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Oriol Romeu would welcome the signing of David Villa

Bienvenido! Spanish compatriot Romeu would welcome Villa's arrival at the Bridge

PUBLISHED:

20:24 GMT, 27 December 2012

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UPDATED:

20:24 GMT, 27 December 2012

Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu would welcome the signing of David Villa with open arms if the prolific Spain international ends up moving to Stamford Bridge during the transfer window.

Chelsea have been closely linked with a move for the 31-year-old striker, who has been in and out of the Barcelona starting line-up this season since returning from his long injury lay-off after breaking his leg.

Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said earlier this week the Nou Camp outfit had no intention of letting Villa leave in January.

Target: Chelsea want Fernando Torres's compatriot David Villa to move from Barcelona on loan

Target: Chelsea want Fernando Torres's compatriot David Villa to move from Barcelona on loan

But Romeu would be delighted if his fellow Spaniard did make the switch to Chelsea.

'I don't know that Villa's situation is, but if a great player like him comes, the record goalscorer with the national team, he would be welcomed and we would be happy,' said Romeu, quoted as telling Spanish radio show Esports Cope.

The Spanish midfielder underwent surgery on a serious knee injury earlier this month after starting four out of Rafa Benitez's first five games as manager of Chelsea.

Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta hopes Villa stays put, telling reporters today: 'I don't know if there's a chance (he could leave), I don't think so, although for me personally I wouldn't like it if he did, because Villa is a vital player.'

As reported in the Mail yesterday, Villa provides an attractive short-term solution for Chelsea.

The striker is Spain's record goalscorer with 53 international goals in 85 caps but does not fit the Barca ideal for young players with their best years ahead of him.

Torres and Villa formed a formidable partnership at International level but VIlla has only scored five goals in 18 appearances this season and is falling from favour.

Villa is understood to earn 110,000 a week, which is near the top of the Stamford Bridge pay structure but not out of reach.

He can operate at centre forward if
Torres is unavailable or play from wide either side, giving Benitez a
valuable option in his quest to rotate his support strikers and keep
them fresh.

With Daniel Sturridge on the move to Liverpool and Romelu Lukaku preferring to stay at West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea are without a recognised striker beyond Torres, and both Eden Hazard and Victor Moses have been tried in the role with little effect.

Transfer talk: Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu would be delighted if Barca striker David Villa arrived at Stamford Bridge

Transfer talk: Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu would be delighted if Barca striker David Villa arrived at Stamford Bridge

Dovetail Chelsea are looking for Villa to either merge with Spanish team mate Fernado Torres (right) or to provide cover for the striker as Daniel Sturridge may be on his way to Liverpool

Dovetail Chelsea are looking for Villa to either merge with Spanish team mate Fernado Torres (right) or to provide cover for the striker as Daniel Sturridge may be on his way to Liverpool

David Villa is Chelsea loan target

EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea fight to bring in Barca striker Villa on loan in bid to help Torres

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UPDATED:

08:24 GMT, 26 December 2012

Chelsea are preparing to join the dash for Spain and Barcelona striker David Villa as Rafa Benitez seeks firepower to complement Fernando Torres.

Having restored the goal instinct of Torres within a month of taking over from Roberto Di Matteo, Benitez is keen to provide more support and cover for his only established centre forward.

Target: Chelsea want Fernando Torres's compatriot David Villa to move from Barcelona on loan

Target: Chelsea want Fernando Torres's compatriot David Villa to move from Barcelona on loan

Bayer Leverkusen’s versatile young
striker Andre Schurrle remains a serious target but Villa is available,
possibly on a loan deal until the end of the season, which means he
would not interfere with Chelsea’s long-term pursuit of Radamel Falcao.

Benitez accepts it will be difficult
and expensive to prise the Colombia striker Falcao from Atletico Madrid
next month but this swoop — or even a move for Newcastle United’s Demba
Ba — may be more achievable in the summer.

Villa provides an attractive short-term solution for Chelsea. At 31, Spain’s record goalscorer does not
fit their ideal profile for young players with their best years ahead of
them but he is fading from favour at the Nou Camp and knows how to
dovetail with Torres after their years together at international level.

Villa is understood to earn 110,000 a week, which is near the top of the Stamford Bridge pay structure but not out of reach.

He can operate at centre forward if
Torres is unavailable or play from wide either side, giving Benitez a
valuable option in his quest to rotate his support strikers and keep
them fresh.

