Football Station

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


* 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.


* 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 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 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.


* 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.


* 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


* 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.


* 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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Arsenal and Standard Liege to progress

Transfer News – August 23rd


  • Wayne Rooney is to be offered a stunning new contract in line with the biggest earners in the Premier League.
  • Arsenal are ready to open contract talks with Cesc Fabregas to fend off Barcelona.
  • Everton will demand a Premier League probe into their claim that Manchester City tapped up Joleon Lescott.
  • David Gold and David Sullivan will step up their bid to buy West Ham next week.
  • Fulham defender Brede Hangeland will not leave the club in the current transfer window despite the interest shown by Arsenal and Everton.
  • Portsmouth manager Paul Hart plans to offer former Wigan striker Henri Camara a Premier League lifeline.
  • Martin O’Neill is plotting to prise Jermaine Jenas from Tottenham with a £12million bid.

    The Republic of Ireland winger has been targeted by Redknapp.

    The Republic of Ireland winger has been targeted by Redknapp.

  • Wigan are poised to make a £3.5million bid for Bristol City midfielder Marvin Elliott.
  • Harry Redknapp has targeted Celtic stars Aiden McGeady and Scott Brown to bolster his Tottenham squad.
  • Phil Brown could turn to Matty Fryatt to solve Hull’s striker problems.
  • Everton and Blackburn have stepped up their interest in Norway winger Erik Huseklepp.


  • Chelsea will smash the British transfer record with a £40million move for Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero.
  • Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou is considering his future, despite being offered a new deal.
  • PSV Eindhoven winger Balazs Dzsudzsak claims Arsenal are preparing an offer for him.
  • Daniel Cousin is facing showdown talks with Phil Brown at Hull.
  • West Ham have asked Livorno to name their price for Italian hitman Alessandro Diamanti.
  • Newcastle have held move talks with the representatives of free agent Peter Lovenkrands.


  • Furious Everton chiefs are to report Manchester City to the Premier League for allegedly tapping up Joleon Lescott.
  • David Beckham’s contract at LA Galaxy has a secret get-out clause, which could see him move to one of Europe’s top leagues.
  • Thailand manager Peter Reid is poised for a shock return to English football – as assistant to Tony Pulis at Stoke.

    The Argentine has long been linked with a move away from Atletico Madrid.

    The Argentine has long been linked with a move away from Atletico Madrid.

  • Chelsea are aiming to spring a major surprise before the transfer window closes – with sources in Spain claiming Sergio Aguero is on his way to Stamford Bridge in a £42million deal.
  • Joe Cole is set to be handed a new four-year contract worth around £90,000 per week.
  • Fulham will stage an ambitious late bid to sign Bordeaux hitman Marouane Chamakh.
  • Stoke boss Tony Pulis is ready to shatter their transfer record with a £12million bid for Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones.
  • West Brom’s wantaway midfielder Borja Valero will complete a deal to Real Mallorca this week.
  • David Moyes will spark a late transfer window buying spree with Russian star Vladimir Bystrov at the top of his shopping list.
  • Harry Redknapp is ready to make a cut-price move for West Ham midfielder Scott Parker.
  • Dietmar Hamann has turned down Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Notts County and will instead move to Portsmouth.


  • Dean Ashton is set to announce his shock retirement from football.
  • Everton will ask the FA to investigate their claim that Manchester City made an illegal approach for Joleon Lescott.
  • Rafa Benitez has told Liverpool’s fans they can put their money on him staying at Anfield for the remaining five years of his contract.
  • Arsenal want William Gallas to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Portsmouth are ready to sell Niko Kranjcar if a club will meet their £8million asking price.
    The Spanish mastermind looks set to remain loyal to his Liverpool contract.

    The Spanish mastermind looks set to remain loyal to his Liverpool contract.


  • Everton are going to war with Manchester City after finally agreeing to sell Joleon Lescott for £24million.
  • Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is bidding to end once and for all the rumours that he is ready to walk out of Anfield.

  • Aguero Going Nowhere…for now.
    August 18, 2009, 7:48 PM
    Filed under: la liga, premier league | Tags: , ,

    Sergio Aguero has travelled to Greece with Atletico Madrid for their Champions League clash with Panathinaikos after the club rejected rumours he could be sold to Chelsea.

    Aguero has been linked with a move away from Atletico this summer, with a number of top European sides said to be interested.

    Chelsea are the latest to be mooted as suitors as manager Carlo Ancelotti reportedly looks to bolster his frontline with a star

    The son in-law to Diego Maradona is being courted by numerous clubs.

