Tag Archives: matchday

Aston Villa want 18million for Darren Bent

Yours for 18m: Villa put Bent up for sale but want to recoup what they paid for him

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 5 December 2012

Aston Villa have slapped an 18m price tag on Darren Bent as they seek to recover most of the money they paid Sunderland for the forward’s services.

The decision-makers at the Birmingham club, owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner, have accepted that the striker is out of Paul Lambert’s plans.

To that end, they are willing to listen to offers but have set the price at the original figure they paid to the Black Cats for the forward just two years ago.

Tough time: Darren Bent has not featured in Paul Lambert's plans much this season

Tough time: Darren Bent has not featured in Paul Lambert's plans much this season

Bent has fallen out of favour at Villa Park and has not even made Villa’s matchday squad on occasion during the past few weeks although he was on the bench for the visit to QPR last week.

With Christian Benteke having provided Lambert with a spearhead and Gabby Agbonlahor as a back-up, the striker appears surplus.

However, the club recognise that having such an expensive purchase out of the manager’s plans is financial madness.

Bench boy: Bent was an unused substitute against QPR

Bench boy: Bent was an unused substitute against QPR

But Villa, perhaps mindful of the fact that they are not clear of relegation struggles themselves, have set a high price should anyone require Bent’s services.

That may preclude QPR from entering the marketplace — although whether Harry Redknapp would sign a forward he once ridiculed is a difficult question.

With the price being a stumbling block, it may be that Lambert is persuaded to look at a potential player-plus-cash swap deal as Villa’s best way out of a tricky situation.

England rugby injuries mount – David Paice called up

All hail Paice! Hooker's joy at call-up but England injuries mount

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 29 October 2012

Joe Marler became the latest player to join England’s swelling casualty as the Harlequins prop’s hamstring injury forced head coach Stuart Lancaster to send for Matt Mullan as yet another squad reinforcement.

The flow of late arrivals into the FA’s national football centre in Burton-on-Trent — London Irish hooker David Paice and Quins lock George Robson joined on Sunday — continued with the call-up of the Worcester loosehead for training ahead of the first QBE International against Fiji at Twickenham on November 10.

Marler appeared to come through Quins’ Aviva Premiership victory over Irish on Sunday unscathed, but after reporting for national duty he was diagnosed with a ‘tight’ hamstring.

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

Call up: David Paice has been drafted into the England squad

While the RFU insisted that summoning Mullan was just a precaution, Lancaster will, in theory, aim to finalise a matchday 23 for the Fiji game by Thursday, in order to release remaining squad players back to their clubs.

Therefore, Marler has another 48 hours to prove he is fit or his place is likely to be filled by the uncapped Saracen, Mako Vunipola.

This latest alarming development follows a flurry of setbacks over the weekend, with concerns largely focused on the state of two key Northampton forwards — Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes — who both suffered knee injuries on Saturday.

Amid suggestions that the damage sustained by Hartley is ‘significant’, the hooker and his fellow Saint were sent for scans on Monday evening. The RFU medical staff were also monitoring the state of centre Jonathan Joseph’s right ankle.

Hartley had been considered a contender for the captaincy, having led England to a draw in their last outing, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in June, then following that up with a storming start to the new season. However, Chris Robshaw remained the clear favourite and is due to be confirmed on Tuesday in the role he filled with such distinction for the first seven games of this year.

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Race against time: Joe Marler (left) is struggling with a hamstring injury

Mullan was the third forward called up as a late replacement, after Robson and Paice checked into St George’s at short notice on Sunday night.

Paice revealed that he had to check with Joseph, his club colleague, to find out which part of the country he should drive to after being told about his sudden call-up by Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith.

‘I’ve just asked JJ where we’re going,’ he said. ‘I wasn’t sure. I haven’t spoken to anyone from England — just Brian and the media. I don’t know if people are winding me up! I’ll have to get one of the guys at Sunbury (London Irish’s training ground) to open up the changing room to get more boots out, then plug in the sat nav to find my way!’

Paice had learned last week that he had been overlooked for a place in the senior squad yet again, with Tom Youngs of Leicester promoted from the Saxons ahead of him. Yet the sense of dejection didn’t last long.

‘They called me on Tuesday night and said that I wasn’t in,’ he said. ‘I was disappointed but I’m very excited now. Brian told me in the changing rooms just after the game, and it’s a great honour. This news is a great surprise for me. I got engaged on Wednesday night, so it is a great engagement present!’

