Spurs make £30 million bid for English trio

Tottenham have reportedly made a £30 million bid for Portsmouth and England trio Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson. All three players have been strongly tipped to leave Fratton Park during the January transfer window after Pompey boss Tony Adams was told he must sell before he can buy in the window.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has been linked with a several different Pompey players since leaving the club back in October to move to White Hart Lane. It is understood that Spurs will have money to spend when the window opens tomorrow and Redknapp is now desperate to add the Pompey trio to his under-achieving Spurs squad.

There is no doubt that Spurs need strikers because at the moment they have Roman Pavlyuchenko (who hasn't done much since his £14 million in the summer), Fraizer Campbell (who is unproven in the Premier League) and Darren Bent (who can't do it all by himself). If Spurs could pull this move off they would be doing extremely well, however I think Pompey will look for somewhere nearer the £40 million mark for three of their most prized assets.

Source : The Guardian


Arsenal ready to re-ignite interest in £8 million United ace

Arsenal are preparing to re-ignite their interest in Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given once the January transfer window opens Thursday. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been told he has money to spend to strengthen the Gunners squad during the window and Given is now understood to be one of his number-one targets.

The Republic of Ireland international has been linked with a move to the Emirates for several months now and an £8 million move has been touted. Given, 32, has in the past admitted he may be forced to leave St James' Park in order to win silverware and Wenger is now ready to make a move for the former Celtic youth keeper.

Personally, I think this would be a cracking signing for Arsenal. I have always rated Given very highly and I feel, although he is 32, he would still prove value for money at £8 million. I wouldn't be surprised to see Arsenal alone in their interest of Given when the transfer window opens next month. Be sure to stay tuned to Football Corner over the busy few weeks ahead.


Nominate Football Corner as Best Sport & Recreation Blog 2009

Nominations for the Irish Blog Awards 2009 have today been opened. Last year Football Corner was nominated for the 'Best Sport & Recreation Blog' (which was a great honour). When the nominations were originally announced, there were a total of 22 blogs left in the running, however that list was cut to just 7 and thankfully we made it through. Unfortunately we didn't win the actual award, however this year we would love to do so.

We would really appreciate it if you went over to the Irish Blog Awards website and nominate Football Corner for the 'Best Sport and Recreation Blog 2009'. Thanks very much. Link


Andrei Arshavin will be an Arsenal player when the transfer window closes

That's the opinion of our readers anyway. Football Corner ran a poll over the last week or so and asked you, the reader, where you thought Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin would be when the transfer window closes and nearly half the voters chose Arsenal.

The Russian international has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks following the news that Gunners captain, Cesc Fabregas will be out of action for the next four months. Here is the full result of the poll :

Arsenal - 142 votes (42%)
Tottenham - 71 votes (22%)
Zenit St Petersburg - 36 votes (11%)
Man United - 22 votes (7%)
Other - 15 votes (4%)
Barcelona - 13 votes (4%)
Chelsea - 11 votes (3%)

Total Votes : 310

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took the time out to vote and I would encourage everyone to take part in our latest poll (which can be found on the top of the sidebar on the right). The latest poll asks you, Where will Jermain Defoe be when the transfer window closes? Get voting.


The race to sign £7 million Premier League striker begins to heat up

The race to sign West Ham United striker Craig Bellamy is beginning to heat up with Tottenham, Aston Villa and Manchester City all understood to be preparing bids for the Welsh international.

The 29-year old looks set to leave Upton Park during the January transfer window as the Hammers need to cash in on some of their most valuable assets in order to balance the books. Harry Redknapp, Martin O'Neill and Mark Hughes are all ready to take advantage of the situation.

West Ham boss Gianfrano Zola is keen to hold onto Bellamy, however it is thought that should a bid of £7 million plus come in for the former Liverpool man, it may be accepted. In recent weeks, Bellamy has begun to show glimpses of the kind of form which earned him a reputation as one of the best strikers in the Premier League but unfortunately for West Ham, it would appear as though he won't be able to continue that form in East London.

The next few weeks should be very interesting regarding the future of Craig Bellamy. Although I have never been a big fan of his, I do think he would be a decent signing for any of the three sides in question at £7 million. I am sure West Ham fans will be gutted to see him go, however with the current financial trouble at the club it seems a question of when he leaves rather than if he leaves.


Barca midfielder rules out possible move to Arsenal

After weeks and months of speculation, Barcelona's Yaya Toure has today admitted he no desire to join Premier League giants Arsenal during the transfer window next month. The Ivorian international had been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates throughout the year, however today he has quashed all rumours of a potential move.

The 25-year old had this to say about a possible move to the Gunners : "I know of Arsenal's interest but I insist I have no desire to seek an exit .... The rumours will not affect my game. My head is with Barcelona. There are no doubts."

