Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mario Balotelli Offered a Loan Move to Roma for Upcoming Season

Manchester City haven't been as active on the transfer market this year in comparison to previous years. But out of the few signings City made the biggest of all was Sergio Aguero—another striker. And as things would stand it could pave the way for the exit of Mario Balotelli after just one season with the club.

After signing from Inter Milan, Balotelli hasn't had the greatest of impacts at City. He made 17 league appearances for City, scoring six goals in the process. In that short stint he also received a red card for violent conduct, resulting in a few missed games.

His attitude always proved to be a problem both on and off the pitch. During his time at Inter, Balotelli had numerous falling outs with players, fans and even coaches.

Altercations—sometimes physical—with fans had him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. More recently it was his attitude on the pitch which caused an uproar. The famous attempt at a back heel backfired and saw Balotelli subbed by Roberto Mancini in the first half in a preseason match with the LA Galaxy.

An argument took place on the sideline as Balotelli tried to justify, what could only be described as, disrespectful play towards the opposition.

However, according to Balotelli could be on his way out of Manchester, and back to the league where he made his name. The player has reportedly been offered to Roma on a loan deal.
The deal would see Balotelli link up with the likes of Bojan, to form a new—and young—attacking line in Rome. With Vucinic's move to Juventus imminent it would seem that Balotelli to Roma looks feasible.
The year long deal would give "Super Mario" some extra playing time with Aguero, Dzeko and possibly now Tevez all fighting for the front two roles at City.
Hopefully Balotelli can get back on track.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Barcelona Told to Leave the National Mall Ahead of Their Clash with Manchester

According to the Washington Post FC Barcelona have been told to leave the National Mall by a U.S. Park Police Officer.

Ahead of their much anticipated pre-season clash with Manchester United, Barcelona were looking to knock the ball around in a more serene part of the US. The Spanish league champions decided to set up shop on the National Mall (situated just outside the Whitehouse). General park dwellers were astonished at the fact that one of the greatest football teams in the world had stopped right next to them, understandably fans flocked to the Barcelona players and staff. They were met with players willing to sign autographs and have a chat. With the players relaxed, Barcelona looked to be in good shape.

However, shortly after they began signing autographs and talking with fans, it was all cut short. A U.S. Park Police Officer approached the group and asked “Who is the leader of this group?”, a short discussion established that Barcelona were indeed not allowed to train on the National Mall. As a result the group, had to be dispersed. Barcelona returned to their buses to look for an alternate park to enjoy a relaxed session - much to the despair of their fans.

In an interview with Spanish media following the incident, midfield master Xavi said “Security said you could not have a group of more than 10 or 15 there,” going on to say “We wanted to loosen up a little, stretch. . . . Given that the White House was near so it was normal security, nothing more.”
Barcelona will face Manchester United in the final of the World Football Challenge.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Into Row Z - Liverpool’s Midfield Problem

 Liverpool’s opening transfer of the summer took everyone a little by surprise, taking Sunderland’s rising star Jordon Henderson away from the Stadium of Light. The second player to join the Reds was anything but a surprise, with the seven month chase of Charlie Adam finally resulting with the Scot signing a 4 year deal with the Reds. Both Henderson and Adam go into pre-season training with Liverpool on the backs of two fantastic seasons, but no matter their quality, adding two new central midfielders to a squad so clearly lacking in depth in other areas is going to be seen as a strange move.         

Speaking to many Liverpool fans over the past few months, the number one thing that they consider the team to lack is width. The arrival of Stewart Downing will go a long way to rectify this, but the team is still in desperate need of an opposite player to go on the right – a true winger – not a forward or midfielder forced to play out of position. Equally, if Liverpool want to catch the teams above them in the league, they need some way to replicate the attacking fullbacks that are becoming so important in recent seasons, and a left-back has to be a priority buy.     

So why was the first £47 million of Liverpool’s summer cash spent on an area which looks saturated already? Let’s take a look at who the Liverpool squad contains, and who is likely to make-it or break-it this season.  

It’s been a while since we saw Steven Gerrard smash a goal in from 30 yards out, and while his influence on the pitch has certainly diminished, his inspiration and leadership remain intact. He is, and will be for several more years, the heartbeat of this team, and when he’s fit will be first first name on the team-sheet. Perhaps second, but only behind Pepe Reina.

But here is where the certainty ends. With a combined total of £78 million spent on Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in January, we can predict that Kenny Dalglish sees these two playing the majority of matches together. Assuming (fairly confidently) that Liverpool play with four at the back, this leaves just another four spaces in midfield, three when you place Gerrard into his preferred central role. Add to that the £20 million acquisition of Stewart Downing to run down the left wing, the spaces may be limited to two. For a team which currently houses Adam, Henderson, Lucas, Meireles, Aquilani, Shelvey, Spearing, Poulsen, Joe Cole and Maxi Rodriguez, the problem of keeping a steady and reliable team becomes apparent. 

Charlie Adam can feel more confident than the others of a starting position. With set-plays contributing to some 30% of all goals scored in the Premier League last season, his left foot will likely see him starting a high number of games, especially while Fabio Aurelio remains perennially injured.        

Lucas is another who is unlikely to miss too many games. Winning Liverpool’s Player of The Year by a massive margin, Lucas achieved some 172 successful tackles last season, more than any other player in the league. As well as this he completed over 300 passes more than any of his team-mates. Lucas is completely unspectacular in what he does, but he does the job that needs to be done extremely well, and the Liverpool midfield would miss him far more than they realise were he to be replaced by someone with a little more flair.    

