Posts Tagged ‘Spurs’

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



Football

Spurs view: The Europa League will help us prepare for the Champions League

By Stefano on February 15th, 2013

The Europa League generally gets a bad press in England. Whilst teams on the continent tend to take a far more serious approach towards it, it is always viewed through mocking eyes over here. The ‘Thursday night, Channel Five’ songs are used an insult on a regular basis and ultimately it is seen as being a little ‘beneath us’.

I suppose it is part of the insular British mindset but it is an opinion that has always troubled me. I still fondly remember the excitement and glory of the Cup Winners Cup and Uefa Cup and, whilst the Champions League in its modern format has swallowed up everything around it, the Europa League still represents a tilt at European glory.

One of the most common arguments against taking the competition seriously is the strain it puts on your weekend preparations, due to the scheduling of games on a Thursday night. But with the following league games always pushed back to the Sunday, the rest is often no different to those teams competing in the Champions League.

And then there is what I have always seen as the underlying benefit of participating in the Europa League, it is a chance to learn. If Spurs truly have ambitions of becoming a regular Champions League team, which is well within our reach, then it is vital that nights such as the game against Lyon are learnt from.

It is no good simply qualifying for the Champions League if you are unequipped to compete in it. Lyon are one of several teams in this season’s tournament with years of involvement in the elite European competition and the game against them yesterday gave Spurs a real challenge and it is one we learnt lessons from.

It is true that our previous foray into the Champions League was a relative success, halted eventually by the footballing behemoth dressed in white that is Real Madrid. But it was also a rather crazy, helter-skelter experience and one that is probably not repeatable. Instead the club need to learn to play European opposition in a more sustainable manner.

Andre Villas-Boas is a blessing in this regard, since not only does he know the competition well but he indeed won it during his time with Porto. All the noises coming out of the camp seem to indicate this test will be taken on with the utmost respect and I hope that is the case. This could be vital preparation for the big thing next year.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Marc Braterman. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.



Football

Wenger admits Arsenal tried to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton, but rated Theo Walcott more important

By Stefano on February 15th, 2013

One other really great snippet from this morning’s conference which has been picked up by ESPN and others is that Arsene Wenger had admitted that Arsenal were looking to sign Gareth Bale from Southampton, but instead determined Theo Walcott to be the better prospect.

And it is a decision that he doesn’t regret.

Talking about signing Theo Walcott from Southampton in 2006 but not taking Bale too Wenger said :

“At some stage, we were looking to take the two if possible. We got Walcott, and I am very happy with that. Look, if I tell you the number of players we did not sign that we should have signed, you will be amazed. It’s the same for every club – you sometimes miss out on players.”

In words that will probably anger a few spurs fans Wenger said that he feels that while Bale is a brilliant player he isn’t the third best player in the world behind Messi and Ronlado as has been suggested by some papers today.

“He has the potential to develop and to get close to the players you compare him to, but Ronaldo and Messi?

“Messi has won two or three Champions League titles. He has won a few championships. He scored more than 90 goals last year. Let’s not go too quick [in comparing Bale to Messi]. You are always very quick here, but let’s slow down a bit.”

Bale was in sensational form for Spurs last night scoring twice in their win over Lyon in the Europa Cup.

Tottenham play Arsenal in what might turn out to the the Champions league fourth place decider on March 2nd.

Pic James Boyes



Football

Arsenal and Spurs to scrap for German midfielder Sebastian Rode

By Stefano on February 15th, 2013

The Daily Star has an interesting (but let’s be honest rather speculative) story this morning about how Arsenal are going to rival Spurs in the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt’s German midfielder Sebastian Rode.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been excellent form this season which will be in the minds of the Spurs management team who tried to sign him last summer. The paper says that Arsenal are interested too, but has no source for their story.

The youngster has eighteen months on his contract and clearly has ambition beyond Frankfurt.

“The interest is known to me. I’ll keep my feet on the ground and not start dreaming,” he said.

“Eintracht Frankfurt and I have agreed to postpone the talks so I can concentrate on my football.”

Bayern Munich are also said to be monitoring the player .

This one seems like a long shot for any London team at the moment. The paper doesn’t have any links to either Arsenal or Spurs, so I’d take this with a big pinch of salt. Arsenal, and Spurs are monitoring players all across the continent, but that doesn’t mean that they are anywhere near signing any of them.