This news will come as a bit of a blow to Arene Wenger as he tries to replace his injured captain, Cesc Fabregas. With Toure now definitely not arriving at the club in January, a whole host of other names have already been mentioned. The likes of Andrei Arshavin and Marcos Senna have both been linked with a move to the North London giants in recent weeks as Wenger desperately attempts to bring a new central midfield player to the club.

Personally, I thought Toure would have been a decent signing for Arsenal, however that's not to be. With Wenger admitting yesterday that he intended to spend during the transfer window, it will be very interesting to see who he does bring to the club over the coming weeks. My money would be on Zenit St Petersburg's Andrei Arshavin to arrive at the club.


England striker's £10 million move to Spurs now appears nailed on

Jermain Defoe's possible £10 million move to Tottenham now appears nailed on after the player was dropped to the bench for Portsmouth's 1-0 defeat against Arsenal this afternoon. The England international has been strongly linked with a move to White Hart Lane in recent days after it was revealed Pompey boss Tony Adams will have to sell in January.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is keen to bring Defoe back to North London once the transfer window opens next month as he bids to strengthen his attacking options. The 26-year old only left Spurs last January when then Pompey boss Redknapp signed him for a fee believed to be in the region of £7 million - £9 million.

When asked why he left Defoe on the bench for today's Premier League encounter with Arsenal, Adams claimed it was for tactical reasons. He went on to say : "Jermain was was annoyed and angry - he's had the hump with me ever since and I wouldn't want it any other way to be honest."

I would be very surprised to see Defoe still at Fratton Park when the transfer window closes on February 2nd. I have always been a massive fan of Defoe's and I think, when he is fit, you should start him. Obviously Adams doesn't feel the same way and I feel he will look to cash in on the former West Ham man when the window opens on Thursday.


Arsenal to splash the cash in January

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has today admitted the North London club will be looking to spend when the transfer window opens on Thursday. The Gunners have struggled this season to keep up with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and currently find themselves ten points off the top of the Premier League.

Following the news that club captain Cesc Fabregas will be out of action for the next four months, Wenger has been linked with a whole host of big names and today the Frenchman has admitted he will be looking to strengthen his squad next month.

Andrei Arshavin, Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez are just a few names to have been linked with a move to the Emirates in recent days, however Wenger remained tight lipped when asked about specific targets after today's 1-0 victory against Portsmouth. The Arsenal board recently confirmed that Wenger would definitely have money to spend in the new year, although they failed reveal how much.

Personally, I think Arsenal will have to spend big next month if they are to have any chance of challenging for the title. The loss of Fabregas is huge and I feel they will struggle to find a suitable replacement for the Spaniard. I am sure the majority of Gunners fans will be delighted to hear that Wenger has finally identified the need to spend some money on new players.


Liverpool to make £4 million bid for England striker

Liverpool are to make a £4 million bid for Wigan striker Emile Heskey when the transfer window opens next week. The England international looks more than likely to leave the JJB Stadium in January after Heskey admitted he wasn't interested in extending his current deal at the club (which runs out next summer).

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is keen to add to his attacking options when January comes around and Heskey is seen as a possible acquistion. Heskey, 30, spent four years at Anfield, scoring over 50 goals during his time at the Merseyside club. It is understood that Heskey would be interested in a return to Liverpool, however Wigan boss Steve Bruce is desperate to hold onto one of his most prized assets.

It would not surprise me one bit to see Heskey in a Liverpool shirt come February. In recent months he has began to reproduce the kind of form that made Liverpool cough up £11 million for him back in 2000. I feel he would prove a bit of a bargain should Liverpool snap him up for just £4 million, although I don't think Benitez will be alone in his interest of the player.


Spurs fear for £7 million striker deal

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has today claimed it will be difficult to sign West Ham striker Craig Bellamy should Manchester City follow up their interest in the player. It has been speculated in recent days that Bellamy could move to White Hart Lane in a £7 million deal once the transfer window opens next week, however Redknapp admits they could find it difficult to get their man.

The Welsh international has been in fine form of late, scoring the goal that earned Gianfranco Zola's men a point at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago. Bellamy also bagged two goals away at Portsmouth just yesterday, which has added to the speculation that mega-rich Manchester City may get involved.

When asked about a possible move for the 29-year old, Redknapp had this to say : "I think there will be more offers - Manchester City are supposed to be very interested - but he belongs to West Ham and if they decide they do not want to sell him, then it's up to them .... I'll speak to the chairman, but if Man City are in for him then it is very difficult to compete with them."

