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Forget Madrid, Franck – Robben
September 23, 2009, 9:57 AM
Filed under: bundesliga, la liga | Tags: , , ,

One of next year’s transfer sagas is expected to revolve around Franck Ribery’s move from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid, a path that Arjen Robben trod in the opposite direction this summer.

The duo were on the last cover of German magazine Kicker under the headline ‘Robbery’ as a tribute to the effect that the two wingers were having for Louis Van Gaal’s side this season.

Two star-crossed lovers.

Two star-crossed lovers.

After Bayern’s 2-1 victory at the weekend against Nurnberg, Ribery apparently repeatedly refused to answer questions to the press as he left the ground, but Robben was more forthcoming.

“I wouldn’t advise him to go to Real Madrid because I want to play with him!” he joked in an interview with Noticias Cuatro.

With their debt of €327 million, it remains to be seen whether Ribery’s move would come about if los Blancos fail to win any trophies this season.

The Frenchman has also suggested that he may sign a new deal with the German side; his current contract expires in 2011.



Transfer News – September 2nd

DAILY MIRROR

* Daivd James fears for his World Cup place after being left stranded at crisis club Portsmouth.

* Burnley boss Owen Coyle hailed the sgining of striker David Nugent in a last-gasp loan deal from Portsmouth on deadline day.

* Gary Megson is backing Ivan Klasnic to solve Bolton’s chronic goalscoring problems after completing a loan deal for the Croatian striker.

DAILY STAR

* Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is said to be angry and frustrated after discovering he will not be getting a new contract this season.

David James has been told to focus on Portsmouth and not showing pictures of himself to 8 year olds...no matter how much it boosts his esteem

David James has been told to focus on Portsmouth and not showing pictures of himself to 8 year olds...no matter how much it boosts his esteem

* Arsenal are set to appeal against UEFA’s decision to hand Eduardo a two-match ban for diving.

* Martin O’Neill was forced to sweat it out as he took his Aston Villa summer spending spree past the £40m mark last night.

* Steve Bruce last night blocked a deadline bid by Spurs to sign Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand.

* Fulham snapped up Swedish striker David Elm on a one-year deal for £1m from Kalmar FF.

* Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga became Everton’s top earner last night in a beat-the-clock move to Merseyside.

* Portsmouth lost another of their big stars yesterday with Niko Kranjcar joining Tottenham in a £2.75m move.

* FA Cup sponsors E.ON have pulled the plug on their £35m deal.

* Rafa Benitez has become the first top boss to face the wrath of the FA over their new rules for criticising referees.

* Steve Harper has told Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to pull his finger out if he wants promotion this season.

THE SUN

* David Nugent finally ended his Portsmouth hell by securing a six-month loan move to Burnley bang on deadline.

* Niko Kranjcar insists he has not joined Tottenham as a stand-in for crock Luka Modric.

* Michael Ballack says Chelsea have been boosted by Liverpool’s rocky start to the season.

* Jamie Carragher has told Liverpool’s critics not to write them off – because they are the No 1 comeback kings.

* Emmanuel Adebayor says it will be like a family at war when he lines up against Arsenal in 10 days’ time.

* Manchester United and Real Madrid target Franck Ribery has blasted Bayern Munich boss Luis van Gaal in an amazing deadline-day outburst.

DAILY MAIL

* Aston Villa were given dispensation to complete a £5million deal for Richard Dunne last night as negotiations over his departure from Manchester City rumbled on past the 5pm deadline.

* Newcastle pulled off a coup by signing Manchester United defender Craig Cathcart on a season-long loan.

* Aidy Boothroyd will return to football today as the new manager of Colchester United.

* Stoke were beaten by the clock in an ambitious bid to sign Bayern Munich right back Christian Lell.

* Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, is the new coach of Roma after Luciano Spalletti resigned yesterday following defeats in the opening Serie A games.

Ranieri...Claudio Ranieri

Ranieri...Claudio Ranieri

DAILY EXPRESS

* Ashley Cole will complete a new £120,000-a-week, five-year deal with Chelsea when he returns from England World Cup duty.

* Birmingham have signed Sunderland midfielder Teemu Tanio on loan until the end of the season.

* Harry Redknapp’s reputation as the master wheeler-dealer took a major hit on transfer deadline day.

* The Premier League’s Big Four reined in their spending yesterday to leave Everton’s £6million deal for Holland international Johnny Heitinga the biggest transfer in a low-key deadline day.

DAILY RECORD

* Celtic boss Tony Mowbray last night admitted he was delighted to snap up Chinese international Zheng Zhi after chasing him for more than a year.

* Jerome Rothen revealed he slammed the door shut on a glamour Premier League move to sign a deal with Rangers.

* Darren O’Dea signed on at Reading and then insisted he’ll be back up the road in no time to nail down his place as a Celtic stalwart.



