This time it’s Sportingo.com’s Mark Rivlin providing an update on the Premier League’s hot gossipÂ
Chelsea‘s Russian owner Roman Abramovich is offering each player of his national team a Â£40,000 bonus to beat England in the Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley tonight. (various). But a Chelsea statement said: “Abramovich has never offered, proposed or promised any bonuses to the Russian team to beat England.” Either way, here’s a compromise solution; Roman. Put your hand in your pocket and cough up the same amount for Sportingo editors and we promise there won’t be one spelin mishtak ever again on the site.
Tottenham manager Martin Jol is ready to take a gamble on Aaron Lennon by playing the winger, who had knee surgery this summer, in the north London derby against Arsenal. (The Sun). This is make or break for Jol; by 5pm on Saturday he could be stacking shelves in Tesco. Risking a player who may not be 100 per cent fit against a rampaging Arsenal may not be the best tactical move.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are happy to talk talk but not sell sell. Chairman Peter Hill-Wood says he is willing to talk to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov – but not about selling the Gunners (bbc.co.uk). Hill-Wood told BBC Sport: “The major shareholders have no intention of selling and wouldn’t welcome an offer. But we will have a dialogue with any principal or major shareholder.” So it would be good to be a fly on the wall and listen to the sound of silence.
Chelsea have been given permission to speak to Millwall’s academy keeper Sam Walker, 15, after having a Â£500,000 bid accepted (The Sun). According to the same paper the club have banned Premier League scouts from watching academy games without club clearance. Millwall boss Willie Donachie said: “They are trying to poach our players and we don’t want them sniffing around.” As they say, Willie, the smell of Roman’s roubles may make the League One club come up smelling of roses.
Talking of a ‘mugging’ in the literal sense of the word, a man has pleaded guilty to assault (nothing to do with Millwall). This time the victim was Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson at a London railway station (bbc.co.uk). Kevin Reynolds, 43, admitted punching Sir Alex in the groin before butting a police officer earlier in the week. Reynolds was warned by magistrates that he faces a jail sentence when he appears at Crown Court. Sir Alex was born in Glasgow, is not believed to have been badly hurt.
Derby County have distanced themselves from reports that they are lining up Paul Jewell to replace manager Billy Davies (various). County are languishing rock bottom of the table without a win after five games and there were also problems with Davies signing his contract after the club beat West Brom in the play-off final in May. The manager signed in July and his contract has another three years to run. Derby chief executive Trevor Birch said: “The story is absolute nonsense and we want to nip it in the bud straight away.”
Yes, Jewell has a good track record in keeping teams up but after saving Wigan last season he looked like the pressures of the job had got the better of him and left management.Â It seems a tad early in the season to be hiring and firing; two victories and Davies will have the freedom of Derby. Such is the fickle nature of football.