Tag Archives: recruitment

Sam Allardyce reveals how he once missed out on Robert Lewandowski

Big Sam: How I missed out on Champions League hotshot Lewandowski

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

08:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:01 GMT, 26 April 2013

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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed how he missed out on signing Robert Lewandowski – during his time in charge at Blackburn.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was set to hold talks with Rovers in 2010 as he looked for a move from Polish club Lech Poznan.

But the cash-strapped Blackburn board struggled to find the money and the Iceland volcanic ash cloud put the final nail in the coffin when Lewandowski's flight to England was cancelled.

Dortmund stepped in to secure a deal for a fee reported to be around 4.5million euros and the rest is now history.

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

On target: Lewandowski was set to hold talks with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers in 2010

Allardyce told Sky Sports: 'It's true. He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

'My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

'I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him.

'I think his agent said he couldn't come over because of the ash cloud, yes. He's probably worth 40 million euros now.'

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Missed out: Allardyce was keen to sign Lewandowski but the Rovers board could not find the cash

Allardyce is now left to rue the missed opportunity to sign the Pole who scored four goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I think about it every time I see him play.

'He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals.

'The level he is playing at now is unbelievable, not just his scoring ability but his ability to retain possession.

'There were a lot of people looking at him at that time as well but we had the edge over everyone else because of the attraction of the Premier League.

'He could have used us as a stepping stone but it didn't happen.'

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

The one that got away: Lewandowski moved from Lech Poznan to Dortmund for a reported 4.5million euros

Brendan Rodgers wants four new signing to turn Liverpool into top four contenders

Liverpool want Williams, Ben Arfa, Ince and Gameiro as Rodgers targets four summer signings to seal Champions League return

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

00:14 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:10 GMT, 13 March 2013

Brendan Rodgers has outlined his ambition to make four new signings this summer to give Liverpool’s squad the depth to become credible Champions League challengers.

Liverpool have made significant progress on the back of a positive January transfer window which saw them land Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho and Rodgers wants that to set a precedent.

He is eager to sign similar quality players in the close season and plans have already been put into place for the recruitment drive, with Rodgers wanting to have a number of options.

Top target: Brendan Rodgers wants to be reunited with Swansea's Ashley Williams

Top target: Brendan Rodgers wants to be reunited with Swansea's Ashley Williams

Feyenoord's Stefan De Vrij and Swansea captain Ashley Williams will be considered as potential new central defenders, while Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa, Tom Ince of Blackpool and Paris St Germain’s Kevin Gameiro will also come under consideration.

'There is no doubt there is a natural rebuilding that will come with the likes of Jamie Carragher going,’ said Rodgers. ‘I am happy with the squad if I can then put another three or four quality players to it. It is quality we are after, not quantity.

'If we bring in another three or four quality players to add to what we have got, then we have got a strong squad. Naturally there might be people who aren't playing who might want to think about going elsewhere, but at the moment it's a strong squad.’

Hatem Ben Arfa

Tom Ince

Wanted men: Rodgers is keen on Hatem Ben Arfa from Newcastle and Blackpool's Tom Ince

When Rodgers took over last summer, there was a feeling that Liverpool lacked a strategy in the transfer market, which contributed to the summer window ending in farce as they missed out on signing Clint Dempsey. It is why Rodgers feels it is imperative to have different options to go for.

'Of course you have an ideal target, but we are getting to a situation now where, for me, you have to have three players and if one doesn't come off you have to be comfortable with the other two – If you get one of those you are happy,’ said Rodgers.

'There is a lot of terrific work going on behind the scenes with the scouting department getting those lists together really. We never had that in the summer and what I had to go with was not what I knew but there were some key positions we needed support in.

Wanted: Paris Saint-Germain's forward Kevin Gameiro is a target

Wanted: Paris Saint-Germain's forward Kevin Gameiro is a target

'What I didn't want to do was to waste the club's money. I like to be extensive and know what we are bringing in, but also we did not have the time and that was the big issue. We are much better placed now. There is great collaboration that goes on between all the departments.

'January was a productive window for us and hopefully if we do the similar in the summer then it's going to be a real good place for us.’

