- The Rumour Mill: Aleksandar Dragovic to Manchester United?
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Birthday boy Brendan Rodgers has been discussing Mario Balotelli’s Liverpool future at his morning press conference and it doesn’t look like the Italian is going anywhere in January.
Valencia are preparing to extend the contracts of home-grown talents Paco Alcacer and Jose Gaya, the club football director Francesco Rufete has announced.
Alcacer, a Spain international, who was linked with a move to the Premier League earlier this season, has been offered a five-year contract extension which will see him remain at the Mestalla stadium until June 2020.
“There are still a few minor details yet to resolve after months of negotiations,” Rufete told Spanish TV station Canal+. “But everything seems to indicate that fairly soon we will be able to announce that Paco Alcacer will be a Valencia player for five years more (from his current deal).”
If you missed Steven Defour’s red card for Anderlecht against bitter rivals and former club Standard Liege over the weekend, take a look here. A sobering tale of the pitfalls of transfers that all those players currently sitting by their phones would do well to heed.
DONE DEAL! We’re hopping back over to Italy now and the Florentines have confirmed that the striker Alberto Gilardino has returned to the club on loan from Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Gilardino scored 59 goals in 143 appearances between 2008 and 2012 and said: “I will return here with great desire. I say thank you to the president and the club staff who wanted me here.”
Speaking of headline writing …
Tolgay Arslan. That may come as a blow to Arsenal, who have been linked with the 24-year-old but Gunners followers should have some news to cheer later today.
Back to the emails and Michael Chilcott has this to say on transfer parlance:
I wonder if we should start referring to deals which fall apart at the last minute as being ‘thrown out’ of the transfer window....or ‘defenestrated’...
Some more manager news now and a positively hirsute former Rangers player has expressed his interest in one day occupying the Ibrox dugout.
DONE DEAL! Besiktas have completed the signing of Hamburg midfielder Tolgay Arslan. That may come as a blow to Arsenal, who have been linked with the 24-year-old but Gunners followers should have some news to cheer later today.
Sticking on the Chelsea v Liverpool theme and giving this Diego Costa piece by Nick Miller a read is thoroughly advised.
Here’s a little taster …
He’s 6ft 2in of walking aggro, a man just as ripe for a wind-up as he is likely to do the winding. He’s the sort of player you hate if he plays against you, but wish with every bit of your soul that he was in your team, and not just because he’s so good.
While there’s a brief calm before the inevitable Monday afternoon storm at present, it’s time for another question. Today, BOTH Jose Mourinho AND Brendan Rodgers celebrate their birthdays. They’ve probably hired out a room at Yates’s for immediately after tomorrow’s second leg, but failing that, how do you think the pair are celebrating their big days? What will their players have in store? Which would you prefer to go for a pint with?
Matthew Fagan-Curry, yes, Fagan-Curry, has been on the emails to inform me that ‘The transfer window is, of course, flung open’.
Of course Matthew, thanks for clearing that up.
BREAKING! Perhaps one more likely to get the pulses walking at a brisk space rather than racing but Neil Lennon has been on Sky Sports News and said that he expects Adam Le Fondre to join Bolton on loan in the next day or two.
As an aside, Champagne Charlie Nicholas has also been on Sky Sports News, discussing the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg between Liverpool and Chelsea. Wondering what he’s thinking?
Yet more from Italy and it does not make good reading for Liverpool supporters. Lazio’s president Claudio Lotito has confirmed he has received offers for Nigeria international Ogenyi Onazi but he gives with one hand and takes with the other, insisting Onazi is going nowhere.
’Onazi is not for sale and I have received offers,’’ he no-nonsensed to mediasetpremium.it.
More from Italy and Magnusson has raised an interesting point.
Is Levy in charge of Fiorentina? Last three transfer windows its been a long running saga with clubs (Barca, Chelsea) wanting to buy him and Fiorentina asking them ridiculous sums.
“The buy-out clause [£26.8m} is there. We put it (buy-out clause) high in order to keep him. I hope he will stay with us for a long time.”