Meireles enjoyed a decent first season at Liverpool, but there’s already talk of him leaving, and this is simply because he is too good not to start thirty or forty games a season.  It would be through no fault of his own if his Anfield career was limited to just a year, but he suffers greatly from the fact that his best position is the same attacking midfield position as Gerrard and Aquilani. Aquilani had a successful loan spell at Juventus and looks to have shaken off his injury problems which caused his season in a Liverpool shirt unfairly labelled as a “flop”. So far in pre-season he has continued his Italian form with Liverpool. Against a Malaysia XI, there were times when Aquilani looked visibly angry at the lack of performance by his team-mates, and in the 45 minutes he played, he single-handedly dragged a lacklustre team and pushed them forward into one that scored 6 goals. Aquilani himself was instrumental in 3 of the 5 goals he was on the pitch for.        

Along with Downing, this probably sums up the men that are realistically fighting for a genuine chance of starting the majority of the games. It’s hard to imagine that both Aquilani and Meireles will both be at the club next season, and perhaps what will be most interesting is who will play opposite Downing on the right wing – a position which has been given to Dirk Kuyt in recent seasons. However, now with the wealth of talent the Liverpool Midfield possesses, it’s highly likely that Kuyt will be pushed back into being a striker, swapping in and out with Carroll and Suarez. Henderson has played on the right before for Sunderland, but Liverpool have already stated that he is “one for the future”, and it’s doubtful whether he’ll start too many games in his first season – another suggestion that Liverpool could well buy a right winger.  After this, there are a number of fringe players to consider. Jovanovic looks to be close to a move away from Anfield, while Joe Cole has been promised he still has a future at the club. And we can say what we want about Poulsen’s performances at Anfield so far (and they have been poor at best), but he remains the only rough, combative midfielder that Liverpool have, and so continues to offer something different to those around him.    
What is certain however, is that this collection of similarly positioned players cannot be good for the youngsters in the squad. The emergence of Jay Spearing as a real first-team player last season will surely come to an abrupt end if there aren’t a couple of departures elsewhere – a shame as he is a real favourite among the crowd. Similarly Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Cole and Maxi Rodriguez are going to struggle for game time, and it will almost certainly mean the end of Anfield careers for the players even further on the fringe such as young Dani Pacheco.

It’s close to impossible to predict just how Liverpool plan to cope with this problem, but a lot of it is down to other clubs. Fiorentina continue their interest in Aquilani, while Meireles has certainly gained some fans in Milan. There’s no guarantee of either leaving, but it’s likely as least one will.
It is certain that while Andy Carroll is on the pitch, Liverpool need wide men to feed him, meaning that Downing is likely to get a lot of regular game time. After this, the rest could be down to form. With many of the fringe players desperate to have one final chance to prove themselves at a big club, it’s possible that a few may wait until January before making a final decision, and Liverpool could find themselves with a very large squad at the beginning of this season.

By David Astley

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hulk Will Not Be Sold, as an €80 Million Bid Gets Rejected by Porto

According to a report FC Porto have rejected an €80 Million Bid for striker Hulk. The Brazilian powerhouse really proved himself on the world stage in both Portugal and in the Champions League. As is always the case with performers such as Hulk, the big clubs come calling and in this situation Chelsea and Manchester City look to be hot on his heels.

Hulk's agent Teodoro Fonseca told the Portugese newspaper (Record) "I would be lying if I said there hadn't been offers for the signing of Hulk. I believe the highest was for €80 million, but FC Porto didn't even want to negotiate."

According to ESPNStar, when asked about which club had made a bid for Hulk, Fonesca went on to say that "I cannot reveal that. But it is not hard to see because there are only three or four clubs who are able to present those kind of numbers for a player." With reference to the four clubs the report suggests that AC Milan were also in the market for Hulk.

With Villas-Boas leaving Porto to coach Chelsea, one could assume that Chelsea was most likely the club that bid for the star man. Nevertheless, there is no news or hints from the Chelsea camp with regards to a bid being tabled for Hulk. Any club that is more than desperate to secure the services of Hulk to the upcoming season, can guarantee a release of the player if they bid in excess of €100 million.
Whether Hulk is worth the €80 million let alone €100 million is questionable. However if he is able to produce the 36 goals and 21 assists for the club of his destination, he may just prove to pay for himself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Charles N'Zogbia Close To Signing for Aston Villa from Wigan

According to ESPN, Wigan has agreed to sell Charles N'Zogbia to Aston Villa for £9.5 million (€10.79 million). The move is close to completion.

A previous bid of £9 million was turned down by Wigan.

After a lacklustre season in 2010/2011 Aston Villa were looking to add some fire power upfront. The signing of Darren Bent was a great acquisition at the halfway mark of last campaign, and now the addition of N'Zogbia will make Villa a real force to be reckoned with as they attempt to climb into Europe.

According to a July 14 Daily Mail report, Aston Villa may also look to acquire Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Over the past few years, Aston Villa have seen their squad change dramatically. With star players such as James Milner, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young leaving the side in recent times, Villa have had some shoes to fill. N'Zogbia has shown his club in the Premier League playing for club side Wigan Athletic. The French international is a real creative spark up front and could prove key in developing a link-up between the midfield and Darren Bent.

Athletic had shown that they are capable of EPL football, finishing off the season last year on a high. With N'Zogbia being the key spark behind that resurgence, do not be surprised to see this bid rejected.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carbon Tax 1 - Football 0

By Paul Frederickson

Carbon tax versus football, an enthralling game it would seem, but the pundits believe that carbon tax will win on penalties if not in extra-time. How will carbon tax effect Australian football? The absolutes are as yet unknown but we will explore the effects in brief.

