Club Focus – Manchester United – Rooney revival poses tactical conundrum

While he may not be coming back into his best form for England just yet, Manchester United fans will have been relieved to hear that Wayne Rooney was returning to his club after just one game during the international break. His problems this year have been covered in painstaking detail by every media outlet on earth but his recent performances for United suggest that he might just be regaining his spark at precisely the right moment for his club side. Although he has yet to reach double figures this season,…

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Man Utd in talks with Athletico Madrid over de Gea signing

Manchester United have held talks with Athletico Madrid over signing goalkeeper David de Gea, according to a report by Sport. The Spanish U21 goalkeeper has been a target of Manchester United and a number of other top clubs in Europe for the last 6 months, but United have been linked with bids of upto £17.5m for the youngster, which have been rejected by the La Liga club. However today the player’s agent Hector Rincon told Sport.co.uk: “We did have talks with Manchester United but, first of all, they always look…

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Man Utd sign Brazilian youngster on loan

Manchester United have signed Brazilian youngster Rafael Leao on loan for the rest of the season, according to Sky Sports. Leao, 17, is unlikely to see too much first-team action, however manager Sir Alex Ferguson plans to watch the player in training for the remaining months of the season before making a decision over whether to sign the Desportivo Brasil player on a permanant basis. The two clubs have agreed a partnership enabling a number of players to join United on loan deals, either being signed at the end, or…

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Liverpool plan Jarvis signing

Liverpool are thinking about a Summer move for Wolves and England international Matt Jarvis, according to a report on Tribal Football. Jarvis won his first international cap on Tuesday night, coming on as a substitute in England’s 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana at Wembley. His impressive form this season for Wolves earned him a place in Fabio Capello’s plans, and it may also have placed him in the Summer transfer plans of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool, who are thought to be the club showing the most interest in the 24-year-old.…

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Man City news – Fergie: City won’t sell Tevez, Silva: I had to leave, Zabeleta returns

Zabeleta returns. Manchester City have been boosted by the arrival of Pablo Zabeleta, after the defender returned from an indefinite period of compassionate leave. The Argentine has spent the last three weeks in Buenos Aires after his father was involved in serious car accident. However City were able to welcome him back to training on Tuesday after his father emerged from his coma and was taken off the critical list. “In a week that Roberto Mancini has lost Micah Richards and Jerome Boateng to injuries picked up while on international…

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Chelsea news – Neymar Blues U-turn, Pastore available, Benayoun injury latest

Neymar Blues U-turn. Neymar produced an incredible change of heart last night by admitting there is no way he can move to Chelsea, or indeed Europe, according to The Sun. The admission comes just days after he declared his love for London which was thought to help engineer a move to Stamford Bridge, but his latest comments contradict those he made, following Brazil’s win over Scotland on Sunday. “I still have no desire to play in Europe and I am happy in Brazil and at Santos. My only real happiness…

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Club Focus – Blackburn – Lessons to be learned from Jones and Santa Cruz loan signings

Loan deals are very common in the lower divisions of English football, but they are also relatively popular in the Premier League. For young or unsettled players, a temporary stint at another club can do the world of good. There are also benefits for the club who, more often than not, will have an option to buy the player should he perform well during the short spell. Blackburn Rovers took the opportunity to bring a couple of experienced players in on loan during January; however they failed to negotiate a…

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Celtic news – Gemmell rushed to hospital, Moravcik: Maloney influence crucial, Old Firm meet to solve derby problems

Gemmell rushed to hospital. The Scottish Sun has told how Lisbon Lion Tommy Gemmell had to be rushed to Stirling Royal Infirmary at the weekend. The 67-year-old was suffering with stomach pains and wife Mary had to cut short a holiday in the USA to be at his bedside. However, fellow Hoops legend Bertie Auld backed his old teammate to beat the health scare. Auld, 73, said: “I know Big Tommy will bounce back from this. I know him better than most and I understand the character of the man.…

