David Moyes arrives at Carrington

David Moyes hires staff from Everton on first day at Manchester United

Leave a comment

David Moyes began his first official day as manager of Manchester United by arriving at the club’s Carrington training ground at 8:00am and appointing Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden to his coaching staff.

Moyes arrived at the Chevrolet-sponsored training ground driving, not surprisingly, a Chevrolet, marking the beginning of a new era at United and putting a definitive end to the 26 year tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The former Everton manager’s first bit of business on the day was confirming the appointments of his backroom staff, all of whom follow him from Goodison Park. Round replaces Mike Phelan as United’s assistant manager, Woods takes over as goalkeeping coach for Eric Steele, and Lumsden replaces Rene Meulensteen as first-team coach.

Speaking of the hirings, Moyes noted his work with the three and his delight at their decision to join him at United. “They bring great qualities in their respective fields and I know that, like me, they feel that this is a challenge to relish,” Moyes said. “I have great faith that together, we can build upon the success this club has enjoyed over many years.”

With the easy work put aside, Moyes now faces some legitimately difficult decisions, beginning with the Wayne Rooney conundrum.

Whether the 27 year old will stay at Old Trafford depends on his appetite for United and Moyes’ appetite to deal with a potential cancerous situation. Rooney is not known to be of primadonna ilk but he has shown a desire – most notably during the fall 2010 rumors that Rooney wanted to be transfered to Manchester City – to have his head patted.

How much head patting Moyes will do remains to be seen.

The so-called ‘crunch talks’ are slated to begin this week and with Robin van Persie’s domination as the outright striker and Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all available for deployment in and around Rooney’s space on the pitch, it could be time to send the Wazza on his way.

The decision to keep Rooney will have a significant effect on whether Moyes makes a marque signing in the summer transfer window. It is entirely possible that he keeps the player and brings in a whale, although the later increases exponentially if Rooney departs.

A significant summer capture could provide Moyes with career defining moment. The departure of Ferguson makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential revival at United drastically less likely although a younger, less narcissistic, winger by the name of Gareth Bale is by no means out of Moyes’ reach.

A more realistic signing could be that of Leighton Baines, who Moyes brought to prominency at Goodison Park after sniping him from Wigan in 2007. The projected £20 million ($30.5m) it would cost Moyes to bring Baines to Old Trafford, however, could prove too much for a club that already boasts the likes of Patrice Evra.

The United midfield is another issue that Moyes will need to attend to. Easily United’s weakest quality, the retirement of Paul Scholes, Anderson’s failure to develop and the long-standing illness of Darren Fletcher means that the most pressing need is for a midfielder to compliment Michael Carrick.

Thiago Alcantara would be add creativity and skill while a player like Marouane Fellaini could provide Carrick with a marauding counterpart who will score goals while releasing pressure for the English pass-master.

A final issue that Moyes will need to work on is maintaining (and building) the familial environment that Ferguson worked so tirelessly to create at United. It is that environment that defines United, separates them from City and puts fear into the heart of opponents when the match is on a knife’s edge and injury time rolls around.

Report: French outfit Nice interested in adding Liverpool’s Balotelli

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 14:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan looks on during the Serie A match between AC Milan and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 14, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mario Balotelli could soon have a new home, according to the BBC’s Phil McNulty.

The mercurial Italian striker, 26, has one league goal in each of his last two seasons (spent between Liverpool and AC Milan).

Jurgen Klopp is ready for Balotelli to find a home away from Anfield and McNulty says that place could be OGC Nice, where he’d join newly-signed ex-Bayern man Dante. Balotelli also had talks with Sion in Switzerland, according to the report.

The striker was a blazing hot commodity after scoring 17 goals for Manchester City in 2011-12, and again after netting 18 for AC Milan in 2013-14.

Balotelli has 13 goals in 33 caps for Italy, but hasn’t appeared for the national team since 2014.

Report: West Ham lands Zaza from Juventus for $32 million

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07: Simone Zaza of Juventus in action during the Pre-Season Friendly between West Ham United and Juventus at The Olympic Stadium on August 7, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

After months and months of trying to land a big name striker, it seems West Ham has done just that.

David Amoyal of DiMarzio says that Juventus striker Simone Zaza is on his way to the London Stadium for a medical which will seal a $32 million transfer to West Ham.

