Tag Archives: formality

Arsenal"s Johan Djourou agrees Hannover loan

Djourou agrees Hannover loan spell as Arsenal clear-out gathers pace

David Kent


13:24 GMT, 5 January 2013



13:37 GMT, 5 January 2013

Move: Johan Djourou will join Hannover

Move: Johan Djourou will join Hannover

Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has agreed to join Hannover on loan until the end of the season.

The Switzerland international has struggled to hold down a regular first-team place but is Arsenal's longest-serving player, having joined the club in 2004.

The 25-year-old has made just two appearances for the first team this season, captaining the side to Capital One Cup victories over Coventry and Reading.

Djourou's move to Germany is dependent on the formality of the necessary paperwork being completed as he has already passed a medical.

'Johan Djourou is an internationally-experienced footballer who we are convinced will be able to help us out quickly,' said Hannover's director of sport Jorg Schmadtke.

'He fits the bill perfectly for what we were looking for because he is also eligible to play for us in the UEFA Europa League.'

Coach Mirko Slomka has welcomed Djourou, saying: 'After losing Felipe and Leon Andreasen (to injury), we needed to act defensively.

'With his physical robustness, his tactical understanding and his high level of commitment, I am convinced we will profit from having him.'

Hannover are currently 11th in the Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, PSV Eindhoven are interested in taking Arsenal midfielder Andrey Arshavin on loan.

The 31-year-old rejected a move to Reading but is interested in linking up with former Russia coach Dick Advocaat in Holland.

Second chance: Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan

Second chance: Marouane Chamakh has joined West Ham on loan

Marouane Chamakh joined West Ham on loan yesterday after failing to prove himself at the Emirates.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been heavily linked with Barcelona striker David Villa who is available for 16million.

The Spaniard is ready to ask his club to grant him a January move to the Gunners.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed Wenger’s interest in the striker last month and talks between both clubs are ongoing.

close to the deal claim Villa is very keen on a move to the Emirates
Stadium during the transfer window and wants to speak with the north
London club.

Martin Jol is moving for Standard Liege goalkeeper Sinan Bolat

EXCLUSIVE: Jol targets record-breaking keeper Bolat for 800k



21:00 GMT, 23 December 2012

Martin Jol has moved to reinforce Fulham’s defence by agreeing a cut-price 800,000 deal for Standard Liege’s Turkey keeper Sinan Bolat.

The 24-year old, Belgian-born of Turkish parents, has been recovering from a long-term knee injury at Craven Cottage and has finally put the finishing touches to a transfer that has been under consideration for several months.

Bullet: Fulham target Sinan Bolat is the only goalkeeper to score a goal from open play in Champions League history

Bullet header: Fulham target Sinan Bolat (yellow) is the only goalkeeper to score a goal from open play in Champions League history

An integral part of the Turkey squad, Bolat is highly rated by Liege bosses and was only allowed to leave after he made it clear he had no intention of renewing a contract that runs out at the end of the season.

The Belgian club reluctantly accepted Fulham’s bid, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer, and Jol firmly believes he has recruited a keeper who is fully capable of challenging Mark Schwarzer for the number one jersey.

The Turkey international scored a late equaliiser for Standard Liege against AZ Alkmaar in 2009

The Turkey international scored a late equaliiser for Standard Liege against AZ Alkmaar in 2009

Bolat has another string to his bow after going upfield for a set-piece, in the fifth minute of injury time against AZ Alkmaar three years ago, and heading a spectacular equaliser that forced a 1-1 draw.

He is the only keeper to score a goal from open play in the history of the Champions’ League.

Talks are currently taking place over personal terms but seem sure to be a formality after Bolat made it clear he wanted to join Fulham.

John Higgins hits 147 but loses to Mark Davis

Higgins hits 147 but suffers agonising defeat to Davis in UK Championship



00:18 GMT, 6 December 2012

John Higgins fired the seventh maximum break of his career but it was small consolation as he bowed out to Mark Davis after a thrilling contest in round two of the williamhill.com UK Championship.

