x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Premier League: Team by Team

Arsenal want to lock up Theo Walcott; United enter the discussion for Bolton's Gary Cahill; Robbie Keane may work a two-month loan out with Aston Villa.

Kolo Toure, left, and his brother, Yaya, were informed by the Ivory Coast football association that their request to stay with Manchester City and report to the Cup of Nations later was denied.
Kolo Toure, left, and his brother, Yaya, were informed by the Ivory Coast football association that their request to stay with Manchester City and report to the Cup of Nations later was denied.


Club news According to the Daily Telegraph, Arsenal have started discussions with Theo Walcott, the England winger, with regards to a new contract. Walcott's contract expires at the end of next season and club want to avoid getting into a situation where they might be forced to sell the player rather than let him leave on a free transfer.

Rumour mill "I think we've had so much experience of almost getting there, we just want a bit more. It's been a long time since we won something and, I want to win even more now," - Walcott on Arsenal's trophy drought.

Aston Villa

Rumour mill Villa are confident of securing a two-month loan deal for Robbie Keane, the LA Galaxy forward. The Daily Telegraph said "productive" talks had been held between the club and the former Tottenham and Leeds striker.

What they say "I'm not willing to sell anybody at the moment, but you don't know what will happen. We have had phone calls about players. I wouldn't be tempted to lose any of the strikers - strikers make the difference in this league." - Alex McLeish, the manager, on rumours that Liverpool want to buy Darren Bent.

Blackburn Rovers

Club news Blackburn are determined to hang on to Christopher Samba, their Congolese defender, by pricing him out of the market. According to a report in The Lancashire Telegraph, Blackburn want at least £10 million (Dh57.5m) for Samba, 27.

What they say "We expect [our club], by skill and labour, do justice to its 136 years of history while respecting its fan base, which has always been the heartbeat of the club," - a statement by fans, who plan to carry on their protests against the manager, Steve Kean, and owners, Venky's.

Bolton Wanderers

What they say "It was certainly one of the most freakish goals I've ever seen in football. It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves, but I thought the players showed real belief, and they scored two magnificent goals." - Owen Coyle, the manager, on the goal Adam Bogdan conceded from his opposite number Tim Howard on Wednesday, in Bolton's 2-1 win at Everton.

Rumour mill The Sun claims Manchester United have emerged as rivals to Chelsea for the signature of Gary Cahill. Chelsea and Bolton have agreed on a fee for the defender but negotiations on personal terms are continuing.


What they say "Yes, I think [I will sign a new deal] and we will not have a problem. There are a lot of matches at this time of year. The last few weeks have been hectic and we [agreed] to meet after New Year's Day. I have been here for seven years and I have been more or less a regular starter, so I'm more than happy to stay. Chelsea are in the world's top competition, so I have no reason to leave," - Petr Cech, the goalkeeper, is confident he will extend his contract at the London club.

Club news Chelsea reserves Nathaniel Chalobah, 17, George Saville, 18, and Adam Phillip, 17, have signed new deals with the club.


What they say "I know that Everton is interested in Kostas Manolas. They follow the player and there is a serious interest, but nothing official so far. Their scouts came to Greece four times to see Kostas. So far, we don't have any official talks. It's in their hands to make an offer and start negotiating. They know what we are asking to sell him," - Arnar Gretarsson, the AEK Athen's director of football, tells Sky Sports the club are still waiting for an offer for their defender.

Statistic Tim Howard became the fourth goalkeeper to score in the Premier League with his stunning strike against Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday.


What they say "Arsenal was a really nice game to be involved in and I really enjoyed it. We knew we could turn it around because we were playing well, especially in the second half. We were keeping possession and creating chances, and I knew if we scored then we could go on to win the match. I think we're really getting to know each other on the field of play," - Bryan Ruiz says Fulham are beginning to show their potential

Team news Mark Schwarzer, Simon Davies and Zdenek Grygera are all out for Saturday's FA Cup visit from Charlton Athletic, but Andy Johnson could be in line for a return.


Club news Liverpool are considering signing Mauro Zarate on loan as they seek cover for Luis Suarez's long-term suspension. The Argentine not only plays in a similar style to Suarez, he also has past experience of the Premier League. Zarate, 24, joined Inter Milan on loan in August but is out of favour at San Siro. His transfer rights are owned by Lazio. Suarez began an eight-match suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra, missing Tuesday's 3-0 loss at Manchester City. With Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy struggling, Liverpool are looking for a forward capable of sustaining their challenge for a Champions League berth.

Manchester City

Team news Manchester City's hopes of having Yaya and Kolo Toure available for Sunday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United have been dashed. Roberto Mancini, the manager, had hoped the pair would be allowed to join the Ivory Coast squad for this month's African Nations Cup later than planned, but the nation's FA rejected the request. Mancini said he expected to learn within 24 hours whether the Toures would be excused a planned squad gathering in Paris on Saturday before they fly to Abu Dhabi for a training camp.

Rumour mill Mancini target Daniele De Rossi will stay at Roma, according to his agent.

Manchester United

What they say "It's an option and a good one. I want to go and play, week in, week out, and try to impress Sir Alex Ferguson. If I can finish the season strongly, I can challenge for a position next season, like Danny [Wellbeck]," - the Senegalese striker, Mame Biram Diouf, who hopes a loan move to Wigan can help him kick on with his United career.

