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Swans in Cork talks

first_img Press Association Swansea are in talks to sign Southampton’s former England Under-21 midfielder Jack Cork. “I spoke to Jack two weeks ago and we hope he will stay with us,” Koeman told BBC Radio Solent last weekend. “But we would like to know very soon, so then we know what will happen with Jack for next season.” Cork has played nearly 130 games since joining Southampton in 2011 but he has started only five Premier League matches under Koeman during a season where he has suffered injury and been behind Morgan Schneiderlin, Victor Wanyama and Steve Davis in the midfield pecking order at St Mary’s. He made his comeback after six weeks out with an ankle ligament injury in Southampton’s 2-1 win at Newcastle on January 17 and started last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace. Monk wants to make Cork his fourth signing of the January transfer window after spending £5million on Tottenham defender Kyle Naughton and landing Exeter youngster Matt Grimes as well as taking Benfica striker Nelson Oliveira on loan. Cork’s father Alan, the former Wimbledon striker, is a former Swansea manager having been in charge of the club during the 1997-98 season. center_img The 25-year-old former Chelsea youngster is out of contract in the summer and Swansea boss Garry Monk hopes to sign Cork for a reduced price, although Press Association Sport understands no fee has yet been agreed between the two Barclays Premier League clubs. Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has told Cork that he must decide his future by the end of this week with the transfer deadline looming on Monday. last_img read more

Swans look to buy Liberty

first_img The Barclays Premier League club currently share the council-owned stadium with rugby union side Ospreys through a 50-year lease. Swansea were a third-tier side when the stadium opened in 2005 but they have since established themselves in the top flight and are keen to increase the capacity of the 20,800 venue. Swansea have opened talks to buy the Liberty Stadium, the city council has confirmed. “Positive, exploratory discussions with the Swans have now started about selling the Liberty Stadium to them,” Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart told the South Wales Evening Post. “This would give the Swans complete control of the stadium and further support their expansion plans in future, but it’s important we protect the needs of the Ospreys too.” Stewart said Swansea Council had to make savings of £81 million over the next three years and the sale of the Liberty Stadium is expected to raise funds somewhere in the region of £20 to £25 million. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins, writing in the match programme for Saturday’s 1-1 league draw with Sunderland, said the next few months “could change the way we operate forever.” “There are a lot of key decisions to make regarding the way this football club moves forward off the pitch,” Jenkins said. “Talks with Swansea Council about the ownership and running of the Liberty Stadium is top of the list, plus making sure the funding is right for us and in place to build the East Stand extension as soon as possible.” Swansea have held talks about potential external funding with American businessmen John Jay Moores and Charles Noell possibly taking a significant stake in the club for their investment. But the Swansea City Supporters Trust, who own more than 21 per cent of the club’s shares, are opposed to any change in the club’s ownership. “Things can never stand still, but risks have also got to be thought through to protect the club going forward,” Jenkins said. “Any capital investment off the field must never have a negative impact on it.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Van Gaal: Villa scarier than City

