Tag Archives: block

Lewis Hamilton warned by Sir Jackie Stewart not to get carried away with own importance – F1

Don't get carried away with your own importance, Lewis! Legend Stewart fires warning to Mercedes star

By
Ian Parkes, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

15:48 GMT, 29 January 2013

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UPDATED:

16:01 GMT, 29 January 2013

Sir Jackie Stewart has urged Lewis Hamilton not to get carried away with his own celebrity if he is to propel Mercedes forward this year.

Hamilton last week embarked on a new era in his Formula One career at Mercedes after six seasons with McLaren, a team he initially joined at the age of just 13.

There is no doubt Hamilton has taken a significant gamble, but the need to savour pastures new has been his driving force in signing up to the German manufacturing giant for the next three years.

Lewis Hamilton

Sir Jackie Stewart

In black and white: Lewis Hamilton must find the right balance to win titles, according to Sir Jackie Stewart

It is also almost certain Hamilton will enjoy greater freedom off track than was the case at McLaren, considering the emphasis placed on sponsorship commitments by the Woking-based marque on their drivers.

However, three-times champion Stewart feels Hamilton needs to make sure such liberty does not go to his head.

Hamilton can boast a pop-star girlfriend in Nicole Scherzinger and an array of friends from the music world, while there are suggestions he is planning on making his own music.

Bearing in mind Hamilton's desire to transform Mercedes into a winning team, Stewart is hoping the 28-year-old does not let his focus drift elsewhere.

New kid on the block: Hamilton ended his lengthy association with McLaren to join Mercedes on a three-year deal

New kid on the block: Hamilton ended his association with McLaren to join Mercedes on a three-year deal

Stewart said: 'Personally, if I'd been Lewis, I wouldn't have left McLaren. 'But as a 28-year-old, he should know what he is doing now.

'You just have to be damn careful you don't get carried away with your own importance, your own celebrity, or your own schedule outside of being in the cockpit. It can be quite intoxicating.

'What Lewis needs to do is have more consistently good drives, never mind the mechanical issues, and he shouldn't be distracted, something he should keep in the back of his mind.

'It's about who you hang out with, what you do in your off time, how you are committing your off time towards your real time – and your real time is being a racing driver.'

Famous faces: The British racer can boast a pop-star girlfriend in X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger

Famous faces: The British racer can boast a pop-star girlfriend in X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger

Such efforts will be noticed by team principal Ross Brawn, who has been accustomed to working with one of the greats in seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.

Although the last three years failed to produce the results hoped for by Schumacher prior to stepping back into retirement, the German was renowned for his meticulous and methodical nature in working with his engineers.

Stewart added: 'The Ross Brawn factor is important. 'He knows how to do it, and Lewis will have to work with him and depend on him, and Lewis, in time, will have to deliver.

'Ross has worked with drivers who have really delivered. He worked with Schumacher from Benetton all the way through, and he knows how much Michael put in.

'Therefore he will think Lewis will have to put as much into that team, time-wise, commitment-wise, not just race-time wise, as Michael did.

That's going to be quite demanding, but there's no reason why he shouldn't go straight in and be competitive up front, not at all.'

With just one victory in the last three years, though, since Mercedes returned to F1, the pressure is on both Brawn and Hamilton to deliver.

'Daimler (Mercedes' parent company), are only interested in being up front and being the best,' said Stewart.

'If they're not going to be that, it's a five-minute decision for the Mercedes-Benz board to withdraw from motor racing if there's another recession and they're not selling cars. 'In that respect, they're slightly vulnerable.'

Arsenal target David Villa scores two great goals

Are you watching, Arsene Villa shows Arsenal what they are missing with two great goals in 5-0 Barca romp

By
Tom Sheen

PUBLISHED:

00:06 GMT, 11 January 2013

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UPDATED:

13:46 GMT, 11 January 2013

David Villa showed Arsene Wenger exactly what he was missing as he scored two goals of real quality in Barcelona's 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba on Thursday night.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with the 31-year-old forward, but Wenger is believed to have reservations over a move for the Spaniard, as Villa is likely to be costly in both transfer fee and wages.