    The son in-law to Diego Maradona is being courted by numerous clubs.


    However, Argentina international Aguero’s likely involvement in Atletico’s clash with Panathinaikos looks set to quell rumours of a possible deal.

    Should Aguero play on Wednesday then he would become ineligible to feature for another side, including Chelsea, in the Champions League group stage this season.

    Atletico head coach Abel Resino said: “Aguero travelled with us (to Athens) to play and there is no chance of a sale.

    “This rubbishes all the rumours that have been in the newspapers.”

    Club president Enrique Cerezo added: “We have not received an offer from Chelsea.

    “This story happens each summer but our answer is always the same – Sergio will stay with us.”

    Analysis:  Obviously, every transfer season will most likely bring speculation from the Argentine.  He’s young, talented, and hungry for more.  He’s regarded as one of the most promising young bloods in the world, and any team would be lucky to have him.

    Result:  Aguero won’t go to Chelsea, ever.  It’s just not his type of club.  He’s a loyalist and to sign on at a club like Chelsea, City or Madrid wouldn’t fly in his world or his father in-laws (who seems to be whispering into his ear).  The world is that Maradona wants Aguero to join one of Mascherano or Messi as mentors.  He won’t move this summer, but I would bet my car he will move next summer.  Granted, I’m car-less.

    Barca Won’t Break Bank Over Cesc
    August 10, 2009, 6:18 AM
    Filed under: la liga | Tags: , , ,

    Barcelona sporting director Txiki Begiristain has admitted the club want to take Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas back to the Nou Camp, but will not pay over the odds.

    Barca have long been linked with their former youth player, and Begiristain identified him as one of the few players capable of improving a team that won a domestic and European treble last season.

    “It depends on how much we want to spend,” he said in Marca. “If we spend a lot of money, it is possible (to bid for Fabregas). We do not know how much it will be yet. We have not asked Arsenal.

    “If the amount is too high, we will not try.”

    The gifted Spaniard is currently enlisted in Arsene Wenger's regime.

    The gifted Spaniard is currently enlisted in Arsene Wenger's regime.

    Barcelona are feeling some pressure to spend from their fans following the spending spree of rivals Real Madrid, who have invested more than £220million on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso this summer.

    However, Begiristain does not intend to spend for spending’s sake.

    “We find it difficult to improve what we have and that is the reality,” he said.

    “Improving a team that has won a treble is difficult, and trying to improve dramatically can get you into trouble.

    “Any new player must be compatible with the plans of the coach. Here the views of Pep Guardiola are critical.”

    One possible target for Barca is Shakhtar Donetsk’s Dmytro Chygrynskiy, and Begiristain did not deny he was on the club’s radar.

    “I don’t want to dismiss any of the players we like and will help us improve,” he said. “There are several options.”

    Analysis:  Arsenal will fight tooth and nail to keep the Spaniard, but greener pastures abroad may eventually be their undoing.  Few players in the world will find it hard to turn their head away with Barcelona beckoning.  If Arsenal do lose their talismanic playmaker, Wenger will be hard pressed to find a replacement quickly enough to save his job.  Is Patrick Vieira an option? Possibly, but age is always going to be a factor, and as long as it is, he’ll be a liability for a long term career anywhere.  Either way, it’d be a bitter pill to lose Fabregas.

    Result:  Fabregas will stay in London this season, but if something goes awry or they turn up empty handed, expect the talented Spaniard move elsewhere – either domestic or abroad.

    Altidore En Route to Premier League
    August 5, 2009, 6:10 PM
    Filed under: la liga, premier league | Tags: , ,

    Jozy Altidore’s latest attempt to get established in Europe has taken him to Hull City of the English Premier League. The former New York Red Bulls striker completed his switch from Villarreal of Spain on Wednesday, pitching up in a city often named as the worst in Great Britain.

    The young American looks set for the KC Stadium after excitedly blogging his progress on Twitter.

    The young American looks set for the KC Stadium after excitedly blogging his progress on Twitter.

    Altidore was full of excitement about his transfer, tweeting about the possibility of taking on Chelsea in his opening game. However, the reality of life — not only in Hull but in the toughest league in the world — may soon kick in.

    Hull is among the favorites to be relegated from the EPL this season, having narrowly survived the dreaded drop last campaign. After an inspired start under head coach Phil Brown, the team was awful in the closing months of the season and does not look to be any more competitive this time around.

