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Friday, 19 December 2014

Southampton can’t afford Sneijder, admits manager Koeman

Southampton can’t afford Sneijder, admits manager Koeman
 Wesley Sneijder

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has played down recent links to Wesley Sneijder, admitting the club can’t afford the Dutch maestro.

The Saints were thought to have been preparing a January raid for the Galatasaray star, who is reportedly unhappy in Turkey.

Sneijder, 30, who has made 19 appearances this term and netted four goals, has the same agent as Koeman - with the Dutch stars both being represented by Guido Albers.

However, any move by Koeman to bring the talented playmaker to the south coast could be thwarted by the high-earning Dutch international’s wage demands.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Roberto Martinez's Everton side on Saturday, Koeman said: "I'm interested, but I know we can't pay him.

“There's nothing in it, and I know that because his agent is my agent.”


Petr Cech, Asmir Begovic and Mattia Perin are three goalkeepers Liverpool should go after in the January transfer window

Three goalkeepers the Reds should sign
Liverpool should try and sign Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech (Picture: PA Wire)
With the January transfer window approaching, Liverpool must make signing a new goalkeeper a priority.
Liverpool are in desperate need of a new goalkeeper, and this has become increasingly clear as the 2014/15 season has worn on.
This is something which manager Brendan Rodgers has seemingly recognised, as his recent dropping of his first choice Simon Mignolet for ‘an indefinite period,’ and the use of Brad Jones against both Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth has shown.
But who should the Reds pursue in the January transfer window?
Here are three goalkeeping targets Rodgers should consider in January.
Asmir Begovic (Stoke City)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13:  Asmir Begovic of Stoke City gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Stoke City at Selhurst Park on December 13, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovi (Picture: Getty Images)
It has been suggested that Liverpool’s primary target before signing Mignolet in 2013 was Stoke City stopper Begovic, and the club should now revisit this interest.
The Bosnian possesses the shot-stopping ability that likely drew Rodgers to Mignolet, but this is paired with a confidence and vocal authority that has been missing in the Liverpool goal since Pepe Reina’s exit.
Furthermore, at 27, Begovic is yet to reach his prime, and would represent a long-term solution at the back for Liverpool.
Petr Cech (Chelsea)
An elder statesman compared to Mignolet and Begovic, Chelsea’s former No.1 Cech would be the perfect immediate solution to the Reds’ goalkeeping woes.
With Mignolet’s compatriot Thibaut Courtois having supplanted the 32-year-old at Stamford Bridge, Cech will surely be considering his options as the January transfer window approaches. The Czech stopper was named in the PFA Team of the Year last season, but has made just two league appearances this term.
Confident, experienced and exceptionally agile, Cech would be a real statement signing by Rodgers, and a player Liverpool’s defence would respect.
Convincing Jose Mourinho to sell, however, is another matter entirely.
Mattia Perin (Genoa)
Genoa's goalkeeper Mattia Perin leaves the pitch after being shown a red card by referee Luca Banti during their Italian Serie A soccer match against AS Roma at Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa December 14, 2014. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Genoa’s goalkeeper Mattia Perin is a player the Reds should target (Picture: Reuters) 
If Liverpool to opt for a different approach entirely, a move for young Genoa’s Perin could be on the cards this January.
At just 22, Perin represents somewhat of a gamble for Rodgers, but could be one that pays off handsomely if the Italian continues his exciting development in a Liverpool shirt.
Already labelled the next Gianluigi Buffon, Perin has been impressing in Serie A with his shot-stopping ability and outstanding confidence.
Perin, along with the likes of FC Koln’s Timo Horn and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp, would represent a youthful risk by Rodgers, but one which could have David De Gea-style, long-term benefits.

Manchester United don't need Kevin Strootman or Mats Hummels, says Owen Hargeaves as the January transfer window nears

Kevin Strootman and Mats Hummels
Kevin Strootman and Mats Hummels, two players heavily linked with big-money moves to Manchester United, are not the type of players that are needed at Old Trafford according to their former midfielder Owen Hargreaves.