The Australian Parliamentary library describes Carbon Tax as;

"A tax on energy sources which emit carbon dioxide. It is a pollution tax, which some economists favour because they tax a 'bad' rather than a 'good' (such as income)." (1)

Furthermore The Australian Parliamentary library suggests;

"By placing a cost on these negative externalities the underlying purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thereby slow global warming. It can be implemented by taxing the burning of fossil fuels—coal, petroleum products such as petrol and aviation fuel, and natural gas—in proportion to their carbon content." (1)

Thus, by taxing the highest polluters in Australia the Federal Government hopes that they will change their practices to produce cleaner production methods and technologies. Admirable, yes, but it would be naive to think that these high polluters will not pass these costs unto us, as Matthew Charles reports.

"The most prominent of these will be if households take into consideration higher levels for prices," HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said, noting that higher wage expectations and higher inflation would be the result. (2)

The Australian Newspaper stated that the, "Minerals Council chief Mitch Hooke said the climate plan would, "take a baseball bat to the Australian economy" (3)

Who will pay for the carbon tax? Big business will most certainly pass the cost onto the consumer. As this is a football column let us have a look at some of the cost factors:

  • The travel costs for teams and supporters will increase. Increasing the overall running costs of the clubs and travel costs for traveling supporters.
  • Travel on public transport and via personal transport may increase
  • Equipment and supporter wear may increase in price.
  • Food and beverage costs may also increase.
  • Decrease in consumer's disposable income.

Will this also effect when games are played?

  • The rising cost of electricity may lead to more games being played in the day.
  • Ground rationalisation between clubs may come into affect, changing how and when games can be played.
  • Broadcasters may also pay less for future television deals.

Further questions may be asked about what will happen if we don't do something about pollution by our biggest polluters?

  • We allow big businesses to pollute as they always have without implications.
  • By allowing companies to pollute in these ways new, cleaner forms of production by the big companies are not explored.

I am not saying that a carbon tax is the perfect way to solve the polluting issues but we may not have an environment where it is safe to play or watch football if we take no action at all.

What do you think?

(1) Parliament of Australia, Parliamentary Library, Carbon Taxes, accessed on July 12, 2011 from;

(2) Matthew Charles, Herald Sun, July 12, 2011, Carbon Tax may trigger rates rise.

(3) The Australian, July 11, 2011, The Prime Minister begins to sell the carbon tax to Australia.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Army Years

Thanks to Ray.

Cheers to Tezm from Hulme.

Alexis Sanchez's Move to Barcelona Is a Career Killer and a Waste of Money!

Being an avid watcher of the Serie A in past years, there was no doubt that Alexis Sanchez had the talent to go on to bigger and better things. It wasn't until the World Cup in 2010 that saw him propel onto the world stage. With this instant fame came comparisons with Ronaldo, expectations that he would be one of the greats and most importantly a whole host of clubs suddenly interested in signing Sanchez.

His season with Udinese in 2010/2011 was quite impressive, scoring a number of goals and bagging a number of assists. Udinese even went so far as to be eligible for Champions League qualification, something they had not achieved in a while. With everything looking good for Sanchez, Barcelona came calling, and today secured the Chilean's services. It is this move that I think will see him not reach his potential as a footballer, rather will see him demoted to the bench and eventually offloaded to another club.

Why do I say this?

Well, Sanchez is a winger, but so is Pedro, Affellay, Iniesta and of course Messi. Indeed Barcelona are spoiled for choice, but by no means do any of these players deserve to play on the bench. Obviously they all can't be played at any one time and depending on the formation employed by Pep only two could possibly play at a time - possibly three.

Along with this Sanchez will most likely play out of position for Barca, further adding to the task at hand - that is, to prove himself at the Nou Camp. Unless Guardiola changes the formation, the current role he plays at Udinese doesn't exist.

At just 22 Sanchez is far from being the oldest player at Barcelona, although in comparison to others around his age at the club, he is vastly inexperienced. He has never played in the La Liga, nor the Champions League. Also take into account that the season will be vastly longer than he is used to and we could see him struggle towards the end of the 2011/2012 season.

Now it wouldn't be fair to say that Sanchez will not work at Barca without proposing he go somewhere else. Actually the answer to that question is quite simple. Stay at Udinese Alexis! With the Italian club on the verge of the Champions League, Sanchez could prove himself further, adding to his price tag and attracting clubs that were once not interested in him to make a bid.

Considering he has made his move to Barcelona I wish him all the best, and for his sake I hope he does well. But the reality as it stands at the moment is that things are weighing against him, hopefully he can replicate the form which made him so popular. Then Barcelona may just have Messi and "Ronaldo" on the same team

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Juventus' American Tour. What Is on the Agenda for the Bianconeri?

As pre-season tours go America seems to be really popular in 2011, with some high profile clubs choosing to get their players ready for the tough European season by organising some friendlies with home clubs. Clubs including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City and now Juventus are currently in the United States.

Amongst meeting their adoring fans, Juventus in particular working on some key combinations for the upcoming 2011/2012. After a poor finish in the league last season, the Bianconeri will be looking to capitalise on the signings of a few new players. Most namely Andrea Pirlo, Stephen Lichtsteiner and Reto Ziegler will be looking to make a good impression on Juventus fans. Just for the record Arturo Vidal is on his way to Turin, where he will look to sign off on a contract which will see him join the club on a permanent deal. Along with Vidal, Giuseppe Rossi is being strongly linked with Turin and could join the starting XI prior to the commencement of the 2011/2012 season.