Form If United lose their next league game it will be only the fourth time they have lost three consecutive matches. They face Bolton a week Saturday.

Rumour mill Paul Pogba, the young defender, is free to discuss terms with European sides after failing to agree to a new contract.

Newcastle United

Rumour mill Alan Pardew has seen a third bid for James Tomkins, the West Ham defender, rejected. The Magpies have also seen a "very high" offer for Dijon's French midfielder, Benjamin Corgnet, dismissed.

What they say "There's no greater honour than representing your country and Great Britain. For me, it would be the biggest achievement and a massive honour for me. I want to be there." -Steven Taylor has set his sights on a call-up for Stuart Pearce's Olympic squad.

Statistics Seven of the 13 direct free-kicks scored in the Premier League have been netted by north eastern duo Newcastle and Sunderland.

Norwich City

What they say "It's been over three months I've been waiting to play and now I'm here I just want to show what I can do. I know the first game I didn't do very well, but I think I am capable of playing well in the Premier League." - Dani Ayala hopes he can prove his value to Paul Lambert's side. The Spanish Under 21 defender made his debut in a 4-0 defeat against MK Dons last year.

Club news Chris Martin, the striker, has extended his loan at Crystal Palace.

Team news Lambert maintains he is not discounting Saturday's FA Cup tie with Burnley, despite plans to rest many of his first team.

Queens Park Rangers

Rumour mill Neil Warnock leads the queue to sign Andy Johnson, the Fulham striker. He is set to offer £2m for the former England international, whose contract expires in the summer.

Team news Federico Macheda, the forward, is expected to make his full debut in Saturday's FA Cup tie with MK Dons.

What they say "For me, I think this is the worst case I've ever seen. But am I surprised that Frank Lampard commits an horrendous challenge and Peter Walton gives him a yellow card? If that had been Joey Barton ... they would have been lynching them." - Warnock, the manager, on Barton's red card appeal being rejected.

Stoke City

Club news Stoke have confirmed Danny Pugh has joined Leeds United permanently following a successful four-month loan deal with the club.

Rumour mill Tony Pulis is eyeing a move for Manchester City's out-of-favour defender Nedum Onuoha. Roberto Mancini has said he has to sell before he can buy, and Onuoha impressed while on loan at Sunderland last year.

Team news Jonathan Walters is hopeful he can convince his manager to let him play in Saturday's FA Cup tie with Gillingham. The Irish striker has played 33 games so far this season, but said he is desperate to be involved.


Rumour mill Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a move for Sunderland's utility man, Keiran Richardson. The former Manchester United player, who can play as a wing-back on either flank as well as in midfield, would provide good cover for Arsene Wenger. However, the Gunners boss said he would only consider a loan deal.

Club news It was confirmed Friday that the on-loan striker Nicklas Bendtner was arrested in September following an early morning incident. He was released without charge, but is currently on bail following a separate incident last month.

Swansea City

Rumour mill While Arsenal are said to be lining up a move for the full-back, Neil Taylor, Brendan Rodgers is moving closer to securing a loan deal for Chelsea's Josh McEachran. The highly rated midfielder is also being chased by Aston Villa.

Club news Darnel Situ, the French defender who saw his transfer to Swansea fall through after failing to get international clearance from Fifa last summer, is expected to finalise a £250,000 move to the Liberty Stadium this week.

Statistic The Swans have committed fewer fouls than any other team in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur

Form Last season Spurs averaged 1.6 points from matches against teams in the lower half the table, while so far this season they have averaged 2.82 in the same set of fixtures.

Team news With Harry Redknapp looking to rest a number of his first team, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson are expected to make long-awaited comebacks from injury, while Roman Pavlyuchenko, Steven Pienaar, Danny Rose and Niko Krancjar will also start as Spurs welcome Cheltenham to White Hart Lane.

Rumour mill Tottenham are being linked with a £15m move for Blackburn Rovers duo Christopher Samba and Junior Hoilett.

West Brom

Team news Shane Long expects to be out for two weeks, despite having an injection to ease his back problems. Albion's joint leading scorer missed the midweek fixture at Spurs and thinks next week's clash with Norwich may come too soon.

What they say "It was my first start, so there was obviously a bit of nerves and anxiousness, naturally. I felt that I was getting into my stride and into the game. I'll be ready again if he needs me," - George Thorne was delighted after hearing Roy Hodgson lavishing praise on him following his debut against Spurs midweek.

Wigan Athletic

Statistic Wigan have conceded more fouls this season than any other team.

Club news Victor Moses is yet to hear back from the Latics regarding a new contract, but while the news has put Liverpool and Sunderland on high alert, the 21 year old's agent insists the forward is committed to remaining at the DW Stadium.

Team news Callum McManaman will feature in Wigan's FA Cup clash with Swindon Town Satyrday after returning from a successful loan spell at Blackpool. Roberto Martinez, the manager, said he would need to "freshen things up".


Rumour mill QPR have made the opening move for the Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge, but Wolves are expected to provide competition for the England international's signature.

What they say "It's the worst time for me because I was back in the team and had played three games, and now I am out again because I am banned," - Nenad Milijas is still seething after his tame sending off against Arsenal last week. "If I want to look positively on the ban, all three games are out of the way in one week because of how quickly the fixtures are at the moment."