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Battle in Bloemfontein

 

 

 

 

 

ENGLAND – GERMANY

“THE BATTLE IN BLOEMFONTEIN”

Preview

June 27th, 2010

Bloemfontein, South Africa

Football fans are drooling over this historic tie, and for good reason.  Both teams appear packed to the brim with talent, have very capable managers and the expectations of their nations thrown heavily on their shoulders.  Individually, England are spectacular, as a unit, they lack connection.  Despite the fact that they started to look like a real team against Slovenia, that was Slovenia.  This is Germany.  The two are different.  Germany were a little bit of a grab bag in Group D as they romped Australia, lost to Serbia (who were beaten by Australia) and narrowly beat Ghana.  Calling a winner will be tough, as typically just the mention of either country’s name triggers a reaction in the football fan’s brain that they are favorites to win the match.

 

 

All business.

England – Almost more than any country in the world (save Brazil, maybe), England are expected to win the World Cup every time they enter it.  The UK is a nation obsessed with watching the Three Lions romp to victory, so it has been understandably tough for the country to sit by idly and watch their national team play a limp draw with the United States, an even limper draw with Algeria and finally find a little rhythm against Slovenia, but still nothing of what is expected of them.  Then again, the things that are expected of them are seemingly impossible.  Show me a “realistic” England fan and I’ll show you a liar.

Player for player, England might actually be better than Germany, but that is not the case, obviously.  It is almost impossible to predict which players will actually come to play for the Brits.  Wayne Rooney absolutely lit up the Premier League but can’t buy a goal in South Africa.  John Terry has offset the balance of the team with his well publicized scandal with Ms. Bridge and his outburst with Capello.  The question is: why doesn’t England win every game by 3 goals?  Maybe their egos?  Not enough chemistry?

Rooney can't believe his luck as he fails to find the target once more against Slovenia.

Starting from the front, England are gifted by all means.  Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Emile Heskey are all capable of making an impact in just about any game…funny thing is that none of them really have at the World Cup except Defoe who netted a lovely winner against Slovenia.  Wayne Rooney is paramount to this tie against Germany.  So much so, that we’re calling that if he doesn’t turn up tomorrow, England is out.

The midfield is jam packed with talent in Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and hopefully for purists out there Joe Cole.  Cole would be a lovely inclusion for the very defensively rigid Germans and his creativity would counteract that of Mesut Ozil’s, who is guaranteed to give England problems in the back.

Speaking of which, the back line for England is suspect.  John Terry has performed, but hasn’t been amazing, Jamie Carragher shows age, Glen Johnson can’t, well…defend, but Ashley Cole may be England’s top performer thus far in South Africa.  The ‘keeper situation is well known and David James will be aware that the Germans will test him early and often.

Keys for England are Rooney coming to play, Gerrard motivating, and no calamitous error from David “Calamity” James.

Germany – There is never a time that Germany enter the World Cup with expectations lower than an appearance in the final.

Doesn't like Capello's attitude.

Why should they?  They have a great squad every time they come to the World Cup.  Even without Michael Ballack, the Germans have one of the most surprising players filling the void with great skill.

In Group play, Germany sent a message to the world with their 4-0 thrashing of Australia.  They looked genuine contenders for the final and cut open the Australian back line like they were Hertha Berlin.  Mesut Ozil in particular looked impressive as he didn’t find the scoresheet but he had two assists and was the architect behind most of Germany’s moves.  After that display, however, the team crashed 1-0 to Serbia after Miroslav Klose was received a red card (twice yellow carded) for a cynical foul in midfield.  Germany had their chances, though, as Lucas Podolski had his spot kick saved.  But the Germans put that behind them and picked up 3 points over a good Ghana side from an even better Mesut Ozil goal.

Coming in to the game, the Germans will be looking to capitalize on the shakiness of England’s back four, goal keeper and overall play.  Despite the fact that the Brits started to look better against Slovenia, the Germans are more than able of tearing all their work to pieces.  How?  Glad you asked.

