02/12/2010 – Thursday’s Paper Round-Up (2018 World Cup Bid Special)

2 12 2010
David Beckham

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2018 World Cup Bid Special

X Factor’s Simon Cowell, model Kelly Brook and TV presenter Stephen Fry are some of the celebrities backing England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Fry says: “No other country in the world can match our infatuation for the game and this is the reason I believe England would be an ideal host.”

A proud Sir Bobby Charlton is excited about England winning the bid. The 1966 England World Cup winner says: “I believe it was right to make the bid and reach out for something that would bring pleasure to so many people in this country, even while acknowledging that we might fail, as we did in 2006. I still think we have a good chance of having our faith in ourselves rewarded in the next few hours.”

David Beckham, England’s bid ambassador, delivered a last-minute plea on why England should be hosts. The England midfielder says: “We live and breathe football in England and want to invite the rest of the world to join us for the most colourful and unique festival of football imaginable.”

Beckham believes it is England’s time: “Not to get it would be unbelievably disappointing because everything is set up for it, everything is ready to go.”

Beckham says if England hosts the World Cup in eight years they should be able to win the trophy. The LA Galaxy star says: “We will need a good performance from our players. We have young players who are coming through and will be ready.”

Another Manchester United legend Denis Law is not so bothered about England becoming hosts. The Scot says: “I was on holiday when Euro 96 was played in England and my holidays for 2018 have been booked. I’m not interested in whether England get the World Cup finals.”

Lord Coe believes the England bid team need to be on top of their game for Thursday’s final pitch to Fifa in Zurich. Coe says: “You have to keep your foot hard to the pedal until there is nowhere else to go. Then we need five Oscar performances in the presentation.”

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit says bikes and being small is why Holland and Belgium would be great World Cup hosts. Gullit says: “The compactness of our countries is a great asset. Due to the short distance the next game is never far away and we will offer the fans a network of free public transport and two million free bikes.”

With the USA looking to host the 2022 World Cup, actor Morgan Freeman joined former president Bill Clinton but fluffed his lines when delivering a key speech to Fifa delegates on behalf of the American bid.

Other Gossip

Tottenham and Fenerbahce are preparing for a transfer tussle to land Bordeaux’s £7m-rated defender Michael Ciani.

Emmanuel Adebayor is ready to dig his heels in with Manchester City to force a loan move to Tottenham in January, while Aston Villa want Eastlands winger Shaun Wright-Phillips and AC Milan are interested in their striker Roque Santa Cruz.

Manchester City are stepping up their interest in £12m-rated Sporting Lisbon centre-half Daniel Carrico, 22, whom they have watched extensively in the last year.

Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor is being lined up by Chelsea in a £9m bid.

Premier League champions Chelsea are weighing up a £3.5m move for Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Guilherme, who could provide cover for Petr Cech.

West Ham striker Carlton Cole will command a £10m price tag when he goes up for sale in the January transfer window.

Chelsea have sounded out Bolton to register an interest in their star defender Gary Cahill, who is also a target for Liverpool.

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is in Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s sights after the Catalans’ five-goal demolition of Real Madrid.

Chelsea should see John Terry return from injury for the weekend visit of Everton to Stamford Bridge, though Frank Lampard is targeting the game against Manchester United in two weeks’ time for his comeback.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.


Thrown a Lifeline: The Deep-Lying Midfielder

4 11 2010

With football formations changing and developing all the time, the deep-lying midfielder role is one of the most important in modern football. Joe Nicholls from FM Fanboys reveals all.

In the last decade or so, the anchorman position was often regarded as the unsung hero of positions, players like Claude Makalele and Gilberto Silva went about their game with little appreciation of their worth from the media.

The exact opposite can be said of Football’s new hero, the deep-lying playmaker.

The modern game, as we know it, is an extremely technical game, where every aspect of the opposition is scrutinised before and after every match. The transitional period between defending and attacking is now so quick that it takes a certain type of player to fill this role. The position demands intelligence, quick thinking and, to some degree the commentators favourite, a photographic memory.

