Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Michael’s pass-back was a bit soft and Michael held his hand up – its great to see that, honest players like Michael Sorry boss, sorry lads’. It’s great… In the second half Southampton produced the best performance anyone has done here this season. They pushed right on top of us and didn’t give us time to settle. But my experience of this club, when you are going for championships, is that there are always games where you can say we were a bit lucky. This was one of those nights.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “Everyone could see the game was under control for us until the last minute. It is difficult to explain. The last free-kick we made too many mistakes. We had chances to kill the game. It changed because they were playing long balls. We can say we have to be more clinical, and more aware of this situation with these mistakes defending set-pieces. They had their first shot after 78 minutes. It’s difficult how to explain how we drew this game. We all take responsibility. It’s for us to analyse why we didn’t kill the game off, and to work to stop the mistakes.” – Rafa Benitez.
Arsenal chase a left back
Forget about ‘Dre: Wenger will look for a left-back now Kieran Gibbs is injured (Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror) Arsene Wenger saw Theo Walcott’s rocket rescue Arsenal – but will be forced into a deadline day search for a new left-back. England defender Kieran Gibbs, watched last night by Roy Hodgson, came off after just 30 minutes of the Gunners’ draw with Liverpool with a thigh strain and is out for three weeks. And in a vote of no confidence in Brazilian left-back Andre Santos, Wenger admitted he will launch a last-gasp hunt for more cover. The Frenchman said: “I’ll see what I can do. It is a thigh strain and that rules him out for the next three weeks. “Of course it is a big blow because Gibbs was a big player for us going forward and in the game we want to play it is a shame he is out for three weeks.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in race to replace injured Kieron Gibbs as defence leaks goals (Jeremy Wilson, Daily Telegraph) Wenger joked that he could now do with a one-week extension to the transfer window but he will use his extensive network of scouts today to scour the world for left-backs who are available and of the required quality. Arsenal have previously scouted Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Everton’s Leighton Baines but there is little chance of a rival Premier League club selling one of their best players at this delicate stage of the season. Wenger, who has now conceded defeat in his attempt to sign Barcelona’s David Villa, could instead rival Tottenham for Inter Milan’s Uruguay full-back Alvaro Pereira. If Arsenal cannot sign a left-back, Wenger may be forced to shift his captain Thomas Vermaelen across the defence rather than risk Santos.
Arsenal show they are a team of two halves against Liverpool (Amy Lawrence, Guardian) Only Arsenal could dream of dedicating a page of their match programme to league tables based on what would happen if the division was determined by either first or second halves. Surprisingly enough, Arsène Wenger’s chameleons do not fare well in the “first half” table. Even prior to another frightful opening 45 minutes at home against Liverpool, they stuttered in 12th position. As for the “second half” table that was a radical improvement. They lay in second spot, just a couple of points behind Manchester City. Talk about making a virtue out of a vice. Doubtless the intentions were good, designed to show how spirited the team are at forcing comebacks. But it was that first-half table that seemed pertinent as a catalogue of calamities invited Luis Suárez to grab an early lead for Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers’ team were entitled to wonder how they did not go in at the break with a more handsome advantage, given the combination of their own energy and verve with Arsenal’s neurotic tendency to self-destruct.
Redknapp chasing 3 Spurs players
QPR’s Harry Redknapp to make deadline day raid for Tottenham trio (David Hytner, Guardian) Harry Redknapp is primed to make a startling raid on his former club Tottenham Hotspur to sign David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend as he battles to keep Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. The Loftus Road manager has said that his club will be doomed if they cannot beat Thursday night’s transfer cut-off to bolster the squad and he also hopes to complete the signing of the Anzhi Makhachkala central defender Christopher Samba for a club record fee. It is the potential purchase of the Tottenham trio, though, that promises to be a major plotline of deadline day.
Harry in for a new Bentley (Sun) Harry Redknapp has made a shock swoop for David Bentley. The QPR manager’s move for the Spurs outcast is part of a triple raid on his former club with Redknapp also hoping to snap up midfielders Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend. All three deals are loans until the end of the season and it is the reunion with Bentley, 28, which will raise eyebrows. Redknapp loaned the one-time England star to West Ham when he was in charge at White Hart Lane but the deal was cut short by a serious knee injury.
