April 30, 2009
It will not come as a surprise to learn that Thursday's editions of the UK's papers have considerable coverage on the previous evening's Champions League semi-final, first leg meeting between Manchester United and Arsenal.
The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Independent all point out that when the draw was made Sir Alex Ferguson said "I'd settle for 1-0 at home," so with John O'Shea's goal delivering that exact result Fergie will be happy.
April 29, 2009
So it was a rather disappointing night at the Nou Camp as Chelsea held Barcelona to a bore draw. The Guardian report that Barcelona's players are really, really unhappy with the negative tactics shown by the Blues. But Guus Hiddink's men are quite happy with the draw thank you very much.
Not quite the 4-4 classic some were predicting, but it's ok. We have something to cheer you up this morning. News that Chelsea's new manager is going to be Jose Mourinho clone Slaven Bilic!
April 28, 2009
Chelsea fans won't need any extra hype to build their excitement ahead of Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League semi-final with Barcelona, but that's not going to stop the UK's papers from having a go.
In the Sun it is reported that both Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink and Barcelona counterpart Pep Guardiola have both vowed to go for goals, which if true could result in a stunning game.
April 27, 2009
The weekend's newspapers may have been packed full of speculation that Manchester United were ready to launch a £70 to £100m bid for Kaka but Monday's press proclaimed the Old Trafford outfit back on the trail of Karim Benzema.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been pursuing the hitman for a year but was priced out of a £40m swoop last summer when he turned instead to Dimitar Berbatov, according the Daily Mirror.
April 26, 2009
Three stories dominate the UK Sunday papers: The fallout following stunning the result at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, a potential Indian takeover at Anfield and Arsene Wenger predicting the end of foreign players dominating the Premier League.
So, from the top: In the News of the World two-goal hero Cristiano Ronaldo said Manchester United were "lucky" to battle back from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-2, which seems like a fair summary.
April 25, 2009
Manchester City's failed bid to buy Kaka looks like it could come back to haunt them as reports in two of the UK's papers on Saturday claim the AC Milan playmaker has held talks with... wait for it: Manchester United!
The Daily Mail say United have made the first steps to secure Kaka as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, should their star player leave this summer.
April 24, 2009
There may not be a war of words going on between Rafael Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson (well, that's what Rafa says before launching into another tirade) but there could be a new war over a player.
Remember that long saga over Gabriel Heinze and his wish to move from Man Utd to Liverpool? Well now it could be Carlos Tevez who moves over. And this time he won't be Sir Alex's player and won't be able to block it.
April 23, 2009
It seems that no matter how much money Manchester City are willing to throw at players they just can't seem to get their man.
The latest big name star to reject an approach from the Citizens is Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o, who turned down a £35m move, according to the Daily Mirror.
April 22, 2009
Andrey Arshavin's stunning four-goal haul, which looks to have struck a fatal blow to Liverpool's Premier League title hopes, dominates the UK's papers this Wednesday morning.
The Daily Star and the Daily Mirror are both fulsome in their praise for Arsenal's Russian striker and both papers insist his wonder goals have handed Manchester United the title.
April 21, 2009
Ok, so it's a little early in the year to start breaking out the Santa gags, but Roque Santa Cruz has given us no option. Having made it clear that his future at Ewood Park won't last until next year's present run, the Daily Mirror reckon that Liverpool will come swooping and pick themselves up a gift.
Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal will all probably be in the race as well, so there'll be plenty more time to tweak our 'Christmas has come early for Club X' headlines.
April 20, 2009
It's difficult to tell from the UK's paper on Monday morning what annoyed Sir Alex Ferguson more about defeat in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final: referee Mike Riley, Everton boss David Moyes or the Wembley pitch.
Strangely he failed to identify his team selection as a contributing factor...
The Sun reckon Mike Riley is Public Enemy Number One with the Manchester United manager for failing to give a penalty against Phil Jagielka for what he saw as a foul on Danny Welbeck.
If converted the spotkick could have sealed an FA Cup Final place for United, instead they lost on penalties and as a result have been robbed of the chance to win an unprecedented Quintuple.
The Daily Telegraph quote Fergie has saying that David Moyes's head had been filled "with a load of nonsense" following pre-match concerns that referee Mike Riley might be United fan with the implication being that Riley would have given the questionable penalty were it not for the hype.
The Times agree saying defeat was down to "ridiculous nonsense" i.e. rumours surrounding Riley.
The Independent and the Daily Mail take a different line and pick on comments Fergie made about the state of the Wembley pitch, which cut-up badly and affected the run of the ball, something which Arsene Wenger bemoaned as "a joke" after Arsenal’s defeat on Saturday.
Annoyingly for United not only did Jagielka get away with the penalty that wasn't but he also slotted the winning pen in the shootout. Worse still he told the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express: "I didn't even want to take it."
And adding insult to injury David Moyes revealed to the Guardian that he basically forced Jagielka to put his name on the list of penalty takers.
Elsewhere in the papers the Independent report that Rafael Benitez wants to hire former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish in a new backroom role, advising and supervising youth development at the club.
Dalglish has been out of the game and on the golf course since he left Celtic in 2000. Just thought we’d mention that.
