28/01/2011 – Friday’s Transfer Talk

28 01 2011
Edwin van der Sar playing for Manchester Unite...

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Liverpool have told Chelsea Torres is not for sale after rejecting a £35 million offer sanctioned by Roman Abramovich.

Blackburn boss Steve Kean is pushing through a £3million swoop for Argentinian star Mauro Formica despite a snag with his Italian passport.

West Ham have rejected Tottenham’s offer of Robbie Keane plus £2m in return for midfielder Scott Parker, but negotiations are set to continue.

Tottenham are ready to make a second bid to snatch Everton skipper Phil Neville before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp will allow Jonathan Woodgate to join injury-striken Wolves on loan until the end of thes season.

Days after inspiring Birmingham City to a place in the Carling Cup final, striker Nikola Zigic could be about to go on loan to Racing Santander.

Meanwhile, Birmingham are making a £2.5m bid for Aston Villa central defender Curtis Davies after ruling out offloading winger Sebastian Larsson in a player-plus cash swap deal.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish wants the club to sanction a loan move for Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins as a reward for reaching the Carling Cup final.

Sunderland have turned their attention to Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega as they look to replace Darren Bent.

The Black Cats are on the verge of signing Stephane Sessegnon from Paris Saint-Germain and Sulley Muntari from Inter Milan.

Fulham are looking to buy Spurs midfielder Nico Kranjcar after a deal to buy winger Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City falls through.

Brazilian forward Lucas Piazon has turned down a move to Chelsea in favour of Juventus.

Blackburn are ready to launch an £8m bid for West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans.

Manchester United are lining up a £20m bid for Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar (pictured), who will retire at the end of the season.

United could be looking to Lyon’s French international goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as a long-term successor to Van der Sar.

United are stepping up their efforts to sign Atletico Madrid keeper David De Gea after identifying the 20-year-old as the most promising young stopper in the game.

De Gea, Netherlands’ Maarten Stekelenburg and Germany stopper Manuel Neuer make up United’s three-man shortlist.

Ipswich boss Paul Jewell is ready to sign Swindon’s prolific striker Charlie Austin in a £1.2million deal

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has told the Premier League: “Maybe you should pick our team,” after the club are fined £25,000 for fielding a weakened side.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says Kenny Dalglish has got the Reds winning again by putting a smile back on the players’ faces.

Former Fulham boss Chris Coleman believes the return to action of striker Bobby Zamora and forward Moussa Dembele can lift the club up the table.

Midfielder Jack Wilshere was last night told he represents “the future” of England as manager Fabio Capello revealed his new tactical masterplan is based on the Arsenal teenager.

Capello has admitted he made an error by leaving Arsenal winger Theo Walcott out of his World Cup squad.

Capello is monitoring the progress of young right-backs Martin Kelly and Kyle Walker ahead of next month’s friendly with Denmark.

Qatar-based Arab TV station Al Jazeera want to snap up former Sky Sports football presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





29/12/2010 – Wednesday’s Paper Round-Up

29 12 2010
Picture of Gérard Houllier.

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon is eager to bring out-of-favour Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne and midfielder Stephen Ireland to Parkhead on loan.

Sir Alex Ferguson is set to reinforce his Manchester United midfield with a £12m New Year move for Real Madrid’s Lassana Diarra.

United are also preparing a summer move for CSKA Moscow keeper Igor Akinfeev, who Ferguson sees as a long-term replacement for current number one Edwin van der Sar.

Fulham hope to make Chris Samba their first signing of the January transfer window but the Blackburn defender wants assurances over Mark Hughes’s future first.

However, the Cottagers may face competition from Arsenal, who are keen on the £8m-rated centre-back.

The Gunners are also reportedly back in the hunt for Werder Bremen centre-back Per Mertesacker.

Liverpool have rejected a loan offer from Birmingham City for 24-year-old winger Ryan Babel, who has also attracted interest from West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool’s new Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli was at Southampton yesterday to run the rule over the Saints’ latest teen sensation Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Juventus are preparing a £27m-offer for Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and the Italian side may also be willing to throw midfielder Felipe Melo into the deal.

Stoke are close to signing on-loan winger Jermaine Pennant, 27, on a permanent contract from Spanish side Real Zaragoza.

German side Werder Bremen are interested in Aston Villa’s 25-year-old defender Curtis Davies, who is currently on loan with Leicester City.

Villa manager Gerard Houllier has handed a trial to Colorado Rapids’ Jamaican striker Omar Cummings.

Villa are also keen to sign striker Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal, who may also be joined out of the Emirates exit by fellow striker Carlos Vela, midfielder Denilson and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Real Madrid centre-back Pepe has received a lucrative offer from Manchester City, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

Mick McCarthy wants to bring Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane back to Wolves, the club the Republic of Ireland forward first joined in 1997.

