Posts Tagged ‘Man United’

Football

Jose Mourinho could be Chelsea manager this month if Man United win tonight

By Stefano on March 5th, 2013

Some fantastic mischief making from The Daily Star which has today run the story that Chelsea’s favourite son, Jose Mourinho, will be back running the Blues this month if Man United knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League tonight.

It is no secret that the ex-Blues man is unhappy at the Bernabeu and is angling for a return to the Premiership. None of the other big jobs in the league are likely to be available which makes a reunion with Roman and the squad most likely.

Well that’s the theory. Could it happen?

Mourinho has got unfinished business in Spain. Real might be 13 points behind Barca in the league but they do have a Spanish Cup run to continue. And can you imagine Jose ending a season without any silver ware?

Also it doesn’t feel like it is Jose’s style to leave a club mid-season.

Chelsea, well the fans at least and quite possibly the owner and the players, are however a club that would welcome his return. If they drop any more Premiership points then Arsenal would be breathing down their necks for that last Champions League place. If that happens and Roman pulls the trigger on Benitez then Chelsea will need a manager quickly and ‘The Special One’ would be an obvious choice. Maybe Roman would make Jose a deal he couldn’t refuse.

As The Daily Star reports Mourinho has bought a home in London and his daughter, Tita, 16, is attending Camberwell Arts College, as he appears to prepare to work again in the capital.

This is one of those moves that seems unlikely – but who knows circumstances might end up dictating that it happens.



features, Football

Why Chelsea have the best celebrity fans – but Arsenal get the Hollywood A List

By Stefano on February 16th, 2013

noel-640-80

Simon Poulter of the always excellent What Would David Bowie Do? on football’s oddest celebrity fans – not that Noel is odd…

Good Evening…er….Molineux

Shortly before referee Massimo Busacca got the final Group B match of the 2006 World Cup underway – pitching Sweden against Sven Goran Eriksson’s England – I suddenly became aware of having my photograph taken. Quite a lot.

A large number of people in front of my friend ands I at Cologne’s RheinEnergieStadion were snapping away as if we were royalty. Rock royalty.

Three minutes into the game, Peter Crouch came on to replace the already-crocked Michael Owen. From behind me came an explosion of Mancunian fury: “What the fook is ‘e doing?!”. It was Noel Gallagher. For the next 30 minutes, up until Joe Cole settled everyone’s nerves with a quite spectacular goal, almost every England touch was described invariably by the guitar god to my stern as “shite”.

As every football fan knows, The Bloke Behind You is always the best source of entertainment. And thus Noel proved to be. You sort of wished he could be behind you at every match. Except that would mean taking out a season ticket at Manchester City.

Raquel Welch and Chelsea?

Chelsea regulars like me rarely go long without a celebrity sighting: I recently had a ‘moment’ when Mick Jones (the punk icon, not the lead singer of Foreigner) pitched up two rows behind me in the Upper East Stand of Stamford Bridge. During Chelsea’s ‘Swinging London’ era, it was commonplace for the ultra-fashionable to fit in an afternoon watching Chopper Harris kick lumps out of Billy Bremner’s shincaps (reciprocated in kind, of course).

It was rumoured that Sophia Loren was a fan, that Raquel Welch had shown up during shooting of One Million Years B.C. (hopefully not in the chamois bikini she wore for that film), and that even Steve McQueen had once paid a visit.

Today you will most certainly see the likes of Suggs (supplier of Chelsea’s 1997 official FA Cup song, Blue Day), Tim Lovejoy, Johnny Vaughan, David Baddiel, Fiona Phillips, Alec Stewart, Sean Locke, Phil Daniels and, occasionally, Damon Albarn shuffling out of (and into) the Bridge with the rest of us mere mortals. Lord Dickie Attenborough remains the club’s Life President, and he has certainly not been alone in the luvvies patronising the club.

Canadian rocker-come-photographer Bryan Adams, who lives on the Chelsea Embankment, is also an occasional patron of Chelsea. The diminutive Canadian once stood in front of me at an FA Cup Final involving Chelsea, trying to disguise himself with a fishing hat and a trenchcoat, while oblivious to the fact the six-foot blonde he was with was drawing attention his way in any case. Still, hats off.

From Madonna (Guy Ritchie allegedly introduced her) to presidents (Clinton, while an Oxford Student) and prime ministers (John Major), Chelsea has attracted plenty of celeb interest over the years. But the club is far from alone.