Arsenal are among other clubs
interested in Villa, who has not started a La Liga game for Barcelona
since mid-November, but the Champions League will not provide any
incentive for the striker because he is already cup-tied in that
competition. However, he would be free to play for Chelsea in the Europa
League.

Support: Villa could play with Torres or replace him up front if he needs a rest

Support: Villa could play with Torres or replace him up front if he needs a rest

Daniel Sturridge’s proposed move to Liverpool means that Chelsea must recruit in January.

The back-up option is to recall
Romelu Lukaku from West Bromwich Albion, although it is widely agreed
that the best thing for the teenager’s continued development is to spend
the rest of the season at the Hawthorns.

Radar: Demba Ba and Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle are both other options for Rafa Benitez

Radar: Demba Ba and Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle are both other options for Rafa Benitez

Radar: Demba Ba and Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle are both other options for Rafa Benitez

Winger Victor Moses played as a
centre forward for the last 23 minutes of the 8-0 romp against Aston
Villa on Sunday but he has been named in the Nigeria squad for the
Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria have also selected John Mikel Obi and
have asked players to report to a training camp in Portugal on Thursday.

Eden Hazard featured at centre forward
in a disastrous experiment away to Juventus in the Champions League.
Chelsea lost 3-0, a defeat which virtually sealed their fate in the
competition, and Di Matteo was sacked a few hours later.

Didn't work out: Eden Hazard played up front for Chelsea against Juventus

Didn't work out: Eden Hazard played up front for Chelsea against Juventus

Theo Walcott to sign new Arsenal deal as Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain follow

It's good to talk: Walcott makes peace as Arsenal agree deals with Wilshere, Gibbs, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jenkinson

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UPDATED:

23:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

Theo Walcott has held peace talks with Arsene Wenger as Arsenal close in on securing the futures of their British core.

It is the first time since August 28, when the England forward turned down a five-year contract worth 75,000 a week, that formal discussions between player and club have taken place.

And in further good news Sportsmail understands Arsenal are set to agree deals with five of their other young British stars by Friday.

Crisp finisher: Theo Walcott hit the fifth as Arsenal demolished Reading, and the 23-year-old looks set to end uncertainty about his future by extending his Arsenal deal

Crisp finisher: Theo Walcott hit the fifth as Arsenal demolished Reading, and the 23-year-old looks set to end uncertainty about his future by extending his Arsenal deal

Made up: Arsene Wenger and Walcott

Sources close to Walcott insist the 23-year-old wants to stay at Arsenal. However, he is said to have made it clear he is still currently unwilling to pen fresh terms.

As well as wanting a deal closer to 100,000 a week, Walcott also wants assurances over his role at the club.

The former Southampton man felt he was being treated unfairly by Wenger during the early weeks of the season and spent the majority of Arsenal’s opening games sat on the bench. This decision is understood to have been motivated by the contract dispute rather than footballing reasons.

In addition, Walcott also wants assurances that he will be given more opportunities to play as a central striker — where he played against Reading on Monday and scored in the 5-2 win.

The main man: Walcott wants to be utilised as a No 9

The main man: Walcott wants to be utilised as a No 9

And while it seems there will be no quick resolution to the contract saga, the latest discussions are viewed as a significant step towards persuading Walcott to stay.

It is believed that a compromise solution of an 85,000-a-week contract may be enough to persuade him to sign.

Walcott may be some way from signing but Arsenal are convinced they have agreed new deals with Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson and it is thought they will sign by the end of the week.

Sportsmail exclusively revealed on November 28 that England midfielder Wilshere was set to sign fresh terms — and he will put pen to paper on a new five-year contract worth 80,000 a week.

Staying power: Jack Wilshere will sign a new deal at the Emirates

Staying power: Jack Wilshere will sign a new deal at the Emirates

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Gibbs and Jenkinson have agreed five-year deals worth between 40,000 and 60,000 a week.

Arsenal’s push to keep their best British talent indicates a deliberate shift in Wenger’s thinking.

After basing his sides around foreign players for years, the manager seems to have had a change of heart after the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all left the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking after the thumping win at Reading, Wenger said: ‘We have a core of good young English players and I hope we will be able to build a team around them and that they can achieve something together.’

Bright young things Oxlade-Chamberlain

Bright young things: Kieran Gibbs

Bright young things: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) and Kieran Gibbs have also signed new deals

Tottenham"s Jan Vertonghen snubbed Arsenal after Arsene Wenger planned to play him in midfield

Spurs defender Vertonghen reveals he snubbed Arsenal after Wenger planned to play him in MIDFIELD

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UPDATED:

18:35 GMT, 13 December 2012

Jan Vertonghen turned down a move to Arsenal after hearing that Arsene Wenger wanted to deploy him in midfield, the Tottenham player has revealed.

