Charles N'Zogbia

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Free agents: Flamini to Crystal Palace? Chamakh, Sissoko trial with WBA

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With the transfer window closed, Premier League teams have turned to out-of-contract players for their squads.

There are plenty of rumored deals out there and we’ll delve into them here as well as give you some names to monitor moving forward.

[ MORE: Yaya out of City’s UCL roster ]

Victor Anichebe has already been scooped up by Sunderland, and Marouane Chamakh and Mohamed Sissoko are on trial at West Bromwich Albion today, where the Baggies face the Indian Super League’s Delhi Dynamos.

The Guardian claims that Crystal Palace could land longtime Arsenal man Mathieu Flamini, though the Frenchman is wanted by a number of teams across Europe.

Among the other recognizable and available Premier League names are Stephane Sessegnon, Charles N'Zogbia, Kevin Nolan, Bobby Zamora, Leon Osman, and Junior Hoilett.

Longtime Juventus man Martin Caceres is 29 and was expected to sign with AS Roma once rehabilitated from an achilles injury, but has yet to make anything official. We’re only mentioning the slight possibility because, when healthy, he’s quite good.

Not a lot to love there for those looking for help.

Frustrated Remi Garde calls out Aston Villa’s high-paid players

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Remi Garde is winless since taking over at Aston Villa in November, earning just two points out of a possible 15.

The club still sits glued to the bottom of the table, six points adrift and looking destined for relegation.

[ WATCH: PL TV Schedule — Week 17 ]

Garde has been thrown into the gauntlet in his first experience as a Premier League manager, and he’s handled it in an interesting way.

First, Garde demoted Villa’s young starlet Jack Grealish for his off-the-pitch behavior, saying the 20-year-old needed to mature. Now, the French boss is calling out some of the club’s high-priced players.

Garde questioned the trust between himself and club captain Gabby Agbonlahor, who has seen his playing time disappear under the new manager. He then called out Adama Traore, who signed for Villa from Barcelona this summer, saying the young winger is inconsistent and struggles to play without the ball.

[ SOURCE: Hazard, Fabregas pushed for Mourinho’s firing ]

His most blunt remarks were about Charles N'Zogbia, who Garde said isn’t putting in enough effort, as it looks likely he could be sold in January.

Charles could have given more to the team in the first two or three weeks after I came.

Charles is not the worst person I have ever met. I am just here to try to pick up the players I feel are the most committed for this very difficult task we have.

I am not saying Charles is a bad person. Sometimes it doesn’t work between players and clubs, players and managers.

The board has told Garde he has their support to spend during the January transfer window, and by his recent comments, it seems as if the manager would like to bring in an entirely new squad.

Villa have gone 15 league games without a win, and Garde could start to cause even more problems if he keeps publicly criticizing players like he has been. The team has enough issues on the pitch, the last thing they need are issues off of it.

Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City: Villa holds wasteful City scoreless in Garde’s debut

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  • Villa breaks a 6-match losing streak
  • Manchester City takes sole possession of first place

Aston Villa played an inspired game under new manager Remi Garde, but Manchester City will feel they let two points slip away today as both sides finished scoreless at Villa Park.

Raheem Sterling pinged a point-blank header off the face of Brad Guzan early in the second half, and Fernando hit the bar with a similar chance in injury time as the visitors spurned multiple tasty chances.

Aston Villa opened the better team on the ball, but couldn’t produce a real opportunity in front of goal. The best chance of the opening 20 minutes came to Manchester City in the 17th minute as Sterling sent Alan Hutton tumbling to the ground with a nice touch and fired on goal, but Brad Guzan was there to cover his near post.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

City seemed comfortable through the opening half-hour, despite losing Wilfried Bony to a hamstring injury, replaced by Jesus Navas in the 25th minute. Villa did have one big break, with Carlos Gil released in the 35th minute, but could not collect under pressure from a pair of defenders scrambling back.

Sterling was away just a minute later with a break of his own, but was always looking for the contact instead of the goal, and went down sheepishly under little contact as the chance evaporated.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score ]  

That was all the meaningful action in the first half, and Manchester City began to take control after the break. City had a pair of great chances in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, with the first a free-kick from Aleksandar Kolarov who ripped a scorcher from just outside the box that Guzan couldn’t hold on to, but the spill fell out of harm’s way and was cleared. Just ticks later, Navas picked out Sterling by himself nearly on the goal line, but Sterling’s header from point-blank range was straight at Brad Guzan, and it pinged off the goalkeeper’s face.

