Footy In A Week

What’s been going on with Liverpool
July 6, 2006, 1:41 am
Filed under: European Football, Premier League, Spanish League, Transfer Market

Liverpool have confirmed today that they have signed Brazilian Fabio Aurelio. The left full back moved on the bossman ruling from Valencia. Aurelio signed a four year deal.

More good news came to Liverpool’s way, as highly rated Chilean winger, Mark Gonzalez was granted a work permit. Gonzalez was initially denied a permit last season and had to be sent on loan to Real Sociadad where he set the club a light with his pace, trick and memorable longs shots against Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are still in talks with Marseille regarding a loan move for Cisse to the French club. Liverpool are also still looking for a right winger, and negotiations with Sevilla to bring Daniel Alves to Anfield seem to have stalled. So Benitez is looking at other options, with Pennant being the most possible solution. A rumour also suggested that Liverpool may try to bid for Joaquin, with a players plus cash deal. Zenden, Barragan and Dudek, all might be included in the deal.

Another player leaving the club is Hamann, who looks likely to move to Manchester City. Hamann was set to move to Bolton earlier.


Scout who discovered Zidane dies
June 26, 2006, 12:00 pm
Filed under: European Football, Spanish League

The man who discovered Zinedine Zidane has died at the age of 85, L'Equipe reported. Jean Varraud spotted the then 15-year-old Zidane playing for a small club in the Marseille league in 1987. He then persuaded Zidane to sign for Cannes, the team where he would make his professional debut.

Bellamy update and the latest news
June 22, 2006, 2:00 am
Filed under: European Football, Italian League, Premier League, Spanish League

Seems like Benitez is keen on signing Craig Bellamy. The Welshman is undergoing a medical, which means all the paperwork is done and agreed on. Bellamy has also agreed to take a wage cut to insure his transfer. Expect an official announcement from Liverpool soon.

Liverpool striker Fowler has already expressed his delighted of signing Bellamy and praised his qualities. Fowler said: "It appears that Craig Bellamy will be joining us and that is excellent news. He's an excellent player who will give an extra dimension to the squad and will be welcomed by us all should everything go to plan. He's quick, a nightmare for defenders to mark, never gives anything up and knows how to score goal. If we are going to overhaul Chelsea, we need plenty of competition for places and Craig's arrival will keep us all on our toes.

Marseille will also be negotiating a loan deal of the injured Cisse. Marseille president Pape Diouf arrived on Merseyside today and will sit down with Liverpool chief executive to discuss a loan move for Djibril Cisse. Ideally, Liverpool will want Marseille to pay 100% of his wage, his medical bills and assurance that he will be signed at the end of his loan spell.

After it was confirmed that Owen will be sidelined for 5 months due to sustaining a cruciate ligament damage, Newcastle appear to be pushing to sign a replacement already, with Dirk Kuyt being the most likely name.

Manchester United are facing a chance to lose out on their prime Ruud replacement, Fernando Torres. According to reports in Spain, the player – who is having a sensational World Cup – is set to be offered a new 12-months extension deal to remain in the Spanish capital. Man Utd are reported to be ready to pay as much as £25m for the services of the Spanish matador.

Arsene Wenger has denied reports he has agreed to become Real Madrid coach if Juan Villar Mir wins the presidential election. Several Spanish media sources have suggested Arsenal boss Wenger has already negotiated a four-year deal worth £3.4million a year with the Spanish giants.

French teenage midfielder Yohann Gourcuff will join AC Milan from Stade Rennes, the Ligue 1 club said. Gourcuff is a gifted under-21 international and one to keep an eye on.

Liverpool open talks with Bellamy
June 20, 2006, 1:18 pm
Filed under: European Football, Premier League, Transfer Market

As I mentioned, the failure of selling Cisse meant Liverpool will be short on money to sign one of their prime targets, who were thought to be David Villa and Fernando Torres. 

Therefore, Benitez have made the logical approach and went for a cheaper and proven option by tabling an official bid of £6.5m, which is also Bellamy's release clause

Both the player and the club have opened talks,  with reports saying that Bellamy is ready to snub Arsenal and take a wage cut, just to secure a move to his boy-hood club Liverpool.

