This is simply a negotiating ploy.
Here's what we should expect:
- Ferguson and Rooney make up in a public way
- Rooney gets what he wants - the big bucks.
- Man U finish third this season!
Elsewhere Tevez managed to produce the miss of the week when he sent the ball over the post with no goalkeeper in sight.Roberto Mancini spent 130 million pounds of Sheikh Mansour's riches but Man City went on to lose 1 - 0 to Sunderland anyway.
We have a game. Maarten Stekelenberg will be none too pleased about the goal he gave up. Diego Forlan curls a shot which bounces off the Dutch goalie's fingertips and into the net.
Forlan's amazing World Cup continues. He also turned down Spurs to remain in the Liga- just as well as an Arsenal supporter.
We all know this World Cup has been the graveyard for 'superstars' like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery, Kaka, Didier Drogba, and Fernando Torres (so far).
Well, the " superstar sentinels" also proved to be huge let downs.
Fabio Cannavaro: That goal given up to Shane Smeltz had Italy and the world reeling from the implications of a New Zealand win. That it happened with Cannavaro facing Smeltz is another story in the unraveling of the 2006 FIFA's player of the year. His sure footed tackling and preternatural ability to get into positions to snuff out danger was widely regarded as responsible for Italy's World Cup success. On a downward spiral since he returned to Juventus.
Patrice Evra: Actually any French defender will do- so shoddy were they at stopping Mexico and South Africa. But Evra chose to cover himself with brickbats off the field too as he led a player revolt against Raymond Domenech's decision to fire Nicholas Anelka. The Man Utd full back was consumed by exposing the "traitor" who tattled to L'Equipe about that confrontation. He was benched for France's most important World Cup match against South Africa.
John Terry: Nothing exposed Terry and his lack of pace and forethought as the Manuel Neuer boot upfield which he gave up on. That left Matthew Upson one on one with Miroslav Klose and you know how that would turn out. He was again guilty of not marking Thomas Mueller in those German breakaways. But off the pitch too, he continued the theme of clumsy divisiveness trying to takeover from Steven Gerrard and undermining Fabio Capello.
Nemanja Vidic: The Man Utd center back looked slow against Asmaoah Gyan as the Ghanaian striker had his way. Against Germany, Vidic handled Arne Friedrich's cross in a defensive meltdown and was saved further embarrassment when Lukas Podolksi failed to convert his spot kick. Against Australia, a win or a draw would have seen the Serbs book a place in the Group of 16 but Vidic failed to deal effectively with a long ball into the box and Tim Cahill seized his chance yet again.
Ricardo Osorio: The long time Stuttgart right back, part of their Bundesliga winning team in 2007 and a constant presence in El Tri since 2003 made one of the most inexplicable blunders this World Cup gifting the ball to Gonzalo Higuain. Argentina got its second goal and with Tevez scoring a third, made it impossible for Mexico to come back even though they looked the brighter team in the second half.
Jay De Merit: He is not a superstar when you compare him to the ones above. But he also provided one of the biggest talking points in the group stage- the USA's ability to give up early goals. From Steven Gerrard to Asamoah Gyan- De Merit demonstrated a lack of spring in his step in the first minutes of any half. Against Ghana it proved fatal. Given his Premiership experience and Bradley's faith in him as the one constant central presence, his defending can be regarded as a major failure.
The Ivory Coast skipper is in the starting line up. He will go up against Lucio and Juan.
Gilberto Silva goes up against some familiar faces- Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue were former Arsenal team mates. Julio Baptista is also familiar to Gunners from his 2007-2008 transfer from AS Roma.
Dunga has retained the same line up that opened against North Korea.
Cracking start to the 2010- 2011 Premiership season. Anfield welcomes Arsenal in the post Benitez era and by that time both teams maybe missing their talismans.
14th August gets it going. For the Arsenal fixture list >>
Winston Reid, on the wrong end when he allowed Robert Vittek to get in front of him to head home Stanislav Sestak's cross made amends in stoppage time when he found the net with his header of Shane Smeltz's cross. It was history making for the Kiwi nation.
Reid appeared for Denmark in the U21 team making 10 appearances with his performances potentially earning him further national squad representation. He was trained in FC Midtjylland's youth academy along with Simon Kjaer, Denmark's center back also playing in this World Cup.
However in March 2010 taking advantage of the FIFA rule, the FC Midtjylland center back switched his allegiance to his country of birth. The result - the first ever point for New Zealand in the World Cup.
Their last appearance in the 1982 World Cup was disastrous as they crashed out losing heavily to Scotland, USSR, and Brazil.
