La Liga Daily – Start to 2011/12 season in doubt while Mallorca-Villarreal fixture tests out Far and Middle Eastern markets

The President of the Spanish Professional Footballers Association (AFE), Luis Rubiales, has warned that the 2011/12 La Liga season “will not begin” unless clubs honour their commitments, as agreed, to pay the more than 200 players that are still owed money. Rubiales issued the warning after a meeting with representatives and players of Racing Santander, a club which still owes around £1.5m to 11 of its players from last season; he is demanding that not only are the players paid in full but methods are also undertaken to ensure the…

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Football League Daily – Hart’s future up in the air at struggling Swindon

A little under 12 months ago Charlie Austin burst through on goal for Swindon Town in their League One play-off final against Millwall at Wembley Stadium. With the game goalless, the prolific striker was expected to tuck away the chance and put the Robins on the road to promotion to The Championship. A bobble of the ball later, Austin put the chance wide and the Lions went on to break Swindon’s hearts by winning 1-0 and claiming the final promotion place from the third tier. Since that date both Austin…

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Club Focus – Chelsea – Three summer targets who can boost Chelsea next season

Steps were taken in this season’s January transfer window to ensure the Blues squad would not be as thin as it appeared during their winter woes, when a mid-season struggle in which just ten points over a miserable 11-game stretch, saw young, but untested talent forced onto the pitch and substitutes’ bench to compensate for injury and the absence of established first-team players. To combat this, David Luiz (£21m from Benfica) and Fernando Torres (£50m from Liverpool) were big-money acquisitions in the New Year, symbols that the Blues were back…

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Man Utd and Liverpool eye £15m Rovers defender

Liverpool and Manchester United are both looking to make end-of-season bids for promising Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones. According to The Sun, both sides have been scouting the 19-year-old in recent months, and the England U21 player fits the bill regarding buying young English talent, which both sides are keen to do. Scroll down for rest of article Considering the age of the player a bid of £15m which has been rumoured, would not be considered excessive for the player already likened to a young John Terry. Despite his age,…

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La Liga Daily – Tottenham target Espanyol striker Osvaldo with former Arsenal winger on the missing list

Tottenham Hotspur have turned their attention to Spain as Harry Redknapp seeks to reinforce his forward line for next season, and the latest name to grab the attention of the Spurs manager is Espanyol striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo. The 25-year-old, a dual Italian and Argentine citizen, has scored 10 goals in 19 league games in an injury-hit season as the Catalan club have contested the Europa League places, with a host of La Liga clubs having checked on his progress. Osvaldo initially joined the Catalan club in January 2010 on…

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Club Focus – Newcastle – Pardew planning for a bright future

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has revealed that the club are making good progress in their plans for next season. With seven points separating the Magpies from the relegation places and only four games left to play it is fairly safe to assume they will still be in the top flight next season. This may allow Newcastle to get ahead of some of their rivals before the start of the next campaign. Already Pardew has discussed with the club’s powerbrokers the budget for the next transfer window. With the money from…

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Ameobi: Newcastle should aim for the Champions League

Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi believes the Magpies can challenge for the Champions League in coming seasons. Newcastle have only won one of their last seven games, but currently sit mid-table, 18 points off the Champions League places, seven points clear of relegation. Scroll down for rest of article But Ameobi, who has scored five goals in 24 appearances this term, believes that under current manager Alan Pardew, the side can go on to greater things: Talking to the Newcastle Chronicle, the former England U21 international said: “There’s no better…

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Toothless Wolves must rediscover fighting spirit against West Brom

It has often been said this season that Wolves are the unluckiest side in the Premier League. Despite spending much of the campaign in and around the relegation zone, they have, on numerous occasions, turned in spirited, attractive, attacking performances only to fall short and end up tasting defeat. They have battled to famous victories over the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea, and were the first team to beat Manchester United in the league this season, only to slip up against the teams around them. The turn of…

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Jermaine Pennant’s erratic career hits new high at Stoke

