Transfer News

Many deals have already been agreed and many deals are yet to be agreed but here are some of the latest bits n' pieces that you might want to take a look at. Mark Delaney has handed in a transfer request at Aston Villa after not being granted a new deal.The Wales international returned from injury in Saturday's home defeat to Manchester United but has grown frustrated at the club's reluctance to discuss fresh terms. His contract at Villa Park is due to expire at the end of the season but he has said he wants to leave so watch out to see how that one develops over January.

Wigan Athletic have completed the signing of Brann Bergen's Paul Scharner.The Austrian centre half has inked a three-and-a-half year deal with the club that will see him move on a free transfer from South West Norway once the transfer window opens in January."Wigan is a club in a great position with a big ambition," Scharner told the club's official website."They want to be one of the best clubs in the country and that is exactly the same for me. To play in the Premiership is a dream for me because, as a player, you want to test yourself against the best. Interesting little deal their by Wigan because I have heard he is a decent player.

And finally, a bit of news from around the rest of Europe. Valencia's Italian striker Marco Di Vaio has joined French side Monaco on a six-month loan contract with the option of a permanent deal. The Italian has found himself frozen out at The Mestalla following the summer arrival of David Villa.He has made only two league starts this term and is desperate for regular action to try and boost his hopes of being named in Italy's World Cup squad. I think this is a great deal by Monaco because I believe Di Vaio is a handy little striker and I hope he does well their.

By the way, be sure to keep checking the blog especially in January because of the Transfer Window and you will be sure you get all the latest news and gossip from the footballing world.


Burley named Saints boss

Former Hearts boss George Burley has been named new Southampton manager after former Saints boss Harry Redknapp left last month. Sir Clive Woodward has been appointed director of football at the club. Burley who has been out of football since his infamous departure from Scotish Premier League side Hearts and he has been linked with several big named clubs since.

I believe this is a good appointment for The South Coast club. Burley has a good track record and I would think he is dieing to get back into the game after the whole Hearts thingy. I have no idea how long the deal is but I would think it would be around two years or so. Good luck to Burley and the Saints.


Mixed news on the Gunners injury front

Arsenal have been given some mixed news with regard injuries picked up in last night's Carling Cup victory over League 1 side Doncaster. Dutch winger/striker Quincy Owusu Abeyie is set to be on the sidelines for up to six weeks with a knee injury while fellow Dutch man Robin Van Persie looks as though he might be fit for the busy Christmas period after he also picked up a knee injury last night and was taken off after only 33 minutes.

"Van Persie has a knock over his knee," Gunners chief Arsene Wenger told the club's website. "I don't know how long it will be for him but it looks quite swollen."Owusu Abeyie's problem appears to be more serious, with medial ligament damage set to keep him out of action until
February."Quincy has a medial knee ligament [injury], that looks a four to six-week job," added Wenger.

I personaly think that Arsenal would of prefered this outcome against the outcome that Van Persie would be out for six weeks and Quincy be back sooner than him ( with all due respect to Quincy). Van Persie has played well this season and Arsene Wenger will be hoping and praying that he will be available for their Boxing Day trip to The Valley to play Charlton.


Xavier's appeal unsurprisingly turned down

Portugese defender Abel Xavier has had his 18 month drug's ban appeal turned down (not surprisingly). Xavier tested positive for a banned substance nearly three months ago after Boro's UEFA Cup game against Xanthi. He has simultaneously denied any wrong doing and is understood to of told UEFA he unknowingly took the drug in a contaimed substance.

Look at that hair

The defender can now either accept the punishment or appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. A Uefa statement said: "Middlesbrough FC defender Abel Xavier has failed in his appeal against an 18-month suspension for a breach of anti-doping regulations." Xavier has 10 days to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport once he has been notified in writing of Uefa's decision. Middlesbrough have said they will not make any comment on the situation until they receive the decision in writing.

Ths decision has come as no surprise at all to me and I think Abel should just count himself lucky that it wasn't a longer ban. I can't see him appealing again because he knows he hasn't got a chance of them reducing the ban at all. I hope that Xavier can just get on with it and hope a club might sign him when the ban has ended.


Ronaldinho awarded player of the year award

Ronaldinho has added yet another award to his growing cabenit after he bagged world player of the year tonight beatting Barca team mate Samuel Eto'o and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. The Brazilian gained 960 points in the poll of national coaches and captains. England midfielder Frank Lampard was second with 429 points and Ronaldinho's team-mate, Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon, third with 190. Ronaldinho, named European footballer of the year this month, said: "I want to dedicate this award to my teammates, without whom I would not be here."