first_imgLouis van Gaal says the prospect of facing Aston Villa scared him more than the idea of taking on Manchester City at Old Trafford. But Van Gaal is confident of victory this weekend, stating that he thinks City’s attacking tendencies will work in United’s favour. Van Gaal believes teams that come to Old Trafford looking to scrap for a point are much harder to beat. Van Gaal is so sure of that theory that he spent less time fretting about Sunday’s opposition than he did last week when relegation-threatened Villa came to Old Trafford. “I had more fear of Aston Villa than Manchester City,” the United manager said, before adding: “Aston Villa was more defensive. “I don’t expect Manchester City shall play so defensive as Aston Villa. Then you need a lot of focus and concentration on our defence. “A long ball is very difficult to defend. But (against) Manchester City, I don’t expect very much long balls. “It’s another game and that’s why I have less fear against Manchester City in spite of losing 1-0 against them in the last game.” That is not to say he would not cherish his first win over City. United will be looking to end a run of four successive Manchester derby defeats on Sunday when City make the short trip across town. Van Gaal lost his first encounter with United’s closest rivals last November, when Sergio Aguero struck the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Blues. ”I dream of it, every player shall dream of the victory,” the United boss said. During his nine months in charge, assistant manager Ryan Giggs and club chef Mike Donnelly have taught the Dutchman about United’s rivalries. But if he needed a reminder of the enmity between City and United, he got it this week from his wife Truus, whose hairdresser is a blue. ”I’m not so often in the city, but when I am there, the people are talking about the derby and even when I come home my wife is saying the things they have told her about this derby,” Van Gaal told MUTV. ”My wife’s hairdresser is a Manchester City fan so there is a lot of discussion between these two women. ”I like it. You play football for the fans and I hope we can give our fans the victory.” Bragging rights are not the only thing at stake. Victory would strengthen United’s grip on third place as they would then be four points clear of their ‘noisy neighbours’. A third-placed finish would guarantee direct entry into the Champions League and that is what Van Gaal is aiming for. ”When you win, third place is then reachable and a month ago nobody was thinking about that, besides me, of course,” Van Gaal said. ”Third is good because you are certainly qualified for the Champions League and then we do better than the goal that was set in pre-season.” The fact that United and City are effectively battling for third position shows how disappointing their seasons have been. But Van Gaal has warned he will be setting out to land the top prize next year, after making a few additions to his squad. “I want to improve my selection for the next season. Then we can make a bigger step,” he said. “Sir Alex Ferguson has done it before. Jose Mourinho is doing it now. “Last season he didn’t win anything. Now he is winning the title, now I try to do that also.” United’s run of five straight league victories has moved them above City, who have won just two of their last seven games in all competitions. The fact that City have had the edge on their rivals recently does not seem to bother the Dutchman though. ”That’s not my history,” he said. ”The last game we played against them and we had a red card in the 39th minute – that is my history.” Chris Smalling was the man who was dismissed at the Etihad Stadium. The defender earned his first booking for blocking Joe Hart as he went to kick the ball out of his hands, and he was cautioned for a second time for clumsily hacking down James Milner. Van Gaal will remind his players they must stay on the pitch this weekend. He said: ”In such games always you have to control your aggression and we did not do that then, so I hope we have learned from that moment. “We have had five red cards this year. It’s a record in my career as a manager and that’s not good.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Palace sign Wickham

first_img The striker moves to Selhurst Park for an undisclosed fee after four years at the Stadium of Light. Wickham told the club’s official site: “I think I needed the fresh start, I had four years up north and it’s been a bit stop-start. Now I’ve come back home and I can settle down and see my family a bit more and hopefully let my football do the talking.” Crystal Palace have signed Connor Wickham from Sunderland on a five-year deal. Press Associationcenter_img “I spoke to the gaffer last week and he said all the right things about the club and I’ve got friends here who also told me some very good things,” he said. “I looked at the team before I arrived here and the signings that have been brought in, and the potential to score goals and the chances that could be created was a massive influence. Hopefully I can add to that talent and make the squad stronger.” Wickham scored 15 goals in 91 games for Sunderland and helped them avoid the drop in 2013-14 when he netted five in their last six games. The 22-year-old joined the Black Cats in 2011 from Ipswich, where he made his debut aged just 16 years and 11 days. But the England Under-21 international struggled to make a consistent impact at Sunderland after an £8million move and was loaned out to Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday during his time in the north-east. last_img read more

Pardew enjoying freedom at Palace

first_imgAlan Pardew believes the trust Crystal Palace have given him this summer has vindicated his decision to leave Newcastle. “I’ve been pretty frustrated [at Newcastle] in the last two or three years in the transfer market, so I’m pretty pleased this year,” said Pardew. “I said to Steve Parish, the chairman, that it was an important year for us to make a statement. It’s all well and good having those conversations but you need the backing. “This is the first time, and one of the reasons I came to this football club, I have full control with the chairman over transfers. I’m really pleased with the business we’ve done. “The thing about a football manager is he has a philosophy and a way of playing. At Newcastle, at times, it was difficult for me to implement the transfers into my agenda because the agenda was different. “Here the agenda is much easier for me. The chairman says I can buy to my philosophy, so we’re buying players like [Bakary] Sako and [Patrick] Bamford, Connor Wickham because I want us to go forward, I want us to be an exciting team.” In addition to the arrivals of Sako, Bamford and Wickham, Pardew has also spent £10million on Yohan Cabaye, whom he worked with at Newcastle, and recruited goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from QPR. The arrivals of each are significant by Palace’s standards but Pardew believes the fact they beat several others to the signatures of Sako and Bamford, and broke the club’s transfer record with Cabaye, says most about their ambitions, particularly when that is something Newcastle are regularly said to lack. “Sako and Bamford, in particular, had lots of options,” he said. “One [Sako] was a free transfer so he had clubs queuing up; Bamford, of course, was a massive success at Middlesbrough and he had four or five Premiership clubs interested in him. “What I hope to do with Bamford is harden him up. He’s had a bit of a soft run in my opinion, everything’s gone his way. Well it’s not going to go his way here, he’s going to have to fight to get into the team. I think that will be good for him. “You can’t underestimate his talent, he’s a real talented striker and one we’re really hopeful for. They could have easily chosen other Premiership sides. “Maybe the signing of Cabaye has impacted on those two transfers. They might not even be here without him and that’s the kind of statement that Cabaye is.” The 54-year-old manager surprised many when he left the north-east club, comfortably positioned in mid-table, to succeed Neil Warnock at Palace in January as they battled to remain in the Barclays Premier League. He then unexpectedly led them to a 10th-placed finish while Newcastle were instead almost relegated but, although Pardew is already a far more popular figure at Selhurst Park than he ever was at Newcastle, it is the control the club have given him that he is most enjoying. Press Associationlast_img read more