See what your missing: Arsenal target David Villa (foreground) scored two excellent goals in the 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba

See what you're missing: Arsenal target David Villa (foreground) scored two excellent goals in the 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba

Earlier this month Arsenal were quoted a price of 16million to bring Villa to the Emirates but Wenger does not usually spend big on players over 30, and has added concerns over Villa's long-term fitness as he suffered a broken leg last season.

Villa would also likely expect wages of at least 130,00-per week, which could be another stumbling block in any potential deal for the player.

His first goal tonight saw him beat two players on the byline before a neat chip over the Cordoba keeper, while his second was a very smart low drive down to the keeper's left.

One: Villa's first saw him beat two men before cheekily dinking the ball over the goalkeeper

One: Villa's first saw him beat two men before cheekily dinking the ball over the goalkeeper

Despite his high price tag and injury concerns, bringing Villa to England may not be as risky as it sounds.

In limited playing time this season he has seven goals in all competitions, while he has 53 in 85 appearances for Spain and 28 league goals in 61 games for Barcelona.

Villa himself is reported to be desperate for the move to go ahead, but Barca president Sandro Rosell ruled out a move just this week.

Two: The Barcelona striker's second was an expertly driven low shot into the corner

Two: The Barcelona striker's second was an expertly driven low shot into the corner

Speaking to Catalan radio station RAC1 on Tuesday, Rosell said: 'I completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market.

'He is ours and we need him, there is a lot of the season left.'

Villa's two goals, as well as goals from Thiago Alcantara and two from Alexis Sanchez, sealed a 7-0 aggregate win over Second division Cordoba that sent Barcelona into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Reservations: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (pictured) has concerns about paying a reported 16m for a 31-year-old

Reservations: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (pictured) has concerns about paying a reported 16m for a 31-year-old

Daniel Sturridge move to Liverpool from Chelsea stalls after row over agents fees

EXCLUSIVE: Sturridge's 12m Liverpool switch hits skids after row over agents fees

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 19 December 2012


Moving on: Sturridge has been told he can leave Chelsea

Moving on: Sturridge has been told he can leave Chelsea

Daniel Sturridge's 12million move to Liverpool has hit a stumbling block due to a wrangle over agents fees.

Liverpool are stamping down on the money they pay agents after recently published figures showed their outlay since 2008-09 has been a staggering 31.3million – only Chelsea (31.8m) and Manchester City (39.02m) have paid more in the same period.

Liverpool had hoped that Sturridge – who has been told he can leave Chelsea after being left out of their squad for the Club World Cup – would have been in a position to complete a medical on Wednesday so that his switch from Stamford Bridge would be finalised in time for him to be unveiled on January 1.

However, the medical never took place as problems emerged in the discussions between Chelsea and Sturridge's advisors over the terms of his departure.

England international: But Sturridge can't find a way into the Chelsea side

England international: But Sturridge can't find a way into the Chelsea side

There have also been some minor issues with Liverpool and Sturridge's advisors.

Though Liverpool remain confident the deal will eventually go through, manager Brendan Rodgers has other alternatives to turn to if discussions with Sturridge break down beyond repair.

Kevin Gamiero – a France international who is currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain – would be a potential target to come in on loan. The 25-year-old has not featured a great deal for PSG.

There are no such concerns, however, over Tom Ince's impending return from Blackpool. He should officially become a Liverpool player when the transfer window opens.

Arsene Wenger hints at Stephan El Shaarawy move in January

Wenger hints at January transfer swoop for Serie A top goalscorer El Shaarawy after refusing to rule out move for Milan star

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UPDATED:

12:36 GMT, 18 December 2012

Arsene Wenger could be ready to bolster Arsenal’s front line in the January transfer window with an audacious bid for highly-rated AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for the 20-year-old for some time and Wenger has expressed his admiration of the Italian striker.