I have never been Bellamy's biggest fan and I think Spurs should be looking elsewhere in their bid to bring a new striker to the club. Names like David Villa, Fernando Torres and Luis Fabiano have all been linked with a move to Eastlands in recent months, so personally it doesn't make sense that Mark Hughes would be interested in someone like Craig Bellamy.


Keane inspires Liverpool to Boxing Day victory

Robbie Keane was the hero at Anfield today as Liverpool beat Bolton 3-0 to move back to the top of the Premier League. The Merseyside club had briefly been replaced at the top of the table after Chelsea beat West Brom 2-0 in one of the earlier kick-off's.

Albert Riera put Liverpool ahead 25 minutes into proceedings with a beautiful volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen. It wasn't until after the break that Liverpool wrapped up the victory. Robbie Keane, who has come in for a lot of criticism in recent weeks for his sub-standard displays in the Liverpool shirt made sure of all three points.

He grabbed his first goal just under 10 minutes into the second-half when he fired home after a superb through ball by captain Steven Gerrard. The Republic of Ireland international scored his fifth goal of the Premier League season just moments later after some superb play by Xabi Alonso and Yossi Benayoun in the Reds midfield.

All in all a good win for Rafa Benitez' men. Bolton have been in decent form of late and on paper it looked a tricky enough game, however they made it look easy. This victory sets them up very nicely for their trip to Newcastle on Sunday, which should give us all a good indication as to whether or not they can go on to win the league this campaign.

Elsewhere it finished : Chelsea 2-0 West Brom, Middlesbrough 0-1 Everton, Manchester City 5-1 Hull City, Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal, Sunderland 0-0 Blackburn, Wigan 2-1 Newcastle, Portsmouth 1-4 West Ham, Tottenham 0-0 Fulham, Stoke City 0-1 Manchester United.


Football Corner Christmas Break

Football Corner will be taking a break over the next few days to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.

2008 has been a magnificent year for Football Corner, with many highlights. These include being nominated for Best Sports and Recreation Blog in the Irish Blog Awards 2008 and signing a contract with the Daily Mirror to advertise their fantasy football game, "You the Manager" (speaking of which, now would be a good time to enter your team to win some terrific weekly and monthly prizes).

We at Football Corner would like to thank all of our readers for making this year such a success. So have a wonderful Christmas and make sure get yourself back onto the site on Boxing Day for all the latest news and views of the footballing nature. Look forward to seeing you back on the site very soon.


Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea given the green light to move for £20 million playmaker

Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin now looks set to leave the Russian giants next month after his agent confirmed he will definitely leave in January. This news will come as a massive boost to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, who are all keen to sign the player once the transfer window opens.

The 27-year old has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League over the past few months after Tottenham narrowly missed out on his signature during the summer. It was believed that Spurs were extremly close to signing the Russian international, however Zenit's demands of £24 million ended any possibility of a deal.

The player's agent, Daniel Lachter has today confirmed that he fully expects Arshavin to leave Zenit this January. Lachter had this to say : "He will definitely move in January or the player and club will lose money .... Zenit and Andrei understand that it is time for them to part from each other."

These comments from Arshavin's agent look very promising. I would love to see Arshavin come to England in January because I feel he would prove a tremendous success in this country. With Arsene Wenger keen to bring another midfielder to the Emirates next month following the news that captain Cesc Fabregas will be out for the next four months, I personally think the Gunners are big favourites to capture Arshavin.

Who do you think Arshavin will join? Place your votes in the poll on the top right of the site.


Arsenal skipper out for four months, so could this Barcelona midfielder be the one to step in?

Arsene Wenger has today been rocked by the news that Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will be out for four months after injuring knee ligaments in the side's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

The Spanish international limped off just as the half-time whistle blew on Sunday after a collision with international team-mate Xabi Alonso. Both players went for the ball fully committed and unfortunately for Fabregas he came off the worse.

Wenger had this to say : "The news is not good. It will take three to four months, we count four. He will be working hard to come back earlier but I count four months .... We will miss him, of course, but how much is difficult to say. We have to find a way and we want to find a way to compensate the fact that he is not on the pitch to give everyone a bit more. "

With Fabregas now sidelined for the foreseeable future, it means Wenger is short a central midfield player and many names have already been mentioned. One name which has been repeatedly linked with a move to the Emirates is Barcelona's Yaya Toure.

The 25-year old plays in a not too dissimilar role as the one which Fabregas plays for the Gunners week in week out and a January move for him may now become a reality. Earlier this year, the Ivorian international had this to say about a possible move to North London : "I am aware of the interest from the Premier League .... It would be great to play in a big team with my brother."

No matter who Wenger does eventually bring in, I think they will struggle to fill the boots of Fabregas. Personally, I feel Fabregas is irreplaceable. He is without one of the best players in the world at the moment and without him in the Arsenal side, I can see them struggling to even finish in the top four considering the unbelievable form of Aston Villa this campaign. Get well soon Cesc.


