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Exclusive: Why Sir Alex Ferguson has nothing to do with United's fall, and fans don't care players' price tags as long as their teams succeed

August 29, 2014

1. Manchester United's fall is not Sir Alex's fault.

People often find it too hard to praise someone for their good work but way too easy to criticize them for even some wrongly-accused faults. I read something about why Sir Alex should take reponsibility for United's fall which for me is totally unfair to the best manager in history of football. People talk about his "flop signings" as the likes of Smalling, Jones, Berbatov, Chicharito Hernandez, Nani, Young... or not-good-enough homegrounds like Welbeck or Cleverley.... but will they be talking about those cases if United are still dominating the Premier League as they did under the Scot's guide?

People, in modern world, seem to have extremely short memory. Nobody remember how young Smalling and Jones still are for defenders, how many goals and assists Berbatov during his time in the red jersey, and how on this earth could you drive a bargain like Sir Alex did to bring in a super-sub like Chicharito Hernandez? Nani was once unstoppable on the wings, while Young might have been flopping but he did produce some moments of magic. People also put the expectations Sir Alex might never do on Welbeck and Cleverley mainly because of England's lack of young talents.

The more people talk about United stars flopping, the more I admire the Great Scot's ability in getting the best out of "avarage" players.

2. Players' price tags do not bother fans, performances and results do.

Angel Di Maria's deal to bring him from Real Madrid to Manchester United raised everybody's eyebrows as the most expensive deal ever for a British club. Is the Argentine winger really worth that money? For me, he has done enough to be regarded as one of the most valuable players in the world and could prove he's a worthy investment.

One year ago, Real Madrid smashed world transfer record to bring Gareth Bale to the Bernabeu. He struggled with fitness and injuries which ruled him out of actions for a while. But after his two goals proved privotal to Spanish giants' success in Copa del Rey and Champions League, nobody talks about his transfer fee. Football fans, indeed, don't care much about price tags but results and performances instead. As long as Di Maria settles in and shows off his real quality, he would be considered a bargain.

Top 5 Premier League Overrated Players

September 04, 2013

English Barclay Premier League is always proud of its status as the best league in the world, with some of the best players on the planet representing in the league.

But are the Premier League players really that good? Here we share our opinions of top 5 overrated players in the league.

Winners and Losers of Ozil-to-Arsenal deal

After the arrival of German international Mesut Ozil to Arsenal, we take a look at the winners and losers of the deal.


Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager has every reason to celebrate after managing to secure Ozil's service in the last hours of the summer transfer window. With the increasing pressure from fans on him to make moves for big-name signings, the veteran coach moved quickly to get his man in a club-record deal.

With Ozil now being added to his rank, Wenger is confident that his team can now be back in the title race, and more importantly the deal has eased the fans' frustration after the Frenchman could only bring in 2 freebies Yaya Sanogo and Flamini to replace 17 departed players.

Premier League

The Premier League lost yet again its Player of the Year in Bale but Ozil's talent is not below the Welshman's, and the German is ready to excite fans with his delightful passes and skills.

The deal also proves that Premier League can still attract best players in the world despite losing some of the best players to La Liga in the past few years.

Real Madrid's rivals

Ozil has been consistently a nightmare for Real Madrid's opponents' defences. Over the 3 years in Real Madrid jersey, Ozil racks up incredible 74 assists in La Liga. His understanding and partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo had come to devastating effects. Ozil had been Ronaldo's right-hand man on the pitch and the Portuguese superstar will definitely miss him greatly this season.

So, when Real Madrid's main man lost his best partner, opponents surely have more chances to get points.


Real Madrid

How on the earth you could sell Ozil for the half of the amount you pay for Bale?

With all the respect goes to Bale, I could say Real Madrid did a very poor business in terms of both financial and footballing matters. During his 3-year connection with the Spanish giants, Ozil was a real fans' favourite with his footballing ability and personality. And if Bale fails to live up with the hype around him or even could not do better than Ozil, los Blancos board should prepare for fans' anger.

