x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Transfer talk: Man Utd interested in Emilio Izaguirre

Celtic's Honduran international left-back says he is being targeted by the Premier League champions.

Aston Villa

Carlos Cuellar's return to Rangers could be in jeopardy after Ally McCoist said that the Scotland champions will not overpay for the Spanish defender.

McCoist, who has succeeded Walter Smith, said that the new director of football, Gordon Smith, has held talks with Villa over bringing Cuellar back to Ibrox but that the clubs have yet to agree a fee for him.

"Gordon Smith has been talking to Aston Villa about Carlos. I'm very keen for that deal to go through but I don't think we'd be going as far as £3 million to make it happen," McCoist said.

Manchester United

Emilio Izaguirre, the Celtic left-back, said he is being targeted by the Premier League champions. The 26-year-old Honduras international was a revelation last season after moving to Parkhead.

"Regarding possibilities, I prefer to stay silent as I did when Celtic signed me," he said. "This is a job of my agent. I have to confirm it's 100 per cent true that Manchester United were following me and were interested in me.

"It was Alex Ferguson directly who made contact with the Celtic directors. I am aware also that Manchester United and Celtic agreed for a meeting in July. We have to see what happens if I stay or I go.

"If I have the chance I welcome the move with open arms. If that is the case I will thank God and I will take my opportunity."

Updated: Neil Lennon will aim to convince Izaguirre to stay during the club's tour of Australia

Birmingham City

The relegated club have reacted angrily to reports suggesting that they interfered in the transfer policy of Alex McLeish, their former manager who controversially left St Andrew's to join Aston Villa.

"The club is disturbed and very concerned with the recent reporting by selective and, we believe, agenda-led reporters suggesting that the Birmingham City board had interfered with the previous manager in the transfer market."

The club statement added that players recommended by the board, like Ryan Babel, Peter Odemwingie, Jermaine Pennant and a Chinese player "for commercial reasons, didn't arrive as no approval was forthcoming from the manager".

The club said that Mousa Dembele chose not to join the club and that Charles N'Zogbia was passed over because of "his sudden demand for a last-minute increase in wages.

The statement continued: "In the case of Bobby Zamora, it was felt there had been quite a few injuries and anyway he signed a massive new contract at Fulham due to our approach."

Sunderland

Steve Bruce, the manager, is poised to make a significant transfer breakthrough as he closes in on the Birmingham City midfielder Craig Gardner.

Press Association Sport reported that Gardner, 24, is close to agreeing a move to the Black Cats in the wake of the Blues' relegation. Gardner, a lifelong City fan who began his career with derby rivals Aston Villa, has been in Bruce's sights for some time and the Black Cats registered their interest in him earlier this month.

Manchester City

The Abu Dhabi-owned club have appointed the former Blackburn Rovers chairman John Williams to their football operations department. Williams, who served the Ewood Park club for 13 years but departed shortly after the Venky's group completed their takeover, will join City on July 1.

Garry Cook, the City chief executive, told the club website: "John Williams is a hugely respected figure in the football world and I admire him greatly. Unsurprisingly, a number of organisations were keen to work with him and I was therefore delighted when he accepted my offer to join us."