Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Today's Transfer Gist: Arsenal Chase Cavani, Song Available For Free, Plus More!

  • Arsenal are ready to make a £50m bid for Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani as Olivier Giroud, also 27, faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines. (Daily Express)
  • The Gunners want Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck, 23, to replace the injured Giroud, but the Red Devils are reluctant to sell. (Daily Mail)
  • Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is also interested in a loan deal for Monaco's Colombia forward Radamel Falcao, 28, and France striker Loic Remy, 27, who is available for £8.5m from QPR . (the Guardian)
  • Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is weighing up a shock £20m move for Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen, 24 . (Daily Star)
  • United are in talks to sign Daley Blind, 24, with former Old Trafford goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar currently in Manchester to finalise a deal for the Ajax and Netherlands defender. (Daily Star)
  • The Red Devils are also considering offering Japan playmaker Shinji Kagawa, 25, or Mexico striker Javier Hernandez, 26, as a makeweight in a deal for Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 27. (Independent)
  • Real Madrid are to spend the majority of the money they received from Manchester United for Angel Di Maria on 28-year-old Monaco striker Radamel Falcao. (Le Sport 10 - in French)
  • AC Milan have confirmed they are looking to sign the Chelsea pair of striker Fernando Torres, 30, and midfielder Marco van Ginkel, 21. (Daily Express)
  • The Italian club are fed up waiting for Torres to make a decision and have handed him an ultimatum as they prepare to switch their attentions to Tottenham striker Robert Soldado, 29, or Liverpool forward Fabio Borini, 23. (Inside Futbol)
  • Tottenham are poised to complete the signing of Sevilla central defender Federico Fazio, 27, after paying his £8m buyout clause. (Daily Telegraph)
  • Spurs are also interested in Cameroon midfielder Alexandre Song, 26, who has been told that he can leave Barcelona on a free transfer. (the Times)
  • QPR boss Harry Redknapp is ready to move for West Ham midfielder Mohammed Diame, 27, after tracking the Senegal international for 12 months. (Daily Mirror)
  • Juventus have joined Tottenham and AC Milan in pursuit of Paris St-Germain's 19-year-old midfielder Adrien Rabiot. (L'Equipe - in French)
  • Turkish club Trabzonspor are pursuing Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, 31. (Bild - in German)
  • Atletico Madrid are considering making a move for Bayern Munich's 22-year-old Switzerland midfielder Xheridan Shaqiri. (Mundodeportivo - in Spanish)
  • AC Milan have contacted Chelsea over the availability of 21-year-old Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel. (Tuttosport - in Italian)
  • Napoli are on the verge of signing Spanish midfielder David Lopez, 24, from Espanyol

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

JUST IN: NFF Elect New President To Replace Maigari [DETAILS]

A fractional congress of the Nigeria Football Federation has elected Ambassador Christopher Giwa as the Federations’ new President.

The emergence of Chris Giwa  as the NFF boss is surely going to be contested as it was previously agreed that Tuesday’s congress was not an elective one but to chart a road map for the emergence of new leaders.

Giwa was said to have defeated Chief Mike Umeh to the top spot at the sparsely attended congress at the Chida Hotels in Abuja while Obinna Ogba was said to have emerged as the New vice President for the Federation.

The arrest of Alhaji Aminu Maigari and two others earlier in the day had thrown spanners into the wheels of Tuesday's Congress.

That nonetheless, the faction of the congress not present at the Chida Hotels have on their part stated that an elective Congress will hold on September 4, 2014 in Calabar, Cross Rivers State; adding that Maigari, must remain in charge and preside over the September 4 elective congress in Calabar.

Funny Twitter Reactions To Angel Di Maria's Move To Manchester United [SEE TWEETS]

After the long wait, Angel di Maria finally became a Manchester United player for a British record £59.7million this evening after the 26-year-old flew into Manchester from Spain on Monday night and successfully underwent a medical before finalising a five-year deal on Tuesday.