In other Liverpool news Charles Itandje, the reserve team keeper who laughed and joked and was generally insensitive during last week's Hillsborough memorial service is sure to be shown the door according to the Guardian after compounding his situation by saying his behaviour has been blown out of all proportion.
In Scottish paper the Daily Record it is reported that Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan wants Scotland's top clubs to pay £100m if they are to allowed to join a second tier of the Premier League, a proposal which will be made later this week.
And finally the Daily Express report that new Premier League manager Mick McCarthy is a big fan of DIY: At 6am on Saturday, ahead of his side's 1-0 win over QPR which secured promotion from the Championship, Big Mick was varnish his garage door.
"I get a lot of pleasure out of DIY," said McCarthy. Let's hope for his neighbours’ sake he did it quietly. If Soccernet got woken at 6am on Saturday by some bloke varnishing a door he get some forthright feedback.
April 19, 2009
The Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga just won't go away, but the Sunday newspapers have added a new twist to the story: Kaka will be heading to Old Trafford to replace him.
According to the News of the World United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will put a spectacular £70million replacement plan in place when - not if - Ronaldo demands a summer move to Real Madrid.
United would use the expected world record fee for their Portuguese winger to sign AC Milan playmaker Kaka, along with Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery.
However, the Sunday Express disagree and report that Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed further Spanish talk of Ronaldo moving there in the summer as nonsense. The Reds boss also labelled former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon "a dinosaur".
The transfer speculation continues in the Sunday People, with claims that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is weighing up a £9million move for out-of-favour Liverpool winger Ryan Babel.
Babel, who joined Liverpool from Ajax for £11.5m in 2007, had a bust- up with Reds boss Rafa Benitez before last weekend's Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers and the 22-year-old is keen on a move to the Emirates.
Contrary to Saturday's reports that Kenny Dalglish was off to Newcastle United the Sunday Telegraph claim the Kop legend is heading back to Anfield as Liverpool step up their efforts to end their 19-year wait for a league title.
Dalglish has already been in talks with Rafael Benitez to discuss returning to Merseyside to play a central part in the Spaniard's backroom staff.
The Sunday Mirror also report that former Liverpool manager is heading back to his old club to help with youth development, but will also enable Benitez to tap into his vast experience.
Just as the legendary Bob Paisley offered Dalglish support during the Scotsman's early days as boss, Liverpool's greatest player will be around to advise Benitez.
And finally... the Mail on Sunday claim West Ham United have two potential bidders ready to mount an £80million takeover deal in the wake of the financial meltdown of Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.
April 18, 2009
Now that Newcastle United have finally bagged Geordie Messiah Alan Shearer the club are looking for another legend to boost the ranks of their coaching staff.
According to The Sun that somebody is Kenny Dalglish, who is set to return to St James Park as the club's director of football.
The Liverpool legend took over as Toon manager from Kevin Keegan in January 1997, steering the Magpies to second in the Premier League and taking them into the Champions League.
April 17, 2009
After the disappointment of a UEFA Cup exit, we thought we'd turn our attentions to something that Man City fans should get a kick out of. Transfer rumours.
Unfortunately for the Citizens though, they don't get top billing for a change as the Daily Telegraph links Chelsea with a £50m - Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Yuri Zhirkov swoop.
First words that come to mind? Why is the Telegraph running this? No, ok, it's 'they'd be lucky'. Tevez at £32m, not taking into consideration they'd have to persuade him to play for Blue instead of Red; Adebayor £30m, and a similar story; while they might just land Zhirkov for £15m. But all three? We give odds of 3000-1.
And the point of all this talk for the Blues? To try and lure Carlo Ancelotti to the hotseat in the summer. Like he didn't already know they were loaded...
One player who looks like he might stay put is Liverpool's Xabi Alonso. After a summer of speculation revolving around the future of Gareth Barry, the Spanish international is now wanted by Rafa long-term, even though it looks like he might get his paws on Barry as well.
The Daily Star reckon Real Madrid, Juventus and Arsenal are interested in Alonso, but Rafa is clutching on tight: “We have a lot of confidence in him and he is a player we want to keep because he has the quality, and the game, that we need,” he said.
We'll see what Xabi says when Gaz Baz walks through the door in the summer.
Staying with the Reds, and in a case of toys and pram, Benitez reckons Valencia blew any hopes of a transfer when his interest in David Silva was leaked. The Daily Mail have quotes from the boss, seemingly unconcerned with the whole affair as: ''We have a list of 95 players - more or less - players that we could sign this year.''
Can we be the first to say: 95??? Did we miss something here? Or is this another push to fill the Reds' academy with 16-year-old Bulgarian goalkeepers? How much money does he think the club have? And for that matter, how many squad places?
Provided the rest of the Premier League clubs are allowed to sign people, we have some gossip from around the grounds as well.
Lucas Neill, out of contract in the summer, looks set to leave West Ham, with boss Gianfranco Zola keen to pick up Swansea's Spanish right-back Angel Rangel as a replacement , say the Daily Mirror.
The Daily Mirror also say that Blackburn are tracking 19-year-old Austrian striker Mark Arnautovic who plays for Dutch side FC Twente. Although most of the Rovers fans are still in shock that Matt Derbyshire chose to go to Olympiakos last January.