Rode would however clearly fit both sides requirements for a tough tackling central midfielder.



Football

Arsene Wenger has Spurs in his sights and is ‘ready for a fight’

By Stefano on February 11th, 2013

If Arsenal lose to Spurs when the two teams meet at White Hart Lane on March 3rd it won’t be the end of Arsenal’s campaign to qualify for the Champions league next year, but it will make it very hard for Arsene Wenger’s team to catch their north London rivals.

So not surprisingly Wenger has today been assuring the Arsenal fans that his team know what they are up against and are ready for the fight.

They face a formidable challenge. In spite of their striking issues Tottenham are unbeaten in 10 games and against Newcastle there were signs that they are hitting form at just the right time. Gareth Bale was exceptional, Mousa Dembele was a powerful presence in the midfield and Scott Parker is hinting at the form that made him so effective last season.

However, as every Gunner fan knows, this time last year Spurs were ten points clear of Arsenal when they met their north London neighbours. That catastrophic defeat than sparked off a decline in their form which saw them lose out on a Champions League spot.

Wenger is hoping for a re-run this year.

Asked about the teams attempt to to catch Spurs Wenger said on the club’s website

“There are many games to go. We are in the fight and the game on Saturday showed that we are ready for a fight. Our character was questioned many times. You saw (on Saturday) that we have plenty.”

His words were echoed by keeper Wojceich Szczesny who also told the club website

“I think we proved to a lot of people that we have what it takes to be successful because it wasn’t the best game in terms of quality, but we showed everyone the character and desire we have to get a result.”

Of the three London sides Chelsea arguably have the easiest run in while Spurs, with games against Chelsea, Man City and Everton to come, have the trickiest. Anything less than a draw for both sides could prove a near knock out blow to the loser.

Check out the list of games here.



Football

The March games that will decide Arsenal and Spurs’ season

By Stefano on February 11th, 2013

It should still be an open race for third/fourth place at the end of March. But while Spurs should still be in a strong position, anything less than near perfection for The Gunners could be disastrous.

And why Arsenal’s game against Swansea could prove to be just as important as the one away at Spurs

February is a fairly quiet month for Premiership football with clubs distracted by the Champions league Europa Cup, and FA Cup.

But as for March… Well chances are that many of the key games that will have a massive impact on the Premiership table and especially who qualifies for the Champions league, will be decided in that month.

If we assume that United wining the title is pretty much a done deal and that City will recover and finish second, then third and fourth paces are the key battles. And at the moment it is three London clubs and two Merseysiders who will decide who ends up where.

Arsenal

It could be argued that Arsenal have the easiest run out of all the teams competing for third or fourth place (although Chelsea have some very winnable games too). For starters they have two home bankers – though if this season’s record is is anything to go by they are by no means a done deal – and some winnable games in April and May too.

The three games then that could change Arsenal’s season, though and effectively make April and May an academic exercise, are away at Tottenham, at home to Everton and then away at Swansea.

A defeat against Spurs followed by any points dropped against either Everton or Swansea would effectively kill off their Champions league aspirations. So it is essential that they grab a point at the Lane, I think they might manage this. However their stretched squad could then struggle at Swansea.

I think they will enter April very much in the race for a Champions League slot but still the outsider reliant on their rivals dropping points

Spurs

Let’s face it Spurs fans. That Champions League spot is yours, if you can keep the momentum going. Assuming that Spurs win away at West Ham and bag three points at home to Fulham they then face three very tricky ties in a row – just like Arsenal.

I can’t see Arsenal beating Spurs, or the other way round, so a draw in that game is most likely. If Spurs win that game and then beat Liverpool the week after they will be in a very strong position. I wonder though if the games away at Liverpool and Swansea will end up as draws.

Even so this will leave Spurs in fourth place and ready for a hard month in April that includes against Chelsea, Man City and Everton.

The importance of Swansea

As for Chelsea I think they will still be in third place come the end of March, but with their two London rivals waiting for them to slip up.

Unless they can pull off an impressive away win at Arsenal and beat City at home I think Everton will drop out of the race. As for Liverpool they are probably too far off the pace to make a serious challenge.

So while the Spurs Arsenal game could produce a serious blow to one team’s CL hopes, I wonder if it is the away games at Swansea that will finish one of the London sides off.