Chris Samba set for £100k a week at QPR
Ton of money: Chris Samba to be on £100k a week at Queens Park Rangers (Daily Mirror) Chris Samba is set for a staggering £100,000-a-week deal at Queens Park Rangers. QPR chairman Tony Fernandes is rushing to agree personal terms in a deadline-beating £12.5million transfer. But he will then have to break the bank with a six-figure salary to land centre-half Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala. Rangers, still the Premier League’s bottom club, have triggered former Blackburn star Samba’s release clause but must still match his massive wages at the Russian club. It means that Samba would become QPR’s biggest signing and biggest earner, replacing French striker Loic Remy, who signed for £7m and £70,000-a-week basic from Marseille earlier this month.
Newcastle aren’t finished yet
Pardew hoping for Vain gain (Sun) Alan Pardew’s French revolution at Newcastle is not finished yet. Toon chief Pards has added the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Massadio Haidara to his ranks this season as he looks to lift the club away from the drop zone. But he is now lining up an 11th-hour bid for Standard Liege midfielder William Vainqueur — who is rated at £3million.
Aston Villa need signings!
Villa’s date with Sylla (Sun) Aston Villa have agreed a deal for Clermont midfielder Yacouba Sylla. The Villans will pay the Ligue 2 outfit an initial £2million for the former France Under-21 ace, although the fee will rise with add-ons. Sylla, 22, will complete the move today after a medical. Villa boss Paul Lambert sees the combative Sylla as the perfect signing to bolster his midfield.
Everton in for Negredo
Striker light! Everton line up Alvaro Negredo as their Leroy Fer bid unravels (David Maddock, Daily Mirror) Everton will make a swoop for Spain star Alvaro Negredo after the collapse of their £8.6million deal for Leroy Fer. Boss David Moyes had always been looking for a striker in this window, and when Holland international midfielder Fer failed a medical because of a suspect knee, he swiftly shifted his focus further up the pitch. Moyes is now hopeful of persuading Sevilla to drop their asking price of almost £13m for Negredo, with the financially-stricken Spanish club looking for some quick cash.
Everton eye move for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo after Leroy Fer deal collapses over problem knee (Chris Bascombe, Daily Telegraph) Everton will try to sign Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo on Wednesday after pulling the plug on a move for Dutchman Leroy Fer. Fer’s switch to Goodison Park collapsed on medical grounds, a lingering knee problem forcing Everton to try to renegotiate an earlier £8.6 million transfer with FC Twente. Now David Moyes wants to act quickly with Negredo, a 27-year-old forward who has been watched by Spurs recently, high on the priority list. He would also cost around £8 million if Everton could lure him from Spain. Moyes is anxious for a reinforcement to maintain his pursuit of the Champions League places and former Real Madrid striker would fit the bill.
Tottenham linked with Gomis
Tottenham weigh up Bafetimbi Gomis bid as Leandro Damiao obstacle remains (Jeremu Wilson, Daily Telegraph) Internacional’s Leandro Damiao remains the preferred target of Andre Villas-Boas but, with a potential £15million deal proving difficult to complete this month, they have also widened their search. Gomis, who would cost around £7million, is a France international and has been among a consistent performer in Ligue 1, scoring 10 or more goals every season since 2006-07.
How transfers work
Deadline Day explained: Transfers ARE actually done by fax, the mountains of paperwork… and the mystical ‘Deal Sheet’ that allows moves to be completed at 1am (Adam Shergold, Daily Mail) Transfer Deadline Day will be the usual procession of players smiling for the cameras as they hold up hastily-printed replica shirts and mumble scripted lines about how they’ve always wanted to play for the team they’ve just joined and how glory and silverware is just over the horizon. This is the public face – seen by millions around the world here on MailOnline and on TV news channels, websites and back pages – of the crazy crescendo to football’s January sales. But, behind the scenes at clubs up and down the land, armies of anonymous administrators will be working tirelessly right up until the window slams shut (it never simply closes, does it?) to make sure those big money moves – upon which countless seasons depend – go smoothly.
How did Galatasaray bag Sneijder & Drogba?
How Galatasaray lured Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder to Turkey (Amy Lawrence, Guardian) If it wasn’t all true, the prospective transfer of Didier Drogba from Shanghai Shenhua to Galatasaray would make a perfect satire about how money makes the modern football world go round. Here we have a footballer from the Ivory Coast, whose reputation flourished playing in England for a team funded by a Russian billionaire. That reputation gave him the opportunity for a spectacular payday in China, but when things didn’t work out so well, his next destination is Turkey, who have perhaps the most favourable tax rate in Europe any footballer could wish for outside of Monaco. When Drogba agreed to follow Wesley Sneijder to make Galatasaray one of the stories of this transfer window, it was understandable for the reaction to be mixed. Even within Turkey people have expressed astonishment about these quite unexpected transfers.