Top 10 footballing moments of 2008

What a year of football 2008 has been. Football Corner has decided to take the opportunity to count down the most memorable footballing moments of the year, enjoy.

10. How can anyone forget England's memorable 4-1 win in Croatia back in September. Fabio Capello's men went into the game as under dogs, however a Theo Walcott hat-trick inspires England to one of their most famous victories of all-time.

David Beckham agrees to join Italian giants AC Milan on a three-month loan deal. Golden Balls claims he needed to leave MLS side LA Galaxy to have a chance of staying in Fabio Capello's plans for national side and AC are only too happy to take him.

Chelsea appoint former Brazil boss Luis Filipe Scolari following the departure of Avram Grant two months earlier. The London club announce the deal whilst Scolari is still the manager of the Portuguese national team (During Euro 2008), much to the annoyance of Portuguese officials.

7. Kevin Keegan returns to St James' Park after nearly 11 years away back in January. However things don't go according to plan and after a falling out with the Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, Keegan quits after eight months in charge.

6. Joe Kinnear's first press conference as Newcastle United interim-manager. The Dubliner swore approximately 52 times which left several different impressions on the Magpies faithful. Some thought, good he is letting it all out before his takes the hot seat and who knows it may have a positive affect on the team. Others thought, why the f*** did Mike f***in Ashley appoint this c***?

5. The minute silence which marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. Manchester United took on their bitter rivals Manchester City on the day United remembered the victims of Munich. It was feared before the game that the minute silence may be disrupted by the City fans, however it was impeccably observed and the away fans were rewarded for a famous 2-1 victory on the day.

4. Real Madrid striker Robinho signs for Manchester City on transfer deadline day in a move which shocked the whole footballing world. You may be wondering why this is not higher on the list, however you will understand when you read on. No football fan could believe their eyes when the news broke that City had signed one of the most exciting footballers on the planet. The deal was only made possible when City were taken over by mega-rich Arab owners on the morning of the deal. £32.5 million was all it cost for City to take the little Brazilian to Eastlands.

3. Spain beat Germany 1-0 to win the European Championships final. It was the final that everyone wanted. The powerhouse of Germany against the side that always promises much but never really delivers, Spain. It was Liverpool's Fernando Torres who handed Spain the trophy with a delicate dink over former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehman. The victory, which was met with joyous scenes in the streets of Spain, was the first major trophy the Spaniards had won in over 40 years.

2. Many people may claim that this should be the number one footballing moment of the year, however it's not. Manchester United winning a very famous double. Sir Alex Ferguson's men lifted the Premier League and Champions League trophies to cement their place as one of the greatest United squad's in history. United narrowly edged out Chelsea in both the Premier League title race and the Champions League final (which will be remembered for just one thing).

1. Yes Football Corner's number one footballing moment of 2008 is ...... John Terry's penalty miss in the final of the Champions League in Moscow. Sorry JT. It was just such an incredible moment. The England and Chelsea skipper steps up to win the biggest competition in Europe and slips as he hits the ball. The ball skims the outside of the post and United go on to lift the trophy.


Did Adebayor deserve to be sent off today? Vote

Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor was sent off in today's 1-1 draw with Liverpool today, however Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has questioned the decision by Howard Webb to show Adebayor two yellow cards. So, what do you think, did Adebayor deserve to be sent off? Place your votes below :


Arsenal line up incredible £32 million move for Premier League striker

Arsenal have today been linked with an incredible £32 million move for Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez. The Argentine international has struggled this season to keep his place in the United starting eleven due to the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov at Old Trafford earlier this season and a January exit has been touted.

Tevez, 24, has yet to sign permanently for the Premier League Champions and a move to both Manchester City and Real Madrid has been rumoured, however Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is now ready to join the race.

United have thus far failed to cough up the £32 million needed to make Tevez' move permanent and have just six months left to do so. Should Sir Alex Ferguson decide not to make Tevez' move permanent, that will leave the door open for the likes of Arsenal, City and Real to make a move.

I fully expect Tevez to leave United next summer, however whether or not he moves to the Emirates, I do not know. He has established himself as a firm fan favourite at Old Trafford and I am sure the United faithful would be upset to see him join the Gunners (or even City for that fact). Make sure to stay tuned to Football Corner for all the latest news and views of the footballing nature.


Spurs ready to make £4 million bid for England midfielder

Tottenham are ready to offer Fulham £4 million to take Jimmy Bullard to White Hart Lane when the transfer window opens next month. The England international looks set to leave Craven Cottage after it was claimed on Friday that the London club have informed Bullard that he will be allowed to depart the club in January, which has attracted the attentions of several Premier League sides.

