Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou brings daily coverage of the Premier League’s hot gossip.
Fresh speculation ahead of the North London derby as it appears that Messrs Jol and Wenger are after the same man. Tottenham have been linked with Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who is in contract talks at the Reebok (various). The self-same stopper is also on the shortlist to replace bungling Jens Lehmann at the Emirates (The People).
Jaaskelainen has a pretty safe pair of hands and has been linked to a number of clubs in recent seasons. Now it appears that the Finn is ready to move on to pastures new. Letâ€™s face it, Spurs and Arsenalâ€™s current keepers have both come in for stick, but they are also two pretty reliable custodians, with Jens far the most bungle-likely numero uno.
Jussi wonâ€™t be happy with being a bench-warmer waiting for an injury, so I see no merit in him going to White Hart Lane as Paul Robinson still commands respect there. Lehmann, on the other hand, is on his way out and whilst Manuel Almunia is good, I think that Jussi is better. And with Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone still not quite ready to be thrown in at the deep end, Arsene needs a keeper so if not Jaaskelainen, then who? You tell me, though I do know that Celticâ€™s Artur Boruc is also firmly in the picture (see todayâ€™s other rumours piece for more thoughts on this)
Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini is said to be a huge admirer of Liverpoolâ€™s battling midfielder Momo Sissoko and would love to prise him away from Anfield (tuttosport). The former Lazio and Italy striker reportedly rates the Mali international at the head of his shopping list, which also includes Barcelonaâ€™s Deco and Radoslaw Kovac of Spartak Moscow.
Now whether Mancini is a fan or not, Rafa Benitez clearly will not let one of his top performers leave in the middle of his Red-olution. Kop favourite Momo has only recently signed a new four-year contract so I think this rumour should stay firmly in the heads of those that report for the Italian dailies and remain just a dream for Roberto.
West Hamâ€™s Aussie defender Lucas Neill is on his way to his homeland to captain his country in a re-arranged friendly against Argentina, a move that is said to have angered both his club and their supporters (various).
Neill will lead the Socceroos in what on the face of it looks like a pretty meaningless game. The Upton Park skipper pleaded his case thus: “As always thereâ€™s pressure. But itâ€™s the ultimate goal to play for your country in games like this one, and Iâ€™ve been looking forward to this game for a while. As we all know, it was meant to be in June. Itâ€™s a no-brainer to be asked to come back and play against Argentina in front of hopefully 80,000 people.â€
He went on to make a point that you wish rang true for some of those who wear the England shirt “Even if it was against the Solomon Islands in front of 15,000, it’s the same – you want to play for Australia.”
I understand the irritation caused to a club when a player chooses to represent his country in games that on the face of it seem pointless. However, it is refreshing to see a footballer showing just how important it is to him to play for his country. It does make you wonder why Australia and Argentina are playing a friendly all those miles away when most of the protagonists will be playing in European leagues. Next time, why not schedule the friendly slap bang in the middle of the Europe as they could probably fill most grounds with Aussies working overseas. Just an idea.
Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce is giving a trial to Brazilian defender Ze Maria (various). The attacking full-back is getting on a bit but has bags of experience and is also without a contract at present and therefore well worth taking a look at. The success of Brazilians in the Premier League is limited but this could be a short-term deal that could work for the Toon Army.
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