Odemwingie: West Brom Demand N500 Million

Osaze-OdemwingiEnglish Premier League club, West Bromwich Albion have slapped a £2 million (about N500 million) transfer tag on Nigerian striker, Peter Odemwingie. The forward has endured a difficult last seven months since unsuccessfully trying to force a transfer to Queens Park Rangers in January.

 

He had been fined, made to use a different dressing room from the rest of the squad, left out from the club’s pre-season tour and compelled to train with the club’s youth team.

 

Another Premier League club, Crystal Palace have shown strong interest in Odemwingie but the latest bid for the 32-year-old’s services came from Dubai-based club, Al Nasr.

 

Al Nasr tabled an £850,000 (about N210 million) bid for the attacker but West Brom are holding out for £2 million.

 

With the forward spending more time away from football at the highest level, he took to Twitter to reveal his new passion – Golf.

 

“I think I need some antiGolf tablets cos the desire to play is getting too much hahaha greetings to everyone ! Brum still hot like in Hawaii,” he tweeted via @OdemwingieP.

Odemwingie joined the Baggies in 2010 but it seems he has finally reached the end of the road at the Hawthorns.

Chelsea Plot 40 Million Pounds Bid For Wayne Rooney

wyne rooneyChelsea are discussing what they consider would be a “knockout” 40 million pounds bid to sign Wayne Rooney. The offer would be vastly higher than their opening bid of under 25 million pounds, which was flatly rejected by Manchester United, who insist the unsettled striker is not for sale.

However, there is an expectation at Chelsea that Rooney can be signed this summer and it is believed the 27-year-old is keen to quit United and join up with new manager Jose Mourinho Mourinho at Stamford Bridge. United manager David Moyes and the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, maintain that Rooney will stay at the club but Chelsea are continuing to test that resolve. The timing of the revelation last week that Rooney felt “angry and confused” with life at United was telling, as it came on the day that Chelsea submitted their bid.

Rooney attempted to seize on comments by Moyes about his role in the United team, which were misinterpreted to suggest he was solely understudy to Robin van Persie, to justify his desire to leave. United have indicated that even if the England international, who has two years left on his current deal, hands in a transfer request he will not be allowed to depart this summer.

While Moyes remains convinced he can persuade him to stay, Sir Alex Ferguson’s continuing presence as a club director is understood to be a central issue in Rooney’s discontent. Rooney remains angry at Ferguson’s claim that he asked for a transfer during a private meeting between the pair in April – a claim denied by the player’s camp.

While Moyes’s appointment as manager has removed the prospect of direct and daily contact with Ferguson, Rooney is aware of the power he still commands at the club. Rooney is Mourinho’s No1 target and Chelsea are working on the make-up of a revised bid. It may be that they offer add-ons which take its value closer to the 40 million pounds figure.

There were claims last week that Chelsea had offered either David Luiz or Juan Mata, plus cash, to try to sign Rooney but this was immediately dismissed by the club. It is understood that Chelsea will make only cash offers for Rooney. Mourinho also insisted that neither player is for sale but it is likely that Chelsea will receive offers from both Barcelona and PSG for Luiz, who could cost up to 45 million pounds. United are also interested in Gareth Bale but accept that Tottenham Hotspur will not sell him this summer. Nevertheless, they may consider a pounds 60?million offer, especially if Rooney is sold.

Wayne Rooney: David Moyes Says Man Utd Striker Not for Sale

waynerooneyafpManchester United manager David Moyes has again insisted Wayne Rooney is not for sale after Chelsea said the England striker is their sole transfer target.

Speaking at a news conference in Sydney, the United boss said: “The club’s position has not changed.”

Continue reading the main story
“We are trying very hard to make some additions”

David MoyesMan Utd boss
Manchester United are currently in Australia preparing for a match against the A-League All Stars in Sydney on Saturday.

The Premier League champions have yet to make any summer signings, having missed out on Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara, although they continue to be linked withEverton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.

United have had a formal offer for Fabregas rejected by Barcelona, but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has left United’s pre-season tour to continue negotiations.

When asked what the latest position is, Moyes said: “I couldn’t tell you exactly, the chief executive [Woodward] is dealing with it. Hopefully we’ll know more in the next few days.

“We are trying very hard to make some additions. Hopefully there will be some good news in the not too distant future.”

Moyes is also keen to discover how the bid to lure Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas to United is progressing.

He said: “I’m in contact with our chief executive who is dealing with the issue and hope to know more in a day or so.”

Chelsea have already had one bid for Rooney rejected.

The 27-year-old has been left “angered and confused” by suggestions he is viewed as back-up to Robin Van Persie at United.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho has exploited the situation by issued a World Cup warning to players who are “second choice” at their club, a statement widely viewed as a message aimed at Rooney.