Harry Redknapp has been linked with dozens of midfield players since arriving at the club almost two months ago, however Bullard now looks the most likely option. The former Wigan man has established himself as one of the best midfielder in the country and has even attracted the attentions of England boss Fabio Capello.

At £4 million, I think Spurs would be doing a great bit of business to land Bullard at that price. Jimmy is definitely one of football's nice guys and I feel he would prove a real asset for Spurs. I would be very surprised if Spurs don't face any competition in their attempt to sign the 29-year old when January comes around.

Wouldn't you just love to have a player like Bullard in your team? He is obviously a class act and he would definitely be a great signing for your team at £4 million. So follow the link below to enter your team to be in with a chance of winning some terrific weekly and monthly prizes.


Time to go Sparky

"Sacked in the morning, you're getting sacked in the morning". That was the cry of the West Brom fans as their team beat Mark Hughes' Manchester City 2-1 at the Hawtorns this afternoon to leave the world's richest club sitting just three points off the bottom of the Premier League.

It seems as though Hughes has been under pressure as City boss ever since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan walked in the door at Eastlands and despite the board insisting in recent weeks that they are fully behind "Sparky", I think it will only be a matter of hours not days before he is gone.

During his time as Blackburn manager, Hughes earned a reputation as one of the best young British managers. That led to him being appointed as the City boss in early June and since then it has certainly been one heck of a roller coaster.

The first day of the season saw City slump to a 4-2 defeat away at Aston Villa, which left City fans questioning whether or not they were capable of challenging at the highest level. Two comfortable victories over Sunderland and West Ham soon followed and then the day that no football fan will ever forget.

City sign Real Madrid striker Robinho for a British record transfer fee of £32.5 million.

This news sent shock waves across the whole footballing world. One of the world's most exciting talents signing for one of the most inconsistent teams on the planet. City fans couldn't believe their eyes. Of course, this made everyone at City very optimistic about the future and as most football fans do, the City faithful expected an immediate impact.

The optimism has failed to materialise on the pitch and with only one win in nine Premier League games, City now find themselves in a relegation battle. Hughes has spoke of his desire to strengthen the squad in January but unfortunately for him, I don't think he will be the man spending the owner's billions come the new year.


Arsenal to join Chelsea, United and Spurs in the race to sign £20 million playmaker

Arsenal are ready to join Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham in the race to sign Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin. The Russian international has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League in recent days after he admitted he would be interested in a move to either Chelsea or United, however Arsenal are now preparing to snatch the 27-year old from under their rivals noses.

Spurs nearly signed Arshavin in the summer but Zenit's demands of £24 million for the player ended the possibility of any move, however the North London club are still keen on bringing the player to White Hart Lane. Arshavin really sprung to fame during Russia's Euro 2008 campaign where they reached the semi-finals, with Arshavin undoubtedly their best player in the tournament.

With Luis Filipe Scolari, Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and now Arsene Wenger all interested, this could be a very interesting battle indeed. Arshavin is a quality player and would definitley improve any of the four sides in question. I personally don't care who he joins, as long as he moves to the Premier League because I would love to see how he would adapt to the pace of English football.

So where will Arshavin be when the transfer window closes? Place your votes in the poll on the top right of the site.


Manchester United are officially the Best Club in the World

Manchester United are officially the best club in the world after winning the final of the FIFA Club World Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson's men ran out 1-0 winners over Ecuadorian side Liga De Quito thanks to a goal from Wayne Rooney.

The Premier League Champions found it difficult to break down their opponents for large parts, however they finally made the break through with twenty minutes left on the clock. Cristiano Ronaldo laid the ball to Rooney, who in turn expertly finished from the edge of the box.

Despite the win, it's not all good news for United. Nemanja Vidic was shown a straight red card just after the break and may face a suspension. Great achievement by United, however I just hope that this doesn't affect their bid for the title this season because things like this can often have a negative affect on the team's league form.


Spurs in talks over £15 million move for England international

Tottenham are in talks with Middlesbrough about a possible £15 million move for Stewart Downing. The England international has been linked with a move to Spurs for what seems like decades now, however Boro boss Gareth Southgate has always insisted "I don't have to sell, unless I want to buy."

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is keen to strengthen during the January transfer window, with Downing understood to be his number-one target. The 24-year old is widely renowned as the best left-sided midfielder in the country (only because England have no other left-wingers) and has over 20 caps for the national side.

I have never been Downing's biggest fan, in fact I am probably one of his biggest critic. If Spurs were to splash £15 million on Downing, quite frankly, I think they would be wasting their money. I know a lot of Spurs fans who would most definitley disapprove of Downing arriving at White Hart Lane in January because he is just wouldn't improve the side in any way.


