Newcastle to sue FA, Fifa over Owen’s injury

The Magpies believe the FA’s insurance policy covering only a proportion of Owen’s ‘100 000 plus-a-week wages is totally inadequate.

They are set to follow the lead of Belgian club Charleroi, who, with the backing of the powerful G14 clubs, are suing Fifa over the loss of an international player for six months.

Newcastle are ready to go to court to claim damages for depreciation of contract, extra insurance premiums they took out on the ’17 million striker and compensation for a replacement signing.

Newcastle believe Fifa President Sepp Blatter’s revelation that football’s governing body set up a special insurance kitty of ‘6m to compensate clubs for players injured at the World Cup is an admission of Fifa’s responsibility to compensate clubs.

United, Chelsea in Torres battle

Manchester United and Chelsea are locked in a ’25 million battle for the signature of World Cup sensation Fernando Torres.

Atletico Madrid have received a bid that matched their valuation of the striker.

And Torres is now expected to decide whether to move to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge as he has completed his exploits in Germany.

Torres said: “It is always flattering when you are linked to great clubs.”

The Madrid-born frontman scored three goals as Spain won all three of their group games, including a contender for goal of the tournament during the 4-0 demolition of Ukraine in Leipzig.

Gunners face defensive crisis

Arsenal are facing a defensive crisis less than two months before the start of the new Premiership season.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been told talented left-back Gael Clichy will be out until mid-September at the earliest and Cameroon right-back Lauren is likely to miss the first month of the campaign.

French Under-21 international Clichy is viewed as the long-term replacement for Ashley Cole, who looks certain to be leaving the club after the World Cup.

But Clichy needed to go to America for a second operation on the foot injury he suffered last season, while Lauren is still recovering from a knee problem.

In defence Arsenal are short of players without Lauren and Clichy – particularly with huge question marks against the futures of Cole and Sol Campbell.

Cole can make Brazilian squad

Gilberto Silva thinks Joe Cole would get a place in the Brazil squad on the strength of his superb display against Sweden.

The Arsenal midfielder might have helped the defending champions thrash Japan last week, but he admitted to a touch of envy after watching Cole’s stupendous volley in Cologne.

He said: “I know Joe from playing against him in England and he has just had a great season for Chelsea. Playing like that he could definitely get into the Brazilian squad. But I think he would have to start on the bench!”

Cole’s secret revealed

Joe Cole has become so consumed by superstitions that he is beginning to fear he can no longer function on the field of play without his shinpads.

While England’s army of fans were under the impression Cole was taking in the atmosphere when he was last to leave the pitch in their 1-0 win over Ecuador in the World Cup, the reality was somewhat different. Man-of-the-match Cole had scored one wonder goal and set up Steven Gerrard for England’s second but he was in a cold sweat because he feared a missing piece of kit could wreck the rest of his World Cup campaign.

He said: “I was only last off the pitch because I had lost one of my lucky shinpads in the game and I was desperately trying to find it. It came off in the 75th minute and there was no way I was stopping to put it back on. But after the game I went to find it because they are extremely lucky for me. I didn’t wear them in any of the England friendlies and I wasn’t firing on all cylinders.”

The good and the ugly

David Beckham threw up in front of millions of viewers after curling in the free kick that kept England’s dreams alive in their 1-0 win over Ecuador last Sunday. His 25-yard, 60th-minute strike against Ecuador made him the first English player to score in three World Cups.

But just two minutes later he walked to the edge of the pitch and stuck his fingers down his throat before retching. It later emerged he felt ill during the warm-up and his exertion in the sweltering heat eventually took its toll.

Asked after the match about his vomiting, he said: “It just came out.”

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson said of his skipper: “I think he was gone physically. He didn’t feel very well.”

Beckham played on until he was replaced by Spurs winger Aaron Lennon in the 86th minute – to a standing ovation from 30 000 England fans in the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion in Stuttgart.

Pompey eye Yakubu

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is making a new ’12 million bid to bring back striker Yakubu Ayegbeni from Middlesbrough.

Redknapp hopes to clinch the record-breaking capture of the Nigerian hitman in the next few days.

Top agent Pini Zahavi is taking a major hand in Pompey’s dealings, which are backed by co-owner Sacha Gaydamak’s cash. He is also Ayegbeni’s personal agent. Boro are reluctant sellers and turned down the initial offer, but they may cash in on Ayegbeni and stand to make around ‘5m profit.

Ayegbeni is ready to go back to Fratton Park where he made his name after joining from Israel’s Macabi Tel Aviv. Redknapp’s offer of ’10m for Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe is also still on the table.

July 2006
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