As usual, fans on twitter reacted to the move.. Here are some tweets I could gather

Real Madrid Unveil Amazing "Dragon King" Black Jersey For Champions League Matches [LOOK]

Real Madrid have released a new black third kit, which the Champion League winners will wear in Europe when defending their crown.
The new kit, designed by Yohji Yamamoto, bears a 'dragon king' - which 'symbolizes the greatness, glory and power of the club' - and also a 'dragon bird' - which 'represents the clubs resistance, determination and agility on its way to the victory', according to Adidas.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are bidding the first team in the history of the Champions League to retain their title, which they won after beating neighbours Atletico Madrid 4-1 in May.

NFF SAGA: Maigari, Amadu, Others Detained In Police Custody Despite Resignation

Despite his resignation letter resurfacing again and his tenure expired today, embattled Alhaji Aminu Magari  as well as the duo of Barrister Chris Green(former Chairman technical committee) and Barrister Musa Amadu (former NFF Scribe) are said to be still held in the custody of men of the state security service(SSS).

Though the trio are said to have been invited to answer some ‘routine questions’, gathered that series of financial allegations leveled against the hitherto powerful NFF big wigs is tops on the reasons why they are being held.

Inside sources further revealed to that the invitation by the SSS may just have kick-started thorough investigations into the four-year reign of Magari as President of the NFF.

Fans Queue Up To Buy Tickets For Nigeria Vs South Africa 2015 AFCON Qualifiers

Ahead of the September 10, 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, feelers from the Rainbow Nations reveals that fans are already queuing up for the match tickets which went on sale this week.

Tickets for the Bafana vs Nigeria game in Cape Town have gone on sale for between - R50 (N1,000), R100 and R150 (N3,000).

Nigeria has over the years maintained dominance over their South African counterparts, but fans are hoping they can stern the tide in next month’s clash.

After their curtain raiser away to Sudan on Friday, September 5, Bafana Bafana will jet out straight to Johannesburg on Saturday morning (6 September).

The team will then travel to Cape Town on the same day to prepare for the Nigeria clash which will take place on Wednesday, 10 September.

LOL! See What Wenger And Mourinho Would Have Looked Like As Music Rappers [PHOTOS]

Ever wondered what Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho would look like if they were rap stars?

No, neither had we.

Luckily for those of you who may have done, though, some of the Premier League’s current and former managers have been put onto the covers of famous rap albums with brilliant results Metro oddballs

Complex UK created the fantastic artwork and also imagined what songs each manager would produce and rap about in a series of tailored track lists.
Arsenal boss Wenger, for example, was turned into 50 Cent with the song ‘Still In Da Club’ relating to The Gunners’ continued appearance in the Champions League.

Chelsea coach Mourinho, meanwhile, took the cover of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint album, which when one considers how the Portuguese tactician laid the foundations for success at the club before leaving and then returning to Stamford Bridge last year, is rather fitting.

The Touching Story Of Di Maria And How His Terribly Sick Daughter's Made Him Work Harder [MUST READ]

When Sir Alex Ferguson gave Angel Di Maria his man-of-the-match award at the end of last season’s Champions League final it was for 120 minutes of incredible football.

But for the Argentine winger the real ‘game of his life’ had been played out in the previous 14 months amid the turmoil of a career under threat at Real Madrid and a baby daughter born three months premature.
As emotional as the events of winning the club’s 10th European Cup in Lisbon were, nothing Di Maria achieves in football will rank alongside the story of his daughter Mia.

A year before that extra-time run and assist for Gareth Bale to score the decisive goal in a 4-1 victory over Atletico Madrid, Di Maria’s wife Jorgelina Cardoso had suffered pregnancy complications and doctors had given the couple’s baby a 30 per cent chance of survival if the birth was not induced.

Mia was born three months premature on April 22, 2013, the night before Real Madrid faced Borussia Dortmund in a Champions League semi-final.
Di Maria missed the game to be with his wife and the couple agonised for the next two months as their daughter stayed in intensive care before finally being allowed to go home.