Wenger believes the Italy international would effortlessly slot into his side and believes his technical ability and speed make him an ideal signing.

Admirer: Arsene Wenger refused to rule out a move for AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy

Admirer: Arsene Wenger refused to rule out a move for AC Milan striker Stephan El Shaarawy

The Frenchman told Eurosport: ‘El Shaarawy is a very mobile, very technical young player. His philosophy fits perfectly with mine.’

But Wenger will have a fight on his hands if he wants to land Serie A’s top goalscorer.

Milan are reluctant to part with El Shaarawy, who has scored 14 goals so far in the league, and are keen to get value for money should the 25million-rated striker push for a move in January.

Another stumbling block for Wenger is that the youngster would be loath to leave the Rossoneri, as a life-long fan of the club.

But despite the remote prospect of landing El Shaarawy in January, Wenger refused to rule out a move.

This weekend he said: ‘You never know. I just say I love the way he plays.’

Despite El Shaarawy’s exceptional season, his side sit in seventh place in Serie A after a disappointing start to their campaign.

Hair raising: It is believed El Shaarawy would cost in excess of 25million

Hair raising: It is believed El Shaarawy would cost in excess of 25million

Wenger is ready for a busy January transfer window, and has already been linked with a move for Barcelona right back Daniel Alves to improve his side's defensive record.

El Shaarawy isn't the only striker he has his eye on. Arsenal's all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could make a return to the Emirates on loan in Januray, and Newcastle hitman Demba Ba could yet be persuaded to swap Tyneside for north London.

Meanwhile, Arsenal hammered Premier League strugglers Reading 5-2 at the Madejski Stadium last night, as they bounced back from last week's crippling defeat at the hands of Bradford in the Capital One Cup.

Returning hero: Thierry Henry may go back to the Emirates on loan

Returning hero: Thierry Henry may go back to the Emirates on loan

Winless QPR eye 10m January swoop for France and Marseille striker Remy

Winless QPR eye 10m January swoop for France and Marseille striker Remy

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UPDATED:

14:50 GMT, 12 December 2012

QPR are ready to spend in the January transfer window – and Marseille forward Loic Remy is the man at the top of manager Harry Redknapp’s wish list.

According to L’Equipe, Redknapp has been monitoring the progress of the French international for over 18 months and was keen to take Remy to Tottenham Hotspur last year.

French fancy: QPR are thought to be lining up a move for Loic Remy

French fancy: QPR are thought to be lining up a move for Loic Remy

Despite leaving Spurs at the end of last season, Redknapp has continued to track the striker’s development and is prepared to offer 10million for 25-year-old Remy.

It is unlikely that Marseille would allow Remy to leave the club for anything below their 10m valuation as the striker still has three years to run on his contract which expires in June 2015.

Off to a flyer: Remy is challenged by Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard

Off to a flyer: Remy is challenged by Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard

A further stumbling block could be the player’s own reluctance to join a club battling relegation, with QPR rooted firmly to the bottom of the Premier League table and eight points off safety.

Nonetheless, Redknapp will hope that the continued interest that he has shown in Remy could prove decisive in luring the Frenchman to Loftus Road as Rangers seek to bolster their survival hopes.

Javier Ballesteros wins amateur Madrid Open

Ballesteros Jnr clinches amateur title and dedicates win to late father Seve

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UPDATED:

12:39 GMT, 17 September 2012

No sooner had Seve Ballesteros's son Javier won the amateur Madrid Open title than he dedicated the victory to his late father.

Former world No 1 and five-time major winner Seve lost his battle with cancer in May of last year, aged 54.

Like father, like son: Javier Ballesteros (right)

Like father, like son: Javier Ballesteros (right)

But his 22-year-old son – who has delayed turning professional until he completes his law studies at the city’s Complutense University – looks to be a chip off the old block.

'My father always told me that you have to play with what you’ve got, and that’s what I did,' Javier said after finishing six under par and winning by four shots.