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Club Focus – Tottenham – Spurs seek answers on Olympic Stadium decision

In the wake of the Olympic Stadium being awarded to rivals West Ham, Tottenham’s lawyers have written to the Olympic Park Legacy Company, the Mayor of London, two government departments and Newham Council, regarding the stadium not being awarded to Spurs following the Games in 2012. A statement on the club website said: “At this stage the Club has not issued any proceedings against the Olympic Park Legacy Company (the OPLC) or any other party in respect of the decision regarding the award of the Olympic Stadium. The club’s lawyers…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – The week that could turn the Blues’ season around

As Chelsea welcome back their players from the international break they will look to continue their recent run of form. The champions have put in some great performances of late, with three consecutive wins in the league, and it can be said that the international break was not a welcome one for Carlo Ancelotti. The good news is that Chelsea’s three anchor men – John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole – were back early from playing for their country. Combine that with the fact that Michael Essien and Nicolas…

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Football League Daily – McDermott gets new contract as Scunthorpe consider Knill

Reading manager Brian McDermott has been rewarded for his superb handling of the Npower Championship side with a new improved rolling 12 month contract. The former Arsenal midfielder took the reins as caretaker manager in December 2009, following the departure of Brendan Rogers, with Reading sitting just one place above the drop zone and in danger of a second relegation in three seasons. McDermott had served as chief scout under Rogers and his two predecessors, Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell, during Reading’s rise from the third tier of English football…

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La Liga Daily – Strike threat averted while Real Madrid and Barcelona have injury worries

The strike threatening to jeopardise Spanish professional football this weekend has been averted after a Madrid court blocked the proposed action. All top-flight games were in danger of being cancelled following a dispute over a law specifying that one game per week must be broadcast on free-to-air television. However, six clubs appealed the ruling and a Madrid court has found in their favour. Had the strike gone ahead the league season would have had to be extended three weeks to the weekend of June 11-12, 2011. A statement from the…

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Tactic Talk: Can England’s stars finally recreate their club form on the international stage?

As England emerged victorious in Wales, much of the focus was on Fabio Capello’s decision to switch to a 4-3-3 system. After a series of unconvincing performances, England began much the brighter, emphasising their dominance with both goals coming within the first twenty minutes. With the first goal coming from surging runs from the left side of England’s defence, there was a familiar feel as reinstated captain John Terry carried the ball through midfield, before passing left to Ashley Cole, who’s through ball to Ashley Young drew a clumsy foul…

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Tense times for Houllier as Aston Villa approach crucial run-in

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel described rumours of a dressing room rebellion at Villa Park as “laughable”, but the Midlands club’s current predicament immersed in a relegation battle is far from a laughing matter. Pressure has been building on Gerard Houllier’s reign since last week’s 1-0 home defeat against rivals Wolves, leaving a contingent of Villa followers to call for the Frenchman’s dismissal after the final whistle. Now with only eight Premier League matches left to play until the end of the season, Villa’s inconsistent campaign leaves them just one…

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Club Focus – Newcastle – Pardew backing Ashley to spend big

Alan Pardew is hoping that the club’s fans will support controversial owner Mike Ashley despite their misgivings over a number of unpopular decisions. This summer could prove to be a crucial point in the Ashley regime with a number of important decisions to be made. The biggest surrounds the money from Andy Carroll’s record British transfer and how it is going to be spent. Pardew has continually insisted that the full £35 million will be available to spend on new players in the next transfer window. However many supporters feel…

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Aquilani could make Liverpool return

On-loan Juventus midfielder Alberto Aquilani has revealed that he would be happy to return to Liverpool at the end of the season, and fight for his place at the Merseyside club. Aquilani, 26, was expected to make the move to Turin permanant when the loan deal expires in the Summer, with the opportunity to excercise a pre-agreed transfer fee of around £12m. However, it is thought that Juve may now be unwilling, or unable, to pay that fee. Aquilani told Italian sports daily the Gazzetta dello Sport: I’m at Juventus,…