The FA Cup usually flushes them out. Sometimes, without any effort. The BBC’s traditional pre-Cup Final coverage always includes awkward interviews with scarfed-up TV personalities desperate to appear down with the beautiful game.

Chirpy Scouse comedians

If Liverpool are involved, you can bet the house on Jimmy Tarbuck tearing himself away from the golf course to ‘ho-hoh’ his way through a few gags about Bill Shankly and John Lennon.

Speaking of the latter, conspiracy theorists have noted that, for a city like Liverpool, with two major football clubs separated only by Anfield Park, The Beatles were clever enough to avoid swearing any allegiance to either the Red or the Blue team. George Harrison was once quoted as saying dryly: “There are three teams in Liverpool and I prefer the other one.”

Pop and football have, at times been strange bedfellows. While Paul Heaton’s patronage of Hull City should never been in doubt, Michael Jackson’s support for and even vice-presidency of Exeter City is one of the more bizarre tales of music and the beautiful game coming together. Jackson was once paraded at half time at Fulham by his friend and club proprietor Mohammed Al-Fayed. Curiously it prompted a verse of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. Can’t possible imagine what they meant.

Perhaps the most famous – if unlikely – rockin’ football fan has been Elton John. At various times, Sir Elt has been chairman and proprietor of The Hornets, though today he is a happily settled Life President alongside Graham Taylor, his team manager during his periods of proprietorship.

Another unlikely club boardroom visitor is Robert Plant. Percy is a lifelong Wolves fan, and, since 2009, a very involved club vice-president. Odd to think that he has no interest in reuniting Led Zeppelin permanently, but he’s happy to administer the half-time tombola at Molineux.

Strangely, though, for what is to be considered the national sport, football has not been as prominent in the lists of pop star likes and dislikes as one might expect. There is, of course, Rod Stewart and his tearful support for Celtic (mostly manifested from a distance, seeing as Rod lives in Los Angeles for most of the time), while there is the dubious example of Chiswick-born Phil Collins supporting QPR in the 70s (though Brentford would have been closer) before pitching up at White Hart Lane some years later as, apparently, a Spurs fan.

London clubs, in generally, have rarely struggled to attract the great and the good to their terraces.

Chas’n'Dave and co

Spurs have been spectacularly blessed with famous supporters, ranging from the hardcore like Bruce Forsyth and cockernee-kneesup merchants Chas’n'Dave, to actor Warren Mitchell (whose TV character Alf Garnett was, famously, an ‘Ammer), the Colombian literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Patsy Kensit, er…Ray Liotta and Norway’s King Harald V.

White Hart Lane could also easily open a musician’s enclosure, where you could expect to see Jeff Beck (even though he comes from Chelsea country, Carshalton), Adele (well, she’s everywhere else), the former S-Club 7 person Rachel Stevens, Andrew Ridgeley, The Jam’s Bruce Foxton (Paul Weller, for the record, is a Chelsea boy), All Saints’ Shaznay Lewis, Emma Bunton and Paul Young, clearly defying the attention of his hometown club, Luton. Somewhat disturbingly, Status Quo’s Francis Rossi is a Spurs fan, despite coming from Crystal Palace territory.

Hollywood A Listers at The Emirates

Across north-east London to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal boasts a very different celebrity clientele altogether. You could start with the unexpected – Dale Winton (although with his skin hue, he’d be a better fit with ‘The Tanners of Leatherhead FC) – before noting Arsenal’s affinity with the North London literary set (obvious example being Nick Hornby, on whose football obsession formed the basis of an entire writing career) as well as decidedly un-blokey media types like Sir David Frost and Piers Morgan (the target of much Twitter sledging by Lord Alan Sugar).

The problem with Internet-based research is that you never know what is merely plausible and what is utter nonsense. With Arsenal, there’s a thin line between the two. Because, if you were to believe it, the club has a solid following of Hollywood A-listers: Demi Moore, Matt Damon, Spike Lee, Sarah Michelle Geller, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson.