Legend: Seve won five major titles

Legend: Seve won five major titles

Legend: Seve won five major titles

'I thought about him a lot during the 18 holes and I dedicate this victory to him and my mother.'

The victory is the biggest of Javier's career to date, though he did finish a creditable 12th in his first professional event at the Peugeot Alps de Barcelona tournament in April.

Chelsea renew Samsung deal but few notice – Charles Sale

Little fanfare for big Chelsea deal with Samsung

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 6 September 2012

Chelsea have renewed their shirt sponsorship contract with Samsung for two years, but with surprisingly little publicity.

The deal, until the end of 2014-15, is understood to be worth around 18million a year but the Korean electronic giants waited until after Chelsea’s Champions League triumph before agreeing the contract on the deadline for taking up the option.

Chelsea explain the strange lack of promotion by saying it is an extension rather than the announcement of a new partnership. But other Barclays Premier League clubs would have made a lot more of such lucrative support.

Two more years: Samsung and Chelsea have renewed their partnership

Two more years: Samsung and Chelsea have renewed their partnership

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However, the numbers show just how far Chelsea are behind Manchester United on the commercial front. The Old Trafford kit sponsorship contract with Chevrolet, which the club trumpeted two years ahead of its start in 2014-15, is worth over 50m a season.

Ten other Premier League clubs whose shirt deals expire at the end of this season, including Tottenham, Fulham and Aston Villa, are already in a race to find new backers. But ‘second-tier’ clubs such as Fulham will be looking for a 5m to 6m-a-year sponsor — around a tenth of United’s record-breaking contract.

What Mario likes

Mario Balotelli’s fabled extravagance includes ordering regular takeaways from the well-known Wing’s Chinese restaurant in Manchester, which his chauffeur always collects for him. Apparently Mario likes his spare ribs to be taken off the bone.

Cook quits column

Alastair Cook has decided to terminate his recently signed columnist deal with Middle East Sports Talk magazine after being appointed England Test captain and is considering whether to continue with his longer-standing column in the Metro newspaper.

Incidentally the sports editor of the Dubai magazine is Ben Jacobs, who left Radio 5 Live after being blamed for tampering with a pre-recorded Roberto Martinez interview. Jacobs has always denied any involvement.

Considerations: Alastair Cook might give up his Metro column

Considerations: Alastair Cook might give up his Metro column

Discus debacle over

The persistence of the International Paralympic Committee in demanding the return of the gold medal wrongly awarded to Ukrainian discus thrower Mariia Pomazan after Omega botched the results, finally paid off on Thursday. After a week-long stand-off, Ukraine returned the gong.

Anderson censored

It is understood that ECB officials Hugh Morris, Steve Elworthy and Rhian Evans have all read Jimmy Anderson’s autobiography prior to its launch next week to ensure they are all happy with the contents.

This follows a nervousness around England players’ books after Graeme Swann’s life story, which wasn’t properly read by the Board before publication, exposed the differences in the England dressing room between Kevin Pietersen and other players.

It’s no surprise in the current climate that some KP mentions in the Anderson book failed to see the light of day.

Censored James Anderson (right) has a book coming out

Censored James Anderson (right) has a book coming out

Meanwhile, it didn’t go unnoticed in the cricket world that publicity ravenous Freddie Flintoff announced his professional boxing tilt on the eve of Warwickshire’s County Championship triumph, just as his cricket retirement coincided with Notts clinching the title two years ago.

Axed Vaughan takes it well

England Rugby 2015 World Cup chief executive Paul Vaughan was brutally dismissed by the RFU to make way for London 2012’s Debbie Jevans, despite axeman ER 2015 chairman Andy Cosslett saying ‘the planning is completely on schedule and stakeholders are comfortable’.

Yet Vaughan shows an unusual decency after such a bloodletting by offering to give Jevans any help he can in the build-up to the tournament.

Unpopular England

The FA have sold only 56,000 full-price tickets for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley next Tuesday. That includes 17,000 pre-sold to corporate ticket holders.

