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Premier League Hot Gossip: West Ham, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United

Sportingo.com’s Mark Apostolou brings daily coverage of the Premier League’s hot gossip. 

West Ham midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has admitted he didn’t want to leave Arsenal (The Times). The Swedish international was a crucial cog in the Arsene Wenger wheel for most of his nine-year tenure in north London and he has now spoken of the tough decision he had to make during the summer.

The part-time underwear model said: “It was a very tough decision to leave. I had been at Arsenal for most of my adult life. I had a great relationship with the Arsenal fans, and the manager wanted me to stay. In my time at Highbury and in the Emirates Stadium we won everything except the European Cup, and in this we came so close.


“When they (West Ham) asked me to be part of this, it appealed to me. It’s not unrealistic to say that we want to qualify for Europe this season. This is what we’re aiming for and we have a chance.”

It was indeed a brave move to make and it showed that Freddie was keen to give a new challenge a chance. He seemed to be going through the motions somewhat in recent seasons and last term he seemed a shell of the man who was integral in much of the Gunners’ success under Wenger. At West Ham he has the chance of being part of a club who are pushing in the right direction and he can help the Upton Park side become a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League in seasons to come.

From one Freddie to another – no, not Freddie Krueger, but someone else who is not too popular. Sevilla and ex-West Ham and Spurs striker Fredi Kanoute has decided to but his nose into his former club’s affairs and has urged former teammate Jermain Defoe to quit White Hart Lane (various).

Kanoute said: “When I played against Jermain last year, I asked him why he doesn’t start and he just said ‘the gaffer chooses the team.’ I watch the Premier League a lot and he never seems to be playing. I didn’t get on very well with Jol and maybe this is the same story for him.”

Let’s put aside the Mali international for a second; it is true that Defoe seems pretty unwelcome at Spurs at present? He put in a blinder in the annihilation of Famagusta in the UEFA Cup and I am sure many expected that this performance might have helped him secure his first Premier League start of the campaign. Instead he found himself out of the squad altogether for the second league game running.

This situation needs to be nipped in the bud; on the one hand we have a player unwilling to sign a contract until he knows where he fits into the manager’s plans and on the other we have a manager unwilling to play a player who may seem to not want to commit to a club. It’s yet another headache Tottenham didn’t need in this, the season they were expected to make the leap into the top four. What do Spurs fans think is the way out of this mire?

Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso has spoken out over the decision to let former assistant manager Pako Ayesteran leave Anfield (The Sun). The Spaniard half-way line marksman said: “I spoke to him when we knew he was not going to continue. It’s normal as we were very close. It was difficult for all the players, not just me. We have been working so close to him for a long time. It has not been easy.

”The training has changed a little bit because we had been working for him for three seasons and the start of this season. It will take a little bit of time to get used to the new situation because we were really close to him at all the training sessions. Time will tell how it goes for us. We can’t look back, we have to carry on our early form.”

Things have stuttered in recent weeks in the red half of Merseyside, although nothing too ground-shaking as the media would have you believe. They are, after all, still unbeaten this season, which is more than can be said for some of their rivals. Losing such a key figure as Ayesteran is bound to unsettle a squad, however, though  I am sure that all the requisite parts of Rafa Benitez’s staff are 100% behind the boss, who is doing a great job at Anfield.

Chelsea captain John Terry has come out of the whole Jose/Roman saga pretty bloodied with many questioning the defender’s involvement in the decision by both Mourinho and Abramovich to end the Special One’s reign at Stamford Bridge. However, Blues hero Terry apparently texted Mourinho three times in the 24 hours before the defeat against Man United to reassure his former boss that the defender did not betray him (Daily Express).

What happened to actually making a phone call? As Bob Hoskins used to shout in an annoyingly loud voice many years ago, “It’s good to talk”.