Mike Williamson

Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Swiss captain to Leicester, more Muller to Manchester links

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Aston Villa have landed a Barcelona wantaway, while a USMNT back is headed for London. So what’s the next bit of truth to come from the transfer rumor mill?

It’s been shot down again and again, but rumors of a Thomas Muller to Manchester United move continue to spill out of Germany. This time it’s Kicker saying the Red Devils are trying to tempt Bayern Munich with a $75 million offer for one of Germany’s World Cup heroes. The move would make even more sense than adding Pedro from Barcelona, as it could free up Wayne Rooney and ease the captain’s burden during the busy UEFA Champions League and Cup seasons.

Swiss veteran Gokhan Inler be en route to the Premier League. Sky Sports says the Napoli man may be another Serie A signing for the club that famously added Esteban Cambiasso last season. Inler, 31, is the captain of the Swiss national team and manned the midfield in all four of their matches at the 2014 World Cup. Claudio Ranieiri would certainly welcome the mid’s gusto.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

Has Sunderland’s embarrassing opening day prodded their front office into further action? Offense wasn’t the Black Cats problem in a 4-2 loss to Leicester City, but Fabio Borini is being pegged as more likely to leave Liverpool for the Stadium of Light than stick around. It would be a loan, and Sky Sports says Adnan Januzaj is still weighing the option to make a similar move.

Newcastle United may be set to send veteran back Mike Williamson down South in search of a younger, better model. Williamson has fallen down the Magpies’ depth chart with the arrival of Chancel Mbemba, and Brighton & Hove Albion back Lewis Dunk may be had in exchange for the veteran and about $7.5 million. Dunk’s a towering 24-year-old back, and Brighton boss Chris Hughton knows plenty about “Willo” from his days at St. James Park.

source: Getty Images
Digne (right)

Roma is going to land talented left back Lucas Digne from Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports in Le Parisien, while i Lupi is also interested in Liverpool center back Mamadou Sakho if you’re to believe Foot Mercato.

It looks like Clinton N’Jie could be having a medical at White Hart Lane, as the Lyon striker hopes to boost Spurs’ forward ranks.

William Carvalho was linked with Manchester United and Arsenal for a few years, but now it seems the Sporting Lisbon man could be on the way to Real Madrid, according to Spanish publication AS.

Sky Sport says Hibernian’s midfield star Scott Allan could be making a big move to Celtic after undergoing a medical at the Scottish powers.

Newcastle United leader Coloccini signs extension, retains captain’s armband

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Fabricio Coloccini isn’t going anywhere.

Newcastle United’s Argentine captain spent another summer on the “will he or won’t he leave” bus, but has agreed to an extension to his contract through 2017, with an option for another season.

[ MORE: Januzaj headed to Northeast England? ]

New boss Steve McClaren didn’t take long to recognize what all recent Magpies bosses have seen: Coloccini is the leader of the squad.

More importantly, he’s a steady center back who has maintained some semblance of normalcy despite a substandard cast of characters next to him in the middle of Newcastle’s back four.

From NUFC.co.uk:

United head coach Steve McClaren said: “From day one at the Club, Fabricio has been a stand-out character and I’m delighted we have secured his future with us.

“Once we sat down together to iron things out, I knew straight away his heart was with the Club and the new contract was agreed very quickly. Fabricio is my captain. He is a leader, hugely respected throughout the Club and a top-class player on top of that.”

Coloccini added … “I am also very happy to continue as the captain of this football club. Captaining Newcastle makes me so proud. I am not from this city or this country, and so to be given the responsibility of wearing the armband every week is a very special thing.”

The Magpies’ stable of center backs is dicey, with fiery but injury-prone Steven Taylor joined by an inconsistent at-bst Mike Williamson and new signing Jamaal Lascelles.

Newcastle’s Carver on relegation fight: “I can’t believe it’s come to the this”

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John Carver’s been watching as his team scooped up one point out of its last 30 to slide from the top half of the table to the brink of relegation, but he still can’t believe it.

The self-glossed best coach in the league, Carver’s running out of things to say (at least logical ones). His recent media talks have ranged from the bizarre — We mentioned he said he was the best, right? — to the conspiratorial (Remember his claim that Mike Williamson took a red card on purpose?).

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

And this tense final week has been no different. In what you’d hope wasn’t a line from his Sunday team talk, Carver expressed wonderment at his team’s failures, “I can’t believe it’s come to this, but it has and we’ve got to deal with it.”

Many people, however, can believe it has come to this. Carver’s bunch has played lackluster football while being waxed by clubs from the top and bottom of the table.

At times it looks a lot like the last relegation season, only with an odd-quipping manager talking about how he swore he’d never get the club relegated. And he remembers watching Alan Shearer managed the deciding loss to Aston Villa.

From The Guardian:

“I’d come back from Canada and I was watching on television in a pub,” said the Tynesider, who had then just resigned from his post as the head coach of Toronto in the MLS but now occupies Shearer’s old shoes. “It was a difficult time for me and on that day I genuinely didn’t speak for an hour afterwards.

