Chelsea news – Blues target Pedro, Ancelotti quiet on Torres, Cahill on radar

Ancelotti quiet on Torres. Following Chelsea’s FA Cup stalemate at Goodison Park yesterday Carlo Ancelotti was predictably coy regarding the Fernando Torres saga. The Reds turned down a £35m bid from the Stamford Bridge side on Friday, a bid which prompted the Spanish striker to hand in a transfer request that very same day. But Ancelotti was frank in response when asked about the striker: “I don’t know, we will have to wait. There is no change,” the Press Association reported. The transfer window closes at midnight on Monday, so…

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Liverpool news – Torres exit looms, Suarez travels to Anfield, Reds eye Enrique

Torres deal imminent. The Observer reports that an improved offer for Fernando Torres will take the striker to Stamford Bridge. Liverpool have already rejected one offer of £35 million plus Daniel Sturridge for Torres. However, his transfer request means that a transfer is imminent as Liverpool are unlikely to want to keep a player who doesn’t want to play for the club against his will. Furthermore, Torres is thought to have a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Anfield if an offer exceeding £50 million is made should…

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Man City news – No Given exit, Kompany: Passion vital, Vieira new deal hope

No Given exit. Shay Given will not be leaving Manchester City this month, Citizens boss Roberto Mancini has said. The Irish international has been looking for a move away from the City of Manchester Stadium in search of first-team football since he was displaced by Joe Hart at the start of the season and the 34-year-old announced on Friday that he would be willing to move to a club in the Championship in order to play regular football. But Blues manager Mancini said he will not let the the former…

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Club Focus – Real Madrid – Benzema breakthrough only short-term measure for Los Blancos

Real Madrid’s bid to reach their first Copa del Rey final since 2004 started with aplomb on Wednesday night as a mesmeric run and finish by Frenchman Karim Benzema meant the Whites exited the Sanchez Pijuan caldron in Seville with a crucial semi-final first leg lead. A 17th minute effort from the former Lyon forward means Jose Mourinho’s men take a precious away goal advantage back to the return meeting at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 3. Sevilla’s hostile and intimidating home crowd was the only ammunition they exuded on…

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Arsenal news – Bendtner learning from Henry, Almunia still in Wenger plans, Eboue has cup hopes

Bendtner learning from Henry. Nicklas Bendtner has revealed he has reaped the benefits of having Gunners legend Thierry Henry around the training ground. The Frenchman has been training with his old club this month as the MLS does not restart until March and the young Dane opened the scoring in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Ipswich on Wednesday with an Henry-esque finish. Bendtner told Mirrorfootball that the 33-year-old has certainly had a positive influence on him: “Thierry has been great to have around the training ground. He is one of the…

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Tottenham news – Magpies want £30m for Carroll, Inter rule out Bale, Keane nears Hammers

Inter rule out Bale. Tottenham have successfully scared off European champions Inter Milan from their pursuit of Gareth Bale for now, after the Italian giants admitted Spurs’ asking price of over £40m is too much, according to The Daily Star. Inter’s sporting director Marco Branca admitted that while the club would continue to monitor Bale, a move is not feasible at this stage. He said: “The Tottenham chairman sent me a nice message saying that £40million is not enough for Bale. He is a player we like and that we…

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Southampton 1-2 Manchester United – Premier League class tells in the end for Red Devils

SOUTHAMPTON 1 Chaplow 45 MANCHESTER UNITED 2 Owen 65, Hernandez 75 Manchester United had to come from behind to beat League One Southampton at St. Mary’s, but their resilience told in the end as second half goals from Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez sent the Red Devils through to the FA Cup fifth round. Despite the defeat Southampton impressed throughout the game, dominating periods of the first half with slick passing play that caused a weakened United side problems long before Richard Chaplow had put Saints in the lead moments…

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Everton 1 – 1 Chelsea – Toffees outplay champions to force FA Cup replay

Everton put in a sterling performance against Chelsea at Goodison Park on Saturday and were the better team for much of the match, however, indecisive finishing, last-ditch defending and tactical naivety mean the Toffees will have to win at Stamford Bridge if they plan to progress in the FA Cup. In the usual manner of a lunchtime kick-off, both teams struggled to gain an immediate foothold in the game and it wasn’t until the second half that the match really came alive. While Everton enjoyed more possession and a number…

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Fernando Torres to Chelsea – Wrong player, wrong club?

