Jumat, 08 Februari 2013

Betting Special: Frank Lampard 4/7 to extend Chelsea stay

Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast

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Rabu, 06 Februari 2013

Drogba will get temporary licence to play for Galatasaray, says vice-president

Kenneth Omeruo challenges Didier Drogba at Afcon 2013
Galatasaray vice-president Refik Arkan is confident that Didier Drogba will shortly get clearance to play for the Turkish champions.

The 34-year-old left Shanghai Shenhua for Galatarasaray in the January transfer window, but his former club, Shanghai Shenhua, are adamant that he is still contracted to them

Nevertheless, the Istanbul giants have little doubt that Drogba will soon arrive at the Turk Telekom Arena.

"He might not be able to play against Antalyaspor. Because we need to get temporary permission from Fifa, and Fifa rules are such that the player should be played as quickly as possible," Arkan told Radyospor.

"They will give a temporary licence, followed by the permit.

"Drogba's country were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations. The team have now returned to Cote d'Ivoire. Afterwards, he will go to London. He will need a day or two to move his stuff. I think he'll c ome to Istanbul this week."

Galatasaray currently sit atop of the Turkish league table with 37 points from 20 games.

Selasa, 05 Februari 2013

Sagna 100 per cent devoted to Arsenal amidst PSG speculation

Bacary Sagna,Arsenal
Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has revealed he is "100 per cent devoted" to the club despite being recently linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

The 29-year-old struggled with injury during the first half of the season and had surrendered his right-back berth to youngster Carl Jenkinson.

However, after re-establishing himself in the Gunners' starting XI, Sagna has insisted he will give his all for the club and has not been contacted regarding a move back to Ligue 1.

"The January transfer rumours regarding PSG? I am 100 per cent devoted to my club," he told L'Equipe.

"I am only thinking about defending the colours of Arsenal until the end of my contract.

"The fans are angry with me because they heard about PSG's interest, but I am not responsible for that. I have never had any contact."

Sagna has made a total of 15 appearances for the north London outfit in the Premier League so far this se ason and was recently recalled to the France squad for the upcoming friendly clash with Germany.

Zorc denies knowledge of Lewandowski exit

Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund gegen Bremen
Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has cooled reports linking Robert Lewandowski with a move to Bayern Munich.

The Poland international has been repeatedly linked with a move away from Dortmund having emerged as one of Europe's leading goalscorers in recent years, and it is understood Bayern Munich are the front-runners to land the 24-year-old.

Sky Sport Italia reported on Tuesday the forward was set to secure a summer move to Bayern Munich for a 22 million fee, but Zorc has denied the rumours and insisted there was no fresh developments on Lewandowski's future.

"There is no new state of play. We will not comment on that, because nothing has changed for us," Zorc told Sport1.

"If a player negotiates with another club, we cannot stop that. But as we speak, we do not know anything about it."

Bayern declined to comment and Dortmund later released a statement saying: "We do not comment on rumours, no matter what they are like."

However, according to Spiegel, Bayern are nearing an agreement with Lewandowski and will begin negotiations with Dortmund.

Lewandowski has netted 18 times for Dortmund in all competitions this season and is believed to be among the names on Pep Guardiola's wishlist when the former Barcelona boss takes charge next season.

Cavani concentrating on securing Serie A glory with Napoli

Edinson Cavani - Napoli
Napoli forward Edinson Cavani is putting speculation regarding his future to one side to focus on the chance of winning Serie A.

The 25-year-old has attracted interest from both Real Madrid and Barcelona in recent transfer windows and, while the striker admits he is flattered by the link, he reiterated his commitment to the Partenopei.

"Real Madrid and Barcelona are two great clubs, amongst the strongest in the world, and it is obvious that they can attract," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.

"The tension rises just when you name those two sides. However, I honestly dont know whether there is the option to join one of those.

At the moment I have the opportunity to win the Scudetto with Napoli and Im just concentrating on that aim.

"I still have four years left on my contract. You never know what will happen in football, but I j ust work on a day-by-day basis to get the best."

Cavani currently leads the race for the capocannoniere having netted 18 times this league season.

Wenger: I deserve credit for Arsenal signing Monreal

EPL: Nacho Monreal, Arsenal v Stoke City
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed he deserves credit for the deadline day signing of left-back Nacho Monreal from Malaga.

The Frenchman has previously come in for criticism for his dealings in the transfer window due to a perceived reluctance to spend big.

However, Wenger believes he should be praised for Monreal's arrival, a move which was only prompted by an injury to Kieran Gibbs the day before the transfer window's close.

"We are quite lucky to have found Nacho because [Kieran] Gibbs got injured for four to six weeks," Wenger told reporters.

"And we found in 48 hours a player of that calibre... you have to give me at least that credit. I know that I don't get a lot but that is true."

The 63-year-old went on to hail his side's doggedness as they posted a 1-0 win over an obstinate Stoke at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

"We are a bit more mature now, but we dealt well with [Stokes game plan] ," Wenger added. "Crouch is a handful because he is not only physical, he is technically very good. He uses space well and in his link-play he is an international player. Overall I think we had a serious game.

"We were a bit younger and inexperienced [in the past] but defensively today you could see that in [Bacary] Sagna, Nacho, [Laurent] Koscielny and [Per] Mertesacker we have some experience and stature there. We are not small at the back.

"In England you have to deal with all types of football without losing your qualities in how you want to play. It is not always easy, because if you have a team of 10 Santi Cazorla's technically you would be very good but against a team like Stoke you would struggle."

Wenger was also full of praise for Theo Walcott, who has continued his fine run of form since signing a new contract at the club.

"He is 23 years old and there is always a change at that age," he continued. "What people forget is that Theo does everything at 100mph, so every time you get hit it hurts you more than if you are slow.

"He plays at high pace, but he has learnt to escape sometimes and he imposes himself more. He uses his body better now."

Manchester City have first refusal on Balotelli following Milan switch

Mario Balotelli - Milan
By Greg Stobart

Manchester City have secured a first refusal buy-back option as part of the 23 million sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan, Goal.com can reveal.

The Premier League champions cut their ties with the controversial striker last week but insisted upon several clauses in Balotellis new five-year contract that is also understood to include a number of performance related add-ons.

The 22-year-old crowned his return to Serie A on Sunday with two goals, including a last-minute match-winning penalty, against Udinese to cement his status as an instant San Siro crowd favourite.

As well as a buy-back option - which is similar to the ones former Arsenal and Manchester United stars Cesc Fabregas and Cristiano Ronaldo have in their respective Barcelona and Real Madrid contracts - City will also receive a windfall should Milan sell Balotelli elsewhere in future for anything ove r 22.5 million.

Despite his dramatic reintroduction to Italian football and the difficulties he experienced in his final months at Manchester City, Balotelli did not completely rule out a possible return to England at some point in his career during his unveiling last Friday.

He said: "I will always have a very special place in my heart for City, it's a great club with a great future.

"I thank them for all of their support of me. Maybe one day we will see each other again."