No Bid For Ribery – Ancelotti
August 28, 2009, 9:59 AM
Filed under: bundesliga, premier league | Tags: , , ,

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has rejected fresh speculation they have made a bid for Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery.

The midfielder’s future was the subject of more summer rumours on Friday morning, with reports emanating from his native France that the Blues had offered £57million for him.

But Ancelotti simply said: “No that is not true.”

Meanwhile new boys Burnley will provide Chelsea with another potential banana-skin on Saturday.

Owen Coyle’s side dumped the Blues out of the Carling Cup last season and have made a fine start to life in the Premier League with victories over Manchester United and Everton.

Chelsea, second in the table, have a 100% record with wins over Hull, Sunderland and Fulham but Ancelotti is well aware of the task ahead – predicting an open game in the early kick-off at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

“In these last three matches we played very well,” said Ancelotti.

“For sure, we can improve. But I didn’t find in these matches a lot of mistakes.

Is the signing of Robben a signal of intent from Bayern that they will sell Ribery?

Is the signing of Robben a signal of intent from Bayern that they will sell Ribery?

“The team played very well in these games. It’s important to continue and maintain a very good motivation.

“With Burnley, it’s important to take control of the game. They have good quality in attack and can use the wings, the long ball, and the quality of their midfielders. It will be an open game.

“They have had a very good start to the season – they beat Manchester United and Everton. I watched these games and they like to play football.

“Tomorrow will be a very good match, a spectacular match. They will not come to Stamford Bridge just to defend and I am impressed with the quality of their play.”

Chelsea will still be without midfielder Joe Cole, defender Alex, and new signing Russian Yuri Zhirkov against Burnley.

“Zhirkov is feeling a bit better and will go with the national team, if it’s possible, to play with them. He’s very close to a return to playing

“Joe started to train with us on Tuesday. With him, we have to stay calm because he came out not easy from the injuries. We have to stay calm and work with him.

“We have to put him in the squad at the right time. Now is not the time to do this, but we hope in the next few weeks that he can train and play with us.

“After the international games, we’ll be more precise on his return. But I think he’s very close to a return to playing.”



Champions League Draw in Full

The draw in full

Group A: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bordeaux , Maccabi Haifa

Group B: Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, Wolfsburg

Group C: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Marseille, FC Zurich

Group D: Chelsea, Porto, Atletico Madrid, Apoel FC

Group E: Liverpool, Lyon, Fiorentina, Debreceni

Group F: Barcelona, Internazionale, Dynamo Kiev, FC Rubin Kazan

Group G: Sevilla, Rangers, VfB Stuttgart, Unirea Uriziceni

Group H: Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos, Standard Liege

Analysis:

Group A:  Group A will be a very interesting group to watch unfold.  Juventus, Bayern and Bordeaux all have a great chance of reaching the knockout rounds, but it may all come down to how each of them play Maccabi Haifa – the Israeli champions.  In my eyes, whoever drops points to Haifa, doesn’t make it to the next round.

Prediction:

Bayern Munich and Juventus progress

Group B: Manchester United will be disappointed with all the traveling they will be doing, especially to Turkey where the hooligans go mad every time United come to town.  Wolfsburg is also going to be a bigger threat than they’re given credit for, watch for them to nick points in group play.  The Russians will be a stingy opposition and may steal points in the Motherland, but away from home may struggle to find their feet.  Wolfsburg are my dark horse of the tournament.  I don’t think for a second they deserved the fourth pot, but now find themselves with a tall order.  They can push for the knockout round, and their match against CSKA Moscow will make or break their run.

Prediction

Manchester United and Wolfsburg progress

Group C: Group C, along with F, is a “group of death”.  Somehow, Madrid dodged the British bullet (which makes for a more exciting knockout stage!), and they should find themselves in the knockout round before too long.  AC Milan have had a dodgy start to their campaign, and if they don’t start clicking could start dropping points in group play.  Marseille have been a tough nut to crack in years past, and with the addition of Morientes to their attacking play, will give Milan and Madrid a test.

Prediction:

Real Madrid and AC Milan to progress

Group D: The boys from London should have a spot in the knockout round if they keep their heads about them.  The only thing I would worry about is that they’ve been giving up goals early in the EPL and come from behind to win it, and may well do so against more formidable sides in this competition who won’t be so forgiving.  Atletico are always impressive to watch and I don’t see anyone but those two making it past this group.

Prediction:

Chelsea and Atletico Madrid to progress

Group E: Liverpool can’t have too many complaints here, they were grouped with great teams in Lyon and Fiorentina, but, to be honest, they should be able to cope.  The Merseysiders should claim the top spot, but the second one is completely up for grabs.  Fiorentina and Lyon are both squads that have firepower up top (Mutu and Govou) and can work to break down their opponents.  Fiorentina would love to have Melo back in their squad as I have no doubt he’d love to break up the Frenchmen in attack.