With Mia safe and sound Di Maria was able to turn his full attention back to playing football but Real Madrid had signed Bale in his place and he appeared to be facing up to a season on the bench.

‘My daughter taught me that everything that appears to be really difficult can end up being easy if you put the effort in and wait for the rewards,’ he said. ‘She transmitted so much energy to me and it helped me to have the spectacular year that I had.’
Di Maria was the top goal provider in the Spanish league last season with 22 assists, he scored in the Copa del Rey triumph over Barcelona and outplayed everyone in Lisbon as Real lifted the Champions League trophy.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti said this week that ‘the club did everything it could to keep him’, but that is not the case.

Ancelotti was told in the summer that James Rodriguez would be arriving and that Di Maria would be the sacrifice. The coach’s long career working for Silvio Berlusconi at AC Milan means he is well-schooled in the art of accepting every command that drops down from on high, no matter how ill-advised. Real’s reluctance to put Di Maria on anything like pay parity with Bale and new signing Rodriguez owes much to image.
Madrid’s business model is built on footballer pin-ups. Di Maria does not fit the poster-boy brigade. Nicknamed El Fideo (the noodle) for that long streaky physique, he is more hall of mirrors than hall of fame but there is an admirable durability to both his character and his constitution

A part of Di Maria will always remain in Madrid because of the medical staff that gave Mia the round-the-clock care she needed to pull through.

It will also not be easy to swap the No 22 for the No 7 at Old Trafford, no matter what the historic significance of the latter — 22 is, after all, the number he picked out when he arrived at Madrid in 2010 and ended up being the date of birth of his little girl.

[UPDATED] Today's Transfer Gist (August 26th): Arsenal Eye Italian Striker, Plus More!

  • Arsenal have enquired about Torino forward Alessio Cerci but face competition from Southampton. Manager Ronald Koeman is making a late push to bring extra quality into his side after a couple of promising performances but poor results in the Premier League.
  • Juventus have made an enquiry about the availability of Javier Hernandez after Arsenal stalled on the proposed loan of Lukas Podolski to the Italian giants.
  • Arsenal are set to miss out on the signing of Kostas Manolas with the Greece international set to join Roma.
  • Michael Dawson is due to have a medical ahead of his proposed £3.5million move to Hull City.
  • The 30-year-old knew his chances were limited at Tottenham who will now complete the signing of Federico Fazio from Sevilla for £8m.
  • Tottenham have been linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot but they will not be making a move for the 19-year-old.
  • Rafa Benitez is considering Espanyol defensive midfielder David Lopez after Liverpool blocked a loan move for Lucas Leiva.
  • Liverpool want a permanent deal and value the Brazilian at £6m to £8m while Napoli would prefer a loan partly to ensure Lucas is also fully recovered from his knee trouble.
  • Manchester United agree to pay a British record transfer fee of £59.7m to sign winger Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid.
  • Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants to sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 27, in a £34m deal that would take the two-year transfer spend at Old Trafford through the £200m barrier. (Independent)
  • United could use the Italian club's interest in striker Javier Hernandez, 26, to help secure a deal for Vidal. (Daily Express)
  • Arsenal and Manchester United have received a huge boost in their pursuit of Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, 27, after the Italian club scrapped a proposed meeting with potential suitors Bayern Munich. (Daily Star)
  • Arsenal are set to move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, 22, after the Portuguese club lowered their asking price. (Daily Express)
  • Southampton have made a move for Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld and hope to beat Monaco to a deal for the 25-year-old Belgium international. (Daily Mail)
  • Tottenham are willing to meet the £8m release clause of Sevilla captain and Argentina defender Federico Fazio, 27, according to the La Liga club's sporting director Monchi. (London Evening Standard)
  • Chelsea are in talks to sign Mattia Destro, 23, according to the Roma forward's agent. (Daily Star)

All You Need To Know About Angel Di Maria... Is He Really Worth It?

