Manchester City set to pull out of bid to buy Samuel Eto’o from Barcelona

July 10, 2009

The Astronomer, c. 1668. Jan Vermeer.
“Manchester City’s difficulties in trying to capture the marquee signings they crave have brought them to the point of abandoning their pursuit of Samuel Eto’o. The club have set a deadline of close of business tonight to get a definitive answer from the Barcelona striker. Otherwise they plan to withdraw their £25.5m bid. (Guardian)

UEFA’s qualification quagmire (WSC)
“Shock news: UEFA rule change makes life harder for clubs and fans. Now there’s a sentence you haven’t read for at least – I don’t know – a week. The change is in the qualifying format for the Europa League. Where once it was simple and sensible, now it’s expensive and illogical. It’s bad enough when UEFA’s tinkering affects Manchester United, or Milan. These changes make life harder for Lisburn Distillery and Llanelli.”

Liverpool’s lessons in loyalty (WSC)
“Rafael Benítez’s attempt to keep his midfield pairing of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano has turned personal. Speaking yesterday, the Liverpool manager appealed to the sense of loyalty the players should show to their club. Benítez thinks that, as Liverpool have developed the pair into the superstars they are today, they ought to stay with the club.”

Capello: Injuries concern me (FIFA)
“After taking on the role of England coach in January 2008, Fabio Capello’s record has been impressive, winning 12 of his 15 games in charge. Seven of those victories have come in their seven qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, results which have left the Three Lions in with a chance of sealing their place as early as 9 September, when Croatia, their nemesis in the preliminaries for UEFA EURO 2008, travel to Wembley.”

World Leagues preview (FIFA)
“It is back to domestic action for Brazil’s finest this weekend, with two of the country’s clubs having been involved in continental finals in midweek. Over in the USA, fans will be enjoying a veritable footballing feast, given their nation’s hosting of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and a packed round of Major League Soccer fixtures. brings you the best of the forthcoming action from outside Europe.”

Latest News From ESPN, Setanta, GolTV and Others (EPL Talk)
“It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a chance to update you on the latest news stories affecting English football fans from around the world. So even though some of these stories are stale, most of them have not been covered by the blogosphere and remain topical to us die-hard football fans. Enjoy.”

Are England players really that technically deficient? (Times)
“Why are so many people always so critical of English players’ technique? I read an article this week lamenting the technical ability of the country’s young talent and blaming the FA. But it’s wrong to suggest that English players have serious technical weaknesses and rubbish to blame the FA in any case.”

Muntari fights for favour of fans (BBC)
“Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari has spoken out against accusations that he deliberately missed the Black Stars’ two World Cup qualifiers last month. Muntari returned home hoping to celebrate his league title with Inter Milan but ended up battling to rescue his image after some vitriolic player-bashing from fans.”

Transfers in the week up to July 10, 2009 (World Soccer)