This time around they find themselves right in the thick of things in Group F and with this tie they have as good a chance as Italy, Paraguay, and Slovakia of making it to the round of 16. New Zealand seems to have found a new hero at every turn. Mark Paston, Rory Fallon, Shane Smeltz, and now Winston Reid. The World Cup has its heroes and Reid just joined its pantheon.
The Liverpool midfield maestro so often overlooked by Rafa Benitez and many times their saviour with his sparkling play off the bench has agreed to a four year contract with Chelsea.
Carlo Ancelotti needs a replacement for Joe Cole who is to depart Stamford Bridge and Benayoun fits the bill. A fee is to be agreed to in the coming days between both clubs.
Nigeria's goalkeeper was in spectacular form keeping the Argentinians at bay, explicitly denying Leo Messi on four separate occasions in the World Cup's best match. He kept them in the match right till the end as the Nigerians looked every bit likely to pull off an improbable draw.
Enyeama can be held as an example anytime anyone begins whingeing about the Jabulani affecting goalkeepers. The ball maybe the best thing for spectacular shotstoppers, like Enyeama, Tim Howard, and Joe Hart.
Finally, some news of Phillipe Senderos whose Arsenal future has been in limbo for years. He has departed for Fulham on a free transfer.
He was at Milan for the 2008-2009 season and then went to Everton on loan for the second half of the 2009-2010 season. In these two years he managed only a handful of appearances but still made Ottmar Hitzfeld's World Cup squad for Switzerland.
Senderos is a replacement for Chris Smalling, the central defender who signed with Man Utd this summer. With Brede Hangeland perennially linked to Arsenal, Hodgson was looking for insurance. However, with Hageland and Aaron Hughes already ensconced in the central defender positions, it is hard to see Senderos get any substantial playing minutes.
Kenny Dalglish is positioning himself for a sensational Anfield return after 19 years to take over the coaching reins.
He was brought on board by Liverpool's GM, Christian Purslow to help find a suitable replacement for Rafa Benitez. All indications were that the road led to Roy Hodgson. But the latest news is that Dalglish himself fancies the job.
This suits Liverpool supporters just fine. The man is a legend both as player and manager. At this point Liverpool's immediate concerns are to get back to the top of the Premiership without adding on more debt, retaining the core of players who can do the job and a few new prudent acquisitions.
For starts a Dalglish appointment might lead to Steven Gerrard rethinking a Real Madrid relocation. The fate of Fernando Torres is less sure but the Spaniard is probably aware of Dalglish's giant shadow on Anfield and could be persuaded to stay.
The lure of the double, a feat achieved on Dalglish's managerial debut in 1985 is undoubtedly his strongest selling point. Much like Rafa Benitez's 2005 Champions League win inured him from further criticism for the next four years.
Dalglish might be disconcerted by the portability of the modern game - in his day, he championed an all England look, discovering John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, and John Aldridge who were the heart and soul of the Liverpool revival. A candidate like Roy Hodgson is probably more in tune with the scope and extant of the present reality, having served as manager of clubs in seven countries, including Inter. He does have plenty of international cache putting Fulham on the map with this season's Europa Cup campaign.
One suspects that hiring Dalglish over Hodgson will be a recognition of what made Liverpool the mecca of English football. On the other hand, in a sort of counterintuitive way, Liverpool also have to start thinking like Fulham, a small club benchpressing far above its weight.
Arsenal demand £58m for Cesc, Barca throw Yaya Toure as a sweetener, and a 48 hour sprint to the World Cup as a transfer deadline are all media rubbish.
There has been no other response, repeat - no other response from Arsenal after their original statement which rejected Barca's offer of £29m. Fabregas was not up for sale. There would be no counteroffer entertained. He was non-negotiable.
Here are the key paragraphs:
However, Oliver says they have heard nothing from the Premier League club. "They said they would not sell, it's logical therefore that they have not set a price for him," he said as he left a Barcelona board meeting.
"We made a formal offer. The only official response we have from Arsenal is that they are not ready to sell the player, for which it would be difficult for them to be putting a price when they say they are not selling."
There has been no movement on the Cesc transfer. Simple as that.
David Gold talks about why Grant was brought to Upton Park.
"He has a great sense of humour and I'm sure the players will relate to him and the fans will warm to him."
Grant needs a sense of humour not for the players or the fans but because of owners like David Sullivan and David Gold.
This might be Rafa Benitez's last weekend at Anfield.
The Liverpool board were in a meeting till late today to finalize a severance package that would pay £3m for an immediate departure. Benitez was on holiday but his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon said that he would convey the board's decision to the Spaniard by Thursday.
