Transfer Deadline Day – Fellaini wants out

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MAROUANE Fellaini, Belgian midfield bruiser at Everton, looks all but set to move to join his former boss David Moyes at Manchester United.
With the deal looking likely from the moment Moyes left for Old Trafford, with hours left before the transfer window slams shut dramatically, Fellaini has reportedly handed in a formal transfer request to his club.
With the background agreements likely to have been thrashed out already, I would be very surprised if Fellaini isn’t a Red Devil by midnight.

Kaka could be marquee signing that Wenger and Moyes are looking for

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A FORMER World Player of the Year, a Real Madrid ‘Galactico’ no less, who cost £56m last time he moved – could Kaka be the midfield menace that both Manchester United and Arsenal are angling for this transfer window?
With the imminent transfer of Spurs’ Gareth Bale to Real, and the news that Mesut Ozil is staying put, Brazilian attacker Kaka has made it clear he wants to leave Spain, and soon.
The news has put top clubs around Europe on alert, and despite the rumours that AC Milan is a likely destination, it’s clear that two of the Premiership’s big boys, Manchester United and Arsenal, could do with his services.
Since joining Old Trafford, David Moyes has been linked, albeit sometimes ridiculously, with a parade of talent – Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Marouane Fellaini, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, even Bale.
What is clear from these rumours is that Moyes is in the market for a midfielder.
And at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger recapturing Mathieu Flamini, while a solid piece of business, is not the sort of transfer activity that the fans crave after a similar summer of disappointment.
With Kaka out of favour, hankering for a move from Real Madrid, the player should be within both’s budget, and there’s time to do a deal – could the Premier League have a new star player in the coming days?

Everton top of the league on social media

DAVID Moyes may have moved onwards and upwards to join champions Manchester United, but in social media terms his previous club Everton are top of the league.
New research from RadiumOne shows that while the Toffees may not have the biggest following, their fans engage the most with their posts – for example Aston Villa and Manchester City are working hard to keep their fans up-to-date (making 337 and 287 posts on Facebook in just 30 days respectively) their fans aren’t getting involved with the content, leaving them near the bottom of the table.
After Everton, Norwich City came second, followed by Manchester United, Southampton and Sunderland.
At the bottom of the table, Stoke City, Hull City Tigers and Swansea City would find themselves in the relegation positions as the least socially savvy teams in the league.
Abeed Janmohamed, Commercial Director at RadiumOne, said: “Despite Manchester United having an enormous following, our research goes to show that, in social at least, size isn’t everything.
“What this shows, I think, is that the clubs that have spent decades cultivating a strong community of real football fans are best placed to take advantage of social media, with passionate fans actively engaging with their clubs.”

Premiership Predictions – London to reclaim title from Manchester

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THIS season, more than any I can remember anticipating, is a hard one to call.
The top three teams from last season, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, all have new men at the helm.
Arsenal underperformed last season – but then, Arsenal have underperformed for a good few years now – while Spurs and Liverpool could both be facing up to life without their star men next season.
I can’t see any other team seriously breaking into the top four, but which of these six elite squads will is a hard call.
There’s my disclaimer out of the way.
But neck on the line I find it hard to see past Mourinho’s Chelsea for the title.
His team has a strength in depth matched only by Manchester City, with some real creative talent in the form of Hazard, Mata and Oscar – plus if anyone can hit the ground running it’s the Special One, a manager adept at settling into new clubs, with the benefit of having been here and done it before.
It’s this that gives him the edge over Pellegrini’s star-studded legions of Manchester City, who I’m placing second come May.
Last season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it admirably during the second half of the season. If they come out of the traps in the same form as they finished last time around, I can see them overhauling David Moyes and Manchester United’s defending champions, who’ll have to settle for fourth place.
Liverpool and Spurs I see missing out, without the depth in their squad to maintain a season-long campaign – although I will tip the Lilywhites’ new boy Roberto Soldado for the Golden Boot.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a look at the other half of the table and predict who’ll be relegated…

Chelsea to win Premier League say number crunchers

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JOSE Mourinho’s Chelsea are going to win this season’s Premier League – according to cold hard maths.
Statisticians at Bloomberg Sports have revealed their first ever Premier League end of season projections – forecasting the finishing position and points of every team in the league.
And their number crunching has revealed that the Blues will pip United and City to the title in a three horse race, with Moyes finishing third in his first season at United.
They predict that Arsenal will beat off their rivals to the last Champions League spot, and all the promoted teams – Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Hull City – will be relegated straight back to the Championship for the first time since 1998.
Bill Squadron, President of Bloomberg Sports, said: “As fans around the world debate the 2013-2014 Premier League season from a purely subjective standpoint, we are adding our mathematically-derived predictions to the debate.
“Using the same objective data analytics that drives our Match Analysis tool, we are pleased to unveil a purely data-driven projection for each team.
“Not only does this make for great content for fans, but it also provides data that helps them beat the bookie.”
For more information go to www.bsports.com

