Analysis: Why Southampton’s Clyne would be ideal for Liverpool

Whoever is in charge of Liverpool for next season, they will be under significant pressure to restore their place in the Premier League’s top four. The final resting place of sixth in 2014-15 fell a long way short of expectations as too many players underperformed, while the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the persistent injury problems suffered by fellow prolific striker Daniel Sturridge had a significant impact on their Goals For column. But perhaps the biggest factor behind their failure to qualify for the Champions League was a poor…

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Championship season review: Sheff Wed, Watford, Wigan, Wolves

Sheffield Wednesday: 13th This was a season that saw Sheffield Wednesday make strong progress both on and off the pitch, as they performed solidly throughout to achieve a comfortable mid-table finish, while owner Milan Mandaric handed over the reins to ambitious Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri. Stuart Gray had earned the manager’s job on a permanent basis after guiding the Owls clear from a precarious position in 2013-14, and they looked a force to be reckoned with early on, winning at Brighton & Hove Albion, more than playing their part in…

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Arsenal vs Aston Villa – FA Cup Final Preview

An intriguing FA Cup final sees Arsenal aim to win the competition for a record 12th time against an Aston Villa side for whom success would be their first since 1957. Arsenal will be the favourites to retain the crown they won in dramatic fashion by beating Hull City a year ago, but they never seem to make it easy for themselves at Wembley. The semi-final against Championship strugglers Reading was a prime example as the Gunners struggled for fluency and needed an enormous goalkeeping error to win in extra…

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Championship season review: Norwich, Nottm For, Reading, Rotherham

Norwich City: 3rd (promoted via Play-offs) Despite all the parachute payments that come their way, it is always difficult for a side relegated from the Premier League to bounce straight back the following season, so Norwich deserve immense credit for their success, which came via the play-offs. Keeping several players was vital to their success, with experienced duo Sebastien Bassong and captain Russell Martin making up a strong defensive pairing with full-backs Martin Olsson and Steven Whitaker either side. In midfield, Alexander Tettey and Jonathan Howson were superb alongside Player…

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Chelsea starlet Christian Atsu joins Bournemouth on season-long loan

Premier League new boys Bournemouth have wasted no time in strengthening their squad ahead of the new season by signing Chelsea youngster Christian Atsu on a season-long loan from Chelsea, the Daily Star reports. The Ghanaian international spent last season on loan with Everton, making 13 appearances across all competitions and will now further his development with the side from the south coast. Having joined Chelsea from Portuguese giants FC Porto in 2013, he has yet to make an appearance for the Premier League champions, but was named as the…

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Chelsea could be hit by loss on misfiring winger as Inter interest looms

Chelsea could be set to record a loss on the fee they paid Fiorentina for winer Juan Cuadrado as Inter Milan prepare a summer bid to take him off their hands this summer, the Daily Express reports. The Blues coughed up £26.1m for his signature back in February but so far the Colombian has managed to make 14 appearances so far, with only four coming from the start. Earlier this week, reports emerged claiming that the 27-year-old could be sacrificed in the upcoming transfer window and sent back to Italy.…

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Cristiano Ronaldo paves way for possible Premier League return this summer

Cristiano Ronaldo is said to be considering his future at Real Madrid because president Florentino Perez’s unwavering support of Gareth Bale is getting under his skin, according to the Daily Mirror. Spanish paper Sport has claimed that there are a number of issues that Ronaldo has grievances with, including the support for Bale, the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti and the subsequent impending appointment of Rafa Benitez. Ronaldo is believed to be deeply unhappy at the treatment of Ancelotti, and he had recently stated publicly on his Instagram account that he…

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Jack Wilshere: I won’t be joining Liverpool or Man City

Arsenal midfield ace Jack Wilshere has stated that he does not believe he will leave the club this summer following recent links to both Liverpool and Manchester City, according to the Daily Express. The Premier League giants have both been tipped to make summer moves for the 23-year-old this summer after reports claimed several £30m offers were to be tabled when the transfer window reopens in July. Liverpool are believed to have targeted Wilshere as a possible replacement for iconic veteran Steven Gerrard, as he fits the bill of being…