As a result of the worryingly poor uptake, 5,000 seats have been shifted in a block sale to the London 2012 volunteer Games Makers, who will be charged a reduced price of 20.12, and the FA will launch an advertising campaign over the weekend to increase the attendance.

Martin Samuel: Brendan Rodgers – you"ll never work alone

In the era of the owner-manager, you'll never work alone

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UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 4 September 2012

This has been football's summer of the owner-manager. Meet the new kid on the block.

The most important employee at the club used to be the man who picked the team. Now it is the man who picks the team from which the team is picked. And that isn’t the manager. Not any more.

Changing rules have created changed empowerment. It is not enough to know what is best for the team these days. The manager may think he needs a centre half, but this information is factored in with other policies, cash expectancy, the rafts of red tape now wrapped around what was a simple process of buying the best fit for the starting XI.

Clubs like Manchester United seem very old hat these days.

Working conditions: Brendan Rodgers has endured a tricky start to his reign as Liverpool manager

Working conditions: Brendan Rodgers has endured a tricky start to his reign as Liverpool manager

Ask the best qualified football person
at the club to identify the areas requiring improvement, then act on
his opinion: where is the strategy in that Far better to do it the
Roman Abramovich way.

Sugar daddy knows best.

Except there are not that many
owner-managers with Abramovich's resources, who can afford to get it
wrong (Luiz Felipe Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas, Juan Veron, Andriy
Shevchenko) and right (Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Didier Drogba,
Eden Hazard), and sometimes by accident (Roberto Di Matteo) with such
dramatic changes of direction yet still remain successful.

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Many clubs therefore resort to plan B.
Bean counter knows best; or Billy Beane counter knows best if your
owner happens to be a disciple of the statistical-financial analysis
method known as Moneyball.

Take Liverpool. If we are to believe
John W Henry’s open letter to supporters this week, the club were tied
in knots this summer pursuing a transfer policy of such fiendish
complexity and vision, that they were left with one top-class forward in
Luis Suarez, yet remain on course for success.

So, to borrow a phrase from Henry’s
side of the water, shall we cut the crap There are reasons to be
positive about Liverpool, but few were contained in Henry’s missive.

Liverpool did not fail to land Clint
Dempsey or anyone else this summer, due to an evangelical belief in
financial fair play. Liverpool 2012 were not greatly disadvantaged by
the mistakes of Tom Hicks or George Gillett, either, although they were
plentiful at the time.

And Liverpool certainly did not end up
light on strikers due to a long-term plan so sophisticated that the
Fenway Sports Group — in football for less than two years and confessed
novices — understand it, but those who have followed the game all their
lives remain mystified.

Put simply, a very rich man was burnt
in the transfer market last summer, feels he did not get value for money
and has determined it will not happen again. He blames those he
considered to be experts and will no longer trust mere football
expertise.

Sadly, his manager, Brendan Rodgers,
now counts as an expert, too. So while Rodgers is one voice having a say
on transfer policy, he no longer carries the argument without various
stamps of approval, meaning Liverpool’s spending is managed by
committee. A committee that inadvertently overlooked the need for goals.

That is what often happens with
committees. Somebody thinks somebody else read the memo, and then it
gets put to the bottom of the out-tray, and this one was on holiday and
that one didn’t see it as his remit or was too worried to speak up in
case he said the wrong thing, and the rest have four different opinions
and the next thing you know Suarez is leading the line solo and
Manchester United have signed Robin van Persie; because the manager
wanted him.

Close-knit team: Gone are the days when the manager was the most important employee at a football club

Close-knit team: Gone are the days when the manager was the most important employee at a football club

There will be a lot of this now that
UEFA have given the owners an excuse to say no. Time was that the board
alone took responsibility for resisting the manager’s wishes. It was an
executive call and the chairman had to front up. Now the big chief hides
behind bigger chiefs.