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

Sitting it out: Courtney Lawes (centre) and Dylan Hartley (right)

The hooker, 28, born in Darwin, Australia, made two replacement Test appearances on the tour of New Zealand in 2008, but then fell off England’s radar. He has worked hard for another shot and his chance follows the retirement of first Steve Thompson, then Lee Mears, and the injuries which sidelined Rob Webber and Joe Gray.

‘I think I’ve been playing well for the last couple of seasons and if I get my shot, I will take it with both hands this time,’ said Paice. ‘My game has come along in leaps and bounds, and I know I’m a much better player than I was in 2008.

‘The biggest thing I had to work on was my set-pieces and I think it is a major strength in my game now. I got my opportunity in 2008 through injuries and I guess it has happened again, but this time I’m going to take the chance.’

Paul Lambert feels the heat after Aston Villa"s worst start since 1970

The Doc's spectre looms large over Lambert as Villa stumble to worst start since 1970

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

First, the good news for Aston Villa’s supporters.

Following the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 43 years, they cannot be relegated to the third tier of English football, a fate suffered by Tommy Docherty and Vic Crowe’s crop in 1970.

Christian Benteke shows promise. Ron Vlaar is a resolute addition to the ranks. And Matthew Lowton efficiently goes about his business.

And here is the bad.

Home keeper Brad Guzan was rightly named man of the match by Villa’s matchday sponsors. That should be an adequate pointer.

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

Man of the match: Brad Guzan makes a save from Wes Hoolahan

The long walk: Tommy Docherty quits Villa in 1970

The long walk: Tommy Docherty after quitting Villa in 1970

Norwich boss Chris Hughton ditched his normal conservative press conference style to claim without hesitation that the Canaries had dropped two points. He was right, too.

Out of their nine matches so far, Villa have played just one team who finished in the top four last season — Tottenham — and have fixtures to come in the next four weeks that include Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

What’s more, against those teams last term they picked up not one solitary point.

Manager Paul Lambert appears to have over-estimated the quality of Villa’s playing staff. His brave policy of buying largely untried Premier League players appears flawed. Frankly, their midfield is the weakest in the division.

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

Tough times: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has the weight of the world on his shoulders as Villa struggled against former club Norwich

What’s more, the Scot is struggling to come up with any plausible way forward, apart from blind faith.

What is becoming clearer by the day is that a promising win over Swansea City was a false dawn and the sooner the whole club appreciates the gravity of this situation, the better.

The whole club — from the boardroom to the terraces — wants Lambert to succeed. But something needs to change. Villa are a quarter of the way through the season and boast six points.

Norwich, on the other hand, appear a far more organised outfit than the one who were spectacularly demolished by Liverpool last month.

Sebastien Bassong is a defender of Premier League class whom Hughton will need to keep on the pitch.Having seen the new Carrow Road chief organise a Birmingham City team that threatened to implode, he is whipping the Canaries into shape.

This is obviously where his reputation as a coach of substance comes from.

As for Villa, I’ll leave you with a little teaser. Who said the following

‘The new players have not performed as well as I anticipated,’ said this Scottish boss, ‘but I have complete faith and confidence in all of my players and in my own ability.’

The answer

Tommy Docherty. Twenty-four hours later, he was sacked. Four months after that, Villa were relegated.

Liverpool to play Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard against Anzhi Makhachkala

Rodgers set to play Suarez and Gerrard against Anzhi ahead of Merseyside derby

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 24 October 2012

Brendan Rodgers is ready to gamble with Liverpool’s Merseyside derby ambitions by naming Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard in his side to face Anzhi Makhachkala.

Liverpool’s precarious position in Group A of the Europa League, coupled with the lack of depth in their squad, means Rodgers will ask his captain and leading striker to play on Thursday, even though it is 72 hours before the crucial trip to Goodison Park.

Rodgers has tended to make wholesale changes in cup competitions this season but, having lost to Udinese on Matchday Two, he is prepared to flood his side with familiar names, as he has no intention of sacrificing Liverpool’s place in Europe.

Captain's role: Steven Gerrard is likely to be selected to play

Captain's role: Steven Gerrard is likely to be selected to play

Defenders Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, who have not started a Europa League game together since a qualifier against FC Gomel on August 9, will be charged with keeping Samuel Eto’o under wraps and Rodgers’ assistant Colin Pascoe admitted Anzhi’s strength has forced Liverpool’s hand.