The club is strapped for cash and could only commit about £5m in transfer fees without transfer sales - far below Rafa's demands of £50m which he said would be necessary to put the club back in track to challenge for the Premiership.
In fact, the £3m severance is a compromise package well below the £16m that Benitez is expected to receive for termination of contract.
With a number of players already in the pipeline to leave Anfield during the summer including Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres, and Steven Gerrard - the Benitez era maybe truly over.
It was marked by some signature signings and the epic 2005 Champions League title. But every success was also marred by innumerable failures both tactical and personnel. This season was abysmal as Liverpool plummeted to 7th position missing out on a Champions League place and missing out on a Europa Cup consolation prize.
With Fabio Capello committing to England's 2012 Euro campaign, Massimo Moratti could turn to the Spaniard to take over at Inter. Which could mean Roy Hodgson will leave Fulham to coach one of the most storied clubs in the world.
Lars Lagerbeck named the Super Eagles 23 man squad. Former Toon striker, Obafemi Martins linked to Arsenal before he finally left for Wolfsburg was included the squad.
Martins has been overshadowed by the sharpshooting duo of Edin Dzeko and Grafite at Wolfsburg but he quietly notched up a reputation scoring some very important goals early in the season before injury forced him out in November.
Also out are Real Zaragoza's Ikechukwu Uche and Everton's Victor Anichebe.
However, Anichebe's team mates Joseph Yobo and Aiyegbeni Yakubu get the nod. Former Arsenal and present Pompey stalwart, Nwankwo Kanu made the cut. The Nigeria squad boasts a strong Premiership presence.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda, Israel), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva, Israel)
Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Marseille, France), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes, France), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers, England), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg, Austria)
Midfielders: Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany), John Utaka (Portsmouth, England), Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Sani Kaita (Alaniya, Russia), Haruna Lukman (AS Monaco, France), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)
Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton, England), Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth, England), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg, Germany), Victor Obinna Nsofor (Malaga, Spain)
Fabio Capello has dropped Theo Walcott.
The final announcement has yet to be made but there are many indications from various media sources that Capello made the call to Walcott early afternoon. The omission has left the player in a state of shock.
Walcott's challenge came from Shaun Wright Phillips and it appears that the Man City winger versatility playing both flanks as well as the inability of the Arsenal winger to really impress with his delivery and decision making cost him.
Also said to be dropped are Darren Bent which means that Emile Heskey has been selected. Capello is said to be happy with the way Gareth Barry is progressing and the Man City midfielder is set to be included.
Tough, tough break. One feels badly for Walcott.
Jose Mourinho has a clause in his four year Real Madrid contract that gives him a free hand to talk to any club after two years.
Naturally, that gets every speculation primed for a Premiership return, this time to Man Utd.
Gives all those stories of draining Premiership talent some context. With Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Ashley Cole ensconced in the Bernabeu, the Premiership title will be a walkover. Clever Jose, thinking long term.
The shock of conceding the Turkish Super Lig to Bursaspor, not exactly a powerhouse proved too much for Fenerbahce supporters. This is a week old but the message never gets old.
We have passion but in Turkey, football is life and death.
For the record Bursaspor won the Lig for the first time. In all, it was the first time in 26 years that a club outside of Istanbul had won the title. The last club to do so was Trabzonspor.
The current champions were a point above Bursaspor when they went into the final week. Ironically, it was Trabzonspor holding Fenerbahce to a 1-1 draw while Bursaspor won against Besiktas 2-1 to make history.
For 5 minutes Fener fans erroneously believed that they had won the title as the stadium announcer reported that Besiktas had equalized sending the stadium into a delirium of joy. But once the correction was made, the five stages of grief emerged quickly.
For Bursaspor's manager Ertugul Salam, it was dream debut and a club living on a fraction of a budget of the big three had defied the odds like they had done throughout the season before faltering. Leaving the last week for their true heroics. We leave also with a thought for Trabzonspor. They too have a big share in this historical season.
Makes sense. According to the Sun we are.
The only central defender who is a lock is Thomas Vermaelen.
We have William Gallas, in the throes of a contract wrangle, Mikel Silvestre, who ... ummmm..... errr.... is Mikel Silvestre, Johan Djorou who has been incapacitated for over a year and in the midst of a tentative comeback, Phillipe Senderos, caught in a strange career limbo, and Sol Campbell, an admirable return to the Premiership but limited to off the bench.
Young. 24 years of age. Check.
Fair bit of height at 6' 2" . Check.
Possesses outstanding tackling abilities. Check.
Shows true mental grit. I saw him take on Drogba and frustrate him to the point of tantrum. Check.
Can score the odd goal when needed. 5 in 29 appearances. Check.
