Edwin Huxley - Friday 24.01.14, 17:16pm
Spurs striker Jermain Defoe has probably given followers of the Premier League the biggest surprise so far in this season’s January transfer window.
Defoe has announced that he’ll be moving to Toronto FC in the Canadian Major League at the end of February. In doing so, it looks likely that he’s more or less ruled himself out of an England squad place and the odds for him being picked have already lengthened to around 6/1. Realistically, the only way Roy Hodgson will pick him to join the squad in Brazil now is if he is hit by a series of other players having injury problems.
With those kinds of odds, though, it may well be worth getting a bet on now, just in case a series of different circumstances lead to Hodgson picking Defoe. If you’re looking for a free bet, you should take a look at 32Red an online casino that also has a sports book. When you open an account at 32Red, for every £10 you put in, the site adds another £32 and you could use any bonus winnings to have a bet on the footie.
So why would the Tottenham striker make such a move? All we can do is speculate, because there must have been many conversations leading up to Defoe’s decision, and we’re simply not privy to the details of these. Maybe the England manager had already told Jermain he was out of the running for the England squad or perhaps he didn’t see eye to eye with the new Spurs manager Tim Sherwood.
But for Defoe, by jumping ship from the Premier League and moving to Canada, he’s really more or less finished his international career as this would the last World Cup he realistically had a chance of taking part in. It seems to have been his own decision and there’s been no explanation as to why he would want to miss out on one last World Cup. Of course, he’s still saying he could be picked for the squad, but he’s kind of obliged to say that – in public, at least.
So far this season, Defoe has been on good form for Spurs, with a recent goal against Crystal Palace and in theory, he could still be picked to play for Tottenham in games up until the end of February. He moved to Spurs in 2004 for £7m and during his time there has had 177 appearances and scored 64 goals. He’s also been a regular player for England in this time, earning 55 caps and scoring 19 goals for his country. But with a four year contract about to begin with Toronto FC, it has to be unlikely that he’ll make his England cap tally up to 56.
Edwin Huxley - Friday 17.01.14, 09:44am
Hull City have completed the signing of Everton striker Nikica Jelavic on a three-and-a-half-year deal for a club record fee believed to be in the region of £6.5million. Steve Bruce had been looking at bolstering his attacking options in a bid to avoid relegation this season, and the signing of Jelavic is expected to be followed by another striker, with West Brom’s Shane Long tipped by Betfair to be the next to join the Tigers this January.
Jelavic arrives at Hull following a mixed two years at Goodison Park. After arriving at Everton from Rangers for £5.5million at the beginning of 2012, the 28-year-old forward went on to score nine goals in his first 13 appearances for the Toffees. Last year wasn’t as successful for the Croatia international, however, scoring just three goals during the entire year and slipping down the pecking order following Roberto Martinez arrival in the summer.
With Jelavic looking to improve his World Cup hopes ahead of this summer’s tournament in Brazil, the striker has now joined a Hull side that are 10th in the Premier League, five points ahead of the bottom three, but still among the favourites with Betfair to be right in the relegation dog-fight this season.
“I hope that we can build on the great start to the season and become a really strong Premier League team over the coming years. It is a good club. It didn’t take long to realise that it was right for me. It’s a newly promoted club, but I can see straight away that there is a lot of ambition here,” said Jelavic.
After scoring twice for Everton in the FA Cup before signing for Hull, Jelavic will be hoping he can build on his brace and go on a similar scoring streak to the one he went on following his arrival at Goodison two years ago. If Jelavic can score 10 or more goals before the end of the season, Hull could well prove many Betfair fans wrong and avoid the drop this season.
Edwin Huxley - Monday 13.01.14, 18:38pm
West Brom have made the somewhat surprising decision to appoint former Real Betis manager, Pepe Mel, as their new head coach on an 18-month contract. The Spaniard arrives at The Hawthorns to replace Steve Clarke as West Brom manager, filling a position that had been available since December.
Clarke was relieved of his duties following a poor run of four straight defeats left the club as a popular pick for relegation with football betting fans. While the Scotsman’s departure came as a surprise to many Baggies fans, the appointment of Pepe Mel will have been equally as eyebrow raising.
Despite leading Betis to the Europa League at the end of last season with a seventh place finish in La Liga, Mel was given his marching orders from the club he made his name with as a player after a disappointing start to the season.
After being linked with the job in the immediate aftermath of Clarke’s sacking, Mel had initially distanced himself from the position, although the 50-year old has now decided to accept the offer from the Premier League strugglers.
West Brom sporting and technical director, Richard Garlick, told Albion’s official website: “I’m delighted to welcome Pepe to the club. His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the club forward.”
“Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our number one candidate. He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football.”