Roy Hodgson is keen to keep his side together, so the future of defender Brede Hangeland is key. According to the Daily Mail, the boss is putting together a new contract to ward off the attention of the big clubs.
If you can still keep your eyes open on the on-running saga of Manchester-United-players-to-Real-Madrid, head over to The Times for the news that Carlos Tevez will be joining Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu next season. Yawn.
And finally, the QPR hotseat is attracting some attention. The Daily Mirror is sure that Alan Pardew is the man to take over, but far more amusingly The Sun think it will be former Brazil great Romario.
We're looking forward to the striking legend adding the goals he scores in training at the Loftus Road club to his overall total. It's over a thousand you know.
April 16, 2009
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard may have only just signed a new contract with the club, but that has not stopped the Daily Mail from suggesting that AC Milan could make a move.
Now, we all know there is no way on God's green earth that Gerrard will ever leave Anfield. But Kaka wants him there. Perhaps they could just both move to Manchester City and have a big load of fun at Eastlands?
Brace yourself for the rumour of the century.... Ronaldo is going to Real Madrid! Yes, it's your daily fill of Ronaldo rubbish. The Sun reports that Ramon Calderon has (again) insisted that a deal is done and dusted to take the winger to Real Madrid in the summer. Remember, he never speaks about players from other clubs.
He told French radio: “Anyone who becomes the next president will have at his disposal one of the best players in the world, who is already formally committed to Real Madrid." Oh really...
Could Arsene Wenger really be set to sign another Englishman? Mind you, it will be a player he has signed before - the first English player he snapped up for the Gunners - with the Daily Mirror tipping Matthew Upson to return from West Ham United.
Time for a clear-out at Liverpool? It seems some of Rafa Benitez's under-performing players could be on their way out - and one of those will be Ryan Babel. The Times states he wants more first team football and he could be joined by Andrea Dossena through the revolving door. And Gareth Barry to come in?
Over at Chelsea, there's been some criticism for Petr Cech of late. And quite rightly so. But it seems the Czech Cech expected a little more support from his manager, Guus Hiddink, and was a little shocked that his manager questioned his confidence. 'Did he really say that?' asked Cech. It's in the Daily Mail.
There seems to be plenty of speculation doing the rounds about Spurs (surprise, surprise) and in particular their striking options. The Daily Mail reckons that Roman Pavlyuchenko will get 'Arry's seal of approval to remain at White Hart Lane.
Agent Victor Kolar has insisted the Russian international will remain in place, while Darren Bent will be the only striker leaving White Hart Lane. Perhaps the real truth is that they will both be out of the exit door?
More striker speculation now and it seems Wigan are close to sealing a permanent deal for Mido, says The Sun. Well, I lived in Middlesbrough for three years and I don't want to go back either.
Wolves are on the verge of a second stint in the Premier League and are already gearing up for a season of struggle by being linked with Cardiff City's Joe Ledley. Now, that is itself is not such a bad move. But £7m?! Are they having a laugh? It's in the Daily Mirror.
April 15, 2009
It's always so dull when Chelsea and Liverpool meet up in the Champions League. 0-0 here, 1-1 there. Scrappy, long balls, oh wait..
Both sides put on a cracking show on Tuesday night in the 4-4 draw, so it's no surprise to see the back pages full of flowing rhetoric extolling the brilliance of the English game (and indeed just football itself).
The Sun cry 'Phew' as they prepare for one of the worst sale days in their history. While the Times claim that Liverpool summoned the spirit of Istanbul to produce another glorious Champions League evening - even though they lost.
Build up to the Wednesday fixtures continues aplenty as the Daily Mirror have Sir Alex Ferguson calling on his side to use the spirit of 1999 to overcome their tough task at the Dragao against FC Porto/
Somewhere away from the football there's tributes to the 96 who died at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. We can't do it justice here in the papers, so if you're unaware of anything that happened on the worst day in English football, please read our two features on the topic from Messrs John Brewin and Andrew Hush.
Believe it or not there's still some transfer news floating around today, with the Daily Mirror reigniting the Daniel Agger contract saga by claiming that the Danish defender will move to Barcelona in the summer. Given he didn't feature in Liverpool's most important game of the season he might well move on, but AC Milan's interest is unlikely to go away.
Liverpool are also being linked with a move for Lazio star Mauro Zarate. The Argentine striker, who made his name in England with Birmingham, has impressed in Serie A and the Sun reckon the Reds could swoop for 'the Zarate Kid' at the end of the season when his loan expires.
The Daily Express think that Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is already planning his raids in the transfer market and will go for Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones and Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing. If both get relegated he might even get them on the cheap! Typical 'Arry.
Boro, say the Daily Mirror , might turn to impressive Swansea striker Jason Scotland for goals if they lose Stewie - as he'd certainly cost a lot less than Afonso Alves. But they could be playing Championship football by then!
The rebuilding at Villa might be starting already as they begin to plan for life without Gareth Barry. The Daily Star think Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour is top of the list, but that they might balk at the £15m price tag.
