Archive for the ‘Chelsea’ Category

Altidore Gets Work Permit: Ready To Help Hull

August 19, 2009


Its official!

American striker Jozy Altidore has finally received his UK work permit and will be able to join Premiership side Hull, which opens the season this weekend against Bolton.

Ibrahimovic To Barca?

July 17, 2009

The transfer season arms race at the top of Spanish football continues as today’s Gazetto Dell Sport and Marca indicate Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be heading for FC Barcelona in a 42 million euro deal. Its reported that Barça President Joan Laporta and Inter Boss Massimo Moratti came to an understanding on the transfer during a meeting last night in Milan.

It is also being reported that Barca striker Sammy Eto’o may be heading to Inter as part of the deal to acquire the the 27 year-old Swede Ibrahimovic, who is currently in Los Angeles training with his Inter teammates.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 25 goals last season for the Italian champions, would add to the Spanish and European champion’s already potent offense and make an ideal striker to play off the world’s best supporting striker in Lionel Messi.

There remains a chance that Chelsea could still swoop in make a grab for Ibrahimovic and even Moratti admitted on Sky Italia last night that , “We need to wait to see what the player wants.”

So I Guess Chelsea Won’t Be Spending Much This Year

June 13, 2009

…since Abramovich just bought a huge yacht for $550 million. Buying the world’s largest yacht, complete with a helipad and its own submarine, doesn’t exactly leave much money to buy Franck Ribery from Bayern – leaving the door open for Real Madrid to swoop in.

Champions League Predictions: Let The Bands Do The Talking III

April 28, 2009

Its been awhile since we’ve asked some musicians to help out with Champions League predictions so here we go!

Barcelona – Chelsea

What does Chelsea need to do to Barca to beat them in the Nou Camp?

…and get on the outside – fast!

What does Barcelona need to do to hold off Chelsea’s streaking Florent Malouda, the dogged determination of Frank Lampard, and the ever-dangerous striker Didier Drogba?

Prediction: Barcelona 3: Chelsea 1

Manchester United – Arsenal

How does ManU need to come out early to break the hot streaking Arsenal’s confidence?

And how does the young Arsenal side need to approach this match against the Red Devils?

Prediction: Arsenal 2: Manchester United 2

Scolari Out At Chelsea

February 10, 2009

Wow! It turns out Luis Felipe Scolari only lasted seven months at Chelsea.

More details here and here.

And who will replace him? Maybe big Guus.

Eduardo Salvio: The Next Big Thing?

January 27, 2009

While Arsenal courts Zenith for Andrei Arshavin, Real Madrid begs and pleads for Cristiano Ronaldo, and other clubs are going after the hottest players in the game, there is still a wave of scary talent coming forward from the youth ranks. One in particular is 18 year-old Argentine wunderkind Eduardo Salvio who has already scored 4 goals in 14 appearances for Lanús, including putting two past Boca Juniors. He is also working his way up through Argentina’s highly competitive youth system, recently shining in the South American U-20 championship. Just three days ago, he led his Argentine team to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Peru, scoring the winning goal.

“I can play anywhere, inside or outside, but it does not frighten me to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper,” said a confident Salvio to Gazzetto. “My mirror player plays in another position, and he is Juan Román Riquelme.”

Salvio is a combination of fast, clever, and very technical and with his diminutive 5’5” frame, nothing but trouble for defenders once he has the ball at his feet. He is already being hailed as the next Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi (who are both mentioned as the next Maradona) in the great tradition of Argentine supporting strikers such as Carlos Tevez, Messi, Javier Saviola, and others.

Now, teams like Roma, AC Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, CSKA Moscow, Genoa, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid are hot on his trail.

So, it is no surprise that in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, we see that Juve’s management are making their move by sending chief scout Renzo Castagnini to Argentina to work out a deal before another club gets there first. They’ll be hard pressed to trump Napoli, which has always been a second home for Argentine players on the continent, including Maradona, Lavezzi, German Denis, and others. That said, Juve’s deeper pockets would probably carry the day.

