Xavi praises Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic joined Paris St Germain last month in a deal that saw him leave AC Milan, and his new club face Barca in a friendly in the French capital on Saturday.

Xavi, a three-time UEFA Champions League winner, believes the signing of the Sweden international is a move that can propel PSG to European success in the future.

“PSG are a very good side, they have signed some top level players like Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to add to the good players that were already there,” said the 32-year-old midfielder.

“They are another candidate for the Champions League. They have set themselves the objective of winning the Champions League in the short to medium term and they have the financial means.”

Top level

Xavi knows Ibrahimovic from the striker’s season with the Catalan club in 2009-10.

Although the 30-year-old target-man endured a difficult relationship with coach Pep Guardiola, he did find the net 21 times and Xavi has only positive words.

“He is a great signing,” said the Spaniard. “He performed fantastically for us and he is a top level player.

“He can bring a lot to them, and is the signing they needed to go on and win the French title.

“I don’t think he had a disappointing season (at Barcelona in 2009-10).

“We won La Liga and got to the semi-finals of the Champions League, he scored important goals and we had a good understanding with him on the pitch and in the dressing room.

“He only stayed one year but he didn’t leave behind a bad image.”

Pereira could leave Porto

The Uruguay international is under contract with Porto until the summer of 2016 and is valued at around €30million (£23.8m).

However, he has reportedly attracted the interest of a number of leading European clubs, including Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

Paris St Germain, Napoli and Juventus have also been linked with the 26-year-old, whose representative believes a departure from Porto could happen.

Flavio Perchmen told Antena 1: “I spoke with Alvaro last week and he is calm. We are waiting to find out if there is any offer.

“We think everything will go well and that he can leave the club, but right now we do not have any concrete offer.”

Sakho not for sale

Sakho has also been linked with a move to England and to Serie A giants AC Milan since the summer transfer window opened.

Thiago Silva’s arrival at Parc des Prince has sparked the rumours, with it felt that the 22-year-old may be forced down the pecking order.

It has been suggested that he could be the ideal candidate to replace Silva in Milan, with the Rossoneri in the market for a new centre-half.

Lyon are also looking to bolster their ranks and have enquired as to the availability of Sakho and midfielder Clement Chantome.


It is, however, unlikely that PSG will be agreeing to part with two academy products any time soon.

“Chantome and Sakho are two players that are very difficult to get because they were educated at the club,” Bernard Lacombe, advisor to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, told belNSport.

“PSG are forced to register four players educated by the club in the Champions League. So they will not part with them.

“PSG replied ‘no’ to us both on sport and administrative levels.”

'Mercenary' jibes anger Silva

The defender looked to be staying at AC Milan after they rejected a bid from PSG and he promptly pledged his future to boss Massimiliano Allegri by signing a new five-year deal at the club.

But the Brazilian ended his three-year stay at the Italian club when he followed Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of the door at the San Siro soon afterwards.

The pair headed for Paris in a combined deal worth €65 million and sparked fury amongst the fans who have seen a number of high-profile stars leave the club this summer.

But Silva insists he was forced out and it is the club chiefs that decided to cash in on him after resurrecting the deal with PSG director Leonardo.

“I had made it very clear that I wanted to stay until the end of my contract, Silva told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I also extended with AC Milan until 2016 and I was happy.

Financial difficulties

“Then things changed again. Leonardo called me and told me negotiations were reopened and that they wanted me.

“I was a bit confused, but I knew that AC Milan had financial difficulties and it would be very hard to stay – if it were not for this I would still be there.

“I am not a mercenary, Milan was my home. On the other hand they made a lot of money on the deal. AC Milan paid €10million for me and sold me for €42million.

“It is true that Milan have lost some quality. They have also lost leading figures such as [Clarence] Seedorf, [Filippo] Inzaghi, and [Gennaro] Gattuso.

“Milan will have to rebuild the team. It will not be easy, but Allegri is an intelligent coach who will find solutions.”

Ajax closing on Sana

The 23-year-old will travel to Amsterdam for a medical at the Eredivisie club before putting pen to paper on a deal.

His agent, Anders Karlsson, told Fotbolldirekt: “There is a verbal agreement, then he will pass a medical.”

Meanwhile, the Dutch champions have also captured 19-year-old midfielder Ilan Boccara from the Paris St Germain academy.

No regrets

The young Dutchman has signed his first professional contract with Ajax and is hoping for some playing time.

“I have no regrets about leaving,” Boccara told L’Equipe. “I spent six beautiful years at PSG, but I need to play.

“PSG and Ajax are two extremes. At PSG there are lots of stars now, while Ajax has always trusted its young players.

“At PSG I knew I would not play with the professionals. At Ajax, if I am good, I will get opportunities.”