Tag Archives: ivory

Arsene Wenger hails Gervinho after Arsenal beat Reading

Wenger hails Gervinho as Arsenal stay in the hunt for Champions League place

By
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:44 GMT, 30 March 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure among supporters following a string of frustrating displays following an 11million move from Lille in July 2011.

However, the 25-year-old was on the money this afternoon, opening the scoring on 11 minutes and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal eventually broke the Royals stubborn resistance again at the start of the second half when Santi Cazorla sweeping home. Olivier Giroud added a third following a quick break by Gervinho.

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Key role: Gervinho was praised by Arsene Wenger following his performance against Reading

Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation for Nigel Adkins' men, but there was to be no recovery to mark their new manager's first match in charge as Mikel Arteta's penalty made sure Arsenal closed up on Chelsea in the race for fourth-spot and also remained within striking distance of Tottenham, on whom they hold a match in hand.

'Gervinho's performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,' Wenger said.

'I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more.

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

Winning feeling: Gervinho celebrates with team mate Bacary Sagna after the 4-1 victory

'He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then.

'When he has found the confidence back, he's a very dangerous player.

'At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.'

Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe.

'I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,' said Wenger.

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

Mind the gap: Arsene Wenger fighting for Champions League qualification

'The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored.

'Overall, it's a good basis to finish the season well. Let's just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.'

Wenger called for his side to keep their performances high over the run-in, with little margin for error if they are to gatecrash the top four once again.

'What we do is we look at the table and we are still behind Chelsea and Tottenham. We are not in a calculation mode,' he said.

'We can just win our next game and continue to do what we do at the moment.

'We are on a run so let's take care of the quality of our game and that run. After, we'll see where we stand.

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

On target: Gervinho was on the scoresheet

'It (Champions League qualification) will be less predictable than it was predicted. We have a word to say in that and we want to give our best to do it.'

For Reading, meanwhile, the outlook is not so positive as the defeat sent them bottom of the table on goal difference, some seven points adrift of safety.

However, with a home clash against former club Southampton, Adkins is not about to throw in the towel just yet.

He said: 'We have had a bit of a fragmented week with the change, and players away on international duty, trying to get to grips with where we want to go and what to do is going to be challenging.

'We wanted to get something here, but didn't. Arsenal kept the ball very well.

'We will analyse it now, debrief back with the players, take the lessons from it and work very hard on the training ground for the next one.

'You can't change everything straight away, but we will all work hard together to give us a chance in the next game.'

Adkins added: 'The spirit is there in the group, and all we can do is take it one match at a time – there here and now is putting this one to bed, working hard over the course of the week for the next one.'

Wilfried Bony chased by West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton

Trio of Premier League sides join West Ham in race for 12m-rated Ivorian hitman Bony

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 24 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:20 GMT, 25 March 2013

Premier League clubs are bettling each other race to sign scoring sensation Wilfried Bony, who is pushing for a move to the English top flight next season.

The Ivory Coast striker, rated at around 12million, has been in prolific from for Vitesse Arnhem this season and is the top scorer in Holland with 26 goals in 24 league games.

His contract runs until 2015 but Sportsmail understands his agent is in talks with at least four Premier League clubs — West Ham, Fulham, Stoke and Everton — and hopes to complete a deal by the end of the week.

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Strike rate: Bony (right), seen here in action for Ivory Coast, has scored 26 goals in 24 games this term

Eredivisie: Top 5

The 24-year-old tried to leave Vitesse
in January, but the club held firm and insisted he continued to help
the club push for a Champions League spot for next season.

Since his 4million move from Sparta
Prague at the beginning of 2011, Bony has scored 46 times in 63
appearances for Vitesse — including an amazing recent run which has seen
him net 10 goals in his last six games.

Were West Ham to land him for around
12m it would smash their previous transfer record of buying Matt Jarvis
from Wolves for 10.75m.

Bony learned the game by playing
street football called ‘Maracana’, competing in city competitions before
spending three years at the Cyrille Domoraud football Academy located
in the city of Bingerville, in south-east Ivory Coast.

