Paul Lambert's Aston Villa summer spending limited to just £10million – INCLUDING wages

Shaun Botterill

Paul Lambert has been told he has a maximum of £10million to spend on strengthening Aston Villa’s squad this summer – and that includes wages and transfer fees,

Villa’s boss has been searching in the bargain basement for players after a host of targets proved to be out of the club’s financial reach.

And the parameters of his close-season recruitment drive with club owner Randy Lerner in America.

Lambert wanted to add Joleon Lescott, Lewis Holtby, and Javier Hernandez to Villa’s ranks but their wage demands proved beyond the Birmingham club who have had to settle instead for Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole.

Lambert has been able to offer both players £1m-a-year – but with the average salary in the top-flight now £3.2m, he is having his work cut out to attract talent.

West Brom outbid Villa for Lescott’s services and Cole admitted he took a big pay cut to join.

Meanwhile, the extent of Lerner’s disillusionment with Villa has extended to him stripping his luxury retreat near the club’s training ground.

The base that the multi-millionaire was using when he stayed in England has been cleared.

Lerner was hardly spotted at Villa Park last season. Lambert said that he had attended several matches but .

However, the American lawyer did not make himself available last December when Prince William visited for a goalless draw against Sunderland.

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Lionel Messi: Luis Suarez would be welcomed at Barcelona despite biting shame

Daily Mirror / Andy Stenning

Luis Suarez will be welcomed into the Barcelona fold by Lionel Messi after the Argentina superstar threw his considerable support behind a move for the disgraced Liverpool striker,

The La Liga giants are pressing ahead with their bid to land the Uruguayan despite the four-month ban from all football-related activities dished out to him by FIFA after .

And Messi is fully supportive of the move despite hoping his international team-mate, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, would be the big-name signing at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is understood to have spoken with Messi about a move for Suarez before he left for Brazil and sources close to the Catalan giants confirmed he is right behind it.

Liverpool did not want to sell their Footballer of the Year, but there is now a sense on Merseyside that it is time to move him on for both the player and the club.

Barcelona will offer Suarez a five-year deal which will contain behavioural clauses, with future indiscipline resulting in pay sanctions.

Rex

The Spanish outfit have also made it clear to Suarez that they will not press ahead with any attempts to sign him unless he issues a public apology for his third biting episode.

FIFA reacted swiftly and firmly when they handed Suarez yet another ban on top of those he received for sinking his teeth into PSV’s Otman Bakkal while he was an Ajax player, and then Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season.

Liverpool insist that reports of a meeting between representatives from Anfield and Suarez’s lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, are incorrect and that any talks – should they be scheduled – will take place between Ian Ayre and the forward’s agent.

They will hold firm on their stance that Suarez is not available for less than £80million, but Barca will try to negotiate that down.

Chile hitman Alexis Sanchez will also be offered as part of any deal.

New Barcelona coach Luis Enrique had identified the Uruguayan as his top target at the start of the summer and he has not changed his mind.

On Friday, Enrique met with Zubizarreta and president Jose Maria Bartomeu to

The striker’s actions have left Liverpool in an unenviable position and there is a begrudging acceptance that it is time to move him on.

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Luis Suarez bite: Brendan Rodgers was told striker was unstable by umbrella attack victim

The coach who gave Luis Suarez his big chance in Holland has revealed he warned Kop boss Brendan Rodgers the striker was unstable,

Ron Jans was manager at FC Groningen when the Dutch side bought Suarez for £600,000 in 2006 from his Uruguayan club Nacional.

And in just 12 months playing for Groningen Jans saw the two sides of Suarez – the talented player and the loose cannon with a hair-trigger temper.

Jans, now manager of Dutch Cup winners FC Zwolle, says he is “gutted” by the latest ­controversy surrounding .

And he was so stunned and hurt when Suarez bit Italian ­defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, he could hardly bear to watch the TV.

He said: “This really, really hurts me. I have massive respect for ­Suarez the player.

“I always have had, from the day we brought him from South America to Holland. Yet as much as I rate Suarez and as much as I have enjoyed working with him, .

