15/10/2010 – Friday’s Paper Round-Up

15 10 2010

Real Madrid will go to war with Manchester United to sign £75m-rated striker Wayne Rooney at the end of the season.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=wayne+rooney&iid=9944667″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9944667/wayne-rooney-england-2010/wayne-rooney-england-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9944667″ width=”234″ height=”242″ /] But Real boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out a bid for Rooney (left) in the January transfer window. “We have an excellent squad with players who give me a lot of confidence and I don’t want any players in the winter market,” said Mourinho.

Man United have intensified their contract talks with Rooney’s advisors, illustrating his importance to Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has, for the umpteenth time, said it is his dream to play for boyhood heroes Barcelona.

Fabregas, meanwhile, says Barca’s Spanish rivals Real Madrid also tried to sign him in the summer.

Liverpool and Tottenham are lining up a bid for Lyon’s £14m-rated 27-year-old Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez.

PSV Eindhoven’s highly rated 24-year-old Dutch midfielder Ibrahim Affelay has issued a come-and-get-me plea to Man United and Liverpool.

Tottenham will consider making a renewed offer for Anderlecht’s teenage striker Romelu Lukaku after a £17.5m bid was rejected in the summer.

Everton could step up their interest in Newcastle defender Steven Taylor if Bayern Munich make a move for the Toffees’ Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga. Heitinga says he would be interested in a move to Bayern but Magpies boss Chris Hughton insists he will not cash in on Taylor in January.

Stoke are ready to compete with Werder Bremen for the signature of Fulham’s Zoltan Gera.

New Leicester boss Sven-Goran Eriksson will sign Aston Villa’s Curtis Davies on a one-month loan.

Sevilla’s Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano, who was linked with Tottenham in the summer, says he will “seek a solution in January” if he does not get more first-team chances.

Spurs are also interested in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 23-year-old Argentine striker Raul Marcelo Bobadilla, who could cost about £6m.

Sunderland midfielder Andy Reid, 28, admits he may have to quit the club to relaunch his career.

Denmark international goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard says he is “shocked” to have been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Ipswich are set to take Sunderland utility man Jack Colback, 20, on loan again after a successful spell last season.

David Beckham’s England career is almost certainly over after he formally refused boss Fabio Capello’s offer of a farewell game.

Portsmouth could go bust by next Monday after the Football League stopped them from coming out of administration.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=nigel+de+jong&iid=9351949″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9351949/world-cup-2010-july-spain/world-cup-2010-july-spain.jpg?size=500&imageId=9351949″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]

Manchester City’s Dutch international midfielder Nigel de Jong (right) is considering international retirement after recent criticism of his tackling by national coach Bert van Marwijk.

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has questioned the way Fabio Capello manages the national side, claiming the Italian is too strict, stern and aloof.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is set to miss another two weeks with his troublesome groin injury.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will grill England officials after striker Darren Bent picked up yet another injury on international duty.

Man City striker Mario Balotelli has suffered another minor setback as he bids to return from a knee injury and is now targeting the Manchester derby on 10 November.

West Bromwich Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo insists he has not fallen out with Paul Scharner despite the midfielder’s angry reaction to being substituted against Bolton.

West Brom’s Chilean international Gonzalo Jara is celebrating the rescue of his county’s miners, after donating a shirt and sending them an inspirational message.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman says the club does not need to buy a new keeper as he has seen how good Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski are in training, but they need to fulfil their potential.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.


03/10/2010 – Sunday’s Paper Round-Up

3 10 2010

Manchester City are preparing an astonishing £90m deal to take defender Gerard Pique from Barcelona, according to the Sunday People.

But City could lose striker Emmanuel Adebayor after he revealed he would be open to joining Juventus.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=michael+carrick&iid=8905893″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/8905893/sports-news-may-2010/sports-news-may-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=8905893″ width=”234″ height=”270″ /] Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier is determined to sign Michael Carrick (left) – even though the midfielder insists he wants to stay at Manchester United for life.

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has put Stoke City centre-half Ryan Shawcross on his wish list – if he can find some money for players in the transfer market.

Hodgson may be able to use funds from a possible sale of forward Milan Jovanovic, who is said to be contemplating leaving the club only two months into the season.

Everton boss David Moyes wants to land Manchester United striker Federico Macheda on loan.

Manchester United are pursuing Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez and Atletico Madrid defender Alvaro Dominguez Soto.

Arsenal are ready to tempt Liverpool with a £19m bid for goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is ready to offer goalkeeper Ross Turnbull to Stoke City in a swap deal for Asmir Begovic.

Manchester City will offer goalkeeper Shay Given a new contract in January in an effort to prevent the current second-choice stopper leaving the club.

England manager Fabio Capello is desperate to lure Emile Heskey out of retirement to play in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro. It is believed that the in-from Aston Villa striker will reject the chance.