Mesut Ozil - Yes, Ozil himself

Ozil reveals that Real Madrid lost their faith in him and that's why he leaves. Yes, the move is not his fault, and it is not his desire, either. At Bernabeu, the 25-year-old developed to be one of the finest attacking midfielder in the beautiful game, and it seems that La Liga would be better suited for his technique-based style than the Premier League.

And when you're a top player, moving from one of 4 strongest teams in Europe, who are going to challenge for the Champions League title to a team, who have been struggling for a top-four spot makes little sense.

Surely he gets more chance to start week in and week out, but he will miss chance to compete for top prizes.

Cristiano Ronaldo

There are some reports in Portugal that Ronaldo had shown his frustration towards Real Madrid's decision to cash in on Mesut Ozil. It's easily understandable as the German had been key to Ronaldo's scoring breakthrough in the last 3 years. Just see what happen to the Portuguese superstar in the first games this season. Ronaldo is not at his old self without Ozil's presence with only 1 headed goal in 3 games.

And it would not be surprised if this year, Ronaldo fails to better his goalscoring records in the last 3 seasons.


The Gunner fans have been over the moon with Ozil's signing but that delight can't hide the fact that their team did not know which positions need additions the most.

Centre attacking midfield is Ozil's best position where Santi Cazorla can do a decent job, not mentioning to Wilshere, who can really ply his trade there when he is at full fitness.

Of course Ozil is a world-class player and every team could wish to have him, but what Arsenal need the most now is a defensive-minded midfielder, a midfield destroyer who the Gunner fans have been missed greatly after Viera's departure.

Maybe a player of Mascherano's or Luiz Gustavo's type could help Arsenal more.

Top 5 Premier League Playmakers

With the arrival of German international Mesut Ozil to Arsenal, the Barclay Premier League welcomes yet another talented playmaker into its rank.

And here we sum up Top 5 playmakers in the league.

Video: David Beckham's Emotional Farewell

May 19, 2013

Juventus playmaker Pirlo confident of defeating Bayern Munich

April 10, 2013

The influential midfielder has revealed the Old Lady have figured out a way to defeat the Bavarians and hopes Antonio Conte will not leave the club.

By Stefan Coerts, editor,

Andrea Pirlo is confident that Juventus will overturn their first-leg defeat against Bayern Munich in the return of the Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday evening.

The Serie A leaders were beaten 2-0 at the Allianz Arena last Tuesday but Pirlo has stressed that they know how to beat the German champions after analysing the defeat from the first leg.

"After the match in Munich we sat down and analysed what happened that night and then we’ve worked out how to turn this tie around. There’s still hope," Pirlo told The Times of India. 

The midfielder then went on to admit that the Bavarians, who secured the win with goals from David Alaba and Thomas Muller, emerged deservedly victorious in the first leg.

"Bayern, with their typically German discipline along with many talented players like [Arjen] Robben, [Thomas] Muller and others, played better football on the day and they deserved to win."

Pirlo also had his say on the future of head coach Antonio Conte and he hopes the successful trainer will not leave the Old Lady any time soon.

"Conte is one of the best coaches around. He's coaching in the Champions League for the first time and he has already proven his worth. We, the players, hope he stays on with us."

Conte joined Juventus from Siena in the summer of 2011 and guided the Bianconeri to Serie A glory in his first season.

Burning money... Venky's crazy spending spree at Blackburn is revealed

Shebby Singh, Global Adviser

By NEIL ASHTON, SportMail editor.

An alarming picture has emerged of the financial chaos at the heart of crisis club Blackburn Rovers.

Under global adviser Shebby Singh, millions of pounds of owners Venky’s money has been spent on a succession of disastrous signings.

Singh arrived at Ewood Park in June 2012, and despite his limited understanding of the transfer market, he operated remarkably swiftly to bring in new blood.