“I remember seeing the pictures of Alan on the pitch afterwards and I thought: ‘I hope that never, ever, happens to me.’ As it happens, I saw Alan only the other day and we talked about his feelings at the time and I told him what I felt. I just said: ‘I hope I don’t have to experience that.’ Hopefully I won’t.”

Visualize that. Carver walking up to a club legend and saying, “That must’ve been terrible, Alan. I sure hope I don’t blow it on Sunday!”

At least Newcastle supporters can know that even in a worst-case scenario, owner Mike Ashley wouldn’t keep Carver on board if the team goes to the Championship, right. Right? Right?!?!?

(Crickets).

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. West Ham United

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  • Newcastle have taken 1 point from a possible 30
  • West Ham have won once in their last seven
  • Newcastle has won once in nine home games under Carver

Newcastle United are on the brink of the abyss. After an incredible slide down the standings since Alan Pardew left as manager in January the Magpies have been on an awful run and have lost nine of their last 10 and have a solitary point from the last 30 available.

[ RELATED: Hull vs. Man United preview ]

On Sunday they host West Ham (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on USA and online via Live Extra), a side coached by one of their former managers Sam Allardyce. For “Big Sam”, this may well be his final match in charge of the Hammers as his contract runs out at the end of the season. After getting a rough deal up at Newcastle, Allardyce would be quite happy to send them down.

[ Championship Sunday: 10 matches, 10 channels–find yours here ]

As long as Hull City lose to Manchester United on Sunday then Newcastle will be safe, but if Hull win then a Newcastle draw may not be enough as they currently sit two-points above the Tigers as they do battle to stay out of the final relegation place. Tension will be in the air at St James’ Park on Sunday and if the Magpies go down, expect it to be replaced with venomous chants against the despised owner Mike Ashley.

In team news Newcastle will welcome back defender Mike Williamson from suspension, while Siem de Jong could return but Papiss Cisse is not fit enough to make the bench. West Ham will be without James Collins but James Tomkins returns to the squad, as does captain and former Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan.

What they’re saying

John Carver on the finale: “There are no second chances now. This is the last game, it’s the cup final we’ve been talking about. We all know what we have to do and we all take responsibility. It’s not about me taking the blame or [owner] Mike [Ashley] and [managing director] Lee [Charnley], we all take responsibility.”

Sam Allardyce on his future: “One way or another, my future will be sorted out on Monday. We’ll all know more then. I’m not personally having a meeting but my agent will be available to speak to the owners.”

Prediction

Newcastle need a win big time but Big Sam would love to play the role of spoiler on Sunday to send his old club down. The Magpies will be short on confidence and if news filters through of an early goal for Hull against Manchester United then the nerves will be jangling at St James’ Park. West Ham don’t have much to play for but I think they will sneak a draw and make things very uncomfortable for Newcastle. 2-2.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich Albion

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  • WBA leads all-time 46W-32D-45L
  • Newcastle won 2-0 at Hawthorns in Nov.
  • WBA last won at St. James Park in 2011

All-but-safe West Bromwich Albion enters a hornets nest that could sting both ways when it pays a visit to St. James Park to face Newcastle United on Saturday (Watch on NBCSN at 10 a.m. ET or online via Live Extra).

Newcastle is reeling and on an eight-match losing streak, and has gone from the top half of the table to the fringe of the drop zone after a lackluster group of displays against Premier League opposition.

And so St. James Park may be just as likely to turn on its own as it is to boost the spirits of its embattled native club.

The Baggies may be just two places above the Magpies, but it’s a five-point gap between the two sides ahead of kickoff. West Brom is coming off a win over Manchester United and a 0-0 draw versus Liverpool.

WATCH ON NBCSN AT 10 A.M. ET OR ONLINE VIA LIVE EXTRA

What they’re saying

Newcastle manager John Carver on the relegation battle“Forget about what people think of me and the players, forget about what you think of everybody and get behind the football club because we all want to stay in the Premier League. It hurts the players’ pride when people say they aren’t trying because it hurts me as well. But the only way we can get rid of that hurt is to do something about it. It’s tough. But if I walk around with a face on the floor then it’s going to affect people around me as well, so I still show my enthusiasm. What can affect my situation is my trail of thought and how positive I am. I’m doing this job to the best of my ability at the moment and I’ll continue doing that for the next three weeks.”

West Brom’s Tony Pulis on the situation at St. James ParkThey’ve got three games to pick some points up – one of them is against us. We have a responsibility to everyone in the league to give it our best. I think it’ll be tough. But there’ll be a different atmosphere there. We have to come off the pitch knowing we’ve given everything.”

Prediction

Is anyone willing to put anything on Newcastle right now, even at home? Mike Williamson’s red card suspension leaves a hole at center back, but Daryl Janmaat’s suspension is much more concerning, as Williamson hasn’t exactly been a stud in the middle. Call it 1-1, mercifully a point for the Magpies.