[ MORE: Chelsea adds EURO champion ]

Zaza, 25, made his name as Sassuolo before moving to Juve last season, and forced his way into the national team. He has 14 caps with one goal, but is perhaps better remembered at this point for missing a penalty — with a creative run-up —  in Italy’s final EURO game.

The striker had been linked with West Ham as far back as this time last season.

This move should help insure the Hammers avoid too many goalless outcome moving forward, even with Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew out for a while.

That’ll be music to Slaven Bilic‘s ears. The manager said, “The disappointment is massive” after his side couldn’t break down Astra Giurgiu and dropped out of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Chelsea adds No. 2 goalkeeper from Portugal’s EURO winning squad

LISBON, PORTUGAL - JULY 11: Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo  during the meeting with the countries President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for the Portugal Euro 2016 Victory ceremonies at Lisbon on July 11, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images
1 Comment

Chelsea have added some depth at the very back.

Eduardo’s the name, and the 33-year-old Portuguese backstop arrives at Stamford Bridge with a decent resume, having been on the roster for his country’s EURO 2016 triumph.

[ MORE: Stambouli, Bentaleb reunited ]

USMNT fans will remember him from his time between the sticks for Portugal at the 2014 World Cup. He has 35 caps, and has been with Dinamo Zagreb since 2014.

From ChelseaFC.com:

‘All the colleagues I have always say the dream is to come to the Premier League, where there are the best clubs and the best players, and the opportunity to come here arrived at this moment.

‘I am happy to be here and I hope I meet the expectations people have for me.’

Eduardo certainly won’t be taking over for Thibaut Courtois, but will definitely provide competition for No. 2 Asmir Begovic.

UEFA Europa roundup: West Ham bounced by Astra Giurgiu; Genk, Gent, Anderlecht roll on

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham and Takayuki Seto of FC Astra Giurgiu battle for possesion during the UEFA Europa League match between West Ham United and FC Astra Giurgiu at the Olympic Stadium on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Ham dominated the game but not the score line against Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, who advanced to the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 1-0 win at London Stadium on Thursday.

Well-traveled French midfielder Filipe Teixeira did the damage for Astra Giurgiu, as the former West Brom and Barnsley man scored in the 45th minute to give the visitors a 2-1 lead on aggregate after the sides went 1-1 in Romania last week.

The Irons carried possession and a wealth of shots, but couldn’t find their way past Romanian international goalkeeper Silviu Lung, Jr.

[ MORE: Stambouli, Bentaleb reunited at Schalke ]

Sassuolo star Domenico Berardi scored in a 1-1 draw with Red Star Belgrade, completing a 4-1 score line.

Elsewhere, a hat trick from Slovan Liberec’s Jan Sykora led the Czech side to a 3-0 second leg win, and 4-0 aggregate defeat of Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

Gent got a pair of goals from giant Malian striker Kalifa Coulibaly as the Belgians completed a 6-1 aggregate win over Shkendija.

Full scoreboard
West Ham United 0-1 (agg. 1-2) Astra Giurgiu
Astana 2-2 (agg. 4-2) BATE Borisov
Arouca 1-2 (agg. 1-3) Olympiacos
Midtjylland 0-3 (agg. 0-4) Osmanlispor
Trencin 2-0 (agg. 0-4) Rapid Wien
Lokomotiva 0-2 (agg. 2-4) Genk
AEK Larnaca 0-3 (agg. 0-4) Slovan Liberec
Dinamo Tbilisi 0-2 (agg. 0-5) PAOK
Austria Wien 2-1 (agg. 4-2) Rosenborg
Beitar Jerusalem 0-0 (agg. 1-2) Saint-Etienne
Vojvodina 0-0 (agg. 0-3) AZ Alkmaar
Gabala 0-1 (agg. 3-2) Maribor
Slavia Prague 0-3 (agg. 0-6) Anderlecht
Fenerbahce 2-0 (agg. 3-0) Grasshopper
Panathinaikos 1-1 (agg. 4-1) Brondby
Krasnodar 0-0 (agg. 4-0) Partizani Tirana
Gent 4-0 (agg. 6-1) Shkendija
Istanbul Basaksehir 0-2 (agg. 1-4) Shakhtar Donetsk
SonderjyskE 2-3 (agg. 2-3) Sparta Prague
Sassuolo 1-1 (agg. 4-1) Red Star Belgrade
Goteborg 0-3 (agg. 1-3) Qarabag
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-2 (agg. 3-3) Hajduk Split