Is He Worth £59.7m?

No, and United should not have to pay that. They are the only club bidding. PSG can’t buy him because of Financial Fair Play restrictions and Manchester City turned down the chance to buy him this summer for the same reason.

It will be interesting to see if the clubs agree on the price paid. Real said Gareth Bale cost around €90m and Spurs insisted it was €100m. The sale of Di Maria is hugely unpopular, so Real president Florentino Perez needs the highest price possible.

Where Will He Play?
The most logical position for Di Maria in Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 is in the midfield five just inside the left wing back.
Last season he played on the left of the midfield three at Real Madrid and had his best season at the club. He can cover the runs of the left wing back and makes runs to the left to get round the back of teams.

His versatility is one of his best qualities. In a 3-5-2 he could play left wing back; he could play left or right in a 4-4-2; and in a 4-3-3, in the midfield three or front three. Jose Mourinho even had him down as an emergency left back.

Is He A Worthy No 7?
Xabi Alonso tweeted: ‘Thanks for everything. I wish you all the best, even if you are going to United. We will never forget the zig-zag in extra time in Lisbon.’
Tired legs everywhere and Di Maria as fresh as if it were the 10th minute, not the 110th, hurtling down the left and crossing to Bale for the Champions League-winning goal. If he produces moments like that for United he will be more than worthy.

Why Are Real Madrid Selling?
The same reason they sold Arjen Robben in 2009. The desire for new stars must be financed, in part, by sales. Three Champions League finals later, nobody can say Bayern were wrong to sign Robben.

Real’s reluctance to put Di Maria on anything like pay parity with Bale and new signing Rodriguez owes much to image also.

Madrid’s business model is built on footballer pin-ups. Di Maria does not fit the poster-boy brigade.

[VIDEO HIGHLIGHT] Manchester City Demolish Liverpool 3-1 At The Etihad [WATCH]

Manchester City already appear to be in ominous form when it comes to defending their Premier League title, with two goals from Stevan Jovetic helping them to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Eastlands.

Jovetic gave the hosts the lead after capitalizing in a poor mistake from left back Alberto Moreno before smashing the ball home.

Meet United's New Boy Angel Di Maria's Beautiful Wife And Kid [PHOTOS]

Imminent Manchester United signing Angel Di Maria is happily married to Jorgelina Cardoso and they are blessed with a daughter Mia.

His wife suffered pregnancy complications and doctors had given the couple’s baby a 30 per cent chance of survival if the birth was not induced
Mia was born three months premature on April 22, 2013, the night before Real Madrid faced Borussia Dortmund in a Champions League semi-final and was in intensive care for over two months before she was discharged

Here are some pictures of the cute family. Check them out!

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[COUNTER ATTACK NG.] The Premiership's A.B.C- EPL Week Two Review

Just as I was about getting into the groove of things, the weekend wheezed away in Cinderella fashion.

Drama and soccer were huge parts of my formative years, nowadays I found drama in football. Forget naysayers football is an art.

I was at Victoria island this weekend to watch all the premiership games at CN Garden; a small independent local garden outlet to watch a tired Arsenal take on Everton at Goodison  park,  in what is steadily becoming a nationwide derby.
The manager of the later will in his press conference claim his supposed little horse from Merseyside lost valuable points, citing tiredness as a major factor. How Ironic!!
It seems as though the closer Arsene Wenger gets to completing his side’s puzzle a piece appears missing. A garden full of greens was crowded by Arsenal’s red and white wearing supporters. 

Thankfully the noise levels were sea quiet at times but for a few groans every now and then. Everton dominated proceeding for most of the ninety minutes. It was not until the 82nd minute before Arsenal truly tested and bridged the Toffes’ defence.
By now we can get used to Aaron Ramsey’s name on every score sheet every time the Gunners play.  What a player he’s turned out to be.
For all the stick Giroud has gotten from the media and the north London supporters,his introduction looked like arsenal’s likeliest route to goal. 
He eventually got his side’s equalizer to send the Arsenal support home in ecstasy. 

