x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Leicester to offer Hargreaves a comeback

In other English football news, Sunderland new boy David Vaughan targets top six in the Premier League.

Leicester City

Sven-Goran Eriksson, manager of Championship side Leicester City, is considering signing Owen Hargreaves after seeing clips of the former England and Manchester United midfielder proving his fitness on YouTube. The 30-year-old Canada-born player has appeared 42 times for England, the first 34 when Eriksson was manager. Hargreaves was released by Manchester United at the end of last season after a series of injuries. Earlier this week he posted videos on YouTube showing him carrying out exercise and mobility drills to prove his fitness. "I saw his videos and if he wants to come here I will open the door and stand and wait for him in the door," said Eriksson. "He's been very unlucky in recent years, but if he's close to what he was he is a fantastic football player."

Sunderland

The new Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan has set his sights on the Premier League's top six after becoming the club's ninth summer signing. The former Blackpool midfielder, 28, yesterday completed a free transfer move to the Stadium of Light a day after the Manchester United duo Wes Brown and John O'Shea. Asked about his hopes for Sunderland this season, he told SAFC TV: "Hopefully, they can move on and build on what they have done in the last few years. The signings that we have made over the last few weeks have been impressive, so hopefully we can kick on and at least be in the top 10, if not the top six, teams in the country."

Blackburn

The Indian owners of Blackburn Rovers say they are planning to start a club and feeder academy in the western Indian city of Pune. B Balaji Rao, the director of the Pune-based poultry giant, Venky's, was quoted in yesterday's The Indian Express as saying they were "getting an academy and stadium in Pune" and that work at an identified site would be completed in "no more than two years." Rao said the club will be known as Blackburn Rovers FC Pune and intended to play in India's professional I-League. Meanwhile, Schalke have confirmed that midfielder Jermaine Jones, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ewood Park, will not be joining Blackburn on a permanent basis.

Liverpool

Liverpool's principal owner has acknowledged that the club may have to leave Anfield for a new stadium. John Henry's Fenway Sports Group has been considering stadium options since buying the club in October, and Henry said on Twitter that a move may be inevitable. Responding to a fan urging him to keep Liverpool at its home of 119 years, Henry said: "Anfield would certainly be our first choice. But realities may dictate otherwise. So many obstacles." With Anfield holding 45,000 seats, Manchester United and Arsenal raise far more revenue from tickets and other match-day revenue from their bigger stadiums.

Manchester United

Chris Smalling, the Manchester United defender, has agreed a new five-year deal following his successful debut season with the club, it was confirmed yesterday. The England Under 21 international, seen as a long-term successor to either Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic, enjoyed an outstanding year at Old Trafford after joining from Fulham. "He is an extremely talented young defender," the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told ManUtd.com. "He's quick, strong and reads the game well. He is a great asset to the team."