As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the deep-lying midfielder role was often referred to as the anchorman, the hard man, the enforcer. This type of player would break up an attack with a crunching tackle and look to pass the ball on to a more technically gifted team-mate, but the deep-lying playmaker is a totally different composition of player. Sitting deep in the midfield just in front of the defensive line, the deep-lying playmaker will look to collect the ball from his defenders and will instantly look for that killer pass that will cut the opposition’s defence in half. If the pass isn’t on he will look to start an attack, often looking for opposition players that are out of position.

Personally, I think we owe the emergence of the modern day deep-lying playmaker to current Chelsea boss, Carlo Ancelotti. Back in 2001 Ancelotti saw something in Pirlo, namely his ability to make a difficult pass look simple, and made the decision to convert Andrea Pirlo from a creative attacking midfielder to a deep-lying playmaker, something that has served A.C Milan well, having won two Champions League titles and one Scudetto, with Pirlo playing a monumental part in Milan’s success.

The success of Milan and the emergence of Pirlo as a deep-lying playmaker made managers take note. Identified as the quarterback role, many teams started to employ this position in their tactics. One team in particular, Liverpool, bought Xabi Alonso to the club in 2004 and was played in this very role. It’s no coincidence that Liverpool won the Champions League the following year and even less of a coincidence that Liverpool are struggling without him in the team.

The deep-lying playmaker position is now opening up options for managers and giving attack minded players a lifeline in which to continue their game. The most notable player in the position at present is Manchester United’s Paul Scholes. As a youngster Scholes played as an attacking midfielder, often playing behind the striker, but as he has aged Sir Alex has moulded him into the deep-lying playmaker every club is searching for. Scholes is the epitome of a deep-lying playmaker and as you will have seen, the media are giving him the plaudits he deserves. Other players following in Scholes’ footsteps are players like Marcos Senna, Michael Ballack and David Beckham, this new role will give them a few extra seasons in the game they love.

We are now seeing managers trying to create “younger” models for this position, Ancelotti is at it again with John Obi Mikel, who he has turned from an enforcer to a playmaker and we’ve got a couple of Englishmen deployed in this position with Tom Huddlestone and Gareth Barry playing the holding role for their attack minded clubs.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more excellent articles by Joe over at Football Manager Fanboys.

29/08/2010 – Sunday Transfer Talk

29 08 2010

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will make a last-ditch attempt to sign West Ham striker Carlton Cole. Hodgson is also close to sealing deals for Fulham defender Paul Konchesky, but may drop his interest in PSV Eindhoven forward Ola Toivonen because of the Dutch club’s £13m asking price.

Hodgson is also attempting to arrange a loan deal to bring Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez to Anfield.

Manchester United are ready to test Everton’s resolve to hang on to midfielder Jack Rodwell with a £20m bid.

Scott Parker could leave West Ham to bring in some much-needed funds to Upton Park. Tottenham are in pole position to sign the £8m-rated midfielder.

Tottenham will turn their attentions to Villarreal’s former Manchester United frontman Giuseppe Rossi if their loan move for AC Milan’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar fails to materialise.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=rio+ferdinand&iid=8947995″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8947995/sports-news-may-2010/sports-news-may-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=8947995″ width=”380″ height=”346″ /] Tottenham have had an enquiry into the availability of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand (left) rebuffed by the Old Trafford hierarchy.

Charles N’Zogbia’s proposed move to Birmingham from Wigan has collapsed over the versatile Frenchman’s wage demands.

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane is set for yet another move as Aston Villa and Newcastle look to snap up the Republic of Ireland international before the transfer window shuts.

Wigan have agreed a £2m deal to take Chelsea forward Franco di Santo to the DW Stadium.

Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will rebuff any approach from Arsenal in favour of staying with the Amsterdam club.

Shay Given may be on the move, however, with the Manchester City goalkeeper determined to switch to Fulham before the transfer window shuts.

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici is being lined up by Fulham as a replacement for Arsenal-bound Mark Schwarzer.

Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas will stay at White Hart Lane after deals to Aston Villa and Inter Milan fell through.

