Robben refusing to believe title hype

The Netherlands international has urged his team-mates not to get carried away – despite sitting 13 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga

Arjen Robben has insisted that Bayern Munich are not yet certain of retaining their Bundesliga crown, despite restoring their 13-point lead at the top of the division.

The Bavarians beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on Sunday, which leaves Pep Guardiola’s side way out in front of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and odds-on favourites to win the division again.

Nevertheless, Robben has warned his team-mates not to get carried away and is wary of teams raising their performance levels against Bayern in a bid to pull off a major scalp.

Everyone wants to beat the leaders, the champions,” the Dutchman was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“Therefore, it is crucial that we remain focused.

“No-one’s going to give us anything for free.”

Robben has been in sublime form for Bayern this term, scoring seven goals in 14 Bundesliga appearances so far.

From Pirlo to Vidic, Diego to Valdes – the summer destinations for players with expiring contracts

With another transfer window over, the world’s biggest clubs will now focus their minds on securing those players whose contracts are up for renewal

SPECIAL REPORT
By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

With the transfer window slamming shut for another season, many clubs are already looking forward to a potentially frantic summer of activity.

And while much of the work regarding incoming deals cannot yet be set in motion, movements pertaining to the host of players with expiring contracts can be made at this early stage.

Ever since the Bosman ruling of 1995, clubs of all levels have had their fingers burnt by the loss of valuable players on free transfers due to the failure to promptly renegotiate contracts, and this summer could yet see a whole host of big names find new employment without their parent club receiving a cent.

Andrea Pirlo, Victor Valdes and Nemanja Vidic are just three of the star players who could be on the move come July, with the recent announcement that Robert Lewandowski will leave Borussia Dortmund for Bayern Munich come the season’s end proving that the Bosman ruling remains a very powerful tool for the world’s biggest clubs.

Ahead of a summer which could bring unprecedented levels of high-profile free transfers, Goal looks at the array of top players across Europe who could be on the move, giving the current state of play for each.



Three pillars of Chelsea’s recent history are all facing uncertain times. Blues boss Jose Mourinho is keen to keep Ashley Cole for at least one more year, but at a significantly reduced rate to his current £150,000 a-week deal. The player himself wants to stay, but knows he will have a lot of offers in the summer. Team-mate Frank Lampard understands his days are numbered, even if Mourinho would like him to stay too. Interest from the MLS may persuade the midfielder to seek out more game time.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are likely to have to match John Terry‘s current £150,000 weekly salary if he is to sign a new deal. Of the trio, it is the club captain Mourinho most wants to retain, meaning the club may make extra allowances to broker a deal. Samuel Eto’o may have only signed a one-year contract as a back-up player last summer, but the Cameroonian could well re-sign as a reserve to a big-name summer purchase with Fernando Torres and Demba Ba both potential departees.

Patrice Evra appears a nailed-on summer mover in light of Manchester United’s exhaustive search for a new left-back, with Monaco having long since declared an admiration for the Frenchman. Another defender set to move on is Rio Ferdinand, who has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Ryan Giggs‘ future will be decided close to this season’s end, with his form and fitness dictating his next step. Whether he continues playing or not, he will almost certainly stay on at United as a coach. Nemanja Vidic‘s agent has already stated he is unlikely to sign a new deal, with AC Milan admirers.

Younes Kaboul‘s Tottenham future will be decided depending on his form in the remainder of the season after returning from his latest injury absence, while Bacary Sagna has been in talks to extend his contract with Arsenal, though no deal has yet been agreed. Joleon Lescott looks set to take his chances in the summer after failing to secure a move away from Manchester City during the January window.

Andrea Pirlo is easily the most high-profile player with an expiring contract in Italy, but the Italy star has verbally agreed a two-year extension with Juventus with an announcement set to be made in February. The Bianconeri‘s only other key decision pertains to Marco Storari, who is highly likely to be kept on as Gianluigi Buffon’s deputy.

Massimo Ambrosini and David Pizarro will have their situations at Fiorentina assessed at the end of the season, with Ambrosini likely to retire if no new deal is offered. The Chilean, though, would be eager to find a deal elsewhere should the Viola not want to extend his stay.

Inter have a phenomenal eight players who could leave on free transfers this summer, including some club legends. As revealed by Goal recently, Diego Milito, Walter Samuel and Cristian Chivu are all set to leave, with club captain Javier Zanetti and vice-skipper Esteban Cambiasso also potentially exiting.