Davis won 6-5, having looked to have blown his chance when he led 5-2 but allowed Higgins back to 5-5.

A lifeline came his way though when Higgins, seemingly on a victory charge, missed the pink. Davis got it, and that was enough. He will take on Matthew Stevens in the quarter-finals.

Spot on: John Higgins after scoring a 147 during his second round match

Spot on: John Higgins after scoring a 147 during his second round match

'I'm gutted. Normally clearing up in the last frame I'd have done it,' Higgins said. 'I didn't deserve to win that match. Who knows where the 147 came from'

The four-time world champion initially looked a beaten man when Davis pulled to within a frame of victory with back-to-back breaks of 106 and 103.

A comeback by the Wishaw man was fired by the 147 in the eighth frame, bringing the crowd at York's Barbican Centre to their feet and rousing the 37-year-old Scot who earns 10,000 for his effort.

Higgins got back to 5-5 but again looked to be heading out as 40-year-old Hastings potter Davis built a 53-0 lead in the deciding frame.

There was a twist, as Davis missed a difficult red to centre that gave Higgins a half chance. In went a brilliant long red to the yellow pocket, and he reached 49, the pink seemingly a formality with the black surely to follow.

Through: Mark Davis recovered to beat Higgins and progress in York

Through: Mark Davis recovered to beat Higgins and progress in York

Somehow Higgins missed, and after a safety tussle he left Davis a difficult cut to the yellow pocket, which he made quite brilliantly. It was the ball he required, and Higgins rose from his chair to offer a congratulatory handshake.

Delighted winner Davis said: “I didn't expect John to miss the pink but he wasn't just rolling it in. It was a tough shot under pressure.

'It gave me another chance which in the end I managed to take. I was going for doubles and all sorts in the end. It was like the 1985 World Championship final.'

Asked where it ranked in his victories, Davis said: 'This is at the top. I've not got a good record against John at all. It's my best result for a very long time.'

Wilfried Zaha will not be sold in January

Even the BBC are singing about Zaha… but Palace rule January sale (even for 20m)



13:18 GMT, 12 November 2012

Crystal Palace have ruled out selling wonderkid Wilfried Zaha in January after the winger was called into the England squad for Wednesday's friendly against Sweden.

The 20-year-old has helped Palace to the top of the Championship after several dazzling displays this season and Arsenal currently head a long list of admirers as they prepare a 9million bid in January.

Scroll down to watch Susanna Reid singing the 'Zaha song'

On the up: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has earned a call-up to the England squad

On the up: Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha has earned a call-up to the England squad

But Palace co-owner Stephen Browett insists the club would be foolish to part with their best player as they push for promotion.

'We absolutely do not want to sell Wilfried in January,' he told the Evening Standard, 'If you finish bottom of the Premier League you get 60million in prize money, and with parachute payments over four years you’re guaranteed 100m.

'It is such a massive amount that selling your best player when you have a good chance of promotion makes no sense at all. The figure of 20m has been talked about and that lets clubs know we are serious but he is not for sale.'

Decisions, decisions: Zaha was reluctant to accept the England invitation

Decisions, decisions: Zaha was reluctant to accept the England invitation

Zaha was at first
reluctant to accept the invitation from Hodgson, fearing it would force
him to make a snap call between England and Ivory Coast. He finally
agreed at 9pm to join up with the full England squad.

Hodgson was on a train north and
initially unable to control the chaos going on behind the scenes. He
expected Zaha’s inclusion to be a formality but the winger, named the
best young player in the Championship last season, wanted time to
consider his decision.

As the Sweden match is viewed as a
‘non-competitive friendly’, Zaha could yet commit to Ivory Coast even if
he plays for England on Wednesday. The same situation applies to
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, 17, who is being courted by Jamaica, where
he was born.

Zaha took a call from Ivory Coast captain
Didier Drogba last Wednesday urging him to play for the country of his
birth at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

Drogba was understood to be persuasive
last week in his approach to Zaha, who will continue to consider his
options on the advice of the former Chelsea striker. Last week, Zaha
told Sportsmail it was ‘50-50’ whether he would commit to England.