West Ham look set to sign Dieumerci Mbokani on loan from Monaco if they can get a work visa for the Congolese striker.

The Hammers may also look to sign Manchester United’s Michael Owen on loan after the striker admitted he may have to leave Old Trafford to reignite his career.

Valon Behrami has given Roma until 10 January to reach a deal over his transfer from West Ham. The Swiss midfielder is desperate to return to Italian football after an injury-hit spell in the Premier League.

Everton, Newcastle and Blackburn are chasing Barcelona’s teenage midfielder Oriol Romeu.

Hull have been put off a bid for James Vaughan after his club Everton put a £2m price-tag on the striker.

However, the Tigers are close to sealing a £1.5m-deal for Leicester striker Matty Fryatt after Foxes boss Sven Goran Eriksson admitted the player is almost certain to leave in January.

England boss Fabio Capello has risked angering Europe’s top clubs by backing calls for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be held during the winter. Capello, who is due to leave his role with England in 2012, believes it would be too hot to play in Qatar during June and July.

Blackburn caretaker boss Steve Kean has refuted accusations that there were underhand tactics at play when he was asked to take over from Sam Allardyce. “It was an absolute shock when I received the phone call from the chairman which was half an hour before it hit the press that Sam was going to leave,” said Kean.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes the side are struggling to find “the right chemistry” this season. The Blues are on their worst run in 11 years after a 3-1 loss at Arsenal left them six league games without a win.

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes that champions Chelsea are now out of the title race after the 3-1 defeat at the Emirates.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes that the attacking, passing football played by sides like his own and Arsenal will benefit the next generation of English footballers. “When you play in that sort of style players are forced to make decisions and think on the pitch,” said Martinez.

Former Portsmouth manager Paul Hart is poised to become the new manager of Sheffield United.

Liverpool are to reward striker David Ngog with a new long-term contract. The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his current deal.

Birmingham City have upped their contract offer to winger Sebastian Larsson. The Swede, 25, who cost £1m from Arsenal, can leave at the end of the season.

Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier (pictured) has revealed why John Carew was late to report for his club’s Christmas programme – the striker was stuck in snow in his native Norway.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





05/11/2010 – Friday’s Paper Round-Up

5 11 2010

Udinese’s Chilean international winger Alexis Sanchez, 21, could be on the verge of a move to Manchester United, according to the player’s agent.

Meanwhile, United target Steven Defour is being chased by a number of European clubs, according to the 22-year-old Standard Liege and Belgium midfielder’s agent.

Bristol City could be forced to sell former England goalkeeper David James after the club announced record losses of about £11m for last year.

Liverpool will move for Athletic Bilbao’s 6ft 5in striker Fernando Llorente, if they lose Fernando Torres in January.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is considering a January move for Tottenham’s out-of-favour winger David Bentley.

Real Madrid have joined the race for Liverpool and Arsenal target Ibrahim Affelay, who currently plays for PSV Eindhoven.

Tottenham are set to swoop for rising Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette, 19, considered one of the best young forwards in Europe.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists he will not quit despite the club slumping to a third defeat in a row against Polish side Lech Poznan in the Europa League: “I will stay at City until they fire me,” he vowed.

Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk said he “does not care” about Arsene Wenger’s concerns over Robin van Persie after picking him for their friendly with Turkey on 17 November. Arsenal boss Wenger had described his potential call-up as a “scandal”, the striker having been out since August with an ankle injury.

West Ham will meet the board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company on Friday as the east London club make their pitch for becoming tenants at Stratford’s Olympic Stadium after London 2012.

England coach Fabio Capello is keeping an eye on Cardiff’s Jay Bothroyd after the striker took his tally to 12 goals this season for the Championship leaders.

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has urged star winger Gareth Bale to stay at the club for the long-term: “We are a coming force and big clubs keep their best players,” he said.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle says Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is the “perfect candidate to succeed Fabio Capello as England coach. Coyle described Redknapp as “an outstanding manager and a terrific man.”

West Ham chairman David Gold has renewed his attack on his successors at Birmingham City, describing their chairman Peter Pannu as “disgusting” after reneging on a promise to keep him on as chairman.

West Brom have come out on top of the Times newspaper’s Financial Fair Play League, which highlights the clubs obtaining the best results per pound spent.

Tickets for England’s 17 November friendly with France at Wembley are being sold for as little as £5 as the Football Association looks to boost the attendance. About 44,000 tickets have been sold so far.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has accused Newcastle of a lack of “etiquette” after the Monkees hit Daydream Believer was played over the stadium tannoy at the end of the Magpies 5-1 victory over the Black Cats on Sunday. Newcastle fans had been taunting Bruce with an X-rated version of the song throughout the match.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





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.

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.

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.

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.