London, it would seem, holds a disproportionate dominance of clubs with celebrity support, or at least clubs with prominent celebrity support. For every singular Sean Bean supporting Sheffield United, or Stephen Fry following Norwich, Arsenal could – like Spurs – fill an entire section with thespian talent: Colin Firth, Gillian Anderson (well, she did grow up in North London), Saffron Burrows, Hugh Laurie (oh, don’t you pray for the day “Is there a doctor in the house” bellows from the Emirates tannoy system?), pasty-faced vampire Robert Pattinson, national treasure and Bubbly Blonde™, Barbara Windsor, Idris Elba (who grew up in West Ham country with a Manchester United-supporting father). Music is no stranger to the Gunners, either, with Roger Daltrey (despite hailing from QPR territory), Roger Waters, Mick Jagger, Kemp brothers Gary and Martin, and John Lydon old holding a candle for the Gunners. Preposterously, Jay-Z and Sean ‘P-Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Whatevernext’ Combs are all said to be a fan of Arsene Wenger’s red-and-white army, though what evidence exists to support this claim remains to be seen.

I started this section on famous Arsenal fans by mentioning the bizarre notion that Dale Winton is amongst their number. Let me close with the equally strange by suggesting that there is some evidence, somewhere, that Arsenal have drawn the support of both the Queen (yes, she of the Olympic parachute stunt) and her Action Man grandson, Harry. Making no leap whatsoever between the Prince and this next example, it is also understood that Osama Bin Laden was a Gooner. And, no, I didn’t mean “goner”.

Around London, there are obscure pockets of celebrity club endorsement: Leyton Orient, so often the forgotten son of London football, claims the comedian and Fighting Talk regular Bob Mills as it’s most prominent fan; Crystal Palace has David ‘Kid’ Jensen, while Fulham has ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton, who also works as the club’s half-time announcer.

Beyond London, beyond even the Midlands (Frank Skinner, Adrian Chiles at West Bromwich Albion, Jasper Carrott at Birmingham), we return to the north-west.

Madchester

Manchester’s two main teams have enjoyed no end of attention from celebrities, ranging from the genuinely passionate (Gallaghers Liam and the aforementioned Noel – who now must have separate boxes at Manchester City) to the suspiciously arriviste (Justin Timberlake, once photographed in a Man U beenie hat).

Compared with Arsenal, Manchester United doesn’t fare as well as you’d expect for celebrity fans, or at least fans who are out in the open. Prominent supporters include Ian McShane, whose father played for the club, Angus Deayton, the Guildford-born smart-arse, Sweden’s Ulrika-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka Johnsson, chirpy Oxford musical contrarian Thom Yorke, and Eammon Holmes. Man U’s celebrity ranks were recently augmented by Usain Bolt, who regularly tweets manically about the Reds, and was – possibly jokingly – offered a trial by Sir Alex Ferguson, presumably eyeing fastest man on the planet as a long-term replacement for Ryan Giggs.

So, with the FA Cup stirring back to life this weekend, with clubs like Luton (former TVam presenter Nick Owen and, famously, Eric Morecambe), Millwall (principally, Danny Baker) and Barnsley (Darren Gough, Sir Michael Parkinson) entering fifth round ties, be on the lookout for ITV cameras hunting high and low for bescarfed, rosette-adorned celebs, and be waiting, equally, for unfunny comments from Messsrs Chiles, Dixon and Southgate in the studio as a consequence.

To discover which teams British Rock Royalty,  from The Beatles to Coldplay, support go here



pick of the blogs

The World’s priciest mobile phone, Valentine’s Day disasters and Football’s top 12 romances

By Stefano on February 14th, 2013

Top stories from Brandish and our pals

The Clash’s incredible 1979 New York shows and the story behind that pic

The best Valentine’s Day disasters – punch ups, murder and Spaghetti attacks

The mobile phone that costs £7,000 – and it isn’t even 4G

Football’s 12 top romances – John and Frank, Ronaldo and himself and more

10 conclusions – Man United V Real Madrid

Realchester Madnited – A composite of the best players of the two CL giants

Loads of rock stars support Arsenal, very few support Man United and which team The Beatles supported

Cool retro cycling gear from, wait for it, H&M

The latest on Arsenal’s injury woes – and who Wenger should play against Blackburn

Very cool festival jacket from Liam Gallaher (and he has played a few) and some cool lightweight coats

Hands on with the latest Adidas Boost and SpringBlade running trainers



Football

Where is Robert Lewandowski going? Bayern Munich? Man United?