Bastian Schweinsteiger – The 25 year old midfielder has been a main stay in the German side as he was in the Bayern Munich side that forced their way into the Champions League Final.  He’s a box to box midfielder who has a great eye for the smart pass and an even better one for the creative one that so many players wish they had.  He can and has played all across the midfield, so don’t be surprised if he comes in on the wing or in the middle of the park.  He’ll put in a show either way.

Mesut Ozil – Despite being 21 years old, Ozil plays with the composure of Andrea Pirlo and the creative edge of a player like Joe Cole.  Those are BIG comparisons, I know, but Ozil is destined for greatness, and there is no doubt in the mind of most football pundits that he will be a force to be reckoned with.  Be sure to watch him against England (#8) as he will battle with Gareth Barry and Ozil’s opposite number Frank Lampard.  He has a great knack for finding the soft spots behind the midfield and in front of the defense, a space key for the kind of passes he makes to the strikers running behind the back line.  If Carragher starts for England, Ozil will take him to the cleaners.

Analysis – Both teams are talented, no question.  Both teams are well coached, I won’t disagree.  But one team has to walk away the victor tomorrow morning.  The key match up will be Mesut Ozil vs. Gareth Barry (the more defensive minded of the two central midfielders).  Watch for it.  Who will win it?

We think Ozil.  His pace and youth are the going to be the decisive factors in his overtaking of Barry, who is a good player but has been exposed by speed and trickery before.

Prediction – England 0 – 2 Germany

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England – Slovenia Preview

All will be left on the line tomorrow as every team in Group C battles for a place in the knockout round in South Africa.  With England taking on Slovenia and the United States playing Algeria in simultaneous games, there could well be fireworks by the games’ end.

England – Slovenia

Prior to the tournament England were runaway favorites to stomp their group.  With a massive abundance of talent, a superb manager and a nearly spotless qualifying run, the Three Lions were expected to do big things in Britain (that said, when aren’t they expected to do big things in Britain).  However, a drab team lacking ideas, an outburst from a former captain and a couple of suspensions are surely weighing heavily on the mind of every player and personnel in the England camp.

Two English fans sit dejected after the United States game. Irony? They're drinking American beer.

It was bad enough that they played their two games with little to no drive, and were desperately short of attacking menace, but now John Terry came out and declared that the team would sit down with the Italian and tell him, no holds barred, what they wanted the team to be…seriously?  The team is not a democracy.  The manager has the final say and holds the supreme authority, a point Capello was adamant to make.  John Terry’s “very, very big mistake” was almost an ominous statement from the manager, as he cooly told the press that there would be repercussions for what was said.  Terry has since apologized, and Capello must be satisfied…but that is hardly the end of his problems.

Terry was allegedly going to call for the inclusion of Joe Cole at said meeting, before none of his team mates backed him up.  But unfortunately for Capello, Terry may be right.  Joe Cole possesses great technical skill and contains the immeasurable quality of the “X” factor.  Joe Cole can make plays that other players simply cannot make.  He can beat a man (something seriously lacking right now for the Three Lions), he is creative and he can find a killer pass.  Question is: Will Capello swallow his pride and include J. Cole?  Probably not…

As they have demonstrated, the Slovenians are not to be taken lightly.  They have all the necessary attributes to make England’s last game a nightmare, should the Brits not come with their “A” game.  Milivoje Novakovic is a striker who can cause problems, especially for the rag-tag center back pairing that will likely be Matty Upson and John Terry.  Terry is probably mentally awry and Upson hasn’t been asked to perform on such a big stage.

Valter Birsa celebrates his stunning opener against the Yanks.

Robert Koren and Valter Birsa will make up the bulk of midfield, and, like Novakovic, won’t be push overs.  On paper, England’s midfield should wipe the floor with them, but if recent results have told us anything, England’s form tomorrow is in a grab bag.  Koren likes to pull the strings in midfield and Birsa is capable of changing the game if the stars align.

