- Crystal Palace have opportunity to sign out-of-favour AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini [Standard]
- Five of the best AC Milan moments at AS Roma, featuring Ibrahimovic, Shevchenko and a Scudetto win [Video]
- Mike Bassett wishes Arsenal fans a Merry Christmas & offers Arsene Wenger some advice [Video]
- Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal smashed up a controller after Isco beat him in FIFA [Tweets]
- Real Madrid president Florentino Perez says he’d be ‘delighted’ to offer Carlo Ancelotti new contract
Odemwingie back to Baggies, how can QPR afford their signings, Arsenal get Nacho, Becks’ PSG move & Man United eye Begovic
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I think every football fan is interested to see if we [QPR] are going to make it or not. I am very optimistic about it. I’m happy with the trust Harry Redknapp has given me. Of course I believe. The last three results have shown there is a chance.” - Peter Odemwingie.
Runner-up: “I hope to be at Liverpool for a very long time. It’s a massive club that kids dream of playing for. I’ve been very proud to be here. I’ve lived through some spectacular and very special moments I will never forget. I hope to be able to help out the team for as long as I can.” – Luis Suarez.
The Odemwingie Fiasco
Idiod! (Paul Jiggins, Sun) Potty Peter Odemwingie will face the wrath of West Brom — after he turned up at Loftus Road in an attempt to force through a move to QPR. But the cheeky Nigerian’s bid failed when he was turned away by Rangers executives after he arrived for talks about a proposed £3million move WITHOUT Albion’s permission. The striker, a target for R’s chief Harry Redknapp , could now be fined by his bosses at the Baggies, who only realised he had travelled to the R’s for talks when they saw footage of him on TV! The red-faced striker, 31, was sent packing by the Hoops with his dream move — and professional reputation — in tatters. He then became the butt of a barrage of jokes on the internet, with tweeted mocked-up mickey-taking pictures going viral.
West Brom fury at Odemwingie dash to QPR as striker sees move collapse (Matt Barlow, Mail) Peter Odemwingie faces a West Bromwich Albion backlash after his shambolic attempt to leave for Queens Park Rangers collapsed last night. The striker said goodbye to team-mates at The Hawthorns and drove to London in the belief his move would be resolved as the deadline loomed At Loftus Road, he said he was ‘optimistic’ that ‘we’ (QPR) would avoid relegation. But furious Albion quickly made it clear there was no agreement between the clubs. Chairman Jeremy Peace said: ‘Peter has acted wholly unprofessionally. He must now accept the fact he remains under contract for a further 18 months.’
QPR’s Deadline Deals
QPR’s panic spree is the exception on saner transfer deadline day (David Conn, Guardian) Samba’s adviser, Walid Bouzid, said his client is not being paid the reported £100,000 weekly wage at Loftus Road but that the money is certainly “Premier League sized” and does not include a clause to decrease it if, despite these signings, QPR are relegated. Spending £20.5m in transfer fees and committing to many millions more in wages to two good players may be a rational effort by Fernandes to avoid greater losses if QPR are relegated but it is also a big-money January gamble. It is barely 18 months since a tough, muscular side managed by Neil Warnock convincingly won promotion to the Premier League and, having sacked Warnock and backed Mark Hughes to assemble a new collection last year, paying £6.8m in agents’ fees, Fernandes should wonder how it came to this.
QPR splash the cash on £12.5m Samba but do the figures stack up for the club rooted to the foot of the Premier League? (Matt Barlow, Mail) Never mind fools and horse-trading, when the transfer market closed at 11pm on Thursday night it ended 31 extraordinary days for QPR. Twice they smashed the club transfer record and were still chasing new players on big-money wages as the deadline passed. For fans, the inevitable giddiness was mixed with a wonder of where this is heading. Rangers will have to submit their economic projections to the Premier League next month and owner Tony Fernandes must supply written assurances if the figures do not add up.
Arsenal Get Nacho
Arsenal are flat-track bullies (Steven Howard, Sun) Class defenders like Monreal are desperately needed with Arsenal having kept just two clean sheets in 12, conceding 18 goals and winning just one league game this year. Sure, they scored seven against Newcastle, six against Southampton and Coventry, five against West Ham and 12 in two games against Reading (and, yes, five against Spurs). But in five games against the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea, they have taken one point from 15. Truly, the Premier League’s flat-track bullies.