‘Anzhi are a strong unit,’ said Pascoe. ‘They are a big team with big players. We have swapped and changed things around a bit before but, looking at this game, it is very important for us. We will pick a stronger team than we played against Udinese.

Lack of options: Luis Suarez is one of Liverpool's only fit strikers

Lack of options: Luis Suarez is one of Liverpool's only fit strikers

‘It is a difficult (situation). After Anzhi we have got games against Everton, Swansea (in the Carling Cup), Newcastle, Anzhi away and then Chelsea. We will have to mix things up depending on the games. But we want to win this one. It is as simple as that.’

PROBABLE TEAM LINE-UPS

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Jones: Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Robinson: Henderson, Gerrard, Sahin: Assaidi, Suarez, Downing.

ANZHI (4-4-2): Gabulov: Carlos, Samba, Logashov, Gadzhibekov: Agalarov, Shatov, Boussoufa, Zhirkov: Eto’o, Traore.

Referee – Bas Nijheus (Holland)

Gerrard and Suarez were called into action during the game against Udinese but their presence could not stop Liverpool sliding to a 3-2 defeat that, even there are four games left in the group stage, has severely compromised their chances.

Should Liverpool lose to Guus Hiddink’s expensively-assembled squad, it is likely they will have to win their final three matches – which include trips to Moscow and Udine – to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages.

‘Anzhi have lost one in 21 games overall this season,’ said Pascoe. ‘There’s only one way they are going to go and that’s Champions League. It’s a strong group but if you want to do well in every competition you have to beat the best teams.’

Newcastle United superhero Whey Aye Man

Unmasked! New Geordie superhero 'Whey Aye Man' set to take the Toon by storm

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 4 October 2012

Batman has been spotted speeding away to the hills in the Batmobile, and nobody's seen Spiderman swinging around the Toon for weeks.

Why There's a new caped crusader in town and with the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa, the strength of Shola Ameobi and the reflexes of Tim Krul, he's better than both combined.

Meet Whey Aye Man – the new Geordie superhero unveiled by Newcastle United this week.

Local Hero: Newcastle have released a Whey Aye Man costume as part of their fancy dress range

Local Hero: Newcastle have released a Whey Aye Man costume as part of their fancy dress range

With his black and white wig and mask, ripped physique and club y-fronts, Whey Aye Man is your favourite now.

Newcastle has released the outfit, priced at 49.99, as an alternative to the traditional matchday attire, or as a unique stag weekend costume.

The Whey Aye Man outfit is available to buy in Newcastle club stores and Shearer's Bar.

Whey Aye Man boasts the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa

Whey Aye Man boasts the speed of Hatem Ben Arfa…

...the strength of striker Shola Ameobi...

…the strength of striker Shola Ameobi…

...and the reflexes of goalkeeper Tim Krul

…and the reflexes of goalkeeper Tim Krul

Arsene Wenger confident Arsenal will beat Olympiakos

Wenger confident Arsenal will avoid a Greek tragedy as they aim to bounce back from Chelsea defeat

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 2 October 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants his side to make amends for Saturday's defeat to Chelsea when the Gunners take on Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The north Londoners saw a successful start to the season abruptly halted at the weekend as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal sit seven points shy of the Barclays Premier League leaders as a result, but attention now turns to their Champions League campaign.

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Make amends: A relaxed Arsene Wenger said he wanted to get a positive result against Olympiakos following Saturday's defeat to Chelsea

Make amends: A relaxed Arsene Wenger said he wanted to get a positive result against Olympiakos following Saturday's defeat to Chelsea

Wenger's side takes on the Greek champions on Wednesday and the Frenchman wants to see an improved performance in the Group B encounter.

'The players are focused and disappointed that we lost the game,' the Arsenal manager said on Tuesday.

'They are still down of course, but we have a Champions League game in front of us at home and we want to put things right.

'There were a lot of positives in that game as well, what was not good is easy to correct.

'I believe the championship is long, but we have to make sure the Champions League is long as well.

'It is about how we respond. I am impressed by the mentality of my team, but the mentality is as well about how you respond to disappointment.

'I am confident we will, but that is what we want to show tomorrow.'

Right mentality: Wenger believes his players have the psychological strength to bounce back against Olympiakos

Right mentality: Wenger believes his players have the psychological strength to bounce back against Olympiakos

Arsenal will be hoping to make it two wins from two Group B games tomorrow, having returned from Montpellier with three points on matchday one.

