Football Station


Out of the Starting Gates

With the first round of games knocked down in the English Premier League, football fans across the globe now have their feet wet in one of the most appetizing leagues in the world.

A handful of games could have been dismissed as early season anxiety, however, some were worth note.  Newly promoted Blackpool took Wigan to the cleaners for 4 goals, and sit second in the table under Chelsea and above Manchester United.  They may want to relish the position, because not many can claim they’ve held it for long.  The reigning champions demolished West Brom by 6 goals to nil, Liverpool (i.e. Pepe Reina) surrendered their lead to Arsenal in the 90th minute after being reduced to 10 men, Tottenham and Manchester City played out a goalless draw in London and Manchester United cruised to a sweet 3-0 over

Impressive was an understatement for the reigning champions against West Brom.

Newcastle.

With the initial nerves fading fast and reality setting in, teams must soon realize that if they don’t snap out of their summer funk soon, they’ll be looking at a long season (we’re looking at you Wigan).  Standout fixtures are mainly Liverpool v. Manchester City and Manchester United at Fulham.  That’s right.  United have lost their last three visits to the Cottage, and you wonder in the Londoners can keep up the streak.

Liverpool will be looking to overcome their last minute draw against Arsenal in a tough tie against Chelsea look-a-likes Manchester City at Eastlands.  Manchester have yet to prove their credentials in the Premier League,granted their first game was against Champions League newboys Tottenham at White Hart Lane.  Liverpool will be without Joe Cole and with Aquilani seemingly on his way, it looks like Gerrard will line up behind Torres, with maybe Mascherano/Lucas paired up with Poulson, who looked rather impressive against Trabzonspor.  City have a slew of players in their ranks and Mancini has his pick.  Balotelli may well start up alongside Tevez, and, if he does, I will seem more like a statement from Mancini rather than a genuine selection.  Yaya Toure is expected to start and he will provide a great matchup for Gerrard and whoever wins that battle, controls the ebb and flow of the game and could very well control the outcome of the match.

Typically, a Manchester United matchup against Fulham would yield a full three points for the former, however, on Fulham’s

Danny Murphy nets from the spot as Fulham beat Manchester United at Craven Cottage.

ground, the Red Devils have lost three consecutive matches.  Will the fact that Roy Hodgson has moved on to Liverpool make a difference for the tie?  Or is Craven Cottage simply kryptonite for United?  Fulham may be without Mark Schwarzer between the sticks but Hughes is hopeful of a return for the Aussie stopper.  Patrice Evra was a doubtful for a little while, but it looks like he’s shaken off the knock and will suit up against Fulham.  Wayne Rooney hasn’t scored for his club since…United played Fulham at Old Trafford last March.  Since then, the boys gone dry.  Other than those little snippits of information, there isn’t a lot to be said about the tie until the teams actually take the field.

Predictions – Being so early in the season, it’s hard to try and call the shots.  However, that’s exactly what I’m going to do…

Saturday

Arsenal 2 – 0 Blackpool

Birmingham 1 – 0 Blackburn

Everton 2 – 1 Wolves

Stoke City 1 – 3 Tottenham

West Brom 0 – 0 Sunderland

West Ham 1 – 0 Bolton

Wigan 0 – 3 Chelsea

Sunday

Fulham 1 – 1 Manchester United

Newcastle 1 – 2 Aston Villa

Monday

Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool

A lot of close games, and, obviously, a lot can depend on who the head men select for the starting XI.  Until next week, we’ll see who is the quickest out of the starting gates…

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Weekend Preview – Sunday – Gameweek 29

March 6th, 2010

EVERTON v. HULL CITY – Sunday, March 7th

After a shaky start to the season, the Toffees have turned things around and are steadily moving up the table.  Recently, they’ve toppled Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City and there aren’t many sides that would want to tackle this side at home, especially Hull City.  It’s hard to look past the fact that the Tigers are offensively challenged on the road, not to mention, winless.  The arrival of Donovan has proven to be a worthwhile investment while reports are circulating that he is pushing to make his move to Goodison Park permanent.  Regardless, the Toffees are looking strong at the moment, while Hull is looking very much like a dying animal.  They could be on their way out unless they find some form.  There’s only one way this game will end.