Wenger FINALLY buys as Arsenal manager lands £8.3m Malaga defender Monreal (Sami Mokbel, Mail) The defender has signed a four-and-a-half year deal worth in the region of £50,000-per-week.
Arsenal swoop late to sign Nacho Monreal from Málaga in £8.5m deal (Guardian) His arrival will effectively mean the end of Santos’s Arsenal career. The Brazilian has been exposed as a defensive liability since signing in the summer of 2011 – his substitution at Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend was greeted with ironic cheers from the away support and boos from the home fans – although he may still be utilised in a more advanced position up the left side if required over the remainder of the campaign.
Beckham’s PSG Move
David Beckham needs to beware the motives of Qatar moneymen behind his move to Paris St-Germain (Henry Winter, Telegraph) The Qataris want to improve their image, and particularly tackle their tainted success in winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup. Beckham gives them credibility, an English icon with a Football Association blazer hanging up in his extensive wardrobe. So, this is where Beckham must be careful; that he does not become an unwitting pawn in any political game the Qataris are playing. So, go to Paris, David, enjoy your football, take Victoria to that restaurant table that catches the dipping sun in the corner of the Place des Vosges, but be mindful of the strategy of your smiling employers. Do not be dazzled. It was slightly unnerving to hear Beckham suggesting that he might work for the Qataris in the future. Be careful. These are people hosting a World Cup in a heatwave and remember that England melt above 20C (think Shizuoka 2002). Pick up a copy of France Football, flick through its exposé on 2022, and think.
Last Tangle in Paris (Charlie Wyatt, Sun) David Beckham will kick off his Paris Saint-Germain career with a double clash against Joey Barton. The England star, 37, agreed a five-month deal to play for the wealthy French giants and plans to make his debut against Barton’s Marseille on February 24 — before a cup clash against the same player two days later. Beckham, who will return to training with Arsenal next week, will officially begin at PSG on February 13.
Beckham to play for FREE at PSG as England legend reveals that he will donate £170,000-a-week salary to children’s charity (Mail) David Beckham has stunned world football by donating his entire £3.4million salary at Paris St Germain to a children’s charity… Although the announcement inevitably attracted some scepticism, Beckham’s global appeal and huge endorsements mean he continues to pull in big money from other sources.
David Beckham pledging his PSG wages to charity proves where his priorities lie (Ollie Holt, Mirror) We can be as cynical about that as we like. We can talk about deals with sponsors and future earnings with the club’s Qatari owners. But is there another player in world football who would have concluded a deal like that, however much money they might have to their name?
The Window’s Shut, Transfer Lies Keep Flowing
De goer, De Gea (Sun) David De Gea has four months to convince Manchester United they do not need to make a summer move for Asmir Begovic… Yesterday, Potters boss Tony Pulis completed the £4million signing of England’s Jack Butland from Birmingham before loaning him back until the end of the season as a hedge against Begovic’s potential exit.
Diame wants £80k a week to stay with West Ham (Sun) Mohamed Diame’s future at West Ham remains uncertain after contract talks broke down. The Senegal midfielder has demanded £80,000 a week and is set for a bitter dispute over fresh terms.
Analysis: The January Window
Slamming the window: Why you must be greedy, desperate or mad to get involved in January’s deadline day (Robbie Savage, Mirror) Let’s be honest, the only people who benefit from the madness of deadline day are players, who rake in huge pay rises, and agents, who trouser a nice fat commission. You have to be greedy, desperate or nuts to get involved in the scramble because, for all the money clubs spend in January, I know of hardly any big moves which prove to be worthwhile investments.
Two reasons clubs are more guarded with their money: Torres and Carroll (Paul Wilson, Guardian) The more excitable media outlets always seem to think there is going to be a repeat of the dizzying last day of January 2011, when Fernando Torres went south for £50m and Liverpool shoved the proceeds towards Andy Carroll with all the rash optimism of a tourist at the roulette table, though it was clear even at the time that that would be the exception rather than the rule. Two years on it is even clearer that major clubs are going to be more guarded with their money in winter. There are two main reasons for that. One is called Torres and the other Carroll.
Football’s transfer window needs a great big brick thrown through it before this timebomb goes off (Paul Hayward,, Telegraph) No month parodies football or tests the intelligence of fans quite like the January transfer window, which needs a brick through it. The last-day cabaret of deadline-beating conceals desperation and recklessness. For every one Wilfried Zaha signing for a Manchester United there are 20 short-term fixes.
- Updated: February 1, 2013