Monday, August 22, 2016

All the very latest football news and gossip across Europe!

With the new season well underway and the summer transfer window slamming shut in just 10 days' time, many clubs across Europe are frantically trying to tie-down players to new deals or are looking to bring in new players to fill any voids in their squads!

Here is a round up of all the latest football news/gossip across Europe today, which includes the likes of: Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane, Arsene Wenger, Sam Allardyce, Liverpool, Tottenham, Valencia, Danny Drinkwater, Andriy Yarmolenko, Giorgio Chiellini, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Ajax to name but a few!

Sam Allardyce has told Sky Sports News HQ that Joe Hart will be named in his first England squad on Monday. The Manchester City man has been dropped by manager Pep Guardiola, and is set to leave the Etihad before the end of the window -

Chelsea are set to make a £25m bid for Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini - The Sun

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane insists James Rodriguez is happy at the club, despite links in the British press with a move to Chelsea and Arsenal -

Santos striker Gabriel Barbosa could be set to link up with Brazilian team-mate Neymar at Barcelona, with Manchester United and Leicester also interested - The Sun

Arsene Wenger has admitted he hopes Arsenal's signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi "will be done" before the transfer deadline - SFR Sport (French TV station)

Valencia say defender Shkodran Mustafi won't be sold in this transfer window. Mustafi has already agreed in principle to move to Arsenal. The defender has a £43m buyout clause and is in the Valencia's squad for their first La Liga game of the season against Las Palmas tonight -

Arsenal may have to spend £50m on acquiring defender Shkodran Mustafi - Daily Mirror

Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona forward Munir. The 20-year-old has also reportedly gathered interest from Everton and Stoke, and is rated at around £13m - Sport (Spanish daily sports newspaper)

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is weighing up a move for Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko - The Sun

England midfielder Danny Drinkwater, 26, will become the latest Leicester City player to sign a new contract this week, thought to be worth £90,000-a-week - Daily Telegraph and

There have been plenty of reports over the weekend linking Middlesbrough striker Jordan Rhodes with a move to the Championship, with Wolves at the front of the queue to sign him. 'Boro paid £12million to sign him from Blackburn last January but he was left out of the squad for the win at Sunderland yesterday -

Tottenham have made a number of offers for Espanyol's 21 year-old Spanish goalkeeper Pau Lopez -

Sunderland have bid £3m for Barnsley defender Alfie Mawson as they prepare to lose Lamine Kone - Daily Mail

Newcastle forward Siem De Jong has joined PSV Eindhoven on a season-long loan -

Tim Krul is set to sign a new one-year contract with Newcastle, but will leave the club on loan to join Ajax. The goalkeeper is reportedly wanted as a replacement for Jasper Cillessen, who is close to joining Barcelona - Daily Mail

West Brom are keen on signing Southampton's forgotten man Jay Rodriguez on loan. Hull City are also interested - Daily Telegraph and

West Brom have signed Everton defender Brendan Galloway on a season-long loan deal -

Hull City have offered Abel Hernandez a new bumper deal in an effort to keep the striker at the club. The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Newcastle and Aston Villa - Hull Daily Mail

Nottingham Forest face a battle to keep hold of teenage midfielder Oliver Burke before the transfer window closes, with Arsenal, Sunderland and West Ham all circling the Scotland winger - Daily Mirror

Hull City caretaker-manager Mike Phelan has urged the club to allow him to beef up the squad after their fine opening to the Premier League campaign - Daily Mail

Arsenal are interested in signing Porto midfielder Yacine Brahimi, after failing to sign Leicester City star Mahrez. The Dragoes value him around £35milliom - Daily Mirror

Phil Jones could be sold to free up enough space for Southampton defender Jose Fonte to join Manchester United - Daily Express

Championship side Wolves have signed Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on a season-long loan from Manchester United, as well as Ola John from Benfica -

Fiorentina want to sign West Ham's 24 year-old Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang - Gazzetta dello Sport (Italian newspaper)

Liverpool are poised to sell 23 year-old defender Tiago Ilori to Olympiakos for £5milliom. The defender has made just three appearances since joining from Sporting Lisbon in 2013 - The Sun.