As Chelsea and Fernando Torres look to push through a £35m transfer from Liverpool to Stamford Bridge before Monday, A Different League analyses the potential link-up and asks if it is in Chelsea and Torres’ best interests. The Anfield side Torres currently plays for has fallen dramatically from the 2008/09 campaign’s heights of a title race with Manchester United, where the Spanish striker’s 14 goals from 20 Premier League starts directly earned 12 of the 86 points Rafa Benitez’ team picked up on the way to a second-place finish. Liverpool…

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Liverpool news – Torres wants Chelsea move, Suarez fee agreed, Fans disappointed with Torres

Torres wants Chelsea move. Following Chelsea’s rejected £35 million bid to take the Spaniard to London, Fernando Torres last night submitted a transfer request, fuelling rumours that Chelsea will return with an improved offer for the Kop legend, The Guardian reports. Liverpool have rejected the transfer request, saying: “Fernando Torres tonight submitted a written transfer request which has tonight been rejected by Liverpool. Fernando is under a long term contract and the club expect him to honour the commitment he made to Liverpool FC and its supporters when he signed…

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Arsenal news – Xavi: Fab made for Barca, Vela joins West Brom, Arshavin too critical

Vela joins West Brom. Carlos Vela has joined West Bromwich Albion on loan until the end of the season. Arsene Wenger was looking to send the 21-year-old out on loan for the rest of the season and the Mexican international was heavily linked to move to Bolton Wanderers and La Liga side Valencia but has instead joined the Baggies for the rest of the term. Speaking to West Brom’s official website, Albion manager Roberto di Matteo said : “I’d like to officially welcome Carlos, who is an exciting signing for…

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Man City news – Door open for Ade return, No Alves move, Given wants loan exit

Door open for Ade return. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has left the door open for Emmanuel Adebayor to return to the Eastlands next season after his return from Real Madrid, according to The Guardian. The Togolese international joined Real Madrid on loan until the end of the season as a replacement for the injured Gonzalo Higuain and the Citizens manager says the 26-year-old could make a return to the Blues’ starting line-up next season: “This situation is good for him because he has a chance to play in the…

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Man Utd news – ‘Keeper search stepped up, Pallister impressed with Vidic, Youngster loan exit

‘Keeper search stepped up. Manchester United have narrowed down their search for Edwin Van Der Sar’s replacement to a three-man shortlist, reports the Daily Telegraph. Germany’s Manuel Neuer who plays for Schalke and Dutch shot stopper Maarten Stekelenburg who is currently at Ajax, are Fergie’s prime targets. However Athletico Madrid’s David De Gea is also being considered after impressing in the Champions League. United are keen to avoid a repeat of the struggle they endured when replacing Peter Schmeichel, eventually settling with Edwin Van Der Sar in June of 2005.…

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Man City news – City eye duo, Mancini backs Hart, No SWP Fulham move

Mancini backs Hart. Roberto Mancini has tipped Manchester City’s Joe Hart to be the world’s best goalkeeper if he continues to work hard. Hart has become England’s number one goalkeeper and has replaced Shay Given as first-choice for the Citizens over the course of the season but the 23-year-old has been criticised lately following his poor performance against Leicester City and playing a role in Darren Bent’s goal in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa. The former Inter manager has shown his confidence in Hart, saying that all players…

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Arsenal news – Arshavin talks on lost form, Squillaci to return, Smith plays down McGregor link

Squillaci to return. Arsene Wenger will be relieved at the confirmation that Sebastien Squillaci is set to return to the team for this weekend’s FA Cup clash against Huddersfield. The Gunners boss has been lacking in defensive options recently as centre-back pair Squillaci and Thomas Vermaelen have been out of action. The latter will not be back for at least another month but Wenger will take some comfort in knowing that the Spaniard is available for selection once again. Wenger is expected to make some changes to his starting line-up…

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Blog: What next for the Olympic Stadium?