Having been born in Abidjan, Zaha
moved to England with his extended family and eight siblings when he
was four. He was lauded as the ‘best player in the division’ by
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson after Palace’s win there on Saturday.

And Browett believes Zaha will have no problem stepping-up to international level.

'Wilfried is clearly a brilliant player, and a lot of the thanks for that has to go to our Academy and the manager there, Gary Issott,' he added.

Quiet word: Didier Drogba (right) wants Zaha to represent the Ivory Coast instead

Quiet word: Didier Drogba (right) wants Zaha to represent the Ivory Coast instead

'I don’t think he will be fazed by this as he has played more than 100 professional games for the club. He has played away at all the top Championship clubs and when we won at Manchester United last season he was superb.

'Most of the other youngsters in the England squad will have played a handful of games but he has had the opportunity to play regularly.

'A number of clubs in the Premier League just don’t have that many English-qualified players, so maybe Roy Hodgson should be looking towards the Championship.'


West Ham move to Olympic Park will create 1,000 jobs, says vice-chairman Karen Brady

West Ham move to Olympic Park will create 1,000 jobs, says vice-chairman Brady



07:11 GMT, 7 November 2012

Vice-chairman Karren Brady is still
hopeful of West Ham moving to the new Olympic Stadium and says the club
can create 1,000 jobs if they do so.

The Premier League club are still waiting to hear if they can move into stadium two years after they were given the go-ahead.

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

A legal challenge from Premier League rivals Tottenham scuppered their bid to become 'anchor tenants'.

And now they face competition from
Formula One, an American football franchise, West Ham, Leyton Orient and
the East London University.

Martin Samuel writes..

Bidding process What bidding
process West Ham United must surely be regretting the decision to
compete for London’s Olympic Stadium in a respectful and structured way.

Their formality has cost in the region of 1m so far in lawyers, surveyors, architects and sundry fees.

Boris Johnson, London Mayor, seems to open talks with anybody he meets.
Latest to negotiate are executives from America’s NFL, flushed with
success from their annual visit to Wembley.

As West Ham stew, new bids arrive out of thin air. If we all have a whip-round, maybe we could have a go.

Click here to read his latest column

But Brady hopes their plan to provide
1,000 jobs with its plans for the stadium and hundreds more via the
redevelopment of its existing stadium, in nearby Upton Park, which would
become homes and shops could tip the balance.

She believes that the club could attract 1 million visitors a year to watch football.

The project would underpin her plan
to transform West Ham's image into a pillar of the community, together
with an aim to back a local Academy school.

'It would be nice to think we
changed the culture and created something very special about that
football club,' she told the Guardian.

'We know it's a big commitment to
convert the venue into a truly world class multi-use stadium. We have to
invest money that could probably build three brand new Olympic

Brady suggests that Virgin's success
in persuading the government to repeal its decision on awarding the
west coast mainline contract to First Group after errors were made in
considering the bids, means other significant infrastructure deals,
including the stadium contract, are now being handled with even more

'These decisions are very important
to the local community and to us and the processes have to be right
otherwise there's a challenge and it delays it even longer,' she says.


Close call: Upton Park is in the same borough as the Olympic Stadium but the NFL franchises are more than a short hop away

The Treasury's refusal to hand over the 337
million Olympic-contingency underspend to help install retractable
seating is hampering West Ham's bid.

retractable seating is expected to cost in the region of 200 million
and the Mayor will be expecting any anchor tenant to make a significant

It is
understood West Ham are willing to offer more than 8million a year in
rent and related payments in addition to a reported multi-million lump

A decision on the future of the stadium was expected to be announced by the end of October but negotiations are ongoing.

Laura Robson reaches Guangzhou Open final after beating Sorana Cirstea

Brit special! Robson ends 22-year wait to reach Guangzhou Open final



14:01 GMT, 21 September 2012

Laura Robson became the first British woman to make a final of a WTA Tour event in 22 years after she defeated Sorana Cirstea in the semi-final at the Guangzhou Open.