West Ham have made a £1.5m move for Hamburg defender Guy Demel and are competing with Stoke for the signature of Portsmouth defender Marc Wilson.

The Hammers are also poised to sign AFC Valenciennes left-back Siaka Tiene.

Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires could make a surprise return to the Premier League after the 36-year-old turned down a move to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. West Ham, Wigan and Bolton are all monitoring the player, who is a free agent after leaving Villarreal.

On-loan striker Craig Bellamy will move to Cardiff permanently from Manchester City if the Bluebirds gain promotion from the Championship.

AC Milan have reached an agreement to take striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on loan from Barcelona for the rest of the season. The Rossoneri will then have the option to buy the Sweden forward for £19.7m.

Former Celtic loan signing Landry N’Guemo has not given up hope of a return to the Glasgow club, who could not agree a fee for the midfielder earlier this summer, now that he has been transfer-listed by Nancy.

Arsenal forward Nacer Barazite says he has not given up hope of joining Rangers on loan before Tuesday’s transfer deadline after his trial at Ibrox.

Francisco Sandaza’s transfer to Swansea City is on the brink of collapse as the Welsh club want him on loan, an arrangement that does not interest the striker or his present club, Dundee United.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has set his heart on a coaching role with boyhood club Oldham Athletic after his playing career ends.

West Ham manager Avram Grant has accused Scholes, who has repeatedly snubbed Fabio Capello’s attempt to lure him out of international retirement, of letting down his country.

England boss Fabio Capello has performed an astonishing U-turn after telling David Beckham he will consider the LA Galaxy midfielder for selection if he is fully fit. “First Beckham has to be playing again but the door is always open,” said Capello, who earlier this month had called time on the former Manchester United man’s international career.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that he could one day coach Real Madrid. The Italian, who was managed by Fabio Capello in his final season as a player at AC Milan, has described the England coach as a “grouch” in the latest extracts from his book.

Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier could return to English football if Aston Villa decide not to appoint caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald on a permanent basis.

Alternatively former Germany and Bayern Munich manager Jurgen Klinsmann is top of Aston Villa’s wish list.

A trio of Australian investors have joined the running to take control of Blackburn Rovers after lodging a bid of £25m for the Ewood Park club.

Defender Steven Taylor could be excluded from Newcastle’s 25-man Premier League squad as his dispute with the club over a new contract continues.

New Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has denied that he went on strike to force through his move from Liverpool.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is considering calling in a psychologist to cure his club’s poor away record in Europe – which now stands at one win in the last 29 games.

Rangers manager Walter Smith says he “might as well chuck it” if the club sells Kenny Miller or Madjid Bougherra before the closure of the transfer window but insists that it is not going to happen.

Manchester City’s new £24m striker Mario Balotelli emerged unhurt from a collision between his Audi sports car and another vehicle on his way to the club’s Carrington training ground on Friday.

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has donated £25,000 from his testimonial to Everton to give to a charity of their choice. Carragher, who supported the Toffees as a boy, will play in a game between a Liverpool XI and Everton XI on Saturday.

A photographic timeline running round the outside of Everton’s Goodison Park has provoked anger amongst some of the club’s fans. Nick Barmby, the midfielder who controversially quit the club for local rivals Liverpool, features alongside legends such as striker Dixie Dean.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

19/08/2010 – Thursday Transfer Talk

19 08 2010

Shay Given is set to walk out on Manchester City after finding out Joe Hart will keep his place in goal for the Europa League qualifier against FC Timisoara on Thursday night. Given is now mulling over possible  moves to Arsenal or Fulham.

Chelsea may miss out on the signature of 18-year-old Brazilian Naymar after the striker’s club Santos offered to make him their highest paid player and refused to accept any offers less than their valuation of £29m.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has insisted that midfielder Javier Mascherano will not be offloaded for anything less than £25m to Inter Milan and has told the Argentine he should be prepared for an extended stay at Anfield.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=luis+fabiano&iid=9250309″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9250309/sports-news-june-2010/sports-news-june-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9250309″ width=”234″ height=”312″ /] Tottenham will only make a £15m bid for Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano (left) if they qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Even then the Brazilian’s £90,000-a-week wages may prove to be a stumbling block.