As the club prepared for life in the Championship after their relegation from the Barclays Premier League last May, Singh recommended payments of more than £600,000 in agents’ fees to sign five unknown Portuguese players.

These are players who, between them, have made just four league starts this season, and three are now on loan at other clubs. But it does not end there.

Sportsmail’s investigation has discovered that Blackburn, who could end up in League One next season, are burdened with a group of 13 players whose combined wages and agents’ fees will cost the club £30million over the length of their contracts.

This week, Venky’s demanded that Singh, along with chief executive Derek Shaw and operations director Paul Agnew, plus caretaker manager Gary Bowyer, attend summit talks in India.

Adding to the confusion, last week Singh gave Shaw a letter ordering him to stay at home while the club investigated the former manager Henning Berg’s £2million High Court claim for compensation. Berg, one of four managers to serve Blackburn during this insane season at Ewood Park, was dismissed after just 57 days.

However, the club insisted there was ‘no investigation’ into Shaw, even though club officials have confirmed that he received a letter from Singh. They did, however, state that £500,000 has been paid to Berg.

The payments made to agents by the club, third from bottom in the Championship and in danger of a second successive relegation, are staggering. One agent received more than £1m for acting on behalf of clients Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Leon Best and loan signing Colin Kazim-Richards.

It’s a similar story with the signing of the Portuguese unknowns. For instance, agent Marcos Oliveira was paid £135,000 when Diogo Rosado, 23, was signed from Sporting Lisbon on August 31, 2012. Rosado made just one Championship start for Rovers before he was allowed to move on loan to Benfica’s B team in January.

Edinho Junior, who started just one game in the league for Rovers, is also out on loan, at Shillong Lajong in the I-League in India. Oliveira, whose name appears on the documents lodged with the FA, was paid £100,000 in the deal that secured Junior from Portuguese side Olhanense.

The agent also negotiated a £65,000 fee that brought jobbing Portuguese pro Nuno Henrique Goncalves, a 26-year-old defender, to Rovers last summer. Goncalves has not made a single appearance for the club. Oliveira’s influence went beyond the Portuguese players. He received £75,000 in the deal to sign Polish goalkeeper Gregor Sandomierski on loan from Genk for a season.

In other moves, midfielder Fabio Nunes had shown little promise with Portuguese side Portimonense in the Segunda Liga when he was suddenly signed by Rovers, netting his agent Nuno Rolo a staggering £150,000 commission.

Nunes, 20, has made just two Championship starts for Rovers, the last in a 2-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough in September.

Rolo pocketed a further £133,000 in fees in the deal to bring former Portugal striker Nuno Gomes, 36, to Ewood Park. Picked up from Braga, he has made just seven starts for Blackburn in the Championship, without a goal since September.

Although Rolo has told Sportsmail he was simply used as the transfer fixer by Singh, he did confirm that he was paid for the deal.

The final piece in Singh’s Portuguese jigsaw was the arrival of midfielder Paulo Jorge, 20, from Porto, for which Carlos Mendes was paid £156,000 commission. Jorge has made one seven-minute appearance in the league against Ipswich in August and has since been loaned to a Bulgarian side.

Singh, who has seen Steve Kean resign as manager before sacking Berg and Michael Appleton this season, also authorised huge wages for players with Premier League experience.

Agent Neil Fewings earned £1m from the transactions taking Murphy and Etuhu from Fulham, the acquisition of Newcastle forward Best, and the loan deal for Kazim-Richards from Galatasaray.

Murphy has made 33 Championship appearances and started for the first time in a month in the 3-0 defeat at Cardiff on April 1. He is on £35,000 a week, with Etuhu on £30,000 a week.

Best is on a similar amount — he ruptured cruciate ligaments in pre-season and only returned to the first team a month ago.

On Tuesday night, the club officially refused to comment after being made aware of the precise content of the transactions — Singh did not return calls. Sportsmail gave the financial details and the names of the agents to chief executive Shaw and club secretary Ian Silvester on Tuesday lunchtime.