Vertonghen joined Spurs from Ajax this summer and has gone on to become a fans' favourite after a series of excellent displays for Andre Villas-Boas' team.

The Belgian started his White Hart Lane career as a centre-back but soon moved over to left-back – the position he plays in for his country – after an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Versatile: Jan Vertonghen has been deployed at left back, although the Belgian sees himself as a centre half

Versatile: Jan Vertonghen has been deployed at left back, although the Belgian sees himself as a centre half

Gunners manager Wenger, who is under pressure after Arsenal's poor start to the campaign, was interested in signing Vertonghen, but the 25-year-old instead opted to move to the Gunners' north London rivals after it became clear that the Frenchman wanted him to play in midfield.

'(Arsenal's interest) was concrete, but they wanted me to be a controller in the midfield, an Emmanuel Petit-type,' Vertonghen told Dutch website NUsport.

'I'm not afraid of competition, but the overall picture of Spurs appealed to me more.'

Spurs manager Villas-Boas initially moved Gareth Bale to left-back following Assou-Ekotto's injury, but Vertonghen has been a more effective solution during the Cameroonian's absence.

With Assou-Ekotto now back in full training following his three-month lay-off, Vertonghen looks set to return to the heart of the defence, much to his delight.

He added: 'Ultimately, I just came to play at centre back. Gareth Bale had to play left back, but it did not work so he pushed forward and I moved to full-back.

'I see myself still as a centre-back. I'm not agile enough to play against players like Nani and (Raheem) Sterling.'

Slipping through the net: Damien Duff eludes Vertonghen

Slipping through the net: Damien Duff eludes Vertonghen

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, says any new recruits he adds in January must subscribe to his and Tottenham's attacking philosophy.

Speaking in a question and answer session on Twitter, the Portuguese, who has been linked with moves for Joao Moutinho, Fernando Llorente and Willian, said: 'The players we are trying to bring in and have here also embrace that philosophy which we want to carry into the future.

'(Being at Spurs) is great because of the philosophy of the club want to implement, what I think about football and the way we should play. I think we should have a go, play well and be open.'

Despite last weekend's defeat at Everton, Villas-Boas' team go in to Sunday's game against Swansea in fifth place, just three points behind Chelsea.

The 35-year-old, who lasted just under nine months in charge at Stamford Bridge, has been pleased by his start to life at White Hart Lane.

He said: 'I have encountered a tremendous group of people, staff & players. (It was) important to get (a) positive response, which we have had since we arrived.

'It has been an exciting five months and we hope we can keep doing well in order to repay the confidence given to us from the beginning.'

Wycombe, meanwhile, have announced that Spurs goalkeeper Jordan Archer has extended his loan spell with the npower League Two side until the end of the season.

Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United in January

Fed-up Macheda wants to quit Old Trafford when transfer window re-opens

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 17 October 2012

Federico Macheda will look to quit Manchester United in the New Year with the striker increasingly unsettled with his lack of first-team opportunities.

The Italy Under 21 international finds himself behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in the pecking order at Old Trafford.

He spent the end of last season on loan at QPR but managed only six appearances for Mark Hughes' side, while he had a spell in his homeland with Sampdoria in 2011.

Let me go: Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United when the transfer window re-opens in January

Let me go: Federico Macheda wants to leave Manchester United when the transfer window re-opens in January

Macheda's last outing for United came on Boxing Day last year as a substitute in the 5-0 Barclays Premier League win over Wigan.

But having spent this term stuck in the reserves, the 21-year-old's agent Giovanni Bia has revealed he wants to leave in January when the transfer window re-opens.

'How can he be decisive for the team if he never plays' Bia told ItaSportPress.

'Manchester United have some phenomenal players in attack, so it is truly difficult for Federico to find space. It’s not true what they write in the English papers that he’s going through a bad spell.

'He wants to play and if he cannot do so by January then we’ll try to find an alternative solution. I will talk to Sir Alex Ferguson over the next few days.

'Federico was requested by German and Spanish teams over the summer, but the English club preferred to keep hold of him.

'I hope they understand the situation and let him leave in January, because it makes no sense to keep a 21-year-old on the bench.'

