RVP not interested in rest
Sun, 17 Feb 2013 09:07:00
Borussia Dortmund's general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke has told Bayern Munich to come clean about their interest in Robert Lewandowski.
Several German newspapers and television channels have claimed a deal has already been struck between Lewandowski and Bayern, and that the transfer will be announced after the two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal later this month.
Both sides have rubbished the reports, Dortmund more vehemently than Bayern, leading Watzke to demand Bayern make their intentions clear.
"The whole issue is really getting on my nerves," he said. "There are two scenarios: the first is that Bayern have no interest in Robert, in which case it's all a load of rubbish.
"The other scenario is that they are interested, and then they have got to lift their cover at some stage and come to us with an enquiry.
"Bayern are usually correct and if they have any interest in a player, they will make contact.
"When they do that, they will get an answer. Maybe that would even surprise them, but as long as they carry on saying they have no interest or for as long as they don't do anything, then we don't care.
"Robert is playing here, playing very well too, and there is nothing more to say."
Lewandowski's contract with Dortmund still has 18 months left to run on it, but Watzke is starting to accept that he does not want to extend that deal and that there could indeed be something behind the speculation.
"He has had the chance (to extend) and we have got to be realistic and if he has not taken that chance up to now, then the probability of him doing so is not getting any higher," he told Sky television.
"But that has nothing to do with whether he plays for us next season or not.
"That is entirely dependent on us, considering the contractual situation, which is why we are pretty relaxed about the whole thing."
Bayern, for their part, have tried to ignore the issue this weekend with their director of sport Matthias Sammer saying he has nothing to add on the subject.
"We've not said anything about it in the past and we are not going to say anything now, and not tomorrow either," he said.
"There is absolutely nothing to say about the issue from our side. I have said what I wanted to say and what had to be said."
With Liverpool set to miss out on Champions League qualification for a fourth successive season, Rodgers knows the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Agger will be targets for other clubs come the summer.
But the 40-year-old, while admitting he is prepared to ward off interest, says it is part and parcel for any club.
Rodgers said: "Even clubs that have won the league are faced with having to keep hold of their players.
"So there's always going to be speculation about players here and we expect that to happen again.
"I am a realist. We've got some outstanding players here who other clubs will show interest in but I can only speak from my experience of working with the players here and I think they are all happy.
"Last summer was a pivotal time. A lot of players could have left and we did lose a lot of experience when Maxi Rodriguez and Craig Bellamy left.
"But the rest of them decided to stay and some even signed new deals. They all seem happy. They seem to want to be here as we move the club forward."
The 32-year-old was an unused substitute in the 1-0 Europa League last-32 first leg win over Sparta Prague on Thursday, despite being available again following a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.
Terry has made two starts and one substitute appearance under Benitez, having been injured at Liverpool prior to the Spaniard's appointment, and the interim boss will only select the former England captain if he can train fully.
"He has to train normally three, four training sessions to be ready for the games," said Benitez, who has named Terry on the bench without using him five times.
"Then if the others are playing well he has to compete (for selection)."
Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic were deployed in central defence in Prague, with Terry warming up frequently on a sub-zero evening in the Czech capital.
A fierce competitor such as Terry would be keen to play in any game, but managing his fitness and not his character is Benitez's concern.
"The main thing is the knee," Benitez said.
"If he's fine, after we have to manage the other things. The main thing is if he can train every day he can be ready for every game. After we will see.
"The good thing is we have now Cahill and Ivanovic playing well and also David Luiz as an option.
"We now have four options at centre back. We have Terry, David, any of them they can complement (each other) really well.
"If everything is fine, they have to compete. If something is wrong we have different options.
"All the players, they know, that at this level when you play so many games you have to train and you have to keep fit.
"It's not a question of 'no, I can carry on and play' and after not train. Everybody knows they have to compete and everybody knows we have good players now."
The Brentford clash will be FA Cup holders Chelsea's 45th game of the season, meaning squad rotation is a must.
As well as Terry and Ashley Cole, who was also an unused substitute on Thursday night, Luiz, Demba Ba, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are poised to return.
Griffin Park at the end of January might have come as a shock to some of Chelsea's most cultured players, with a 2-2 draw the result, but Benitez believes it gave them a flavour of the uniqueness of the FA Cup.
Benitez, who lifted the trophy with Liverpool in 2006, said: "The atmosphere was quite good for the local team. I'm sure they (the Chelsea players) were impressed and hopefully they will be ready when we play at home and the atmosphere has to be good for us.
"Because we have seen them we know now what we can expect. I think that it will not be a surprise for anyone.
"In a cup competition that you know you cannot make mistakes. It's important to be sure that you approach the game without any complacency.
"From the first minute you have to concentrate and do the right things."
With the second leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid to come and a Premier League title within their grasp, the Dutchman could be forgiven for hoping for a day off on Monday when United face Reading in the FA Cup.
But that is not the way the 29-year-old sees it.
"I have found out that when you play for Manchester United, every game is a big game," he said.
"There are some extra-special matches - like when you play City or Liverpool in the Premier League and Real Madrid in the Champions League - but the so-called smaller games are important also because winning those games makes you champions.
"Personally, I love to play all of the games.
"You get into a rhythm. I get used to having a game every three days and when you don't play for a week, it can take maybe 10 or 15 minutes to get your rhythm back.
"I want to play against Reading. I want to keep going, playing all of the games.
"I love the intensity of playing for United. It is great to be involved in huge games when you don't know what is going to happen.
"You get more out of it when there is a thin line between winning and losing.
"I love the buzz, the drama, the excitement. I live for that. I can't imagine the day when I have to stop playing. I know I will miss the buzz so much."
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