By Stefano on February 12th, 2013

They have Rooney, Hernandez, Wellbeck and some Dutch fella. You would have thought that the last thing that Man United needed in the summer was a striker. However during the winter transfer window there were plenty of rumours that United had already done a deal to sign Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund.

The story is back in the news again this week with differing reports from Germany about where the player’s future will be.

On Saturday German legend Lothar Matthaus claimed that the deal had already been done to sell the player to Bayern Munich

As ESPN reports Mattheus told Sky the only question remaining was whether the Poland international, who has also been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford, joined the champions-elect in the summer or when his deal expires in 2014.

“I have heard that Lewandowski and his management have already reached an agreement with Bayern,” Matthaus said.

“His contract runs out in 2014. Dortmund could cash in on him in 2013. They would get a high fee – I have overheard something like €25 million to €30 million – or he could join Bayern on a free in 2014.”

However Bayern President Uli Hoeness has a different view,

He told German paper Abendzeitung: “If Lothar confirms this, then soon he will be the general manager at Bayern.”

Matthaus then struck back telling Sky

“Uli Hoeness also knows I have been in the business for 30 years now. I have good contacts, not only domestically but also internationally. A reliable source – one who would know – told me that Lewandowski will join Bayern. If you have such information – and in this case I am no coach, but a pundit – I have the duty to pass this information on. If I am wrong, I will apologise to Uli Hoeness.”

In case you have forgotten German newspaper Bild claimed that Borussia Dortmund star Robert Lewandowski would join Manchester United this summer.

Bild said that a €22million bid will be enough to land the 24-year-old, and he will pick up £100,000 a week at Old Trafford.

This one could get interesting.

Pic Christopher Neundorf



Football

Asmir Begovic – Are Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United planning a surprise move?

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Some really interesting gossip is coming out of The Potteries this morning. Firstly Stoke have apparently bid for Birmingham City keeper Jack Butland. Butland, who is also being tracked by Fulham among others, turned down a move to Chelsea yesterday because he wants to be a first choice keeper.

Stoke obviously know this – so why are they bidding for him when they have Asmir Begovic?

Could it be that the Bosnian is already on his way out of Stoke? Chelsea have been linked with the player while Man United may finally look to replace the error-prone David de Gea.

There’s also Arsenal who might even offer Begovic Champions League football as their first choice keeper ahead of Wojciech Szczesny. The Pole made a couple of serious errors yesterday against Liverpool. And even if Szczesny did remain number one Arsenal are very short of quality in reserve.

It might just be that cash-strapped Birmingham have to cash in on Butland and that he might prefer to join a Midlands club as understudy to Begovic.

Nevertheless this is definitely one to keep your eye on.



Football

So just how good is Wilfried Zaha? Here’s an interesting take on what he achieved at Palace

By Stefano on January 25th, 2013

So just how good is Wilfried Zaha. Julius from one Gunner Gooner blog might be an Arsenal fan, but he has also seen a lot of Palace in the last few years. Here is his assessment of Zaha and his take on whether Arsene Wenger should have tried a little harder to sign him.

I like to call Crystal Palace my South London club. My first ever football match was to watch The Eagles at Selhurst Park, and ever since I have kept up the connection. I always keep up with Palace’s results and, if possible, watch them down in SE25.

This deep lying love for the club means that I have been lucky enough to watch Wilfried Zaha turn into the player he is today. Frankly, how he’s gone unsnatched for this long is nothing short of remarkable. Although it seems he shall don the colours of our fierce rivals Manchester United from next season, he is still a wonderfully gifted footballer that should be appreciated by lovers of football in general.

What Sort of Player Is He?

Since Darren Ambrose left for Birmingham in the summer, Zaha has become Palace’s new talisman. And a better one at that. Put simply, he is their only star player. Crystal Palace play with a basic 4-2-3-1 formation, and strong defensive midfielders in Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi give the three attacking midfielders a licence to roam. Yannick Bolasie, Oven Garvan and Andre Moritz all rotate in the AM positions, but Zaha is the only consistent starter.

It speaks volumes about the raw quality he has. He can do anything. He has astonishing pace, a low centre of gravity for someone as moderately tall as 5ft 11 and a brilliant shot. At times, Palace just give him the ball and he’ll do something special. Against Peterborough in November, when desperately needing a winner to remain top, they gave the ball to Zaha. He ran half the length of the field and cut it back for Dikgacoi to score in the final few minutes. He’s that kind of player for Crystal Palace: a talisman but also a leader by example.

