It’s the weekend’s most important match, one that will give us early reads on two of the Barclays Premier League’s most intriguing teams. Coming off last year’s fifth place finish, Everton harbors hope of cracking the top four, a position the mandates taking advantage of opportunities at home. Saturday’s visit from Arsenal (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) is one of those chances, albeit against a team hoping to mount a title challenge.
Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Goodison Park, Arsène Wenger spoke to the media in North Londong, playing up the value of Everton as a measuring stick.
“Everton is always a good opponent,” the Gunners’ manager said, above. “[The game] tells you where you are. For us, it’s a good test.”
Rather than focus on the game, however, the assembled media appeared more concerned with the transfer window – a concern that was not shared by Wenger.
“We are like you. We listen to the names …,” Wenger said, about the transfer market, “At the moment, we are not in an emergency case. We have the players we want, but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window to strengthen our defensive department, in quality and number.”
More from Wenger, including his reaction to the impending arrival of Mario Balotelli, above.
Based on all the reports, it seems like a matter of when, not if, Jurgen Klopp will be named the next manager at Liverpool.
The former Borussia Dortmund boss had been heavily linked with the Liverpool job even before Brendan Rodgers was fired, and now that Rodgers is out, Klopp’s name is once again grabbing all the headlines.
While some reports state he could be appointed manager by the end of the week, nothing is official yet as Klopp is still in Germany, unemployed as of today.
[ REPORTS: Nigel Pearson approached by Sunderland ]
Klopp was approached by a reporter from German news outlet Bild in Leverkusen, and was asked about the vacant Liverpool job. While he did not confirm he was in talks with the club, he didn’t deny the links either.
There’s nothing to say. Neither a definite yes nor a definite no. I’m going home now.
It is believed that a deal between the club and the manager is in the works, with a few details still needed to be worked out before anything is made official.
[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback: Rodgers gone, but not forgotten ]
One of the biggest roadblocks in the deal is Liverpool’s use of a transfer committee when buying new players, while Klopp is supposedly keen on having full control over the team’s signings. The club has said no moves are made without the manager’s approval, although it is reported that Rodgers was limited on what players he could bring in, having multiple moves shot down by the committee.
Former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is still in the running for the vacant position, but at this time, Klopp is the out-and-out favorite to take over.
Sunderland is without a win and without a manager, as the Black Cats are in desperate need of some help.
After manager Dick Advocaat resigned following Sunderland’s 2-2 draw against West Ham, the club has been searching for a replacement to help lead the club off the bottom of the table.
Reports out of England state the North East club has approached former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson, who has been out of work after being fired over the summer.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
Pearson knows what it takes to win with a team in a relegation battle, as he led Leicester to a 14th place finish last season after sitting bottom of the table at Christmas. Still in last place in March, the Foxes won seven of their final nine matches to stay up in the Premier League.
However, Pearson was sacked over the summer after having a fall-out with the Leicester board, and it was well-documented that he had a tumultuous relationship with the club’s owners.
It is being reported that Sunderland’s technical director Lee Congerton approached Pearson about the job, but that club owner Ellis Short would rather bring former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on board.
[ REPORTS: Liverpool could appoint Jurgen Klopp manager by end of the week ]
When you look at Nigel Pearson, he is a polar opposite of Dick Advocaat. Advocaat came to Sunderland towards the end of his managerial career, with experience winning titles with major clubs throughout Europe. However, he had never managed in the Premier League, and had no experience with a club fighting for survival.
Pearson, on the other hand, is fresh off a relegation battle and his fiery attitude may be what’s needed to turn Sunderland around. While Pearson may not always see eye-to-eye with the media or the board, he is fiercely loyal to his players and is a no-nonsense type-manager.
With the Premier League on an international break, Sunderland has a bit of time to figure things out, but expect Pearson’s name to continue to be linked with the job.