Mourinho: We can afford to lose

first_img Pulis has masterminded successive wins over the Blues boss with Crystal Palace and then with the Baggies in May. Chelsea are bidding to recover from their worst start to a season in 17 years, but Mourinho insists even a defeat and an eight-point gap to the top of the table would not cause him to panic. “We can (afford to lose),” Mourinho said. “Eight points in England is 80 points in other leagues, because in other leagues, eight points is an eternity. “It’s very difficult in other leagues for teams to lose points. In England, teams lose points.” Chelsea conceded a handsome eight-point advantage last term when Manchester City drew level on New Year’s Day, but the Blues managed to recover and win the title by the same margin, sealing the trophy before the loss at the Hawthorns. Diego Costa was key to Chelsea’s title win last term, but the striker is still to score this season. Mourinho believes Costa is sticking to his uncompromising approach despite his rough-and-tumble reputation working against him. The Portuguese feels City’s Fernandinho should have been sent off for catching Costa with a flailing arm in an aerial challenge in last week’s 3-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium. Mourinho added: “I can guarantee you if it’s Diego Costa that does that, I can guarantee you red card. If not red card, video footage and suspension. Jose Mourinho is adamant Chelsea will be able to recover if Tony Pulis claims a hat-trick of wins in Sunday’s clash at West Brom. “We are speaking about reputation, but what I see game after game is more of the same. It’s him doing his job and no more than that. “I think enough time (has passed) to forget his reputation, because tell me when was the last time something happened. “I don’t think he’s too physical. At least his skull is not very strong. Because ‘boom’ and Fernandinho fine.” Costa, who scored 20 goals in 28 Premier League games last term, should not be a victim of so-called ‘second-season syndrome’, where players perform below the level of their first season, according to Mourinho. “I think the second season should be better than the first,” Mourinho added. “I think he has conditions to have a better season. He is working well. He is working better than before.” Costa has expressed his discontent with Chelsea’s start to the season. Mourinho added: “He is another one not happy. He is another one who this week, clearly, has showed that he is not happy, and I am very happy when I feel that the players are not happy. I am very happy with that.” Mourinho, who recently signed a four-year contract, laughed off suggestions he was near the top of bookmakers’ lists to be sacked first this season. He said: “You don’t have big chances of making money on that. “Just a feeling, but I don’t think I’m going to be sacked. “The bookies want to make money. They don’t want to lose money. I never heard about a bookmaker bankrupt. “The ones that put the money there is money lost, so good for the bookies.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Jose Mourinho calls Chelsea’s opening half at Newcastle their worst under him