If he had moved to Arsenal, he could have slotted in quite nicely. He would most likely have operated down the left flank. As a right footer, he has an unbelievable talent for bamboozling full backs before cutting inside then passing or shooting. Think of him in dribbling form as the Gervinho of the Championship. But before that puts you off, his end product is one of the strongest points of his game, and some of the goals he scores and assists are extremely impressive.

What Is His True Value?

Only now is he starting to blossom. For a while now has he been a consistently good performer for The Eagles, but this season he has suddenly stepped up. He buzzes around more than he used to, and has worked on his strength, which invariably comes with age. Now that his potential is being realised, it allows Palace to drive a hard bargain. And my God to they cling onto their talent. Neil Danns and Nathaniel Clyne, two of Palace’s best players in the 10/11 and 11/12 seasons respectively, were in the final year of their contracts. Even when it became apparent that neither wanted to remain, instead of cashing in (it was reported that there were offers on the table for Clyne as high as £7m), they stuck to their guns and held them to their contracts. Both left on free transfers the following summers. Bear in mind that this is a cash strapped club we’re talking about that, only a season ago, managed to claw their way out of administration. Manchester United have reportedly made a down payment of £10m, with the fee rising to as high as £15m depending on his success at the Red Devils. This seems fairly steep for a 20 year old that has never played at a level higher than the second tier but these days quality costs.

Would He Have Been A Good Signing For Arsenal?

In a nutshell, probably. The jump from taking on Peterborough’s Craig Alcock to Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic is obviously a big one, and many of the Championship’s best players have often struggled to make the step up (David Nugent being a prime example). I would like to see him as another future first teamer as he is unlikely to be the kind of player that will have an instant impact. We wouldn’t have needed him at all given how stocked our wings are. This means that buying him at an inflated price in January would have been a bit silly unless every forward at Arsenal suddenly develops osteoporosis. He still needs time to develop, and the Crystal Palace setup that churned out Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne is not a bad place for Zaha to continue his footballing education.

In conclusion, Zaha has remarkable ability. Without him, Palace would be midtable or worse, and his ability to save the day for The Eagles slightly reminds this Arsenal supporter of he who shall not be named. If he is to wear the picnic shirt of our northern rivals from next season, it will be a shame but also a testament to the raw talent this winger possesses . Eagles fans often call him the Ronaldo of the Championship. Whether he could fall under the same bracket as Cristiano in the Premier League is the big question. He certainly has that little glint in his eye.



Football

Wilfried Zaha about to undergo medical at Man United. Five and half year deal agreed.

By Stefano on January 24th, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson’s ongoing campaign to snap up the best young British talent continues with the news that Crystal Palace’s exceptional winger Wilfried Zaha is to join the club.

The player is said to be on his way to Old Trafford to undergo a medical after agreeing a £15 million move and a five and half year contract.

It sounds like great news for United fans. But Palace have done pretty well out of the transfer too. Not only is £15 million a lot of money for Championship player – it is roughly the same amount that Arsenal paid Southampton for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – but United have agreed to loan the player back to Palace for the rest of the season.

According to the Beeb

United will pay £10m up front, with the fee potentially rising to £15m based on Zaha’s appearances and success. The player has scored 15 goals in 124 appearances for the Eagles since his debut against Cardiff in March 2010.

Zaha’s arrival once casts doubts on the long term future of Nani. In spite of apparent interest from Arsenal the player seems set to stay at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future, but when Zaha arrives in the summer the out of favour Portuguese winger will surely be on his way.



Football

Arsenal ‘never in’ for Wilfried Zaha. Man United hold further talks with the Palace winger

By Stefano on January 22nd, 2013

Man United’s chase of Wilfried Zaha seems finally to be reaching a conclusion with the BBC reporting that the two clubs are going to hold further talks today. The main issue appears to be whether Zaha will be loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season to help the side’s promotion campaign.

Ben Smith of the BBC said earlier.

“United are understood to be willing to pay £12m for Zaha and will would then loan him back to the Championship club for the rest of the seaso. Both clubs have refused to comment on a proposed deal for the 20-year-old. But an agreement could be reached by the end of the week for a player who won his first England cap against Sweden in November.”

