Monday, 31 January 2011

Torres' Chelsea transfer edges closer as Liverpool agree massive, massive fee for Andy Carroll

This is turning out to be one of THOSE transfer windows, as in mental.

Liverpool have agreed a £35MILLION fee with Newcastle for Andy Caroll.

The world has indeed gone mad.

Liverpool accept offer from Chelsea for Fernando Torres

Ha! I told you so! All those Liverpool fans who gave me grief on Friday for daring to suggest Torres may push for a transfer request, it now seems Liverpool have accepted a bid from Chelsea for the Spaniard.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Ian Holloway offers to resign - knows it won't be accepted

It was a game of brinkmanship well worth playing, as Ian Holloway wasn't alone in thinking the Premier League would actually fine him for fielding a 'weakened' team against Villa last autumn.

But now they have, Holloway has been true to his word and offered his resignation, though I'm sure he knows it won't be accepted. At least then he can save face as he stuck to his word.

Fernando Torres to hand in transfer request to force through Chelsea transfer?

I have admit I scoffed at the news headlines this morning that said Chelsea had bid £40million for Fernando Torres. Much like the Guardian's Twitter-publicised Gareth Bale non-story the day before, I thought it was at best a PR stunt by Chelsea.

But the noises this afternoon suggest Torres may actually be on his way after all.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Major squad re-shuffle ahead for Man United?

Sir Alex Ferguson has always been a master at re-building squads over time, knowing the right moment to let players go and scouting out youngsters with potential and turning them into super-stars.

But in these days of financial uncertainty, with the Glazer’s self-imposed £500million debt hanging over the club, Ferguson faces a big a job as ever if he is to refresh the squad as well as balancing the books.

Arsenal captancy storm - Denilson has a point

Whether mis-quoted or not (and I’m fairly sure he was) Denilson has made a valid point about the lack of leaders in the Arsenal side.

True his actual quotes were taken from an interview meant only for the Arseblog and Arsenal Brazil websites by a third party, sold to the sun and then put through their trashy, tabloid story spinner in order to make dramatic if mis-leading headlines.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Bruce should know more than anyone about football loyalty

In the wake of Darren Bent’s shock transfer to Aston Villa Sunderland manager Steve Bruce attempted to side with the fans by declaring his dismay at the strikers transfer.

Bruce said he felt ‘massively let-down’ by the forward, who completed his £18million move to Villa Park on Tuesday.

But loyalty in football is some mis-given belief shrouded over the game by supporters in attempt to keep the connection with their club and their players alive.

Monday, 17 January 2011

West Ham board have lot to answer for

I doubt anyone could not feel at least a twinge of sympathy for Avram Grant on Saturday.

The West Ham manager’s dour persona means he isn’t one for displaying much emotion – in public at least. But he looked visibly moved at the end of the Arsenal game on Saturday; a man who knew his time at the club was up and had been let down by those above him.

More questions than answers for Everton and Liverpool

Considering they have only won at Anfield twice in 19 Premier League visits and three times in over 25 years Everton would probably be the happier of the two teams following Sunday’s 2-2 draw.

But looking at the game the lack of form, confidence and in some cases quality is there for all to see across both sides.

One of David Moyes’ main criticisms is his negative tactics, especially away from home. Many feel that Liverpool are a side with a soft centre this season and by attacking them – like Blackpool have done twice – you can reap the rewards.

But once against the Toffees were far too timid. Slow and laboured in possession and all too often withdrawing onto the edge of their own penalty area, grimly hanging on.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Moyes struggles to balance the books

It says a lot for Everton’s finances that David Moyes has to loan a striker to a Championship club - who will cover all his wages - in order to fund a loan signing.

But as the Scot desperately searches for a striker he is forced to release one of his current crop – admittedly one who has only scored once in 15 games – in order to have enough cash to do so.

The financial restraints at Everton are bordering ridiculous levels now. All the big money signings since 2005 have been funded either by the sales of Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott or on loans guaranteed against future income.