Olympiakos, who Arsenal also faced in the group stage last year, are without a point after losing their opener at home to Schalke and Wenger knows Wednesday's clash at the Emirates provides a chance to take a stranglehold on the group.

'Olympiakos are already in a position where their backs are to the wall because they have lost at home and in this Champions League when you lose at home it is very difficult,' the Frenchman said.

'They are highly motivated to know they have to give everything to make it through. They are experienced and basically it is the same team (as it was) at the back of last season.

Strong position: Arsenal won their opening Champions League match in Montpellier and can take control of the group with a win over Olympiakos

Strong position: Arsenal won their opening Champions League match in Montpellier and can take control of the group with a win over Olympiakos

'I think they had a difficult start against Marseille and after became stronger and stronger through the competition last year.

'It looks similar this year, they had a difficult start at home against Schalke and if you analyse their team it is 90 per cent the same as last season.'

Wenger, who is still serving a three-game touchline ban, will have to do without several key players on Wednesday night.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is still three weeks from a return from an ankle injury, while midfielder Tomas Rosicky and right-back Bacary Sagna remain sidelined.

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right) shares a joke with Aaron Ramsey during training

Young guns: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right) shares a joke with Aaron Ramsey during training

Wenger revealed playmaker Mikel Arteta faces a fitness test on an ankle injury on Wednesday morning, while midfielder Abou Diaby faces a three-week lay-off with a thigh strain that forced him off against Chelsea.

'Arteta will have a test tomorrow morning,' Wenger said. 'We will make the decision then whether we include him in the squad or not. He has an ankle injury.

'We lost Diaby, who has a thigh strain. He is definitely out for three weeks as well. Apart from Diaby and Arteta, everyone came through well.'

Wenger was far more guarded when asked about another midfielder, Jack Wilshere, who came through his first match in 14 months on Monday.

Massive boost: Jack Wilshere is edging closer to a first-team return after playing for the Under-21s against West Brom on Monday

Massive boost: Jack Wilshere is edging closer to a first-team return after playing for the Under-21s against West Brom on Monday

The 20-year-old has struggled with an ankle injury suffered prior to last season but stepped up his comeback by playing 63 minutes of the Gunners' under-21 game at West Brom.

'He came through it all right,' Wenger said. 'There was no reaction.

'We are pleased but it is now down to taking the right time to ease him slowly back.

'We are all very happy, and he especially must be exceptionally happy, but he has been out for 14 months.'

VIDEO: Wenger determined to get Gunners back to their winning ways

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Celtic in the mood to face Benfica – Neil Lennon

Bhoys in the mood: Celtic are a match for anyone, insists boss Lennon

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UPDATED:

23:38 GMT, 18 September 2012

Neil Lennon insists Celtic have no intention of playing the role of Champions League whipping boys.

The Scottish champions host Portuguese aristocrats Benfica on matchday one of Europe’s blue riband competition on Wednesday evening.

And, despite their status as the unfancied pot four side in Group G, Lennon believes his team can hold their own against any opposition.

Raring to go: Celtic train ahead of their clash with Benfica

Raring to go: Celtic train ahead of their clash with Benfica

‘Benfica will come here with an excellent side full of quality players,’ said the Celtic manager. ‘I don’t really want to talk about Benfica though, I’d rather talk about my own team.

‘We’re here to compete, we’re not here to be also-rans or make up the numbers. We might not get this opportunity for another wee while, so we have to make the most of it.

‘I don’t think Benfica will underestimate us because we’re Scottish. Celtic at home against anyone is a fixture that should be respected.’

Despite selling two of their star players in the summer, Benfica are still favourites to join Barcelona in the last 16.

Challenge: Benfica will pose a tough test for Celtic

Challenge: Benfica will pose a tough test for Celtic

In three meetings in Europe since 1969, however, the two sides have been perfectly matched, winning their home and away ties by identical scorelines.

But Celtic have never lost a goal at home to the Portuguese and, buoyed by 60,000 supporters tonight, Lennon — who savaged his side after Saturday’s defeat to St Johnstone — now wants his players to embrace the experience.

‘I want them to do themselves justice,’ he insisted. ‘I want them to show the talent they have, allied to the good mentality they’ve shown over the last few years.Our performances in Europe have been good recently and I hope they don’t show Benfica too much respect. I don’t want them to be fazed by it.