And finally, if you happen to have picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal then you might find a story about Liverpool owner Tom Hicks in financial trouble. The American could lose his Texas Rangers baseball club and Dallas Stars hockey franchise, while defaulting on debts of £351m. So maybe some good news for Reds fans after all.
April 14, 2009
Unsurprisingly the UK's newspapers are dominated by one story today: this evening's hugely anticipated Champions League quarter-final clash between Chelsea and Liverpool.
After a weekend that saw Liverpool score four and Chelsea concede three there is a genuine belief that Rafa Benitez could achieve the unthinkable and overturn Chelsea's 3-1 lead from the first leg and reach the semi-finals.
In The Sun it is reported that Benitez will gamble on the fitness of Steven Gerrard and play his talisman despite worries over an abductor injury and the Guardian agree, suggesting that Benitez views playing Gerrard as a calculated risk.
In the Daily Star Fernando Torres has called on the club to produce a spectacular recovery in memory of the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough, the anniversary of which is tomorrow.
Indeed in The Times and The Telegraph it is claimed that Benitez believes it could be Liverpool's destiny to pull off an extraordinary comeback in the week the club commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
The Daily Express and The Independent suggest that Benitez will draw on the memory of Liverpool's finest hour - their 2005 Champions League final triumph - to inspire another European Great Escape against Chelsea.
And according to Pepe Reina there is belief within the squad that Liverpool can defy the odds and seal a remarkable win. The keeper told the Daily Mirror the squad are focussed on pulling off the "impossible job" at Stamford Bridge.
However, while Guus Hiddink has admitted to the Daily Mail that Chelsea's defensive frailties could stop them reaching the semi-finals, Ricardo Carvalho is bullish.
He told The Sun that Chelsea "won't bottle it" and insisted to the Daily Star that Chelsea are a stronger team after the trials and tribulations of last season and will prove that by winning the Champions League.
In other news The Guardian are worried about Mark Hughes' job security. They report that Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak will visit Eastlands to watch the second leg of their UEFA Cup quarter-final against Hamburg this week to assess whether Hughes still has the backing of the fans.
And while on the subject of job security the Daily Mirror claim the gig is up for Ricky Sbragia, with reports that Sunderland are ready to ask Alan Curbishley to become their emergency new manager - once he settles his dispute with West Ham this week.
In the Daily Express it is claimed that Fulham are lining up a double summer bid for Tottenham pair Tom Huddlestone and Gareth Bale.
In the Daily Mail it is reported that Hull boss Phil Brown is hopes to sign Angola striker Manucho, currently on loan from Manchester United, on in a permanent deal for £750,000.
And finally, the Daily Mirror report that Robin van Persie, despite turning down a £65k a week deal in March, is ready to sign a new contract at Arsenal.
Anything to do with the fact that they look good again?
April 13, 2009
The Manchester City fans' patience with manager Mark Hughes seemed to finally run out this weekend after the Sky Blues boss dropped £34m Brazilian star Robinho for his side's 3-1 defeat to Fulham at Eastlands.
City's sixth home defeat of the season followed on from a 3-1 loss against Hamburg in the UEFA Cup and with the club looking unlikely to be playing in Europe next season Hughes is clinging on to his job by a thread, according to the Daily Mirror.
The decision to omit Robinho, the club's top scorer, for the defeat against Fulham prompted the normally loyal fans to chant ‘you don't know what you're doing' and 'what the f*** is going on' as City threw away a 1-0 lead.
Hughes defended his gamble on Robinho in the Daily Mail and said: "It was the right thing to do as he has not had a rest and this was the first opportunity I have had to give him one.
"I had the option of using Martin Petrov for the first time in a long while.
"I’m trying to protect players that have carried the workload all season. Robbie has had a great first season but he needed a break."
The Times has some sympathy with Hughes and point out that when Robinho was finally introduced with 26 minutes remaining his contribution was negligible.
The newspaper also speculate that it will be the player, who has not scored in 15 matches, who will be offloaded in the summer and not the manager, who retains the backing of owner Sheikh Mansour.
Meanwhile, The Sun report that Obafemi Martins' Newcastle United future is in the balance after his late withdrawal from the relegation clash at Stoke City at the weekend.
Toon boss Alan Shearer will read the riot act to the Nigerian striker after he pulled out of the 1-1 draw with a groin injury.
Shearer said: "I wasn't too happy I got the call at 11 o'clock, particularly after we trained all Thursday and Friday and had massages on Friday evening and there was no sign of it."
In Champions League news Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has told the Daily Express that Chelsea should not to take their passage into the semi-finals for granted because the Reds are plotting another stunning European comeback, from 3-1 down.
Torres said: "We know it will be very difficult. They are a strong team, but we have confidence we can do it and we have to go there to win the game."
Manager Rafael Benitez expects to be able to restore inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard to the starting line up after he was rested for the 4-0 win against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend with a groin injury, according to The Independent.
And finally... Aston Villa and Everton have all but conceded defeat in their pursuit of Champions League football, according to The Guardian, after their 3-3 draw prompted managers Martin O'Neill and David Moyes to admit that catching Arsenal and finishing fourth looks beyond them.