In response, Blackburn are to offer Craig Bellamy £65,000-a-week in the hope that he will take the cash rather than agree a summer move to Anfield. But Bellamy's insistence of the insertion of a specific clause in his contract suggested he viewed Rovers as a stepping stone to bigger things.

Despite the official bid, Liverpool are still in talks with Feyenoord about Dirk Kuyt. Benitez will only pay up to £10m, but the dutch club are trying to raise that number to £14m. 

Another option for Liverpool is Michael Owen, who is reported to have a £12m clause in his contract, but Benitez is said to be not keen on paying that amount for Owen, but wouldn't mind if the Liverpool board finance it themselves, instead of using up Benitez's transfer budget.

The signing of Craig Bellamy now looks very likely, but it's yet to be seen if Benitez will settle with Bellamy, Fowler and Crouch as his attacking force, not to mention that Sinama Pongolle is still at the club.

Transfer Market latest
June 13, 2006, 1:29 pm
Filed under: European Football, Premier League, Transfer Market

UEFA Cup winners Sevilla have signed Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen from Schalke 04 on a three-year contract, the Primera Liga club said on Tuesday. The 26-year-old, who joined Schalke from FC Copenhagen in 2002, was a member of the Denmark sides who competed in the 2002 World Cup finals and Euro 2004.

Middlesbrough have signed Chelsea and German defender Robert Huth for £5million deal. He is the first signing for new Boro coach Gareth Southgate. "I'm absolutely delighted that Robert is my first signing," said Southgate. "He's a player who has already benefited from Premiership, European and international experience." Huth is currently in Germany with the host nation for the World Cup Finals.

Arsene Wenger has again moved into the European market to land a talented youngster by signing 17-year-old Vincent van den Berg from Heerenveen for £30,000. Wenger, who snatched Cesc Febregas from under the nose of Barcelona while he was still a teenager, is hoping that van den Berg will have the same success.

Roy Keane retires
June 13, 2006, 1:14 pm
Filed under: European Football, Premier League

Roy Keane has announced his retirement due to Injury. The Irish released a statement saying that's he's quitting because he sucked ever since he moved to Celtic following medical advice.

"Having received medical advice from my surgeon and the Celtic club doctor, I feel my only option is to retire. I would like to send the manager, the staff, players and supporters my very best wishes for the future." said the 34-year old.

Keane announced his international retirement in October 2005 and on November 1 his blunt assessment of the 4-1 Premiership humiliation at Middlesbrough was pulled off the MUTV schedules. Seventeen days later he left United by mutual consent and on December 15 he signed for Celtic in an 18-month deal.

Benitez calls for FIFA compensation
June 10, 2006, 2:18 pm
Filed under: European Football, Premier League, World Cup 2006

Not only Liverpool will not be able to sell Cisse this summer, but they will have to pay up to 4 months of wages for a player that will not play. Thus Benitez has called for FIFA to compensate clubs who's players are injured during or preparing for the World Cup. 

"When I spoke at the Uefa coaches meeting last season, this was one of the important issues I raised," said Benitez.

"In this situation, we have a player who has cost Liverpool a lot of money injured preparing for a World Cup. Now we have to face the cost. There are wages to pay and also we can't sell the player. It's clear there is a problem with the rules. As a club, not only have we lost a player we have lost big money. I believe Fifa or the national associations should pay the clubs in these situations. Fifa is a very wealthy organisation and they make a lot of money from the World Cup. They should insure the value of the players they want to participate. If they're not prepared to pay for this, okay, maybe the clubs should say the players can't play. If a team loses one of its most important players, it can make a big difference to their season and determine if they compete for the title or fight against relegation. I know there are some associations who are less wealthy, particularly among the African nations, but in those situations Fifa should help because they make a lot of money, particularly during a World Cup. I know Liverpool has suffered a lot because of the rules. This time it's Cisse, but last year we had a problem with Milan Baros when he was injured playing for the Czechs," he told Sky.

Cisse's injury was a big blow for Liverpool, especially for their transfer dealings, as they were on the verge of selling the player. Linked with the likes of Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Alves, Liverpool will now have to opt for cheaper options. Craig Bellamy and Jermaine Pennant are two examples.