Meanwhile, Capello fears the Premier League’s top stars are struggling to cope with their multi-millionaire lifestyles.

Also, Rio Ferdinand is likely to lose the England captaincy this week – with Capello refusing to confirm the Manchester United defender’s return to the squad will come with his reinstatement as skipper.

West Ham have dismissed the possibility of a ground share with Tottenham at the Olympic Stadium after their Premier League rivals joined them in submitting a bid to lease the arena after the 2012 Games.

Liverpool boss Hodgson has described himself as ‘one of the most respected coaches in Europe’ and said it is ‘insulting’ to suggest he cannot handle the club’s big-name stars.

However, Hodgson has confided in friends that he feels Liverpool are six players short of challenging at the top of the table.

Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh admits he has yet to taste a good English cup of tea.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

27/08/2010 – Friday Transfer Talk

27 08 2010

Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor is determined to leave Eastlands before the end of the transfer window if an offer comes in for him.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Klaas+Jan+Huntelaar&iid=9206032″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9206032/cameroon-netherlands/cameroon-netherlands.jpg?size=500&imageId=9206032″ width=”234″ height=”348″ /] Tottenham are in talks with AC Milan over bringing Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (left) to White Hart Lane on a season-long loan deal. The move will include the option to buy at the end of the spell, with the sum of £12m thought to be the asking price.

Newcastle and West Ham are keen on signing Tottenham striker Robbie Keane on loan before the transfer window shuts on Tuesday.

Liverpool and Newcastle will find out soon who has won the race to sign Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa. The 23-year-old has gone on strike at his French club in an effort to force through a move. German side Werder Bremen are also interested.

Fulham boss Mark Hughes is set to raid his former club Manchester City to sign striker Roque Santa Cruz and goalkeeper Shay Given.

Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is not interested in leaving the Dutch side for Arsenal following their Champions League qualification.

West Ham are poised to make a move for Hamburg’s 29-year-old right-back Guy Demel.

Stoke and Portsmouth are lining up a swap deal with winger Liam Lawrence and striker Dave Kitson set to head for the south coast and Marc Wilson moving to Staffordshire.

Arsenal have made an inquiry for Lille goalkeeper Mickael Landreau – but have not given up on signing Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer.

AC Milan and Barcelona have agreed a deal to take striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the San Siro, according to reports in the Spanish media.

Scott Parker will sign a new five-year contract at West Ham – if he is still at Upton Park when the transfer window shuts. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has had an £8m offer for the midfielder turned down recently.

Suspicions that Manchester City might be stockpiling players in order to prevent them signing for rivals could lead to the Premier League reviving attempts to outlaw player loans.

New Manchester United striker Bebe, who manager Alex Ferguson paid £7.4m for without seeing him play, was not included in the club’s recent 16-man reserve squad to face Manchester City – and was this week taken out of a training match because he was ‘off the pace’.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=lionel+messi&iid=9532443″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9532443/sports-news-august-2010/sports-news-august-2010.jpg?size=500&imageId=9532443″ width=”234″ height=”272″ /] Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (right) wants Liverpool to be humane and let fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano leave Anfield for the Nou Camp.

Former Hull manager Phil Brown, who is currently out of work, has reiterated his desire to become England manager.

England manager Fabio Capello can forget about recalling Paul Scholes to the national squad. The veteran Manchester United midfielder has no intention of going back on his 2004 decision to retire from international football.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez called Birmingham boss Alex McLeish “disrespectful” over his pursuit of Latics winger Charles N’Zogbia.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reopened his feud with Stoke, accusing them of turning football into ‘rugby’.

Along with reacting angrily to the taunts of former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho – who said that Rafael Benitez was lucky to inherit such a good side – the club’s new manager has slammed a decision to allow television cameras into changing rooms at Serie A games, insisting it breaches a “priestly sanctuary”.

With the help of the legendary Pierluigi Collina, Uefa president Michel Platini has launched a new initiative that he claims will produce referees who are just as fit as footballers – and who will be able to provide a “99 to 100 per cent” guarantee of no more mistakes.

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin has appeared at the Cambridge Rock Festival to promote his new musical invention. The Dube is a cube percussion instrument – a drum with knobs on – which comes in four sizes and can be customised in colour schemes and tones.

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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Deadly Defoe Sends England Through

24 06 2010

England progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup with a narrow victory of Slovenia in Port Elizabeth yesterday. Jermain Defoe’s 12th international goal was enough to put them through, albeit as group C runners-up. USA striker Landon Donovan’s 91st minute winner sent the USA from third place, meaning elimination, to top of the group to set up a last 16 tie with Ghana, leaving England to battle it out with old enemy Germany on Sunday afternoon.