Rooney challenged to outgun Law and Charlton

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DENIS Law and Sir Bobby Charlton could help keep Wayne Rooney at Manchester United.
Since May, rumours have been rife that the Red Devils’ England international is looking to leave the club – with Arsenal, Barcelona and Paris St Germain among names linked with the striker.
But new Manchester United boss has enlisted the help of the club’s greats to give Wayne Rooney the motivation to remain at Old Trafford.
David Moyes said: “It is interesting to see Wayne is only 50 goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton and 40 behind Denis Law.
“We are looking to see how we get Wayne Rooney to get those goals which are going to challenge the likes of Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. I am more than happy to work with him to get success.”
Charlton remains United’s most prolific goalscorer, with 249. Law is second on the list with 237. Rooney ended last season with 197, behind only Jack Rowley in addition to the pair Moyes wants the Croxteth-born player to catch.
He added: “When I went down to the training ground, I looked at the pictures of the legends that have played for this club – I could see George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Roy Keane and I thought Wayne isn’t too far away from that.”

Make ‘outstanding’ Fergie a noble say MPs

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MANCUNIAN MPs have called for Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to be ennobled and elevated to the House of Lords.
The 71-year-old announced yesterday he is to retire as Red Devils boss at the end of the season following a silverware-laden 26 years at Old Trafford.
Everton boss David Moyes has today been confirmed as his replacement on a six-year contract.
Greater Manchester area MPs Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) and Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East) have hailed Sir Alex’s “unparalleled success” at United and Aberdeen.
In an early day motion (EDM), the pair said they believe he should be “immediately ennobled and elevated to the House of Lords”.
John Leech (Manchester Withington) has also put forward an EDM asking the House of Commons to note Sir Alex’s “outstanding contribution” to football.
He asked the Commons to further note “the joy he has brought to fans of Manchester United, and despair to fans of other teams” during his 26-year tenure.

Lookalike – Mick McCarthy and Brad Pitt

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ACCORDING to manager Mick McCarthy, Brad Pitt should be the one to play him in a movie of his life.
The bizarre biopic suggestion came as part of a straw poll of managers carried out, which also came to the conclusion that Neil Warnock thinks he’s George Clooney, David Moyes pictures himself as Sean Connery, and Gerard Houllier thinks he could be played by Harrison Ford.
For the record, I don’t think Mick McCarthy looks like Brad Pitt – I reckon he’s more of a Christopher Lloyd.
Got any manager/actor lookalike suggestions? Leave them in my comments box!

Everton to replace entire strike force

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MISFIRING Everton are looking to borrow a new strike force to replace current frontmen Yakubu and Louis Saha.
So far this season, midfielders Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Seamus Coleman and even defender Leighton Baines sit ahead of the strikers in the scoring charts.
And with club top scorer, midfielder Cahill, heading on an Asian Games jolly with Australia, boss David Moyes is eyeing a couple of loan transfers in and out of the club – with Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela and Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz all Goodison targets.
Should any of the deals come off, it is expected that Saha could make a move back to his native France, with Portugal’s Benfica rumoured to fancy Nigerian hitman Yakubu.
God I love the January transfer window, don’t you?

Premiership predictions – Chelsea champs, Arsenal, Man Utd and the race for fourth…

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FORGET the race to be crowned Premier League champions this season, the real excitement will be the race for fourth place and Champions League football.
The Chelsea steamroller, once it gathers pace from opening fixtures against West Brom, Wigan and Stoke, will be hard to stop and I can see them pushin on and retaining the title as a last hurrah for ageing players such as Drogba and Lampard.
Second place will go to Arsenal, who have always been within touching distance despite perennial injury problems – and if Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie can stay fit for the length of a season, no-one will run Chelsea closer.
And ever-present Manchester United, despite blooding in more youngsters than usual this season, will be a shoo-in for the top four.
So to the issue of fourth place…
At risk of upsetting fans of last year’s fourth place Spurs, big spenders Man City and traditional Big Four side Liverpool (again), I think dark horse Everton will make fourth come May.
Tottenham will fight a campaign on too many fronts for them to repeat the successes of last year’s Premier League season, so you can see them dropping down the table, despite what Nicolas Anelka may say.
Manchester City’s star-heavy side has as much potential for implosion as it does success and Mancini will do well to keep any unrest at bay over the course of a season, and as a side in transition lacking in real depth, Liverpool simply need to steady the ship after a year of massive underachievement.
I predict fifth for Liverpool, sixth for Man City and seventh place for Spurs come the end of the season.
However Everton’s eight-place showing last term did them no justice – they have a solid squad with depth and youth, a reliable manager in David Moyes who knows his side inside out, and enough muscle to tangle with the big boys in the big matches.