Everton 2 – 0 Hull City

LIVERPOOL v. WIGAN – Monday, March 8th

Wigan’s leaky defensive record on the road may be their downfall in this fixture against a Liverpool team who isslowly finding form and getting their stars back from injury.  Wigan are winless in their last nine matches and are going to need to park the bus in front of goal to be able to get any points from the Reds.  However, with Liverpool’s shaky form recently, that might just be enough to throw them off.  Expect Benitez to field his strongest team possible as any slip ups from here on out will be curtains on their Champions League aspirations.  And with Gerrard, Torres and possibly Johnson back, the Reds should be coming out firing on all cylinders.

Liverpool 3 – 1 Wigan

PORTSMOUTH v. BIRMINGHAM – Tuesday, March 9th

This is a crucial fixture for Pompey and Avram Grant’s men must find a way to get a win if they want to even think about EPL survival.  Hopefully for the cash-strapped side, they won’t have one eye on Wembley as retaining their top flight status should be top of their to-do list.  Unfortunately for them, Birmingham are having a very decent season and sit 8th with more away wins than Portsmouth have home wins.  Pompey have actually won three of their last four, one of which was against Birmingham in the FA Cup.  This fixture will be an exact replay of their game today (March 6th).  Pompey look to have the upper hand, but I think we’ll see a different game on Tuesday and Pompey will be even hungrier to emulate their recent victory over the Blues.

Portsmouth 1 – 3 Birmingham

SUNDERLAND v. BOLTON

Sunderland are winless in their last 14 matches.  Yes, 14.  They haven’t taken 3 points since November 21st against Arsenal.  That pretty much sums up their plight and the reason that they are now being dragged into the relegation dogfight.  Even with their seemingly sound squad, Sunderland are hopeless at the moment.  Steve Bruce had better churn out a result somehow or he could be tipped to be the next manager ousted.  Bolton have a hard time scoring on the road, and (other than today) haven’t scored in their travels in their last six matches.  Not many goals are scored at the Stadium of Light, and this match probably won’t be any different.

Sunderland 2 – 0 Bolton



The Battle for 4th

Even at Christmas, we knew that the last Champions League spot would be up for grabs.  With Liverpool, Man City, Aston Villa and Tottenham all vying for the coveted position, there is serious potential for a dramatic climax to the end of the season.  It’s tough to get all the information you want and need about these four teams, their fixtures, tendencies and key players.  So, naturally, we’ve decided to compile what we think is a comprehensive analysis of the fourth place spot and all the parties involved.  Starting from our current (As of March 4th) fourth place team, we have Tottenham.

TOTTENHAM – 49 Points

The Spurs have been one of the seasons high fliers and now have a realistic chance at grabbing the fourth place spot as well as the FA Cup.  Despite some setbacks in injuries to players like Modric and currently Lennon, they have just as much bite as ever.

Remaining Fixtures:  Blackburn (h), Stoke City (a), Portsmouth (h), Sunderland (a), Arsenal (h), Chelsea (h), Man United (a), Bolton (h), Burnley (a)

Obviously the tough patch will be the Arsenal, Chelsea, United games on back-to-back weekends.  They play their two most hated rivals on home turf and then finish up with a monumental game at United.  They have the potential to knick full points from Arsenal and maybe scrape a draw of Chelsea, but if they fail to win either of the those games, don’t count on them taking points at United.  At home, they are a stingy group at the back, and are tied with Fulham for second fewest goals conceded at home (9, Birmingham and Man United only 8).  However, with Arsenal having scored the most away goals in the EPL (28) and Chelsea in a close third (24), it will be interesting to see how Redknapp handles them defensively.

Key Men:  Jermain Defoe, Luka Modric, Michael Dawson

With Defoe continually getting on the scoresheet, the Spurs will always be an offensive threat.  Combine Defoe’s speed with Crouch’s aerial ability and Pavlyuchenko’s knack for knicking goals and you have a potent mix. Luka Modric faced a lengthy spell out with a broken bone in his leg, but is back at his best in the heart of the Spur’s midfield.  The Croat is a genuine playmaker and will be essential to Tottenham breaking down defensively sound teams like Manchester United and Chelsea.  Despite not getting consistent starts in the beginning of the season, Michael Dawson has been omnipresent in the latter half of the season and is one of the main reasons Spurs hold such a strong defensive record.

