x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hughes denies any wrongdoing in Terry saga

Amid accusations of an illegal approach for the Chelsea captain John Terry, the Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has put the blame at the feet of their Premier League rivals.

Manchester City want to sign Chelsea captain John Terry.
Manchester City want to sign Chelsea captain John Terry.

Amid accusations of an illegal approach for the Chelsea captain John Terry, the Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has put the blame at the feet of their Premier League rivals. City remain keen on luring the defender to Eastlands, with a record English transfer mooted. A £30 million (Dh180m) offer has already been rejected by Chelsea and reports about the player being "tapped-up" followed as Hughes told of City's interest and his admiration for the player.

But he is unperturbed about any possible action from the Premier League, claiming they have done nothing wrong. Hughes said: "We put in a bid for the player and we did not advertise the fact. We did not make a big play about it and kept it under the radar. Chelsea obviously wanted it to be in the public domain. "I have been asked about John Terry afterwards and have responded. There is no issue or basis to report me or Manchester City."

Roque Santa Cruz, one of City's new signings, has no doubt they can succeed in their bid to cut it with the league's best. "Totally," he said. "It's up to the players and staff. If everyone stays focused there is no reason why we cannot be one of the best ones here." As he builds up his fitness following knee trouble last season, Santa Cruz will miss tonight's second game of the club's South African tour, where they face the Kaizer Chiefs in the Vodacom Challenge. Carlos Tevez will also be sidelined, but Gareth Barry will make his debut.

Xabi Alonso joined up with the Liverpool squad on Sunday night for their Far East tour with his future at the club still uncertain. The midfielder met boss Rafael Benitez and the Anfield squad in Vienna - after getting married in Spain - following weeks of speculation that he was about to join Real Madrid. Alonso - who as yet has not formally asked for a transfer - has spoken for the first time about his future. Alonso told AS: "It is always a great feeling when Madrid want you. But at this point, whether or not that can happen is not up to me. It's a matter that involves three parties. I do not like to force the issue."

Michael Owen was on the mark again as Manchester United wrapped up the Malaysian leg of their Far East tour with a 2-0 win over a Malaysia XI. Fulham striker Bobby Zamora will start talks with Hull City today over a £5million move. akhan@thenational.ae