If Liverpool maintain the form they have shown in recent weeks until May, they may yet sneak a place in Europe. To achieve that goal, they would need to finish fifth in the Barclays Premier League and defender Jose Enrique says beating Tottenham helped the squad clear a mental block.

Aiming high: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to challenge for the Champions League

Aiming high: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to challenge for the Champions League

'I didn't think we would win the game when Tottenham scored their second goal,’ said Enrique. ‘It is difficult to win these games. The statistics speak for themselves, look at how we have done against the top six teams this season.

'Of course, you always try to win every game, but in terms of our mentality we hadn't had good experiences of this type when we've been losing. But the team worked very hard and this is the important thing because when the team stick together you can see the results.’

Hatem Ben Arfa is Liverpool target with Andy Carroll on offer

Liverpool lining up Ben Arfa deal using Carroll as a carrot for Newcastle

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

23:58 GMT, 5 February 2013

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UPDATED:

08:14 GMT, 6 February 2013

Liverpool are tracking Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa as Brendan Rodgers begins his plans for a summer recruitment drive.

The French international, 25, could be targeted as part of a swap deal that would see Andy Carroll return to St James’ Park.

Target: Liverpool are considering bringing Hatem Ben Arfa to Anfield

Target: Liverpool are considering bringing Hatem Ben Arfa to Anfield

Swap: Andy Carroll could be offered back to Newcastle as part of the deal for Ben Arfa

Swap: Andy Carroll could be offered back to Newcastle as part of the deal for Ben Arfa

Ben Arfa has not featured for Newcastle since December 10 because of a hamstring injury.

He has long been admired by Rodgers even though he represents a slightly older purchase than many Anfield transfer targets.

Ben Arfa didn't push for a Newcastle exit during the transfer window but his loyalty to the club is likely to be severely tested in the summer. He will certainly have plenty of people to prevent him feeling homesick, as Alan Pardew bought six French-speaking players during the transfer window.

Return: Carroll's career never took off at Liverpool and his was loaned out to West Ham in the summer

Return: Carroll's career never took off at Liverpool and his was loaned out to West Ham in the summer

Nonetheless, Ben Arfa has previously stated a desire to play for the rich, Qatari-backed club Paris Saint-Germain.

Carroll has been on loan at West Ham after the 35million signing found it hard to make a mark at Anfield.

He has scored twice in 12 appearances for the Hammers so far, the latest coming on Saturday when he headed the winner against Swansea having returned the side following a two-month injury lay-off.

Alex McLeish"s position at Nottingham forest under threat

EXCLUSIVE: McLeish's position at Forest under threat after bust-up with Kuwaiti owners

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 30 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:54 GMT, 30 January 2013

Alex McLeish’s position at Nottingham Forest is unclear following a bust-up with the club’s new owners over transfer funds.

The former Scotland manager has had a row with the Kuwaiti owners of the east Midlands club after a tense five weeks since succeeding Sean O’Driscoll.

Matters have been bubbling under ever since O’Driscoll’s sacking with chief executive Mark Arthur, head of player recruitment Keith Burt and Forest ambassador Frank Clark all being asked to leave.

Plenty to ponder: Alex McLeish had a bust-up with Nottingham Forest's owners

Plenty to ponder: Alex McLeish had a bust-up with Nottingham Forest's owners

After 14 years of service to Forest, Arthur was handed a letter informing him of his cessation of duties and Burt found out he was being axed after his wife read out a similar missive from the club while he was hosting a scouts’ meeting.

Forest were taken over by the Al-Hasawi family last summer and McLeish was appointed in bizarre circumstances after O’Driscoll was sacked following a 4-2 triumph over Leeds United on Boxing Day, a victory which left Forest just one point from the play-offs.

McLeish was promised a significant kitty to use during the transfer window. However, the club’s technical advisor Dr Tariq Aljalahmah, has held a series of meetings this week with several key figures including McLeish and the remaining members of the club’s scouting team.

In the market: McLeish wants to add to his Forest squad

In the market: McLeish wants to add to his Forest squad

The Scot was told that the club was reticent to sanction any cash deals, with Forest preferring instead to do business in the loan market.

McLeish stood his ground, asking for the money that he believed he was getting after agreeing to take on the job late last month.