April 12, 2009
Young Kiko Macheda is the man who has made the headlines again on this Sunday morning. He's young man of the moment though nobody seems sure whether he meant to score or not against Sunderland. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt though the Daily Star has worked out that he won't receive a winners' medal if United win the Premier League. Considering Henrik Larsson was given one a couple of years ago, we'd refute that.
Anyway, by the looks of things, Manchester United are going to need youngsters like him. It's taken four years but it seems that the popular press have woken up to the idea that the debt-laden Glazer takeover is not a "good thing". The News of the World, after the club's account revealed a hefty debt mountain is climbing ever skywards, says United need to pay off £1.1bn of debt in the next nine years. In current climes the chances of that look as likely as Malcolm Glazer becoming a heart-throb.
Talking of debt-laden clubs, the Screws suggests that George Gillett is set to make a last-ditch bid to get Tom Hicks out of Liverpool. That soap opera, and an imminent pay-off of a loan, are runners that we've not heard the last of. Daniel Agger meanwhile says he may not sign a new deal with Liverpool because he has a problem with Rafa Benitez.
On to a club without debt. Manchester City want to sign Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta, says the NOTW. He may cost more than Robinho. The question is, as Garry Cook said about Kaka, is he as good as Stephen Ireland? According to the Daily Star Sunday, the formerly be-wigged one is now a target for Manchester United but City have made him an untouchable.
Could the man with the pink wheels on his Land Rover be considered as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo? Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a blast at Ron, say the Sunday Times. Too much moaning at the ref, says Fergie. Like the Glazer stuff, why has it taken so long to realise this? The Mail on Sunday has called it a "crisis confrontation" whereas it looks like perfect sense to me.
Here's an odd one. The Sunday Express say City and Liverpool are competing for a double deal for Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch, who if we're not mistaken has been at Liverpool before. They also contain the earthshattering story that Carlos Tevez is being touted around for £30m to anyone that wants him. Who would have believed Kia Jooranchian would attempt such a thing?
The other saga that has legs as long as Carl Lewis is the stewardship of Chelsea. Who is the next manager? There were links with a Mourinho return but Brave John Terry wants Hiddink to stay, say the Times. Over at The People, Roman Abramovich has been credited with a quality many would say he does not possess: patience. He's prepared to wait for Hiddink to make the right choice.
Over at West Ham, the People says that West Ham have tied Gianfranco Zola to a new deal as evasive action should Hiddink choose to go back to Russia. Though the Sunday Mirror's revelation that Hiddink has lined up Ramond Verheijen, a sports scientist, and Arno Phllips as a physio. That points to Guus staying, does it not?
April 11, 2009
Talk of Carlo Ancelotti being the latest gaffer to take on the poisoned chalice of Chelsea is gathering apace. With Guus Hiddink being the elephant in the room, and one who has just delivered the club's best performance in years, it is already beginning to look, should the rumours be true, a difficult assignment for the Italian.
The Sun say that he'll be able to draw some comfort from the fact that Roman Abramovich will pay him £1m a trophy. We imagine there's a basic pay packet involved too. The Daily Star is also running this rumour.
Staying on Chelsea, Brazilian behemoth Alex has been linked in the Daily Mirror with Atletico Madrid. He's been playing well of late but it seems that the Blues may be ready to cash in.
Time for two stories that have, as they say in the trade, legs. First up: Gareth Barry. After last summer's saga the links with Liverpool continue. But Aston Villa are doing their darndest to retain their skipper's services say the Mirror.
And, the daddy of all rumours. Sir Alex has opened the door to Jose Mourinho taking over from him says The Sun. He's also had a swipe at Rafa.
Three Arsenal rumours to finish. First, Wenger to be offered new deal. So say The Times. Theo Walcott wants to stay too, say the Daily Mail.
And, as the transfer window is readied to creak open, The Sun links them with a costly £12m move for PSG defender Mamadou Sakho, a young man recommended some weeks back on Soccernet by our own Paul Marshall.
April 10, 2009
Fresh from their stunning win over Liverpool in the Champions League this week Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has moved to calm his worried team by promising to reviatlise the ageing side, and in spectacular fashion.
The Guardian , the Daily Mail and the Sun all agree that Roman is ready to splash the cash and break the British transfer record by offering £40m to Valenica for David Villa, one of the world's most covetted strikers.
The Daily Express agree with the other papers, but they reckon that Valencia, who are in dire financial straits with debts over over 400m Euro, will demand £45m for Villa and not a penny less.
Another player who could be part of Abramovich's reported spending spree is Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko, at least so say the Daily Star.
The Sun agree and carry quotes from Guus Hiddink who questions Harry Redknapp’s treatment of Pavlyuchenko, saying: "It's a pity he's left in reserve. I'd never do that. A talented player like Roman must play, play and play again. He would prove to be useful to Chelsea."
In management news Bayern Munich have been linked by the Daily Mail with a summer move for Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger. The paper reckon that after Bayern's 4-0 beating in Barcelona this week Jurgen Klinsmann's time is up. Can't see it? Us neither, but a £5m a year pay deal could prove tempting.
In the Sun Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted at a possible retirement. But Fergie-haters shouldn’t get too excited. The 67-year-old was tipped by his son Darren to call it a day at the end of the current season if Manchester United were to win the Champions League and Premier League, but the old master wants more: "If we could win a couple more European trophies I then would definitely quit."