According to Gazzetto, to seal the deal Juventus is ready to ante up with at least €8.5 million and plans to finance it through the sale of forward Vincenzo Iaquinta to an interested Russian club Zenit St Petersburg (which also indicates they are resigned to losing Arshavin).

But any deal may not happen until summer since Lanús president Alejandro Marón, has a stated policy that the club’s youth players must play a full season before any transfers are allowed.

Meanwhile, Juventus has reportedly approached Chelsea to discuss a loan deal for French winger Florent Malouda. Malouda has not fared well since the arrival of Chelsea boss Felipe Scolari but his old Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, now at Juventus, thinks he can help the team challenge Inter for the Scuddetto.

Lavezzi: Not Going Anywhere

December 2, 2008

Napoli’s Argentine wunderkind Ezequiel Lavezzi is a man in demand these days. The spark he brought to newly promoted Napoli last year kept them in the upper half of the table and this year, along with fellow countryman German Denis and a host of others, has Napoli up to fourth place in Serie A.

“El Pocho” is often compared to Argentina legend (and current national coach) Diego Maradona but he has a style all his own. Lavezzi has blazing speed and technique but his uncanny abilty to change speed and direction (on or off the ball) makes him a danger to any defense. The list of defenders he has faked out of their jock strap this year alone is long and distinguished.

Almost on cue, deep pocketed Chelsea has taken a shine to the Napoli ace but last night he told the Italian press he is not interested. “I am happy at Napoli,” he said. “I like the city of Naples and the team so I’ll stay here – it’s better than going to England.” Not the kind of thing feedback Permiership clubs are used to receiving.

But now Inter president Massimo Moratti is talking about trying to pry him loose from Napoli, a club which can always use the money but one which also values pride and loyalty above all. They’ve been eyeing him along with Chelsea’s Didier Drogba but that deal is looking less likely so their focus is now on Lavezzi. Regardless of Napoli’s statements that he is not for sale, we can expect to see lots of leaks from Inter to the Gazetta Dello Sport with outlandishly high offers for Lavezzi, all in an attempt to put pressure on the Napoli board.

Given his huge impact on the team, his cult hero status in the city, and the throngs of fans who show up every night at Castel Volturno just to get a look at El Pocho, its hard to think of any offer high enough to convince the club to sell.

Champion’s League: Night of The Greeks

November 5, 2008

Two Greek teams surprised everyone last night scoring a combined six goals and picking up four points from stiff competition. Werder Bremen fell to Panathinaikos 3-0 while Inter Milan, down 3-2 to Anorthosis well into the match, managed to salvage a point and finish 3-3.

OK, so I blew the call on the Inter-Anonthosis match but I think keepers Julio Cesar (Inter) and Arian Begaj (Anorthosis) combined for one of the most noteworthy goalkeeping displays we’ve seen this year.

Check out a few of their great saves here:

As for Roma putting three past Chelsea, that too was a real surprise, especially given the giallorossi’s league form lately. Roma looked more confident than normal while Chelsea looked tired from the early going (the muggy weather in Rome pobably didn;t help). Now if Roma could just play consistently on the road (a problem the past few years), they could make a run for the Scudetto (and perhaps more). I’m not holding my breath.

And the rest of the scores:

CFR Cluj 1-2 Bordeaux
Roma 3-1 Chelsea
Anorthosis 3-3 Internazionale
Bremen 0-3 Panathinaikos
Sporting 1-0 Shakhtar
Barcelona 1-1 Basel
Liverpool 1-1 Atlético
Marseille 3-0 PSV

Full highlights on the night here:

A Humbling Weekend For Serie A Powers

August 4, 2008

You saw it on Italian newsstands everywhere today under somber headlines; Chelsea 5 : AC Milan 0 , Hamburger SV 3 : Juventus 0. Never mind that these were meaningless preseason friendlies in which coaches experimented with new players and different lineups – Italian football had been shamed.