Hotseat: Celtic manager Neil Lennon looks ahead to his side's match

Hotseat: Celtic manager Neil Lennon looks ahead to his side's match

‘I just want them to play their natural game and, if we do that, we can be a match for anyone. This is a step-up in class, there’s no doubt about that, but this is why we’re here.

‘We want to play against the best.

‘Benfica have great experience in the Champions League over the last few years. They have a good pedigree.

‘(But) there shouldn’t be any nerves — this is a competition that the players look forward to playing in; to challenge themselves against the best clubs in Europe and Benfica certainly come into that category.’

Bristol City 4 Cardiff 2 – match report

Bristol City 4 Cardiff 2: Woolford at the double to help rampant Robins hit four more

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UPDATED:

15:20 GMT, 25 August 2012

Martyn Woolford bagged a brace and Sam Baldock crowned his debut with a goal as Bristol City sealed an enthralling derby win over Cardiff.

Derek McInnes' side fired four past Crystal Palace in midweek and they delighted the Ashton Gate faithful once more with the help of some generous Cardiff defending.

Midfielder Stephen Pearson opened the scoring before Woolford took his personal tally to three goals in two games.

At the double: Two-goal hero Martyn Woolford (L) celebrates with Jonathan Stead after scoring the second goal for Bristol City

At the double: Two-goal hero Martyn Woolford (L) celebrates with Jonathan Stead after scoring the second goal for Bristol City

MATCH FACTS

BRISTOL CITY: Heaton, Wilson, Fontaine, Carey, Cunningham, Woolford, Skuse, Pearson, Adomah (Davies, 84), Stead (Baldock, 64), Taylor (Elliott, 74).
Subs not used: Carey, Foster, Wilson, Morris.
Goals: Pearson 32, Woolford 45, 70, Baldock 87

CARDIFF: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Connolly, Whittingham, Cowie, Gunnarsson (Mason, 46), Mutch (Ralls, 80), Smith (Velikonja, 75), Helguson.
Subs not used: Lewis, Nugent, Kiss, Earnshaw.
Booked: Velikonja
Goals: Mason 57, Helguson 82

Ref: Jones
Att: 14,368

Cardiff kept their hosts honest as Joe Mason and Heidar Helguson responded in kind each time Woolford found the net.

But on-loan West Ham forward Baldock rounded off a lively cameo to ensure the Robins sat top of the npower Championship table ahead of today's three o'clock kick-offs.

Mark Wilson came into the Bristol City defence, with Richard Foster dropping to the bench where new signings Steven Davies and Baldock were named.

Matthew Connolly and Tommy Smith went straight into the Cardiff line-up following their moves from QPR this week, but there was no place for Craig Bellamy or Ben Turner in Malky Mackay's matchday squad.

The visitors were the brighter side in the opening exchanges, with Jordon Mutch to the fore and fellow midfielder Peter Whittingham produced a rasping 13th-minute drive to draw a fine save from former Bluebirds loanee Tom Heaton in the Bristol City goal.

On song: Woolford was too hot to handle for Cardiff

On song: Woolford was too hot to handle for Cardiff

The Robins' first clear opening came in the 25th minute when Ryan Taylor headed a cross from strike partner Jon Stead into the side netting and the latter had a hand when they took the lead.

Shortly after the half hour Cardiff needlessly ceded possession and Stead made them pay – feeding Albert Adomah, whose low cross left Pearson with a simple finish.

Cardiff almost found an immediate response when Aron Gunnarsson headed against the bar from Whittingham's corner before Heaton punched to safety.

But Bristol City doubled their advantage ahead of half-time. Stead was involved once more, playing in Woolford as the Cardiff defence was again found wanting.

Following some presumably unpleasant half-time discussions, Mackay's men came back into the contest in the 57th minute.

Fine introduction: Sam Baldock had a debut to remember after scoring the fourth for the rampant Robins

Fine introduction: Sam Baldock had a debut to remember after scoring the fourth for the rampant Robins

Football League blog

A Whittingham corner again caused problems and substitute Mason was on hand to convert Helguson's flick on.

McInnes introduced Baldock in place of Stead after 64 minutes and he was immediately at the heart of more confusion in the Cardiff defence – firing a shot past the post at the end of an attack that began when a clearance was drilled into his back.

Moments after Whittingham drove wide on the angle, Bristol City's two-goal cushion was restored. The lively Baldock found space inside the area to rattle the upright and Woolford tucked away the rebound.

