Shearer to Cardiff?

June 15th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

They were another Championship side who narrowly missed out on promotion, and another team who then decided to dispose of their manager. Since sacking Dave Jones at the end of last month Cardiff have been without a manager, although reports are today incredibly linking former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer as a potential candidate.

Some might say Jones was unlucky, others may say that he should have been given another crack at promotion after taking the Bluebirds so far during his six year spell. However, the new Cardiff board decided that they wanted a new man to take the reins and with that, Jones was shown his marching orders at the end of last month.

Since then, little has happened at the Cardiff City Stadium. There have been rumors about Jones’ successor although up until today, the likes of Malky Mackay, Chris Hughton and Derek McInnes have reportedly been the only other serious candidates.

However, it now appears that Shearer is the front runner following some mysterious betting patterns on Tuesday. Despite not being in the running a few days ago, odds for the former England captain dropped considerably where some bookmakers were only offering 1/8 odds on him being named as Jones’ successor.

Despite being a big name, it remains to be seen how the Cardiff faithful will react to this news. As a manager, Shearer’s record is not too impressive and as it stands he has just been in charge of the one club, having led Newcastle for eight games during the 08/09 season. As everyone knows, that spell was largely unsuccessful and after failing to save the Magpies from relegation, he has not managed since.

The new City boss will of course have to contend with a weakened squad, with several of the club’s players leaving through the summer. Top scorer Jay Bothroyd will leave when his contract expires, as will influential winger Chris Burke. With Michael Chopra being sold to Ipswich and Craig Bellamy returning to Manchester City following his loan, any new manager will have to completely rebuild Cardiff’s attacking force.

McClaren Appointed Forest Manager

June 13th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

Billy Davies hadn’t enjoyed the most productive of relationships with the Nottingham Forest board and with that; it did not surprise many that he was shown his marching orders on Sunday. As soon as the announcement was made the rumours began and it didn’t take long for Steve McClaren to arrive as the front runner to take over from the opinionated Davies.

Just one day following Davies’ departure, McClaren has in fact been confirmed as the new manager of the City Ground outfit. Speaking to the club’s official website, chief executive Mark Arthur clearly thought the capture came as something of a coup and said: “Steve has a proven record of coaching and managing at club level.

“The club moved quickly to secure his services as it is rare for a manager and coach of his undoubted calibre to become available.”

Former England manager McClaren signs a three-year contract with Forest, who once again missed out on promotion through the playoffs this year. It was the second time during Davies’ reign that the club failed and following several disagreements over transfer budgets, it appears as though the club’s board lost patience with the former Derby manager.

There were rumours that Davies himself would be the person to end his tenure at the City Ground but after pledging his alliance for another season after a playoff semi-final defeat to Swansea last month, it looked as though he would certainly lead the club as he entered the final year of his contract.

However, McClaren’s availability has seemingly persuaded the Forest board into opting for a change as they attempt to bounce back to the Premiership for the first time since 1999.

McClaren’s CV certainly seems impressive for a Championship outfit and while many will remember him for that disastrous spell as England manager between 2006 and 2007, he has still experienced huge successes in domestic football with Middlesbrough and Dutch side FC Twente. Forest will be hoping that these experiences are sufficient to aid him to launch a serious automatic promotion push – something that the club failed to due under the outspoken Davies.

Sneijder Staying at Inter

June 11th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

He has been the subject of intense transfer speculation throughout the last few weeks, yet it looks as though Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder is in fact going nowhere.

The former Real Madrid man has apparently caught the interest of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United but following the reports, he has now confirmed that he is happy at current club Inter Milan and has no ambitions to move away. Speaking to Inter’s official website, Sneijder said: “Milan is marvellous, picturesque and full of elegance. I love it.

“At the moment I am very happy here and I don’t see why I should leave.”

Interest in Sneijder of course comes as no surprise, with the Dutchman establishing himself as one of the world’s best midfielders through his ten year career. He has played for three of the most prestigious teams in the world in Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, making himself a fixture in the Netherlands national squad in the process.

Overall his time at Inter Milan can be classed as nothing but successful, with the San Siro outfit winning the title, the Champions League and Coppa Italia during his first season there. However, this year has been less fruitful and while Inter did manage to lift the Copa Italia again, Sneijder’s involvement was minimal. Injury hindered him significantly and in the end he managed just twenty five appearances, notching four goals in the process.

This has resulted in many of England’s biggest teams being linked with a move although following these comments, it now looks unlikely for a transfer to materialize. Sneijder’s contract still has another four years remaining and while Inter have relied on him less this year, it’s thought that they still consider him a key player.

However, with the three sides supposedly tracking him possessing such vast finances, Inter may still opt to cash in on the former Ajax man if the bid proves too tempting.

Boateng wants City Exit

June 11th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

He was one of a number of players who joined Manchester City last summer in big money transfer deals. However, following just one year at the Eastlands outfit, Jerome Boateng has decided that the Premier League is not for him and he wants a return to Germany as soon as possible.