Matthias Hangst

“I spoke to Brendan Rodgers about Luis and I did tell him the player could be erratic at times, but also that he was a great talent.”

As a teenager Suarez threw an umbrella at Jans after being ­substituted. But little did the Dutchman know that much worse would follow.

He added: “In the early days we had collisions at the training ground. He turned up in Holland thinking he could walk straight into the first team.

“He was the star striker, but I put him in the reserves. Why? Because he was doing nothing in training! He was not fit and I told him. He hated that, but he did get the message.

“One day I substituted him – it was raining and he grabbed an umbrella and threw it at me in temper.

“Of course, players have ­tantrums, you can take all that. But biting? That’s disgusting.’’

Jans knows Suarez as well as anyone after taking him under his wing straight from a tough ­upbringing in Montevideo.

The 56-year-old coach stood behind Suarez years after the striker first bit Otman Bakkal playing for PSV Eindhoven against Ajax in 2010.

He continued to believe in Suarez when he repeated the offence against Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April last year.

Jans said: “I am biased in this case, because I still like and care for Luis Suarez. He is a nice boy, honestly.

“But even I admit that he needed to be punished for this. If FIFA had not acted on this, it would have given total freedom to every player to do whatever they want on a football pitch.”

As well as a coach, Jans used to be a ­college teacher used to handling young people with behaviour problems.

But he admits he struggles trying to understand Suarez – “He needs help,” he said. “I think even Luis does not understand his own actions.”

Jans fears the latest biting incident on the world’s biggest ­football stage – and Suarez’s ridiculous denials – will have a massive impact on the life and future of the player.

He said: “Even when he plays in four months time so people will still ­remind him of this biting. That is the sad side for him.

“But it is up to Luis now. Only he has the key for his own behaviour problems.’’

 

Javier Hernandez aims to wow Louis van Gaal – by knocking him out of the World Cup

Lars Baron – FIFA

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez hopes to impress new boss Louis van Gaal – by knocking him out of the World Cup.

will come up against his manager-to-be in the tie with the Netherlands in Fortaleza and he has a point to prove after a difficult season at Old Trafford.

Chicharito started just six Premier League games in a frustrating campaign under David Moyes and his relief at finally scoring again spilled over into tears of joy when against Croatia last week.

“This whole year has been very tough,” said Hernandez.

“Players need confidence, more than anything else and I’ve been very short of it. Very few people have shown faith in me over this past year.”

But Hernandez remains determined to bounce back from his Moyes snub, and that begins with a win against the Dutch.

“We have to stay very calm, very humble and not get carried away,” he said.

“This is just one more step forward. If we want to make history we have to beat the Netherlands”

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Luis Suarez 'fell': The funniest and most outrageous sporting excuses of all time

Matthias Hangst

Luis Suarez says he didn’t bite Giorgio Chiellini – he FELL.

Despite copious video footage and plenty of evidence to the contrary

But, much like him,

He’s not the first sports star to try it on though – here’s a selection of some of the best ones.

Darts player Mervyn King said the air conditioning was at fault for his loss to Raymond Barneveld in 2003. He said it was effecting his throwing despite the fact it was turned off throughout the match.

Ronnie O’Sullivan once blamed a streaker for him losing seven straight frames against Steve Davis and losing the match. Ok then…

Sara Carbonero was blamed for Spain’s loss to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup for distracting boyfriend Iker Casillas by standing behind the goal.

Claudio Villa /  

Sri Lanka said their 2001 ICC Champions Trophy loss was because … their clothes were too tight.

Richard Gasquet laughed off a positive cocaine test by suggesting it was from a woman he kissed in a nightclub. Remarkably officials believed him!

Baseball player Jeff Kent claimed he broke his wrist washing his car. He’d actually been doing wheelies on his motorbike but shhhhhh.

Figure skater Johnny Weir blamed his lack of inner peace for his failure to arrive on time at the 2006 Winter Olympic games. "I never felt comfortable in this building. I didn’t feel my inner peace. I didn’t feel my aura," he said.