During their time in the US Juventus will play three friendlies organised prior to the tour. Over five days Juventus will play three clubs Sporting Lisbon on the 23rd of July, Club America on the 26th and C.d.Guadalajara on the 28th. But that is not to say that they will not play a few games against local sides, in between.

Notable absences from the squad are Felipe Melo and Amauri, with the futures of both players at the club still uncertain

The club are currently staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia, whilst training at the NOVACARE COMPLEX not far from the hotel.
With much to prove in 2011/2012 Juventus will want to start off the season in the best shape possible, in their bid to once again reclaim top spot in Italy.

For those Juventus fans from America reading this, Juventus will be in Philadelphia (as previously mentioned), before heading to New York, moving cross boarder to Toronto in Canada and finally concluding the tour in Raleigh. Get out their and support the Bianconeri ahead of the new Serie A season.

Stay tuned as I bring match reviews and other news from their tour!

Manchester City Star Mario Balotelli Wants More Silverware

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli cannot wait for the season to get started and firmly believes it will be a successful one for the Etihad Club. He is also very excited about playing in the Champions League with City.

Balotelli, speaking to, is currently with the City squad in US, where he is "relaxed". He said, "Everything is going really well and I’m feeling good.  I enjoyed my first year in Manchester, though I admit I took a while to settle down, but I can do better and will be looking to improve and help us win more trophies.”

About playing in the CL he said that City have a great squad and are capable of going "all the way", and that when he came he was determined to bring City to the CL. He is delighted City achieved its goal.

Balotelli went on to say he is not bothered about who his strike partners are, that he will work hard for the team, which is all that matters to him.

On winning the Premier league, he believes that City have to play at the same level against small teams and big teams, and they must have the belief.

Balotelli is expected to have a big year, along with the rest of the boys in Blue. For the fully story, go to

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Bravest Penalty Kick Ever: Theyab Awana's Back Heel Penalty

By Marcel Abboud

If penalty kicks could get crazy, then look no further than this.

In a recent international friendly, United Arab Emirates winger Theyab Awana scored an outrageous back-heel penalty against Lebanon in their 6 - 2 win over the Middle Eastern side.

Not only did the 21 year old Baniyas SC winger managed to wrong foot the goalkeeper, he also incured the wrath of many of the Lebanese players and even his very own manager,
Srecko Katanec. Theyab was immediately substituted after only being on the field for a remarkable three minutes for a "lack of respect" towards the Lebanese opposition.

Theyab faces disciplinary action from the UAE football federation, either facing suspension or a fine for his actions.

Was it really the bravest penalty kick ever taken, or perhaps the stupidest? Watch the remarkable and yet comical footage of Theyab's goal here:

Roar Fan Forum

By Paul Frederickon

Over 40 supporters were in attendance for the Brisbane Roar's 2011 Fan Forum held at Griffith University's South Bank Campus on Tuesday night.

In attendance were the inner sanctum of the A-League Premiership/Championship winning team. The panel consisted of coach Ange Postecoglou, new CEO Eugenie Buckley and Captain, Matthew McKay. Besides the panel, Shane Stefanutto and Matthew Smith were also in attendance. Hosted by Channel 10 Brisbane's Rob Hazel, the forum was held in two parts, the first being questions to the panel from multimedia sources such as Twitter, Facebook and Email. The second half of the forum allowed open questions to the panel.

The panel focused largely on building the stability of the club on and off the field. The new CEO, Eugenie Buckley, whilst coming from a non-football background, was assured and confident in her vision for the club.

"The long term financial and team stability is the main focus of the club," she said.

Treading a well-worn line Eugenie talked about the numbers that can still be accessed by the club.

"We are aware that football has 400,000 more participants playing than any other football code," she said. In addition Buckley suggested that our place in the football world must focus on our region rather than bringing European clubs to Brisbane in the pre-season.

"We are an Asian team. Our club must focus on building relationships within Asia. This is where we play," she said.

To complete the transition from a struggling off-field unit to a successful organisation is a challenge that still confronts the Brisbane Roar. Eugenie Buckley focused on one way that the club envisages these challenges.

"We are looking from our differences to other codes as opposed to copying them," she said.

She also advised that the club in conjunction to the FFA had worked hard at attracting a consortium of owners to the club as opposed to 'one-owner' structure that she considered risky in a barely veiled criticism of the south-Eastern Queensland who may or not play down the M1.

The majority of the questions were directed to the Roar's coach, Ange Postecoglou. Questions about the squad and style of play dominated the proceedings.

"My vision is that the club will play in a definable style. Last season we were not outplayed in any game. Teams started talking about playing the 'Brisbane way'!" he said.

When asked about signing Harry Kewell, Postecoglou laughed off the Roar's chances but said he would be great for the league.

"I want us to be a marquee team as opposed to having marquee players," he said.

When asked about where he saw the club in the future, Postecoglou was adamant on where he wants the club to be.

"I want us to be the biggest club in Asia," he said.

"Eventually, in fifteen years time, I want the club to have an Academy," he said.

When he was asked about signing a different squad for the club's inaugural ACL season Postecoglou suggested that this would not be the case.

"We want a squad, including up to four kids, who can step up all season," he said.

"We see the Champions League as an extension to the A-League season," he said.

To further add to the sentiment of club stability Matthew McKay answered questions about his long-term future of the club.

"I've signed for three years," he said twice when asked the question again.

"I have learnt what I have here, not from my time in Europe or Asia," he said.

That could not state a more positive position for the current football culture of the club.

A full transcript of the questions and answers will be supplied by the club on their Facebook and Internet site in the coming days.