Cardiff hit back for a second time in fortuitous circumstances when full-back Kevin McNaughton scuffed a shot into the path of Helguson and the ex-Watford and QPR striker prodded home his second of the season from close range.

But as the Bluebirds pushed for an equaliser they were left badly exposed at the back, and three minutes from time Greg Cunningham's through ball allowed Baldock to round goalkeeper David Marshall and seal the points.

Dimitar Berbatov says he wants to leave Manchester United

Let me leave! Berbatov tells Facebook fans he's desperate to quit Manchester United

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UPDATED:

16:46 GMT, 15 July 2012

Dimitar Berbatov has given the biggest indication yet that he will leave Manchester United this summer after announcing he is fed up with not being a part of the first team set-up at Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old only played 21 times for United last season as he was overlooked in favour of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez as Wayne Rooney's strike partner.

The Bulgarian's future first came into question when he was surprisingly left out of United’s matchday squad for the 2011 Champions League final clash with Barcelona at Wembley, despite being the joint-leading goalscorer in the Premier League that season.

Time to say goodbye: Dimitar Berbatov is looking to leave Manchester United this summer

Time to say goodbye: Dimitar Berbatov is looking to leave Manchester United this summer

And after a summer of speculation about a proposed move away from Old Trafford, Berbatov took to social media to vent his frustrations.

'The truth is, I love this club, but I am not going to be useful to anyone, if I am not playing,' he wrote on his Facebook page. 'And I want to play, I want to help.

On the bench: Berbatov was not used a lot by Manchester United last season

On the bench: Berbatov was not used a lot by Manchester United last season

'But for unknown reasons its not going to happen, or my chances will be limited, so it's better for everyone if we say goodbye.

'If not, I am professional and I will keep doing everything I can, to help my team and my teammates, whenever I have opportunity to do so.'

Not going his way: Berbatov misses chance to score

Frustrated: Berbatov

Frustrated: Berbatov saw his chances of first team football restricted last season

There has been debate about what asking price Manchester United have put on the player they signed for a club record 30million in 2008 from Tottenham.

And Berbatov also revealed his frustration about the transfer figure on his head on Facebook.

'Because I am tired of speculation,i am telling you this. I read the papers and I see they say 10 million pounds is my price,' he added.

'I go and talk with Sir Alex, and he says to me 5 million…So who is telling the truth, what do you think'

Manchester City offer best value in Premier League

City complete double over United as club is rewarded for best matchday experience

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UPDATED:

10:28 GMT, 22 May 2012

Manchester City are celebrating a Premier League double after the club came out on top when it comes to providing value to fans.

The league champions stand at the head of ING Direct Value table which compares club season ticket costs with on-field performance and entertainment value and getting the most points for your pound.

At the opposite end of the table, Queens Park Rangers finished bottom.

Pure delight: Manchester City fans had a season to remember in the league

Pure delight: Manchester City fans had a season to remember in the league

The top three is completed by Wigan and West Brom, sides who finished further down the Premier League table. Manchester United, who missed out on the trophy to their fierce rivals, took fourth spot.

Liverpoo endured a difficult season on the field and there was further bad news as they were ranked second bottom when it comes to the fans' experience thanks to a high season ticket cost and poor scoring record.

Wolves were also 'relegated', as they were in the official league table.

Protest: Blackburn fans had a miserable season as their team were relegated

Protest: Blackburn fans had a miserable season as their team were relegated

The value league was compiled by comparing season ticket prices with points earned, and with a bonus for goals scored, deemed to affect fans’ enjoyment of the game.

Less than 50 per cent of fans felt they received good value for money in the 2011-12 season, and are now considering whether to renew their season tickets.

But 12 of the 20 Premier League sides have frozen or lowered their prices for the new campaign.

Main man: Robin van Persie

Main man: Robin van Persie

Unsurprisingly, relegated Blackburn Rovers have the most disgruntled fans – many of whom have staged protests in the past season against Indian owners Venky’s and manager Steve Kean – with more than half of ticket holders (56 per cent) saying they will not renew.

Aston Villa, who narrowly avoided the drop before sacking manager Alex McLeish, had a third of fans saying they planned to cancel their tickets.

Two-thirds of supporters are in favour of a wage cap for Premier League footballers.

Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie topped the 'best value player' poll, followed by Newcastle United striker Demba Ba and Tottenham’s Scott Parker.

The report’s compilation was overseen by Dr Steve Kelly from the University of Huddersfield, an expert in sports and club finance and structures.