Macheda was tipped to have a bright future under Sir Alex Ferguson at United when he spectacularly burst on the scene in April 2009, coming off the bench on his debut to seal an important winner against Aston Villa.

Liverpool will not rename Anfield

Liverpool avoid fans' wrath by ruling out Anfield name change

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UPDATED:

08:43 GMT, 16 October 2012

Liverpool have ruled out renaming Anfield to help fund the proposed 150million redevelopment of the stadium.

The Reds had previously held talks with a number of interested parties when they were considering building a new 300m ground.

But after deciding to remain at Anfield, managing director Ian Ayre has confirmed the stadium will retain its famous name.

Staying put: Liverpool will redevelop Anfield to increase the capacity

Staying put: Liverpool will redevelop Anfield to increase the capacity

‘There won’t be a naming rights deal for Anfield,’ he said. ‘It was only something we looked at when we were assessing the option of a new stadium.

‘Naming rights was a difficult process but we weren’t without our suitors. We have had and still have interest around it.

‘A new stadium would never have happened without it but that was only one part of it.

‘We had to balance the two possible options. It was about finding the best solution for the club and we feel very strongly that this is the right one.

‘Our preference was always to stay at Anfield and this is a major step forward.’

Changes: Sybil Road is one of the streets that will be affected

Changes: Sybil Road is one of the streets that will be affected

The planned project will increase the capacity from 45,000 to 60,000 and will involve a number of streets behind the Main Stand being demolished.

Under the plans, Lothair Road, Alroy Road and Sybil Road will be cleared and residents affected will be rehoused.

The redevelopment has been designed to avoid a reduction in capacity while the work is carried out while Ayre has denied that manager Brendan Rodgers will see his transfer budget slashed.

‘The right solution is the right economic solution,’ he added.

‘Rather than it detracting from our spending in the transfer market, the whole point of doing this is to actually increase our revenues.

‘If we look at our biggest competitors with a bigger capacity… their matchday revenue is significantly ahead of ours.

Plans: John Henry (right) had considered moving the club

Plans: John Henry (right) had considered moving the club

‘This whole initiative is designed to generate additional revenues so the ultimate solution has to be one that increases the overall output through the process rather than decreasing it.

‘We’ll find the right financing solution, the right return on investment to deliver the right amount of additional revenue to support the long-term future of the football club.’

West Ham facing delay over Olympic Stadium announcement

West Ham facing delay over Olympic Stadium announcement

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 10 October 2012

West Ham may have to wait until next year to find out whether they can move into the Olympic Stadium.

The Premier League club remain in discussions with the London Legacy Development Corporation about who would part-fund the move and what alterations – such as retractable seating and toilet facilities – would be made to the 486million stadium.

Wanted: West Ham remain hopeful about moving into the Olympic Stadium

Wanted: West Ham remain hopeful about moving into the Olympic Stadium

Leyton Orient, a football business college and a consortium hoping to hold a Formula One race on the site are also interested in becoming the new tenants, but the decision is likely to be delayed by a couple of months.

LLDC chief executive Dennis Hone told The Guardian: 'If we can't come to a conclusion, in the scheme of things if it slips another month or two I would rather get the right solution. Yes, the stadium is tricky, but it's tricky because we want to get it right.

'I would hate to bung someone in there and see it fall apart in five years. If it was a knockout (verdict) it would be an easy decision, but it's not.'

Sam Allardyce delighted with Andy Carroll England call-up

Allardyce hoping Carroll's England call-up will help striker in fitness bid

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 4 October 2012

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce welcomed Andy Carroll's international call-up as the perfect solution for both club and country.

Carroll has been named in the England squad to play San Marino and Poland, despite a hamstring injury limiting him to just one start for the Hammers this season.

Allardyce believes a stint with England will improve Carroll's match fitness – providing Roy Hodgson takes good care of him.

In the hunt: Andy Carroll has been selected by Roy Hodgson

In the hunt: Andy Carroll has been selected by Roy Hodgson

'I am glad (he has been called up),' Allardyce said 'Going off to England because he is short on match fitness would be a good thing for us and a good thing for him.

'I will liaise with Roy. Andy is in a position to play for him but (I want them to) just be careful about fatigue because fatigue is what brings injuries.

'Andy's match fitness is a little behind where we would like it to be.

'Helping him to perform for England and catch up on match fitness would be an ideal solution for the pair of us.'

Carroll played 23 minutes off the bench against QPR on Monday and Allardyce is weighing up whether to start his on-loan striker against Arsenal on Saturday.

