Friday, June 28, 2013

All the Latest Transfer Gossip across Europe!

Here is a round up of all of today’s latest transfer gossip across Europe:

Is your club involved?

Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Napoli, Juventus, Sevilla, Roma, Benfica, Arsenal, Hamburg SV, Bayern Munich, Norwich, Swansea, Espanyol, Hull, Sporting Lisbon, Sunderland, Spurs, Velez Sarsfield, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Peterborough Utd, Vitesse Arnhem, Liverpool, Everton, Spartak Moscow, Marseille, Lille, Stoke, Newcastle, St Etienne, Lyon, Toulouse, PSV Eindhoven, QPR, Watford, Valencia, Millwall, Leeds, Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Wigan Athletic,Blackpool, Celtic, Colchester Utd, Schalke 04, Mainz and Sheffield Wednesday ..........are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will switch his sights back to Borussia Dortmund's 24-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski if he is unable to sign Napoli striker Edinson Cavani - Daily Mirror, and

Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, 27 (right), tops the list of targets for Manchester City as they look to replace Carlos Tevez. Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo, Roma's Pablo Osvaldo and Benfica's Oscar Cardozo are also in contention - The Independent

Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov, 27, has hinted he would be happy to follow striker Carlos Tevez in taking a pay cut and moving to Juventus - The Guardian

Arsenal's hopes of signing Swansea City defender Ashley Williams, 28, are fading as the Welsh club are refusing to lower their £10m asking price - The Times and Daily Mail

Marseille are closing on a £12million deal for Arsenal’s 26 year-old striker Gervinho -

Arsenal defender Johan Djourou is close to completing a move to Hamburg SV on a season-long loan - BILD (German tabloid) and

Franck Ribery has agreed terms on a new four-year Bayern Munich contract, which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2017 -

Chelsea have seen a £5millon bid for Norwich City keeper John Ruddy rejected by the Canaries - The Sun and

Hull have signed Ahmed Elmohamady (right) on a permanent deal from Sunderland. The 25 year-old Egypt international, has signed a three-year contract after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee -, and

Liverpool remain in negotiations for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori - Liverpool Echo

Everton are closing in on a £6million deal for Spartak Moscow's Aiden McGeady - Liverpool Echo

Manchester City's Gareth Barry or Liverpool's Stewart Downing will not be returning to Aston Villa during the summer - Birmingham Mail and

Sunderland are close to signing Argentina right-back Gino Peruzzi, 21, who shot to prominence with Velez Sarsfield after he kept Neymar quiet over both legs of a Copa Libertadores tie - Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and

Sunderland are in talks with Spurs midfielder Tom Huddlestone about a long-term move to the Stadium of Light - Sunderland Echo

Sunderland and Arsenal have agreed a fee for goalkeeper Vito Mannone. The player is expected to arrive on Wearside early next week -

West Bromwich Albion are interested in Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair, 24, with the former Swansea player hoping to go out on loan - The Sun and

Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace have agreed a fee to sign 22 year-old Peterborough United striker Dwight Gayle (right) - talkSPORT, and Peterborough Telegraph

Swansea City are hopeful they will complete the signing of Wilfried Bony from , despite the Dutch club's denial that a deal has been agreed for the 24-year-old Ivory Coast striker - The Guardian

Espanyol's 24 year-old centre-back Jordi Amat has signed a four-year deal with Swansea City -

Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey could be on the move with Swansea and Norwich are poised to bid - Liverpool Echo

Marseille have confirmed the signing of Lille forward Dimitri Payet, 26, subject to a medical - and

Stoke City are reportedly the favourites to sign former Fulham player Chris Baird, who was released by the club at the end of the season -

Stoke City are closing on PSV Eindhoven defender Erik Pieters - Daily Express

Arsenal are pursuing Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier and Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier - Daily Express

Newcastle United could be poised to make a £15.2m offer for St Etienne's 24-year-old striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) - Daily Mirror, Newcastle Chronicle and

Roma are stepping up their pursuit of QPR keeper Julio Cesar - The Sun

Watford's out-of-contract keeper Manuel Almunia is wanted by Spanish side Valencia - Daily Star

Millwall are closing in on a deal to bring 29 year-old Steve Morison back to the club on loan from Leeds United -

Millwall and Bristol City are eyeing moves for free agent Marlon Harewood. Harewood is available on a free transfer after leaving Barnsley at the end of last season -

Nottingham Forest striker Marcus Tudgay is hoping to make a decision over his future in the next 24 hours. Tudgay, who sees his current deal expire later this month, has been offered a new contract at the City Ground and he has offers from three other Championship clubs on the table -