Coach Walter Mazzarri and new owner Erick Thohir are to meet later in the season to discuss Zanetti and Cambiasso, but a decision has already been made on the former trio joining Luca Castellazzi, Macdonald Mariga and Gaby Mudingayi on the way out of the club.

Lazio look likely to lose Miroslav Klose on a free transfer, with teams in both the Premier League and the Bundesliga showing significant interest regarding a summer approach. Over at Milanello, Christian Abbiati could stay on as a back-up keeper, with retirement the only alternative the Italian would consider if Milan are not forthcoming with a deal. Urby Emanuelson could also be kept on, but the Dutchman is due to begin talks in the coming days which will give a clearer indication as to where he sits in the club’s plans.

Napoli will only discuss the future of Anthony Reveillere come the end of the season, with the recent signing still having some convincing to do. It is believed that any departure for Rafa Benitez will almost certainly mean the end of the Frenchman’s stay in Naples. Luca Antonelli is only five months from the end of his contract at Genoa, but the club are thought to want to sign him onto a longer deal before June 30.

Barcelona are set to face a major shake-up at the back this summer, with long-term number one Victor Valdes having already announced his intention to leave the club when his contract ends in June. Back-up shot-stopper Jose Pinto also has an expiring deal, but he could well decide to extend his stay once the current season is over. Defender Martin Montoya looks likely to sign a new contract, but there is still no official news on his future with Dani Alves cornering the right-back role at present.

Joint-leaders Atletico Madrid have a couple of decisions on their hands too, with Raul Garcia likely to sign a contract extension in the coming weeks, with the midfielder having already stated that both he and the club are happy to continue their partnership. Tiago Mendes could well leave as a free agent this summer though, having fallen way down the pecking order at the Vicente Calderon.

Mateo Musacchio may leave Villarreal, with his agent having recently claimed him to be worth €20 million. At Malaga, there could be exits on the cards for Carlos Kameni and Eliseu, with both enduring a downturn in form of late and no news coming from La Rosaleda regarding contract offers.

Meanwhile, Salva Sevilla‘s future will be decided only when Real Betis’ relegation battle has been fought. Relegation will almost certainly result in a move for the midfielder.

While Robert Lewandowski has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich, there are plenty of other potential free transfers to come in Germany. He is likely to be followed out of Signal Iduna Park by Manuel Friedrich, who has failed to impress since being recruited as short-term injury cover.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Kehl is likely to stay on, with both the midfielder and sporting director Michael Zorc having spoken of their desire to extend his current deal. He will also be considered key to the future if Ilkay Gundogan is sold in the summer. Oliver Kirch, however, is highly likely to exit the club.

Daniel van Buyten and Claudio Pizarro may miss out on the chance to line up with Lewandowski at Bayern, with the duo’s futures set to be decided at the last minute according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. West Ham are reportedly interested in the centre-back and Besiktas have been linked with Pizarro, although the Peruvian has stated repeatedly that he wants to end his career at the Allianz Arena.

Borussia Monchengladbach are likely to renew Martin Stranzl‘s deal, while Juan Arango wants to stay but could find himself heading out of the Bundesliga altogether. Hannover striker Mame Diouf has allegedly turned down offers to renew but the club refused to sell him in the winter. Cardiff and Stoke are among the interested parties, with the Premier League likely to be his destination come July.

Hoffenheim want Andreas Beck to renew but the right-back says he would like to play in another league, while Sebastian Rudy is on the verge of signing a new deal until 2017. Schalke have announced that Timo Hildebrand will not be offered a new contract, which could result in the former Germany goalkeeper retiring from the game.

A decision on Cacau‘s future at Stuttgart will be made late in the day due to his latest injury concerns, while Arthur Boka is yet to renew and has no clear option elsewhere. Werder Bremen are keen to keep Aaron Hunt, but the club need to keep a close eye on the purse strings and there is interest from Dinamo Moscow, Besiktas and clubs in England. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg’s Ivica Olic is set for a year in Dubai or the USA, although there is also interest from Hamburg.

Didier Drogba is among the high-profile Bosman eligible players elsewhere, with no new deal yet agreed with Galatasaray. Santos showed an interest in the Ivorian in January, but found his wages to be out of their budget. Another ex-Premier League star is approaching a loose end too, as Eduardo‘s contract with Shakhtar Donetsk is set to expire. The Croatian has said he’d be happy to return to Arsenal, with the Ukrainian club unlikely to offer him a renewal.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain look set to extend Blaise Matuidi‘s contract, while Jeremy Menez ruled out a January transfer in favour of attempting to persuade les Parisiens to keep him at the club beyond June.