MANCHESTER CITY – 49 Points

Who ever said money can’t buy happiness?  Who ever said money can’t win you a Premier League Title?  Abramavich?  Probably not.  Money bags City have been at the forefront of a boatload of media attention and for good reason.  They are the face stomping, trash talking, manager sacking bad boys of the EPL at the moment, and there’s no wonder there is speculation as to whether Mr. Jose Mourinho may be tempted to ply his trade at Eastlands.

Remaining Fixtures:  Sunderland (a), Fulham (a), Everton (h), Wigan (h), Burnley (a), Birmingham (h), Manchester United (h), Arsenal (a)

Easily enough to predict, the end of the season could be a nail biter for the Blue’s faithful.  Though, Everton and Birmingham shouldn’t be a walk in the park either.  Granted, City remain the ONLY team in the EPL who are unbeaten at home and that speaks volumes about their defensive line.  What has hurt City the most this year has been all the draws they’ve accumulated. If you look back, they dropped points to mediocre teams when they were in the driver’s seat.  Looking towards those last two fixtures, City only lost to United by seconds at Old Trafford and could certainly provide a game for the Red Devils at Eastlands.  They’ve met again in Carling Cup action in which the United dumped them out in the second leg.  As for Arsenal, City has already ousted them once at home and once in the Carling Cup.  Granted, Wenger followed the typical play-your-reserves type scheme whereas Hughes went for the jugular and grabbed a 3 – 0 win.  However, I’ll expect a goalfest at the Emirates as City have allowed almost as many goals they’ve scored on their travels and Arsenal boast the second highest number of goals conceded at home (Also Man City – 14, after Everton, 17).  Oh yeah, they also have a game in hand.

Key Men:  Carlos Tevez

City actually does a considerable job spreading the wealth in terms of goal scoring, but Carlos Tevez leads the line with 15 goals, with Adebayor coming in second with 9.  The little Argentine has been in a battle of words with several of his former teammates across the way at Old Trafford, and from a neutral supporter’s perspective, you can only smirk.  Should Ferguson have kept him around?  Put it this way, would you rather see Berbatov or Tevez on your teamsheet?  I know where I’d put my vote.  Tevez is like a bulldog.  A small, Argentinian, smiley, bulldog.  If he and Adebayor weren’t so efficient in front of goal, City would be miles down the table as they have a fairly high number of goals allowed at home.  Should, for some reason, Tevez or Adebayor be stricken with sickness or injury, Blues fans had better start praying to somebody.  It’s no wonder Mancini wanted Tevez back from Argentina so badly…

LIVERPOOL – 48 Points

“What’s happened?” could be the headline of Liverpool’s season so far.  That applies to the season in general, the game against Portsmouth and Manchester City as well as their illustrious history.  Really though, what happened?  The Reds were tipped to be right up there in the title fight and now face an embarrassing season outside the Champions League.  But now, with their big guns returning to the show, we may still have yet to see the Reds fight.

Remaining Fixtures: Wigan (a), Portsmouth (h), Manchester United (a), Sunderland (h), Birmingham (a), Fulham (h), West Ham (h), Burnley (a), Chelsea (h), Hull (a)

The script hasn’t yet been written by Benitez’s men, but a lot of people have surely started a rough draft.  Their remaining games aren’t anything to smile about as they face an airtight Birmingham defense (at least at home), Manchester United at Old Trafford and then the London Blues at Anfield.  Remember that last year at about this same time, Liverpool ousted United at Old Trafford to keep the title fight still alive.  Reds fans across the country will be hoping for a similar result.  And, in possibly their season defining fixture, host the mighty Blues.  The only thing they could have going for them going into this game is that Chelsea may already have one hand around the title, but still be gunning in the Champions League.  That could cause Ancelotti to field a weakened side which could allow Liverpool to take points.  Liverpool are known for pulling out magic comebacks, but Benitez has hopefully saved his biggest trick yet to get into the last Champions League Spot.

Key Men:  Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt

Anybody who knows anything can tell you that Gerrard and Torres are the backbone of this Liverpool team.  When they are fit, Liverpool’s chances of success increase exponentially, and now that they are, the Reds have a realistic chance at getting 4th.  Now the question is: can they stay fit?  Dirk Kuyt has been a hero for the Kop in Torres’s absence, ensuring wins at Tottenham, Everton and Bolton at home.  The Dutchman has a knack for popping up at the right time to grab points and could be instrumental in the dogfights they are going to face in coming weeks.  That plus Gerrard’s ability to be a game changer and Torres’s goal scoring record (13 despite being injured for a few moths)  just might be enough to see them through.