Mel had a relatively successful playing career before stepping into management, making a name for himself as a striker with Betis after coming through the ranks at Real Madrid.
Going straight into coaching after hanging up his boots with CD Coslada, Mel cut his coaching teeth in the lower leagues with the likes of Murcia and Tenerife before stepping up to take charge of Getafe, Rayo Vallecano, Alaves, and Corinthians.
The Spanish coach takes over a West Brom team deep in relegation trouble. With no Premier League experience as a player or a coach, West Brom fans will be rightly concerned as to whether the club have made the right decision to hire Mel as the man to save the Baggies from the drop.
It remains to be seen how well the new man is backed in the January transfer window, but Mel is inheriting a West Brom squad that doesn’t have too much wrong with it. A tweak here, a prolific goalscorer there; the Baggies could very well finish this season safely nestled in mid-table.
Terry Lane - Wednesday 01.01.14, 11:49am
Jose Mourinho has suggested his team needs two stellar signings. One would surely be a world class striker after attempts to lure Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge failed in August, resulting in Chelsea and Mourinho turning to Russia and veteran striker, Samuel Eto. Eto & Fernando Torres have shown sporadic displays of their previous peak performances. But Chelsea lack and desperately need a proven, inform world class ‘20 goals a season ‘ striker – the likes of Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Robert Lewandowski or Radamel Falcao. Can the ‘happy one’ and the temptation of Russian millions be enough to help Chelsea sign a big star name in the January Transfer Window?
Chelsea isn’t the only team that are a striker light if they are going to challenge for this seasons’ Premier League title. While Manchester City and Manchester United squads boast four strikers each that could walk into the starting eleven of most Premier League teams, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool will also be considering any top strikers that may help their push for a Premier League title this season.
Furthermore, squad players not getting as many first team chances as they would like may well be tempted to hand-in a transfer request if they believe circulating rumours. The likes of Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Demba Ba (Chelsea) & Jermain Defoe (Spurs) may well consider a move to be their best option, especially as this is a World Cup year!
In July Christian Benteke handed-in a transfer request amidst media speculation that the young Belgian striker was wanted by several top clubs. He later signed a new contract and Villa allegedly turned down an offer from Spurs that fell short of their £25 million price tag. Personally, I could see Benteke moving to Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool or Chelsea. Though considering Mourinho has publicly declared Romelu Lukakua to not be ready to play for Chelsea, I wonder if he believes Benteke could be a more perfect replacement for Didier Drogba.
Another young Belgium striker that will be on the Premier League radar is Standard Liege’s Michy Batshuayi. The 20-year-old £8 million-rated striker has already scored 13 goals this season & is being touted as the ‘new Romelu Lukaku’. Other strikers that may be tempted to the English Premier League in the next few weeks include Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid) and Fernando Llorente (Juventus).
If recent January Transfer Windows are anything to go by, expect at least one big name signing and a last minute flurry of activity; and if Chelsea doesn’t sign a striker, I’ll eat my hat!
Terry Lane - Saturday 21.12.13, 16:44pm
Tubesology: The world according to Soccer AM’s leading pundit
Back in the day when Helen Chamberlain was joined on the sofa by co-presenter Tim Lovejoy, a young 16-year-old called Peter Dale joined Soccer AM – an anarchic football-related Saturday morning programme on Sky Sports. According to Lovejoy, Dale was only kept on because of his tea-making skills. But over the coming weeks, Peter ‘Tubes‘ Dale received an instant cult following when he would be ushered on to ask guests ‘one question and one question only.
Soccer AM’s very own, Tubes (AKA Peter Dale) releases his first book – Tubesology: The world according to Soccer AM’s leading pundit. The book includes Tubes own story along with many of his best bits, including some of his best questions, rubbish raps, and most embarrassing moments.
The brilliantly banal and funny line of questioning all began when he asked football legend Frank Worthington ‘whether he had scored more on or off the pitch’. From that moment on, he became a regular fixture. His well-loved ‘One Question and One Question Only’ segment has ever since, been a highlight of Soccer AM.
Armed with a unique and original style, and sometimes controversial and bizarre line of questioning, Tubes has been known to provoke unpredictable and often hilarious reactions from the celebrities he interviews. He was apparently put in a headlock by Denzel Washington after rapping: ‘You’re a top man, you are Den, I’ve been rapping since I was ten, rapping’s for life not just for Christmas’. So rubbish its brilliant!
Tubesology is a light-hearted book that will make a great Christmas gift for any fan of Soccer AM.
Tubesology – The world according to Soccer AM’s leading pundit is published by John Blake Publishing (hardback, £9.99).
Win a copy of Tubesology – The world according to Soccer AM’s leading pundit