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Wilshere wants to play in U21 European Championships

Arsenal and England youngster Jack Wilshere has reiterated his desire to play in the U21 European Championships this Summer. With some people worried that involvement in the competition would leave Wilshere fatigued for the up-coming Premier League campaign, the player has told how he feels fully fit and wants to lead the U21’s to success. Talking to Sky Sports, he said: “At the moment I feel I can keep going. I feel fitter than ever. I’ve played 43 games and I feel better than ever. I believe the U21 tournament…

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Kranjcar plans Tottenham Summer exit

Tottenham’s Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar has revealed that he wants to leave the club in the Summer, in search of first team football. Kranjcar has struggled to establish himslef in the Spurs starting line-up this year, losing his place in the side behind Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart, and at the age of 26, the former Portsmouth man thinks it is now time to move on. Speaking to The Sun, Kranjcar said: “I will be trying to find a football club where I can play regularly, like any…

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Tottenham begin legal action over Olympic Stadium ruling

Tottenham have initiated legal action against the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) over the decision to allow West Ham to take over the 2012 Olympic Stadium, according to the BBC. After West Ham were declared the preferred bidder by the OPLC, a spokesman for group said: “We can confirm that a letter before action in relation to potential judicial review proceedings has been issued. The Olympic Park Legacy Company ran a very rigorous and transparent process in its selection of the recommended preferred bidder. “We have been supported by independent…

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Stekelenburg wants Arsenal move

Holland goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has issued a come and get me message to Arsenal, according to a report in The Metro. The Gunners have been struggling for a consistent performing ‘keeper all season, with error prone duo Lukasz Fabianski and Manuel Almunia far from impressing in the absence of promising youngster Wojciech Szczesny, who is currently injured. Due to the lack of fit goalies at the club, manager Arsene Wenger has also signed veteran German Jens Lehmann, although he had a particularly unimpressive first game last night for Arsenal reserves,…

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Man City news – Mancini linked with Juventus, Kolarov £12m Milan target, Richards to miss semi-final

Kolarov £12m Milan target. Manchester City full-back Alexander Kolarov is reportedly a £12million target for AC Milan, according to The Daily Mirror. The 25-year-old has thrilled the Eastlands support on several occasions with a handful of spectacular goals from his trusted left foot. Yet the Serbian is believed to want assurances of his future at the club a little under a year since his £18million move from Lazio. Sporting director Ariedo Braida has been monitoring developments and is believed to hold the player in high regard as he looks to…

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Celtic news – Title key to keep Kayal, Mowbray allegations denied, Maloney set to return

Maloney set to return. Winger Shaun Maloney has handed boss Neil Lennon a boost by returning to training after long-term injury. The 28-year-old suffered damaged an ankle in a 2-2 home draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the end of November but could be available again next week. Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby told the club´s official website: “Maybe this weekend will be too soon for him but he will definitely compete soon for a first-team start. He is definitely on his way to breaking back into the team and…

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England fringe players give Capello reason to smile

Last night’s friendly against Ghana provided a worthwhile and enjoyable night’s work for England head coach Fabio Capello. As the country’s media lambasted the Italian for allowing the Champions League quintet to leave the squad ahead of the Black Stars visit, the forgotten aspect was that the decision allowed fringe players from the squad to stake a claim. It must be said that Ghana provided such boisterous opposition that the players in question could be judged as if it was a competitive fixture for their country, such was the visitor’s…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – Club and country to butt heads over Carroll’s summer

Liverpool’s record signing, Andy Carroll, scored as England could only manage a draw against World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana at Wembley last night. Carroll’s participation in the friendly will not have worried Kenny Dalglish that much, after all the striker was not used against Wales at the weekend, and the game against the Black Stars was a good opportunity to rack up some minutes with the added bonus of an international goal. However, Dalglish is likely to be worried about Stuart Pearce’s plans to call Carroll up to the Under-21 squad…

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