In the Netherlands, Christian Poulsen is almost certain to leave Ajax after losing his place to Daley Blind in the first team, while Otman Bakkal‘s second spell with Feyenoord is also likely to end in June following his struggle for first team football this term.

Japan international Mike Havenaar could follow Wilfried Bony in leaving Vitesse. After replacing the Swansea man as first-choice striker in Arnhem, Havenaar has yet to agree a new deal and could well be set to look for gainful employment elsewhere as a result. Team-mate Davy Propper could leave after impressing this term, while Roberto Rosales has been talking up the possibility of him departing Twente in July, with clubs in both La Liga and the Premier League closely monitoring his situation.

Porto’s Jorge Fucile might well have stayed put amidst much speculation about a potential move to Serie A on deadline day, but he could still leave the Portuguese giants come the summer, with still no extension looking likely. Igor Akinfeev remains surprisingly short of offers, including from current club CSKA Moscow, despite his contract being five months away from expiry, while over at Zenit, Roman Shirokov has yet to reach an agreement over a new deal.

Guardiola: Frankfurt game Bayern's best performance

The Spaniard was very happy with his side’s display and feels they were in control for the full 90 minutes of the match

Pep Guardiola feels Bayern Munich’s 5-0 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt was their best performance at the Allianz Arena so far this season.

Goals from Mario Gotze and Franck Ribery helped the Bavarians to a two-goal lead at half-time before Arjen Robben, Dante and Mario Mandzukic piled even more misery on the guests after the break.

“This was our best home game so far this season. I am very satisfied. My players put in a great performance and I can only congratulate them. We made a good step forward,” Guardiola said at a press conference.

“We were in control the entire game and enjoyed a lot of possession. We succeeded in getting our special attackers in dangerous positions time and time again.

“I am happy for the fans. I often feared that the people inside the stadium would get bored during the first half of the season.”

Bayern currently sit atop of the Bundesliga table, holding a 13-point lead over second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

'Mandzukic has reacted superbly' – Sammer

The FCB director had nothing but praise for the powerful attacker following their 5-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has praised Mario Mandzukic’s response on the pitch to recent criticism over his work-rate.

The Croatia international was left out of the Bayern squad for the 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach last week as head coach Pep Guardiola felt he had not done enough on the training pitch.

Mandzukic had already returned to the squad for the 2-1 win over Stuttgart in midweek, and his reinstatement to the starting XI on Sunday was marked with a goal as the Bavarians thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0.

“Mandzukic’s response on the pitch has been superb,” Sammer told reporters after the win over Frankfurt.

“Mario put in a great performance.”

Mandzukic has been a key player for Bayern this season, scoring 11 goals in 18 Bundesliga appearances.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a move away since the announcement that Robert Lewandowski will join Bayern from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

However, the Bavarians have so far been adamant that Mandzukic still has a future at the Allianz Arena.

The striker’s current contract with Bayern is due to expire in June 2016.

Kroos playing a risky game at Bayern, says Netzer

The 69-year-old thinks the Champions League holders could decide to sell the midfielder in order to set an example

Toni Kroos should not “overplay his hand” at Bayern Munich as he could be offloaded to give out a signal to other players that the club will not be held to ransom, the former Germany international Gunter Netzer has warned.

Negotiations between Kroos and Bayern over a contract renewal have so far been unfruitful as the Bundesliga champions are reluctant to meet the 24-year-old’s wage demands.

Netzer has warned the midfielder that he is not indispensable at his current club.

“Kroos is playing a risky game at Bayern. The club is determined not to pay huge wages to all their players in order to stay financially healthy,” Netzer writes in his column for Bild.

“We could see this become a situation where Kroos forces Bayern to set an example. He might be overrating himself a bit in a way that his wage demands do not reflect his worth to the team.

“He’d act wisely to have a good look at the squad and re-think his own situation.

“I would advise Toni Kroos not to overplay his hand. He could enjoy a lot of success at Bayern. It’s not easy to leave a big club like Bayern.  There are a few players that cannot be replaced, but Kroos is not one of them.”

Kroos’ current deal with Bayern is due to expire in the summer of 2015 and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the midfielder’s situation at the Allianz Arena.