The striker was at United’s training complex on Thursday for ongoing treatment on his hamstring injury after flying home from the club’s pre-season tour.

 

Sepp Blatter: Still Time For 2022 Qatar World Cup Winter Switch

sepp_blatter_gettyThe boss of world football’s governing body is determined to switch the 2022 World Cup to the winter because of the intense Qatar summer heat.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter plans discussions over the change, which would cause major disruption to various domestic leagues, with his executive committee in October.
He said: “We still have enough time.

“The executive committee will certainly follow my proposal. Then we will have dealt with the topic for good.”
Temperatures can hit 50C in Qatar, with games scheduled to be played in air-conditioned stadiums.
But Blatter said: “The World Cup must be a festival of the people. But for it to be such a festival, you can’t play football in the summer.
“You can cool down the stadiums but you can’t cool down the whole country and you can’t simply cool down the ambience of a World Cup. The players must be able to play in the best conditions to play a good World Cup.”
Speaking via video link, the head of Qatar’s organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, told the conference in Austria: “If it’s a wish of the football community to have the World Cup in winter, then we are open to that.”
Blatter said his change of heart had followed medical information about the effects of the heat on players.
“There has been a fresh medical investigation into what it would be like to play football there in the summer and we have to take into account the health, not of the spectators, but of the players,” he told Sky Germany.
Moving the World Cup to the winter would significantly impact on the the European leagues. Many leagues outside Britain have a winter break but they would need a hiatus of at least six weeks to accommodate national teams preparing for, and playing at, the World Cup finals.
“We have to have the courage – that is Fifa’s executive committee – to play this World Cup in the winter and to start to work out now what impact this will have on the international calendar,” Blatter added.
“It would only be for one year, afterwards you’d be back to the normal routine. But I will advocate that.”
Qatar defeated bids from South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States to win a ballot of Fifa’s 22 executive members for the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Blatter said Brazil might have been the wrong choice to host the 2014 World Cup if the tournament is affected by the wave of protests seen at the Confederations Cup last month.
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets expressing their anger over the costs to stage the World Cup and demanding better public services.
“If this happens again we have to question whether we made the wrong decision awarding the hosting rights,” Blatter said.
“We didn’t do a political debriefing, but we did emphasise the fact of this social unrest being there for the entire duration of the Confederations Cup.
“The government is now aware that next year the World Cup shouldn’t be disturbed.”
He added: “It’s not we who have to learn lessons from the protests in Brazil; politics in Brazil have to do that.”

 

Nsofor, Emenike, Ameobi return, as Keshi picks 20 for Mandela

nsoforRUSSIA-BASED Victor Obinna Nsofor, who last played a competitive game for the Super Eagles in 2011, is among the 20m players listed by Coach Stephen Keshi for Nigeria’s friendly game against South Africa in Durban on August 14.

The game part of the annual Mandela Challenge in honour of ailing former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s greatest statesmen.

Also returning to the national team is another Russia-based star, Emmanuel Emenike, whose goals helped Nigeria to win the 2013 CAF Nations Cup in South Africa, and Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi, who could not be part of the Nations Cup because his club refused to release him for the football fiesta.

Emenike has not played for Nigeria since the Nations Cup due to an injury that kept him out of the game for close to three months.

Victor Moses, who missed the Brazil 2013 Confederations Cup due to injury, is also back ion the team, but goalkeeper and deputy captain of the team, Vincent Enyeama, is left out.

One surprise call up is former junior international forward, Uche Nwofor of Netherland’s VVV Venlo, who will battle for position in a team dominated by the squad

that represented Nigeria at last month’s FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil.

Coach Keshi has placed three homeboys, defenders Benjamin Francis, Solomon Kwambe, striker, Muhammad Gambo and little known Norway-based Samuel Aaron on standby.

The full list

Goalkeepers: Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria)’

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea FC, England); Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves, Nigeria); Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Braga,

Portugal);

Midfielders: Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Fegor Ogude (Valerenga FC, Norway); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); John Ogu (Academica de Coimbra, Portugal); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Nnamdi Oduamadi (AC Milan, Italy); Sunday Mba (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv, Ukraine); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Emmanuel Emenike

(Spartak Moscow, Russia); Obinna Nsofor (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Uche Nwofor (VVV Venlo, Netherlands).

Standby: Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria); Benjamin Francis (Heartland FC, Nigeria); Muhammad Gambo (Kano Pillars, Nigeria); Samuel Aaron (Sarpsborg ‘08 , Norway).