ASTON VILLA – 45 Points

The Clarets have been contenders for a top four spot from the start of the season, beating Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United but dropping silly points to bad teams.  This season has been a fairly open one, and the difference between here and there has been slim.  Villa does have two games in hand which will come to immense in coming weeks as they look to break into the top four.

Remaining Fixtures: Stoke (a), Wigan (a), Wolves (h), Sunderland (h), Chelsea (a), Bolton (a), Everton (h), Portsmouth (a), Birmingham (h), Manchester City (a), Blackburn (h)

Unfortunately for Villa, they have to face Chelsea and City away from home.  The good news is that both defenses are prone to giving up goals at home, which could make for edgy, high-scoring affairs.  However, Chelsea’s home scoring has been free flowing and their goals for sits at 41 while their goals allowed is 12.  Aston Villa is quick, can break on the counter and has multiple angles that they can attack from which makes them dangerous in virtually any situation.  The big worry for the other contenders is Villa’s games played.  The Clarets still have two games in hand which, if they play it right, could essentially get them into fourth spot.  And by playing it right, I mean being stingy and hard nosed when it comes to playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.  Their result there will shape the end of their season, and, having already beat them once, Aston Villa are hungry for another “W”.  But it is hard to look past the fact that, recently, whenever faced with tough opposition they’ve drawn.  That list includes Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal, not to mention teams like West Ham.  Aston Villa must avoid silly draws like these if they want Champions League football next season.

Key Men: Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner, Richard Dunne

In Agbonlahor, Aston Villa has a young, talented striker of the ball who tears defenses up with his pace.  His goal count as of now is 11, but that’s likely to change with games at home against Portsmouth and Blackburn.  His pace and agility iscomplimented well by his strike partner John Carew.  The big Norwegian provides him with space that he creates through physicality and using his aerial ability to play Agbonlahor through.  James Milner is the lynchpin of the Aston Villa midfield, particularly the attacking aspect.  Petrov is key as well, but not in the way that Milner dissects defenses with his through balls to his forwards.  It certainly looks like City may have been somewhat rash in letting Richard Dunne go.  He is proving to be one of the most valuable defenders of the season as his defending style is physical and smart, not to mention he scores the occasional goal.

Verdict:  Whatever the outcome of this season, we are in for a treat.  Many of the crucial games for these four teams come along towards the end of the season.  Let’s not be cliché and say that the winner of the fourth spot will be the one who takes full points from the small teams.  With the way things have been going this season, it is a virtual certainty that there will be some “shock” upsets over more than one of these teams.  Now the question is, which one?

Villa must break their recent hesitancy with quality teams.  Tottenham won’t be able to pull the results they need to in order to pull it out.  Liverpool have two very tough fixtures in Manchester United away and Chelsea at Anfield, if they keep everybody healthy, they can do it.  Manchester City look likely to pull it out given their upcoming fixtures and the game in hand.



Transfer News – September 16th

Transfer News – September 16th, 2009

DAILY MIRROR:

  • Newcastle boss Chris Hughton wants to sign Fulham forward Diomansy Kamara and Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood on loan.
  • Hull could allow Caleb Folan and Daniel Cousin to join Middlesbrough and Newcastle respectively on loan.
  • Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is giving former Sunderland goalkeeper Jurgen Macho a chance to return to the Premier League.
  • Bolton have agreed a deal worth up to £1million with Wolves to sign defender Mark Connolly.
    The French-Senegalese hitman has been targeted by a number of clubs.

    The French-Senegalese hitman has been targeted by Newcastle

    DAILY STAR:

  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has blasted Manchester City manager Mark Hughes for trying to defend Emmanuel Adebayor.
  • Rafa Benitez says the Premier League has rushed through the introduction of a quota system for home-grown players too soon.
  • Former Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton has applied for the manager’s job at League Two side Rotherham.
  • Stoke defender Andrew Davies has rejected the chance to join Plymouth on loan.
  • Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell is ready to battle with Ipswich, Colchester and Barnsley to sign Danny Shittu from Bolton.DAILY MAIL:
  • It has emerged that Liverpool’s kit sponsorship with Standard Chartered is worth more than the £120million a year reported.
  • Liverpool chief Tom Hicks has hit out at the Arab owners of Manchester City and insisted that there £120million transfer spending spree is ‘unsustainable’.
  • Olympiakos have expressed interest in making Bryan Robson their new coach.
  • James Vaughan has been given approval by Everton to join a club, which could be Middlesbrough, on loan.

