Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou provides guest coverage of the Premier League’s hot gossip.Â
Newcastle keeper Shay Given will apparently seek talks with boss Sam Allardyce if he does not play against Derby tomorrow (Sunday People). This news has started a whirl of speculation as to where the fantastic Irish keeper may find himself if Big Sam continues to opt for long-time understudy Steve Harper.
Arsenal are the latest to be connected with a move for Given (various). Their interest, if it is indeed true, would not be surprising as they would find themselves with a natural first-choice stopper – although Manuel Almunia has been filing in manly between the sticks for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger will be keen to snap up a top-quality replacement for the seemingly exit-bound Jens Lehmann, who has bungled one to many for the Frenchman. The 31-year-old Ireland international would be a great purchase, but just how likely is it that Newcastle would let their fans’ favourite simply be frozen out at St James Park?
I get the impression that Given is more than happy to stay a Geordie favourite but he is understandably keen to find out what future he has as a Toon Army hero. I am sure he will patch up things with Big Sam, but if he doesn’t then I think the Emirates would be the most likely destination for the safest hands in the Premier League.
Unhappy Peter Crouch is set to quit Liverpool (Sunday Express), and apparently Manchester City boss Sven Goran Eriksson, the man who gave him international recognition, is justing waiting to pounce. Crouch’s season is not shaping up as he would have hoped after leading the goalscoring list last term. He is increasingly finding himself surplus to requirements at Anfield and stalling on a new three-year contract – and he has even lost his England place to former Liverpool ‘favourite’ (joke) Emile Heskey.
What now for the giant? Well, a move to Eastlands would at least almost certainly guarantee him regular first-team football. Juventus are also said to be interested (various), but how likely is Crouch to jump the Turin club’s queue that already includes Vincenzo Iaquinta, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet? Add to that the fact that Claudio Ranieri’s side haven’t exactly struggled thus far on their Serie A return and goalscoring doesn’t appear to be a problem as they have bagged eight goals in their first two games.
By January, both Liverpool and Crouch will know where they stand. It seems likely to me that the former Aston Villa man will pack up his bags and leave to find first-team football as a place in England’s Euro 2008 squad is by no means assured if he can’t even get a regular starting spot under Rafa.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for Martin Jol following the humiliating defeat against Arsenal and growing concerns for his job, it seems that former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is being touted as his imminent replacement as Spurs boss (Mail on Sunday).
The French veteran has become something of a figure of fun following his up and down time at the Liverpool helm. Winning numerous cups without seriously challenging for the league has done little to place him alongside managerial legends from Anfield’s past. His eye for big signings which crashed and burned were something he became known for – however, he did continue the good work that Paul Le Guen had started at Lyon and is undoubtedly a quality manager.
However, Houllier’s name is just the latest in the seemingly-endless list of targets invented by the media with which to bash Jol over the head. Apart from anything else, he took a chosen leave of absence from the game only a few months ago and is unlikely to be after a high-pressure Premier League job quite so soon. Who knows what will happen in the future, though?
West Ham and Aston Villa are both keeping a close eye on veteran Reggina striker Nicola Amoruso (various). Amoruso, who has had two spells at Juventus and has been back in form over the last couple of seasons at the Serie A minnows, declared last week he’d like to end his career with Reggina. But interest from Villa and West Ham has turned his head and he appears to favour a last hurrah in the Premier League. Could be worth a short term deal but not much more as the 33-year-old doesn’t exactly have his whole career in front of him. Hopefully more Fabrizio Ravanelli than Andreas Silenzi
AC Milan could be preparing a bid for Chelsea‘s Michael Ballack (The People). Good luck with that.