Atletico Madrid are interested in 22 year-old Portuguese born Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva - AS (Spanish daily sports newspaper)

Antoine Griezmann admits he would be tempted by a move to the Premier League if he left Atletico Madrid - The Guardian

Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado, 28, is expected to complete a permanent move from Chelsea to Juventus in the next few days - ESPN

Los Angeles Galaxy have ruled out a move for Joleon Lescott, with the 34-year-old defender seeking a way out of Championship club Aston Villa - Daily Mirror

Leon Britton has signed a one-year extension to his Swansea contract, keeping him at the club until 2018 -

Former QPR and Spurs midfielder Adel Taarabt wants to move to Marseille. The 27-year-old, currently at Benfica, is desperate to leave the club and "return home" - France Football (French football news website)

FC Porto have convinced Portugal Under-21 striker Andre Silva, 20, to sign to a new five-year contract - ESPN

Reading manager Jaap Stam is hoping to sign defender Tyler Blackett from Manchester United

Liverpool set the highest possession rating for a losing team in the Premier League with 80.6 per cent against Burnley at the weekend - Daily Mail

Cheltenham Town are set to sign free agent forward Jeffery Monakana -

Friday, August 05, 2016

My Predictions for the 2016/17 Football Season and the Betting Odds

National League:

Winners: Tranmere Rovers 6/1

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Lincoln City 14/1

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.


Sky Bet League Two:

Winners: Plymouth Argyle 3/1

Runners-up: Portsmouth (4/1 to win League Two and Evens to win promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Doncaster Rovers 10/1, Luton Town 11/1, Leyton Orient 11/1 or Carlisle 14/1

Dark Horses: Cheltenham, Colchester and Mansfield

Relegation: Newport 3/1 and Crawley 3/1

Top Scorers: John Akinde (Barnet) 11/1, Andy Williams (Doncaster) 11/1 or Pádraig Amond 20/1 e/w (Hartlepool)

Players to Watch: Dan Holman (Cheltenham), Joe Pigott (Cambridge), Ben Davies (Grimsby), Carl Baker (Portsmouth), Tommy Rowe (Doncaster), Jake Gray (Luton) and Jay Simpson (Leyton Orient)

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places


Sky Bet League One:

Winners: Sheffield United 5/1

Runners-up: Millwall (10/1 to win League One, 3/1 to win promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Charlton 12/1, MK Dons 12/1, Bradford 12/1 or Scunthorpe 14/1

Dark Horses: Chesterfield, AFC Wimbledon and Port Vale

Relegation: Oldham 6/4, Bury 9/4 and Southend 11/4

Top Scorers: Billy Sharp (Sheffield Utd) 6/1, Lee Gregory (Millwall) 8/1, Nicky Ajose (Charlton) 8/1, Matt Taylor (Bristol Rovers) 12/1, Paddy Madden (Scunthorpe) 12/1 or Kane Hemmings (Oxford Utd) 16/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Che Adams (Sheffield Utd), Gregg Wylde (Millwall), Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon), Jerome Binnom-Williams (Peterborough) and Harry Beautyman (Northampton)

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 place


Sky Bet Championship:

Winners: Norwich City 9/1

Runner-up: Newcastle Utd (7/4 to win the Championship, 4/7 for promotion)

Promotion by winning the Play-offs: Derby 9/1, Brighton 11/1, Sheffield Wednesday 11/1 or Reading 22/1

Dark Horses: Bristol City and Birmingham

Relegation: Rotherham 13/8, Barnsley 11/4 and Blackburn 4/1

Top Scorers: Ross McCormack (Aston Villa) 10/1, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle) 12/1, Glenn Murray (Brighton) 16/1 e/w, Britt Assombalonga (Nottingham Forest) 20/1 e/w, Gary Hooper (Sheffield Wed), 25/1 e/w or Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wed) 25/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Kieran Agard and Jonathan Kodjia (Bristol City), Scott Hogan (Brentford), Sam Mantom (Scunthorpe), Will Hughes (Derby County), Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley) and Kemar Roofe (Leeds Utd)

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places


Barclays Premier League:

Winners: Chelsea 5/1

Runners-up: Manchester City

Europe (Champions League qualification): Manchester United and Liverpool

Premier League Top 4 Exact Order: Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool 200/1

