Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou brings guest coverage of all the day’s Premier League rumours.Â
Yes the transfer window may be down, but that shouldnâ€™t get in the way of a bit of rumour-mongering. Just look at the tabloid back-pages and football websites and they are full of what may or may not happen in four months time.
Arsenal and Manchester City are chasing after Torino winger Alessandro Rosina (various). Sources at the club have claimed that both Sven Goran Eriksson and Arsene Wenger are ready to meet the Â£10m valuation for the Italian youngster, who is stalling over a new contract at the Stadio delle Alpi. The tiny 23-year -old helped keep his side just above the relegation line last term after helping them to promotion the previous season. He is also close to a national call up, he has already put in two great performances on the wing this season helping his side to successive draws with a goal in each game.
Apparently Torino will offer Rosina half a million a year plus bonuses in order to keep him from seeking a move away from the club he joined from Parma in 2005. His agents have apparently laughed in the face of this offer (literally), and are looking to seek a big bucks deal in the Premier League, and hence the interest from the Emirates and Eastlands. Yes, Â£10m is a lot of money to bid for a talent that has in effect one full season of top level experience, but I feel that the sum put on his head by the Turin side will scare off any prospective buyer and thus a deal will not be done.
The name Johan Elmander is back on the rumour radar, apparently he is unsettled at Toulouse (various), which is hardly surprising after he unsuccessfully tried to win a move away from French side by selling himself to any bidders, hoping that his performance against Liverpool in Champions League qualifying would earn him a move into the big-time. Instead he was pretty non-descript as they were put to the sword by Rafa Benitezâ€™s men.
The big Swede is apparently also a target for Manchester United and Barcelona, but his long Toulouse contract is proving an interference. Elmander is tied to Toulouse until 2010, silly boy shouldnâ€™t have signed such a long deal if he didnâ€™t want to stay! Johann remains hopeful of getting a move to England or Spain in January. My guess is that when he finally bores and irritates all of his colleagues in south west France then he will be allowed to leave, but if it is to any of the high-level teams I have mentioned in this article then I will personally pay his first week of wages! More likely he will end up at a lower level La Liga side.
Englandâ€™s sorry excuse for a boss is in bullish mood right now and is trying to instill some fear into club managerâ€™s hearts and minds over possible player pull-outs ahead of the big Euro 2008 qualifiers (various). The bumbling buffoon Steve McClaren said: “Steven played with an injection against Chelsea a few weeks ago, and I have to do what I have to do to ensure we get the best players available for us and to help us win this game on Saturday.” You have to feel a little sorry for the former Boro boss over this problem, there are some players who appear to have little heart when pulling on the three lions shirt, and there are even some who avoid friendlies like the plague, now it appears that this problem is creeping into vital national matches.
However he has picked the wrong player to start a fight over Stevie G is the kind of player who would play for his country if he was missing a leg and if it were up to him he would take 100 needle injections if it was to get him fit and running for his national pride.
England’s medical staff are still hopeful Gerrard can get through the match without the need for any painkilling injections, which can go on to cause more harm than good in the long-term, something that Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is understandably keen to avoid. McClaren is ready to go to war with Liverpool after refusing to rule out fielding Steven Gerrard with painkillers this week. His further comments will really stir up the heat on this cauldron of a club-vs-idiot row “We’d take whatever action is needed to get him on that field. But we will take Liverpool into consideration and speak to Rafa and the medical team.” But when asked if he had the ultimate power to decide whether or not Gerrard plays, McClaren replied: “Yes, I think I have.”
Newcastle keeper Shay Given will have ‘showdown’ talks with Toon boss Sam Allardyce when he returns from international duty after being replaced by Steve Harper in goal against Wigan at the weekend (Daily Mail). This is an interesting one. Given is a great keeper, and I am a big fan, I have stated that in my opinion he is the best keeper in the Premier League. Now his long-term replacement Steve Harper, 50 league starts in 14 years, seems to be given a bit of a run in the side, now it appears even with a fit again Irish international keeper, the Geordie is being given a fair crack of the whip. It would be unfair to suggest that Harper follows Shay and places obstacles such as banana skins, drawing pins and crushed Xmas baubles in his path on the off chance that they will inflict the kind of injury that will lead to him pulling on that beloved black and white jersey. However the 32-year-old must be secretly delighted to get a game and maybe it’s only fair that he gets a few more games before the fully fit and match ready Given gets his place back.