Chelsea are up against Ajax in the battle for the signature of 17-year-old Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku.

Ahsan Ali Syed wants to sign former England captain David Beckham, now at Los Angeles Galaxy, if the Indian businessman’s proposed £300m takeover bid of Blackburn is successful. Syed said: “I was 26 when I started following the Premier League. I liked Blackburn back then and also used to follow Manchester United’s fortunes because of David Beckham. If my finances allow and his intentions are positive then I would love to take Beckham.”

Manchester United may be about to test Deportivo La Coruna’s determination to keep hold of Mexico winger Andres Guardado with a £12m bid.

Arsenal are close to sealing a deal for Sevilla’s Sebastien Squillaci after the Spanish side withdrew the French defender from a Champions League qualifier.

Liverpool are weighing up an approach for Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz and may also include his Eastlands team-mate Wayne Bridge in the deal as they look to fill a left-back vacancy.

Rangers have secured the services of Slovakian World Cup star Vladimir Weiss, who had also been linked to rivals Celtic. The 20-year-old Manchester City winger has sealed a season-long deal at Ibrox.

Bolton left-back Jlloyd Samuel is a loan target for Middlesbrough.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=kenny+huang&iid=9492875″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9492875/soccer-proposed-purchase/soccer-proposed-purchase.jpg?size=500&imageId=9492875″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /] Chinese businessman Kenny Huang (right) is becoming frustrated at his efforts to gain control of Liverpool. There are several parties interested in replacing Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett but Huang is anxious to arrive and provide funds for new players before the end of the transfer window on 31 August.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has hit back after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accused teams of spending money with “kamikaze effort”. City have spent £130m this summer but Mancini said: “It’s normal when you want to buy a good player that you have to spend money. It is not important for me [what Ferguson says]. I respect his opinion but I repeat that United, like City, have spent a lot of money in the past.”

Former West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson is preparing for a shock return to football as the Icelandic businessman launches a rescue bid for struggling Sheffield Wednesday.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

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08/08/2010 – Sunday Transfer Talk

8 08 2010

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson wants to bring Tottenham striker Peter Crouch back to Anfield, two years after he was shown the door by the club.

Hodgson is also keeping tabs on Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa who seems destined to leave the French club this summer.

Werder Bremen’s star midfielder Mesut Ozil was watched by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Saturday as he looks for a long-term successor to Paul Scholes.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Shaun+Wright+Phillips&iid=7260676″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/7260676/shaun-wright-phillips/shaun-wright-phillips.jpg?size=500&imageId=7260676″ width=”234″ height=”298″ /] Manchester City have told Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) that he can leave the club, with Liverpool and Arsenal keen on the winger.

City defender Nedum Onuoha will also follow Stephen Ireland out of Eastlands as boss Roberto Mancini looks to trim his squad.

Newcastle boss Chris Hughton wants to sign Marseille midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa ahead of the new season.

Arsenal are planning a Serie A raid to help ease their defensive frailties and have earmarked a move for Juventus centre back Giorgio Chiellini and Bologna keeper Emiliano Viviano.

Portsmouth’s Kevin Prince Boateng could snub interest from West Ham and Stoke to join Italian side Genoa. “I’m relaxed, just waiting for the right team,” said the Ghana international.

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would prefer to sell the club to Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi as opposed to Kenny Huang.

But the British tax payer could end up being the majority shareholder in the club if a deal cannot be sorted out in the next two months and the club ends up in the hands of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he is thinking about extending his contract with the club and if he does will almost certainly end his managerial career at the Emirates Stadium.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=David+Beckham&iid=8222522″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8222522/sports-news-march-2010/sports-news-march-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=8222522″ width=”234″ height=”363″ /] LA Galaxy boss Bruce Arena says David Beckham (right) is ahead of schedule on his comeback from an Achilles injury and he expects him to play for the club for years to come.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti says he is not concerned by players’ off-the-field behaviour as long as they do their jobs properly. ‘We are not interested in what happens outside of our training ground,” he said.

