Championship season review: Sheffield Wednesday, Watford, Wigan, Yeovil

Sheff Wednesday:16th Sheffield Wednesday recovered from a torrid beginning to the campaign to nestle comfortably in the lower echelons of mid-table and ensure a third Championship season in a row. The season changed upon the appointment of Stuart Gray, under whom the Owls seemed to rediscover their scoring touch. Up until the end of November, the protection and safe haven of 16th place seemed light years away. Then-manager Dave Jones failed to guide Wednesday to a single victory in the first 12 league matches – a wretched run which eventually…

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Championship season review: Millwall, Nottingham Forest, QPR, Reading

Millwall:19th It is becoming an all too familiar feeling around The Den for Millwall fans – the battle to stave off relegation. And this season was no different as they had to wait until the final day to make sure of their Championship status. A nail-biting 1-0 victory over Bournemouth ensured new manager Ian Holloway had guided the club to safety and give fans hope that next season under his stewardship, they might fare better. The Lions started the campaign under Steve Lomas but during his six months in charge…

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Courtois open to Chelsea return

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has hinted that he could be playing for parent club Chelsea next season after suggesting that it may benefit his career to be at Stamford Bridge, Goal.com has reported. Despite joining in the summer of 2011 when Andre Villas-Boas was manager, Courtois is still yet to play a first-team game for Chelsea, having spent each of his three seasons with the club on loan at Atletico Madrid, who he has helped to this season’s La Liga title and the 2013 Copa Del Rey. Courtois, who is set…

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Hull target Sunderland winger Johnson

Hull City are lining up a £5m bid for Sunderland winger Adam Johnson, as manager Steve Bruce looks to bolster his squad for next season, according to the Daily Mail. Bruce is a fan of the 26-year-old, who has also played for Middlesbrough and Manchester City as well as earning 12 senior England international caps. However, Black Cats boss Gustavo Poyet would be willing to let Johnson leave his hometown club as he sets about re-shaping the squad at the Stadium of Light. Johnson’s inconsistency may also be a factor.…

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Fabregas not for sale, warns Barcelona president

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has warned Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United that midfielder Cesc Fabregas is not for sale this summer, the Metro has reported. This is the second summer in succession that Man Utd have been linked with Fabregas, with former boss David Moyes publically announcing his intention of signing the Spaniard in 2013 only to see two offers turned down. This time around, new manager Louis van Gaal has turned his attention to Fabregas after ending the club’s interest in Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos, with…

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England boss Hodgson positive over Rooney fitness

England manager Roy Hodgson has declared himself pleased with the fitness of striker Wayne Rooney after he played three quarters of the 3-0 friendly win over Peru on Friday, reports the Guardian. It was Rooney’s first outing since April 26, when he scored twice in Manchester United’s 4-0 win against Norwich City. He then missed the Red Devils’ final three games of the Premier League season due to injury. Prior to the England squad meeting up, Rooney did some training in Portugal to help boost his fitness levels, and was…

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Liverpool in £25m Lallana bid

Liverpool have made Southampton a final offer of £25m for their captain Adam Lallana, but will pursue other targets if their bid is rejected, according to BBC Sport. The Merseyside club originally came in with a bid of £20m, only for the bid to be swiftly rejected. Since then, however, the Saints have lost manager Mauricio Pochettino, who took up the vacant position at Tottenham on May 28. With Lallana heading to the United States with the England squad on Sunday, Liverpool hope for any deal to completed as quickly…

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Gerrard hails Sturridge after England victory

England captain Steven Gerrard has hailed teammate Daniel Sturridge after he opened the scoring in the Three Lions’ 3-0 victory over Peru on Friday, Sky Sports has reported. The game was England’s last at Wembley before the World Cup. They now have two more warm-up matches to play against fellow World Cup participants Honduras and Ecuador in Miami, Florida, before they take on Italy in their first Group D fixture on June 14. After a tepid opening half-hour during which Peru came closer to scoring, Sturridge hit the net with…

