Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “The players will believe they can win [their FA Cup match with Manchester United] by the time kick-off comes around, thatâ€™s for sure. Thereâ€™s so much for us to play for. Weâ€™re on telly and weâ€™re playing who I think are the best team in the country. If the players canâ€™t look forward to a game like this and do their best, then they should pack it in now. We have got to believe and go there and perform. I donâ€™t want to sit back and accept that we are going to be get beaten. The most important thing on Sunday is to do ourselves justice as a club.We are taking 9,000 supporters, but we could have taken 30,000. Our fan base is astonishing considering what this club has been through. We want to do well for them because they have been through a lot of turmoil and have spent a lot of money following us around the country during this time.” – Leeds United boss Simon Grayson.
Runner-up: “Everybody knows my commitment to Atletico. “Do not pay much attention to what is coming out. I am happy spending my fourth year in Madrid.” – Sergio Aguero.
Today’s overview: It’s day two of the transfer window, and Liverpool fans will have a big grin on their faces this Saturday.
Anthony Kastrinakis kicks off the weekend transfer lies by shouting “Ruud van Nistlerooy looks certain to complete a shock return to the Premier League with Liverpool in the next few days. SunSport also understands the striker’s Real Madrid and Holland team-mate Rafael van der Vaart may also join the Reds on loan until the end of the season.” The Merseysiders are also said to have some money coming in, Anthony Kastrinakis tooting “Liverpool flop Andriy Voronin is on the verge of heading back to Hertha Berlin for around Â£2.5million.”
In a classic tabloid sensationalist story that will never happen, The Star’s Danny Fullbrook reports “Manchester United’s worst fears became reality today as Real Madrid start preparing a Â£60m bid for Wayne Rooney. The Spanish giants have made the Old Trafford ace their No.1 summer target. United plan to open new contract talks with Rooney next month about a possible Â£170,000-a-week deal.”
Next, Manchester City are preparing to splash the cash. James Nursey claims “Big spending Manchester City have made a move to shore up their defence with Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic…Â They also fancy West Hamâ€™s Matt Upson but Tottenham are favourites to land the England defender ahead of City as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp prepares to wheel and deal in January.” Elsewhere, Sami Mokbel writes “City last night warned cash-strapped Crystal Palace: We wonâ€™t be held to ransom over Victor Moses.Â Moneybags City are the latest club to show an interest in the Â£3m Eagles whizzkid, in a move fronted by the clubâ€™s football administrator Brian Marwood.”
The big story in the Daily Mail announces that Chelsea have been cleared to make Franck Ribery bid as Â£45m France star refused to sign new Bayern Munich contract.
In other transfers, Hull are said wants to do a loan deal for Manchester City flop Felipe Caicedo, Birmingham are closing in on Aston Villa’s Craig Gardener for Â£3.5m and Michel from Sporting Gijon for Â£2.5m, while Spurs are said to have “sealed a deal for Sandro but the holding midfield player is not expected to turn up at White Hart Lane until the summer.”
Big news in the managerial merry-go-round as The Sun’s Vikki Orvice chimes in with news that “Owen Coyle is set to make a dramatic U-turn and will leave Burnley to fill the hotseat at Bolton.”
Alan Nixon fleshes out the Bolton for Coyle story further. “Burnley have yet to be approached by Bolton but they will fight tooth and nail to keep Coyle from their neighbours, who are also crucially rivals in the fight for Premier League safety. Coyle is under contract at Turf Moor and has a ‘transfer fee’ in his deal. He is also the best-paid boss in their history, so Bolton will have to dig deep to make the deal happen. However Gartside, who paid Megson a small fortune, and Isle of Man-based Davies have pumped in cash before. Wanderers have a payroll that is THREE times as big as Burnley’s.”
Working on Bolton’s contingency plan, James Ducker writes “if Bolton fail to entice Coyle, Gartside may turn his attentions to Alan Curbishley, the former Charlton Athletic and West Ham United manager, Paul Jewell, the former Wigan Athletic manager, or Steve Coppell, who has been out of work since leaving Reading last May. Peter Reid, the former Manchester City and Sunderland manager, who is working as Tony Pulisâ€™s assistant at Stoke City, has also put himself firmly in the shop window.”
Arguably wasting his time debating an irrelevance, perma-tanned Terry Venables uses his weekly column in The Sun to claim the Premier League is as competitive as La Liga. “Despite what some anglophobes might have you believe, we do have five players to more than match the quintet of La Liga nominees paraded on the stage in Zurich.Â For Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Ronaldo and Kaka you could just as easily read Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba and Steven Gerrard.”
We finish off with the best articles ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup third round.
Henry Winter focuses on how Leeds United are preparing to renew hostilities with Manchester United, while Alan Smith complains that “scanning this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures, it’s not easy to pick out potential upsets, particularly when it comes to Premier League sides. The draw has been fairly kind to this country’s top brass.”