    The EPL's youngest goal scorer could be on his way out of Everton.

    The EPL's youngest goal scorer could be on his way out of Everton.

  • Former West Ham and Liverpool defender Julian Dicks has been appointed as manager of Grays Athletic.DAILY EXPRESS:
  • Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung wants Birmingham to spearhead a revolution in Chinese football, after formally lodging his takeover bid.
  • The Scottish FA yesterday kept faith in George Burley by backing him to continue as Scotland manager.THE SUN:
  • Newcastle are lining up a loan move for Fulham’s Diomansy Kamara to cover for Shola Ameobi.
  • West Ham are set to open an academy in Minna, Nigeria.
  • Carson Yeung’s Birmingham takeover is just six weeks away after his company made an £81million offer in cash.
  • New Portsmouth owner Sulaiman Al Fahim insists there will be money to spend in January even though Peter Storrie says the club remains short of funds.
  • Michel Platini’s plan to make the clubs live within their means was approved by UEFA yesterday.DAILY RECORD:
  • Alex McLeish has welcomed the decision to save Scotland manager George Burley’s job.


  • Transfer News – July 19th

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    July 19th, 2009

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    NEWS OF THE WORLD:


  • Rafa Benitez is ready to table a £20million offer for Ashley Young.
  • Peter Crouch is close to joining Tottenham in a £12million deal.

    Lescott is next up on Mark Hughes's wish list and valued at over £15m

    Lescott is next up on Mark Hughes's wish list and valued at over £15m

  • Chelsea are set to report Manchester City for “tapping up” John Terry.
  • Everton will demand £30million for defender Joleon Lescott.
  • Arsenal are poised to make a £10million offer for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh.
  • Mido claims he is owed image rights money by Middlesbrough.
  • Matthew Upson is to be handed the West Ham captaincy.
  • Former Newcastle striker Lomana LuaLua is tempted by a switch to Stoke.
  • Hull want to take Manchester City striker Benjani on a season-long loan.
  • Bolton are closing in on Hull contract rebel Sam Ricketts.
  • DAILY STAR SUNDAY
  • Everton have told Manchester City Joleon Lescott will cost £30million.
  • Tottenham are ready to join Sunderland and Fulham in the battle for Peter Crouch.
  • Jason Scotland has sealed his £2million switch to Wigan from Swansea.
  • West Ham’s hopes of keeping Lucas Neill look finally to have been dashed.
  • Nottingham Forest are set to sign Chris Gunter, Dexter Blackstock and Paul McKenna.
  • Matt Kilgallon is ready to snub interest from Birmingham and Burnley by pledging his future to Sheffield United.
  • Rob Hulse is a target for Middlesbrough.
  • Gary Megson is ready to hijack Portsmouth’s £2million move for Hull’s contract rebel Sam Ricketts.
  • Aston Villa are keeping tabs on Leicester young gun Andy King.
  • Norwich will sign Preston winger Simon Whaley this week in a £100,000 deal.
  • Barnsley are set to complete a £600,000 deal for Charlton striker Andy Gray.
  • THE PEOPLE:
  • The Valencia playmaker is on Rafa Benitez's hit list