Robson dominated throughout and eased to victory with a 6-4, 6-2 win to become the first British woman in a final since Jo Durie in 1990.

The 18-year-old went three games up after breaking her opponent early on before taking the first set, with the second a formality despite some late resistence and a break by her Romanian opponent.

Brit special: Laura Robson is the first female British tennis player to reach a WTA final in 22 years

Brit special: Laura Robson is the first female British tennis player to reach a WTA final in 22 years

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

The victory continued the impressive run of form for the new British No 1 after she overcame seventh seed Peng Shuai in the quarter-finals, following on from her success at the US Open where she made it to the last 16 after wins over Kim Clijsters and Li Na.

Su-Wei Hseih booked her place in the final after she defeated Urszula Radwanska in the other semi-final.

The fourth seed dropped the second set but powered back to win 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 in a match time of one hour and 37 minutes.

Glenn Hoddle: How I"d love it if England passed the ball like Spain

How I'd love it if England passed the ball like Spain



22:32 GMT, 30 June 2012

Spain are 90 minutes away from making history – and some people say they are boring. They may not have hit the heights they did in winning Euro 2008 or the World Cup two years ago but I'd love England to pass the ball like them. To dominate possession, keep clean sheets and win trophies would be music to my ears.

Some of the criticism has been aimed at Spain because manager Vicente del Bosque has often started without a recognised striker, a tactic he is likely to use again in the final against Italy.

Pass masters: Spain are technically good from 1-11

Pass masters: Spain are technically good from 1-11

But that doesn't mean other teams are going to try the same. England's current team couldn't play like that, nor could any other side apart from Barcelona – not even Brazil.

Spain are the only international side that keep the ball well enough for it to work. They are able to build from the back, rarely hit passes longer than 15 yards and move up the pitch together. But all you need is one or two weak links, a player in the chain who isn't comfortable on the ball, and it breaks down.

Spain are technically good from 1-11 so their way of playing works. Having said all that, tonight's final is not a formality – far from it. Spain have not created the chances their possession deserved. They aren't like Barcelona, who regularly finish teams off with four or five goals. Italy will be a stern test for them.

Their coach, Cesare Prandelli, has been very astute in this tournament, switching formations from 3-5-2 to a midfield diamond. It's all based around Andrea Pirlo. A flat 4-4-2 wouldn't suit him, so Prandelli doesn't play it.

Key man: Andrea Pirlo can cause Spain problems

Key man: Andrea Pirlo can cause Spain problems

He uses a system where Pirlo can dictate and with forwards Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano always on the move, they can cause Spain problems. Pirlo is 33 but in one of those periods sportsmen have when their confidence is so high, they are almost invincible.

Heart and mind together. England and Germany tried to shackle him and failed. Spain won't even try – they will play their own game. It means Pirlo might have the space to hurt them, you just hope age won't catch up with him right at the end of the tournament after five tough matches already.

It's a very tough final to call. The amazing thing is Spain haven't been at their best yet and they are still favourites. Portugal pressed them high up the pitch at times in the semi-final and that is what Italy must do. Then, at other stages of the game, the team can retreat – what I call a basketball halfway press. I've never thought Spain were certainties to win Euro 2012, but having conceded just one goal so far (to Italy in their opening group game), I just favour them to win a unique hat-trick of titles. I, for one, won't find it boring at all.

Danny's goal was the best of Euro 2012

Eng land haven't come away from Euro 2012 empty-handed in my book. Despite the high-quality strikes on show in Poland and Ukraine, I think the goal of the tournament was scored by our own Danny Welbeck against Sweden.

Touch of class: Danny Welbecks fabulous flicked winner against Sweden

Touch of class: Danny Welbecks fabulous flicked winner against Sweden

The way he connected with Theo Walcott's cross with his back to goal was sublime. If a South American had guided the ball into the net through his legs like that, we'd be purring about it. And it was an important goal as well, the winner in an exciting 3-2 victory.