Ronaldinho added: "I also dedicate it to my family and also to God because he gave me the health to do what I love the most." Ronaldinho is only the third player to have been voted world player of the year more than once, following his compatriot Ronaldo (1996, 1997 and 2002) and French star Zinedine Zidane (1998, 2000 and 2003).

Before the award was even awarded you knew it was gonna be given to the wizard himself, Ronaldinho. Yeh I know Lampard and Eto'o are good players but not half as good as the man himself. Ronaldinho has been simply outstanding ever since he moved to Barca from PSG.


Ben Haim on way to Chelsea?

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has today said that he feels talk of Chelsea's reported interest in defender Tal Ben Haim could have an inkling of truth about it.The Israeli international has impressed everyone at The Reebok since arriving in the North West from Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer, with a series of excellent performances having not gone unnoticed elsewhere. Chelsea are well stocked in terms of central defenders but with talk of possible departures for Robert Huth and William Gallas , a move for Ben Haim is not out of the question. Allardyce has confirmed that Chelsea officials have reassured their Bolton officials that any approach would only be through official channels, adding that he can only now wait to see if a bid is made to Bolton.

''There's normally no smoke without fire,'' Allardyce told Sky Sports News. ''I think the chairman has spoken to someone at Chelsea who says if they were interested they would contact him, but again you can't always say that's the truth these days. ''In the end we will only find out by fact but that at this moment in time, there's been no contact from Chelsea football club to our football club regarding Tel Ben Haim and the sale of his registration to their club. ''At the moment it lies as pure speculation but then of course when Pini Zahavi gets mentioned in terms of the equation, you know how good a representative and how good an agent the man is, so there has to be perhaps something in it, like I said.

''At this moment we're only naive to the fact that it's only paper talk. The problem is if in January we already have five players leaving for the African Nations Cup, Tal going makes six and you can't replace him. It's that simple. ''The club can't really look at any offer for Tal Ben Haim in January.''

This is quite a surprising story for me because I personaly couldn't see Ben Haim playing for Chelsea (with all due respect). He has performed well this season for Bolton but I don't think he has done enough for me to earn a place in a Chelsea squad. I don't think Bolton boss "Big Sam" would be very happy if he lost a key player like Ben Haim during the January transfer window and I have also heard a rumor today that Jaaskilinean could be moving to Arsenal.


Birmingham injury blow

Birmingham have today found out that their Dutch defender Mario Melchiot is almost certain to be unavailable for the busy Christmas period. The Birmingham City defender has been speaking to the media in Holland and revealed his frustration at the injury niggles that are affecting his progress. "I gave a normal pass and felt directly that something ripped," he told Voetbal International."I am very disappointed.

"The team needs me at this difficult time."I haven't had such a series of injuries in my whole career."The 29-year-old will be hoping the problem is not too serious as the Midlands outfit look to build on Saturday's win over Fulham. However, Dutch sources claim the injury will sideline Melchiot for up to six weeks.

This isn't the best new for Birmingham boss Steve Bruce as his side have had a very bad spell of form of late and just got their first win for several weeks, and now they get the news that one of their key players is injured. Melchiot has been a key player for Birmingham ever since joining the club last season from Chelsea, and this will be a big blow for the midlands club.


World Cup Draw

Here is the full draw for next year's World Cup in Germany:

Costa Rica

Trinidad & Tobago

Ivory Coast
Serbia & Montenegro


Czech Republic


South Korea

Saudi Arabia

My favourites for the World Cup: Brazil
My dark horses for the World Cup: England
Best group: Group E


Harry returns to Pompey

Harry Redknapp has returned to the hot seat at Portsmouth after he walked out on the South Coast club only 11 months ago, and he went to bitter rivals Southampton. In the season Harry was at Southampton they were relagated. The 58-year-old said: "It took me less than a minute to sign the contract, it didn't even have any figures on it. "The key to coming back was that Milan [Mandaric] wanted me and was big enough to say 'Harry, I want you back'."

Harry and Milan back together again

Redknapp's return to Fratton Park signals the end of one of football's biggest soap operas. The former West Ham manager is now back after chairmen Mandaric and Southampton couterpart Rupert Lowe agreed an undisclosed compensation package. Redknapp takes charge of a Portsmouth team in the Premiership's bottom three and has agreed a contract until the end of the season. "If we stay up we'll sit down and talk about it. It's not a money situation or a long contract, I just wanted to come back," he said.

I couldn't really see anyone else becoming the new Pompey boss after Harry left Pompey last week. I believe Pompey fans will be happy because since he left they have really really struggled and Harry said today in the press conference that he will keep Pompey up and I think he will be able to do just that. I have to be honest, although I am not a Pompey fan I am very happy because I think Harry is made for that club and the fans adore him (well the definetly used to adore him).