    The Valencia playmaker is on Rafa Benitez's hit list

  • Chelsea are ready to report Manchester City to the Premier League for tapping up John Terry.
  • Having failed with an £18million offer for Ashley Young, Tottenham are ready to beat Aston Villa in the chase for Leeds’ Fabian Delph.
  • Arsenal are to launch a cut-price move for Obafemi Martins.
  • Chelsea will make one last attempt to sign David Villa this week.
  • Manchester United want £2million for right-back Richard Eckersley, who has joined Burnley.
  • Portsmouth hope to re-sign Benjani from Manchester City.
  • James McCarthy is swaying towards joining Wigan ahead of Wolves.
  • Rafa Benitez will rubber-stamp Xabi Alonso’s £32million move to Real Madrid, providing he gets all the money up front.
  • Everton hope to complete a £3million deal for Rasmus Elm on Sunday.
  • Blackburn are looking at Croatian striker Armando Mance.
  • Wolves are winning the chase for £2.5million-rated Nantes midfield star Guirane N’Daw.
  • West Brom will move for Derby’s Paul Green if Jonathan Greening leaves the club.
  • Middlesbrough are set to sign Charlton captain Nick Bailey in a £750,000 deal.
  • SUNDAY MIRROR:
  • John Terry’s relationship with Chelsea is at breaking point.
  • West Ham are set to offer Matthew Upson their captaincy in a bid to keep him at the club.
  • Sulaiman Al Fahim’s takeover of Portsmouth is under threat from a Premier League investigation.
  • THE MAIL ON SUNDAY:
  • Chelsea and Tottenham are ready to offer David Beckham a Premier League lifeline.
  • SUNDAY EXPRESS:
  • Liverpool are closing in on David Silva, increasing the likelihood of Xabi Alonso joining Real Madrid.
  • SUNDAY MAIL:
  • James McCarthy admits he is still agonising over whether to join Wigan or Wolves.
  • Falkirk could be set to sign Dutch goalkeeper Barry Dietwig.
  • Craig Levein has handed Portsmouth kid Joe Collins the chance to win a deal at Tannadice.
  • Rumours Pure, unadulterated rumours from around the internet.  Many claim to have inside connections, or themselves be connected with clubs.  Don’t believe it all, but if it makes you feel better…go ahead and believe it.

    • Hull City are in talks with “bad boy” Joey Barton of Newcastle
    • Xabi Alonso’s move from Liverpool to Real Madrid is set to be finalized this week.  The money from the sale will be put towards long-time transfer target David Silva…as well as Alberto Aquilani of Roma for £12m.
    • John Terry’s father is urging his son to follow through with a move to Manchester City due to his high wages.
    • Marouane Chamakh is certain to sign at Arsenal, but will not fit into the starting XI.
    • Martin O’Neill is ready to part ways with in-demand winger Ashley Young with several top clubs vying for his signature.
    • Aston Villa have agreed an £8m deal to sign Fabian Delph from Leeds United.
    • Part of Emmanuel Adebayor’s departure was due to the fact that he didn’t get on well with several other team members.  Despite the fact that the manager rated him very highly, Wenger didn’t want to disrupt the chemistry.


    Ferguson Finds Home In EPL
    July 17, 2009, 12:23 PM
    Filed under: premier league, Transfer | Tags: , ,

    – SportingLife

    Birmingham have signed Barry Ferguson from Rangers for £1.25million.

    The Scottish champions first accepted a bid from the Barclays Premier League outfit as Blues boss Alex McLeish stepped up his long-standing interest in the former Scotland captain.

    The Veteran Scotsman is now a done-and-dusted Birmingham player.

    The Veteran Scotsman is now a done-and-dusted Birmingham player.

    And the 31-year-old duly completed the move, signing a three-year contract to return to England for the first time since an injury-plagued spell at Blackburn.

    Ferguson’s time at Rangers soured last season when he was stripped of the captaincy following a breach of discipline while on international duty.

    He returned for the final three games of the season but his future remained in doubt. He joins compatriots McLeish, Garry O’Connor and James McFadden at St Andrews.

    McLeish managed Ferguson during his time with Scotland and Rangers and believes the midfielder still has much to offer.

    “For me, Barry is a midfielder at his peak,” he told the club’s website.

    “I don’t think 31 is too old for a central midfielder of great experience.

    “Players like Gordon Strachan and Gary McAllister continued playing into their late 30s and these were guys who were not afraid of the ball.

    “I think Barry can play on for a good few years yet.

    “He’s a guy that always turned up for work. By that I mean that his appearances over the years have always been fantastic.

    “Barry has got the culture of the true-grit Brit, who will go through brick walls to play football. He has a winning mentality, and that is proven by all the winners’ medals he has won.”

    McLeish told the Rangers website, http://www.rangers.co.uk: “Barry has played at a very high level for Rangers, in big games.

    “Maybe the Scottish league is not the strongest, certainly not anywhere near the Premier League, but he’s played a good level of games, in the Champions League, the Celtic fixture and cup finals.

    “I think he has got unfinished business in England.

    “He started with a bad injury at Blackburn, then fought his way back to fitness, and the reports I got at that time, before he came back to Rangers, was that he was playing extremely well.

    “But maybe he didn’t stay long enough for people to make a full assessment of him. So I think in that respect Barry will want to come down with something to prove.”

    McLeish added: “They have barely started pre-season training but again, from the reports I’ve had, he’s been up there in the fitness testing they have done. He’s always been a pretty fit guy.”