Swansea have only lost twice at home this season and have drawn with Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United (as well as Arsenal in the FA Cup).

Arsenal

Arsenal V Aston Villa WIN

Tottenham V Arsenal DRAW

Arsenal V Everton WIN

Swansea V Arsenal DRAW

Arsenal V Reading WIN

11 points – 55 points at end of March

Spurs

West Ham V Tottenham WIN

Tottenham V Arsenal DRAW

Liverpool V Tottenham DRAW

Tottenham V Fulham WIN

Swansea V Tottenham DRAW

9 points 57 points at end of March

Chelsea

Man City V Chelsea LOSE

Chelsea V West Brom WIN

Fulham V Chelsea WIN

Chelsea V West Ham WIN

Southampton V Chelsea DRAW

10 points 59 points at end of March

Everton

Norwich V Everton WIN

Everton V Reading WIN

Arsenal V Everton LOSE

Everton V Man City LOSE

Everton V Stoke WIN

9 points 51 points at end of March

Liverpool

Liverpool Vs West Brom WIN

Liverpool V Swansea WIN

Wigan V Liverpool WIN

Liverpool V Tottenham DRAW

Southampton V Liverpool DRAW

Aston Villa V Liverpool DRAW

12 points 48 points at end of March



Football

Sky reports that Arsenal and Spurs target Mohamed Diame is on the move

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Earlier in the day it looked like he was staying, but according to Sky Sports an un-named Premier League side have triggered Mohammed Diame’s release clause at West Ham.

It could be Arsenal who have been tracking the player for a while, or maybe it is Spurs?

Fulham apparently have one more signing to announce too. QPR have been mentioned too by the BBC, though this has been refuted by PA.

John Cross on Talksport has said he thinks it is Spurs and that is unlikely to be Arsenal.

More when we get it.

UPDATE – At 8.41 The BBC have denied that West Ham have received a bid.

8.58 – The Telegraph says it is Fulham and not Arsenal or Spurs who have activated the deal

9.24 – The Telegraph now says it is wrong and that Diame is staying at West Ham



Football

Spurs target Leandro Damiao staying in Brazil. Summer move possible

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Not good news for Spurs fans. Their big signing today was to have been Internacional’s sensational striker, Leandro Damiao, but now it appears he is staying in Brazil.

Globo Esporte says that he will play for Internacional for another six months, but that a move to Premiership side in the summer hasn’t been ruled out.

The news has also been reported by Sky.

Both Spurs and Arsenal were expected to add attacking options in the window and at this point it looks like neither have managed to do it.

UPDATE at 7.30 GMT – back on again?

Sky Sports understand Tottenham and Internacional are still in negotiations over the transfer of Leandro Damiao despite earlier reports from Brazil that the deal wouldn’t go ahead.



Football

Spurs update: Official offer made for striker Leandro Damiao

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Along with the Beckham to PSG saga the biggest story of the window day could involve Spurs and their pursuit of Leandro Damiao.

Spurs have been chasing the 23 year old Brazilian for some time now and it appears that they might just be about to land their man.

According to The Metro the club are alleged to have offered Damiao’s current team Internacional a cool £20 million for the player.

Other sources including The Mail say that the figure is closer £18 million.

Spurs were clearly encouraged by Internacional’s sporting director Luis Cesar Souto de Moura who told Brazilain newspaper Correio do Povo yesterday.

“Leandro Damiao will only leave if there is a very quick negotiation, but no official offer has been made. The news involving interest for Leandro Damiao, especially from Tottenham, will always happen – they come and go.”

“Damiao has a lot of quality, is a goal scorer, was the top scorer in the Olympics and he is a very important player. Internacional understand that it’s extremely difficult, very difficult, for Leandro Damiao to leave now.”

Well now it appears that Spurs have lodged their bid.

So Spurs fans. Is this the signing that could bring Champions League football back to The Lane?



Football

Arsenal and Spurs target Mohamed Diame about to sign new deal at West Ham

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

A few days ago it seemed like a done deal that West Ham’s Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame would be heading to either Arsenal or Spurs.

Goal is reporting that the player is heading for Karen Brady’s office, but not to sign for another club.

Goal says

It is expected that Diame will sign an extended deal on improved terms that will remove the release clause inserted into the agreement he signed when he joined last summer on a free from Wigan Athletic.