Despite being versatile across any of the back four positions, Boateng’s preferred position is that of centre half but City boss Roberto Mancini has opted to utilize the 22-year-old mainly on the right side. This has frustrated the German and following interest from Bayern Munich, he says that he now wants to move on and return to his home country.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said: “I have already told Roberto Mancini that I want to play in central defence and not at full-back.

“Bayern have indicated I will play in the centre. To play there regularly is important for me because I will have a better chance of playing in the national team.

“Bayern are bigger than City, they are one of the top six teams in Europe. To play for them would be an honour.”

His comments follow a fairly successful season for City, who ended the campaign having won the FA Cup and also qualifying for the Champions League.

However, Boateng’s success has been limited and as well as frustrations with his position, he has also struggled with injury. He made just 24 appearances for City and with that, it looks as though he is ready for a fresh start.

Boateng is certainly no stranger to the Bundesliga, having played for both Hertha BSC and Hamburg in recent years. It was during his time at the latter where he really flourished however and after managing to break into the German national squad, he earned a move to Manchester City which was worth over £10m.

Martinez to Villa?

June 9th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

Since losing Gerard Houllier a couple of weeks ago, there has been no shortage of contenders for the vacant Aston Villa’s manager position. Every unemployed manager has been linked although it seems as though Randy Lerner’s first choice is actually one who is in employment, as Wigan’s Roberto Martinez contemplates a move to the Midlands outfit.

The odds for the job have been ludicrously turbulent since Houllier’s departure, with the likes of Mark Hughes, Rafael Benitez and Steve McClaren all being linked with the post. Hughes even resigned as manager of Fulham – prompting huge speculation that he was set to take the job. However, Villa have now made an approach to Wigan and as their chairman Dave Whelan says, the ball is completely in Roberto Martinez’s court. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live he said: “It’s in Roberto’s hands and I will support him whatever way he wants to go.

“I think he will make a decision in the next 24 hours, and my gut feeling is that he will stay at Wigan.”

Villa’s interest in Martinez certainly comes as a surprise although looking at the bigger picture, they could be about to land a manager who has experienced nothing but, albeit modest, success throughout his managerial career.

His first job came in 2007 and after leading Swansea to the League One title, he was already regarded as one of the most promising managers in the country. His slick style of football was widely recognised and following a top half finish in 2009, he was linked to both the Celtic and the Wigan job. Eventually he took up the challenge at the DW Stadium and despite possessing limited resources; he has managed to keep the Latics in the Premier League for two consecutive seasons.

However, with Villa having so much more financial clout it remains to be seen whether he will finish the job that he started at Wigan. His chairman Dave Whelan remains confident, but even he must be slightly worried considering the circumstances.

Henderson set for Anfield

June 9th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

When Jordan Henderson was sent out on loan to Coventry City in 2009, nobody could have predicted the situation just two years later. Henderson’s form in the Sunderland first team has been nothing short of terrific over the past year and with that, Liverpool have confirmed that they have agreed to buy the midfielder for a fee thought to be around £20m.

There has been plenty of speculation regarding Henderson’s future in recent months, with Manchester United also thought to be keen suitors. However, it has today been confirmed that rivals Liverpool will be the ones to land the 20-year-old, with a Sunderland statement reading: “A fee has been agreed with Liverpool for Jordan Henderson and he travels to Anfield with the club’s blessing.”

As well as the money, there are also reports that David Ngog is part of the deal although neither party has yet confirmed this.

Henderson’s progress has certainly been rapid and after impressing in his loan spell at Coventry a couple of years ago, it wasn’t long before Steve Bruce gave him his chance in the Sunderland first team. He grasped that opportunity with both hands and after several impressive displays, the Black Cats awarded him with a 5-year-contract.

Since then, he has continued to progress and in November he was called up to the England squad where he made his international debut against France. While that is his only appearance for the national squad to date, he is expected to become a key fixture in Fabio Capello’s plans with many rating him as one of England’s best young prospects.

As it stands, the deal has not yet formally gone through although it is thought a conclusion is very near. Henderson is currently undergoing a medical at Anfield and with television pictures showing him in Liverpool attire; it looks as though the £20m deal is almost complete.

Man Utd to Buy Phil Jones

June 9th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

It was little over a year ago when Phil Jones made his debut for Blackburn, yet since then it would be fair to say that the giant defender has come on leaps and bounds. He has won plaudits across the country and with Manchester United agreeing a £17m package with Blackburn for his services, he has perhaps been handed the biggest compliment yet by his soon to be manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Despite Rovers enduring something of a poor campaign, Jones himself has been superb and rumors have been rife for some while that he has been set for a big money move. Liverpool and Arsenal have both been linked but as it has been revealed today, Jones has turned down the opportunity to join both of these clubs.

Instead, he will link up at Old Trafford although his chances of first team action are likely to be significantly slimmer than that at current club Rovers. While Sir Alex Ferguson is spending a lot of money on the 19-year-old, he still has the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all pushing for those two centre half positions.

