LA Galaxy back for Chelsea"s Frank Lampard

LA Galaxy back for Lampard as Chelsea star told to join up with Beckham

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 30 June 2012

LA Galaxy are ready to make a fresh move to prise Frank Lampard away from Chelsea and make him a team-mate of David Beckham in the USA’s Major League Soccer.

The club believe they can put together an offer that can make it worth Lampard’s while to move to the USA, even though the midfield player has one year left on a 130,000-a-week Chelsea contract and is due a substantial loyalty bonus if he completes the final year of his deal.

Serial winner: Frank Lampard has won the Champions League trophy and three Premier League titles at Chelsea

Serial winner: Frank Lampard has won the Champions League trophy and three Premier League titles at Chelsea

Leaving Chelsea would clearly be a wrench for Lampard, 34, who has become an iconic player at the club since moving there in 2001. He has won the Champions League, three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups in the club’s most successful era.

But last season Lampard had to accept that he would not always be first choice in the starting XI and Roberto Di Matteo, made permanent manager last month, is expected to continue the team’s rejuvenation.

Club-mates Beckham and Lampard

Club-mates Beckham and Lampard

Chelsea would ordinarily not want to lose such an illustrious player but, if Lampard did want to go, it would lower the wage bill and help Chelsea meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, which requires them to cut their losses or face being banned from Champions League football.

LA Galaxy remain hopeful that those factors will mean they can pick up Lampard without paying a transfer fee. One possible replacement for Lampard would be Luka Modric, but Tottenham have put a 45million price tag on their Croatia playmaker, despite no manager being officially announced at White Hart Lane.

Former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas,
however, will receive one further payment from Roman Abramovich before
taking over at Spurs this week. The 34-year-old has held off confirming
his appointment at Tottenham until a lump sum from his settlement with
Chelsea is paid into his account, due to happen tomorrow.

Once that is processed, Spurs will
announce that he has been chosen to replace Harry Redknapp, who was
sacked last month despite leading the club to fourth place last season.

Roberto Mancini to sign new Manchester City contract

Mancini overtakes Fergie in wages stakes with new deal

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 30 June 2012

Roberto Mancini has agreed to a lengthy new contract at Manchester City that will take him past Sir Alex Ferguson in the Premier League managers' wage table.

City are expected to announce the 47-year-old Italian's new deal in the next week or so.

New deal: Mancini will remain at City with an improved, lengthy contract

New deal: Mancini will remain at City with an improved, lengthy contract

Mancini, currently thought to be paid
around 5million a year at Eastlands, a similar figure to that of his Manchester United rival, still has a year left on the three-and-a-half
year agreement which he signed when appointed in December 2009.

The
new figure will take him closer to the 7.2m paid to English football's
highest managerial earner, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Glenn Hoddle: How I"d love it if England passed the ball like Spain

How I'd love it if England passed the ball like Spain

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 30 June 2012

Spain are 90 minutes away from making history – and some people say they are boring. They may not have hit the heights they did in winning Euro 2008 or the World Cup two years ago but I'd love England to pass the ball like them. To dominate possession, keep clean sheets and win trophies would be music to my ears.

Some of the criticism has been aimed at Spain because manager Vicente del Bosque has often started without a recognised striker, a tactic he is likely to use again in the final against Italy.

Pass masters: Spain are technically good from 1-11

Pass masters: Spain are technically good from 1-11

But that doesn't mean other teams are going to try the same. England's current team couldn't play like that, nor could any other side apart from Barcelona – not even Brazil.

Spain are the only international side that keep the ball well enough for it to work. They are able to build from the back, rarely hit passes longer than 15 yards and move up the pitch together. But all you need is one or two weak links, a player in the chain who isn't comfortable on the ball, and it breaks down.

Spain are technically good from 1-11 so their way of playing works. Having said all that, tonight's final is not a formality – far from it. Spain have not created the chances their possession deserved. They aren't like Barcelona, who regularly finish teams off with four or five goals. Italy will be a stern test for them.