Keshi Renews Call For Okpala’s Return To Eagles

keshiSUPER Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, yesterday renewed his call on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to recall his Assistant, Sylvanus Okpala, who was sacked by the football house after helping the team to victory at the South Africa 2013 AFCON.

Keshi, who made the appeal Wednesday at a media parley in Abuja, noted that of Okpala’s absence was affecting the team negatively, stressing that the Super Eagles’ former captain understood the psychology and management of the players.

Okpala, who was reported to have had misunderstanding with the NFF over the decision to cut his allowances in South Africa, when the federation downsized the Super Eagles’ due to lack of fund.

Keshi, who described Okpala as a passionate hard working member of the technical crew, regretted that his absence has created a vacuum in the Super Eagles’ family.

“I hope he will join us once more, because he is a part of this team… he is somebody that works very hard like every one of us here and he has so much passion for the game.

“It is a shame that he is not here, we have been trying to make them see reason to return him to the team because we need him. If he returns to the team, it will be a great plus for us,” Keshi said.

United ‘Reject £10m Plus Luiz Or Mata For Rooney’

rooneyRooney’s future is in real doubt after it was reported he was “angry and confused” at his recent treatment by United, following suggestions from David Moyes that he will play second fiddle toRobin van Persie next season.

Chelsea now appear to have made a big opening bid for the England international, though it is believed United have rejected their attempted swap deal involving one of Luiz or Mata and £10m in cash.

Wednesday’s sensational transfer news – reported simultaneously by various newspapers and broadcasters, presumably following an off-the-record briefing – not only calls into question Rooney’s future but also that of Chelsea’s two stars.

Spain international Mata was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year last season after claiming 28 assists and 20 goals in all competitions for the Blues.

Brazil star Luiz, meanwhile, ended the season as Chelsea’s on-pitch captain following a series of commanding performances both at centre-back and in midfield.

On Tuesday, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said during the club’s pre-season tour of Thailand that Rooney’s problems at United would have wider implications for England.

“If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected,” said Mourinho, who also admitted last week that Rooney was “a player I like.”

Brazilians Want Eagles at 2014 World Cup

Super-Eagles-0409Super Eagles have a large fan base in Brazil who will want Nigeria to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup which incidentally is to be staged in Brazil.

Nigeria was one of the eight countries that attended the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

In addition to matching its game against other top football nations, the tournament also provided the platform for Nigeria to warm up to the local fans.

Although the Eagles did not go beyond the first round, the team will cherish the overwhelming support it received from Brazilians in Salvador and Fortazela.

Inside a packed Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazilians openly rooted Nigeria and booed their South American neighbours, Uruguay in group fixture on June 20.

Three days later, they urged on the Nigerians against Spain in the north eastern city of Fortaleza.

Even after Nigeria was eliminated from the campaign, the locals still turned up in en masse at their hotel along Beira Mar Avenue, on the Iracema Beach, Fortaleza to bid the Nigerians bye.

Stunned by the outpouring of love by the locals, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Aminu Maigari, vowed that the federation would leave no stone unturned to ensure the qualification of Nigeria for the 2014 World Cup.

The Super Eagles will still have to overturn Malawi in Calabar in the last group match in September which sets up a nervy climax in October- November, where all 10 leaders in the African qualifying pools will play direct knock out over two legs, to produce the continent’s five representatives to the World Cup.

A Brazilian, Leandro, gave a gesture of approval at Avenue Sete Setembro, Salvador that Nigeria is capable of causing an upset at the World Cup provided the coaches work on some weaknesses.

”Nigeria (pronounced Neheria) played robust football that caught the eye. The Eagles would have comfortably graced the semi finals if they had good strikers. Your team will surprise many at the World Cup if they bring forwards who will convert all their chances” Leandro said.

His view was echoed by a tourist at Iracema who backed Nigeria to cause an upset at the World Cup if they include all their key players.

But aside taking to Nigeria because of its football antecedents, the good reception accorded Nigeria also stems from the historical and cultural links between Nigeria and Brazil.

Salvador, the capital of state of Bahia, has a vibrant black population, more than 60 per cent of who are descendants of African slaves, with strong link to western part of Nigeria.

The people eat acaraje (akara) a delicacy made of fried bean, live in buildings similar to what exist in parts of Nigeria, worship Yemanja (Yemoja in Yoruba pantheon of gods) and are largely marginalised.

It is no wonder that they are largely attracted to a Nigerian dressed in a native outfit as he ”reminds us of the way our parents used to dress before they arrived Brazil as slaves”.

Manchester United target Cesc Fábregas and Marouane Fellaini

Marouane FellainiDavid Moyes has made a €30m (£26m) bid for Cesc Fábregas and could pair the Barcelona star with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini to form the heart of his Manchester United midfield next season.