10/09/2010 – Friday’s Paper Round-Up

10 09 2010

Roy Hodgson believes he inherited a squad that was big on numbers, but lacking quality in depth when he succeeded Rafael Benitez as Liverpool manager. Hodgson has already shipped out a number of squad players including Alberto Aquilani, Philipp Degen, Nabil El Zhar and Emiliano Insua.

But Hodgson could augment his squad by signing Artem Milevskiy in January – the 25-year-old Ukrainian striker recently extended his contract with Dinamo Kiev but has a release clause of about £10m written in.

Neven Subotic – wanted by both Manchester United and Manchester City as well as Chelsea and Real Madrid will stay put at least until next season. The 21-year-old Serbian centre-back is valued at £20m by Borussia Dortmund where he has a contract until 2014.

Wigan midfielder Charles N’Zogbia could be on his way to Marseille, with Birmingham out of the race to sign the 24-year-old Frenchman.

Leicester have turned down Derby’s attempt to sign Matty Fryatt on loan and instead told the 24-year-old striker to fight for his place in the Foxes team.

On-loan Everton striker James Vaughan will be offered a permanent deal with Crystal Palace if he impresses over the next three months. The 22-year-old is set to make his debut against Reading on Saturday.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney (left) has been warned by Everton defender Phil Jagielka that he will face a hostile reception at Goodison Park on Saturday. A former Evertonian, Rooney will be making his first Premier League appearance since allegations concerning his private life surfaced.

One man set to watch Rooney from the stands is former team-mate Francis Jeffers. Jeffers made his England debut at the same time as Rooney – scoring in a 2-1 defeat by Australia in February 2003 – but the former Everton and Arsenal striker is now without a club and considering a move to the Australian A League.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce believes the race to replace Fabio Capello as England manager in 2012 is between him, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, Roy Hodgson of Liverpool and Blackburn’s Sam Allardyce.

Meanwhile, Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock reckons England should appoint a “Redknapp-type” manager to succeed Capello because he would have better communication skills than the Italian.

Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s reign as Liverpool owners could have less than a month to run. Royal Bank of Scotland has moved its loans with the American pair into its toxic-assets division – a sign that they will not be extended.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will have a tougher job controlling the egos at Eastlands than he would at Real Madrid, says Blackburn’s Michel Salgado, who spent 10 years at the Bernabeu.

Everton have suffered a blow with the news that midfielder Jack Rodwell faces a three-month spell of the sidelines after the 19-year-old damaged his ankle against Aston Villa two weeks ago.

Tottenham’s new £8m midfielder Rafael van der Vaart believes he can inspire the club to finish higher than rivals Arsenal in the Premier League this season.

West Ham manager Avram Grant has been given permission to miss the Premier League game at Stoke on 18 September as it clashes with Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

Nigel Adkins could still be named as Southampton’s new manager. The Scunthorpe boss had been top of the Saints’ shortlist, but his appointment had seemed to have been scuppered by Southampton’s apparent reluctance to pay compensation.

Manchester United defender Gary Neville has further widened the gulf between himself and Liverpool by admitting he had a “hatred” of the Merseyside club during his childhood because “they were winning everything”. Neville also made a thinly veiled attack on Manchester City.

However Manchester City have shown themselves to be capable of a barb of their own – chief executive Garry Cook admitting that a banner at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground highlighting the Blues’ 34-year wait for a trophy “drives us nuts”. Also in Blue Moon Rising, a film based on City and set for general release, striker Carlos Tevez claims he has “nothing to prove” to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, supporter Steve admits to finding the colour red “disgusting” while a fellow fan “votes Tory only because they’re blue”.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





25/08/2010 – Wednesday Transfer Talk

25 08 2010

Liverpool’s 3-0 drubbing by Manchester City on Monday has prompted manager Roy Hodgson to make a shock move for West Ham striker Carlton Cole, with the Reds prepared to offer £6m up front for the 26-year-old.

Hodgson is desperate to sort out the future of Javier Mascherano, who wants to move for family reasons, and has told Barcelona they will need to pay £18m in cash by the end of the weekend to secure the Argentine midfielder.

Barcelona may offer midfielder Alexander Hleb and defender Martin Caceres in part exchange as they look at ways to tempt Liverpool to sell Mascherano.

Reports in Spain believe Liverpool are in talks with Real Madrid over the transfer of Mahamadou Diarra (left).

If Liverpool do finally offload Mascherano, they may attempt to secure Marseille’s £7m-rated midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.

Sky Sports believe that Liverpool are close to completing a £3.5million deal for Paul Konchesky.

West Brom have made a £3m bid for Getafe midfielder Derek Boateng. The Ghanaian was voted the Spanish club’s player of the season for the 2009-2010 campaign and was named in his country’s World Cup squad.

West Ham manager Avram Grant is intent on signing both a striker and right-back before the close of the transfer window next Tuesday.