Big Sam off to a flyer

New Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce got off to a flyer today as he guided Rovers to a 3-0 home win against Stoke City. The former Bolton and Newcastle manager took over at Ewood Park on Wednesday and judging by today's display, he has certainly had an immediate impact on the player's.

Benni McCarthy opened the scoring for Allardyce's men just ten minutes into proceedings when he slotted home a penalty after Ibrahima Sonko brought down Morten Gamst Pedersen in the box. Jason Roberts doubled the lead for the home side just five minutes later when he netted from close range.

It was 3-0 just before the break when McCarthy bagged his second to end any chances of a possible comeback for Stoke. This result leaves Blackburn just three points off safety and will no doubt come as a massive confidence boost as they enter this busy Christmas period.

Disappointing for Tony Pulis' men who now sit just two points above the relegation zone. It is often said that the appointment of a new manager can have a positive affect on a team and that was definitely the case with Blackburn today. Over the past two months or so under former boss Paul Ince, they looked as though they were going only one way .... down, however with Allardyce in the hot seat they now have a cracking chance of beating the drop.

Elsewhere in the Premier League it finished : Bolton 2-1 Portsmouth, Fulham 3-0 Middlesbrough, Hull City 1-4 Sunderland.


Emile Heskey will be playing for either Liverpool or Wigan when the transfer window closes

That's the opinion of our readers anyway. Over the last ten days or so, Football Corner has asked you, the reader, where you thought Wigan striker Emile Heskey would be when the transfer window closes and amazingly the result was a draw. Yes the same amount of voters picked Wigan as well as Liverpool, so the whereabouts of Heskey when the transfer window closes is still undecided.

Here is the full result of the poll :

Wigan - 34 votes (28%)
Liverpool - 34 votes (28%)
Aston Villa - 32 votes (26%)
Tottenham - 11 votes (9%)
Man City - 4 votes (3%)
Other - 4 votes (3%)

Total votes : 119

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted and I would encourage all of you to vote in our latest poll which can be found on the top right of the site. The poll is : When the transfer window closes, Andrei Arshavin will be a _______ player? Place your votes now


Harry Redknapp rules out move for former Spurs striker .... and it's not Keane

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has today ruled out a move for Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe. The England international has been linked with a possible return to White Hart Lane since the arrival of Redknapp at the North London club almost two months ago, however Redknapp has today quashed those rumours.

It was Redknapp who brought Defoe to Fratton Park back in January of this year after the player spent a large part of last year on the bench at Spurs. The 25-year old has since gone onto to become a huge success on the south coast with Pompey, scoring over 15 goals in just 30 appearances for the club.

With Spurs keen to add a striker to their ranks during the January transfer window, Defoe is seen as a likely candidate to arrive at the club come the new year, however Redknapp had this to say when asked about a possible move : "We haven't made an offer for Jermain ... I do like Jermain but there are a lot of players at Portsmouth I like. They have a great squad of players there.

I am sure Pompey boss Tony Adams and indeed the Pompey faithful will be praying that they can hold onto Defoe. Although Redknapp has denied he has made an offer for Defoe, I still wouldn't rule out a possible move come January. He is obviously a very talented player and I think Spurs could really use him right now. You sign Defoe for just £6.5 million in this season's "You the Manager" so follow the link below to enter your team now.


Santa to arrive at Eastlands in January for £18 million

Roque Santa Cruz looks certain to leave Blackburn Rovers come the new year after today revealing he wants to play for a club that is both ambitious and in Europe, cough cough Manchester City. The Paraguayan striker has been heavily linked with a move to Eastlands ever since former Rovers boss Mark Hughes arrived at City earlier this year and an £18 million January move has been touted.

Santa Cruz' comments come just a day after new Rovers boss Sam Allardyce insisted he would not be forced to sell his star players when January comes around, however the 27-year old now looks more than likely to leave Ewood Park next month.

The former Bayern Munich man had this to say about a possible exit from the club : "I would really like to keep improving and performing better than I am doing right now ... And if a better or an ambitious club come in and want to offer me the chance I would like to take it ... I am looking to again play in a big side that is in Europe and trying to win their league."

It has been reported in the last several days that Santa Cruz has a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave the club should any club come in with a bid of £18 million. Money-bags Manchester City have been linked with dozens of big name strikers in recent months, however the name that keeps popping up is Santa Cruz. As a City fan myself, I would be more than happy to welcome Roque to the club. He is a quality player and I feel Blackburn would be thrilled to make a £15 million profit from the big man.


Chelsea to make Fab £20 million bid for Brazilian striker

Chelsea are preparing a £20 million bid for Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano as they look to bolster their attacking options come the new year. The Brazilian international has long been linked with a move to England, with Chelsea understood to be keen admirers of the player for some time, however for whatever reasons he remains a Sevilla player.