Stoke City winger Jermaine Pennant seems to have been around forever. 12 years ago he was signed for £2m by Arsenal as a hugely talented 15-year-old. Over a decade later his disciplinary problems have hampered a career that has flourished and faltered in equal measure. At present, he is in purple-patch and showing signs of just why Arsene Wenger paid a record fee for a trainee all those years ago. Pennant’s time with Stoke was a perfect match from the very start. A player who revels in putting crosses in,…

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Club Focus – Everton – Toffees’ slow start and drawing habit threatens to ruin Europa League chances

Everton’s chances of a return to Europa League football took a heavy blow in defeat to Manchester United on Saturday and could be killed off in all but name if Bolton Wanderers win at Fulham on Wednesday evening. But that the Toffees are even in contention for a top six finish at this late stage of the Premier League season is a huge turnaround from the start of the campaign. Winless until October, four goalless games in the opening six fixtures and only four goals scored – including three in…

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Celtic news – Hoops track Swansea defender, Fifth suspect package found, Wilson praises defence

Wilson praises defence. Celtic right-back Mark Wilson has praised his fellow defenders after they kept a clean sheet against Rangers on Sunday, making it the first time since the inception of the Premier Division in the 1975/76 season that Celtic have not conceded against Rangers at Ibrox. Speaking exclusively to the Celtic View, Wilson said: “Everybody loves attacking football and scoring goals,” Wilson told, “but in the last few years there has always been so much criticism thrown at the defence, and how it isn’t good enough. Now they are…

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Club Focus – Blackburn – Pressured Rovers need more luck to survive

This time last season, Blackburn Rovers would probably have taken a slender 1-0 defeat at the hands of top-four hopefuls Manchester City on the chin. Back then, the Lancashire outfit had already secured safety. However, things are very different this time around. Rovers are currently embroiled in a relegation scrap; therefore a loss at home is all the more painful. With the Blues fighting for their Premier League lives, getting points on the board is the main target. There are no brownie points for courageous displays. Fortunately for the home…

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Club Focus – Man City – Dzeko delight at new beginning as Tevez rumours persist

In the midst of the satisfaction of all three points at Blackburn on Monday night, it was palpable for everybody to see the delight on the other player´s faces when Edin Dzeko slotted home his 75th minute winner. Dzeko had failed to score in nine previous league games since his £27m move from Wolfsburg in January, but the 25-year-old striker has become an increasingly popular figure in the dressing room at Eastlands – hence the reaction of his teammates just three minutes after he came off the bench. The Bosnian…

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Club Focus – Man Utd – Job 90% done away in Germany

Manchester United return from Germany with the job of qualifying for the final at Wembley 90% completed. Goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney ensured that Schalke will need to score as many goals in one game as United have conceded over the entire tournament to progress. As expected Ji-Sung Park and Antonio Valencia started on the wings in order to provide greater defensive stability against the rampaging full-backs of Schalke but neither was called upon to do much in the way of defensive work as United controlled the vast…

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Schalke 0-2 Manchester United – Neuer keeps the score respectable

Manchester United took one big step towards Wembley and the Champions League final with a resounding 2-0 victory over Schalke in Germany. The Premier League leaders were dominant for the entirety of the first leg and were it not for Manuel Neuer, the visitors could have racked up an historic score. Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney scored the goals in quick succession for United once they had managed to find a way past the big German number one. Both sides employed matching systems from kick-off with Raul and Wayne Rooney…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – Lucas’ journey from zero to Kop hero

With another fascinating season soon to come to a close, this is generally the time of year when fans begin to cast their mind back over the hectic campaign and seek out the stand-out performer for their club. For Liverpool supporters, selecting a ‘player of the season’ this year could be difficult, given that many of their stars did not hit top form until Kenny Dalglish took over the managerial reins in January. However, many Reds fans are now beginning to realise the importance of one particular player, who has…

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Kean: Blackburn can beat the drop

