Chelsea eye Adriano

LONDON: Conflicting reports have come out of Brazil regarding a Chelsea bid for Inter Milan striker Adriano. According to London Evening Standard, reports in the Rio de Janeiro press on Thursday morning linked Chelsea with a record-breaking $118 million bid for the Brazilian striker. The BBC website claims Adriano told Jornal do Brazil: “Throughout the season Chelsea have been there with a multi-million pound offer but appear to have become more determined. “I’m happy to know that but am happy in Milan where I’m treated like a king. — AFP

It’s Reina vs Dudek

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Champions League final hero Jerzy Dudek appears to have another battle on his hands with Spanish goalkeeper Jose Reina announcing he aims to be the Reds’ number one goalkeeper. Villareal keeper Reina is set to join Anfield and says he will lose no sleep about ousting Dudek, who was Liverpool’s hero as they beat AC Milan on penalties to win the Champions League trophy for the fifth time. “If I end up signing for Liverpool it is because they want to sign me and want me to play,” Reina told The Sun. — AFP

Palace sign Macken

LONDON: Manchester City striker Jon Macken has joined Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee after being told by Stuart Pearce he had no future at Eastlands. The 27-year-old was City’s record signing under Kevin Keegan when he joined from Preston in 2002 for $9 million. But he failed to establish himself as a regular first-team player and has decided to move on. Palace, relegated from the top flight last season, moved quickly to recruit the former Manchester United junior who has an impressive goalscoring record in the Championship. — AFP

Merv replaces Border

MELBOURNE: Merv Hughes, one of the characters of Australian cricket, on Friday filled Allan Border’s vacancy on the Australian selection panel, Cricket Australia said. The 43-year-old mustachioed former Test fast bowler joins chairman Trevor Hohns, David Boon and Andrew Hilditch on the panel and was endorsed by the CA board at its meeting here on Friday. Former Australian captain Border resigned as a selector last April. Hughes, named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1994, has maintained a close connection to the game following his retirement. — AFP

Sammer sacked

BERLIN: VfB Stuttgart on Friday announced the sacking of their coach Matthias Sammer, who failed to lead the club into next season’s Champions League. Stuttgart finished fifth in the Bundesliga after a rally by Werder Bremen in the final stages of the league allowed the 2003/2004 champions to finish in third place ahead of Hertha Berlin. Following a meeting with Sammer, Erwin Staudt, the president of the club, said: “After our unsatisfactory end to the season we felt we needed to make some real changes. We want to start afresh.” — AFP