That may be about to change though. Blues boss Luis Filipe Scolari is desperate to bring another striker to Stamford Bridge in January after losing out to Manchester City for the signature of Robinho during the summer. Fabiano, 28, has been in sensational form for Sevilla since his move to the La Liga giants back in 2005 and has firmly established himself as one of the world's most prolific strikers.

What a tremendous signing this would be for Chelsea. Fabiano is a player who I really admire and I think he would be a real success should he decided to move to the Premier League. There is no doubt that Sevilla will reluctant to sell one of their star players, however, as well all know, when Chelsea set their sights on a player they usually get their man (apart from Robinho of course).


Champions League Last 16 Draw : Liverpool get Real, while Chelsea face Juve

Here is the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League :

Chelsea V Juventus
Villarreal V Pannathanikos
Sporting Lisbon V Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid V Porto
Lyon V Barcelona
Real Madrid V Liverpool
Arsenal V Roma
Inter Milan V Manchester United

The first-leg's of each tie will take place on the 24/25 February with the return legs coming two weeks later. A very interesting draw indeed. Obviously the Inter Milan V Man United looks the most attractive, with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho set to meet his old friend Sir Alex Ferguson.


Italian giants line up Liverpool duo

Italian giants Juventus are lining up a summer move for Liverpool duo Ryan Babel and Daniel Agger. With talks over a new contract for Agger at Anfield currently stalling, Juve are ready to take advantage of the situation and offer the player the chance to join the Serie A giants when the season ends.

Agger, 24, is apparently demanding £70,000 a week, a figure which would double his current wages of only £35,000 a week. The Merseyside club are unwilling to cough up that money for the Danish international and a move to Juventus could be on the cards.

Meanwhile, Ryan Babel is another player who Juve boss Claudio Ranieri is keen to bring to Italy. The Dutch international has struggled to nail down a place in Rafa Benitez' starting eleven since his £11 million move from Ajax back in 2007. He was recently linked with a January return to Ajax, however Liverpool prevented the move from going ahead which leaves the door open for Juve.

I personally think, should Liverpool receive an offer of around the £20 million mark for the pair they would be mad not to accept. Babel has done nothing for me since moving to the Premier League and Agger looks a shadow of the player he was 18 months ago this campaign. Make sure to stay tuned to Football Corner over the busy weeks ahead.


Ronaldo to join Real Madrid next summer

It has been reported in several papers today that Manchester United have agreed in principle to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid once the seasons ends. The Portuguese winger was continuously linked with a move to the Spanish giants during the summer, with an £80 million transfer being touted, however for whatever reasons he remains a United player.

At times it looked as though Ronaldo would join the La Liga side, but in the end Sir Alex Ferguson managed to hold onto his man but how much longer will he be able to keep hold of his prized asset. Well it has today been claimed that United and Real have a gentleman's agreement in place for Ronaldo to leave Old Trafford next summer and move to the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid director Pedro Trapote is quoted in El Mundo today saying : "The deal is already done for the summer ... It's better not say anything now because there are some clauses that prevent us from announcing it. For us it would be the right time, but we shouldn't do it."

For many people, it is a case of when, not if Ronaldo joins Real after the 24-year old openly admitted it has always been his dream to play for the club. As much as I dislike Ronaldo, I feel it would be a shame to lose such a fantastic player. He is undoubtedly the greatest player in the world at this current moment in time and I think United will find it tremendously hard to find a replacement should he leave in the summer. Judging by the picture of Ronaldo, he doesn't know where he'll be next season!


Spurs target admits : I would like to join Chelsea or Man United

Zenit St Petersburg play maker Andrei Arshavin has today admitted he would like to join either Chelsea or Manchester United. The Russian international looks set to leave Zenit during the transfer window next month and a move to the Premier League looks a real possibility now following the player's comments.

The 27-year old was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham earlier this year, however Spurs failed to meet Zenit's asking price of £20 million so Arshavin stayed with the Russian giants. However the player has now admitted he would love to leave Zenit and join either Chelsea or United.

Arshavin had this to say : "I still have a desire to play abroad and I'd like to play in either Spain or England .... Barcelona are my favourite team and in England there is Manchester United and Chelsea." With Chelsea boss Luis Filipe Scolari currently in the market for a new play maker, Arshavin may well find his way Stamford Bridge come the new year.

The sooner Arshavin comes to the Premier League the better. I have always been a huge fan of his and I think he would be an excellent signing for either United or Chelsea. During the summer I was disappointed Arshavin didn't move to White Hart Lane, however we may not have to wait too much longer to see Arshavin move to England.


