Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey loan deal to Everton – Roberto Martinez keeps coy

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The reports are flying – Everton are interested in bringing in Clint Dempsey on short-term loan this winter.

But are they true?

Toffees manager Roberto Martinez was asked that exact question Thursday and in true Martinezian form, he kept it classy (and coy).

“I’m sure there are going to be many links. We are looking at many players,” said Martinez.

“We’re looking at many possibilities. But it’s not the time to talk about it now. We’ll never speak about a player who is registered with another football club.

“Any links that you get, you’re not going to be far wrong, but in the same way, you’re not going to be far right either.”

OK, so if they’re not ‘far wrong’ and they’re not ‘far right’ then they’re in the middle, right? So then Everton IS interested in taking Deuce on short-term loan? Who the heck knows!?!?!

Read those tea leaves as you will.

Even if Everton is interested – which, with Arouna Kone out for the season and Nikica Jelavic coming off a poor 2012-13 season, they definitely are – there’s some hoops the club will need to jump through first.

The biggest one being that Tottenham reportedly have the first option to re-sign the US striker, while Fulham and Aston Villa have also been linked with Dempsey.

Spurs could definitely be interested. Bobby Soldier only scores penalties, Jermain Defoe only plays in the Europa League and AVB hates Emmanuel Adebayor. So there’s definitely room for another striker at White Hart Lane. Deuce makes sense.

As to Jelavic, he’s a player that Martinez doesn’t sounds ready to part with: “From our point of view, it’s very important that Niki stays with us and is ready to help the team whenever the opportunity arises. That could be very soon.”

34 Days until the circus begins. Strap in.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.