Akardyagain has questioned why there is an image of Paul Pogba without reference to the hurricane of speculation swirling around the Frenchman. Good things come to those who wait Akardy. The Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has told Sky Sport Italia that everyone has a price and that the Old Lady must enjoy having Pogba while it lasts:
“Everything has a value in life, unfortunately, and the outstanding players are hard to replace, but things always move on in football. Of course, Pogba is only 21 and he’s got the quality to get even better. For now, let’s just enjoy having him. He is destined to become the best player in the world.”
Gus Poyet accused Sunderland fans of living in the past after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham and of pining for the days when Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn led the line. I wonder how many of them look back on this coup through rose-tinted specs?
ON THIS DAY IN 1998: Danny Dichio moved from Sampdoria to Sunderland. pic.twitter.com/35dtLk1Ym4
A spot of movement in the Football League now and Oxford United have had an offer for Tyrone Barnett accepted by Peterborough, reports the Oxford Mail. Barnett, of course, impressed while on loan at the Kassam Stadium earlier this season and the U’s are eager to secure the former Crawley man permanently.
While we’re in the Football League, why not have peruse the most recent exploits of the Guardian’s very own Jeremy Alexander, who saw Huddersfield compound Wigan’s woes on Saturday.
More from Stamford Bridge now. With Fiorentina digging their heels in over Juan Cuadrado, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Douglas Costa has nipped down to the petrol station, filled up his can and poured it all over the flames of a reported potential move to Chelsea.
“To play at Chelsea is a dream for any player. It is standing next to some of the best players in the world and competing with the world’s best as well,” Costa come-and-get-me plea-ed to GloboEsporte.
Managerial news now and Pep Guardiola has pricked ears across Europe by revealing he’s in no hurry to pen a new deal at Bayern Munich.
Some good news for Chelsea supporters still reeling from Bradford’s quadruple balloon popping antics. Didier Drogba has said he wants to stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season. Fighting back the tears, he gushed:
“When I left this club (the first time), I was saying that I had done everything I wanted to do, but I think now that I did not do everything, I think there is more to do. I love this club and would love to be part of this club for the future, with the new players.”
Tasselhoff has been in touch to inform us that Dugdale is off to Tranmere. We assume he means Adam, the Crewe defender who has previous been on loan at Rovers, not Paul Higgins’s meak civil servant from the somewhat creepy Channel 4 series Utopia.
Good news! The Rumour Mill has landed. Here’s a brief summary of transfers that are definitely going to happen before the day is out*.
Firstly, a recap of the events over the weekend …
And a DONE DEAL to bring you up to speed with. Shaun Maloney, he of free-kick fame, has completed a move to the MLS and Chicago Fire for an undisclosed fee. The 31-year-old, whose Magnus Opus with Wigan came in the FA Cup triumph in 2013, has been described by Fire gaffer Frank Yallop as “a hard-working, attack-minded player”.
In reality it means we can get money for Fabian in the summer. Proper money.
Good morning! Well, what a weekend of FA Cup drama that was – banana skins have not been so perilous since the all-night Bowser Castle Fest of ‘97. And what better way to heal the bruised egos of those toppled big guns than to delve into the transfer market. There are only seven days to go until the window slams shut* and that means that by now even Daniel Levy, the baron of brinkmanship, will have a dialling finger as twitchy as Louis van Gaal’s backside.
Do get in touch with any transfer talk you want to get off your chest, via email, Twitter, carrier pigeon etc. Who do you want your club to sign? Who do you not want your club to sign? Who is going to make a move today?
Gerard will be here shortly with all the latest transfer window news. In the meantime, here’s news of an ongoing Arsenal signing:
Villarreal have announced they have reached agreement in principle with Arsenal for the sale of the centre-back Gabriel Paulista, with the forward Joel Campbell heading to the Spanish club on loan for the rest of the season.