Oh, and Ange did give away who the new sponsor of the Roar strip will be..(Eugenie looked wrapped!) ..and it won't be Reebok! Maybe it will be something to do with the cat family?

But his final words, whilst borrowed, were the most inspirational.

"To take from JFK, ask not what the club can do for you,but what you can do for the club," he said.

Diego, Wolfsburg Outcast and Former Juventus Player: What Happened?

Rewind two seasons. Italian giants Juventus had just completed a €24.5 million deal for Weder Bremen's Brazilian star Diego, he was set, ready to link up with a host of players and take Juve back to the top of Europe.

He arrived at Juventus full of passion, quickly became popular with the fans (and still is to some extent today) he made his debut in the Serie A against Chievo and grabbed an assist in his first game, going on to score a double against Roma not long after.

It all seemed to be going well for Diego, the Brazilian trio of Amauri, Melo and himself were working well together, Juventus were sitting top of the table in Italy (undefeated).

A loss to Napoli triggered a bad slump in form for the Bianconeri and just months later they were down 4-1 in a Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.

Out of the Champions League, sitting poorly on the table and having a host of players out saw Diego pushed to a central forward role for Juventus. Although he scored a few more goals for Juventus, they would not qualify for the Champions League for 2010/2011.

Diego's last game for Juve proved to be a 3-0 loss against Milan. Although Juventus had one of their worst seasons in the history of the club, Diego didn't fully disappoint. Fans agreed he needed a season to settle in at Juve and didn't do too badly in comparison to the performances of some of the other signings (Felipe Melo most noticeably).

After spending big in the 2010 transfer season again, Juventus surprisingly decided to part ways with the Brazilian central attacking midfielder, selling him to German side Wolfsburg in a move that would see him return to the league that made him one of Europe's most feared attackers.

The fee of €15.5 million was a record for Wolfsburg, but proved to be a €9 million loss for Juventus. Much was made in the media of Juventus' treatment of Diego, many questioned whether Juventus really understood the potential of the player they had at hand, especially because it was only his first season in the Serie A.

Nevertheless he returned to Germany with Wolfsburg. His first game in the German outfit saw him score a debut goal, even though Wolfsburg went on to lose 4-3.

He continued to shine in a below-average Wolfsburg side, who had come to the conclusion that they were fighting to stay in the Bundesliga, rather than contest the title as they so brilliantly did the year before.
On the Feb. 5, 2011, Diego won a penalty in a league match, that ultimately proved to decide the future of Steve McClaren. Instead of allowing the designated penalty taker (Patrick Helmes) to step up and attempt to convert, Diego subsequently hit the crossbar and Wolfsburg went on to lose the match by a single goal.

He was fined and dropped for his actions, and from here Diego never really got another look into the squad. A combination of not following team orders off the field and not being given any playing time have seen him dropped to the fringes of the squad, in essence looking for a new club.

So where to now for this talented player? A stay at Wolfsburg isn't on the cards, but a return to Brazil? Perhaps. Many clubs have tried to lure him away from Wolfsburg, including Malaga and a couple of Premier League sides (Aston Villa and Liverpool); whether it will eventuate into anything will be determined in the coming weeks.

One thing is for certain though, Diego's great talent will go to waste if he cannot secure a transfer to a club that needs him equally as much as he needs them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Manchester City Accept Corinthians Bid for Carlos Tevez

Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez could be leaving the Premier League after manager Roberto Mancini admitted that City had accepted a bid made by Corinthians. The news comes after the bid which was rejected just days ago from the Brazilian side.

The bid previously rejected was in the vicinity of $56.3 million, and as reported by the daily mail Corinthians had improved their bid to $64.4 million just a week later. There is no word on whether this will be the final price paid to Manchester City, but in terms of a pricing this was the rough amount City was hoping to receive for Tevez. There is no doubt that Tevez wanted to leave City.

He made no secret of his desire to leave the Premier League and perhaps move back hope to South America. Despite his best efforts to secure a transfer away from the club last year, he remained at Etihad. His sublime form throughout the season saw him score twenty goals in City's surge to the top of the English Premier League. In the end City qualified for the Champions League, also winning the FA Cup in the process.

The reason behind Tevez's desire to leave the club is unknown. One would think that Tevez would like to stay and compete in the Champions League with City after spending a few years working to get the club in the prestigious competition.

Mancini went on to say "We have an agreement with Corinthians but Carlos now is still a City player." If all goes according to plan Tevez will agree to personal terms with the club and leave City after signing from Manchester United. It is believed that a big sponsor of the Brazilian side is willing to foot much of Tevez's salary.

He is currently in Argentina after missing the penalty which saw Argentina ultimately lose to Uruguay and get knocked out of the Copa America

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Andre Villas-Boas: Luka Modric's Price Tag Is "Incredible"; Blues Can Do the Job

Both Chelsea and Manchester United have been in the hunt for an attacking midfielder this transfer window. United fans would be no stranger to the Sneijder transfer saga. Chelsea - not to be outdone - have gone on the hunt for Luka Modric. Yet things do not seem to be moving along in this transfer, as Andre Villas-Boas seemed to suggest.

In a press conference after Chelsea's pre-season friendly against Portsmouth Villas-Boas was asked about the transfer situation with Modric. He responded "We respect whatever position Tottenham takes and the prices we are talking about is an incredible amount of money." During the conference he also went on to talk about the possibility of Yossi Benayoun slotting in as a Central Attacking midfielder. The comments came after Benayoun's performance against Wycombe, where he played a key role, he said "But here you saw we adapted Yossi [Benayoun]'s position in the middle and also against Wycombe he was marvellous in the position."