Now the well has run dry any money the club brings in though TV deals etc.. flows straight out on the players wages. Moyes has assembled a talented squad at Goodison no question, and one that has to earn big money if they are to stick around. But the imminent departure of Steven Pienaar, who rejected a £60,000 a week offer in order to get £70,000 a week over four years at Tottenham, highlights the problem David Moyes faces.

He desperately wants to keep his squad together, but with no cash to improve the pressure rises when results don’t go as planned – as we have found this season. Those big players then start to get restless, and so the team will start to slowly break up. Recent wins over Spurs and Scunthorpe have raised hopes of a better season than first anticpated, but with such a small squad any sort of injury crisis could be catastrophic.

Bill Kenwright’s determination to only sell to the right bidder is admirable, but if Moyes continues to be forced to work with little or no money then Kenwright will damage the club just as much as if he sold to an unscrupulous owner.

Hammers board need to put up or shut up

After yet another post-match press conference dominated by questions about his future the same ‘will he, won’t he’ headlines appeared in the papers the next morning.

It is true that the press feed such speculation, their constant questioning of the Israeli immediately leads to more copy about his apparently imminent sacking.

But these rumours must have began somewhere. Someone deep in the corridors of power must have sparked off the story by suggesting the board were set to axe the Israeli.

If that is indeed the case then the board need to act decisively or give Grant the time and space needed to do his job.

Forcing him to manage the club not knowing whether he will have a job in the morning will only harm the club’s chances of staying in the Premier League this season.

Grant, as ever, has behaved with dignity over the past few weeks (I think his year as boss of crisis club Portsmouth helped with that) and a recent good run has lifted them back among the pack of club’s who they seemed cut adrift from just a few weeks ago.

Yet unlike his rivals around him in the table Grant seems to be the only one constantly batting away questions about his future.

It is time for the board to act – either end the speculation by publically backing their man or, if they do want to sack him, do so now to finally quash the negative vibes that are threatening to torpedo their survival hopes.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Man United rumble on

If I had a pound for the every time I have heard how Man United have won this season without playing well I would be a very rich man. Virtually every time they have won this season it has been from a 'below-par' showing with Tuesday's 2-1 at Stoke, which put them three points clear at the top, the latest example.

But the unconvincing nature of their performances, instead of pointing towards a weaker squad than in previous seasons actually shows just how good a team United are. You don’t go 20 games unbeaten, a Premier League run bettered only by the 2003/04 Arsenal ‘invincibles’ side, without being a very good side.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Ronaldinho bad move for Blackburn

The new owners of Blackburn Rovers, the India-based Venky’s group, have not done much to endear themselves to the supporters since their take-over last November.

They started by sacking Sam Allardyce, citing a desire to compete in the top six rather than at the bottom (despite Allardyce leading them to 10th on a meagre budget last season).

Monday, 3 January 2011

Hodgson only extends his Liverpool agony

For a few desperate minutes at Anfield on Saturday Roy Hodgson was staring at an inevitable sacking. A home defeat to Bolton, coming just days after a home reverse against Wolves, would have lifted supporter anger to insurmountable levels and the club’s new American owners surely would have had little choice but to relieve Hodgson of his duties.

Instead though a bit of magic by Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, something we with seen little of lately, brought the Reds level before Joe Cole snatched a last minute winner.

Relief was the main feeling billowing around Anfield with Hodgson quick to praise the fans after the game.

But while Hodgson can’t seem to stop praising the supporters after his criticism of them last week the feeling is definitely not mutual.

The former Fulham boss was never really popular choice in the first place, with Reds fans craving a bigger name to replace Rafa Benitez. But with the ownership issues that dogged the club last summer no big name would have gone near the club. Hodgson therefore was their best option.

He has had to deal with the change of ownership, limited funds and out-of-form star players but he has also been found out tactically. Their away form is awful, something Hodgson brought from his former clubs and some of his signings have proved disastrous.

This win has only extended his misery at the club; I can’t see their season turning around dramatically as they still could have easily lost this match such was their laboured performance.

If no potential suitors can be found now then Dodgson may lumber along until the end of the season.
But with terrace hero Kenny Dalglish waiting in the wings as a possible caretaker and the owners rumoured to be hunting a replacement; Hodgson’s days at Anfield are definitely numbered.