Manager Sam Allardyce suggested on Tuesday that there remained a possibility that the midfield powerhouse could leave before Thursday night’s transfer deadline.

However, West Ham appear to have won their battle to hang on to the Senegal international after offering improved terms earlier this month.

So why didn’t the two North London clubs move for a player who would have added some serious steel to their midfield? One theory is that the managers were put off by Diame’s attitude – he was reported to have been late for a key meeting at West Ham and  there were rumours of a dispute with Sam Allardyce which the manager subsequently denied.

It might also be that there was confusion over Diame’s release clause which was widely reported to be £3.5 milion, but in reality was probably a much higher figure.

Or it could be that he is happy to stay West Ham?



Football

Spurs update: L’Equipe links Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Spurs are short of striking options at the moment, so expect to hear plenty of rumours about new forwards heading for the Lane today.

With the news that Seville’s Alvaro Negrdo has been ruled out there is now a bit of momentum about the story that Lyon’s Lisandro Lopez could be a Spurs player on loan soon.

French paper L’Equipe has run the story this morning that the London club could be taking the Argentinian player on loan for the rest of the season.

Lopez, who signed for Lyon from Porto in 2009, has been linked with loan deal to several clubs in the window including Juventus.

He has scored six times this season and has played fourteen times.



Football

BBC reports that Arsenal and Spurs target Mohammed Diame will sign new contract at West Ham

By Stefano on January 30th, 2013

At one point it seemed like West Ham’s Mohammed Diame was within a few hours of becoming an Arsenal player. Then yesterday it appeared as if he would be on his way to White Hart Lane.

The latest news from West Ham is that the player is not only staying with the Hammers but may even sign a new contract.

Don’t hold your breath though for this is the player that Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce says “changes his mind from one hour to the next.”

However the BBC’s Ben Smith has just posted this on the Beeb’s sports website

“West Ham are increasingly confident that he (Diame) will sign a new contract with them in the coming days. Contrary to reports, Diame’s release clause is closer to £7m than £3.5m, but West Ham are hopeful that any new deal would see that removed and end speculation on his future.

“The one variable in all this is the player himself.”

Both Arsenal and Spurs are apparently looking for a central, defensively minded midfielder and Diame would fit that bill. It seems now though that both teams will wait until the summer to strengthen.



Football

Allardyce acknowledges he ‘might lose’ Diame. But will it be to Arsenal or Spurs?

By Stefano on January 29th, 2013

Interesting quote this morning from a press conference given by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

Asked about what the situation was with Mohammed Diame Allardyce seemed to acknowledge that the controversial midfielder could be on his way out of Upton Park.

Allardyce said ‘It is total confusion. I’m as confused as anyone. I hope we don’t, but we might lose him.’

Diame, who has played superbly for the Hammers this season has been tracked by Arsene Wenger for quite some time. However some sources, well the Metro are suggesting that Spurs may have moved ahead in the race to sign the player. The rumour is that he has a £3.5million buyout clause in his contract, but in reality the clubs may expect to pay a lot more than that for his services.



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

Spurs seek new striker – Leandro Damiao targeted

By Stefano on January 8th, 2013

Emmanuel Adebayor’s u-turn in deciding to play for Togo in the Africa Cup of Nations could not have come at a worse time for Spurs. The team are playing well and are pushing for a Champions League slot, but losing Adebayor limits their options and if Defoe sustains an injury they would be very short of front men.

So not surprisingly Spurs are being linked with a number of players. Several papers are reporting that the team have lined up a £15 million for Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao.

Damiao has apparently been a long term target for Spurs and his club Internacional are believed to be ready to sell the 23-year-old Brazilian international. Spurs could face opposition from Inter Milan who have also been keeping tabs on the player.

As Goal reports

Asked last week about the prospect of Damiao moving to Tottenham or another big European club in January, the player’s agent Vinicius Prates said: “While Leandro Damiao stays at Internacional, Tottenham will always be interested.

“Andre Villas-Boas has liked him since he was Chelsea’s manager.”

The Portuguese coach has also publicly revealed his admiration for Damiao, a tall and powerful striker who likes to play on the last man and has superb eye for goal in the penalty area.

Spurs, like their north London rivals, Arsenal have been linked with a number of players in the window including Joao Moutinho from Porto, Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder. Their interest in Zaha has apparently cooled a little and the sticking point with Sneijder is likely to be matching his wage expectations.




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