Hammers midfielder Matt Taylor expressed his surprise on Twitter that Carroll was not joined in the England squad by Matt Jarvis, Mark Noble or Kevin Nolan.

Noble produced a man of the match performance in West Ham's 2-1 win at Loftus Road and Allardyce revealed he is on England's radar.

Pleased: Sam Allardyce is happy about the call-up

Pleased: Sam Allardyce is happy about the call-up

'I think it depends how Mark plays this season,' Allardyce said.

'I don't think it is about Mark Noble playing for England after three or four good games.

'He has pressed the buttons to alert Roy and his staff to come and have a look at him and see if he continues the good form he has shown in the Premier League up to now.

'There is a transition going on in the England set-up and Mark at 24 is an experienced Premier League player now.

Potential: Mark Noble (right) might be called up if he keeps up his form

Potential: Mark Noble (right) might be called up if he keeps up his form

'If he is the public eye and doing well then I think England will continue to monitor him and see how it goes.'

Allardyce expects defender Winston Reid, who has been integral to West Ham's promising start to the season, to be fit to face Arsenal after he was knocked out in the win against QPR.

But West Ham are less certain about the fitness of left-back Joey O'Brien, who was forced off with a hamstring injury at Loftus Road.

Sunderland launch 10m bid for Adam Johnson

Sunderland set to pip Spurs and Everton to Johnson after launching 10m bid for City winger

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 19 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sunderland have lodged a 10m bid for Manchester City's Adam Johnson.

The winger is also the subject of interest from Everton and Tottenham, but Sunderland have made the best offer.

City hope to wrap up an 8m deal for Swansea's Scott Sinclair, 23, and are looking at Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic, 22.

Enlarge

Shown the door: Adam Johnson (centre) will be allowed to leave Manchester City

Shown the door: Adam Johnson (centre) will be allowed to leave Manchester City

Such moves could push Johnson, who has also been tracked by Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool, further down the pecking order.

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has also enquired about Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov, 31, and is considering a loan move for Tottenham's Danny Rose, 22.

He is also watching Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha, 19.

After Manchester City's 3-2 victory over Southampton on Sunday, manager Roberto Mancini said that he was willing to let Johnson, 25, find another club before the transfer window closes on August 31.

Hot property: Johnson is being tracked by West Ham, Sunderland and Tottenham

Hot property: Johnson is being tracked by West Ham, Sunderland and Tottenham

'Adam is a young guy,' said Mancini. 'He is a good player and he wants to play. In these 10 days, if we find a good solution for him and he can go to play, maybe it is better.

'I don’t know about a loan. We have two or three situations. We are talking with him about this. But if he stays here I don’t have a problem.'

Luka Modric: PSG prepared to pay 40m

Big-spending PSG prepared to meet Spurs' 40m asking price for Modric

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UPDATED:

08:17 GMT, 25 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Luka Modric's transfer saga has taken another twist after Paris St German indicated they are prepared to meet Tottenham's 40million asking price.

The Croatia midfielder had been expected to join Real Madrid but the Spanish giants are reluctant to pay more than 31m.

Modric has no desire to join PSG but Spurs are determined not to sell their star asset for less than their valuation.

The end of the affair Luka Modric (left) looks set to leave Tottenham

The end of the affair Luka Modric (left) looks set to leave Tottenham

The 26-year-old has attempted to force through a move to Spain by refusing to join his team-mates on the club's American tour.

Modric did return to training on Monday but was fined 80,000 for his ill discipline. Manager Andre Villas-Boas branded his behaviour 'not professional'.

Madrid are keen to take advantage of the situation, hence their refusal to up their bid. They hope to force through a move despite Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy insisting he will keep hold of Modric, whose contract runs until 2015.

Assistant coach Aitor Karanka gave
the clearest indication yet that Madrid want to replace Kaka with Modric this summer.

Karanka told AS: 'We decided he would stay in Madrid. Kaka and the club are working to find a good solution for all parties.'

In demand: PSG have emerged as rivals to Real Madrid to sign Modric

In demand: PSG have emerged as rivals to Real Madrid to sign Modric

Asked about Modric, he added: 'Which club would not want a player like him

'He is an outstanding footballer and had a great tournament (Euro 2012). It is clear that he would fit in Madrid.'

PSG meanwhile have flexed their financial muscle this summer by signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan for a combined 52m and Napoli's Ezequiel Lavezzi for 24m.

Despite Modric not being keen on a move to the French capital, PSG's interest could force Madrid in to a rethink.