The comments fuel speculation that Chelsea will not spend big in the window, rather trying to improve on the signings made last season, most notably solving the Torres goal drought (perhaps with different link up plays). It is no secret that Chelsea want Modric, rewind two weeks back to when the £27 million bid made was shot down by Tottenham.

Although they were dominant in terms of possession in their pre-season friendly against Portsmouth, Chelsea actually failed to find the back of the net. Rather their solitary goal came from a Portsmouth own goal.

Against a quality side (no disrespect to Portsmouth) Chelsea will not be given such gifts. They have a lot of work to do before the commencement of the EPL. Perhaps setting their sights on somebody other than Modric would be the wise move in this situation.
Would you sign Modric?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Aly Cissokho Looks to Complete Move from Lyon to Liverpool

As Liverpool look to add to their signings this transfer window, they have lined up young gun Aly Cissokho. Liverpool have compiled a bid in the region of €10 million to try and land the recent French International.

The 23 year old left back signed for Lyon from Porto in 2009 and since then has developed into a first team player for Lyon, resembling a certain Michel Bastos in his style of play. Liverpool have been in the hunt for a wing back for the duration of this transfer window, they even made an attempt to open talks with Arsenal over a move for Clichy (who went on to join Manchester City) - although Clichy admittedly turned them down.

Lyon have been in poor form recently, both on the pitch and financially. The financial situation is so dire that they sale of Cissokho for €10 million would see them make a loss of €5 million from the original purchase from Porto. If the deal occurs, it is set to be complete by the end of next week. He would be on a list of great additions to the Liverpool squad, who are looking to return to Champions League football, or the Europa League at worst.

Cissokho has made 60 appearances for Lyon and gained one international cap for the French side.
Liverpool are currently in Malaysia on their pres season tour, winning 6-3 against the Malaysian XI, with Charlie Adam getting his first goal for the club.

Federico Macheda, Success at United? or Success Abroad?

It is the dream of every footballer to one play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. For Federico Macheda, it was just after his 16th birthday that he received a call to go over to Manchester, and play for arguably the biggest club in the world Manchester United.

There is no questioning this kid's ability (remember he is still only 19):
Top scorer in the U18's competition, averaging over 0.5 goals a game (12 goals in 21 appearances)
Hat-tricks in the reserve team (Manchester Untied 3:3 Newcastle)
Scoring a winner in the first team (Manchester United 3:2 Aston Villa)
Named Jimmy Murphy Academy Player of the Year at Manchester United

During his time at United, Macheda has represented his country on the International stage (Italy). Macheda has played for each of Italy's younger international squads, progressing from the U16's to the U21s where he has developed into a key player for the team.

In United's attempt to have Macheda learn about the game, he was loaned out to Sampdoria, who were facing relegation in Italy's top flight. Macheda was dubbed at the "replacement for Antonio Cassano." He was unable to score in any of the league matches he featured in, but did score a goal in the Copa Italia clash with Udinese, which saw Sampdoria win on penalties. Sampdoria did not maintain their spot in the Serie A and Macheda returned to United.

Earlier this week he scored two goals in a preseason match against the New England Revolution, perhaps proving that he may be an attacking threat for United this season. From what we have seen, Macheda may just prove to become one of the great Italian players ever to grace the field. He has certainly shown glimpses of his brilliance in the various matches he has played in. Funnily enough, his worst form came about in his very own country of birth with Sampdoria (in comparison to his form at United) so perhaps Manchester United is the place for Macheda to build a dynasty.

With the some of the world class forwards phasing out of Italy's international squad—Del Piero and Francesco Totti—due to age, perhaps this is the time for Macheda to get his chance in the International Men's Italian Side. He can develop partnerships with those filling their boots. After all, he will be around for a long time to come.

Friday, July 15, 2011

MUFC tropy tour Kuala Lumpur

Als je foto's hebt van bezochte wedstrijden van Manchester United stuur ze dan op naar: dan zetten wij ze op de site.

Send your United pics to: and we'll put them on the site.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ferguson has "no real interest" in signing Wesley Sneijder

After weeks of discussion and rumour, Sir Alex Feguson has come out and denied that Manchester United are in the hunt for Wesley Sneijder. The statements come after Ferguson was questioned about the replacement of Paul Scholes and the likelihood of Sneijder filling the role.

Ferguson is quoted as saying "I keep reading about this, there's absolutely nothing at all to that";"first of all I don't think Inter are prepared to sell him. You get conjecture and you get speculation every week unfortunately." It is believed that the €40 million price tag, combined with the extremely high wage demands of Sneijder have proved to much for United. The question of whether they were ever in the hunt for a replacement for Scholes still remains. Luka Modric may be on the cards as well as a host of other names.

Although one must not forget the face that United have already signed David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young this window. The signings push Manchester's total spending to way over €50 which was the intended limit. It would certainly seem by the way that Ferguson answered to the rumours would suggest that United are not pursuing, and were never pursuing him.

Wesley Sneijder still has a few years left on his contract at Inter, and to jump ship after one below average season (mind you they did win two trophies), would certainly question his loyalty to a club which has propelled him onto the world stage.

Ferguson concluded that there was "nothing imminent" in terms of transfers for the remainder of the window. Perhaps, investing the money in the youth of United would be the correct move?
Would you sign Sneijder?

New Strikers at Etihad? Manchester City After More Attack.... Do they really need it?