Everton have been put off Tottenham striker Peter Crouch after being quoted what they consider to be an exorbitant fee of £10m.

Coventry are set to sign striker Marlon King, who was released from prison in July, on a three-year contract. Sky Blues boss Aidy Boothroyd wants to snap up King on a Bosman transfer for a weekly salary of £10,000, plus bonuses.

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar looks likely to remain at Goodison Park for one more season and see out the final year of his contract, despite Tottenham’s ongoing interest in the South African.

Chelsea could be set to make a shock bid for Inter Milan defender Nicolas Burdisso, with the Blues needing cover for Ricardo Carvalho, who recently moved to Real Madrid.

Deal-broker Keith Harris, who has assisted in the sales of West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester City, says he is representing a mystery overseas buyer for Liverpool, with an offer of up to £500m set to be tabled to take over from the current American owners.

England manager Fabio Capello has come under fire from Real Madrid’s new manager. Jose Mourinho said: “He has a one-track relationship with players. You cannot go around just shouting at players. They need to feel special. Capello will not work for England. He does not know the players. They are frightened of him and they can’t play for him.”

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.





22/08/2010 – Sunday Transfer Talk

22 08 2010

Chelsea are ready to make Real Madrid a “super offer” of £33m for Sergio Ramos (left), with Spain’s World Cup winning defender set to earn over £8m net per season over five years.

Barcelona are ready to make Liverpool an offer for midfielder Javier Mascherano, encouraged by the Argentine’s desire to leave England for an environment where his family will be happier.

Arsenal are monitoring St Etienne striker Emmanuel Riviere, one of the most highly-rated young players in France.

AC Milan are poised to offer striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic an escape route from Barcelona in a deal that could see the Spanish champions make one last effort to sign Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas before the transfer deadline.

Arsenal will turn their focus to Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, with little movement in their pursuit of Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer and Manchester City’s Shay Given.

Gunners left-back Gael Clichy is a target for Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor intends to stay at Eastlands, despite fresh overtures from Real.

But Real boss Mourinho is ready to launch a £20m move for Adebayor, which may free up Real striker Karim Benzema to join Manchester United.

Manchester United are planning a £15m bid for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon next summer as current number one Edwin van der Sar prepares for retirement.

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane and West Ham midfielder Scott Parker could be swapping clubs in a shock move.

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson hopes to sign PSV Eindhoven defender Carlos Salcido if he misses out on Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky.

New Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez is ready to make a £15m bid to lure Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt from his former club Liverpool.

West Ham are looking at Bayern Munich goalkeeper Michael Rensing to provide competition for Rob Green.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is set to spend the £8m from Kenwyne Jones’ departure to Stoke on signing Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan from French club Rennes.

Italian side Bari are interested in signing Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand after Bruce told the 25-year-old he can find another club.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is keen to sign Mexico striker Guillermo Franco, who is still a free agent after being released by West Ham last season.

The arrival of striker Craig Bellamy at Cardiff has encouraged Ipswich to make a final £4m bid for Bluebirds forward Michael Chopra.

Bournemouth striker Brett Pitman, who failed to agree personal terms with Blackpool last week, is expected to join Championship club Bristol City on Monday.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway will turn his attentions to Newcastle striker Leon Best.

Former Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill (right) could be in line for a shock return to management with former club Nottingham Forest.

O’Neill is also on the Football Association’s radar to become the next England coach, emerging as one of the leading candidates to replace Fabio Capello should the side struggle in their early Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is to be given a new £70,000-a-week contract to cement his status as City’s number one keeper.

Businessman Kenny Huang decided to withdraw from the race to buy Liverpool because of his increasing disillusionment with chairman Martin Broughton and the club’s board over the timescale and pace of the deal.

Steve McLaren is already facing a delicate issue of man-management at new club Wolfsburg after midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic criticised the former England boss for leaving him on the bench at the start of their 2-1 defeat by Bayern Munich.

French legend Zinedine Zidane says Manchester United’s Paul Scholes is “as close to a complete player as you will see” and it his biggest regret that he did not get to play alongside him.

England boss Fabio Capello has been ordered by FA bosses to improve his English so he can communicate better with the players.

In an effort to be fit for Corinthians’ match against Vitoria next Sunday, former Brazil striker Ronaldo has been banned from eating chips and drinking alcohol.
The 33-year-old’s party lifestyle has seen him put on a considerable amount of weight but he insists he is not ready to retire from professional football.
“I will make a decision at the end of the season, ” he said on Twitter. “It is true that I am carrying more weight than I would like and that I’m not very mobile, but in 15 days I will be fine.”

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

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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.

James

Johnson
Terry
Upson
A.Cole

Lennon
Lampard
Barry
J.Cole
Gerrard

Rooney

Mark Jepson









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