You may remember the furore over Jose Mourinho apparently having punched a fan after Inter Milan's defeat at Old Trafford. Well, as expected those charges have been dropped. Well done to the Mirror for giving the story space.
In the Guardian Sam Allardyce has renewed hostilities with Rafael Benitez ahead of Blackburn Rovers' visit to Anfield on Saturday, accusing the Liverpool manager of being obsessed with "whingeing and moaning".
That sort of thing is water off a duck's back for Rafa, of more concern will be reports on Steven Gerrard’s health and fitness.
Both the Times and the Mirror report that the Liverpool skipper dealt Rafa a crushing blow with news that his groin injury is thought to be worse than first thought.
The Anfield talisman could miss the next three games threatening to unravel the club's season at the most crucial time.
April 9, 2009
The UK's papers are full of reaction to a memorable night for Chelsea at Anfield, but that's not the only story concerning the Stamford Bridge club.
In The Sun it is reported that Carlo Ancelotti has told Chelsea he is ready to take over this summer from interim boss Guus Hiddink.
The Mirror claim that Roman Abramovich has offered the AC Milan coach a three-year deal worth £5.8m a year before bonuses.
However, in The Times Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani insists that neither Ancelotti nor their Brazilian playmaker Kaka will be leaving in the summer.
Also in The Times are reports that former Tottenham boss Martin Jol has admitted he wants to return to England, thus putting Premier League clubs on alert.
Jol's Hamburg host Manchester City in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals on Thursday night and could end the Abu Dhabi United Group's hopes of securing silverware in their first season as City's owners.
Defeat over two legs could spell doom for Mark Hughes, but City defender Micah Richards has told The Daily Express that the club's new owners must show patience and warned it could be years before the club realises its full potential.
Richards said: "There is pressure with the new owners coming in - people expect us to win every game. But we need room to build, maybe three or four years. That will be the time to judge us."
In The Daily Star Nemanja Vidic suggests that Manchester United "switched off" after defeat to Liverpool because they knew they had games in hand and says the United side "relaxed" against Porto in the Champions League.
Jonny Evans agrees and in The Independent says United's defence is guilty of "become a bit complacent".
And finally, The Sun and The Telegraph report that Wayne Rooney could miss Saturday’s Premier League trip to Sunderland with a rib injury.
April 8, 2009
A pair of draws gets most of the attention from the morning papers as Arsenal and Manchester United enjoyed differing fortunes in the Champions League.
While the Gunners will be happy with a 1-1 draw, they lost William Gallas - possibly for the season - although the Sun claims manager Arsene Wenger is still confident they'll make the semi finals.
Less happy, a certain Sir Alex admitted his gamble had backfired again (surely he'll put Gary Neville out to pasture now) as FC Porto grabbed two away goals. ''Blame me!'', he says. And, don't worry, everyone will if you don't become the first team to beat FC Porto at home next week.
But enough of the Champions League, there's plenty more to come in the near future so let's turn our attention to the transfer tittle-tattle.
The strangest story of the season possibly, could be the news that Villarreal are targeting Bobby Zamora. The Fulham striker might fancy a trip to Spain, but probably only on his holidays, although he'll never have a better chance to play in the Champions League, say the Daily Mirror.
The Spanish side's opponents, Arsenal, are also in the mix for players this summer and Portsmouth's Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar might head the field. Another tricky, under-strength but talented midfielder could be heading to the Emirates, but surely not for the £12m that the Metro have as the transfer fee.
Liverpool are also ready to make a raid on the transfer market. Too late to make a difference to their title challenge, the Reds might part with £5m in the summer to bring in Leeds United star Fabian Delph according to the Daily Mail.
The Daily Star bring us the shocking revelation that Darren Bent might leave Tottenham in the summer too. Office banter the other day surrounding the future of the Spurs striker consisted of a discussion over whether you'd buy him if you won the £11m on the double-rollover lottery this weekend. Sunderland just might, and they'd have a million to put in a savings account as the paper reckon he'd only cost £10m.
Elsewhere in the Daily Star there's some interest in Kaka, as the Brazilian has admitted that he'd like to play in England someday. Everyone! Every... single... club... wants him. But two years ago called and wants its news back.
Manchester City will certainly be one of the clubs in the mix when Kaka does decide he wants to end his Italian career, but right now they are far more concerned with contract rebel Daniel Sturridge - who they have made a take-it-or-leave-it final £40,000 a week offer.
If you choose to believe the Daily Mirror, then the 19-year-old striker will be offered a contract worth £30,000 to stay at Eastlands, with Chelsea and Aston Villa sniffing around. You have to wonder where the £10,000 went though.
And finally, with the release of The Damned United film recently, Cloughie Junior fancies getting himself a few headlines as the Sun reveal he's ready to offload up to 12 players at the end of the season. The Derby boss has made sure that the 'Clough' name is back on the front door of the manager's office. They're just hoping he doesn't head off to Leeds anytime soon.