Mike Pollitt agrees to a new one-year deal with Wigan Athletic and

Wigan boss Owen Coyle expects to sign Celtic Norwegian centre-half Thomas Rogne today -

Blackpool defender Stephen Crainey is having a medical today at Wigan - and

Colchester United have completed the signing of former Arsenal striker Sanchez Watt on a free transfer - and

Wovles manager Kenny Jackett is closing in on a £1 million move for Crewe midfielder Luke Murphy - and

Schalke 04 have complete the signing of Adam Szalai from Mainz on a four-year deal -

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke has signed a new two-year contract with the club -

Monday, June 24, 2013

Poyet disGUSted at the manner of his dismissal!

As a Crystal Palace fan I have to admit a wry smile lit up my face following the news that our fierce rivals Brighton and Hove Albion had sacked their manager yesterday.

It is not just simply that Gus Poyet was sacked, managers come and go at an astonishing rate in the modern game. It would appear however that the freefall that the south coast club are currently experiencing right now was initially triggered following the 'Eagles' defeat of the the 'Seagulls' in the Championship semi-final play-off second leg at The Amex Stadium last month. That defeat subsequently brought about a serious of inexplicable and shambolic events, and the subsequent in-house fighting has left the Club in disarray!

Gus Poyet who took over at Brighton in 2009 and won promotion from League One in 2011, was left bewildered after learning he had been sacked as Brighton manager live on BBC television last night.

Gus Poyet learns of his sacking live on BBC television last night!

Following the play-off defeat and some choice words from the Uruguayan, Poyet's tenure at the Amex Stadium had become uncertain after it was revealed that himself, assistant manager Mauricio Taricco and coach Charlie Oatway were told to stay away from the club. Although Brighton have remained tight-lipped over the reasons for taking the action, yesterday's decision comes after Poyet failed to attend a disciplinary hearing last week. The precise reason for the hearing has not been explained by Brighton but it is clear the manager had angered club directors in some way.

Brighton's defeat to Crystal Palace was overshadowed by a bizarre incident in which excrement was found in the visitors' dressing room prior to the teams meeting at the Amex Stadium. Poyet was furious at the affair and sent an angry email to club staff, in which he also criticised the issuing to home fans of 'paper clappers' at the match, believed to have been done in the hope that it might help their fans generate an atmosphere in their own stadium.

Poyet, who was appearing as a pundit on BBC3's coverage of Spain v Nigeria in the Confederations Cup last night, was only told of his dismissal when BBC production staff gave him a club statement off air following the internal disciplinary procedure. The story then became public news during the half-time break when presenter Mark Chapman questioned Poyet regarding the matter, and read out live on air the statement in question from Brighton regarding his sacking.

The statement read as follows: "Gus Poyet has been informed today by Brighton and Hove Albion football club's internal disciplinary panel that his employment has been terminated with immediate effect. This followed his suspension, an investigation, and a subsequent formal disciplinary process. In line with the club's own procedures, and UK employment law, Mr Poyet now has a right of appeal..............."

Brighton say they released the statement on their website at 19:14 BST on Sunday. Poyet said he received an email from the club at 21:03 BST.

Today the club's first-team players were due to report back for pre-season fitness testing, with the squad's first technical sessions commencing on Thursday 27th June. The team then play Whitehawk in a pre-season friendly on Saturday 6th July and leave for their summer training camp in Spain on 14th July. It is believed an interim manager will oversee the initial weeks of pre-season preparation alongside the club’s existing staff.

From the Twitter account @WeAreBrighton........and look, here's the new interim manager! 

Here are what a few Brighton fans have had to say following the shambolic way 'Gusgate' was handled:


"For all the good work he's done for us I don't think sacking him in this way is the best way to go about it. Makes us look like unprofessional employers, decent replacements may think twice and what player would want to come and play for what will be a circus this summer?"

"This was cold blooded. A statement released on a Sunday evening and whilst he is live on national TV, why? I think it's a disgraceful way to act."

"For those Albion supporters who think it OK to sack Gus that way, just think of how you would react if the Sarf Lundin Scum (Crystal Palace) did their business that way!"

"Whatever way you dress it up tonight has been a PR DISASTER for the club. To release a club statement just before Gus Poyet has an audience of a million or so on the BBC is to be fair a 'schoolboy' error.........."

"Utter, utter shambles. Even if it had become inevitable over the last week, it is still very badly portrayed by the club, as Poyet now has become the victim."