Former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, now at Real Madrid, says there is “no doubt” that he wants to manage in England again one day, but will not be pursuing his interest in signing Chelsea’s Ashley Cole – “when a coach says no, it’s no, and we have to accept that.”

Football Association chiefs expect Wednesday’s friendly with Hungary to attract the smallest crowd for an England game since Wembley was rebuilt, as fans vent their disappointment at the team’s World Cup failure.

Former Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish could return to the Anfield boardroom as the club attempts to revive the spirit of their glory years of the 1970s and 80s.

For full stories head over to the

29/07/2010 – Transfer Talk

29 07 2010

David Beckham has promised to give West Ham a decision soon on whether he will end his career at Upton Park. The 35-year-old former England captain, who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States, was born in east London.

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson wants Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, 30, to replace Javier Mascherano at Anfield and is ready to offer £7m for the Bulgarian. It was revealed earlier this week that Mascherano wants to leave the Reds.

Luke Young’s £2.5m move to Liverpool is in doubt as the 31-year-old defender wants a pay-off from Aston Villa as he would have to take a drop in wages.

Hodgson is keeping an eye on Porto and Uruguay full-back Jorge Fucile should the deal for Young fall through.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay says manager Carlo Ancelotti will be given money to rebuild the side and that striker Didier Drogba will not be leaving.

The Stamford Bridge outfit want to wrap up the £17m signing of Benfica midfielder Ramires in time for their pre-season tour of Germany, which starts on Saturday.

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho wants to take 32-year-old Chelsea centre-back Ricardo Carvalho to Spain. Mourinho signed the Portuguese defender in 2004 during his spell as manager of the Blues.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has ruled Real Madrid out of the running to sign Benfica defender David Luiz, making Manchester City favourites to sign the 23-year-old Brazilian.

Italian club Lazio are on the verge of signing Manchester City’s 25-year-old left-back Javier Garrido for £2.5m.

Arsenal are close to signing Italian goalkeeper Federico Marchetti from Cagliari. The 27-year-old, who played at the World Cup in South Africa, is valued at around £5m.

Wigan are preparing a club record £7m bid for Chile’s World Cup striker Humberto Suazo. Birmingham and Sunderland are also eyeing a swoop for the 29-year-old, who plays for Monterrey.

Blackburn are ready to sell Australian midfielder Vince Grella to Turkish giants Galatasaray at the second attempt, with the clubs seeking to negotiate a deal of about £2m.

Mark Hughes wants to make Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy his first signing with the £15m transfer kitty he will be handed when he is officially named Fulham manager.

Tottenham are looking to tempt Manchester City with a £4m bid for Bellamy.

Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, who plays for Norwegian side Aalesunds, is being lined up by Manchester United as Edwin van der Sar’s successor.

Manchester United are leading the chase for Ghana midfielder Anthony Annan. Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in the 24-year-old, who plays for Rosenborg.

Besiktas are looking at Aston Villa striker John Carew to add firepower to their Turkish title assault.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has ruled out a permanent move for Chelsea’s Michael Mancienne, who was on loan at Molineux last season.

West Ham have offered midfielder Scott Parker £20m to stay but he wants to leave to play European football.

Avram Grant wants free agent Laurent Bonnart to become his latest West Ham recruit. The defender had been at Marseille.

Premier League new boys Blackpool are in talks with transfer-listed Ipswich striker Jon Stead, 27, who has rejected a move to Bristol City.

Bristol City manager Steve Coppell has made an audacious bid to lure England goalkeeper David James, 39, to Ashton Gate. James has been offered a 12-month contract with the Championship club.

Former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is set to be confirmed as the new Fulham boss this week.

Portsmouth face the prospect of paying out more than £500,000 in wages at the end of the week to players no longer at the club. David James will pick up about £140,000 – if he does not sign for anyone else before Saturday night.

Tottenham’s teenage midfielder John Bostock believes his progress is being damaged by foreign players in the English game. The 18-year-old, who was on loan at Brentford last season, wants another loan move as he has only made three substitute appearances for Spurs in two years.

For full stories head over to the

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