Most unfortunately for England, if they keep up their lackluster attacking play, they won’t find a way through the tough Slovenian defense.  Anchored by veteran keeper Samir Handanovic, the Slovenians play a water tight defense that the Americans were fortunate to make headway on.  The Britsh will need to fire on all cylinders to break into the game, however, if they can manage to score first, the Three Lion’s attitude will change entirely.  If they concede first…oh dear.

Prediction – The English may finally manage to squeeze a few goals out, but the back line will be suspect, as will David James. Wayne Rooney’s form will be paramount to their success.  If they can advance out of the group, a new English side will be seen.

England 1 – 1  Slovenia



Terry-bly Sorry
June 22, 2010, 6:59 AM
Filed under: World Cup | Tags: , , ,

Former England Captain John Terry has come out and apologized to Fabio Capello for his outburst regarding England’s form, player inclusion and having a formal sit down with the manager.

The Chelsea captain got put in his place without a second thought from England manager, Fabio Capello.

If one thing was made clear, it’s that Capello is not to be trifled with.  He has exercised his authority without a second thought since the beginning of his tenure, and left the players with no doubt in their minds that his word is final and not to be questioned.

There are suggestions that Terry is used to life at Stamford Bridge, where the players seemingly have a much larger say in managerial matters (ie Avram Grant, Luis Felipe Scolari…etc).  However, as he found out, this is clearly not the case.

Not only did he come out and issue the statement, but he was backed up by zero of his teammates, none.

Now, England goes into its crunch time, all-or-nothing game against Slovenia tomorrow with this in the back of their minds.  However, it shouldn’t play too heavy a hand in the matter, as Capello handled the situation with easy and authority.



Terry Happy to Be Blue
July 26, 2009, 9:06 AM
Filed under: premier league | Tags: , ,

Chelsea captain John Terry has confirmed he is “totally committed” to the Stamford Bridge side.

The England skipper, 28, has responded to persistent reports linking him with a big money move to Manchester City by releasing a statement in which he insists he has never contemplated leaving Chelsea.

The statement said: “There has been a lot of speculation recently about my future and I want to clear this up once and for all.

“I am totally committed to Chelsea and always have been.

Terry admits he's been with Chelsea the whole time.

Terry admits he's been with Chelsea the whole time.

“Chelsea have also made it clear to me consistently that there was never any intention to accept any kind of offer.”

Terry admitted to having a high regard for City boss Mark Hughes but decided to make public his determination to stay with Chelsea after “numerous discussions” with owner Roman Abramovich convinced him that the Russian’s ambitions matched his own.

The defender, who has only ever played for Chelsea, wanted to be assured that he and other key personnel would be secured.

Terry has also said he was impressed by Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment as manager.

The statement continued: “When you are linked with any club or with a manager who I have huge respect for, it will always make headlines but me leaving Chelsea was never a possibility.

“I know there has been comment that I should have made a statement earlier.

“However, throughout this period there have been numerous discussions between myself, the owner and the Chelsea board and we all agreed that the timing of any statement would suit everyone involved in those talks, not any outside influences or agendas.

“What is clear to me following those discussions is that Chelsea’s ambition remains as high as ever.

“This has been further proved by the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti. I am certain that he will take this club on to the next level.

“Another important factor was knowing that Chelsea would be securing key current players for the long term. The strengthening of the squad around this core is crucial to pushing us on to greater success.

“I am as committed as ever to helping drive Chelsea forward and I will be proud to lead the team as long as I can.”

Analysis:  Great news if you’re a Chelsea fan, as their talisman looks set to stay on at the Bridge.  He says he’s been with Chelsea the entire time, but I certainly think he would have come out and said something sooner had this really been the case.  He was tempted by the money, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to admit it to the press.  The last thing they want to do is admit that City had a foot in the door with their money.  Regardless, he’s at the Bridge and he will be for some time.  Blues fans, rejoice.