"Well either Poyet genuinely didn't know of the outcome of his disciplinary hearing until the BBC's Floor Manager printed off the statement from the club's website, or he is an early candidate for next year's Academy Awards. Personally, I got the distinct impression he had no inkling."

"This whole process has been total f**k up from start to finish, anybody who thinks the club hasn't made an utter mess of things is living in cloud cuckoo land!"

From: The twitter account @WeAreBrighton

"I thought #bhafc had more class than that. They certainly used to. Perhaps not any more. This club is changing and not all for the better."

"Just when you think we couldn't become any more of a laughing stock, we manage it #bhafc"

Former Maccabi Tel Aviv boss Oscar Garcia is in the running to take over at the Amex with Tottenham Hotspur Technical co-ordinator Tim Sherwood another option.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup - Full Preview

The 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, is an association football tournament for national teams, currently held every four years by FIFA and the 2013 competition will be the 9th tournament of its kind. It will be held held in Brazil from the 15th to 30th June, as a prelude to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

It is contested by the holders of each of the six FIFA confederation championships (UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC), along with the FIFA World Cup holder and the host nation, to bring the number of teams up to eight.

The tournament was originally organised by and held in Saudi Arabia and called the King Fahd Cup (Confederations Winners Cup or Intercontinental Championship), contested in 1992 and 1995 by the Saudi national side and some continental champions. In 1997, FIFA took over the organisation of the tournament, named it the FIFA Confederations Cup and staged the competition every two years.

Since 2005, it has been held every four years, in the year prior to each World Cup in the host country of the forthcoming World Cup. Considered a dress-rehearsal for the World Cup it precedes, it uses around half of the stadia intended for use at the following year's competition and gives the host nation, who qualifies for that tournament automatically, experience at a high level of competition during two years of otherwise friendlies. At the same time, participation was made optional for the South American and European champions.

Brazil is the most successful nation in the cup's history, winning the tournament a record three times in 1997, 2005 and 2009 and were also runners-up in 1999. France have won the tournament twice, in 2001 and 2003. Argentina, Mexico and Denmark have each won the competition on one occasion.

Brazil's players celebrate their Confederations Cup success in 2009 in South Africa

Generally, the host nation, the World Cup holders, and the six continental champions qualify for the competition. In those cases where a team meets more than one of the qualification criteria, another team is invited to participate.

Italy were awarded a spot in the 2013 competition because Spain had won both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 UEFA Euro Championships. Since both competitions award their winners a place in the FIFA Confederations Cup, the runner-up of UEFA Euro 2012 received an invitation to the tournament.

2013 Qualified teams:

Brazil - Hosts
Spain - 2010 FIFA World Cup winner
Japan - 2011 AFC Asian Cup winner
Mexico - 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner
Uruguay - 2011 Copa América winner
Tahiti - 2012 OFC Nations Cup winner
Italy - 2012 UEFA Euro runners-up
Nigeria - 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner

Group A: Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Italy

Group B: Spain, Uruguay, Tahiti, Nigeria

Brazil and Japan open proceedings on Saturday 15th June at Brasília's Estádio Nacional while Spain and Uruguay raise the Group B curtain at Recife's Arena Pernambuco on Sunday 16th June.

Seventeen British-based players have been named in provisional squads ahead of the 2013 tournament, and they are as follows:

Spain: Fernando Torres and Juan Mata (both Chelsea), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), David Silva and Jesús Navas (both Manchester City).

Japan: Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United) and Maya Yoshida (Southampton).

Uruguay: Luis Suárez and Sebastián Coates (both Liverpool), Gastón Ramírez (Southampton).

Brazil: Julio Cesar (QPR), David Luiz and Oscar (both Chelsea).

Mexico: Javier Hernández (Manchester United, right)

Nigeria: John Obi Mikel (Chelsea) and Efe Ambrose (Celtic).

All-time Confederations Cup top scorers:

Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Mexico) 9 goals
Ronaldinho (Brazil) 9 goals
Adriano (Brazil) 7 goals
Romário (Brazil) 7 goals                        
Marzouk Al-Otaibi (Saudi Arabia) 6 goals

Stadium Venues:                                                    

Six stadiums venues are to be used, each in a different city. The Maracanã, Rio de Janerio (Capacity: 78,639), The National Stadium, Brasilia (Capacity: 72,000), The Arena Pernambuco, Recife (Capacity: 46,000), The Fonte Nova, Salvador  (Capacity: 50,433), Estadio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte (Capacity: 62,160), The Castelão Arena, Fortaleza (Capacity: 63,903).

