With Manchester United’s season continuing to stall, David Moyes needs some kind of boost in the January transfer window. He may just have found it. With Robert Lewandowski sealing his move to Bayern Munich this summer, Croatian international striker Mario Mandzukic could be on the move from Bayern. This season he has scored 12 goals in 21 games, after scoring in last years Champions League final win. Mandzukic, 27, will want regular soccer in the future and he might not get that at Bayern with Lewandowski’s arrival. His physical style will suite the Premier League so a switch to United would make sense in a lot of ways. United and even Arsenal are monitoring Manzukic’s situation.
Staying with the Gunners, former Chelsea attacker Salomon Kalou could be heading back to the PL with Arsene Wenger and Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers interested. Kalou, 28, is currently at French side Lille but it’s thought he could return to England for less than $5 million in January. The Gunners certainly need some reinforcements up front and Kalou’s PL experience means it wouldn’t take long for him to adapt. This season he’s scored six goals and added two assists in Ligue 1 as Lille sit third behind PSG and Monaco.
Newcastle United are looking to add to their ranks, with a loan move for Borussia Monchengladbach’s Luuk de Jong in the works. The Dutch striker, 23, would add some serious firepower to the Magpies offense and the Dutch international is looking to resrureeect his career after not scoring in 13 Bundesliga matches this season. Previously De Jong had shone with FC Twente in Holland but since switching to the Bundesliga last season his career has gone on a slight downward spiral. With the World Cup coming up this summer, the Dutch forward needs a big few months to try and make the Netherlands squad. Maybe a loan switch, with a view to a permanent move, would be good for both parties?
Blackpool’s Tom Ince could be on the move to Monaco, as the England U-21 international is available in a cut-price deal this January. Ince, 21, is only under contract until this summer at Bloomfield Road and is said to want a move away from the Championship club. Several Premier League teams have been linked with Ince (son of former Man United, Inter Milan and England midfielder Paul Ince, who is actually his manager at Blackpool) and the tricky winger has bags of pace. Ince has scored seven goals and added five assist in 21 games this season for the Seasiders and could follow in his father’s footsteps by moving abroad. Will Monaco be a good fit for him?
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has begun his rebuilding process at Cardiff City, and is apparently close to bringing two fellow Norwegians to join him in South Wales. Solksjaer’s former club Molde and Dutch side Herenveen are in talks with Cardiff over their midfielders Mats Moller Daehli and Magnus Wolff Eikrem respectively. Cardiff’s new manager has worked with both players before, having coached Eikrem while at Manchester United and Daehli during his time in charge of Molde. It’s said that deals are progressing well for both players, as Vincent Tan’s new manager will start to splash the cash.
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.
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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?
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.