The matter had been left in abeyance but some progress looked to have been made last night as Forest mounted a bid to swipe Peterborough United’s George Boyd from under Crystal Palace’s noses.

Nottingham Forest have sacked Frank Clark, Mark Arthur and Keith Burt

Ruthless Forest owners wield axe with long-serving Clark shown exit alongside Arthur and Burt

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

19:45 GMT, 17 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 17 January 2013

Nottingham Forest have sacked chief executive Mark Arthur, director of recruitment Keith Burt and club ambassador Frank Clark from their roles at the club.

Clark featured in Forest's 1979 European Cup-winning side during his four years as a player, and then returned to manage at the City Ground in 1993.

In 2011 he was appointed chairman of the club, and he has described the decision to get rid of him as 'a real shock.'

Frank Clark (right) had spent many years involved with Nottingham Forest

Shocked: Frank Clark (right) had spent many years involved with Nottingham Forest

Burt ends a seven-year association with the Championship outfit, having played a key role in Sean O'Driscoll's extensive summer recruitment drive.

O'Driscoll was dismissed as manager following Forest's 4-2 Boxing Day victory over Leeds, making way for Alex McLeish.

When contacted to confirm reports of his exit, Clark said: 'Yes that's true, yes. I don't want to say any more about it, for obvious reasons, but that is true.

'It's a shock, it's certainly a shock. Right out of the blue – a real shock.'

Forest have had a big clear-out since sacking Sean O'Driscoll

Wholesale changes: Forest have had a big clear-out since sacking Sean O'Driscoll

Juventus hope to sign Didier Drogba from Shanghai Shenhua

Drogba to Juventus Club director reveals plans to beat AC Milan to striker's signature

By
Press Association Reporter

PUBLISHED:

18:32 GMT, 7 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:39 GMT, 7 January 2013

Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has confirmed the Serie A club have enquired about the availability of Shanghai Shenhua striker Didier Drogba.

The Bianconeri have already made an approach to sign Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente on a Bosman free transfer in the summer, but with Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner sidelined through injury, the Italian champions are eager to bolster their immediate options.

Quoted on calciomercato.com, Marotta told television programme Domenica Sportiva: 'Drogba We are always making enquiries and we have made one for him.

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

'We have asked about his availability and after that we will look at the financial aspects and talk to the coach.'

Juve boss Conte had previously ruled out any approach for the former Chelsea striker, but player recruitment is overseen by Marotta.

A person claiming to be Drogba's agent, Carlos Arino Bajo, had claimed Drogba had an option to end his two-and-a-half year contract in China, a claim later rejected by the London-based Sports PR Company.

Bajo had told tuttomercato.com: 'Didier
has a termination agreement with the Chinese club and I think he has a
lot of possibilities to move to Italy in January.

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

'There is real interest from Juventus and AC Milan, and it is the same from Didier regarding the transfer.

'There have been contacts with both clubs and next week we will hear
from them again. He would love to compete in one of the world's best
leagues, such as the Italian Serie A.'

But the Sports PR Company, who count Drogba and several of his former
Chelsea team-mates among their clients, responded through their official
Twitter account.

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

The company tweeted: 'Please note, these quotes are not correct. This
guy is not Didier's agent, his sole agent is Thierno Seydi (a
FIFA-registered agent based in Senegal).'

Drogba has been training with Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions
League in May, in the lead-up to the African Nations Cup which begins in
South Africa on January 19.

Dean Saunders to speak to Wolves

Saunders set for quick Wolves appointment as Doncaster boss heads for talks

– Mick McCarthy

Feb 2012 – Jul 2012 – Terry Connor

Jul 2012 – Jan 2013 – Stale Solbakken

Their defeat by Luton Town was the final straw following a series of incidents which have suggested all is not well at Molineux.

Paint was tipped over Solbakken's car last month and he openly admitted having fierce discussions with Wolves' players in the dressing-room following a series of defeats both before and after Christmas.

A club statement read: 'Wolves have announced Stale Solbakken has left the club with immediate effect.

'The club has also terminated the contracts of Johan Lange, assistant manager and Patrick Weiser, first-team coach.'

Kevin Thelwell, head of football development and recruitment, will take charge of first-team training until Saunders is appointed.