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Options: Sam Allardyce will be looking for more firepower, with his side netting just 32 goals this season

Didier Drogba to make Galatasaray home debut in front of loudest fans in world

Better bring your earplugs, Didier! Gala fans named loudest in world as Drogba prepares to make home debut against Schalke

PUBLISHED:

12:59 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

13:48 GMT, 18 February 2013

Didier Drogba can expect a thunderous reception when he makes his home debut for Galatasaray on Wednesday after the Turkish fans were named the loudest in the world.

Drogba, who scored five minutes into his first appearance for the club on Friday, is expected to feature in the Champions League last-16 clash against Schalke.

And the striker can expect the full backing of the home crowd at the Turk Telekon Arena who recorded a sound level of 131 decibels at a recent derby match – louder than standing 50m away from a military jet taking off.

Scroll down for video

Main man: Didier Drogba celebrates scoring on his debut and will hope to do the same in front of his home fans

Main man: Didier Drogba celebrates scoring on his debut and will hope to do the same in front of his home fans

galatasaray fans

Meanwhile, Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua will take their battle against Drogba's move to Galatasaray to football's governing body FIFA this week.

The Ivory Coast striker left the club in acrimonious circumstances last month, with Shanghai saying he had breached his contract.

'We now have evidence which we believe will give Shenhua a 99 per cent chance of winning a lawsuit at FIFA,' a lawyer acting for the club told the Sina web portal.

The anonymous source from 'Shenhua's legal team' said papers would be submitted to the sport's governing body on Wednesday.

The report said Shenhua will provide evidence that Drogba breached his contract and that Galatasaray had violated FIFA rules by luring a player away from his current club.

Star man: Drogba left Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua to join Galatasaray

Star man: Drogba left Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua to join Galatasaray

Chinese media previously reported Drogba had asked FIFA to nullify his contract after the club defaulted on payments following a shareholder dispute dating back to September. The striker signed an 18-month, 9million deal with the Istanbul side.

Drogba — a Champions League winner with Chelsea last season — had signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Shanghai in June last year on a reported salary of $200,000-a-week.

Drogba's exit from Shanghai followed that of former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka, who joined Italian giants Juventus on loan.

VIDEO Proof that Galatasaray fans are loudest in the world

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Spurs spark January battle for Wilfred Zaha with 10m move for Crystal Palace starlet

Spurs spark January transfer battle for Zaha with 10m move for Palace starlet

By
Bob Cass

PUBLISHED:

23:00 GMT, 5 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 5 January 2013

Tottenham will open negotiations this week for the 10million signing of Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha.

In spite of intense competition for
the 20-yearold Ivory Coast-born England international, Spurs have leapt
ahead of Manchester United and Chelsea because they are ready to do the
deal in the January transfer window and will comply with Palace's
condition that the player is loaned back to them until the end of the
season.

Chase hots up: Spurs open talks with Crystal Palace for Wilfred Zaha

Chase hots up: Spurs open talks with Crystal Palace for Wilfred Zaha

But neither United nor Chelsea are ready to concede defeat.

'Spurs may think they've jumped the gun, but the deal is a long way from being completed,' said a source close to the situation.

'This could turn out to be the hottest transfer battle of the season and it could boil down to a question of which club does Zaha want to join.'

Heading north Zaha could be crossing the river

Heading north Zaha could be crossing the river

Didier Drogba should join Milan, says Marcello Lippi

He's a beast! Lippi urges Milan to splash big money on former Chelsea striker Drogba

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UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 29 December 2012

Marcello Lippi has described Didier Drogba as ‘a beast’, insisting Milan should buy him, despite his price tag.

The Guangzhou Evergrande boss, who has been linked with Real Madrid, has been highly impressed with Drogba’s performances for Shanghai Shenhua.

But Milan bosses have already said he is too expensive.

Beast: Didier Drogba (right) should join Milan, according to former Italy manager Marcello Lippi

Beast: Didier Drogba (right) should join Milan, according to former Italy manager Marcello Lippi

The Ivory Coast international has been training with Chelsea during the Chinese Premier League’s close season and is still likely to leave before the next campaign.

‘If both Robinho and Alexandre Pato are really going to leave Milan, then I would see Drogba doing better for the Rossoneri than Juventus,’ Lippi told Gazzetta dello Sport.

‘He has played against our team and is still a beast. He makes a real difference on the field. Drogba would therefore be a valuable addition to the squad both in Serie A and the Champions League.’