Shane Warne said diet pills were to blame for a positive drug test. The Australian leg spinner wanted to look less fat on TV – no jokes in the back!

The All Blacks took their 1995 World Cup loss to South Africawell blaming a waitress for poisoning their water before the final.

 

Another drug denial courtesy of Justin Gatlin . The US sprinter claimed a masseuse put testosterone cream on his legs without him knowing. Pull the other testosterone covered leg pal…

Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde said his 35 thrown interceptions in his rookie year was down to colour-blindness. To be fair to be him that would explain why he kept throwing it to the other team…

Michael Ballack claimed that he couldn’t pay a speeding fine because he had received no income after retiring from football. Yes that’s Michael "£120,000-per-week" Ballack. Hmmm.

Zambian tennis player Lighton Ndefwayi said his jockstrap was too tight in his match with Musumba Bwayla. He also said his opponent farted too often.

Manchester United. Grey kit. You know the rest.

Pre-season friendlies: Premier League 2014-15

The Premier League season is little more than six weeks away now and clubs are getting ready to begin their pre-season preparations.

The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are busy finalising their plans ahead of the new campaign, which gets underway on August 16.

Clubs will be busy warming up with friendlies, pre-season tournaments and the now-customary pre-season tours to far-flung destinations across the globe.

And of course, as supporters, you’ll want to know exactly where your team is heading ahead of the big kick-off.

Well look no further as has got you covered, with all the current confirmed friendlies, according to club’s official websites:

(All times BST unless specified)