Transfer News July 23rd

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July 23rd, 2009

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MIRROR

  • Xabi Alonso has raised the stakes in his tense battle of wills with Rafa Benitez over his move to Real Madrid.
  • John Terry has told his team-mates he will stay at Chelsea.
  • Eidur Gudjohnsen admits he s thinking over a move to West Ham and the chance to work with Zola again.
  • Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is ready to move in on Aston Villa’s bid for Pompey defender Sylvain Distin.
  • Burnley boss Owen Coyle wants to sign Ecuadorian winger Fernando Guerrero after his sensational debut on their American tour.
  • Portsmouth have made a £2million offer for Hull defender Sam Ricketts.
  • Phil Brown aims to end his frustrations in the transfer market with a £7million deal for Cardiff’s Joe Ledley and Ross McCormack.
  • Preston boss Alan Irvine is in talks with Didi Hamann about a shock move to the Championship after he was freed by Manchester City.
  • THE SUN
  • John Terry will be staying at Chelsea.
  • Jamie Carragher has led the call for Liverpool to keep Real Madrid target Xabi Alonso.

    David Villa - still linked with a move abroad to England now that his moves to Spain seem to have fallen through

    David Villa - still linked with a move abroad to England now that his moves to Spain seem to have fallen through

  • Manchester United have denied any transfer funds are being kept from Alex Ferguson.
  • Steve Bruce wants to seal a £10million deal for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh.
  • Phil Brown will test Cardiff’s determination to hang on to Joe Ledley by tabling a £5million bis.
  • Tony Pulis is poised to make Dean Whitehead his first summer signing at Stoke.
  • DAILY STAR:
  • Diego Maradona is being lined up by Portsmouth for a sensational move to the Premier League.
  • Chelsea expect John Terry to make a public announcement that he is staying at the club by the end of the week.
  • Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh was last night on the verge of joining Sunderland.
  • Hull manager Phil Brown will test Cardiff’s resolve with a £5million bid for Joe Ledley.
  • DAILY EXPRESS:
  • AC Milan are poised to make a shock £10million bid for Nicklas Bendtner.
  • Sunderland are in pole position to sign Marouane Chamakh.
  • Sunderland have also made a new move to sign Spurs striker Darren Bent.
  • Burnely have reignited their attempts to sign Norwich midfielder Darel Russell.
  • Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, have denied claims they have bocked Sir Alex Ferguson from spending the rest of the £8om kitty from Cristiano Ronaldo’s sale.
  • DAILY MAIL:
  • Manchester City will make a sensational last-gasp bid to sign John Terry by offering the Chelsea captain £1m a month in wages.
  • Darren Bent’s move to Sunderland looked back on last night.
  • Rafael Benitez is facing a crucial stage in his tenure as Liverpool manager as he fends off renewed interest in his disgruntled midfielders Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano.
  • Blackburn defender Keith Andrews is a target for Fulham.
  • Aston Villa will return with an improved £3m offer for 31-year-old Sylvain Distin.
    Bendtner - a surprise target for AC Milan

    Bendtner - a surprise target for AC Milan

    DAILY RECORD:

  • Macedonian striker Ilco Naumoski has asked Hearts to improve their offer and bring him to the SPL.
  • Rumours -Pure, unadulterated rumours.  No facts.  Just rumours.

    • Manchester United and Liverpool are both teeing up large bids for David Villa, but are both wary that should the Spaniard choose the rival club, it would spell humiliation for the other.
    • If Arsenal want Klaas Jan-Huntelaar, Real Madrid are asking to have first option on Cesc Fabregas when he chooses to leave the Emirates in the future.
    • Luis Fabiano and fellow Brazilian and former Ballon D’or winner Ronaldinho are on their way to Stamford Bridge.
    • Tottenham have secured the services on Aston Villa’s Ashley Young.
    • Michael Essien is preparing his move to Manchester United
    • Jermain Defoe will move to Sunderland with Keiron Richardson moving in the opposite direction.


    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.