April 7, 2009
The Daily Express and the Guardian carry an entertaining story on Tuesday morning claiming that senior players at Chelsea want Jose Mourinho to return to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Both papers claim that the Inter Milan manager is an absolute certainty to leave Serie A this summer (is he?) and if Guus Hiddink can't be tempted to stay at the Bridge the Chelsea stars want owner Roman Abramovich to kiss and make up with the 'Special One' and give him his old job back.
Both The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph claim Abramovich has no intention of welcoming the Portuguese back, and will move for AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti if he can't convince Hiddink to stay.
It's quite sweet that over 18 months after he left the players still hanker after Mourinho, perhaps some sort of group therapy would help?
While Mourinho might not get along with the Italian media to quite the same level he did with their UK counterparts, surely he would need a better reason to return? Not according to the papers.
It's very unlikely to happen, but we'll keep an eye on it all the same.
Next up it's everyone's favourite AWOL star - no, not Jean-Claude Van Damme, but Wigan's Amr Zaki.
If' you've missed the background, last week he played for Egypt in a World Cup qualifier and never came back. His agent says he's injured, Steve Bruce says he's the most unprofessional player he's ever worked with. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Anyway, in the Mirror it is claimed that Tottenham have not learned their lesson having previously signed similarly stroppy Egyptian striker Mido and are keen on taking Zaki in the summer. Doing so would fill a gap which the Mirror claim will be left by Darren Bent went Harry Redknapp shows him the door.
Two interesting Newcastle stories are doing the rounds in the UK papers, both relating to that popular chap, Dennis Wise.
While the Daily Mail say the Crazy Gang alumni while be handed £1.5m for leaving the club, The Sun report that one of his signings while the Toon's Executive Director (Football) (whatever that is), Fabricio Coloccini is to be dropped by Alan Shearer.
Signed last summer by Wise for £10m last summer, Coloccini had a nightmare in the 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea on Saturday as the Toon backline fell apart yet again and Shearer is ready to weild the axe as Steven Taylor and Sebastien Bassong return from injury.
Still grabbing the headlines is Manchester United's Federico Macheda. According to The Sun the 17-year-old Italian, who won Sunday's game against Aston Villa with a superb late goal, "only" earns £35,000 a year.
No bad for a player who the Daily Star reckon wasn't a certainty to make it in the game. They say he was offered a job as a pizza delivery boy by a friend in Sale, Greater Manchester if the football thing didn't work out.
Taking a slightly more highbrow angle on the emergence of Macheda The Times report that United have been accused of "bribing" the teenager's parents and turning football into a "cattle market" by Lazio, the club where he began his career, but from who United signed him as a pro.
And finally, the Daily Telegraph, amongst other papers present at Monday's press conference, report that Cristiano Ronaldo has told Real Madrid that he is at "the right club" and that a move to Spain is does not interest him.
Anyone hoping that Ronaldo's comment will put an end to the rumours could be in for disappointment. Roll-on Real Madrid's presidential election campaign promises!
April 6, 2009
Of course, all the news is of a certain 17-year-old United striker, who has brought up headlines like 'Mach of the Day'. The Sun are to blame for that one, but Federico Macheda has really announced himself on the world stage. You have to feel for Villa though.
Elsewhere, Amr Zaki has been talked about in the same breath as Alan Shearer (when he was banging in the goals anyway) and now those at Newcastle appear to want to take advantage of his spat with Wigan boss Steve Bruce.
£6m might just be enough to tempt Zaki to the Magpies in the summer, say the Daily Mail, but that decision is down to his club - Zamalek anyway.
In other transfer related news, Everton boss David Moyes is looking for new talent and seems to have targeted Tottenham's Jermaine Jenas according to the Daily Mirror.
They'll face a fight though, as the one-time England prospect is also on the radar of Martin O'Neill - mainly because he is young, English and might just be available on the cheap. The future of Gareth Barry, who will be leaving Villa in the summer if they don't make the Champions League, might just play a part in this one.
Midfielders appear to be on the menu today as Stoke City would love to serve up a taste of Blackburn's South African beefcake Aaron Mokoena. Their tough image would be enhanced, of course, but the deal might just be reliant on the Potters staying up, say the Daily Mirror.
The Daily Express reckon that Arsene Wenger is banning all talk of new contracts as his side look to win some silverware in either the FA Cup or Champions League. Probably not the best idea given that he could lose the likes of Theo Walcott for around £400,000 this summer if he doesn't tie the player down to a new deal. Maybe leave the talking to the boys upstairs eh?
The Daily Mail bring you the news that every Geordie, but probably not every Saints fan wants to hear, that former Toon manager Graeme Souness is ready to save his old club Southampton from going out of business. Toon fans will be happy he's not in the running for the vacant summer post at St James'; but things just go from bad to worse for poor old Saints.
And finally, the Sun have enlisted the hopes of Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt to speed up their winger Cristiano Ronaldo. So, incredible skill, good aerial ability, some lung busting stamina and now the world's best sprinter teaching him how to improve his already impressive pace. Some things just aren't fair.
April 5, 2009
On Saturday the big story doing the rounds in the UK newspapers was Cristiano Ronaldo's £75m summer move from Manchester United to Real Madrid and the Sunday's are full of talk of his replacement.