All the teams and and the players to watch out for in more detail:

Brazil: (World rank 22) The Home squad is a wild card, simply because of its youth. Coach Felipe Scolari ignored veterans like Kaka and Ronaldinho, meaning that the pressure will shift to Neymar and Leandro Damiao. No one knows if this club is ready for prime time as Neymar has been inconsistent with his national team in recent outings. This is the first time he is facing major European competition in a tournament.

Italy: (World rank 8) The Italians are in this tournament thanks to a second place finish at the Euro Cup. The team still sports grizzled veterans such as midfield general Andrea Pirlo and veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, the Juventus and Italian nation team captain. It also includes a more mature Mario Balotelli (right) that has stepped up his game in recent months, since his January move back to Italy, scoring 12 goals in 13 games for AC Milan. This team is more youthful than Spain and that alone could propel them in this competition.

Uruguay: (World rank 19) The two-time World Cup winners have been in steady decline since winning the 2011 Copa America tournament in Argentina. Uruguay's strength in recent years has been their attack and this tournament will be no exception.
Tabarez will have the luxury of choosing between Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and Abel Hernandez to front his team.

Spain: (World rank 1) The defending World Cup champions are undoubtedly the stand out team in this tournament. They showcase much of the same roster that earned them the 2012 Euro Cup and will be hungry to reinstate Spain as the world's top soccer country after the dual embarrassments endured by Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Champions league.
Nineteen players remain in the squad from last summer's Euros, and 18 from the 2010 World Cup. The biggest question surrounding the team will be its forward situation. Manager Vicente Del Bosque won the Euro Cup without a striker. His top options include David Villa and Fernando Torres, but neither has been reliable over the last year. Sergio Ramos (right) is the defensive rock for 'La Roja,' allowing those in front of him to play with freedom.

Japan: (World rank 32) The Samurai's have steadily improved their status in World Soccer and enter the tournament with qualification for the 2014 World Cup all but secure. CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and manchester United's Shinji Kagawa pulls the creative strings in the Japanese midfield. They are drawn into a group with Spain, Tahiti, and Nigeria - this alone gives them a huge advantage in this tournament moving forward.

Nigeria: (World ranking 31) The 'Super Eagles' have experienced something of a renaissance in the past two years under manager Stephen Keshi. winning the 2013 African Cup of Nations in February with a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in the final.
They are also well-placed in their quest for a 2014 World Cup berth, heading Africa's Group F with eight points from four matches in the second round of qualifiers. Nigeria's Confederations Cup squad includes Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, Maccabi Tel Aviv goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and Dynamo Kiev forward Brown Ideye (right) who notched 21 times for the Ukrainian outfit this season. With with 'Africa Cup of Nations' top-scorer Emmanuel Emenike injured, Ideye needs to shine!

Mexico: (World rank 17) 'El Tri' have been terrible in CONCACAF competition, but still sports a team filled with elite players like Javier Hernandez, Giovanni Dos Santos and Cruz Azul's José Corona, who captained the victorious Olympic squad and has established himself as Mexico's number one goalkeeper. The team needs those three to step up as the squad's recent performances in qualifying have not been promising or inspiring.

Tahiti: (World rank 138) The tiny Pacific island-nation earned a ticket to Brazil with a 1-0 victory over New Caledonia in the 2012 Oceania Nations Cup.
Steevy Chong Hue struck the winning goal and became a national hero overnight in a country renowned more for its idyllic beaches than football.
Tahiti's side is made up mostly of amateurs but coach Eddy Etaeta has insisted the team will be no walkover for their Confederations Cup rivals. However it is highly unlikely Tahiti will makes it out of a group stage. A win would be considered a major success for this team. Their goalkeeper Xavier Samin will play a crucial role if Tahiti want to avoid any humiliating defeats.

The 2013 Confederations Cup: My predictions and the official betting:

Brazil wound up in the toughest group of the competition, Group A. Many believe Italy will take down the other teams in the group stage, but based on other European nation's previous performances in this competition, on paper at least, things do not bode well for the 'Azzurri.' The Mexican side is dangerous, but has been madly inconsistent in its World Cup qualifiers. Japan has been terrific in its qualifiers, but has not faced the level of competition that Group B will pose. The Brazilians are still a work in progress and could finish anywhere from fourth to first in this group depending on whether the other sides in the group turn up! However I expect both Brazil and Italy to finish to qualify from their group.

While Group A is the proverbial "Group of Death," Group B is anything but that. The group could best be described as "Spain versus Everyone else." Uruguay is no longer the team that captured third place in the World Cup three summers ago or the squad that won the 2011 Copa America. This is a team that has yet to win a World Cup qualifier since September 2012. Nigeria might pose the greatest danger in the group. They do possess great pace, but they lack the skill and style to hurt the Spaniards. Spain will undoubtedly win the group while Nigeria I feel will likely grab second spot.