It is worthwhile for this writer to state a personal view about the future of the Olympic Stadium post-2012. It would make complete sense for a country the size of this one to have a genuinely World Class venue for staging international athletics in the future. The major positive to come out of staging the games appears to this writer to be the retention of a facility capable of matching any other, thus making London a credible home for the World or European Championships in the near future as well…

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Manchester United Daily – van der Sar to retire

After months of speculation, Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has announced he will retire from professional football at the end of the season. In 2009 his wife, Annemarie, suffered a stroke and van der Sar missed a substantial chunk of the season on compassionate leave to care for her and spend time with his family, and it is this factor that has led to his decision to hang up his gloves once and for all: “Let’s just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – Luiz deal advances as young promise departs on loan

Chelsea have moved closer to strengthening their depleted squad as they neared a deal to sign Brazilian defender David Luiz from Portuguese champions Benfica. The lengthy process of negotiation has been going on for some time, with the Blues first linked to the versatile defender, who is adept at centre back and right back, last summer. But after struggling this season with a lack of strength in depth in defence, the reigning Premier League champions upped their interest with a January move, reportedly seeing a £17million offer rejected earlier this…

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Leeds Utd news – Fixture confusion, Harvey wants Council support, White loan exit

Fixture confusion. Confusion reigns over the date of Leeds United’s potential promotion six-pointer against Nottingham Forest following a gaffe by the BBC. The clubs official website, Leeds United.com announced at 11am this morning that the clash would be shown live on the BBC on Friday 1st April with a 7.45pm kick-off. However an hour later another statement was posted on the website stating that the proposed slot in the schedule was no longer available and that to avoid further confusion ticket sales would be suspended until a new date could…

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Liverpool news – Reds reject £35m Torres bid, Niang move considered, Warnock loan fee

Reds reject £35m Torres bid. Liverpool have rejected Chelsea’s £35m bid to sign Fernando Torres, The Guardian reports. The decision reflects Fenway Sports Group’s ambition not to weaken Liverpool’s squad during the transfer window and also places some doubt over the Luis Suarez deal, following the Saturday deadline for a transfer to take place set by Ajax manager Frank de Boer. “Chelsea have made a bid for Fernando which has been turned down,” a Liverpool spokesperson confirmed. “The player is not for sale.” Chelsea must hope that Torres hands in…

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A Different Week: Pirates, Punks and Poledancers. St. Pauli: The little club with the wonderful following.

Last weekend, Stefan Orth, a Bundesliga club president, had to ask one of his team’s executive box holders to stop hosting strip shows during games, after they kitted the box out with a pole and large mirror. One can only imagine what Roman Abramovich or Karren Brady would have said about such a situation, but Orth was merely quoted as pointing out; “They can do what they like after games.” Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to FC St. Pauli. Known as ‘The pirates of the League’ the side from the district…

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2010/11 FA Cup fourth round preview – Toffees out to conquer defending champions

15 Premier League sides survived the threat of a third round giant killing to reach the fourth round. However the number of top flight clubs in round five is guaranteed to be less with five all Premier League clashes taking place this weekend. Crawley Town continue to fly the flag for non-league football, adding Derby County to their impressive list of scalps en route to the last 32. Their reward is a trip to League Two outfit Torquay United who narrowly saw off Carlisle United 1-0 at Plainmoor in round…

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Club Focus – Everton – Toffees’ Chelsea record under scrutiny ahead of FA Cup clash

Everton meet Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday looking to end a sequence of results that has seen the Toffees regularly match the champions in the Premier League but come unstuck in knockout competitions. David Moyes’ side have not lost to Chelsea in their last five league games, drawing four and winning one (at Goodison Park in February 2010). But when cup competitions are included, it is the London Blues who hold the upper hand, winning as they did the most important clash between the sides – the FA…

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Club Focus – Newcastle United – Carroll to see specialist over thigh injury

Newcastle have suffered an injury blow with the news that their highly rated striker Andy Carroll will face more time on the sidelines. The club were hoping to have Carroll back in action next week but he will now face up to a month out. The Gateshead born player will now fly out to Sweden to see a specialist about his thigh injury problems. It was hoped that Carroll would be able to build up his match fitness on the club’s training camp in Portugal but he has not even…

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