Despite a huge outlay over the summer that saw the arrivals of numerous high-profile names including Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, the club struggled at the start of the season and have looked particularly vulnerable at the back. The club are expected to back Louis van Gaal in the transfer market again, both next month and in the summer.

Whilst the club are on a run of six wins in a row, Hargreaves remains unconvinced by what he has seen in recent weeks and explained in an exclusive interview with The Independent that he feels those that the club have been linked with are not the answer.

Asked who Louis van Gaal should look to bring in, the former England international said: "I think they'll probably get another midfielder, it looks like they're trying to get Kevin Strootman. But that's not what they need. What they really need is a new Nemanja Vidic, a new Rio Ferdinand to compliment the others at the back.

"I don't think they need Mats Hummels, as good as a footballer as he is. I think he's one of the best passers at the back but I think they need a defender, one who can handle one-v-ones - like a Vincent Kompany. That's exactly what they need."

However, Hargreaves believes United will struggle to bring in the "physical, powerful defender" that is required at Old Trafford.

"All these teams want to sign centre-backs. But in my opinion they (modern defenders) try and play too much football - you think David Luiz and Mats Hummels. I just think United need a defender, an old school defender, like a Vidic or a Rio. They need a physical, powerful defender. Vincent Kompany is probably the only one in the world who combines the power that a centre-back needs with the little bit of flair and technique that not many have. They're a very rare breed, perhaps Thiago Silva and Mehdi Benatia - he's been brilliant since joining Bayern Munich. I think he would have been just the perfect addition to Manchester United's side."
Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels 
Hargreaves, who is a BT Sport football expert, continued: "They've got so many attacking players they can get exposed at times and they need someone who's going to be able to cope on his own. Hummels isn't the quickest player I've ever seen, if anything he's pretty slow, but he's a great football player and can initiate attacks from the back. But Hummels isn't what they need - they've got the likes of Michael Carrick and Daley Blind and they can give them the ball and they can control the game. The problem is there isn't many of them floating around."
Kevin Strootman
Manchester United take on Aston Villa this weekend at Villa Park, a ground at which they haven't lost since 1995. If they pick up three points they'll extend their winning run to seven matches and with it close the gap on league leaders Chelsea (who don't play until Monday night) to just five points. However, despite suggestions the title isn't out of reach emanating from Wayne Rooney and Phil Neville among others in recent weeks, Hargreaves doesn't expect them to push all the way despite recent results.

"I think they'll be happy with Champions League football because I think the other teams in and around are struggling considerably, I mean Arsenal, Liverpool. I think they'll finish third. I think Chelsea will win the league and Manchester City will push them close. United will finish third and Arsenal probably fourth.

"I think it's great that they're winning games, that's the most important thing. But you've got to be a little bit concerned, Van Gaal and the fans, that you're not really, your winning but not playing great. I think when you play great and you're winning like Chelsea then everyone's happy. But I think they realise that they haven't been at their best. Michael Carrick coming back in has been the big difference for them. He's so experienced, one of those guys you can rely on."
Owen Hargreaves


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Man City's Manuel Pellegrini eyes £64m Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd target Isco

MANCHESTER CITY boss Manuel Pellegrini is hoping to beat Arsenal, Liverpool and United to the signing of Real Madrid playmaker Isco.

Isco, Real Madrid
Manuel Pellegrini lines up move for Real Madrid ace Isco
Pellegrini previously worked with the Spaniard during his three years in charge of Malaga, with the pair beating the odds to finish fourth in the 2012/13 campaign and reaching the Champions League quarter finals the following season.
The Chilean tactician handed Isco his La Liga debut in his first term at the club and was rewarded with 19 goals and 11 assists during his stay.
The 22-year-old left to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 for £25m after Pellegrini's departure and has since been linked with a number of Premier League outfits.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been credited with an interest.
However, today's reports in Spain claim Pellegrini has now entered the race and is keen on orchestrating a reunion at the Etihad in January.
Recent reports have suggested the European champions are open to offers in the region of £64m, which could scupper City's chances due to tight Financial Fair Play restrictions.