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Sunderland sign Wigan midfielder Gomez

Sunderland have secured their second signing of the summer, with Wigan midfielder Jordi Gomez set to join up with the Black Cats in July, according to Sky Sports. Gomez has spent six years in England, initially on-loan at Swansea before moving on a permanent basis to the Latics, and won the club’s Player of the Year award this season having scored 11 goals. The Spanish midfielder has an FA Cup Winners’ medal which he earned when Wigan beat Man City in the 2013 FA Cup final to lift the trophy,…

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Newcastle close to signing Montpellier midfielder Cabella

Newcastle are closing in on their first signing of the summer, with the club having “almost agreed” a fee with Montpellier for midfielder Remy Cabella, according to The Chronicle. Newcastle chased Cabella for much of the last two transfer windows, but are said to be in a better position than before to land their man, with the mooted £7m transfer fee now on the verge of being agreed. Newcastle have struggled to bring in many new faces in recent transfer windows, and manager Alan Pardew will likely prove relieved at…

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West Ham preparing £10m offer to Sunderland midfielder Colback

West Ham have targeted Sunderland Jack Colback for a summer move to east London, with the Hammers set to prepare a £10m package for the midfielder, according to The Daily Mail. Colback’s contract at the Stadium of Light runs out over the course of the summer, and the club have made offers to the player to retain his services. All of these offers have been rebuffed, however, and Newcastle were thought to be the front runners to snap up the Killingworth-born 24-year-old on a free transfer. West Ham, however, have…

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Monaco striker Falcao admits interest in Premier League switch

Radamel Falcao has opened the door to a potential move to the Premier League, putting long-term suitors Arsenal, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea on alert, according to The Daily Star. Falcao had been linked with a move to England last summer before opting for a £50m megadeal to French outfit Monaco, but the Colombian has confirmed that he hopes to play in the English top-flight at some stage in his career. The 28-year-old is hoping to prove his fitness to Colombia coach Jose Pekerman as the announcement for their…

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Van Persie feeling fit for World Cup

Robin van Persie has said that the Netherlands might feel the benefit of the injury problems that plagued his season for Manchester United, ESPN has reported. Van Persie made only 28 appearances for United in the season just ended, compared to 48 the year before. A knee injury kept the striker on the sidelines for a spell but he did return to the team for the final few games of the season. The 30-year-old also acknowledged that the year wasn’t a good one at club level but insisted his attention…

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Mertesacker wants World Cup win to follow Arsenal success

Germany international Per Mertesacker is aiming to follow Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph with success in the World Cup, the Daily Mail has reported. Mertesacker has told the German Press that having been part of the Gunners’ 3-2 win over Hull City earlier in May, he has the taste of silverware and wants more with the national team. “Winning the FA Cup has given me a lot of confidence,” the centre-back said. “It has set me up to get another highlight, something which I can definitely achieve. “[Germany] want to go…

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England boss Hodgson ‘would drop Rooney’

England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted he wouldn’t be afraid to drop one of his side’s big names, including striker Wayne Rooney, the Daily Telegraph has reported. Rooney was criticised by former Manchester United teammate Paul Scholes and while England captain Steven Gerrard came to his colleague’s defence , Hodgson has said that if need be he would bench the forward. Hodgson added however that he doesn’t feel Scholes’ comments were valid. “I’d like to think that, as a manager for a long time, I have the capacity to make…

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Top Five Contenders to Win the Golden Boot in Brazil

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil just a couple of weeks away, football fans can look forward to the very best attacking players that will be strutting their stuff this summer. The coveted World Cup Golden Boot, awarded to the competition’s top goalscorer, is always hotly contested and here are the five players that bookmakers have as the favourites to win the award come the conclusion of the tournament on 13th July. Lionel Messi @ 8/1Where else can a preview of the leading protagonists for the Golden Boot begin…