Their coach, Cesare Prandelli, has been very astute in this tournament, switching formations from 3-5-2 to a midfield diamond. It's all based around Andrea Pirlo. A flat 4-4-2 wouldn't suit him, so Prandelli doesn't play it.

Key man: Andrea Pirlo can cause Spain problems

Key man: Andrea Pirlo can cause Spain problems

He uses a system where Pirlo can dictate and with forwards Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano always on the move, they can cause Spain problems. Pirlo is 33 but in one of those periods sportsmen have when their confidence is so high, they are almost invincible.

Heart and mind together. England and Germany tried to shackle him and failed. Spain won't even try – they will play their own game. It means Pirlo might have the space to hurt them, you just hope age won't catch up with him right at the end of the tournament after five tough matches already.

It's a very tough final to call. The amazing thing is Spain haven't been at their best yet and they are still favourites. Portugal pressed them high up the pitch at times in the semi-final and that is what Italy must do. Then, at other stages of the game, the team can retreat – what I call a basketball halfway press. I've never thought Spain were certainties to win Euro 2012, but having conceded just one goal so far (to Italy in their opening group game), I just favour them to win a unique hat-trick of titles. I, for one, won't find it boring at all.

Danny's goal was the best of Euro 2012

Eng land haven't come away from Euro 2012 empty-handed in my book. Despite the high-quality strikes on show in Poland and Ukraine, I think the goal of the tournament was scored by our own Danny Welbeck against Sweden.

Touch of class: Danny Welbecks fabulous flicked winner against Sweden

Touch of class: Danny Welbecks fabulous flicked winner against Sweden

The way he connected with Theo Walcott's cross with his back to goal was sublime. If a South American had guided the ball into the net through his legs like that, we'd be purring about it. And it was an important goal as well, the winner in an exciting 3-2 victory.

My player and manager of the tournament are Italians – Andrea Pirlo and Cesare Prandelli. We should give him an award just for dealing with Mario Balotelli so well.

My favourite game Germany's 4-2 win against Greece in the quarter-finals. At that stage, I thought my pre-tournament tip would go on to win it. But Pirlo, Prandelli and Balotelli rose to the occasion against them.

England will be watching on TV – and hurting

I hope the England players will find time to watch tonight's final – and I am sure they will, even though it will hurt them a lot having missed out themselves.

I remember going back to France after the 1998 World Cup to do some commentary work for ITV on the semi-final between Holland and Brazil. It was difficult, because our own exit was still so raw.

But 95 per cent of the England players will tune in from holiday or at home. I hope it whets their appetite to be in the final next time out.

Ryan Giggs: I wish David Beckham was going to the Olympics

Giggs: I wish my old mate Beckham was playing with me at the Olympics

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UPDATED:

19:25 GMT, 30 June 2012


Day out: Ryan Giggs and wife Stacey Cooke enjoy a trip to Wimbledon's Centre Court

Day out: Ryan Giggs and wife Stacey Cooke enjoy a trip to Wimbledon's Centre Court

Ryan Giggs has admitted he wishes David Beckham was in the Great Britain Olympics football squad with him.

The former England captain has spoken of his disappointment at missing out of the 18-man party, with coach Stuart Pearce picking Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards as his three over-age players.

Giggs played alongside Beckham for 10 years at Manchester United before the latter moved to Real Madrid in 2003.

Giggs told BBC One: 'Obviously as a former team-mate and a friend of David I am disappointed for him, but he will take it on the chin and carry on his career.

'It's one of those things, it was not meant to be.

'That's Stuart Pearce's job to pick a team that he thinks will win and that's what he's done. Unfortunately David is not in that 18.

'I would like to say as a friend I wish he was. But I am sure the lads who are picked will go out and do the best they can.'

Old pals: Beckham and Giggs

Old pals: Beckham and Giggs

Thirty-eight-year-old Giggs has never played in a major championship with Wales and is relishing the chance to be part of Team GB.

He added: 'Really excited. Coming to London and feeling the buzz around the place for the Olympics, seeing the signs everywhere. It's a massive event and one I am looking forward to.'