After spending records amount of cash on players last season, Manchester City are out to replace players that many clubs do not have the luxury of replacing. After signing Edin Dzeko, Balotelli and Yaya Toure last season, one would wonder why City are after Neymar, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri.
Manchester City boast oneof the most formidable rosters in all of Europe, and this was justified by their third place finish in the Premier League and qualification for the Champions League.
Recently, Manchester City tried to add to this roster by involving themselves with the possible signings of Sergio Aguero , Neymar and Arsenal Frenchman Samir Nasri. With every player mentioned here, City have gone above and beyond monetary expectations. Let us take a look:

Sergio Aguero
Athletico scared off Juventus with a €45 million price tag for the hit-man. Then City came calling offering in excess of this amount for Aguero, plus a contract which will see him earn triple the salary he currently earns. If Tevez remains at City, they will have a strong Argentinian feel to their strike force.

 Next on the agenda is Neymar. the Brazilian starlet recently proved he has what it takes to make it in Europe, scoring twice to save Brazil from the hands of Ecuador. Originally his club Santos were not eager to allow other clubs to talk to their star man.
Yet after all the commotion made by Santos, Manchester City were some how allowed to speak to Neymar. It would be reminiscent to not include the fact they were willing to match Neymar's buyout clause of €40 million

Samir Nasri
With Arsenal's French attacking midfielder coming out of contract next season, Arsenal will most likely let him go and the likely destination looks to be the Etihad. With many European clubs trying to secure the services of the attacking midfielder, most namely Manchester United.
City will face fierce competition. Rather than wait, City tabled a €20 million bid for Nasri, although it was quickly rejected by Arsenal.
However the Gunners are re-thinking their decision, after comments made by Nasri suggested he wouldn't re-sign next year. If that proved to be the case, then Nasri would be free to leave the Emirates with no transfer fee incurred

So with such choice available to City, are any of the following signing necessary? Or should they remain content with the squad that delivered them to where they are today?

Brazil Asserts Their Dominance in a 4-2 Victory over Ecuador

Neymar and Pato each bagged a brace in Brazil's Copa America victory over Ecuador. The victory sees Brazil progress to the next round of the Copa America, after a shakey start which saw them draw their opening two matches. Brazil will face Paraguay in the quarter finals, where they will look to record a victory after a 2-2 draw in the group stage.
The squads lined up as follows:
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Andre Santos; Lucas Leiva, Ramires, Ganso, Robinho, Neymar; Alexandre Pato

Ecuador: Elizaga. Reasco, Araujo, Erazo, Ayovi; Minda, Noboa, Arroyo, Mendez; Benitez, Caicedo

Notable inclusions Maicon and Robinho were brought in to provide some experience in a Brazilian squad which has lacked a presence going forward in their previous two clashes. Alves was dropped to the bench for Maicon.

Neymar came out with a point to prove in the first halve, the youngster being criticised for his lack of showing in the past two group matches. This point became most apparent when Neymar launched a shot within the first five minutes, being tipped just over the bar by Elizaga.

Ecuador were matching it with Brazil for most of of the first half, knocking the ball around nicely, clearly dominating the midfield in the early exchanges. It wasn't until the 30th minute until we saw the first goal, Ac Milan superstar Pato latched onto a ball by Andre Santos to calmly slot home 1-0 Brazil.
Brazil continued to press from here, until their rhythm was disrupted by a mistake from usually reliable Julio Cesar. A shot by Caicedo was fumbled, in turn leaking a goal, levelling up things on the day 1-1, as the match entered half time. It couldn't come soon enough for the Seleção, who were under the pump in the closing exchanges of the match.

Alternatively the five time World Champions came out firing yet again, scoring again through Neymar in the 48th minute of the match. A beautifully weighted pass from Ganso, was directed straight into his path. Brazil were up 2-1, and looking to cruise through the final exchanges of the match.
It proved to be Brazil who let their lead slip yet again, in similar fashion Caicedo launched a shot at Cesar who was unable to defend his near post, resulting in Ecuador levelling the match 2-2 in just the 58th minute. The travelling fans were as loud as ever, being treated to a goal scoring feast in a match where there was nothing to split the two teams.

Neymar was desperate to add to his tally and just two minutes later, tried his luck with a powerful shot, which was fumbled by Elizaga only to be tapped in by Pato, who restored Brazil's lead, securing a brace in the process. Ecuador had all the work to do with just half an hour remaining, down 3-2.
Maicon and Robinho justified their selection in the starting eleven, proving to be the catalysts for the second goal. A powerful, flowing move down the right resulted in a perfectly weighted ball straight to the feet of Neymar who put Brazil 4-2 up on the day.

In the closing minutes, Brazil were denied a goal after Robinho's effort was disallowed. Ecudaor threw everything at Brazil but were unable to get a goal back. Two keeping errors resulted in Brazil having to score four times. A great showing by Pato and Neymar, as well as Maicon and Robinho.

FINAL SCORE—BRAZIL 4 (Neymar 2, Pato 2) : ECUADOR 2 (Caicedo 2)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rossi to Juventus?

It would seem the Juventus have given up their chase for Sergio Aguero rather turning to Italian Giuseppe Rossi in their hope to achieve the Scudetto. Talks with Aguero broke down when Manchester City came calling with their transfer kitty. City were willing to meet what ever Athletico wanted for their start man and in turn Aguero decided to turn down Juve.

Rossi would seem the more realistic target for Juve. A bid in the region of 30 million euro would certainly secure his services. As well as this Juve are willing to tripple the wages he currently earns. As well as the monetary incentive Rossi would find the transfer back to his home country easier than other targets, not having to worry about learning a language, or settling in. He would team up with Italian International team mates Giorgio Chiellini and Gigi Buffon, and almost slot right into the first team, with Juventus desperate for some firepower up front.