Celtic midfielder heading for the Premier League?

Celtic's Aiden McGeady has today been banned by the Glasgow club for verbally abusing manager Gordan Strachan during a post-match team talk. The Republic of Ireland international is widely regarded as one of the best players currently playing in the SPL, however his days in Scotland appear numbered following the recent bust-up with Strachan.

In the past, McGeady was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League, with the likes of Aston Villa, Tottenham and Newcastle all apparently interested in the 24-year old. Due to Strachan's decision to ban McGeady, the player will now miss Celtic's Old Firm clash with Rangers later this month, a decision which is bound to upset the Hoops faithful.

McGeady has spent his whole career at Celtic Park and has made over 180 appearances for the club scoring over 25 goals in the process. Personally, I would be delighted to see such a talented player move to England. It will undoubtedly be a massive blow for Celtic should McGeady decide to leave, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he does indeed leave.


Man City and Spurs set to miss out on £15 million midfielder

Manchester City and Tottenham look to have lost the race to sign Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra after it was reported the French international is on the verge of signing for Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea man has been heavily linked with a £15 million move to both Eastlands and White Hart Lane, however former Spurs boss Juande Ramos recently admitted his interest in signing the 23-year old.

In recent weeks, Pompey boss Tony Adams has failed to rule out a Diarra possibly leaving the club in January and it now looks certain that he will indeed leave Fratton Park come the new year. Since joining the club back in January of this year, Diarra has become an instant legend on the South Coast.

He played no small part in the side's successful FA Cup campaign last season, however injury has restricted Diarra to only a handful of appearances this campaign. It will be a shame to see Diarra leave England because during his time here he has proved what a cracking player he is. Personally, I am a huge fan of Diarra's and I think he he will prove a real hit at the Bernabeu.


Ince on his way to the job centre ... about time

Paul Ince has today been sacked as manager of Blackburn Rovers after the side's shocking start to the Premier League season. The former MK Dons boss arrived at Ewood Park just six months ago and became the first black British manager to manage in the top league in England, however the Rovers board have today started to sack him.

Blackburn Chairman John Williams had this to say : "Three wins in 17 games has seen a squad which finished seventh last season fall to 19th place ... We are currently in danger of becoming detached from the pack."

Early favourites to take over from Ince at Blackburn include Sam Allardyce, Graeme Souness and former Sunderland boss Roy Keane. Personally I am not one bit surprised to see Ince get the sack. I do feel a little sorry for the former Manchester United midfielder, however when a team goes on a run of such poor results it is often the manager who feels the consequences.


Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez to leave hospital in the next few days

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez will return to work in the next few days after undergoing surgery. The Spaniard is suffering pain from a kidney stone and was admitted to hospital this morning, where he underwent surgery earlier today.

Coincidentally, Chelsea boss Luis Filipe Scolari was also suffering the same illness at the weekend, however he managed to recover in time to overlook his side's 1-1 draw with West Ham yesterday afternoon. A spokesman for the Merseyside club had this to say : "Rafa was admitted to hospital last night after suffering problems with a kidney stone.

"He will undergo a minor operation this afternoon and is expected to return to work within two or three days. He remains in good spirits and everyone at Liverpool wishes him a very speedy recovery." Football Corner would also like to take the opportunity to wish Benitez a very speedy recovery.


Real Madrid preparing £25 million move for England midfielder

Real Madrid are preparing a £25 million move for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young after another stunning display from the England international at the weekend. New Real manager Juande Ramos is set to spend big in January as the La Liga giants look to turn their poor start to the season around.

Young, 23, has been one of the Premier League's top performers this campaign and has recently come in for some high praise from England boss Fabio Capello. Villa boss Martin O'Neill will undoubtedly be doing everything he can to hold onto Young once the new year comes, however with Real ready to bid as much as £25 million for the player, Young may well be on his way to the Bernabeu.

Personally I would be devastated to see Young leave Villa. He has simply been outstanding this season and it would be a real shame to see him depart, not just for Villa fans but for fans of the Premier League in general. I am not surprised to see the likes of Real Madrid interested in the pacey winger because he definitley has the ability to perform at the very highest level.

Real will definitley have to pay more than £5.5 million to have Young in their team, but you won't. The former Watford man costs just that in this season's "You the Manager" and is a definite bargain. So follow the link below to enter your team to be in with a chance of winning some terrific weekly and monthly prizes.

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Who Would You Pick? Torres or Adebayor?

This week's Who Would You Pick, sees Liverpool striker Fernando Torres come up against Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor. Both have had terrific starts to their careers in England, with Torres scoring over 38 times for Liverpool, whilst Adebayor has netted over 50 goals for the Gunners. So who would you pick? Place your votes below.