The former Italian coach can also envisage him pairing up well with Stephan El Shaarawy, but knows Drogba will drive an exceptionally hard bargain.

Impressed: Drogba (right) has been in excellent form since joining Shanghai from Chelsea

Impressed: Drogba (right) has been in excellent form since joining Shanghai from Chelsea

One more time The last time Drogba played in Europe, he scored the winning penalty against Bayern Munich int he Champions League final

One more time The last time Drogba played in Europe, he scored the winning penalty against Bayern Munich int he Champions League final

‘I think, technically speaking, he would form a great partnership with El Shaarawy.

‘But, he did not follow his heart or, indeed, make a footballing decision when he decided to go to China.

‘He earns one million euro a month. Who can imagine he will agree to halve his wages to play in Italy’

Wigan want Manchester United starlet Angelo Henriquez as cover for striker Aruna Kone

Wigan want Man United starlet Henriquez as cover for striker Kone

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 14 December 2012

Wigan are hoping to tie up a loan deal for Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez.

The 18-year-old Chilean moved to Old Trafford in the summer for 3.5million but has yet to figure in the first team.

Loan move: Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez

Loan move: Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez

Wigan want cover for their striker Aruna Kone, who is due to join up with the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations next month.

Henriquez scored for Chile on his debut last month against Serbia.

Yohan Cabaye out with groin injury until January

Blow for Newcastle as star midfielder Cabaye is ruled out until January with groin injury

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UPDATED:

16:02 GMT, 19 November 2012

Crocked: Cabaye was injured while he was away with France

Crocked: Cabaye was injured while he was away with France

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fears midfielder Yohan Cabaye could be sidelined until the new year.

The Frenchman sustained a groin injury on international duty and it appears the player may be out for longer than expected.

'Cabaye looks like he could be out four to six weeks,' the Magpies boss told the Evening Chronicle.

'Cabaye might possibly have to have a little surgery on that groin.

'It could be we run all the way to the end of January before I have my first team to pick from.'

Pardew is already missing Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic to longer-term injuries.

The concern for him is even when Cabaye gets fully fit he will still not be able to select a first-choice midfield as Cheick Tiote is likely to be involved in African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast.

Key man: Cabaye has starred for Newcastle since arriving in the summer of 2011

Key man: Cabaye has starred for Newcastle since arriving in the summer of 2011

'When Cabaye comes back, Cheick will be gone. It is tough for us at the minute,' Pardew added.

'You have seasons when you lose players and you have to be able to cope with it.

'If I had everybody available then losing Cabaye would not be such a blow.

'At the minute we cannot afford to lose anybody.'

Alan Pardew calls on Cheick Tiote to return to form

Tiote's season starts this weekend, claims Pardew ahead of Swansea clash

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 16 November 2012

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is looking for the return of Cheick Tiote to kick-start his side's season.

There are several reasons why Pardew's team have not quite reached the heights of last season, including their participation in the Europa League, which was their reward for their manager's first full campaign at St James's Park.

Pardew is working to put them right, including creating more chances for strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse which will end the theory they can't play together, get on or score in the same matches.

Call to arms: Cheik Tiote (right) has been off form for Newcastle

Call to arms: Cheik Tiote (right) has been off form for Newcastle

But he believes the principal cause for Newcastle's inconsistent form is the absence of midfielder enforcer Cheick Tiote, who was injured for the first month of the season after injury in the first game and has missed the last three matches following his dismissal against Sunderland.

As Newcastle are looking to put last week's shock home defeat to West Ham behind them with the visit of Swansea City today. That is followed by Thursday's Europa League re-match with Maritimo at St James's Park which could confirm their place in the knock-out phases.

Tiote may be suspended for that game after picking up his third European booking and 41st in 67 Newcastle appearances, but Pardew will tell the Ivory Coast midfielder to play his natural game when he returns today.

Strike it lucky: Papiss Cisse

Strike it lucky: Papiss Cisse

He said: 'Cheick's season starts this weekend, until January 4 when he goes away for the African Cup of Nations, or whenever it is.

`He is a massive player for us. His best form will come from more games. It's just about giving him games, getting him back to his best. He loves to train but he really loves to play, so we might play him in three of the four games coming up.

`He has to free himself up. The sending off in the derby is going to affect him. My chat will be to say 'come on Cheick, let's get you back to your best'.