If these scenarios play out then Brazil will Nigeria and Spain will face Italy in the semi-finals. Brazil should have no trouble with Nigeria but Italy could pull the upset on the Spaniards. Prior to their 2012 Euro Cup victory last summer, Spain had not beaten Italy in open field play in many years. Look for Italy to pull an upset.

If Brazil faces Italy, the 'Samba Kings' should have no trouble capturing their fourth Confederations Cup trophy.


Brazil at 11/8 are favourites to win the 2013 tournament, followed by Spain 13/8, Italy 7/1, Uruguay 9/1, Mexico 11/1, Nigeria 33/1 then Japan 40/1. Tahiti are the rank outsiders. In fact you can name you're price! However I believe there are better value betting options to consider than just Brazil to win the tournament outright.

My Best Bet:
Brazil and Italy to reach the Final 5/1
Outside Bet: Japan to qualify from Group A 5/1
Mario Balotelli (Italy) to be tournaments top goalscorer 16/1
Brown Ideye (Nigeria) to be to be tournament top goalscorer 80/1 (Top three 1/4 odds)

# Odds courtesy of Betfred and correct at time of writing.

Go to oddschecker for all your FIFA Confederations Cup betting.

Live TV coverage of The FIFA Confederations Cup will be shown on BBC1 and BBC3 and also on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBCSports.

See here for full TV schedule of matches and kick-off times in the UK.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jose Mourinho's Press Conference - The Second Coming!

Jose Mourinho gave his first press conference at Stamford Bridge today, after returning as Chelsea FC manager following a six-year absence.

Here are the highlights:

13:33 Around 250 journalists are here for Jose Mk II, along with 40 TV crews. And he's late......!

13:38 Press conference begins.

Jose Mourinho is asked whether he can be more successful?

JM:  "I always trust my work. I know many people that belong to the club and the kind of mentality and ambition."

JM:  "I am a very happy person. It is the first time I arrive at a club that I love already."

He's asked if he's still a special one?

JM: "The club is much more important than ourselves. We are nobody compared with the club"

When asked if his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich broke down?

JM: "That is not true (my relationship with Abramovich broke down)."

JM: "I read that I was fired and we had a complete breakdown in relationship, that was not true. At the time we thought it was the best for both of us."

JM: "It was a decision that was difficult for both of us but a decision made by mutual agreement. There was never a break of the relationship and that is why it was possible for me to be here today."

JM: "I am back because we feel we are in a moment of my professional life and in the case of the owner, also a moment in his career as owner, where I think we are in the best moments of our careers and ready to work together again and in much better conditions this time and to succeed in what this club wants, which is stability."

JM: "It was a sad moment but I don't regret that decision. At Inter I had probably the best moment of my career. After that I went to Madrid where we have the best season in Spanish history."

JM: I have more responsibility because of that. Expectations are higher because people know what I can deliver.

Asked if he had a message for the Chelsea fans?

JM: This club has a special fanbase.....[but] I want to be loved for what I can do from now."

JM: "The club knows my mentality, they know my nature, and the fans can be assured I come here to give my best and to try to reach success."

JM: "With my 50th birthday I think I'm still young as a manager. It was beginning of a new period where I have a different approach."

JM: "I analyse myself every day as a leader and manager. I try to improve. I am the same but nine years is a big difference."

JM: "I just want to be calm, to be working every day and give the best I can. I am just so sorry the pre-season doesn't start tomorrow."

On whether he loved news conferences?

JM: "Let's do this fast and let me go."

JM: "I don't love it, but it is part of my job. I try to do the best I can, give you what you want but I didn't come here to give a big headline. I just try to be honest, open and give what you expect from me at this moment."

JM: "I am where I want to be. So now it is up to me to work hard and show my club that I deserve to be here for a long time."

Asked about potential player transfer targets?

JM: There are still a few boys from my time. It is always good to go back and see people that gave absolutely everything while I was here. It is important to tell them that there will be no privilege for them."

JM: "There is a group of boys that I think Chelsea have done very well to get in the past few years. I will be very happy to work with them to improve them. After that, we always have ambition to add a couple of new players to improve the squad, but the most important part of my job at the moment is to improve the players we have."

Mourinho has not spent more than three years at the same club. When asked if he wanted more stability?

JM: "Yes, now I'm prepared for that. Before I wasn't."