My player and manager of the tournament are Italians – Andrea Pirlo and Cesare Prandelli. We should give him an award just for dealing with Mario Balotelli so well.

My favourite game Germany's 4-2 win against Greece in the quarter-finals. At that stage, I thought my pre-tournament tip would go on to win it. But Pirlo, Prandelli and Balotelli rose to the occasion against them.

England will be watching on TV – and hurting

I hope the England players will find time to watch tonight's final – and I am sure they will, even though it will hurt them a lot having missed out themselves.

I remember going back to France after the 1998 World Cup to do some commentary work for ITV on the semi-final between Holland and Brazil. It was difficult, because our own exit was still so raw.

But 95 per cent of the England players will tune in from holiday or at home. I hope it whets their appetite to be in the final next time out.

London 2012 Olympics: Phillips Idowu out of Birmingham trials

Idowu fuels injury fears as triple jumper pulls out of Olympic trial

Sportsmail Reporter


16:32 GMT, 22 June 2012



16:32 GMT, 22 June 2012

Former world triple jump champion Phillips Idowu is the latest athlete to pull out of this weekend's Olympic trials in Birmingham, sparking injury fears just weeks ahead of the London Games.

Idowu has competed just three times in 2012 and suffered an unspecified injury on his last appearance, which was in the Diamond League meeting in Oregon on June 2.

The 33-year-old struggled to hit top form with leaps of 16.43 metres and 17.05m, before injuring himself when he fouled with his third attempt. He took no further part in the competition.

Concerns: Phillips Idowu has pulled out of the Olympic trials in Birmingham

Concerns: Phillips Idowu has pulled out of the Olympic trials in Birmingham

Idowu, who subsequently withdrew from the Bislett Games in Oslo, had previously been unbeaten this year with winning leaps of 17.24m and 17.31m in Shanghai and Hengelo.

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee said Idowu and fellow absentees Yamile Aldama – the world indoor triple jump champion – and world 1,500m silver medallist Hannah England were aiming to compete at the London Grand Prix on July 13-14, but declined to clarify Idowu's situation due to issues of 'medical confidentiality'.

By not competing at the trials, Idowu will have to rely on a discretionary place on the team, but that will be a formality if he is fit, with Van Commenee adding: 'It's not a worry. He is selectable.'

London Olympics 2012: Monique Gladding joins Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield in Team GB diving team

Gladding defies odds to join Daley and co in Team GB diving squad


12:09 GMT, 11 June 2012



12:09 GMT, 11 June 2012

Monique Gladding will compete at her first Olympics just 18 months after she almost died following a freak accident at a diving competition in Russia.

British Diving included the 30-year-old in a 12-member squad that is headlined by Games poster boy Tom Daley.

Miracle: Monique Gladding almost died 18 months ago and now is in the Olympic squad

Miracle: Monique Gladding almost died 18 months ago and now is in the Olympic squad

While Daley's inclusion was a formality, after he won both the individual and synchro platform titles at the British Gas Diving Championships at the weekend, Gladding had to rely on the discretion of British Diving's selection panel.

Gladding finished third in the women's platform in Sheffield but despite that it was decided to include her alongside winner Stacie Powell in London.

That has set the stage for an emotional Olympic debut for Gladding following a remarkable comeback from her near-death experience in February last year.

Formality: Tom Daley was selected along with Gladding

Formality: Tom Daley was selected along with Gladding

The City of Sheffield diver had to be dragged to safety from the bottom of the diving pool after she hit her head on the concrete 10m platform and plummeted unconscious into the water.

She was left with a large scar across the top of her scalp and thought her Olympic dreams was in tatters.

Remarkably Gladding was back on diving's highest board less than six months before top-10 finishes at the World Cup and European Championships this year.

Those results seemingly proved enough for the selectors to overlook the weekend result, after which Gladding had admitted she had almost given up on reaching an Olympics.