AC Milan took its lumps in the Railway Cup tournament held in Moscow on an astounding four-goal performance by Cheleas’s Nicolas Anelka. The Premiership side took the lead in the second minute on a Frank Lampard free kick, which Milan keeper Zeljko Kalac could not stop.
Anelka’s romp started in the eighth minute with a successful long range shot then caught Kalac out of position to tally his second not ten minutes later. Anelka’s two second half goals came thanks to assists from fellow Frenchman Florent Malouda, nodding home a cross in the 51st then tapping in another cross from the winger seven minutes later.

Juventus figured it would fare better in the Emirates Cup after just beating Arsenal 1-0 but a weak first half against Hamburg saw them dig a hole they could not claw their way out of. The unavailability of Jorge Andrade and other defensive injuries have left the Old Lady looking pretty old in the back. Some well-taken early shots by Hamburg were easily saved by Antonio Chimenti but a defensive error by Nicola Legottaglie in the 18th minute allowed Jose Paolo Guerero to slot a left-footed shot in for Hamburg’s first goal.

An unfit Mauro Camorenesi tried to rally Juve in the attack but the Torino-based side struggled to support the ball in forward areas. An early second half knee injury to Juve defender Dario Knezevic did not help matters and Christian Molinaro also had to be taken out due to injury.

Nonetheless, Juventus looked more lively in the second half and Amauri nearly scored on an header which was stopped by Frank Rost. Later Claudio Ranieri inserted Vincenzo Iaquinta, who muffed an easy chance before Hamburg struck again on two late goals from Croatian Ivica Olic to make it 3-0 Hamburg.

It seems more than a few Serie A teams are still looking for defensive help as unfilled roster spots and recent injuries are depleting the back lines of several teams. Among those still looking for help in central defense are Fiorentina, Genoa, Inter, Lazio, Siena and Udinese.

Is Onyewu The Answer To Inter’s Defensive Woes?

July 31, 2008

I recall during the 2006 World Cup when a colleague from La Stampa turned to me and called Oguchi Onyewu, the “American Materazzi.” Of course this was well before Materazzi’s incident with Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup final so there was no doubt he meant it as a compliment to the American player curently with Standard Liege. Two years later, I wonder if the fates of Materazzi and Onyewu may now somehow be connected.

Jose Mourinho has taken the reins of a powerful Inter Milan side which now finds itself in a defensive emergency just three weeks before the start of the Serie A season. Recent injuries to defenders Marco Materazzi and Christian Chivu have left the Nerazzurri with some big holes in central defense as they look to defend the Scudetto for yet another year. This has led Inter’s president Massimo Morratti to back onto the transfer market looking for a solution.

The loss of the soon to be 35 year-old Materazzi is a particularly hard blow given his strong physical presence in the middle, which is hard to replace at this stage. There was some talk in Milan of an interest in bringing in Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvahlo, who played for Mourinho at both Porto and Stamford Bridge. This may not be so easy since the failure to seal a deal on Frank Lampard may have soured both sides soured on any further negotiations right now.

When you look at the transfer pool at this late stage, there is not much depth in the available central defenders. This makes me wonder if Mourinho may look to acquire Oguchi Onyewu not only as an early season stand-in but as a player to take on Materazzi’s role in the future or better yet, to give him a sturdy physical partner to replace the often ailing Chivu. The new Inter boss had been keen to sign Onyewu in January 2007 during his last season at Chelsea but was not able to convince his club to spend the money at the time. Having been sold on him once before, could Mourinho now decide that the “American Materazzi” is at least a short term answer to Inter’s defensive woes?
At the same time, if Chelsea did sell Carvahlo to Inter, could this open an opportunity for Onyewu at Stamford Bridge and give Gooch the Premiership break he has been looking for? Is Gooch even ready for either club?
All speculation aside, the Bundesliga’s FC Cologne remains among the most interested in acquiring Onyewu for the 2008-2009 season. With 30 days left in the transfer period, only time (and money) will tell where he ends up.