After a disappointing goalless draw with Algeria in the previous match, Fabio Capello made three changes to his starting eleven. With Jamie Carragher serving a suspension, Matthew Upson came into the side to partner John Terry at the heart of the defence whilst Aaron Lennon and Emile Heskey were dropped to the bench in favour of James Milner and Jermain Defoe. It was Milner and Defoe who combined to give England what would turn out to be the winner in the 23rd minute. Some clever play on the right-wing allowed Milner the space to deliver an exquisite cross for Jermain Defoe to finish. Milner found himself in good positions throughout the game but this was to be the only of his nine crosses to find a team-mate.

England played some lovely football with Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney combining well on numerous occasions to create chances for themselves and for others. Gerrard should have given England a more comfortable lead on the half-hour mark but his shot was well saved by Samir Handanovič. There were chances to further England’s lead for Frank Lampard who’s rebounded effort was sent wide, whilst Wayne Rooney beat the offside trap after a delightful through ball by Lampard, only for Handanovič to tip his effort onto the post in the 58th minute.

England had to defend doggedly at times with goal-bound efforts blocked by Glen Johnson, Matthew Upson as well as two courageous stops from John Terry. This type of fighting spirit is the sort that will endear the players to the hearts of the fans once more.

Credit must be given to Slovenia for the way they went about approaching this match. With a draw enough to send them through, they opted against a defensive mentality in favour of continuing the type of attacking play that saw them sit atop of the group before kick off. They had few chances and were often left to resort to shots from distance. Valter Birsa tried his luck on a couple of occasions, but his efforts were comfortably dealt with by David James.

The three minutes of added time felt longer than the fifth set between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon but England managed to weather the storm to record their first victory of the tournament.

The victory lifted the spirits of players and fans alike with the joy of qualification etched on the faces of the players when the full-time whistle blew. A tricky tie against Germany awaits them on Sunday.

Mark Jepson

Everything’s Not Lost

21 06 2010

Having just watched Portugal dispatch of North Korea by seven goals to nil, the World Cup has definitely come to life. This brings optimism to even us England fans! After a disappointing start to the tournament, we have the chance to put things right in our 3 o’clock kick off on Wednesday against Slovenia.

Now, if you have been following me on Twitter you will have realised that I am an optimist when it comes to England. Whilst I do not, and did not prior to the World Cup, believe that England will win the World Cup, the post-match negativity from some fans is depressing to say the least. One can only imagine what the reaction would have been like if we had lost to either the USA or Algeria. I, like most, expected England to beat Algeria yet I thought the draw against the USA (who are only six FIFA world ranking places behind us) was not as catastrophic as some have declared it to be. This is where we could learn some lessons from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland inasmuch as they realise that they will not and cannot win every match, yet they support their team win, lose or draw. I do not say that disrespectfully to supporters of these nations; it is a trait I admire hugely. I see booing as counter-productive and believe our role as ‘supporters’ of the national team is to ‘support’. This said I have not travelled to South Africa and have therefore not spent the vast amounts of money that some have to see England play. Perhaps they have a right to boo as is being suggested. Everybody is entitled to an opinion and that is what makes football so special. I wouldn’t say it is wrong to boo or jeer, but I fail to see how it provides the confidence boost that the team so obviously requires. Was Wayne Rooney wrong to blast fans for booing immediately after the game? Yes. Yet he had a point. A man I have a huge amount of respect for as a writer is Paul Grech. For me, he summed up the booing perfectly after the game when he tweeted: “Remind me, is it England till I die or England till the team plays badly, at which point I boo the players? Always get confused.” With that in mind, let’s get behind the team on Wednesday.

Looking forward to Wednesday, reports are surfacing that Matthew Upson is set to deputise for the injured Ledley King and suspended Jamie Carragher to partner John Terry at the heart of England’s defence. There is also reason to believe that three or four other changes may be made to the starting eleven. I do not think we’ll see four changes but I can see one or two and perhaps a change of shape. The 4-4-2 deployed by Fabio Capello in the opening two group games appears to be dated somewhat. Maybe Capello will opt to play 4-5-1 with Rooney leading the line. After initially experimenting with this formation early in his reign, it appeared that he was not convinced that Rooney could lead the line successfully on his own. After an outstanding season playing in that role for Manchester United, maybe it is time to give it one more try. New formations can take time to gel but perhaps it is the kind of risk we must take. Having lacked creativity so far in the tournament, perhaps now is also the time to recall Joe Cole to the starting eleven as he is one of only two or three players in the squad who can make something out of nothing.

Finally, as mentioned above I am an eternal optimist. Slovenia have proved that they are tougher to beat than most, myself included, expected. They are at the World Cup on merit after qualifying from a tough qualifying group that included the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and Poland before defeating Russia in the play-off. This said, England have to beat them and I expect them to although I think it will be a narrow victory. If I had to make a prediction, I would say 2-1. Seeing as we are on the topic of predictions, let’s have a go at predicting the team too.





Mark Jepson

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