    Analysis:  Barry Ferguson, who was banned from International play ever again by Scotland, has penned a deal for Birmingham.  He’s a great acquisition for the Blues, as he is a veteran of football both domestic (spell at Blackburn) and abroad in Scotland.  He’ll bring composure and balance to the Blues midfield, and I think McLeish will be pleased with himself and his new signing.  He’s not a goal scorer but he’s a natural leader (even if he gets booted from International play).



    Transfer News – July 9th

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    July 9th, 2009 – Sporting Life

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    DAILY MIRROR

  • Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is weighing up a move for Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
  • Lionel Messi has urged Barcelona to sign Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano to retain their European crown.
  • Chelsea are ready to make John Terry the best-paid player at Stamford Bridge to fend off Manchester City.
  • Alisher Usmanov has cast doubt on Arsenal’s transfer policy.
  • Newcastle’s wannabe owners plan to put Alan Shearer and Gianluca Vialli together in a managerial dream team.

    Ibrahimovic could be leaving the San Siro this summer.

    Ibrahimovic could be leaving the San Siro this summer.

  • Martin O’Neill wants to take Stewart Downing to Aston Villa.
  • Mark Hughes wants to add Tugay to his Manchester City coaching staff.
  • Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is ready to swoop for Sunderland’s Kenwyne Jones – if Steve Bruce lands his own big-money targets.
  • Fulham are weighing up a £1million swoop for Leeds midfielder Neil Kilkenny.
  • Spurs have sold Didier Zokora to Sevilla to clear the way for Harry Redknapp’s summer recruitment drive.
  • Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is planning a swoop for Crystal Palace kid Victor Moses.
  • Carlo Ancelotti is ready to do Wolves manager Mick McCarthy a massive favour and loan him Michael Mancienne.
  • Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to send young defender Richard Eckersley out on loan to QPR.
  • Arsene Wenger is closing in on St Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
  • West Ham are poised to sign Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.
  • Everton boss David Moyes is eyeing Espanyol’s Spanish full-back Sergio Sanchez.
  • Burnley starlet Alex MacDonald is going on loan to Falkirk.THE SUN
  • Owner Roman Abramovich has been urged to do all he can to keep ‘Mr Chelsea’ John Terry.
  • Spurs are plotting a £3million bid for Sheffield United whizzkid Kyle Walker.
  • Sunderland will bid £2.5million for AWOL Middlesbrough star Mido.
  • Salif Diao and Andy Wilkinson have both sealed new deals with Stoke.
  • Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is slugging it out with Hamburg for Swedish scoring sensation Marcus Berg.
  • Southampton are in the hands of a German billionaire after being bought at the 19th attempt.
  • Didier Zokora quit Spurs in a £9million switch to Sevilla to protect his World Cup place.
  • Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce could hijack Sunderland’s bid to sign Darren Bent.
  • Phil Neville says he will miss playing against Cristiano Ronaldo, who insists Real Madrid have bought him for a snip at £80million.DAILY EXPRESS
  • Steven Gerrard yesterday signed a lucrative new contract at Liverpool that will keep him at the club for life.
  • New Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is ready to loan Michael Mancienne to Wolves for the season.
  • Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is sure Lee Bowyer can still make a big impact in the top flight.

    Liverpool Skipper will be hands off after reportedly signing another deal to keep him at Anfield for the rest of his career.

    Liverpool Skipper will be hands off after reportedly signing another deal to keep him at Anfield for the rest of his career.

  • Arsenal have warned Barcelona, Real Madrid and other clubs who covet Cesc Fabregas and the rest of their youngsters to stay away.DAILY MAIL
  • Adam Johnson is expected to join the exodus from Middlesbrough after emerging as a surprise target for Chelsea.
  • John Terry will hold informal talks with the Chelsea hierarchy today with his future still shrouded in uncertainty.
  • Liverpool fear they may be without first-choice left-back Fabio Aurelio for the rest of the year.DAILY STAR
  • Barcelona will sanction Samuel Eto’o’s move to Manchester City in order to raise the £40million needed to try and lure Cesc Fabregas.
  • Roberto Mancini yesterday held talks about becoming Portsmouth manager.
  • Chelsea last night told Inter Milan to show then the money for Deco and Ricardo Carvalho.DAILY RECORD
  • Hamilton are in talks with Burnley which should see Biran Easton sign on with the Premiership new-boys.