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Championship season review: Ipswich, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Millwall

Ipswich Town: 6th A hardworking and industrious side, but few expected Ipswich to significantly improve on their 2014 placing of ninth, particularly as they did not make many summer signings while some of their rivals looked better equipped. However, in Mick McCarthy they have a manager used to achieving success in the Championship, and for a number of months he raised great hopes among those in Suffolk that the Tractor Boys were in line for a return to the top-flight after some 13 years away. After an inconsistent August, they…

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Championship season review: Charlton, Derby, Fulham, Huddersfield

Charlton Athletic: 12th The Addicks were one of the favourites to struggle, having needed a late upturn in results to avoid the drop in 2014. The man who masterminded that escape was not kept on, as Jose Riga made way for fellow Belgian Bob Peeters, who took his first managerial job in England. And in the early weeks they were the surprise package, with dynamic striker Igor Vetokele grabbing the goals that had been so elusive the previous season to secure home wins over Wigan Athletic and Derby County. High-flying…

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Liverpool make ambitious bid for sacked Real Madrid manager

ancelotti rodgers

Despite Brendan Rodgers reportedly being given assurances that his job is safe, reports in Spain claim Liverpool have made an ambitious approach for Carlo Ancelotti, who was recently sacked by Real Madrid. According to Marca, the 55-year-old was set to take a year out of the game following his dismissal from the Bernabeu, but the Reds could be the ones to persuade him to come straight back into management. Perhaps however, it is not the most audacious bid to come his way from the Premier League, as Marca also suggest…

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Championship season review: Bournemouth, Brentford, Brighton & HA, Cardiff

Bournemouth: 1st Just six years after they overcame severe financial problems and a 17-point deduction to stay in the Football League, Bournemouth were miraculously promoted to the top-flight for the first time. It represents the crowning glory on the growing list of amazing achievements during Eddie Howe’s two spells as manager. They meant business from the moment the season began, scoring within seconds of an opening day 4-0 victory at Huddersfield Town. And although their form dipped a little until the end of September, that performance would be a sign…

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Championship season review: Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton

Birmingham City: 10th Only a dramatic stoppage time goal at Bolton Wanderers on the final day kept Birmingham City in the Championship by the skin of their teeth in 2014. A year on, they were able to head to the Macron Stadium again to bring their season to a close with no such relegation concerns; indeed they pulled off an impressive win to secure a top 10 finish. It was an amazing achievement, as in the early weeks of the season it looked like nothing could stop them from dropping…

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Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal interest signing in Juventus star

vidal juventus

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has failed to distance himself from rumours linking him with Juventus star Arturo Vidal – with The Guardian reporting earlier in the week that they were considering a £25m bid for the Chilean – by confirming that he does like the player. The Gunners boss was speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa, and revealed that while he is an admirer of the player, he is not looking at the potential incomings and outgoings before the Wembley showdown, the Daily Mirror report. Wenger…

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Six FIFA officials including vice-president arrested on suspicion of corruption

fifa

Football’s governing body has been rocked, after six of their officials, including vice-president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested on suspicion of corruption this morning, according to BBC Sport. Swiss police raided a hotel in Zurich where the members of FIFA were staying, and held the suspects at the request of the US Department of Justice. The BBC report that they are being held under suspicion of receiving millions of US dollars in bribes from the early 1990s right through to the present day. And now the Swiss police are looking into…

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Manchester United closing in on Benfica star, claim Portuguese press

Manchester United are reportedly closing in on their first transfer of the summer, as A Bola reports that the Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan is very close to agreeing a move to Old Trafford. The report from the Portuguese newspaper suggests that the deal is 80%-90% done, and could well be completed following Friday’s Taca da Liga final, which sees his club aiming for their sixth title in seven years when they go up against Maritimo. A Bola report that the move could cost around €30m, which may prove quite a…

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Dnipro vs Sevilla – Europa League Final Preview

