Sportingo.com’s Philip Smith brings guest coverage of the Premier League’s hot gossip.Â
In the aftermath of Jose Mourinhoâ€™s departure, I guess itâ€™s inevitable that Chelsea are going to be at the centre of transfer speculation in both the managerial and player departments.
Yesterday we were led to believe that Marco van Basten was in the No.1 slot, thanks to his relationship with Chelseaâ€™s technical director, Frank Arnesen. Today, Guus Hiddink has given the boat a slight rock by claiming that Roman Abramovich has asked him to take over as coach.
Now this wouldnâ€™t have anything to do with the Russian connection, would it? Hiddink is presently manager of the Russian national team that seems to be heading for Euro 2008 in the same group as England, and Abramovich pays half of Hiddink’s Â£1.2m-a-year salary.
According to the Daily Express, Abramovich asked Guus what he fancied next, to which he replied that he first of all wanted to concentrate on Russia, and then â€œsee what happens.â€
But Hiddink did flash a warning light. â€œWe like living in Moscow and they seem to like us. They want us to stay for another two years after the European Championships,â€ he told the Express. So, Van Basten, Jurgen Klinsmann, Hiddink? Place your bets now.
Barcelona are getting a bit tetchy over reports linking Chelsea with their super prize asset, Ronaldhino. Theyâ€™ve come out with the stock response to all the rumours: â€œRonaldinho is not for sale; heâ€™s going nowhere.â€
BUT The Sun reveals today that the Brazilian bombshell can leave the Catalan club for as little as Â£14m by virtue of a FIFA rule that allows him to buy out the remaining two years of his Barca contract.
Any player aged 28 or over, who has played for the same club for five years or more, can buy his freedom, and the fact that Ronaldinho is becoming more and more frustrated at not being able to agree a new long-term agreement at the Nou Camp adds credence to this mega rumour.
Thereâ€™s a great deal of speculation surrounding the Barcelona camp at the moment, but Ronaldinhoâ€™s brother, Roberto De Assis, reckons there is no truth to the rumour that he has had a big fall-out with coach Frank Rijkaard. However, he wouldnâ€™t deny that his sibling could leave Barcelona.
â€œIn football everything changes so quickly. He has an idyllic life at Barcelona but I can’t say he will never leave,” Roberto told The Sun.
Speculation over Ronaldinho’s future has intensified after he missed the clubâ€™s latest wins over Sevilla and Real Zaragoza.
All kinds of figures have been thrown around about the amount of money Arsenal paid to Chelsea for Lassana Diarra. Anything from Â£1m to Â£10m. Now Arsene Wenger has revealed that the 22-year-old French international crossed the city for â€œjust Â£2m.â€
After Diarra’s superb performance in Tuesday’s Carling Cup victory over Newcastle, Wenger could not resist revealing just how little he paid for the midfielder. He told the Daily Star:Â â€œI must say it was for a lot less than the numbers in the papers – just Â£2m.”
Thatâ€™s the same amount of money Swindon manager Paul Sturrock reckons will be needed if Everton want to sign goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Brezovan has been training with the Toffees this week.
Read more Everton gossip on the