The La Liga side confirmed on Twitter that a deal had been agreed shortly before their Primera División match against Levante kicked off at the Estadio El Madrigal. “Transfer agreed in principle with Arsenal for Gabriel, who will bid farewell before the game. Much luck!” the club posted. “Welcome joel-campbell12! Agreement reached with Arsenal until the end of the season.”Continue reading...
• Sturridge on standby for Liverpool after Bolton stalemate
The Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Mario Balotelli still has a future at the Merseyside club.
The Italian has repeatedly failed to impress this season – he not started a game since the home defeat to Chelsea in November of last year and has only two goals to his name in all competitions for the club – and there have been questions raised over whether Liverpool would sell him this January.Continue reading...
- South Korea 2 (Lee Jeong-hyeop 20’, Kim Young-gwon 50’) Iraq 0
- Paul Connolly’s minute-by-minute report
Korea Republic are now just 90 minutes away from breaking their 55-year Asian Cup drought with their semi-final win eliminating a spirited but ultimately outclassed Iraq.
Goals from Lee Jeong-hyeop and Kim Young-gwon early in each half in Sydney quelled any Iraqi hopes of reprising their storied Asian Cup victory of 2007.Continue reading...
- South Korea 2-0 Iraq
- Goals to Lee Jeong-hyeop and Kim Young-gwon send Korea to the final
• Rangers chairman Sandy Easdale buys 1m shares to increase stake
Gennaro Gattuso has said he would love to return to Rangers as manager but only after the boardroom battle has been settled.
The Italian World Cup winner, 37, has been linked with the post vacated by Ally McCoist last month. However Gattuso – who was 19 when he was signed for Rangers – believes there is no point opening negotiations while there are so many factions fighting for control.Continue reading...
Perhaps the only surprising thing about the news that Diego Costa and Jordan Henderson were involved in a tunnel bust-up after the first leg of the Capital One Cup final was that it hadn’t happened sooner. The tension on the pitch had been stewing nicely, the pair going nose-to-nose at one point like a pair of posturing boxers at a weigh-in, all bravado and my-dad-could-beat-up-your-dad, but waiting until later to actually take swings at each other. While the details of the set-to didn’t exactly sound like the most heinously violent of all time, with some pushing and shoving but no punches thrown, that hardly seems to matter.
The point is that the pair were continuing the fine tradition of the fixture, an uncommon rivalry full of needle that developed organically over those years when they seemed to play each other every second week, as two teams and sets of supporters first got to know then grew to genuinely despise each other.Continue reading...
• Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: ‘I hope that he stays as long as possible at Bayern’
• Bayern Munich accused of turning blind eye to human rights in Saudi Arabia
Bayern Munich have repeatedly signalled their desire for a contract extension with Pep Guardiola but he seems in no rush to sign a deal past 2016.
Guardiola led Bayern to the domestic league and cup double in his first season in charge last year but any talk of a contract extension past his original three years will happen later in the year. Despite their runaway lead in the Bundesliga again this season, any deal extension seems to largely hinge on Guardiola’s ability to land the Champions League title this season.Continue reading...
After the surreality of the weekend’s FA Cup action, it seems weirdly fitting that Monday night’s draw for the last 16 will take place on the strangely entertaining but often downright weird BBC television programme that is The One Show, with warmly grinning hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones poised to invite Gary Lineker and the Football Association tombola into their eclectic domain of ... whatever.
Whether or not the national broadcaster’s bearded face of football will be joined by Donny Osmond, an elderly Tarot card reader from Cheltenham and consumer champion Matt Allwright blowing the lid off a possible timeshare scam in the Outer Hebrides remains to be seen, but the Rumour Mill will certainly be tuning in to find out.Continue reading...
Tomas Rosicky’s renaissance is a joy to behold, why a replay might be good for Liverpool, and is this West Ham’s year?
- The Dozen: the weekend’s best FA Cup fourth-round pictures
- Sean Ingle: Premier League given grim warning by FA Cup fairytales
• ‘Now I am just a fan. I will go and suffer in the stadium’
Juan Román Riquelme has retired from football at the age of 36. The attacking midfielder made 51 appearances for Argentina, scoring 17 goals.