JM: "I had this kind of mentality. Today is 10th June - the day of Portugal. I'm Portuguese and I love adventure like the Portuguese ones in the past - a bit of a navigator. But I've done what I wanted to do. I needed a special family - which I have - and they allowed me to move around Europe."

The Chelsea manager was asked when did he decide to come back to Stamford Bridge?

JM: "Not a long time ago. I decided first of all that I was going to leave my previous club, that was the trigger."

JM: "I needed to make that decision and I did and after that it was a question for analysing the situation and possibilities and making the best decision for my happiness. When the Chelsea situation appears, it was decision made."

JM: "Roman has offered me a lifetime supply of Rowntree's Randoms and a new spinning office chair, I couldn't say no......."

JM; "I am happy to be back in this club, this league and this City"

JM: "I am better able to manage my emotions, calmer in victory, less depressed in defeat."

Asked about plans for the Chelsea squad?

JM: "There are still a few boys from my previous time here, which is always good to go back and see these people who gave me absolutely everything."

JM: "It is important for me to tell you that there is no privilege for them. They know that already as they know my nature as a manger. They don't have an advantage in relation to the other people."

JM: "There is a group of boys that Chelsea did very well to get in these past years and I will be more than happy to work with them and improve them."

JM: "We always have ambition to add a couple of new players, to give different qualities and increase the competitiveness. The most important part of my job at the moment is the improvement of the youth here. They have big potential and I think I have the conditions to help improve them."

Mourinho on Chelsea's objective/ambitions?

JM: "Everybody will try to finish top four, and after that top three. After that, trying to win it. Of course the first objective is top four."

JM: "Chelsea have to focus on every competition. Everything is important. Champions League cannot be an obsession for me."

JM: "The Premier League is a competition the best team wins. Let's try to be the best."
"All my decisions are based on a meritocracy. After that, I can sleep well."

Asked were his feelings hurt by not being asked to be the new Manchester United or Manchester City manager?

JM: "No, and this is where he wants to be. Is this a better job than those? "It is my job, it is the job I want and I accepted immediately."

JM: "I am where I want to be. I wouldn't change it for anything."

The new Chelsea boss when asked: "What he learnt from falling out with Real's Iker Casillas?"

"What did I do last season? What happened? I played the players I thought were best for the team. Of course I want good relationships with everybody, but the most important thing is my relationship with myself. It was a pure football decision. I decided for one player, not the other. Me as a manager, all my decisions are built on meritocracy. After that, I can sleep well."

Asked about any decisions previous manager Benítez made?

"One of my good qualities, I have some bad ones, is that when I leave a club I don't speak about it, and when I arrive I don't speak about what has gone before. So not one word for me on Benítez's time with the club, or what happened with John (Terry). I know what he can give, he can be the best, let's try to make him a big player which he couldn't be last season. But Benítez's decisions were Benítez's decisions."

What are his thoughts on the new Premier League landscape?

JM: "I look forward to what the Premier League is. In the last three years I've played in a league which is a two-horse race and now I move to a league where you lose more times but the competition is open to more than two."

JM: "When I arrived Arsenal were the power. After that, us and United. Now the picture is different. United is champion, City before."

JM: "Everybody will try to finish top four, and after that top three. After that, trying to win it. The 1st objective is top four. After that we will try to win it."

JM: "I am where I want to be. I wouldn't change it for anything. It is a job I was offered and I accepted immediately."

Mourinho speaks about his managerial rivals?

JM: "I'm still a bit disappointed that I'm back and I'll go to Old Trafford and Sir Alex is not there," he said. But David Moyes has conditions and experiences and protection from the club to do job and do well."

JM: "Wenger is there and I'm happy he is."

JM: "And the three boys - when I say boys I say it with warmth - Brendan (Rodgers), Steve (Clarke) and Andre (Villas-Boas). I'm more than happy to be in same league and wish them all the best."

JM: "Pellegrini is a man with a lot of experience first time he moves here but maturity and quality to do a good job."

Mourinho on Barcelona?

JM: "I damaged Spanish football by being the manager that broke Barcelona's dominance."

JM: "It looked like a dominance without an end but Real Madrid won the Cup Final against Barcelona, won the Super Cup against Barcelona, won in Barcelona and won the championship, and that is the historic championship - which is 100 points and 101 goals. I hurt it."

JM: "They dominated for so long, I think I hurt them. It was a fantastic time for me, a big club and a chance to win the domestic title that I had not won in my career. We could not get the Champions League, but it's very difficult to do that."

A journo from Belgium asks Jose about Chelsea's Belgian players....."What are your plans for Lukaku and De Bruyne?"

JM: "I want to meet them and I think it's fair the players are 1st to know about their futures."