‘We are avowed proponents of UEFA’s
financial fair play agenda that was this week reiterated by Michel
Platini, something we heartily applaud,’ read Henry’s statement to fans.
‘We must comply with financial fair play guidelines that ensure
spending is tied to income.’

And the extra 1million required to secure Dempsey from Fulham would have influenced that how

Are we to seriously consider that
Liverpool are within 1m of being thrown out of Europe, or that the club
do not employ one business brain capable of moving numbers between
columns to satisfy UEFA over such a comparably inconsequential sum

Leeds used to be the under-investors'
alibi, now it is Portsmouth. ‘We don’t want to end up like Leeds,’ the
chairman would note sagely, as if there was no middle ground between
taking a 100m punt with money you don’t have and managing steady
decline.

‘What has happened at Portsmouth
demonstrates the need for prudence,’ it is now added, as if correlation
exists between investing money without strings attached, and giving and
demanding repayment almost in the same breath.

The Manchester City project would be
grievously flawed if Sheik Mansour was only loaning, rather than
gifting, a portion of his vast wealth. Unreasonably swift owner
reimbursement killed Portsmouth; not thoroughly reasonable ambition.

Supporters love to believe they are being consulted and that is what Henry’s open letter offered; the illusion of a partnership.

Keeping a close eye: Liverpool owner John W Henry was forced into releasing a statement this week

Keeping a close eye: Liverpool owner John W Henry was forced into releasing a statement this week

Henry was ‘as disappointed as anyone’
that Liverpool could not find another striker. The difference being that
he had the power to influence the process, while just ‘anyone’ didn’t.
Indeed, little of what Henry said stood up to much scrutiny.

‘Spending is not merely about buying
talent,’ he added. Oh yes it is. That is all it is about. What else is
there to spending, other than the acquisition of talent

The talent can be groomed for the
future, or come ready to start next Saturday. But there has to be
talent. If not, what are Liverpool actually buying

‘These are the first steps in
restoring one of the world’s great clubs to its proper status,’ Henry
insisted, ‘there is a clear vision at work.’ No there isn’t.

What is clear about stating a
preference for a young manager, and then appointing 60-year-old Kenny
Dalglish; or buying a player for the British record transfer fee, Andy
Carroll at 35m, and then appointing another manager, Rodgers, whose
preferred style of play would plainly find no role for him

Where is the vision in letting Carroll
go on loan for a paltry 1.5m payment, without finding an adequate
replacement This isn’t a plan, it’s a grope in the darkness.

Rodgers said he would not work with a
director of football, but has instead seen a committee of transfer
overseers installed around him. David Fallows and Barry Hunter have been
recruited from Manchester City as senior scouts — they are not yet
available for work, but one presumes can answer a telephone and give
advice on the QT — while Michael Edwards is Liverpool’s head of
analytics. There are now a lot of voices in Henry’s ear.

Taking its time: Steven Gerrard and some other reliable Reds have looked unsure of themselves

Taking its time: Steven Gerrard and some other reliable Reds have looked unsure of themselves

The deal for Joe Allen from Swansea
City took longer than expected because of an internal debate over
whether he was worth 15m, and somebody told Henry that Dempsey was too
old to command 6m, and it wasn’t Rodgers.

This is another consequence of
financial fair play. /09/04/article-2198312-14B0AC15000005DC-266_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Similar struggle: Andre Villas-Boas” class=”blkBorder” />

Similar struggle: Andre Villas-Boas

Abramovich was years ahead of his
time. Thanks to Platini, the era of the owner-manager has arrived. Henry
did not much fancy Dempsey at 6m, so did not make any great attempt to
sign him, yet Rodgers’s input could at least be detected in buying
Allen and Fabio Borini.

Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham,
would appear to be taking the practice a stage further. The most forlorn
plea of the summer came from his manager Villas-Boas.

‘The window should finish at the
beginning of the season,’ he said. ‘It’s extremely unfair for players,
clubs and managers as they prepare.’