The News of the World claim United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will make a move for Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and is set to beat Barcelona to the Frenchman's signature.
Apparently "sources" at the Nou Camp are convinced Ribery is heading for Old Trafford, suggesting that United are well advanced with preparations for life without Ronaldo.
The Daily Star Sunday agree that United will raid the Bundesliga for a summer signing but insist that will be Wolfsburg's Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko and not Ribery.
The £12million target is currently the top European scorer in the World Cup qualifying campaign, with seven goals for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and will replace Carlos Tevez.
If Barcelona do miss out on Ribery they won't be too bothered as they are set to launch a £15million move for Arsenal's Robin van Persie, according to The People.
The Gunners' hitman is stalling on a new three-year deal and the Spanish giants are keen to sign the Dutchman, who is frustrated at winning only an FA Cup since joining in 2004.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is ready to double Van Persie's wage to £70,000 a week but Barca feel they can lure him in the summer.
The transfer tittle tattle continues in the Mail On Sunday, which claims that Manchester City will establish their reputation as a club with serious ambitions by making Samuel Eto'o one of their main summer buys for £20million.
The 28-year-old Cameroon striker has an uncertain future at Barcelona because of his wage demands and a highly publicised rift with coach Pep Guardiola and City are willing to meet his £120,000-a-week demands.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Express report that Liverpool are edging closer to a £450million Middle East takeover which would give manager Rafael Benitez more spending power in the transfer market.
Takeover talks are believed to be at an advanced stage between Liverpool's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and Nasser Al Kharafi - head of a mega-rich Kuwait family who are worth nine billion pounds.
And finally... In The Observer Sir Alex Ferguson denied as "absolute nonsense" allegations of a training-ground bust-up between himself and Wayne Rooney and has poured scorn on reports that this may have led to the striker being benched for Manchester United's game against Fulham two weeks ago.
April 4, 2009
It's back! The Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid story returned to the back pages of Saturday's UK newspapers with both The Guardian and Daily Mail reporting that the Spanish club will seal a £75m deal for the Manchester United forward in the summer.
Ronaldo remains determined to move to the Bernabéu and it is understood his salary and contractual terms have already been concluded as part of the world-record transfer.
April 3, 2009
It started last weekend, and now Barcelona are ready to crank up the pressure in a bid to land Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal.
It's carried in many of the day's papers, but let's start with The Sun. Well, on Saturday his padre said the midfielder was flattered to be linked with both Barca and Real Madrid. Then on Sunday an "insider" said Fab was arrogant and selfish.
So, with the roots of unrest in place, Barca president Joan Laporta has spoken of his desire to bring the former Nou Camp youth player back to the club. Could he be set for a £45m transfer?
April 2, 2009
Newcastle United's infallible white knight, new manager Alan Shearer, is on to a winner in more ways the one, according to Thursday mornings UK newspapers.
The Guardian claim that the calculating Toon legend, who has rejected coaching roles with his former club on numerous occasions, has decided that the odds of a 17th place finish are in his favour and by gaining one place in the Premier League can reaffirm his Messianic status in the North East.
"Maximum credit for minimum energy expended" as columnist Paul Hayward puts it.
The former England skipper, who will take training for the first time on Thursday, also bagged himself a staggering £1m for just eight games work and will receive another £1m if he manages to save the club from relegation, according to Daily Mail.
Add to the that a coaching team that will include former Southampton team-mate Iain Dowie and former Newcastle player Paul Ferris, who will both earn around £300,000, with Rob Lee and Tim Flowers also waiting in the wings and Newcastle's bill will top out at about £3m.
The Daily Telegraph report that Shearer pulled of another PR coup when he demanded the expulsion of Geordie hate figure Dennis Wise and it also looks like Joe Kinnear, who has won just six games in 25 attempts, will not be returning to St James Park.
Alan Hansen, who shares the Match Of The Day pundits' couch with Shearer wrote: "The effect on Saturday at St James' Park, against Chelsea, will be inspirational."
But, according to the Daily Express, the coup de grâce came when Shearer forced a clear-the-air apology from Newcastle's unpopular owner Mike Ashley. The former Toon No.9 could do no more to ingratiate himself to the fans that already adore him.
In other news, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was close to quitting Anfield before he signed his new five year contract last month, according to The Sun.
The Kop boss revealed he was frustrated by owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and the role of meddling chief executive Rick Parry and said: "It is true that at times I may have thought about my future."
But the Americans have since patched up their relationship and Parry is heading for the exit.
The Independent claim that despite England's 2-1 over Ukraine at Wembley it was a night that cried out for Manchester United's Michael Carrick to help run the midfield for manager Fabio Capello.
And The Times report that Southampton's hopes of escaping a ten-point penalty by putting their parent company - rather than the club - into administration could be derailed by the Football League.
April 1, 2009
Newcastle United, so often the source of swathes of column inches, dropped a bombshell on April Fool’s Day when it emerged that Toon legend Alan Shearer would be taking over as manager until the end of the season.
But The Sun reported that the tasty rumour was in fact not a joke and the club had decided to call a press conference on April 2nd to unveil their former striker in order to avoid any cheap April Fool’s related gags like the one we've just made.