Wolves were out-battled against Luton

Overwhelmed: Wolves were out-battled against Luton

Arsene Wenger reveals Arsenal will never discover next Lionel Messi

Fans expect me to discover the next Messi… not just promising young players, reveals Wenger as he sets his sights on Holtby

Wenger reveals he snubbed Ba for Giroud last summer

Gunners boss says Michu was never on the club's radar

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:04 GMT, 4 January 2013

As time ticks on in the January transfer window, Arsene Wenger offered a fascinating insight into modern-day recruitment methods on Thursday.

Stressing that the job was tougher than when he arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, he admitted that the pressure is always on ‘to find the next Lionel Messi’.

Wenger’s exceptional record in the transfer market, especially in his early years as Arsenal’s manager, is up there with the very best. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Edu, Lauren and Kolo Toure were among his finest acquisitions.

One-off: Don't expect a Lionel Messi clone at Arsenal any time soon

One-off: Don't expect a Lionel Messi clone at Arsenal any time soon

Mastermind: Wenger's scouting network uncovered the likes of Patrick Vieira

Mastermind: Wenger's scouting network uncovered the likes of Patrick Vieira

When they were winning trophies he was the supreme talent-spotter, well ahead of the rest in England.

Wenger said: ‘People want to see the next Lionel Messi – they don’t want to see a promising guy. The name of the player gives people hope, but when they haven’t heard of them people are already sceptical.

‘It’s much more difficult for us now. The competition is higher. We are trying to diversify a bit more because we are limited in England. A new market that is very interesting is Japan – it’s very competitive.

‘The country where we were really competitive in the past was France, but they produce less top players than they did, say, 15 years ago.

‘The emerging countries look to be Germany and Spain – they have taken over from France and they have many good, young players.’

One of them, Lewis Holtby, plays in Germany for Schalke 04 and Wenger admitted on Thursday that he is interested in signing him.

On the radar: German international midfielder Lewis Holtby

On the radar: German international midfielder Lewis Holtby

Holtby, 22, has made it clear that he will not be signing a new contract at the Veltins-Arena and will be leaving at the end of the season on a free transfer. Wenger added: ‘We have looked at him, yes,’ but that is as far as he would be drawn on the Germany midfielder.

He also admitted that Chelsea’s latest recruit, Demba Ba, was a target last summer, but he opted instead for Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud.

Wenger said: ‘It was Giroud or Demba Ba in the summer — they are very similar players. I was a bit cautious about the noises on Ba’s knee injury, but someone told me the problem he has is manageable and can be prevented.’

Wenger has other targets in January, but Arsenal are being out-manoeuvred by Manchester United in the chase for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

In terms of trophy-winning potential, Arsenal cannot compete with United and they are aware that Zaha is right at the top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s wishlist.

Second favourites: Arsenal are behind United in the running for Zaha

Second favourites: Arsenal are behind United in the running for Zaha

With Theo Walcott expected to sign a new contract with Arsenal in the coming weeks, it may be that Wenger’s interest in the Championship’s best young player fades.

Instead he will turn to the Continent again, reminding his scouts that the demand at Arsenal is to sign only the best talent.

Wenger conceded on Thursday that although he was aware of Michu before he signed for Swansea in the summer, he didn’t realise quite what a threat he would prove in the Premier League.

Over the Ba; Wenger declined the chance to sign the Newcastle striker last summer and instead chose Olivier Giroud

Over the Ba; Wenger declined the chance to sign the Newcastle striker last summer and instead chose Olivier Giroud

On Sunday the Gunners will come across him again when they travel to the Liberty Stadium for their FA Cup third-round tie against Swansea.

Wenger added: ‘Honestly, Michu was not on our radar. You needed to have really deep knowledge of the market in Spain to do that. Michael Laudrup did because he has the connections.

‘We keep our scouts alert, but when you are a big club like Arsenal your scouts are a little bit more cautious about players.

‘Naturally they are less likely to look at players with smaller clubs. But what Michu is doing is not accidental. He is a really good player.’

Arsene Wenger reveals scouting methods; Lewis Holtby Arsenal target

Wenger reveals the secrets behind his window shopping… and he's after Holtby

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 3 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:41 GMT, 4 January 2013

As time ticks on in the January transfer window, Arsene Wenger offered a fascinating insight into modern-day recruitment methods on Thursday.