    Transfer News – July 13th

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    July 13th, 2009

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    -Sporting Life

    DAILY MIRROR

  • Chelsea will hold intensive talks with John Terry today as they seriously fear he is on his way out.
  • Gianfranco Zola insists Lucas Neill would be welcomed back at West Ham with open arms.
  • Real Madrid have made a cheeky new move for Liverpool star Xabi Alonso – offering less than they did before.
  • Chelsea target Adam Johnson has been told there is “no way” he is leaving Middlesbrough this summer.
  • Portsmouth are ready to make Paul Hart their new manager.

    The former Arsenal man is a shock contender for the managerial position at Sunderland

    The former Arsenal man is a shock contender for the managerial position at Sunderland

  • Liverpool midfielder Damien Plessis is wanted on loan by Cardiff.
  • Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies has made a £1.6million bid for Coventry defender Danny Fox.
  • Tottenham want to sign Sheffield United right-back Kyle Walker – but leave him in the Championship for a year.
  • Tottenham’s Adel Taarabt is wanted on loan by Malaga.
  • Tony Adams is a surprise contender for the Southampton job.
  • THE SUN

  • Premier League clubs have been told Arthur Boruc is not for sale.
  • Gianfranco Zola says Lucas Neill has a future at West Ham.
  • Steve Bruce’s hopes of signing Manchester City defender Richard Dunne is fading.
  • Real Madrid still want to sign Xabi Alonso from Liverpool.
  • Jimmy Bullard has told Hull fans he will not be fit again until October.
  • Tony Adams is a shock contender to become the new Sunderland boss.
  • David Beckham has torn into LA Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan for slating him publicly.
  • Carlo Ancelotti believes his reputation as a ferocious midfielder with two European Cup winner’s medals will earn him the respect of his Chelsea players.
  • DAILY MAIL

  • Wigan have rejected an improved £6million offer from Sunderland for Lee Cattermole.
  • Stewart Downing looks destined to join Aston Villa this week in a £12million deal.
  • Wolves are ready to rival Bolton in a bid to sign Aston Villa’s Zat Knight.
  • Portsmouth are interested in signing Tottenham misfit Pascal Chimbonda for £2.5million.
  • West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has confirmed his interest in Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.
  • Carlos Tevez will fly back from holiday today to complete a £25million move to Manchester City and disappoint Chelsea.
  • Chelsea have made it clear to John Terry they will not pay him extra wages to ward off interest from Manchester City.
  • DAILY EXPRESS

  • Real Madrid’s bid to sign Xabi Alonso from Liverpool will not be plain sailing but they are still hoping to land him.
  • Roman Abramovich will have last-ditch talks with John Terry today to try and persuade him not to quit Chelsea
  • DAILY STAR

  • Former Sunderland shareholder Charlie Chawke is putting together a syndicate to bid for Newcastle United.
  • Former Chelsea boss Big Phil Scolari has slammed the player power at Stamford Bridge.
  • Bolton’s long pursuit of Paul Robinson is finally at an end after the club completed the loan signing of the West Brom defender.
    The young Brazilian tipped as the "next Ronaldinho" is in talks with Manchester United.

    The young Brazilian tipped as the "next Ronaldinho" is in talks with Manchester United.

    THE GUARDIAN

  • Manchester United have re-established formal contact with the Brazilian club Gremio to reach a compromise over a fee for Douglas Costa, the talented 18-year-old who has been hailed as the new Ronaldinho in his country.
  • THE INDEPENDENT

  • Roman Abramovich told John Terry that he will not be allowed to leave Chelsea and the club will not match the extraordinary £280,000-a-week offer from Manchester City in a tense meeting between the pair on Saturday evening
  • DAILY TELEGRAPH

  • Frank Arnesen was yesterday appointed sporting director at Chelsea and one of his first duties could be to persuade Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Inter Milan striker, to come to Stamford Bridge.
  • DAILY RECORD

  • Neil McCann is set to receive legal advice with his Falkirk career looking to be coming to an end.