Eight teams seeded for World Cup draw

Eight teams have been seeded for Friday's much awaited World Cup 2006 draw. The list includes England, holders Brazil, Spain, hosts Germany, Italy, Mexico, France and Argentina. England will now avoid meeting those countries in the group stages when the main draw for the tournament is made in Leipzig on Friday evening.

Under the seeding system used by Fifa, England came out second to Brazil and Italy narrowly beat the US into eighth. Fifa's ranking co-efficient meant that performances at the 2002 World Cup, when England reached the quarter-finals, were given twice as much weight as at 1998. They also took into account a country's world ranking over the last three years.

They also took into account a country's world ranking over the last three years.

Brazil 64
England 51
Spain 50
Germany 48
Mexico 47
France 46
Argentina 44
Italy 44

For full report click here


Redknapp quits Saints

Harry Redknapp has left Southampton after only a short spell at the club. This news further increases rumours that Redknapp will move back to Saints bitter rivals Portsmouth, the club he left last season. In a statement on the Saints' official website, chairman Rupert Lowe revealed Redknapp told him on Friday it was now "impossible" for him to stay. "He told me he regarded his employment with the club as being at an end. Accordingly I have placed Dave Bassett in charge against Burnley," said Lowe. Former England rugby boss Sir Clive Woodward, now technical director at St Mary's, is widely regarded as a candidate to replace Redknapp.

In a lengthy statement, Lowe said he made "no apologies for setting out a detailed chronology" of the "extraordinary" events of the past few days. After Neil Warnock revealed he would be staying at Sheffield United, Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric turned his attentions to Redknapp, who left Fratton Park just over a year ago and joined Saints two weeks later. Mandaric approached Southampton for permission to speak to Redknapp on Thursday.

I wasn't really excpecting this news so soon but I was excpeting him to become new Pompey manager after Alain Perrin was sacked last week. I don't think that Southampton should appoint Sir Clive Woodward as new coach because he has no experience of being a football coach although Arsene Wenger has backed him to become new Saints boss.


Who will be next Pompey boss?

Who will be next Pompey boss? Well that's a good question that I would love to know. I have heard plenty of name like George Burley, Harry Reddknap, Brian Kerr, Lawrie Sanchez, I could go on for days. One person I know who defeinetly isn't taking over at Fratton Park is Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock after he held talks with the South Coast club but has decided to stay and try and get into the Premiership with United.I would love to know who is going to take over, so why not give your suggestions, just leave a comment.


Neville named new Red Devils Captain

Gary Neville has been appointed captain of Manchester United after former captain Roy Keane left the club last month. Ferguson had drawn up a short-list of three, including Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy, who skippered United in the aftermath of Keane's departure. However, with Neville recovered from the groin injury which had ruled him out for most of this season, Ferguson has handed him the captain's armband. "Given the service Gary has given this club, it is the right decision," said Ferguson.

"Ryan was under consideration, but you cannot expect someone of his age to be running up and down the touchline every game. "He will still play a lot of matches for us, but we want to try and keep the freshness in his legs, so he will not play every week." Neville has been at Old Trafford for 12 years and is approaching 500 appearances for the club.

Good news for all United fans because Neville will be a great captain. He is pationet, brave and hardworking and I would love to see hime do well while he is captain. Neville is thiry years old but he should still be their for a couple of years to come. I didn't see Van Nistelrooy becoming captain because I just don't think he is cut out to be a captain of a very very top side.


Ballack offered to two clubs

Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Ballack has been offered to both Real Madrid and Chelsea. Chelsea's cheif executive Peter Kenyon said that the club had been approached about buying the German international, who will be out of contract at the end of the season. Spanish giants Real Madrid have also been given permission to negotiate with the 29 year-old."Ballack has been offered to Chelsea and Real Madrid," said Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"I have a good friendship with Florentino Perez of Real Madrid and with Peter Kenyon of Chelsea, and both have informed me of everything that has happened." Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane wants Ballack to join his team even though it would mean increased competition for him. "If there is someone with the qualities for Real Madrid, then that is Ballack," Zidane told German newspaper Bild. "I won't give up my place that easily, but we would welcome him with open arms. He is in great form this season."

This has happened before with Man United when they were very keen on signing a player and then Chelsea came in and took him (Micheal Essien and Arjen Robben most notablly). I personaly believe that Ballack is a quality player and any side would love to have him in their team. I would prefer to see him go to Real because I don't think that Chelsea need him because they already have Lampard, Makelele and Essien and it would be a shame if he was to be sitting on the bench every week and also I think it would further ruin the Premiership for all the other teams chasing Chelsea.