The home side was forced back into its own half by an increasing Manchester City attack, and to relieve some of the pressure Remi Garde brought on Charles N'Zogbia for his season debut in the 65th minute. Moments later, Navas then picked out Kevin De Bruyne free on net but again a City attacker botched a close-range chance, as the Belgian fumbled the ball at his feet and couldn’t get off a shot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa finally had a second-half opportunity on the 70th minute as N’Zogbia looked for Scott Sinclair in front of goal, but the City defensive line was strong to repel the ball. They played brightly on the break for a spell, with only a heavy touch from Leandro Bacuna betraying a chance on 76 minutes.

The game exploded open through the final 15 minutes, but neither side could find an opening. Manchester City again should have scored as Fernando’s stoppage-time header off a short corner smashed into the crossbar and cannoned back out.

With the scoreless finish, Manchester City moves alone atop the Premier League table for now, but Arsenal can overtake them with a North London derby later on Sunday. Aston Villa breaks a six-match losing streak along all competition as they move to five points on the year, remaining on the bottom of the table.

Bob Bradley set to take charge at Le Havre

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It is safe to say “Bonjour, Bob Bradley” as the former U.S. national team head coach is close to being confirmed as the new man in charge at Le Havre AC in France.

[ MORE: Mourinho thanks fans ]

Bradley, 57,  is embarking on the next stage in his European adventure as this news comes on the same day Norwegian outfit Stabaek announced that Bradley would be leaving when his two-year deal runs out at the Tippeligaen club he has transformed from relegation candidates in 2014, when he took charge, to a guaranteed top-three finish in just their second season back in Norway’s top-flight in 2015.

A source has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that Bradley is “highly likely” to sign a contract to manage Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre who are owned by American businessman Vincent Volpe after he bought the Normandy club in July. The deal is expected to be concluded shortly and earlier reports in Norway on Wednesday stated that Bradley had reached a verbal agreement to take over at Le Havre after his final game at Stabaek this Sunday.

[ SPORTSWORLD: Bradley’s Stabaek adventure ]

Le Havre have not had a permanent manager since September when Thierry Goudet was fired. Since then Christophe Revault has taken charge on an interim basis — they currently sit fourth in France’s second-tier, just six points off top spot after three-straight wins — but with a glistening new 25,000 capacity stadium and an ambitious, oil-rich owner from Texas, Le Havre seems like a club on the up as they seek promotion back to Ligue 1 after relegation to the second-tier in 2009.

In the past Les Ciel et Marine have produced several promising players through their academy with Jean-Alain Boumsong, Charles N'Zogbia and Paul Pogba to name a few coming through the ranks.

[ MORE: Bradley works miracles, leads Stabaek to Europe ]

With the Norwegian season ending this weekend — Stabaek can finish in second place with a win and a Stromsgodset defeat but Bradley has already lead them to European qualification —  and Le Havre doing just fine with their interim boss in charge for now, it seems like the right opportunity has arrived at the right time for Bradley. Yes, he is stepping down to the second-tier of a European league, but it is clear that France is a major soccer nation in Europe and if Bradley can steer a healthy looking Le Havre side back to Ligue 1, then an American coach will be in charge of a team in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

Bradley deserves this chance after a stunning two years at Stabaek.

After leading the USMNT to Gold Cup glory in 2007, the Confederations Cup final in 2009, the World Cup last 16 in 2010 and then being fired in 2011 following a defeat in the Gold Cup final, Bradley has admirably rebuilt his coaching career overseas as he came within a playoff game of taking the Egyptian national team to the 2014 World Cup amid huge unrest in the African nation and over the last 18 months has taken a tiny Norwegian team from relegation fodder to title contenders in Norway’s top-flight.

Now, his next adventure is set to see him battle on the Normandy coast to take Le Havre back to the big time.

New Aston Villa boss Remi Garde bans speaking French

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Remi Garde earned six caps for French national team, spent most of his playing career in his home country, and managed Lyon to a French Cup title.

Now the boss at Aston Villa, Garde’s first rule in charge: No speaking French.

[ MORE: PL Team of the Week ]

Villa has seen a French revolution over the past few months, with Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi, Jordan Veretout and Idrisse Gueye all coming over from Ligue 1 this summer. Rudy Gestede and Charles N'Zogbia were also both born in France.

However, Garde wants everyone on the same page, and that means English-only.

We are in England. We need to adapt.

They need to learn English quickly. I don’t want anybody speaking French in the dressing room.

It is very important we understand each other. It’s also important that the English players speak slowly sometimes at the beginning. Everyone has to make an effort.

Garde himself speaks very good English, as he played for Arsenal in the final three seasons of his career. Many believe his ties to the French players at Villa was a big reason why the board was so keen to bring him in to replace Tim Sherwood.

[ RELATED: Manchester City’s Champions League dream coming together ]

No matter what language is being used, Garde has his work cut out for him. Villa hasn’t won a PL match since the opening day (August 8), and are currently on a run of seven straight losses in the league. They sit glued to the bottom of the table with four points through 11 matches.