JM: "Chelsea invested a lot in the players - it's my job to extract the best out of that investment."

Jose's asked about the identity of the club, which he promised to change in 2004?

JM: "When I came here at first Chelsea needed more of a push in the direction of trophies and success. The median age of the players was perfect for that jump in quality. I felt that the squad and the club needed that direction. We did it well by winning. That base stayed in the club to help them reach more success in the future."

JM: "This time I arrive, and victories and silverware are nothing new. In this moment it's time for a completely different approach. Not losing my nature, which is the nature of the club too, trying to win. I think we are all prepared for a different era with a different profile of team.

"My fingerprint has to be on it, because a football team without the fingerprint of its manager is not a football team. Looks like, but isn't."

When asked about in which areas he is looking to improve the Club?

JM: "We have already 60 players, because in the last two days we had 20 new buys in the media."

JM: "A couple of new signings is normal and common practice in any club. "

JM: "I have to be fair with the players and give them all a chance."

When asked: What are your weaknesses Jose?

JM: "I have to try to improve them. You don't speak about weaknesses to your enemy. My enemy is reading papers tomorrow and watching TV now.

JM: Every team has weaknesses, every manager has weaknesses, we try to hide them. When I say enemy I say it with respect, in sport your enemy is not truly your enemy. I know my weaknesses......there are not many."

14:33 Press conference comes to a conclusion.

Pictures courtesy of The Press Asscociation, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail newspapers and Reuters:

Friday, June 07, 2013

All the Latest Transfer Gossip across Europe!

With the recent conclusion of the domestic football season across the major European leagues, it is fair to say that football is now without a shadow of a doubt an all-year round sport, with the 2013 European Under-21 Championships currently being staged by FIFA in Israel until the 18th June. The eight team tournament includes some of Europe's most promising talent on show, with the likes of England, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands all represented.

Then on the 15th June for two weeks the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, will be held in Brazil, as a prelude to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, involving some of the world's biggest hitters in world football. Eight international teams from all over the world will contest the tournament including the hosts, Spain (FIFA world ranked number 1 side), Italy (8th), Russia (11th), Mexico (17th) and Uruguay (19th).

Then with the domestic season in England beginning on the 3rd August and the English Premier League swinging into action just two weeks later, clubs need to incorporate pre-season fixtures into pre-season training with little or no break in proceedings!

During this period it becomes the 'silly season' as Clubs delve into the transfer market in an attempt to strengthen their squads for the forthcoming season. Why is it silly? Well quite simply transfer rumours are created everyday by everyone and anyone with an interest in football, for lots of different reasons. Most of the rumours are unsubstantiated, but some clearly do have legs on them!

The media in the shape of newspapers and the internet play a substantial part, along with agents and fans who themselves can be responsible for a leaked story whether it be true or otherwise...... 'My best friend's mate knows a bloke who works in a garden centre and saw Mr X in there shopping for pot plants, so he must be joining Nottingham Forest!!!'

Here is a round up of all of today’s latest transfer gossip across Europe:

Is your club involved?

AS Monaco, Chelsea, Manchester United, Penarol, Arsenal, Everton, Crystal Palace, Vitoria Guimaraes, Napoli, Manchester City, Valencia, Real Madrid, PSG, Celtic, Liverpool, Tottenham, FC Twente, Sporting Lisbon, Derby, Dundee United, Norwich, Celta Vigo, Hull, Burnley, Hertha Berlin, Kaiserslautern, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Stoke, Reading, Aston Villa, NordsjaellandBarcelona, Atletico Madrid, Cardiff, Fulham, Peterborough, Nottingham Forest, Millwall, River Plate, QPR, Fiorentina, Sunderland and Barnsley..........are all caught up in the latest transfer news/rumours across Europe, as we speak.

AS Monaco - who have already spent over £100m on new players this summer - are ready to make a move for Chelsea captain John Terry. Monaco believe a figure of around £7m will be enough to tempt the Blues to part with the 32-year-old - The Sun

New Manchester United manager David Moyes plans to make Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela (right) his first signing at Old Trafford. The 20-year-old is available for £1.2m from Uruguayan side Penarol - Daily Express, and

Arsenal have moved ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United in the battle to sign Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini - The Times

Premier League new-boys Crystal Palace are close to clinching a £2.6m move for Vitoria Guimaraes striker Amido Balde, 22, after the player snubbed Scottish Premier League champions Celtic - Daily Record

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claims he expects to hold talks with Chelsea about a possible deal for Edinson Cavani. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain have all been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old, who has a release clause in his contract of £53m - and

