Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Harry Redknapp does not need a right-sided midfield player and, with the depth of talent regularly available on his bench, he hardly needs to bolster his squad with a three-month loan signing.
Yet he, and several other Premier League managers, are trying to secure the services of 35-year-old David Beckham.
Many observers are scratching their heads and wondering just what is the enduring appeal of a player clearly several years past his peak.
They point to the unavoidable media frenzy that will come as part of any loan deal arranged with LA Galaxy, if the American club agree to let their number one asset go again after he suffered a serious injury on his last sojourn, to AC Milan last year.
The January transfer window is up and running with Serie A appearing to be ahead of other leagues for early deals.
Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano has joined AC Milan, meaning Ronaldinho is all set to leave, and Genoa’s Italy defender Andrea Ranocchia has headed to Inter Milan.
When New England Sports Ventures finally bought Liverpool in October new owner John W Henry did not have to wait long to understand the enormity of the challenge he faces to turn around the fortunes of England’s most successful club.
Just days after the deal was clinched and a wave of optimism swept through Anfield, Liverpool’s inadequacies on the pitch were laid bare in a 2-0 defeat at Merseyside rivals Everton.
Italian soccer on the pitch has a largely undeserved image of being boring, with 1-0 wins and catenaccio supposedly the norm.
Off the pitch Serie A is surely the craziest league in Europe with match-fixing scandals, coaches being sacked the day before the season, and players and managers switching between rivals like they were picking teams in the school playground.
World, European and Italian champions Inter Milan have been stunned by coach Rafael Benitez’s attack on their lack of ambition.
The Spaniard, after just six months in charge, has called for signings in the January transfer window or else he will speak to his agent about his future.
Mother Nature has handed Manchester City the perfect chance to spend Christmas on top of the Premier League and with a decent fixture list over the next month their title prospects should start being taken seriously.
City have been underwhelming at times this season and the future of leading striker Carlos Tevez remains in doubt but with all their rivals grounded by heavy snow, Roberto Mancini’s millionaires will go top if they beat Everton on Monday.
Holders Inter Milan will face Bayern Munich, the team they beat to clinch the trophy last season, in the Champions League last 16 with a repeat of the 2006 final also due after Barcelona were drawn to meet Arsenal.
Bayern might actually be favourites given Inter’s struggles so far this term while Barca and Lionel Messi destroyed Arsenal in the quarter-finals second leg last season despite the two sides’ similar style of play.
The festive season is upon us but, just like turkeys, Premier League managers will be getting a bit twitchy after two of their brotherhood fell to the axe in the past week.
The fact that both victims were ruthlessly dispatched with their sides doing reasonably well will only add to the sense of trepidation.
AC Milan are flying high at the top of Serie A but Ronaldinho is stuck to the bench with Massimiliano Allegri-branded glue.
The struggling Brazilian has started once in the last nine games and that was in the lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam, Milan’s only loss during the spell.
Jose Mourinho’s gamble of swapping Champions League holders Inter Milan for recent underachievers Real Madrid looks to have paid off following a group stage where his new side excelled.
In contrast, Inter stumbled through to the last 16 in wholly unconvincing fashion, suggesting the coach with the Midas touch was right to bet the Italians would not be able to repeat the highs of last season’s glorious treble.