first_img Willian’s late equaliser denied Magpies head coach Steve McClaren a first league win, but he was able to take positives from a vastly-improved display in which summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic played a significant role on his return from suspension. McClaren said: “It’s difficult to know what to think after that, and then you have got to try to come back down and put it into some kind of perspective, and that’s what we must do, put it in perspective in terms of performance, in terms of reaction and in terms of what we have got. “What you got was a collective togetherness, which we talked about a lot, and that wasn’t just the players and the dressing room and the staff, that was the supporters because after this week, the supporters could have just waited and seen what was going to happen. “But they didn’t, they responded from the first whistle and that’s what’s unique about this football club, this set of fans, and the players responded and gave a performance which was more like what we want – attitude, character, organised, really disciplined and courage to play, and we played some good football. “In the end, we could have won it; in the end, we could have lost it. With five or six minutes to go, the momentum had swung and to hang on in there. “Yes, it was a good display, but that’s the benchmark now, that’s the standard.” The Portuguese gave his team a “minus one out of 10” rating for their first 45 minutes at St James’ Park and blamed individual errors for gifting the Magpies 2-0 lead. Asked if that was as badly as the Blues had played under him, Mourinho said: “Yes, for sure. Press Association Jose Mourinho branded Chelsea’s first-half performance at Newcastle as the worst of his reign after seeing them fight back to snatch a 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw. “I have played so many matches with Chelsea over seven years and we have had some bad performances. I remember one at Middlesbrough in 2005, 2006, something like that, we were losing at half-time 3-0, so we have had a few. “But this first half, I can rate as one of those performances, yes. I put it down to awful individual performances. When you have so many bad individual performances, it’s impossible for a team to be a team.” Newcastle forced their way ahead – and deservedly so – three minutes before the break when Ayoze Perez took advantage of indecisive defending to volley home from Vurnon Anita’s cross, and when Georginio Wijnaldum headed home Perez’s 60th-minure corner, a fourth successive home win over the Blues looked to be on the cards. However, Mourinho quickly shuffled his pack and two of his substitutes did the trick when Ramires reduced the deficit with a 79th-minute piledriver and Willian levelled direct from a free-kick with just four minutes remaining. The Chelsea boss is yet to win a league game on Tyneside and had lost on his previous three visits, and that led him to question Newcastle’s mentality. He said: “I think maybe one of the reasons why Newcastle over the years doesn’t get good positions is because of this mentality, it’s because they choose some matches to sweat blood and in other matches, they don’t. “This is an attitude typical of a team that wins nothing. It’s bad for them because if they play like this, they win many matches at home, and they don’t. But this is their problem. “The reality is that they fought hard, they gave everything, they followed a line that many pundits gave straight away – you have to fight, you have to kick, you have to tackle, you have to run, so they were exactly that, and they fought for a point, and I think they deserved a point the way they fought.” last_img read more

Martin O’Neill: Republic of Ireland ready for Germany test

first_img O’Neill said: “They’re very strong, naturally. They’re getting back to winning ways. They’ve had what they might consider a couple of hiccups along the way, including one against us. “But we know what we have to do. It’s a very difficult game for us, but we’re capable. We have to go with all the enthusiasm and determination that that brings. We’ve got a bit of ability as well. “They are class players, as is proven by them having won the World Cup just over 15 months ago, and it will be a tough night for us. But we’re ready for it.” O’Neill will hope to draw once again on the spirit which secured a 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen 12 months ago when John O’Shea’s injury-time equaliser snatched a potentially invaluable point, although the Sunderland defender will need no reminding that Germany’s last visit to Dublin in October 2012 saw them crush Giovanni Trapattoni’s side 6-1 in a World Cup qualifier. The manager said: “I think the best thing to do is give it everything you’ve got in the game and have no regrets at the end of the game. We have to be as positive as possible and attempt to go for the game.” O’Neill, who worked with his players for the first time on Monday morning, has issues with which to contend, with midfielders Glenn Whelan and James McClean both suspended for Thursday’s game after collecting third bookings of the campaign against Georgia last month and injuries threatening the participation of several other men. Defender Marc Wilson is yet to meet up with the squad after staying behind at Stoke for treatment on a calf problem, while Everton full-back Seamus Coleman and Derby counterpart Cyrus Christie did not train with the rest of the group and Coleman’s club-mate Darron Gibson was a late addition to the squad as he battles his way back to full fitness after a knee problem. Training will increase in intensity as the week progresses ahead of a contest in which O’Neill knows his team may have to play without the ball for long periods. He said: “I don’t think that is something the players are not used to. In international football, that sometimes happens.” Martin O’Neill has ordered his Republic of Ireland troops not to fear world champions Germany as they attempt to take a decisive step towards Euro 2016 qualification. Ireland welcome the Group D leaders to the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday evening knowing victory against either the Germans or second-placed Poland in their final two games would secure a play-off place at worst, but that anything less could prove fatal to their hopes. Joachim Low’s men suffered an uncharacteristically low-key start to their campaign, losing in Poland and drawing at home with the Republic in their second and third qualifiers, but have put together a run of five successive victories since to illustrate their enduring class. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Wayne Rooney far from spent force, claims David Beckham