'There was a definite moment when I started doubting it,' she said.

Partners: Daley and Peter Waterfield (right) will compete alongside one another

Partners: Daley and Peter Waterfield (right) will compete alongside one another

'I had to really draw on something much deeper than I ever have before to get myself back and get the confidence back.

Proud: Gladding made the Olympics squad for the first time in her diving career

Proud: Gladding made the Olympics squad for the first time in her diving career

'It's my third attempt at an Olympics, last time I missed out slightly and the time before.

'To be in London, after the year of had – I've had to dig deeper than ever.

'It's been such a good year. I have given everything I've got.'

Britain will take a full diving team to an Olympics for the first time this summer with former platform world champion Daley the number one contender for a medal.

The 18-year-old will take career-best form to London, after claiming a personal best 565.05 when reclaiming the European championship last month, and is set to offer the greatest challenge to the all-conquering Chinese with a home crowd in support.

'It's going to be tough to get near them, they're the best in the world, but I guess they will have to look out for me,' he said.

'The home advantage will be important too.'

Daley will compete in the individual and synchro platform alongside Pete Waterfield, who makes his fourth Olympics.

Waterfield, a synchro silver medallist in Athens, had struggled with niggling injuries of late and needed an injection in his left shoulder immediately after last night's competition.

Despite that the 31-year-old denied any concern he might not be ready to partner Daley this summer.

United: Sarah Barrow (left), Tonia Crouch (middle left), Waterfield (middle right) and Daley

United: Sarah Barrow (left), Tonia Crouch (middle left), Waterfield (middle right) and Daley

'After these injections I should be right to go again. I can get a good block of training in and get the consistency back,' he said.

'I'm old now – it's what is needed to be done but once these niggles go I'll be right.'

Tonia Couch, who was overlooked for Gladding, will instead focus on her partnership with Sarah Barrow in the 10m synchro.

The newly-crowned European champions are expected to push for a podium place after just being edged into fourth at last year's World Championships.

Elsewhere, Rebecca Gallantree and Nick Robinson-Baker were picked for their second Olympics while rising star Jack Laugher heads a list of four teenagers heading to their first Games along with Chris Mears, Hannah Starling and Alicia Blagg.

The Olympic diving events begin on July 29 before finishing with Daley's platform final on August 11.

Swansea hopeful of landing Graeme Jones and Gylfi Sigurdsson

Swansea hopeful of landing Jones and Sigurdsson



21:51 GMT, 1 June 2012

Graeme Jones is expected to be confirmed as the new manager of Swansea City early next week.

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has had
an approach accepted for Roberto Martinez’s assistant at Wigan and
informal talks have already commenced as the south Wales club look to
recover from Brendan Rodgers’ departure for Liverpool.

Graeme Jones: keen on the job

Graeme Jones: 'keen on the job'

However, Sportsmail understands a move is far from a formality as the 42-year-old, who played an integral role in Swansea’s development into a celebrated passing side during his two years in south Wales under Martinez from 2007 to 2009, is thought to have some reservations about taking his first job in management.

He has twice refused to enter discussions for the Swansea top job, initially in 2009 when Martinez left for Wigan and then in 2010 when Paulo Sousa departed.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has since indicated that Jones is ‘up for the challenge’, but Jenkins has drawn up a shortlist to cover the possibility that talks break down.

Brighton boss Gus Poyet and Michael
Laudrup, who is unemployed, are in the frame, while Ian Holloway is
considered an outside possibility by some members of the Swansea

Meanwhile, Jenkins insisted yesterday that he was still hopeful that a move for Gylfi Sigurdsson can be completed.

The 6.8million move was thought to be off after Rodgers’ departure, but
Jenkins, who has agreed personal terms with the Hoffenheim midfielder,
is confident he will complete a medical at the club next week.

He said: ‘We have agreed a fee and personal terms but the problem is he
has gone away to Europe on holiday and that has delayed the finalising
of it.

‘We are hopeful of getting things moving next week, hopefully we can tie that up.’