It is believed that Giuseppe Marotta and Federico Pastorello (Rossi's agent) are good mates, and have already settled on a personal contract. Earlier in the week Villarreal invited Juve to bid for Rossi. It may just look as though Juventus will have some hope in the Serie A this year!

Football nurseries, the future of the A-League?

By Paul Frederickson

At the moment, it could be argued that, the A-League is the fourth best football competition in Australia. That argument though, in its entirety, is for another column.

The reason that I have started this article with that point is that A-League teams may never attract the best Australian players to our competition as well as overseas players. What we can do as a competition is foster an exciting group of youth players through the A-League ranks. But will that mean that A-League clubs become a nursery for overseas clubs and competitions? If so, does that concern you as a football supporter?

The A-League has already seen a fine generation of young players grace the fields who have attracted overseas interest and seen some of them take up contracts with larger overseas clubs. These players include, Michael Langerak, Tommy Oar, Adam Sarota, Dario Vidosic, Mustafa Amini, Robbie Kruse to name just a few. As a football supporter I was originally really excited to see the mature, star players come back to the competition such as ‘all night’ Dwight Yorke. As the competition has grown and players have come and gone I am more excited about seeing future stars emerge as opposed to waiting for players to come back and play in Australia.
This is a positive for the competition and something that I hope that the FFA will promote. A ‘young guns’ campaign would be an example, highlighting the skills, pace and future of Australian football. Children can see their favourite players start in the A-League and progress to the world stage. Junior players and children can aspire to follow similar paths.

There is one danger to these aspirations, that Australian teams become nurseries for bigger clubs and nations. Whilst some may see this as the perfect leaping board for players and the A-League itself it will not promote the A-League to be any less than the fourth best football competition in the land. The other three codes, AFL, NRL and Super Rugby have the majority of their best players playing in this country; the same cannot be said of the A-League. This would be more evident if the clubs are drained of their best young talent on a yearly basis.
Could we see a club in Australia set up as a pure footballing nursery where players are developed at a young age and then sold at a profit to overseas clubs? Yes, but I would hope that they would not be part of the A-League structure. To explore this concept further, we need to look no further than the wonderful footballing culture that is Brazilian football.
Brazil has teams dedicated to producing talented youngsters who go through the club’s academy with the aim of being sold to other clubs at a profit. More a football factory than a nursery the players are selected with the aim of profit over a team ethos. The academies play against visiting teams to showcase the player’s talents rather than to win titles. These academies enter cup style competitions but in most cases do not part of any official season long competitions. The question is, are these players ready for club environments or commodities who will expect to move from club to club for profits?

I want the A-League to be the best competition possible. I want the players to develop and be the best players then can be whilst playing at the highest level that they can achieve. Now that is not too much to ask, is it?

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Racing Santander look to push for Europe!

As Racing Santander continue their preparations for this seasons La Liga season, it has been officially confirmed that Hector Cuper is the man appointed to lead the squad as coach. Having previously coached in Spain with Valencia, Mallorca and Real Betis, Cuper comes from Greek side Aris Thessaloniki. He will be wishing for improved results on his one year contract following his departure from the Greek squad in January after inconsistent results.

The appointment of Cuper comes after Marcelino, the former Racing coach, was confirmed as Sevilla manager. Marcelino left the northern Spanish side after reported arguments with club chief Ahsan Ali Syed. Racing also had a strong end to the 2010/11 season and Marcelino was sure to be hired by a stronger team.

Giovanni dos Santos, the Mexican international on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, was loaned to Racing in the January transfer window and has seemed to have rediscovered the form that plagued his time at both Spurs and Barcelona. With a squad in a period of transition following the takeover of the team in the past year, this upcoming season will surely be crucial for the spanish side if they wish to maintain their credentials as a La Liga team.

By Alexander Novo

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brazilian Giants Corinthians make an 40 million Euro offer for Carloz Tevez

By Marcel Abboud

In perhaps an unexpected move, Carlos Tevez's former club Brazilian giants Corinthians have made an offer of €40 million Euros to move the want away striker from Manchester City back to Brazil.

Despite captaining the Citizens, guiding them to a FA Cup and qualification to the 2011/2012 UEFA Champions League, the Argentine striker has made his intentions known publicly of his desire to move away from Eastlands. Before this offer many expected Tevez to move to Spain or Italy, with Inter Milan looking the most likely on perhaps a loan deal.

This offer (if approved by the City board) will see Tevez return to his former club where he spent two years (2004 - 2006), winning the Campenato Brasileiro Seria A in 2005 to which he made 38 appearances and scoring 25 goals before his somewhat controversial move to West Ham United FC in 2006.

Napoli unveil players the fun way!

Napoli have announced the signing of Gorkhan Inler on a permanent deal. It is believed Undinese reliquished their player for a sum of 12 million Euros.

However what has dominated the headlines is not the signing, but the way the signing was revealed.


Official: Arsenal sign Gervinho

As quickly as this tranfer rumour popped up, it was completed. No one saw it coming but Lille striker Gervinho has officially signed with Arsenal in a deal believed to be worth 12 million Euros. The news of the signing was made apparant by Arsene Wenger himself and comes after the loss of Clichy to City and very soon Samir Nasri as well.

Gervinho was in stunning form this season, making a name for himself in the 2010 World Cup. From there the striker went on to score fifteen goals and bagged 10 assists in his clubs rise to the top of Ligue 1. As well as Gervinho Arsenal also signed Carl Jenkinson, who looks to be the perfect replacement for Gael Clichy.

Gervinho may just provide some hope for Arsenal fans who are so fearful of the dual exit of Fabregas and Samir Nasri!