first_img Press Association Although they did not play together at Manchester United, Beckham and Rooney have been close friends for many years due to their involvement with England. Beckham was captain when Rooney made his international debut 12 years ago and the pair went on to play at two major tournaments together. “He got to a certain age and then he dropped into midfield a lot more and played that central role. I think Wayne will do the same. “He’s an out-and-out goalscorer, but I think at the end of the day with Wayne, he’s proved he can step into the midfield and play. “If you’re comfortable on the ball, as players such as Wayne and Giggsy are you can do that.” :: The UNICEF game featuring, which pits a Great Britain & Ireland XI v a Rest of the World XI is on 14 November, 3pm, at Old Trafford. Tickets available from Rooney became England’s record goalscorer last month, but his form at United has not been great this season. The 29-year-old has found the net just once in the Barclays Premier League, but that does not mean he is a fading force, according to Beckham. “I don’t think you can ever write off a player that’s scored the number of goals he has for England and Manchester United,” said the former United midfielder, who was speaking at a press conference to publicise a charity match for UNICEF that he is playing in at Old Trafford. “Being the player he is and has been over the years, you can never write off someone like that. “Players like that can always make you eat your words.” Rooney started the season as United’s main striker, but Louis van Gaal has shifted his skipper into the number 10 role since Anthony Martial joined from Monaco. The United manager deployed Rooney as a central midfielder at times last term, and that is where Beckham believes the England captain is destined to end his career. Beckham said: “I think when you get older, you have to adapt your play. Ryan Giggs was a prime example. David Beckham has warned Wayne Rooney’s critics they will soon be made to eat their words. last_img read more

David James: David de Gea would not be Real Madrid’s number one

first_img It is likely that without his inspirational form over the course of the past season United would have dropped so many points that they would again have failed to qualify for the Champions League, but intriguingly James hinted that he considers the Spaniard to not be sufficiently commanding and that he could be contributing to the numerous attacks that have come United’s way. “I do a lot of analysis and I’ve got a lot of friends in analysis: I’ve got a theory, I can’t tell you because I haven’t got to the end of it yet, but it’s to do with a lot of goalkeepers having to make a loads of saves and others not having to make loads of saves,” he explained. “De Gea seems to make a lot of saves for Manchester United. “For a side that are supposed to be so good, I don’t think it’s just the midfield.” :: David James was speaking at the launch of Carlsberg¹s Beer¹s Beauty range of male grooming products, with all proceeds from sales of the range going to the Movember Foundation. To sign-up to Movember, please visit: David James believes that David de Gea has not yet joined Real Madrid because the goalkeeper fears becoming Keylor Navas’ deputy at The Bernabeu. Even though he then signed a new contract to remain at United until at least 2019, it is widely considered likely that Real will revive and complete the transfer next summer and that De Gea will remain there for the long term. James, however, despite remaining convinced by De Gea’s qualities, does not believe that is the case. He instead admires Costa Rican Navas to the extent that in addition to once recommending him to Arsenal, he considers him superior to De Gea, a goalkeeper many regard as the world’s best. “You look at Navas at Real Madrid, it’s no wonder De Gea didn’t go there,” said James from the Carlsberg Green Room at Ted¹s Grooming Room in Soho. “When you think that Navas is such a good goalkeeper that De Gea wasn’t necessarily going to be the number one anyway. “I think it was possibly a reason, because Navas is awesome. He has been for a few years now. I enquired a couple of years ago to Arsene Wenger, ‘Why don’t you go for Navas, £8million or £10million buy-out?’ He had (David) Ospina on his card, he went for Ospina, didn’t he? “Navas has had an exceptional start to the season in Spain and justified my theory that he is up there, if I say the top three – as a loose number – in the world because he is that good. “I think he is (better than De Gea), yeah. I think his all-round game, he’s got a lot more about him. (But) don’t get me wrong, David de Gea’s performed at an amazing level over the last three years.” Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2013 retirement, and to some minds even before then, De Gea has been United’s most important player in their attempts to arrest their decline. It is for that reason that James also suspects De Gea will remain at Manchester United beyond next summer, and why he signed a new four-year contract at the club. On the last day of the summer transfer window the goalkeeper appeared set to join Real until the long-awaited, proposed move unexpectedly collapsed during its final stages. Press Associationlast_img read more