Still, the signing of Jones undoubtedly signals United’s intentions to invest in youth. Their defeat to Barcelona last month showed that while they are big players in the English league, in Europe they are not anywhere near as dominant.

Jones may not go straight into the first team, but within a few years there is little doubt that he will be a key fixture in the United defense. In the 35 appearances he has made for Blackburn he has proved a real handful for attackers and with age this is only going to improve. However, the deal is not yet completely sealed, with Jones having to pass a medical before he can be formally revealed as a Manchester United player.

Swans Set for Graham Signature

June 7th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

It’s thought that those sides who achieve promotion through the playoffs are always at a disadvantage due to the time delay. However, Premiership new boys Swansea have wasted absolutely no time in making their first signature, after the Swans agreed a fee with Watford for the transfer of striker Danny Graham.

Graham has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation, which should not come as any surprise considering the fact that the former Middlesbrough striker has just finished as the Championship’s top goal scorer after notching twenty four goals.

However, after QPR had a bid of £2.5m rejected a couple of weeks ago, there was the belief that Watford had no intention of selling. Brendan Rodgers has thought differently however and after tabling a bid of £3.5m, the Hornets have reluctantly accepted and it now looks as though Graham will be making the move over to Wales.

Rodgers is of course no stranger to Graham, after he managed the 25-year-old at Watford during his time there. However, not even he could have envisaged Graham’s success, after it was only a couple of years ago that the striker left Carlisle.

Since his move Graham has been one of the most lethal strikers in the Championship and after bagging forty two goals in the two seasons, it would be fair to say that he has earned his move to the top flight.

Despite the bid, Swansea remain coy over the subject and have stressed that the transfer has not yet gone through. A statement on their official website read “No discussions regarding personal terms have taken place yet with Graham who worked under Swans boss Brendan Rodgers at Watford.”

However, with Graham saying in recent weeks that he would be unable to resist a move to the top flight, it appears the transfer is a foregone conclusion.

Long to Exit Royals?

June 6th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

The Championship playoff final was said to be worth £90m and with that, it could be said that finalists Reading lost out big time when they lost 4-2 to Swansea a couple of weeks ago. However, it now looks as though that defeat could have even more of an impact on the club, with manager Brian McDermott revealing that it might prove impossible to keep hold of star striker Shane Long.

Since signing in 2005, Long has made a massive impact at the Madejski Stadium having bagged fifty four goals. However, this season has been particularly successful for the former Cork City man, after he bagged twenty eight as Reading went on to finish the campaign in 5th.

With that, there has of course been plenty of transfer successful. Transfer fees in the region of £5m have been branded about, while the likes of Celtic, Everton and Newcastle have all been linked with the 24-year-old.

Unfortunately for Reading, their failure to net promotion means that the chances of Long starting the season as a Royal have diminished drastically. Manager Brian McDermott seems to realize this and speaking to BBC Berkshire, he said: “If a Premier League club comes in and we decide the deal is right and Shane wants to go there’s nothing we can do.

“It’s important I do the right thing by him as well. For me he’ll go down as a very special Reading player. ”

If Long does make the top flight move, he would join a host of other players who have made the step up to the Premier League this summer. Out of the top seven Championship goal scorers incredibly only one of them appears to be remaining in the division next season. Grant Holt, Scott Sinclair and Adel Taarabt have all been promoted with their respective clubs, while Jay Bothroyd is set to leave Cardiff in a few weeks once his contract expires. With Danny Graham also on the verge of a big money transfer to newly-promoted Norwich, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if the list becomes Long-er, pardon the pun.

Nasri to Quit Arsenal?

June 5th, 2011 by Watch Football News No comments »

Arsenal’s failure to net a trophy in so many years has meant that many of their top players are seemingly seeking moves away from the Emirates Stadium. The latest is Samri Nasri and as the Frenchman enters the final year of his contract, his comments today will be the last thing that Gunners fans will want to hear.

Over recent months there has been intense speculation linking the 23-year-old with a move away after talks stalled over a new contract. Nasri’s current deal expires at the end of next season although Arsene Wenger will be fully aware of the current situation, which means that the only way that Arsenal will command a fee for the midfielder is if they allow him to move now.

Nasri himself has remained quiet on the subject although today, he has broken his silence. Speaking to Telefoot, he said: “I don’t know if I will sign a new contract, the discussions are ongoing.

“Do I want to go to United? First, we should see if it’s real and concrete.”

Since joining the club in 2008, it would be fair to say that Nasri has established himself as one of Arsenal’s leading stars. Having signed for £12m from Marseille, there was plenty of pressure resting on his shoulders but as the years have progressed he has shown considerable improvement. In his 124 appearances for the club he has managed 27 goals but with 15 of those coming this season, it shows just how much his game has developed recently.

However, Arsenal’s failures over recent years mean that the North London outfit are no longer one of the desirable destinations for players and this means they are struggling to push on. What’s more, as the club cannot compete financially with the very best, it means players like Nasri will often look to move on to secure better contracts elsewhere.