Hoffenheim close in on Joselu

The on-off transfer saga appeared to have reached a stalemate last week when the two clubs could not agree on a price for the 22-year-old who has been playing for Real’s B team in the Spanish third division.

Babbel was reportedly unhappy over Real’s refusal to lower their €8million(£6.4m) price tag closer to Hoffenheim’s which was believed to be around half that.

But the deal looks to be back on after Babbel revealed he has tabled a higher offer for the German-born former Spain Under 21 international.

“It is a fact we are just talking about details of an agreement,” former Liverpool and Germany defender Babbel told Deutsche Presseagentur.

“We still have a certain interest in the services of the player and the player definitely wants to come over to our club as well.

“We will still not do anything stupid, though, it is all up to Madrid. We have put in our new offer.

“However, the reported figure of €6million (£4.8m) is not true and Joselu has also not yet completed a medical at our club.

“If Real Madrid feels they should accept our offer he could be on his way to our club in no time. I hope he is allowed to join us of course.”

Modric valuation still not met

Modric has been training separately as he waits to resolve his future, having made it clear to Spurs that he would like to leave this summer.

Real Madrid have been linked with a swoop for the Croatian but still nothing has been finalised, several weeks after Villas-Boas admitted talks had been held with several clubs about a move.

Chairman Daniel Levy is not prepared to sell such an important player on the cheap and Villas-Boas believes Modric must accept that Tottenham are not to blame.

The head coach says he can then start to work with the rest of the group as normal, but it looks doubtful that he will be ready for the start of the season.

“He has been training separately. Now it is important for Luka to feel mentally ready to come back to first-team training,” Villas-Boas told Sky Sports News after Sunday’s 1-0 friendly victory over Watford, which Modric missed.

“These boys are at a different level in terms of their preparation, concentration and commitment.

“I think the player has to understand that the club cannot do anything about other clubs’ offers.

“We have a value and an interest that we have to defend, and we are waiting to reintegrate the player if the offer is not matched.”


It was a similar tale for Modric last summer when he had set his heart on a move away from the club but ended up staying and playing an important part in Tottenham’s season.

Villas-Boas has no doubt that he would again get his head down and commit to Spurs if there is no move during the current transfer window, but he admits the uncertainty is not ideal.

“We will try to solve it as soon as possible,” he said. “It is the second time we have been through this situation.

“It is obviously difficult for him, but the chairman is defending the club’s interests and the player has to understand that, and the fact that the offer does not meet the chairman’s demands means we can’t do anything.

“The player is a good professional and hopefully he will return to the team.”

Asked if Modric could be involved at the start of the season, Villas-Boas added: “Obviously he will have to raise his fitness level, and the sooner that we can have him reintegrated mentally and then physically, we will then see how things go.”

Ronaldo eyes American future

The Portugal international is currently in USA as part of Real’s pre-season tour, preparing to take on Mexican side Santos Laguna in Las Vegas later on Sunday.

He is a fan of the game in America and admits he would be interested in one day plying his trade in the country.

“If I can help to be a better soccer here I can help but I think they are great, they are in a good way,” Ronaldo said in an interview with the MLS website.

“I hope to come here to play one day.”

Ronaldo, 27, joined Real from Manchester United in the summer of 2009 after a world-record deal was agreed between the clubs worth £80million.

Real squad 'almost complete'

Real are still believed to be chasing the Tottenham playmaker, while midfielders Kaka and Nuri Sahin are expected to leave the Bernabeu.

But Mourinho feels it is the determination of the current group that can drive the Spanish champions on to future success – without the need for lots of additions.

“We are hard at work preparing because we are well aware of the fact that it is not going to be easy, quite the contrary,” Mourinho told Fox during Real’s pre-season tour of the United States.

“The team is almost complete,” added the Portuguese, who helped end Barcelona’s three-year grip on the La Liga title last season.

“They are special players, we have a lot of the best players in the world and my team’s motivation when faced with new challenges never ceases to surprise me.”


Modric is keen to leave Spurs but the club’s £40million asking price for the 26-year-old Croatia international is proving prohibitive to a deal.

Real defender Sergio Ramos believes the current squad is strong but admits he would welcome the arrival of Modric.

“There haven’t been many departures or signings, but we are open to everything,” Ramos told reporters.

“We’ve got a great squad, with amazing footballers, and one or two more will join.

“I like football and good footballers and Modric is one of them. He currently doesn’t play in this team and I can’t say any more than that. If he joins he’ll bring something to the team.”

Redknapp reveals Real deal

The Croatia midfielder has been the subject of intense transfer speculation for the second consecutive summer, with Real Madrid keen to take the 26-year-old to the Bernabeu.

“The chairman said to him last year ‘Give us one more season and if Real come in, I won’t stand in your way’.”