Wimbledon 2012: Brian Baker reaches last 16

Baker's hot run rising to the occasion as Wimbledon last 16 fairytale continues

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UPDATED:

20:24 GMT, 30 June 2012

Comeback story of the championships must surely belong to Brian Baker, a 27-year-old American who started the year ranked 458th in the world.

The former world No 2 junior spent six years battling against injury, during which time he underwent five operations – three hip, one elbow and one hernia – and his career looked over.

Wonderful week: Baker

Wonderful week: Baker

He went into coaching, rebuilt his
life by taking a degree in business and finance and, 12 months ago, was
playing low-level tennis alongside his father and uncle in the Middle
Tennessee Tennis League.

But, as his physical condition improved, Baker decided to give the circuit a second try.

He won a tournament in Savannah,
Georgia, followed up by reaching a final in Nice and was given a wild
card into the French Open – his first Grand Slam for seven years – where
he reached the second round.

In England, he came through the
qualifying and followed up with three victories in the main draw to go
through to the second week.

After seeing off Frenchman Benoit
Paire 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday to move into the fourth round, he
said: 'I think of this as a second career – but I never totally gave
up.'

Fortunately his family have already extended their stay in London to include Monday, when he will face 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber for a place in the quarter-finals.

Into the second week: Baker will play Phillip Kohlschreiber in the last 16

Into the second week: Baker will play Phillip Kohlschreiber in the last 16

'I think they had to change their flights twice, they weren't that confident in me starting out,' said Baker, smiling.

'I was just excited that they were
able to come back over. They came over for the French Open, so it's nice
to see my dad was able to take time off work again.

'It makes it a lot more special to be
able to share it with my family and girlfriend than it is if you're just
doing it on your own.'

Baker's comeback began on the golf course last summer.

That was when the Nashville resident
found out he had been given a wild card into a Futures tournament in
Pittsburgh, only his third event since 2005. Not only did he qualify, he
won the tournament.

Racket head: Benoit Paire returns a shot during his third round match

Racket head: Benoit Paire returns a shot during his third round match

The former French Open boys' finalist
has said repeatedly that he never doubted his ability, and he really
came back onto the radar when he won a Challenger tournament in April
that earned him a wild card into the French Open.

A week before Roland Garros he
qualified for his first ATP World Tour event in almost seven years, in
Nice, and then beat the likes of Gael Monfils and Nikolay Davydenko to
reach the final.

French farce: It's behind you, Benoit!

French farce: It's behind you, Benoit!

There were calls for Baker to be given
a wild card for Wimbledon, but now he is through to the last 16, the
American is grateful that did not happen.

He said: 'I wasn't that disappointed
that I didn't get one. I needed the match practice on the courts. My
only grass-court match was at Queen's qualifying and I lost. I didn't
feel I was comfortable on the stuff.

'There's actually two grass courts at
the club where I grew up at back in Nashville. I think I once played
hit-and-giggle tennis on that. I played a pro-am doubles tournament up
in the Hamptons with a buddy from Nashville on grass.

Serving for the match: Brian Baker

Serving for the match: Brian Baker

'But those courts are nothing compared to these. They're a lot softer. It had been seven years since I played on a similar style grass court.'

Baker's victory, over an opponent who badly lost his cool in the third and fourth sets, ensures he will break into the top 100 for the first time in his career.

Asked if he still has to pinch himself, Baker said: 'I'm sure I will. It's been unreal. When I'm on the court I know I definitely have nerves. Closing out the match you definitely know what's on the table, what you can accomplish.

'I missed a few shots at the end that I probably wouldn't miss if it was the quarters of a Challenger and not trying to get to the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

'It is crazy, what's going on. But I'm still trying to stay focused on the task at hand and not get too wrapped up in it.

'Because once you do that, I think it's tough to be able to play your best tennis once you're happy that you've been there.

'So I'm trying every match to go in there hungry and try to win the next one instead of thinking, “I'm in the round of 16 of Wimbledon, this is awesome”.'