Best known for his spells with Boca Juniors and Villarreal, Riquelme also played for Barcelona and Argentinos Juniors and had recently been linked to clubs in the MLS and Paraguay.Continue reading...
• Striker receives Football Writers’ tribute award
Didier Drogba wants to remain part of the Chelsea “family” past the end of the season.
After receiving the 2015 Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award in London on Sunday night, Drogba said: “When you have achieved so much and won so many trophies like we have done in the past 10 years, that creates something special. I hope, and the club makes me believe, I am part of this big family, so we are going to find the best thing for both of us to promote the club in the best way.”Continue reading...
• Leaders Lyon stay four points ahead after 2-0 win over Metz
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for the first time in five Ligue 1 games to keep Paris St Germain in pursuit of the leaders Lyon.
But the Sweden international needed a penalty awarded in the 60th minute to break the deadlock against St Etienne at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.Continue reading...
• ‘They don’t have the courage … so let me go on’
The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has accused Uefa of lacking the courage to provide a challenge to his leadership and called on the European governing body to be respectful of his wish to continue in the role.
Blatter will be bidding for a fifth term in office at the election in May, with so far only three candidates – the French former Fifa executive Jérôme Champagne, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan and the former Tottenham winger David Ginola – having declared their intention to stand against him.Continue reading...
• Paul Pogba spurs Serie A leaders Juventus to win over Chievo
Samuel Eto’o watched his new Sampdoria team-mates draw 1-1 with Palermo at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris after completing a medical as he prepares to join the Serie A club from Everton.
Sampdoria hope the 33-year-old Cameroon striker will provide the extra firepower to secure a Champions League qualifying place.Continue reading...
• Southampton take lead twice but crash out to resurgent Eagles
• Match report: Southampton 2-3 Crystal Palace
Is there a more beguiling player in England than Yaya Sanogo? With his gangly frame and occasionally ropey first touch he has resembled a competition winner at times, a mess of limbs in a football kit, a blinking lost child who has been chucked on to the pitch before his time, and he has often been used as a stick to beat Arsène Wenger with ever since he joined Arsenal in July 2013.
And yet he has his fans, Wenger the most notable of them. Arsenal’s manager is a believer and he knows a thing or two about football. His faith in Sanogo has certainly been tested. But there have been little glimpses here and there that if the rough edges can be ironed out of Sanogo’s game, there is a high-grade footballer waiting to emerge. Not yet and probably not for at least a couple of years. But the raw materials – pace, strength and more intelligence than he is given credit for – are there.Continue reading...
• All eyes on Tuesday’s second-leg with Liverpool
• Chelsea loss disgraceful says Mourinho - video Continue reading...
• £200,000 purchase from Cardiff now has £5m valuation
• Relive the action with Barry Glendenning’s MBM match report
There was a time when Blackburn invited ridicule with their plans to sign superstars. Now, when they mention galacticos, it is a sign of the uncomplaining realism at Ewood Park. No sooner had Venky’s bought Rovers than they attempted to bring in Ronaldinho and David Beckham. Now there is an admission they may lose their top-scorer Rudy Gestede.
“Gareth Bale went to Real Madrid, [Cristiano] Ronaldo goes to Real Madrid,” said the manager, Gary Bowyer, putting the potential loss of Saturday’s scoring substitute into context. Bigger clubs than Blackburn have found themselves unable to resist offers.Continue reading...
• Sturridge could make overdue comeback against Chelsea
• Match report: Liverpool 0-0 Bolton Continue reading...
• Boro well worth win but City will not lose sleep over exit
• Pellegrini denies City’s late return causes Boro shock
So, Manuel Pellegrini, is it true that Manchester City disrespected the FA Cup and seriously underestimated Middlesbrough’s capabilities by taking a warm weather break in Abu Dhabi and only returning the evening before the game?
“No, I understand why people might think that, but I have a different opinion,” he said. “We were ready for this game and in the first half we made a lot of clear chances to go in front. We just didn’t take them.”Continue reading...