Of course, the transfer window could
as good as finish at the beginning of July, no matter the actual
deadline. It just needs a club to do their business early, something
Levy will never sanction in case he misses the sniff of a deal. So he
holds out on Luka Modric until the last moment, and signs Dempsey and
goalkeeper Hugo Lloris so late that they miss the game with Norwich
City.

The deal for Joao Moutinho becomes
such a scramble that it does not get done at all. Funny that,
considering he was the one player Villas-Boas appeared to covet.

And where is Villas-Boas in
Tottenham’s recruitment policy It is hard to say. He got Mousa Dembele
from Fulham, but did not start him against Norwich. Now Villas-Boas says
there is no guarantee Lloris will get straight into the team, provoking
immediate talk of discontent from France, where the former Lyon
goalkeeper has joined up with Didier Deschamps’ national squad.

Villas-Boas’s behaviour suggests the players he did get were hardly priorities.

So did Levy want Lloris and Dembele so
badly that these deals were struck ahead of that for Moutinho; or did
he not really fancy Moutinho, dragging his heels until the transfer was
timed out

Obstructions including a 15 per cent
slice of third-party ownership were blamed for hindering the Moutinho
negotiation, yet a way to avoid that would have been to get the process
started earlier, when Villas-Boas joined, and when there would have been
months, not hours to iron out the wrinkles.

Welcome to the world of the
owner-manager, where your pound buys more — or less if some suit in the
back office doesn’t like what he’s seen on YouTube.

Swearing isn't caring

The most bizarre view advanced at the Paralympic Games concerns cyclist Jody Cundy and his furious, expletive-strewn reaction to being disqualified from the one-kilometre time trial. Apparently, it showed how much Paralympic sport matters.

To pursue this logic, a foul-mouthed outburst directed at the referee during an Under 11 football match this weekend is merely a demonstration of passion and reveals junior really cares about the outcome.

Sledging from some pot-bellied slip fielder in the Sunday fourths would be another example of a sportsman announcing the importance of his sport. As we know, this isn’t true.

Treating the officials or an opponent with basic courtesy and respect does not mean you care less. Belligerence does not mean extra significance. In the search for meaning and message at the Paralympics, some people need to emote less and think more.

Temper, temper: Jody Cundy turned the air blue at the Velodrome after being disqualified

Temper, temper: Jody Cundy turned the air blue at the Velodrome after being disqualified

It's a sad state of affairs

When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson
conceded defeat, saying Real Madrid was the player’s great love and he
could no longer obstruct his dream. Now, three years on, Ronaldo says he
is sad and the club know why.

Despite his protestations to the
contrary on Tuesday, he is believed to want to up his wages from
13million annually to nearer 25m.

Seriously, if it is not enough to
earn tens of millions playing for your favourite club, who are also the
Spanish champions, sadness might not be your problem. It’s time to pack
it in.

Uncertain future: Cristiano Ronaldo claims he is unhappy at Real Madrid, but hasn't explained exactly why

Uncertain future: Cristiano Ronaldo claims he is unhappy at Real Madrid, but hasn't explained exactly why

Man, we love City
UEFA may not approve of Manchester City but they are not above making a
few quid off their back. The first issue of Champions magazine this
season had Roberto Mancini on the cover. This time last year it was the
newly acquired Sergio Aguero. What would UEFA have done to promote their
tournament with its tired elite, repeating the same old fixtures, if
City had not come along

Arsenal will meet Olympiakos in this season’s group stage. Just as they did in 2011. And 2009. Fascinating.

A true Blue Yeah right

Following his hat-trick against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup, it is no
surprise that Colombian striker Falcao of Atletico Madrid is being
linked with a switch to England.

‘It’s very likely,’ said his father,
Radamel Garcia. ‘He has always wanted to play in the Premier League,
ever since he was a boy he has loved Chelsea. I spoke to Falcao
yesterday. The release clause in his contract is about 43million, but
he doesn’t want to talk figures.’