Prediction:

Liverpool and Lyon (by a hair!) to progress

Group F: This is it.  The group of death. We have the reigning Spanish and European champions as well as the Italian and Ukrainian league winners.  I’ve had to keep my mouth shut all day so as not to drool all over my desk.  Mourinho vs. Guardiola.  Eto’o vs. Pique.  Ibrahimovic vs. Cordoba.  Chocolate vs. Vanilla.  Coke vs. Pepsi.  Bert vs. Ernie.

Prediction:

It’s not going any other way.  Barcelona on top, Inter taking second.

Group G: My pick (and yours if you have sense) for the tamest group.  Not a lot to gawk at here.  Rangers and Sevilla will probably make the next stage, as I don’t think Stuttgart have enough bite to make any marks here.  Unirea Uriziceni will just be happy to be in the competition, and will love the fact that they have be thrown into this group.

Prediction:

Rangers and Sevilla to progress (in that order)

Group H: Arsenal may have the best of the English teams, and Wenger will be hard pressed to find something to complain about (if you can believe that!).  But remember the torrid time Standard Liege gave Liverpool last season in the qualifying rounds, as they could give group H some trouble.  Gunners aside, this group is fairly balanced.  Each team will fancy their chances at nabbing the last spot into the knockout stages.

Prediction:

Arsenal and Standard Liege to progress




Franck-O-Meter
July 29, 2009, 5:17 PM
Filed under: bundesliga, la liga, premier league, Transfer | Tags:


Veteran Stopper Signs On With Inter
July 16, 2009, 10:19 AM
Filed under: bundesliga, serie a | Tags: , ,

Bayern Munich have confirmed the sale of defender Lucio to Italian champions Inter Milan. The Brazilian will put pen to paper on a three-year deal in Milan, according to Bayern’s general manager Uli Hoeness.

“Lucio is transferring immediately to Inter Milan and will receive a three-year contract there,” he said at a press conference today.

“The clubs have reached an agreement and the player is also in agreement with Inter.”

Lucio is now due to undergo a medical in Lombardy before all the transfer formalities can be completed.

The 31-year-old’s future at Bayern had been in doubt since new coach Louis van Gaal arrived and hinted it may be difficult for him to earn a regular place in his team.

The Dutch coach warned nobody could be given a guaranteed starting berth and Lucio’s late return to pre-season training, due to his involvement for Brazil at the Confederations Cup, could put him at a disadvantage compared to his team-mates.

And Hoeness confirmed Lucio had made it clear he wanted to leave after leading Brazil to glory in South Africa.

“After the Confederations Cup it was his expressed wish to leave Bayern if there was an offer from a major club.

“We are of course sad that he is leaving because Lucio did outstanding work here,” Hoeness added, saying Bayern still had several options for central defence.

Lucio joined Bayern from Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen in 2004 and played 144 times for the record German champions, scoring seven goals.

The 31-year-old, who was to rejoin Bayern on Thursday after his Confederations Cup participation with Brazil, signed for the Germans in 2004 after a stint with Bayer Leverkusen.

Part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning side, he quickly established himself as a rock in Bayern’s defence, helping them clinch the Bundesliga and Cup double in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

The Brazilian veteran will ply his trade in Serie A next season.

The Brazilian veteran will ply his trade in Serie A next season.

Last season Bayern’s backline was less consistent, however, and the Bavarians failed to win any silverware.

However in a strange twist, Inter president Massimo Moratti claimed that the deal was not yet done.

“Lucio’s signing? It is not yet official,” Moratti told the club’s website.

“From what I know it’s not all definite.”

Moratti admitted the arrival of Lucio would bring to an end the Nerazzurri’s quest to acquire Chelsea stars Deco and Ricardo Carvalho. Inter, on a pre-season tour in California, opted for Lucio after talks to sign Carvalho broke down.

Coach Jose Mourinho has already bought Argentina striker Diego Milito and Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta from Genoa with Twente Enschede forward Marko Arnautovic poised to sign.

Inter left back Maxwell is joining Barcelona and Lucio’s arrival could lead to further departures from the San Siro after Mourinho said his squad was too large.

Argentina defender Nicolas Burdisso is among several Inter players to be linked with a move in the media.

Analysis:  Despite the fact that a week ago Inter Milan declared themselves out of the Transfer Market, they snap up the Bayern Munich central back.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s not to trust José Mourinho, so I’m not too shocked that he’s still toying in the market.  I would expect him to have a few more lined up as well.  This isn’t that key for Inter Milan, who have a fairly deep and skilled team sheet, but for Bayern it could be paramount.  Their back line has been pretty solid and consistent for a season or two, and it will be important for van Gaal to find a replacement as soon as possible.