26 July New York Red Bulls (A), 5pm local time, New Jersey, USA

Emirates Cup

2 August Benfica (H), 4.20pm, Emirates Stadium

3 August Monaco (H), 4.20pm, Emirates Stadium

Community Shield

10 August Manchester City (N), 3pm, Wembley Stadium

17 July Mansfield Town (A), 7.45pm, Field Mill

23 July Dallas (A), 8pm local time, Dallas, USA

26 July Houston Dynamo (A), 8pm local time, Houston, USA

30 July Chesterfield (A), 7.45pm, Proact Stadium

2 August FC Groningen (A), 5pm local time, The Euroborg

9 August Parma (H), 3pm, Villa Park

20 July Grossklein (A), 5pm, Grossklein, Austria

26 July Accrington Stanley (A), 3pm, Store First Stadium

29 July Preston North End (A), 7.45pm, Deepdale

2 August Blackpool (A), 3pm, Bloomfield Road

5 August Celta Vigo (H), 7.30pm

23 July RZ Pellets WAC (A), 7.30pm local time, Klagenfurt, Austria

27 July NK Olimpika Ljubljana (A), Kick-off TBC, Ljubljana, Slovenia

30 July Vitesse Arnhem (A), 7.30pm local time, Arnhem Stadium, Netherlands

3 August Werder Bremen (A), Kick-off TBC, Wesser Stadium, Germany

10 August Ferencvaros (A), Kick-off 7.45pm, Albert Florian Stadium, Budapest, Hungary

Action Images

16 July GAK Graz (N), 7pm, Kalsdorf, Austria

23 July Columbus Crew (A), Kick-off TBC, Ohio, USA

25 July Philadelphia Union (A), Kick-off TBC, Pennsylvania, USA

28 July Richmond Kickers (A), Kick-off TBC, Richmond, USA

2 August Brentford (A), 3pm, Griffin Park

22 July Tranmere Rovers (A), 7.45pm

27 July Leicester City (N), midday, Bangkok, Thailand

3 August Porto (H), 4pm (Leon Osman testimonial)

21 July North Ferriby United (A), 7.30pm, EON Visual Media Stadium

21 July Harrogate Town (A), 7.30pm, CNG Stadium

23 July York City (A), 7:30pm, Bootham Crescent

26 July Barnsley (A), 3pm, Oakwell

22 July Ilkeston (A), 7.30pm, New Manor Ground

27 July Everton (N), midday, Bangkok, Thailand

30 July Walsall (A), 7.30pm, Bescot Stadium

2 August Preston North End (A), 3pm, Deepdale

4 August Milton Keynes Dons (A), 7.45pm, Stadium MK

5 August Rotherham United (A), 7.45pm, New York Stadium

9 August Werder Bremen (H), 3pm, King Power Stadium

16 July Brondby (A), 6pm local time, Brondby, Denmark

19 July Preston North End (A), 3pm, Deepdale

23 July Roma (N), 7.30pm EST, Boston, USA

Guinness International Champions Cup

27 July Olympiacos (N), 5pm CST, Chicago, USA

30 July Manchester City (N), 7pm EST, New York, USA

2 August AC Milan (N), 6.30pm EST, Charlotte, USA

4 August TBC (If they reach the final), TBC, Miami, USA

10 August: Borussia Dortmund (H), 12:15pm, Anfield

Andrew Powell

13 July Dundee (A), 4pm, Dens Park

18 July Heart of Midlothian (A), Kick-off TBC, Tynecastle

23 July Sporting Kansas (A), 8pm local time, Kansas, USA

Guinness International Champions Cup

27 July AC Milan (N), 4pm EST, Heinz Field, USA

30 July Liverpool (N), 7pm EST, New York, USA

2 August Olympiacos (N), 2pm CST, TCF Bank Stadium, USA

4 August TBC (If they reach the final), TBC, Miami, USA

Community Shield

10 August Arsenal (N), 3pm, Wembley Stadium

Chevrolet FC Cup

23 July Los Angeles Galaxy (N), Kick-off TBC, Pasadena, USA

Guinness International Champions Cup

26 July Roma (N), Kick-off TBC, Denver, USA

29 July Inter Milan (N), Kick-off TBC, Washington DC, USA

2 August Real Madrid (N), Kick-off TBC, Ann Arbor, USA

4 August TBC (Final), TBC, Miami, USA

15 July Oldham Athletic (A), 7.30pm, Boundary Park

22 July Sydney (N), 7.30pm local time, Dunedin, New Zealand

26 July Wellington Pheonix (A), 4.30pm local time, Wellington, New Zealand

30 July Sheffield Wednesday (A), 7.45pm, Hillsborough

Schalke 04 Cup

2 August Malaga (N), 5.30pm, Veltins-Arena, Germany

3 August Schalke 04 (A), 7.30pm, Veltins-Arena, Germany

10 August Real Sociedad (H), 1.30pm, St James’ Park

22 July Rot Weiss Erfurt (A), 7.30pm local time, Thuringia, Germany

26 July RasenBallsport Leipzig (A), 2.30pm local time, Cottbuss, Germany

29 July Leyton Orient (A), 7.45pm, Matchroom Stadium

30 July Southend United (A), 7.45pm, Roots Hall

2 August Shamrock Rovers (A), 3pm, Tallaght Stadium, Republic of Ireland

4 August Athlone Town (A), 6pm, TBC, Republic of Ireland

9 August PAOK (H), 3pm, Loftus Road

21 July Swindon Town (A), 7.30pm, County Ground

25 July Bournemouth (A), 7.45pm, Goldsands Stadium

31 July Brighton & Hove Albion (A), 7.45pm, AMEX Stadium

9 August Bayer Leverkusen (H), 5pm, St Mary’s Stadium

20 July Borussia Monchengladbach (A), 4pm, Rottach-Egern, Germany

26 July 1860 Munich (A), 5pm, Munich, Germany

29 July Schalke 04 (N), 7pm, Kufstein, Austria