Blackburn manager Steve Kean believes his side can avoid relegation from the Premier League, despite having the second worst form in the league, and sitting only one point above the danger-zone. Rovers have not won any of their last 11 games in all competitions, and remain in a relegation dogfight along with West Ham, Wolves, Wigan and Blackpool. Monday night saw them defeated 1-0 by Manchester City, and next Saturday Blackburn face Bolton, who beat Arsenal on Sunday. Scroll down for rest of article Yet talking to Eurosport, Kean remains…

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Reina has no plans for Liverpool exit

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has revealed he has no plans to leave the club, despite rumours to the contrary. Both Arsenal and Manchester United are known to be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper in the Summer, and as such both have been linked with a move for the highly-rated Spanish stopper. Scroll down for rest of article However Reina, 28, told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope: “I’m happy, calm and comfortable here, and am looking forward to the future which I reckon will bring a lot of happiness…

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Arsenal collapse backs up doubters

As Arsenal’s title dreams all but vanished with defeat at Bolton on Sunday, fans were left to contemplate yet another trophy-free season for the Gunners. Questions have been raised time and time again about the Gunners’ mental strength and whether they have the stomach for the battle. Having crashed out of three cup competitions in quick succession earlier in the season – admittedly in tricky ties – they remained optimistic of silverware having put themselves in a stronger league position than in previous seasons. Instead their season appears to have…

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Chelsea news – Blues in £40m Bale move, Terry Real Madrid link, Lampard backs Torres

Blues to make £40m Bale move. Chelsea are set to test London neighbours Tottenham’s resolve for winger Gareth Bale, according to the Daily Mail. The Welsh wizard has been a major highlight for Harry Redknapp’s side this season after their impressive debut in the Champions League, as well as their continued attempts to qualify for the competition again next term. The paper report Roman Abramovich will sanction a move for Bale as he wants to give Carlo Ancelotti’s squad a major facelift following a season which will probably see them…

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Tottenham news – Blues plan £40m Bale bid, Dawson: We must beat Chelsea, Defoe targets 150

Blues plan £40m Bale bid. As the end of the season approaches transfer talk is already upon us and the Mirror have today reported that Chelsea are poised to offer £40 million for Gareth Bale this summer. The two London sides are set to play on Saturday and victory for Chelsea would all but end Spurs’ hopes of qualifying for next seasons Champions League. There is widespread speculation that if Spurs do not qualify they may lose several of their top players. The 21 year old, who was voted the…

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Celtic news – Ledley season may be over, Samaras and Stokes get bans, Chief executive praises team effort

Samaras and Stokes get bans. Giorgios Samaras and Anthony Stokes will miss the Kilmarnock game on Sunday week after being booked in Sunday´s Old Firm game, reports the Glasgow Evening Times. Both players will now serve a one-match suspension which takes effect two weeks after reaching the disciplinary points mark, although they be available for the matches against Dundee United this Sunday and Inverness Caledonian Thistle the following Wednesday. Despite manager Neil Lennon hoping Stokes´ booking for a dive in the box could carry less than three points a caution…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – Latest victory shows versatility of Dalglish’s Reds

As the Liverpool fraternity continue to revel in their demolishment of Birmingham City, Kenny Dalglish’s squad are proving to onlookers that what was once a one dimensional team now has varying strands to their play. Since the seemingly indispensable Fernando Torres left the club for Chelsea in January, many were convinced his departure would have devastating effects on the direction of the football club, but the results since February could not reflect further from the truth. Torres, when on song, gave his side goals but his prolific Liverpool career forced…

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The age-old issue of experience prolongs Arsenal’s hunt for silverware

The full-time whistle at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday, brought about a rather familiar story, as Arsenal’s early-season promise ended in disappointment, a 2-1 defeat against Bolton, effectively ending their title charge. As Gunners boss Arsene Wenger cut a frustrated figure on the touchline, he went on to insist that in the aftermath of their crushing loss, he, rather than the players, should take the responsibility for his side’s failure to secure a trophy for a sixth consecutive season. Many Arsenal supporters would agree with Wenger’s comments, feeling that the…

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