    Altidore may suffer from a lack of service and will need to keep a strong mentality to survive in the rough and tumble EPL. At least he should be guaranteed plenty of first-team action, which will please USA coach Bob Bradley with the World Cup less than a year away.

    Analysis:  This would be a great move by the young American, as he tries again to get his foot in the door in Europe.  A move to the Premier League could prove to be some of the best experience he could ask for. He’ll have to battle with Caleb Folan, Craig Fagan and Daniel Cousin for a starting spot, and, to be honest, he should be up to the task.  He’s a big, physical presence on the field, and he could find himself some decent playing time this year at Hull.  Supposedly, he had options for Everton and Fulham, but instead opted for the Tigers.  My only idea could be that maybe he wanted to go somewhere that could get him more playing time…because we all saw what happened at Villareal.

    Alonso On His Way to the Bernabeu
    August 4, 2009, 11:19 AM
    Filed under: la liga, premier league, Transfer | Tags: , ,

    Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso is poised to sign for Real Madrid after the clubs agreed a fee believed to be £30million for the Spain international.

    The end of a summer-long saga over the 27-year-old’s future ended when Liverpool issued a short statement effectively bringing to a close his spell on Merseyside.

    The statement read: “Liverpool Football Club this evening confirmed they had reached agreement for the sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, subject only to a medical. The terms of the deal will remain confidential and undisclosed.”

    But although Liverpool will not reveal the details of the deal, privately sources were maintaining that manager Rafael Benitez had got his own way over the fee.

    The Spain International looks set to complete his move, pending a medical

    The Spain International looks set to complete his move, pending a medical

    It is believed that Madrid made another attempt to end the deadlock with an offer of £30m that will rise to £34m depending on Alonso’s success over the first two years of what is believed to be a five-year contract.

    Alonso had trained with his Liverpool colleagues this afternoon at the club’s Melwood complex.

    But as the Liverpool party headed for John Lennon airport and a charter flight to Norway for Wednesday’s friendly with Lyn Oslo, Alonso was heading back to Spain.

    Real Madrid issued a statement of their own, confirming he will have a medical on Wednesday.

    Assuming all goes well, he will join his former Liverpool team-mates Alvaro Arbeloa – who moved to Real last week for £3.5million – and goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek at the Bernabeu.

    Alonso and Dudek were part of the famous night in Istanbul when Liverpool lifted the European Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over AC Milan.

    Now only Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher remain at the club from the 18 players on the team sheet in Istanbul that night.

    Alonso’s departure has been a long and painful experience for Liverpool fans, who had taken the Basque midfielder to their hearts.

    Benitez tried to sell him last summer in the complexities of his unsuccessful fight to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa.

    Alonso did not want to go then, and has always felt that he was being forced out of the club to finance the Barry deal.

    This summer it was Benitez who did not want to lose the player, who is believed to have told his manager on the final day of last season that he wanted to return to Spain.

    From that point on, Madrid waged a persistent war to sign the player as they assembled a new squad under president Florentino Perez.

    With the Alonso deal, Perez will have spent around £220m in two months on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Raul Albiol, Esteban Granero, Arbeloa, Alvaro Negredo and Karim Benzema.

    That haul is Madrid’s response to Barcelona’s historic treble of Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Cup.

    But although Perez did not consider Alonso to be a player who ‘will sell shirts’, the Spain international has been almost as difficult to prise away from his club as Ronaldo.

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

    Ibrahimovic Completes Barca Switch
    July 27, 2009, 11:32 AM
    Filed under: la liga, serie a | Tags: , , , ,

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic has completed his move to Barcelona after the European champions confirmed he had signed a five-year deal.

    A statement on Barcelona’s website revealed they had paid Inter Milan 46million euros for the Swedish striker, with Samuel Eto’o and Alexander Hleb also joining the Italian champions in the ‘swap’ deal.

    The Swede is set to join forces with the likes of Messi, Henry and Xavi.

    The Swede is set to join forces with the likes of Messi, Henry and Xavi.

    Ibrahimovic completed his medical on Monday – and while it showed he had a fractured left hand, a deal was struck which included an astronomical buy-out clause of 250million euros for the player.

    Analysis:  Well well well.  It finally happened.  And such is that, when a high profile name like Ibrahimovic moves to any club, fuss will be made.  And without missing a beat, he’s come out and said he couldn’t stand Serie A or Inter Milan.  Maybe some of Mourinho’s arrogance rubbed off on him during his tenure.  It will be very interesting to see how he fits in, chemically, with the rest of the team.  His attitude could be a problem when it seems like there aren’t many tiffs in at the Nou Camp.