Moyes has identified the need for two midfielders, at least one of whom must be able to contribute goals, which Fábregas has proved he can do in the Premier League when at his former club, Arsenal. Fellaini also has an eye for goal; he scored 12 times for Everton last season.

Moyes considered Real Madrid’s Luka Modric before deciding on lodging an official offer for the former Arsenal captain. The deal hinges on whether Barcelona – who purchased the player from Arsenal for €29m (£25m) in 2011 – are willing to sell.

Publicly they have maintained the midfielder is not for sale – “the player is not transferable,” a source said – but any indication that they would consider allowing him to leave would force Fábregas’s hand as it would be clear that he is not considered central to the plans of Tito Vilanova, the Barcelona coach. However the news of United’s bid came as a surprise to Fábregas, so the player’s thoughts are not yet known.

Moyes has turned his attention to the 26-year-old after Thiago Alcântara joined Bayern Munich from Barcelona for £21.6m. Yet it is thought that Moyes could have signed Thiago over the course of the past weeks, with the delay in his finally leaving for Bayern being down to United’s manager not being completely convinced by the 22-year-old. Although it is understood Thiago was keen on joining United, there were suggestions from some at the club that he might struggle on occasion to cope with the physicality of the Premier League.

Last month Fábregas said he wanted to stay at Camp Nou. “I’ve always said that I’m happy at Barça. Whoever says that I’m leaving doesn’t know me and has never spoken with me,” he said.

“Nor with my agent, because he knows that I don’t want him to talk with other people about me. I’m very private and I don’t even talk about these things with my family. If someone says anything that isn’t that I want to play at Barça, it’s completely absurd.”

As first reported in the Guardian two months ago Moyes has long retained an interest in Fellaini, the Belgian he took to Goodison Park in 2008 for £15m from Standard Liège. Although no official bid has yet been made, the 25-year-old falls into the category of being is a genuine option for Moyes who is now considering returning to his old club with an offer. Fellaini, whose contract runs until 2016, has a release clause of around £23m and a portion of any fee received by Everton would have to be paid to Liège. It is thought the release clause expires in mid-August.

Although Fellaini is far from the finished article, Moyes believes if he were to move to United he could become a high-class operator. The 6ft 4in Belgian would offer a physical presence currently lacking in United’s midfield and, having operated in a deep-lying position and further advanced, is also versatile. As with Fábregas, Fellaini carries a goal threat from midfield, an area the Scot is keen to address.

Following Everton’s first pre-season tour game, a 2-1 defeat by Austria Vienna in which Fellaini was captain for the second half, Roberto Martínez, the manager, talked up the prospect of him remaining at the club.

“He’s still a very young man but I am really looking forward to seeing Marouane working hard and making sure that he sets really good standards,” he said. “Marouane is an international footballer and he’s going to be involved, if all goes well, in a World Cup next year.”

Adnan Januzaj, United’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder, is in talks with the club over a fresh contract, with the Belgian attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus. Januzaj was United’s stand-out player in the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by the Singha All Star XI in the club’s opening pre-season tour game in Bangkok, before he faded.

Moyes’s predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, initiated the discussions with Januzaj, who was signed from Anderlecht two summers ago. After Saturday’s defeat, Moyes said: “If he continues to play like that, he’ll get more chances.”

Sunday Mba Returns To Warri Wolves

MBASUPER Eagles’ midfielder, Sunday Mba has returned to Warri Wolves from Enugu Rangers in what is a remarkable turnaround.

Mba chose to leave the Warri club for Enugu after a stellar performance at the Africa Cup of Nations where he scored the title-winning goal for the Super Eagles.

His decision sparked a transfer tussle that required the intervention of the NFF, which handed both clubs an ultimatum to resolve the issue.

That has not happened and the player has now chosen to return to Wolves

“Yes, I am going back to Warri Wolves,” Mba told KickOffNigeria.com.

He also tweeted from his handle @mbasunday, “thanks to all that has wished and prayed for me… The saga is over between Warri Wolves and Rangers… can now play big time football #God @work.”

Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, which oversees Wolves, Amaju Pinnick, told KickOffNigeria.com that the move was initiated by the player and his representatives.

“I can tell you that it was the player himself that initiated his return to us and we are happy to have him back,” Pinnick said.

“He has realised that as a national team player he needs to begin to play regular club football and that explains how he retraced his steps.”

Pinnick declined to give further details, but said Rangers had not met the conditions for keeping the player.

“At the initial stage, our release of Mba to Rangers was conditional and it was specifically for their continental assignments.

“Even at that, they have failed to meet the deadline we issued them for that arrangement to be formalised,” he added.