`He will pick up bookings, that's what he does, but we need him to control the silly tackles. Slightly mistimed tackles are what we can handle.'

One option for Pardew today is a recall for Vurnon Anita, Newcastle's major summer signing who, by his own admission, has struggled since his 6million move from Manchester City's Champions League opponents Ajax.

The diminutive Holland international has put in extra time in the gym to bulk up for the Premier League but his recent goal against Bruges – the best he has ever scored, he says – is proof that Newcastle have signed a star with potential, and desire.

Anita said: `It is a tough transition but it is nice. It is a new challenge for me so I am working hard to make it now.

`The competition is very tough, there are many games but I enjoy that. English football is quicker and much more physical than in Holland and it is more direct, more the long ball and fight.

Time to shine: Alan Pardew hopes his Newcastle side can return to form

Time to shine: Alan Pardew hopes his Newcastle side can return to form

`Because it is more physical here, I must do some extra work to play more games. I am in the gym a lot and running, before and after the main training, week in, week out. It is going better so I must keep on doing it to improve myself.

`I expected it to be like this. I want to play many games for myself and the team, to finish in the top four to play Champions League football.

`Last year, they almost made it so we must work hard to improve ourselves and reach our goals. It is really tough to do that but a good challenge.'

England board flight to Sweden: Roy Hodgson saluted by Manchester Airport worker

We're not worthy, Roy (well, this guy isn't)… Hodgson gets hero's reception on the runway as England jet to Sweden

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UPDATED:

13:47 GMT, 13 November 2012

STEVEN GERRARD EXCLUSIVE

CLICK HERE to see Sportsmail's picture and video special as the Liverpool visits his old school to celebrate 100 caps for England

The jury may still be out among some fans about manager Roy Hodgson. But this airport worker appeared to be in no doubt after bowing down to Three Lions boss on the runway before he boarded England's flight to Stockholm for Wednesday's friendly with Sweden.

Hodgson, 65, replaced Fabio Capello as the national coach back in May and guided England to the quarter finals of the European Championship in the summer before crashing out on penalties to eventual finalists Italy.

The former West Brom manager has since steered England to an unbeaten start to their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with thumping wins over minnows Moldova, San Marino and two draws against Ukraine and Poland.

Roys boys: Airport staff at Manchester drop to their knees to pay homage to England boss Roy Hodgson before the Three Lions Flight to Sweden

Roys boys: Airport staff at Manchester drop to their knees to pay homage to England boss Roy Hodgson before the Three Lions Flight to Sweden

Welcome aboard: Hodgson and is assistant Ray Lewington are amused by the runway stunt

Welcome aboard: Hodgson and is assistant Ray Lewington are amused by the runway stunt

And appreciation for his efforts so far in the hot-seat was made no more clear by an over-zealous supporter on the tarmac at Manchester Airport on Tuesday morning.

Amused by the stunt, Hodgson made his way up the stairs to board the plane alongside his assistant Ray Lewington.

Hodgson was also accompanied on the flight by Crystal Palace sensation Wilfried Zaha.

The 20-year-old winger could make his senior international debut at the new FRIENDS Arena although he may yet switch his allegiance to the Ivory Coast.

New boys: Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha board the flight to Stockholm

New boys: Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha board the flight to Stockholm

Zaha, who has represented England at Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 level, was born in Abidjan and the forward’s parents, along with his large family, are also from the Ivory Coast.

He has been offered the chance to play in the Africa Cup of Nations in January and is refusing to rule it out, despite his call-up by England.

Zaha said on Monday: 'I was born in the Ivory Coast but all I know is England. It’s 50-50 at the moment.

Jack's back: Arsenal ace Wilshere is look to play for England for the first time since June 2011

Jack's back: Arsenal ace Wilshere is look to play for England for the first time since June 2011

'Didier Drogba called me and I was shocked, to be honest. He’s a humble guy.

'I’ve been with England Under 21s and now I will have to make a decision.'

Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, was also on board with the Arsenal midfielder set to feature in his first England game since June 2011.

Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka followed Wilshere, with the Everton pair sporting their efforts for charity cause Movember.

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th cap for England in Stockholm

Captain fantastic: Steven Gerrard is set to win his 100th cap for England in Stockholm

Wilfried Zaha will not be sold in January

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

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UPDATED:

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.'

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