9 August Freiburg (A), 5.30pm, Freiburg, Germany

Paul Gilham

19 July Darlington 1883 (A), 3pm, Heritage Park

22 July Carlisle United (A), 7.30pm, Brunton Park

23 July Hartlepool (A), 7.30pm, Victoria Park

16 July Chivas Guadalajara (N), 8pm local time, Milwaukee, USA

19 July Minnesota United (N), 7pm local time, Blaine, USA

27 July Plymouth Argyle (A), 5pm, Home Park

29 July Exeter City (A), 7:15pm, St James’ Park, Exeter

1 August Bournemouth (A), 7:30pm, Goldsands Stadium

2 August Reading (A), 3pm, Madejski Stadium

9 August Villarreal (H), 3pm, Liberty Stadium

19 July Seattle Sounders (A), 9pm, CenturyLink Field, USA

21 July Toronto (A),  midnight, BMO Field, Canada

27 July Chicago Fire (A), 1am, Toyota Park, USA

2 August Celtic (N), 2.30pm, Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Finland

9 August Schalke 04 (H), 5.30pm, White Hart Lane

12 July Bury (N), midday, Great Barr Training Base.

21 July Sacramento Republic (A), 7.30pm local time, Sacramento, US.

25 July Sacramento Republic (A), 7.30pm local time, Sacramento, US.

2 August Nottingham Forest (A), 1:30pm, City Ground

5 August Port Vale (A), 7.45pm, Vale Park

9 August Porto (H), 4pm

23 July Wellington Pheonix (N), 7.30pm local time, Auckland, New Zealand

26 July Sydney (N), 2pm local time, Wellington, New Zealand

Schalke 04 Cup

2 August Schalke 04 (A), 5:30pm local time, Veltins-Arena, Germany

3 August Malaga (N), 3:30pm local time, Veltins-Arena, Germany

9 August Sampdoria (H), 3pm, Boleyn Ground

When is Liverpool's first pre-season fixture? All you need to know ahead of the 2014-15 season

PA

Liverpool went so close to the Premier League title on 2013-14 and in the new season they’ll be looking to go one better.

Key to how get on will no doubt be how they manage to with European commitments.

And they’ll also want to make a similar start to the new term as they did last year, when they claimed 1-0 wins in all three of their opening Premier League matches.

As such will be hoping to get his side fully up-and-running and prepared for the tasks ahead during pre-season.

That gets underway with a trip to Denmark to face Brondby in the middle of July, and here’s all the information you’ll need:

When it it?

get their pre-season underway with this fixture on July 16.

Who are Brondby?

Brondby IF – short for Brondbyernes Idratsforening – are the biggest club in Denmark.

The Boys from Western outskirts, they were founded in 1964 when two local clubs merged.

After joining the Danish top-flight in 1981, they have claimed 10 national titles and six Danish Cups.

However, they haven’t won the championship since 2004-05, and last year finished in fourth place – good enough to secure a Europa League spot.

Where is it being played?

The game will take place at the 29,000 capacity Brondby Stadium, situated in Greater Copenhagen.

Referred to as Vilfort Park by home supporters, it was originally built in 1965 but was renovated at the turn of the Millennium.

Manager and Key players?

Current Brondby coach is Thomas Frank. The 40-year-old has coached a number of youth sides in the past – including the Danish U17 and U19 sides, but Brondby were his first post as a first-team boss.

He won 13 of 34 league games last season, losing just eight.

There are a couple of well-known players in the Brondby squad, most notably Sweden striker Johan Elmander, who has signed on a permanent deal this summer after leaving Norwich – where he was on loan last season from Fenerbahce.

Khalid Boulahrouz is also on the payroll, as well ex-WBA defender Martin Albrechtsen.

Perhaps their most important player is six-cap Danish international striker Simon Makienok, who scored 13 goals in 25 games last season.

Where will they be heading after?

Following the clash with the Danish side, the Reds return home to take on Preston North End at Deepdale on July 19.

Then they’ll be jetting off to the United States, where they’ll meet the likes of Roma, Olympiacos, Manchester City and AC Milan.

Full Listings

16 July  Brondby (A), 6pm local time, Brondby, Denmark

19 July  Preston North End (A), 3pm, Deepdale

23 July  Roma (N), 7.30pm EST, Boston, USA

Guinness International Champions Cup

27 July  Olympiacos (N), 5pm CST, Chicago, USA

30 July  Manchester City (N), 7pm EST, New York, USA

2 August  AC Milan (N), 6.30pm EST, Charlotte, USA

4 August  TBC (If they reach the final), TBC, Miami, USA

10 August:  Borussia Dortmund (H), 12:15pm, Anfield

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