The National Stadium in Warsaw hosts a Europa League final which sees holders Sevilla look to retain their crown by beating Ukrainian side Dnipro, who are gunning for their first continental triumph. For the first time, the prize for coming out on top here is not just a trophy and substantial prize money. A place in the Champions League is up for grabs, so the stakes could not be higher as these two well-supported clubs descend on the Polish capital. Sevilla, who have a fantastic record in this competition in…

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League One season review

A strong finish to the previous campaign suggested that Bristol City would be a force to reckoned with for 2014-15, and high hopes were certainly emanating from Ashton Gate, especially as the loss of top scorer Sam Baldock was softened by the arrival of a host of quality players. Exciting playmaker Luke Freeman, midfield general Korey Smith and defender Luke Ayling were among those who joined, as well as striking duo Kieran Agard and Aaron Wilbraham, the latter as the result of a chance meeting with manager Steve Cotterill in…

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League Two season review

After losing out in the play-offs in each of the past two seasons, 2014-15 finally proved to be the time for Burton Albion to gain promotion to the third tier for the very first time in their history. The Staffordshire side was able to keep the majority of their squad from those previous near misses, and under Gary Rowett they were the model of consistency right the beginning, establishing a commanding early lead at the top. Form tailed off slightly before Rowett left to take charge of former club Birmingham…

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Arsenal set to complete the signing of Chilean international after the Copa America

Arturo Vidal - Juventus

Arsenal are reportedly closing in on the signing of Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal after respected South American journalist Hernan Feler broke the news via Twitter that the Chilean will complete a move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer. Después de la Copa América de #Chile, se hará oficial la llegada de Arturo Vidal al #Arsenal. Está todo cerrado. Será compañero de Aléxis. — Hernán Feler (@hfeler) May 23, 2015 Reports in Italian publication CalcioMercato over the weekend had claimed that the player had already agreed terms with the club. And…

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Manchester City to offer striker plus £50m for Liverpool winger

Manchester City will reportedly offer Edin Dzeko as well as £50m in their attempt to lure Raheem Sterling to the Etihad Stadium. According to the Daily Mirror, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are worried about the prospect of missing out on the England international, with Arsenal also interested in signing the 20-year-old. City are apparently therefore willing to make the large offer for the player. The deal would probably offer a suitable result for both parties, after BBC Sport reported earlier in the week that Sterling wishes to leave Anfield and will not be extending…

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Manchester United striker could be set for surprise summer move to Qatar

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie could be about to follow in the footsteps of Barcelona playmaker Xavi by making a surprise summer move to Qatar. According to the Daily Mail, the 31-year-old is wanted by Michael Laudrup. The former Swansea man is now the head coach at Lekhwiya, who apparently are willing to offer an extremely lucrative deal to the Netherlands international. Talks ofVan Persie leaving Old Trafford came about after his current boss Louis van Gaal refused to confirm whether the forward has a future at the club beyond this season,…

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Hull vs Man Utd – Premier League preview and team news

Hull City will be relegated from the Premier League if they fail to beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium in their final match of the season. Even then, they will be reliant on fellow strugglers Newcastle United to drop points in their game, so it is all or nothing for the Tigers, who started the season looking strong and playing in Europe. Injuries have been a hindrance, but ultimately their wastefulness in front of goal could be set to haunt them. That was very much the case in their…

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Newcastle vs West Ham – Premier League preview and team news

Newcastle United need a victory over mid-table West Ham United if they are to avoid slipping into the Championship after five years back in the top-flight. If they do not achieve that, they must rely on third-from-bottom Hull City to fail to win their game, on what promises to be a nervy final day on Tyneside. It should never have come to this, with the club in a seemingly comfortable mid-table position just weeks ago, but a run of just one point from 30 has them in real danger. The…

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Man City vs Southampton – Premier League preview and team news

Manchester City will guarantee second place in the Premier League by winning their final game at home to Southampton, who round off their own highly impressive campaign. The hosts have regained their form, but it has come much too late to carry any lingering title hopes to the last, but the recent run of wins has at least lifted some of the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini. City have looked much like their usual selves in recent wins over Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City. Yaya Toure scored twice at…

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