Premier League Top 4 Any Order: Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool 9/1

Premier League Winner and Top Goalscorer: Chelsea and Aguero 28/1

Dark Horses: Watford and Bournemouth

Relegation: Hull City 4/6, West Brom 9/4 and Sunderland 5/2

Premier League Relegation Treble: Hull, West Brom and Sunderland all to be relegated 40/1

Top scorers: Sergio Aguero 7/2, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 9/1, Jamie Vardy 14/1 e/w, Michy Batshuayi 14/1 e/w and Daniel Sturridge 20/1 e/w

Players to Watch: Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace), Joe Allen (Stoke), Andre Gray (Burnley), Ahmed Musa (Leicester), Calum Wilson and Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Viktor Fischer (Middlesbrough), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton)

1st Manager to Leave: Francesco Guidolin (Swansea) 5/1

LMA Manager of the Year: Antonio Conte (Chelsea) 7/1 or Slaven Billic (West Ham) 16/1

# Sky Bet odds correct at time of writing.
* Each Way: 1/4 for first 4 places


Monday, August 01, 2016

Babes of the Month - Team GB's Olympic Beauties

Tonia Couch

Tonia competing at the World Championships in Barcelona 2013

Tonia Couch was born in Plymouth on 20th May 1989 and is a British Olympic diver. In February 2002, she became the youngest girl ever to qualify for the lottery funded Junior Olympic Programme, when she took bronze in the Junior girls platform event at the British Championships.

In 2008 and 2009, her 8th places at the Olympics and then the World Championships (the best result by a British female for 20 years), have secured her place in diving history.

She competed at the 2009 World Championships in Rome and at her second Commonwealth Games in 2010 in Delhi. At the 2010 Commonwealth games her 10m Synchro partnership with Sarah Barrow gained them fourth place.

Tonia reached the World final again in 2011, finishing ninth in the 10m Platform. In Synchro partnership with Sarah Barrow the pair finished fourth again.

Couch competed at her fifth consecutive World Championships in the summer of 2013 in Barcelona, finishing ninth in the 10m Platform and fifth with Barrow in the 10m Synchro.

In the 2014 season she finished fourth at the World Cup in Shanghai, then combined with Sarah Barrow to win a silver medal at the Commonwealth games held in Glasgow, 2014.

At the March 2015 World Series event in Dubai, Tonia took third place in the 10m platform event

Tonia represents Plymouth Diving and is coached by Andy Banks. Tonia is a member of Team GB's diving squad and will compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

You can follow Tonia on Twitter and Instagram

Amber Hill

Amber Jo Hill was born 21st August 1997 in Windsor, Berkshire. She is an English sport shooter who specializes in the skeet.

The gorgeous petite 5ft 2in blonde, who uses Barbie-like pink cartridges, was introduced to the sport by her grandfather and began practising at her local firing range from the age of 10.

In 2013, Hill made her own shooting history by becoming the sport's youngest ever winner (aged 15) at the ISSF World Cup series and Amber was had also named the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year 2013.

She has won a total of three gold medals in a major international competition, spanning the ISSF World Cup series (2013 and 2015), and the inaugural European Games held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015.

A member of the British national team, Hill trains under the tutelage of her personal coach Joe Neville at E.J. Churchill Shooting Ground in Wycombe. Amber is a member of Team GB's shooting squad and will compete in the women's skeet at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

You can follow Amber on Twitter and Instagram

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina in hurdles action during the European Indoor Championships in Prague 2015

Katarina Johnson-Thompson was born in Liverpool on 9th January 1993, and is an English track and field athlete specialising in the heptathlon.

She represented Great Britain in the heptathlon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, finishing 15th, then KJT finished fifth at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

In the Long jump, she is the 2012 World Junior champion and the 2014 World Indoor silver medallist. In 2015, she became the European Indoor champion in the pentathlon with a British record of 5000 points. She also holds the British high jump record, with a height of 1.97 m in 2015, and the British indoor long jump record, with a distance of 6.93m.

Johnson-Thompson represents Liverpool Harriers and is coached by Mike Holmes. Katarina is a member of Team GB's women's track and field squad and will compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

You can follow KJT on Twitter and Instagram