Both declined to comment, as did Mendes and Oliveira.

Fewings insisted he had acted ‘in good faith and for the benefit of his clients’, while Rolo insisted that the deals he was involved in were ‘perfectly normal’.

Rubin Kazan vs Chelsea Europa League Preview

Goals from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses in the first leg allow Rafa Benitez's men a bit of breathing space as they make the long trip to the Russian capital.

By Al Hain-Cole, editor.




Kaleshin, Navas, Sharonov, Ansaldi 

Orbaiz, Natcho

Kasaev, Eremenko, Karadeniz 




Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand 

Lampard, Mikel

Moses, Oscar, Hazard 



Vladimir Dyadyun will compete for a place up front with Salomon Rondon for the hosts, who have no injury concerns to speak of.

Cesar Navas, Ivan Marcano and Roman Sharonov will fight for two places in the centre of defence, while Oleg Kuzmin may replace Gokdeniz Karadeniz on the right-hand side of midfield.

Chelsea face a potential dilemma at left-back, where Ashley Cole's (hamstring) usual deputy Ryan Bertrand is struggling with a virus. Nathan Ake is the club's only other natural left-back, while Paulo Ferreira could fill in from his preferred right-back position.

Gary Cahill is still a couple of weeks away from returning after undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery to shave the meniscus on the knee he damaged in last month's win against West Ham.

With Demba Ba cup-tied, Fernando Torres will continue up front, having scored twice in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

David Luiz, Ramires and Juan Mata are likely to be rested after playing three games in less than a week, so John Terry, Frank Lampard and Victor Moses should come into the starting line-up.

Ibrahimovic stresses Beckham's importance to PSG ahead of Barca clash

By Stefan Coerts, editor.

The powerful attacker has hailed the former Manchester United midfielder's influence and has admitted the 37-year-old's arrival has benefited him personally.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken the time to praise Paris Saint-Germain team-mate David Beckham ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Barcelona on Wednesday.

The Englishman has received his fair share of criticism since his winter move to the Ligue 1 leaders but Ibrahimovic has insisted that Beckham is a key figure for PSG.

"I think he has been very important for us. Because in the situation that we are in now, the club has been changing from a normal club to a top club, and Beckham gives you some kind of confidence," the Swedish striker told CNN.

"He has the responsibility, on the pitch and off the pitch, to lead the way for these two months which is very important.

"He has a quality, a big quality; he has a touch that I haven't seen many players have. And he is very elegant when he plays."

The Sweden international then went on to voice his opinion that Beckham's arrival not only benefits PSG but that it is a good thing for him personally, too.

"I think it's good for me that Beckham came so he gets more attention than me, so they leave me a little bit alone," he added.

"When I came here everybody said 'don't worry, as a football player you can walk in the city and nobody will disturb you. Because as a football player here it is not like it is in Italy'.

"But since the day I came here it's been totally stressful. Everybody is chasing me with their scooters; I don't even walk in the streets. When David came he got more of the media attraction, so that's good because he takes care of that and I can play football, focus on football."

Arsenal and Liverpool battle for Iker Casillas

By Danny Griffiths, Metro's Chief Sports Writer.

Arsenal are considering a summer plunge for out-of-favour Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

The Spain international is no longer first choice at the Bernabeu having lost his place to January newcomer Diego Lopez.

Casillas may find his situation changes at the end of the season if manager Jose Mourinho leaves the Champions League quarter-finalists.

But the Gunners are still believed to be excited about the prospect of signing such a dependable, experienced No.1 after troubles this season with and, to a lesser extent, Lukasz Fabianski.

Liverpool are also interested in Casillas, according to sources in Spain, and it is believed he is open to a move to the Premier League.

Arsenal have also been linked with moves for Swansea goalkeeper Michael Vorm and Liverpool shot-stopper Pepe Reina, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger urgently desiring an update at the critical position between the post.






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