Too bad if you left your TV sets too early!

If It’s Broken, Fix It
Nothing feels better than delivering on the English media’s hype, ask Mauricio Pochettino after seeing his Spurs side go top of the log. “It’s nothing” in his words. 
Tottenham put four past Queens Park Rangers, currently managed by the man who successfully granted the wishes of Daniel Levy when he qualified Spurs for the champions league in the not so distant past (never been able to lay my hands on why he was fired).
Three managers have sat in the dugout since Harry Redknapp left the helm, but it looks as if though Levy finally got his man. 

For a team that outspent Man United and Arsenal put together in last summers’ transfer market, the issue big task for the new manager was always going to be getting a bunch of expensive talents playing together to produce results.
“it’s nothing. It’s two games. For me it’s important that the team show that we can play like a team, because after we have an unbelievable squad, and after we play like a team and all together, we can achieve something”.
In their spare time new managers have often been found reading history books of their new employees. If that’s anything to go by Pochettino would find that the end of season run-in has been an Achilles heel for Tottenham in previous years. But for now well done amigo!!

No Quick Fix
Manchester united may not be in the sort of free fall they found themselves last season, but if there is a word to describe Louis Van Gaal side it would be ‘flat’. 
Much of his post-match reaction centered on his side’s inability to create chances. Not for a lack of the lack of creative players in the final third but the foundation on which those attacks should be built is shaky. It could be likened to building a mansion on quick sand.

Every manager seems to have that one player whom they keep selecting in their lineup, that one player the fans do not agree with. Worse off is when the said player fails to deliver. LVG possesses two of these type of players; Darren Fletcher and a certain Tom Cleverly.
The former recently selected as vice-captain and maybe rightly so because he’s a leader, a testament of character, resilience and that never say die spirit, I need not point to his triumph over the then seemingly career threatening bowel condition.
It good to see the 29 year old back playing football for the club he has given his entire life to. But sometimes sentiments can take you as far in top flight football and it has become clear that the brown haired Scot will never be squash buckling player he once was. 

I duff two hats to you my friend!!

The second player of that category is Tom Cleverly. The Red devils supporters hope for the worst when on tour he boldly stated he “was a Van Gaal type of player” (makes me wonder what those two have been talking about).
On Sunday United looked like a side that had learned nothing from their opening day defeat at home to Swansea, the Sunderland stalemate was no different. It’s extremely difficult to point to the improvements from last week’s encounter. 

Paying The Price
After exhaustive deliberation our panel of experts had this to say.

Fergie was a genius and sadly, he was hugely under appreciated. For all of the Dutch tactian brilliance in Brazil 2014 and a glittering CV to go with, it has to be said he is no Ferguson, neither is he as good as him.
Out of humor a colleague joked saying a combination of Jose and Pep’s qualities into one will still fall short of Sir Alex’s managerial and coaching abilities. Err maybe, just maybe!

In our previous write ups we (Counter Attack Ng) always stated that the simultaneous timing of David Gill and Sir Alex’s retirement was probably a wrong move. In hindsight, suggestions would have it that it is the administrator who should maybe have delayed his resignation at Old Trafford before taking up a senior role at Uefa.
Looking back, the Red devils are suffering from years of inadequate investment in the squad who’s flaws where comfortably concealed by Ferguson’s genius. The good news is unlike Moyes United have a proven winner in LVG, but even he already said winning the title in his first season will be a miracle.

Little Horse?

Jose Mourinho has managed to build a squad in his image, well not without ruffling some feathers. Petr Cech is the latest high profile player up for grabs after he sat on the bench for second consecutive week for Chelsea’s win over Leicester city.
Diego Costa has cleared every doubt about his fitness and huge price tag scoring two goals in two games for Chelsea.

The writer of this piece Yubbythepundit is the author of Counter Attack NG.

Follow on twitter @Yubbythepundit