest ambitions at Anfield. Benitez said: “I have heard about this Juventus link and l can tell you ‘no’. No-one from Liverpool has spoken to Juventus ‘ maybe they have spoken to one of our fans.”

April 2006
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