Has not broken any Arsenal bones. Check.
Cahill pushed his national claims quite hard with his performance. It was touch and go with Capello.
He is Owen Coyle's poster boy on defense and that is frankly the best endorsement. We need the best of British steel, not another import. He is also ready to move on. And Coyle is resigned to losing him.
"If a big team wanted me to come and play for them, then you have got to be realistic and look at the fact it may be a right decision for both sides."
Can we pry £14 million from Arsenal's treasury? It might be worth it.
Lady Nina Bracewell's Smith's 16% stake in Arsenal up for sale and Blackstone, the investor group hired to find a buyer has found someone who can pay the $145 million, or at least has the financial clout to do so.
Aliko Dangote is listed as number 463 on the Forbes rich list and is Nigeria's wealthiest man having amassed a fortune with his Dangote group, a business consortium that deals in commodities trading from sugar to oil. His personal worth is $2.1 billion, down from an estimated $2.5 billion, a year ago.
He is a self made man with little education who started his road to success from a small loan given by his uncle. Dangote made his mark in the sugar trade, of which he now controls 70% of the market, later branching out into cement, fueled by the massive growth in Nigeria's housing and construction business.
This being Nigeria, the rise to the top has been paved by a cozy system of patronage and kickbacks. Dangote especially benefited from his close friendship with former Nigerian president Olusegun Obesanjo lavishing him with exorbitant gifts including a Bombardier jet purchased by a former associate. The quid pro quo: Dangote saved billions of dollars in import duty waivers. The import duty scam revealed the complicity of Nigeria's top customs officials and as alleged even Obasanjo himself.
Dangote like many other Nigerian elite also benefited from banks who issued billions of dollars in loans without any credit checks. This cozy system of patronage led to the banking crisis which the government was able to averte with a $7.2 billion bailout.
The EEFC, the anti-crime agency established in 2003 following the advance fee scandal, are now targeting 200 of the most egregious offenders, the so called "debt cabal" in their debt recovery, amongst them Dangote who is said to owe as much as $67 million to various banks.
How much of this will stick because Dangote has kept the system of patronage alive with ruling party leaders including Obesanjo's hand picked successors, the late Umaru Yar'Adua and the present incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
Dangote was recently elected as president of the Nigerian stock exchange, ironically after a share manipulation scandal brought down share prices of Africa Petroleum, a company owned by chief rival Femi Otedola. There are allegations that he paid off the members of the council for their "vote." The Dangote group has six companies listed on the NSE, which of course brings up the issue of a conflict of interest and the potential for insider trading.
However part of Dangote's cache is that he has managed to keep afloat in this financial downturn with fewer repercussions. He has profited from the durability of the commodities that made him wealthy. The healthy demand for sugar and cement has more than offset his losses in other sectors. He also made peace with Otedola, who is Nigeria's other billionaire, after a bitter turf war threatened to bring down their financial empires. Dangote's resume is also helped by sheer moral relativity - when you compare his trespasses to the pantheon of legendary Nigerian cut throats like Sani Abacha, he comes off as a saint.
Lady Bracewell's determination to sell off her stake whether it goes to Dangote or to someone else new, is muddy an already divided Arsenal investor group with competing blocs in Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke, the two largest shareholders.
Her decision to go to Blackstone, and not sell to either one of them, may reflect her unhappiness with the decision to oust her from the Arsenal boardroom or the more practical consideration of whether they could afford to pay her. Whatever the decision, the club could be subjected to the destabilizing move of a new stakeholder's decision to launch a takeover by himself or the more realistic partnership with either Usmanov or Kroenke. What emerges is an ownership structure with older ties, parallel leadership, and less motivation for change.
Tom Hicks and George Gilett's decision to sell off has led to the search for new investors, the Glazers have managed to fend off the Red Knights at Old Trafford, the signal given by Roman Abramovich to buy again at Chelsea, City's reliance on the deep pockets of the Al Nahyan family, and Spurs benefiting from the ENIC group's investment. In each case, unitary ownership with little historicity have forged rapid responses to the changing situation.
Update: Aliko Dangote denies bidding for a stake in Arsenal
Apparently jousting with the Glazers is not going as well as planned. I never understood how a group of rich investors who've made billions in the secretive derivatives market could be trusted by MUST to make Man Utd debt free and introduce transparency.
" Another high-level source has said the problems arise from bringing together so many different investors, many of whom have contrasting visions for the future, particularly when it comes to the possibility of giving the club's supporters a substantial percentage of the ownership."
These investors want it for themselves. If that is not plain by now, then Man Utd deserves to be taken over by the next set of barbarians.