No, he very much sounds the loyal
sort. And not at all opportunistic, which is nice. (/09/04/article-2198312-14C6D660000005DC-649_634x413.jpg” width=”634″ height=”413″ alt=”Give me a hug: Radamel Falcao has, his father claims, loved Chelsea since he was a boy” class=”blkBorder” />

Give me a hug: Radamel Falcao has, his father claims, loved Chelsea since he was a boy

Big money but no big crowds

Hulk, the Brazilian striker, has gone to Zenit St Petersburg for a fee
of 32million. A similar sum was paid for Axel Witsel from Benfica this
summer.

Yet Zenit’s last home gate for their
match with Rubin Kazan was 20,500, roughly the average for Nottingham
Forest this season. Last season’s mean was 19,687.

No doubt Michel Platini will take
great delight in telling his new friends in the east that their numbers
do not add up; or maybe he won’t.

Money movers: Axel Witsel and Hulk have moved to Zenit St Petersburg for about 60m

Money movers: Axel Witsel and Hulk have moved to Zenit St Petersburg for about 60m

Money movers: Axel Witsel and Hulk have moved to Zenit St Petersburg for about 60m

Same old argument

Roy Hodgson will quite probably be berated for his assertion that Frank
Lampard and Steven Gerrard can play together. The difference is that
unlike Sven Goran Eriksson, who created this problem, he might be
prepared to coach such an arrangement.

Fabio Capello made it work, too, on
the way to the 2010 World Cup when he used them in different parts of
the midfield — Lampard guarding, Gerrard wide forward — in a successful
qualifying campaign.

Liverpool edge ahead of Arsenal in battle for Nuri Sahin

Liverpool edging ahead of Arsenal in battle to bring Sahin on season loan

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 15 August 2012

Liverpool hope to pip Arsenal to a season-long loan deal for Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin, 23.

The Turkey international flopped during his first season in Spain after his move from Borussia Dortmund – but Liverpool are determined to add him to their squad.

Up for grabs: Sahin (second left)

Up for grabs: Sahin (second left)

But they face fierce competition from Arsenal and Sahin's desire to play in the Champions League could be a stumbling block.

The Anfield club are also monitoring Atletico Madrid and Uruguay defender Diego Godin, 26, who may become a Manchester City target if they fail to lure away Daniel Agger.

Rodgers is desperate to add to his squad before the opening game of the season at West Brom and said: 'There has been contact and communication with the clubs. The team of people behind myself are working very, very hard in relation to those targets. We hope that within the next number of weeks those will bear fruit.

'The work has been continual right the way through to try and get in players that fit the profile of Liverpool and the team. Like I say, I would hope there would be a couple more signings before the end of August.'

Hugo Lloris Tottenham bid rejected

Lyon confirm Spurs bid for Lloris rejected as AVB frustration mounts

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UPDATED:

13:11 GMT, 14 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Tottenham's frustrating summer in the transfer market looks set to continue after Lyon confirmed they have rejected an approach from the club for France No 1 Hugo Lloris.

New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas made signing a new goalkeeper one of his top priorities when he took over earlier this summer but, as with his search for a new striker, he has been thwarted thus far.

French fancy: Spurs are interested in a deal for Lloris (pictured)

French fancy: Spurs are interested in a deal for Lloris (pictured)

Villas-Boas wants Lloris, who captained France at Euro 2012, to compete with veteran Brad Friedel for his place, but while Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed the player wants to leave, he revealed Spurs had been rebuffed.

'Hugo wants to play in one of the best clubs in Europe,' Aulas told French radio station RMC.

'This year there was an approach from Tottenham that was quickly rejected.

Frustrated: Villas-Boas wants a striker and a goalkeeper

Frustrated: Villas-Boas wants a striker and a goalkeeper

'If he absolutely wants to leave, we will look at the proposals but they must be consistent with what we want. If not, he will stay.'

Villas-Boas has also struggled in his attempts to bring in a new striker, with Emmanuel Adebayor's astronomical wages proving a stumbling block in attempting to make his loan move from Manchester City to White Hart Lane last season a permanent switch.