Meanwhile Arsenal have completely pulled out of the race for the Gunners supporting player.

Arsene Wenger told a news conference this morning that

” I don’t know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him. We were never in for Zaha.”

I think that had Theo Walcott not signed a new contract Arsenal would have been more interested in the player. Zaha has been one of the best players in the Championship this year and if he can replicate his Palace form in the Premiership he is likely to be a huge star at Old Trafford.



Football

Man United boss Fergie meets Wilfried Zaha – £15 million deal imminent

By Stefano on January 21st, 2013

It seems as if Sir Alex Ferguson might have shunned the odd glass of Merlot – or maybe something warmer – with AVB last night as he had other business to attend to.

The Mirror is reporting that the United boss made a beeline for a London hotel to meet Crystal Palace’s highly rated tricky winger Wilfried Zaha.

The Mirror says

Manchester United have agreed a staggering £15 million deal to sign wonder kid Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been backed by his money men in his bid to land the England starlet and Palace have accepted a fee that guarantees them £10 million.

The extra £5 million will come in appearances and achievements and the whole total is more than the Eagles could refuse for their young attacker.

In the race to sign the winger United always seem to have the edge over their rivals Arsenal in spite of the fact that Zaha is a Gunners fan. The winger is apparently happy to move to Manchester and it shows how keen the United boss is to sign him.

Arsenal have spent big on young Championship talent in the past with the £15 million forked out for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. However the club is eerily silent on Zaha, even though Wenger is known to be a huge fan.

If the deal goes through it does throw up the question of what will happen to Nani? The Portuguese winger was lined with moves to Arsenal and other clubs in December and in spite of the that it was reported that he was going nowhere he might now be deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

There’s also no word on whether Zaha would stay at Palace for the rest of the season or head straight away to Old Trafford.



Football

Arsenal update: BBC says Walcott to sign today, Zaha favours move to Man United

By Stefano on January 18th, 2013

Ok, so he still hasn’t actually ‘signed da ting’, but the BBC at least is confident that Theo Walcott is about to splash the ink on a new deal at Arsenal. It even suggests it could be done today.

They say

“Agreements have now been reached between Arsenal and their top scorer, who could put pen to paper on Friday if legal formalities can be completed.”

So there’s no source and no details, but the BBC don’t tend to run stories like this unless they are very confident in their facts.

Arsene Wenger said yesterday that he was 99% sure that Walcott would agree a new deal.

Slightly disappointing news for Gunners fan comes from Goal.com which claims that Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha is on the verge of becoming a Man United player. Apparently The Reds have bid £6 million for the winger.

They say.

United made the first formal move on Thursday for the forward, who has privately told the Premier League leaders that he favours a move to Old Trafford ahead of the Gunners.

Palace have rejected United’s cash offer as they hold out for a higher fee and will wait to see if Arsenal will also make a bid.

It will be interesting to see if Wenger now makes his move.



Football

Arsenal and Man United to start talks with Wilfried Zaha this week

By Stefano on January 14th, 2013

The extended saga of the transfer of Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace to a Premiership club seems finally to be heading for a conclusion. According to Goal, both Man United and Arsenal will have talks with the player (Sky Sports News is also running the story) and that ‘Zaha’s destination is “50-50″ between United and Arsenal, with the final decision to rest with the player himself.’

That might prove to be good news for Arsenal, given that Zaha is a fan of the club. However Palace manager Ian Holloway is reputedly keen to keep Zaha on loan for the rest of the season as his side pushes for promotion to the Premiership. Alex Ferguson is said to be happy with this arrangement, but Arsene Wenger, aware of his the lack of depth in his squad, would want Zaha immediately.

Zaha’s decision might also come down to money. Again this favours United as Ferguson has consistently spent big on players that he deems to be essential. Meanwhile Wenger’s cut price offers have seen him lose players to other clubs in the recent past most notably Gary Cahill and Juan Mata who both ended up at Stamford Bridge rather than The Emirates.

The bidding is likely to start at around £10 million.



Football

Arsenal update: Wilfried Zaha talks and ‘favourites’ to land Loic Remy

By Stefano on January 11th, 2013

After a couple of quiet days the Arsenal transfer rumour machine has been very active in the last few hours linking the club with several new signings.

The Indie has a pair of stories claiming that Wenger has made a move for the talented Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, while it also suggests Arsenal are now favourite to scoop Marseilles’ experienced striker Loic Remy.