Barcelona are set to choose between Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen and Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu (right) as they look to sign a central defender this summer. The choice will come down to the pair's asking respective asking prices - El Mundo Deportivo (Spain)

Norwich have made an enquiry for Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey but the Reds may want up to £8m for the England Under-21 international - Daily Mail

Liverpool have all but sealed a deal for Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas in a deal believed to be worth £7m - Faro de Vigo (Spain)

Tottenham and Liverpool both chasing Nacer Chadli. The FC Twente winger, 23, is valued at around £8.5m - Talksport

Liverpool have made a £3m bid for Sporting Lisbon defender Tiago Ilori (right), who is currently on international duty with Portugal at the Toulon tournament in France. Valencia and Arsenal are also reportedly interested in the 20 year-old - Liverpool Echo and

Hull are battling with Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest to land Burnley midfielder Chris McCann - Daily Mirror

New Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin have completed the signing of Kaiserslautern midfielder Alexander Baumjohann -

Juventus are continuing talks with Real Madrid about Gonzalo Higuain - La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy)

Local rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke are fighting it out to sign Barcelona youngster Cristian Tello- BILD (Germany)

The agent of Dundee United striker Johnny Russell (right) says Celtic could still scupper Derby's move for the striker. The Championship side have had a £700,000 bid accepted for the 23-year-old but he has not yet signed a contract - Derby Telegraph

Mark Hughes wants Celtic's Gary Hooper to be his first signing at Stoke -The Sun

The Stoke boss Mark Hughes is also looking to bring in 23 year-old QPR striker David "Junior" Hoilett -

Norwich manager Chris Hughton is ready to make a £2.5m bid for Reading winger Jimmy Kebe - Daily Star

Aston Villa have had a £3m offer for Nordsjaelland defender Jores Okore rejected - Daily Mail

Reading have confirmed the signing of 32 year-old defender Wayne Bridge, who has agreed a one-year contract at the Madejski Stadium after turning down the chance to join QPR - Daily Mirror and

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are keeping tabs on River Plate striker Tomas Andrade - El Mundo Deportivo

Cardiff are considering a £2m move for former Everton defender Joseph Yobo - Daily Mail

Fulham have had a £2.5m bid for Peterborough striker Dwight Gayle turned down - Daily Telegraph

Nottingham Forest have announced that 31 year-old striker Darius Henderson has made a permanent move to the City Ground from Millwall -

The agent of Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon (right) says he is uncertain of the Romanian's future. The 26-year old is yet to make a Premier League appearance since joining from Politehnica Timisoara in 2011, and he has been strongly linked with a move to Fiorentina - and

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is ready to move on after the 24-year-old Belgian signalled he would not sign a new deal with the club.
Mignolet has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Arsenal - Sunderland Echo

Barnsley defender Jimmy McNulty has signed a new deal to stay at the club. McNulty has agreed a one-year extension to keep him at Oakwell -

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Babe of the Month - Irish Hottie Laura Whitmore

Laura Whitmore was born 4th May 1985 in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. Laura is an Irish presenter on British television for MTV Europe.

Laura attended St Patricks Primary School and Loreto Bray Secondary School until she was 18 years old. She then went on to study journalism at Dublin City University (DCU), with a semester abroad at Boston University USA.

In April 2008, MTV Networks Europe launched a campaign Pick Me MTV, where Laura battled it out against other contestants to become the face of  'MTV News' in MTV Europe.

In August 2009, Whitmore launched a self-branded clothing range available at 'AWear,' an Irish clothing chain.
In 2010, Whitmore hosted the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts for ITV2.

In October 2011, she was confirmed as the new presenter of 'I'm a Celebrity......Get Me Out of Here NOW!' on ITV2 airing after I'm a Celebrity.....Get Me Out of Here! replacing Caroline Flack.

In February 2012, she hosted the '2012 BRIT Awards' Red Carpet and Backstage shows alongside Keith Lemon on ITV2, later appearing on his show 'Celebrity Juice' in April 2012.
In Summer 2012, she appeared on Miriam O'Callaghan show 'Saturday Night with Miriam' after carrying the 2012 Summer Olympics torch. She then hosted 'Beat TV' alongside Darren McMullen and Dave Berry.

She is a spokeswoman for the 'Because I Am a Girl' charity clothing campaign.

Currently, Laura hosts news bulletins for 'MTV' in Ireland, the UK and pan-European MTV channels and on the 22nd May 2013 Laura became the front woman for Asda’s G21 fashion label designed by Graduate Fashion Week winners.

You can follow Laura on Twitter and on Facebook