Stressing that the job was tougher than when he arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, he admitted that the pressure is always on ‘to find the next Lionel Messi’.

Wenger’s exceptional record in the transfer market, especially in his early years as Arsenal’s manager, is up there with the very best. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Edu, Lauren and Kolo Toure were among his finest acquisitions.

Mastermind: Wenger's scouting network uncovered the likes of Patrick Vieira

Mastermind: Wenger's scouting network uncovered the likes of Patrick Vieira

When they were winning trophies he was the supreme talent-spotter, well ahead of the rest in England.

Wenger said: ‘People want to see the next Lionel Messi – they don’t want to see a promising guy. The name of the player gives people hope, but when they haven’t heard of them people are already sceptical.

‘It’s much more difficult for us now. The competition is higher. We are trying to diversify a bit more because we are limited in England. A new market that is very interesting is Japan – it’s very competitive.

‘The country where we were really competitive in the past was France, but they produce less top players than they did, say, 15 years ago.

‘The emerging countries look to be Germany and Spain – they have taken over from France and they have many good, young players.’

One of them, Lewis Holtby, plays in Germany for Schalke 04 and Wenger admitted on Thursday that he is interested in signing him.

On the radar: German international midfielder Lewis Holtby

On the radar: German international midfielder Lewis Holtby

Holtby, 22, has made it clear that he will not be signing a new contract at the Veltins-Arena and will be leaving at the end of the season on a free transfer. Wenger added: ‘We have looked at him, yes,’ but that is as far as he would be drawn on the Germany midfielder.

He also admitted that Chelsea’s latest recruit, Demba Ba, was a target last summer, but he opted instead for Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud.

Wenger said: ‘It was Giroud or Demba Ba in the summer — they are very similar players. I was a bit cautious about the noises on Ba’s knee injury, but someone told me the problem he has is manageable and can be prevented.’

Wenger has other targets in January, but Arsenal are being out-manoeuvred by Manchester United in the chase for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

In terms of trophy-winning potential, Arsenal cannot compete with United and they are aware that Zaha is right at the top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s wishlist.

Second favourites: Arsenal are behind United in the running for Zaha

Second favourites: Arsenal are behind United in the running for Zaha

With Theo Walcott expected to sign a new contract with Arsenal in the coming weeks, it may be that Wenger’s interest in the Championship’s best young player fades.

Instead he will turn to the Continent again, reminding his scouts that the demand at Arsenal is to sign only the best talent.

Wenger conceded on Thursday that although he was aware of Michu before he signed for Swansea in the summer, he didn’t realise quite what a threat he would prove in the Premier League.

On Sunday the Gunners will come across him again when they travel to the Liberty Stadium for their FA Cup third-round tie against Swansea.

Wenger added: ‘Honestly, Michu was not on our radar. You needed to have really deep knowledge of the market in Spain to do that. Michael Laudrup did because he has the connections.

‘We keep our scouts alert, but when you are a big club like Arsenal your scouts are a little bit more cautious about players.

‘Naturally they are less likely to look at players with smaller clubs. But what Michu is doing is not accidental. He is a really good player.’

Fears continue over Salford"s future after club cancel friendly with Leigh

Fears continue over Salford's future after club cancel winter friendly with Leigh

|

UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 21 December 2012

Salford have called off their festive friendly against Leigh amid continuing uncertainty over the club's future.

The City Reds, who are due in court on January 7 to face a winding-up petition, say they are unable to raise a team for the friendly, which was due to take place at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, December 30.

Reds coach Phil Veivers, who has been able to make just one new signing so far for Super League XVIII, said: 'It's unfortunate but we had to make the right call.

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

Game over: The clash at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium has been called off

'We have a few too many knocks and niggles this week and, as everybody knows we are a bit light on personnel at the moment anyway with the current situation.

'We felt it was better to give the boys an extended break over Christmas and prepare ourselves fully for the Swinton game on January 6.'

Salford's bank account remains frozen and recruitment hinges on new investment in the club taking place.

The club, who are faced with a tax bill in the region of 50,000, need to find around 600,000 in the next six weeks to pay off their debts.