Zaha had been assumed in the last few days to definitely be United bound, and Wenger himself poured a bit of cold water on the  rumours a few weeks ago. Now it appears that the chase is back on.

The Indie says

Arsenal have certainly been active observers of the winger, about whom United have opened discussions with Palace, with the north London club’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, present at several of his games.

Admittedly no other papers are saying that Arsenal have a chance to land the 20 year old – the rest are going with him signing for United and being loaned back to Palace for the rest of the season.

The Indie, and a lot of other papers, also have the story that Arsene Wenger is making a late move to sign Marseilles striker Loic Remy. The 26 year old, who has been chased by QPR and Newcastle is apparently an Arsenal fan and would cost the Gunners in  the region of £10 milion.

The paper says

In his first two seasons Rémy scored 37 goals in all competitions, but this campaign has been a struggle.

Inter had been keen on a move for the forward, but they preferred to offer a player as part-exchange in the deal and that has not appealed to Marseilles. Wenger is also keen on Anderlecht holding midfielder Lucas Biglia.

Lastly David Villa showed some form last night in scoring two excellent goals in Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba. According to the gossip Villa wants to go, Barca want keep him and Wenger is in two minds. I don’t think we have heard the last of this yet.



Football

Breaking: French newspaper says Marouane Fellaini will be a Chelsea player by the weekend

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Some bad news for United, Arsenal and, let’s not forget, Everton fans. French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that the Blue’s talismanic midfielder Marouane Fellaini could be a Chelsea player by the end of the week.

The report, which has also made the BBC sports news , is that that the 25-year old will sign a five-year deal with the club, for a fee of £22m. He will earn £4m a year.

It has been widely reported that the player has a £22 million transfer trigger fee and it seems that Chelsea are prepared to meet it.

Fellaini has made a total of 155 appearances for Everton, scoring 29 goals. His form this year has been scintillating.

Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer but it seems unlikely that Arsenal would match the asking price. With the move seemingly imminent will Fergie make his move now?



Football

Man United update: Is Wilfried Zaha a done deal? Danny Wellbeck on loan to Reading?

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

So have United done a deal to sign Crsytal Palace’s tricky winger Wilfried Zaha? The Telegraph seems to think so. The paper believes that other clubs have been frightened off bidding for the player because Fergie has already agreed to sign him

The Telgraoph says

The main issue is when, not if, it will happen with Crystal Palace hoping to keep the £12 million-rated 20-year-old until the summer at least.

Palace are hoping for a deal that would enable the player to stay at the club on loan for the rest of the season.

Zaha was attracting a lot of interest from Premiership clubs a few weeks ago. Arsenal have dropped out of the race because it seem that the club will now re-sign Theo Walcott while Spurs distanced themselves from bidding for Zaha yesterday.

Meanwhile United striker Danny Wellbeck is reported by The Mail as being on the verge of joining Reading on loan. There have been few opportunities for the player at Old Trafford this season and a move to another club might help him re-ignite his United career in the log run.



Football

Pep Guardiola says he wants a job. But where will he be next season? Bayern? Chelsea?

By Stefano on January 7th, 2013

Ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that his extended sabbatical in New York is going to come to an end soon and that he is looking for a new job.

The 41 year old told the press conference ahead of today’s Ballon d’Or ceremony that he will be managing again.

Guardiola said

“Yes, I would like to come back [to coaching]. I don’t have a team, I don’t know, but I would like to go back to coaching. My decision has been taken to coach, but beyond that there is no decision taken.”

However Guardialo wouldn’t be drawn as to where he might be in a few months time

“It would be a lack of respect to other coaches to speak about any team that is being run by a coach anywhere in the world.”

There will be no shortage of suitors for the well dressed, uber tactician. Chelsea have long been favourites to land the Catalan, and the fact that they only currently have a temporary manager in Rafa Benitez underlines that they may be looking for a new coach come the end the season.

The key question for Guardiola is whether he would be willing to work for a club that has such a high turn over of managers? If not the two Manchester clubs could be options – though this would require Ferguson to retire or Mancini to end the year with no silverware.

Paddy Power us running a book on his next destination and rates Chelsea of Bayern Munich as his most likely role, followed by Man City.

Where do you think he will end up? We ran a poll on the site a few months back – which you can see here.




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