Chelsea’s attempts to sign Modric were rebuffed last season and Levy has maintained that hard-line stance again – holding out for £40million for the playmaker.

But Redknapp, who left Spurs in May, believes the club will struggle to deny Modric a move given the promises of the past.

Redknapp told The Sun: “I would not be sure Luka would start the season at Tottenham.

“The club would be happy to sell if they get the right money. The chairman said to him last year ‘Give us one more season and if Real come in, I won’t stand in your way’.”

If Modric is sold it would provide new boss Andre Villas-Boas with a significant transfer kitty and that could see Spurs swoop for Lyon and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

The 25-year-old’s father and agent Luc told The Sun: “I’m sure that Hugo’s move will be accelerated if Modric joins Real.”

Mourinho – Sahin can leave

The Turkey international has been strongly linked with a summer move from the Santiago Bernabeu, with Arsenal reportedly keen on a season-long loan deal.

Sahin joined Real from German champions Borussia Dortmund last summer but failed to make a major breakthrough in the first team, making just four appearances in Los Blancos’ triumphant Primera Liga campaign.

Mourinho has now claimed that should he want, the 23-year-old can leave the Spanish giants this month.

“The point is, he’s a young boy, he wants to play every match,” said the Portuguese. “He wants to play to be happy, and in Real Madrid with Xabi Alonso, with [Sami] Khedira, with Lassana [Diarra], [Esteban] Granero, [Mesut] Ozil, the situation is not easy.

“Real Madrid is very difficult. It is not an easy club, because we demand a lot. We have great players, and when you don’t start well, it is difficult to do it.

“If he stays, he’s not a problem for me, he’s one more solution. We leave [the situation] in his hands. Be happy.

“Decide what you want to decide, to be happy. If you decide to leave we are going to help you to leave. If you decide to stay, we are going to support you and try to succeed this season.”

Mourinho hopes Kaka stay

The Brazilian playmaker has been strongly linked with a move back to AC Milan this summer after failing to impress consistently over the last three seasons.

Mourinho has remained coy on the future of the 30-year-old whenever he has been asked to comment on the matter, and following Real’s 5-1 victory over LA Galaxy on their US tour maintained the same stance.

“For me there is no problem,” the Portuguese told Real’s official website.

“We will try to get the best out of him. He is a good player. He played well last season and helped us win games.

“Our hope is that he stays. As a coach I would be happy because he is serious, hardworking and contributes to the group.

“In some matches he is a great player, with quality and the ability to help us win. We know him well and have worked together for two years.

“He contributed well last season and I know what he has in his head. We do not need to send messages. The important thing is that he decides on his future that is ideal for himself.”

Real hammer Galaxy

Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Jose Maria Callejon, Alvaro Morata and Alex Fernandez scored Real’s goals, with only David Junior Lopes responding for Galaxy in a 5-1 defeat.

The game drew a crowd of 30,317, a record for a football game at Home Depot Centre, and Real boss Jose Mourinho was pleased with the outing against the MLS champions.

“Galaxy is a kind of team that is not too worried about losing, 4-1, or losing 1-0,” he said.

“They’re just worried about playing, playing well. Play their game, let us play, and in this moment of the season, it’s the most important thing for us.”

Real brought on several of their biggest stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil, for the second half.

The Galaxy also changed their entire team at half-time, with former Real player Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane among those departing.

Dembele is Madrid target

Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester Unite have all been linked with bids for the 25-year-old, who shone for Fulham last season after moving from his role as a second striker to central midfield.

The Belgian has made a huge impression on his team-mates since his £5million move from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in 2010 and could leave the club for nothing at the end of the season.

The club are reportedly holding out for at least double that fee as Clint Dempsey is also tipped to leave and they will need to increase their attacking options ahead of the start of the Premier League.

But Fulham boss Martin Jol is facing a tough fight to keep the attacking midfielder at the club with the biggest sides in Europe chasing his signature, according to his agent Jan de Visser.

“Real Madrid have contacted us and asked about the possibility of signing Moussa Dembele,” De Visser, of management agency Sport International, said in De Telegraaf.

“They are not the first big club who have contacted us this summer for him.”

Arbeloa pens new Real deal

Alvaro Arbeloa has been rewarded for another fine season with Real Madrid with a two-year contract extension.

The 29-year-old defender helped the Spanish giants to win their 32nd title before playing his part in his country being crowned kings of Europe again as they successfully defended their title at Euro 2012.

And the former Liverpool man ended all the speculation about his future as he entered the last year of his current deal by pledging his future to the club until 2016.

“I am very happy with my new contract. For me, it’s an honour to be part of Real Madrid,” Arbeloa said.

“Signing a two-year extension to my existing deal is a source of joy for me. I am delighted with the club’s faith in me, and I am looking forward to continue playing here.”