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Vorm could stay at Swansea

Michel Vorm doesn’t expect to leave Swansea City this summer, Sky Sports has reported, despite the club signing Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Fabianski this week signed a four-year contract with the Welsh side, leading to speculation that Vorm could bring his two-year stay at the Liberty Stadium to a close. Vorm admitted he was surprised by the arrival of Fabianski but doesn’t feel it means he will be out the door. “I didn’t know they were planning to sign him (Fabianski), I can honestly tell you,” Vorm told reporters in…

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Wague wants Premier League move

Mali and Caen defender Molla Wague is hopeful of moving to the Premier League this summer, Sky Sports has reported. The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and after helping his club to promotion to Ligue 1, Wague admits he is looking for a new challenge. “I am aware of the offers from England and of course it is attractive for me to play there, but I also received proposals from Europe,” he said. “At the moment however, I have left my agents to do…

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Lampard wants Chelsea stay

Frank Lampard hopes he can agree a new contract with Chelsea after the England midfielder’s deal expired at the end of the season, ESPN has reported. Lampard has been at Chelsea since 2001 but he appears to be on the move this summer, although he has admitted that retirement has crossed his mind. “I don’t know if I’ll be at Chelsea next season,” Lampard said. “I’d like to carry on for two or three more years but it would be good to end on a high. “So, if that means…

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Balotelli: England don’t have World Cup mentality

Italy striker Mario Balotelli has dismissed England’s chances of winning the World Cup as the Three Lions don’t have the experience, ESPN has reported. The sides meet on June 14 in the first round of Group D games but Balotelli doesn’t expect England to pose a threat to the Azzurri in the latter stages of the competition. “I don’t look at England as a team that can win the World Cup,” the Milan striker said. “They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy,” he added.…

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Di Maria not flattered by Tottenham link

Angel Di Maria has admitted he could leave Real Madrid this summer, but ESPN reports the Argentina international isn’t keen on a move to Tottenham Hotspur. Di Maria starred as Madrid won the Champions League a week ago, being named man of the match in the 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid, but told Spanish publication Marca that he doesn’t know if he’ll still be at the club next season. He wants to remain at Santiago Bernabeu and said that when he works so hard, it’s disappointed to be linked with…

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Wenger agrees new Arsenal deal

Arsene Wenger has agreed a new three-year contract with Arsenal, BBC Sport has reported. The manager’s previous deal was due to expire this summer and the new contract will tie him down to the Gunners until 2017. Wenger was appointed in September 1996 and is the longest-serving manager in English football. Arsenal this season won the FA Cup, their first trophy since 2005, and finished fourth in the Premier League to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Hull City were the beaten cup finalists, Arsenal winning 3-2 having gone two-goals…

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Toure: Nothing planned over Man City future

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has moved to clarify comments that he made about the prospect of joining French champions Paris St. Germain, Sky Sports is reporting. Toure’s future with the Premier League winners has come under question in recent weeks after his agent suggested that he had felt disrespected and underappreciated by the club’s owners. The Ivorian initially backed up the claims before admitting that he would like to return to Barcelona before the end of his career. On Tuesday, the 31-year-old then appeared to suggest that he would…

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Konoplyanka emerges as Man Utd target

Manchester United are now in pole position in the race to sign Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, and are set to meet his £12m buyout clause, according to Talksport. Dnipro are resigned to losing the 24-year-old this summer, having narrowly held on to him in January amid interest from Liverpool. The Reds were close to signing the Ukrainian on transfer deadline day, only for the deal to fall through. With Reds boss Brendan Rodgers having not resumed his interest, Konoplyanka is now open to a move to their bitter rivals despite…

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England captain Gerrard defends Rooney after Scholes criticism

England captain Steven Gerrard has defender striker Wayne Rooney after his former Manchester United teammate Paul Scholes claimed that he was past his best, Sky Sports has reported. In a blog post, Scholes, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League alongside Rooney, wrote: ‘Wayne’s peak may have been a lot younger than we’d expect of footballers traditionally. Age 28 or 29 has been the normal peak. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011-2012 when he was 26.” Scholes also pointed…

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