EPL Daily 1.25: Shearer says ‘no-go’; Liverpool refinancing; Chelsea signing, etc.

ALAN SHEARER: The former Newcastle and Blackburn striker was widely seen as Kevin Keegan’s best candidate for top assistant coach at Tyneside. A meeting between the two end up with Shearer stating he would not like to be considered for the assistant coach positon. Apparently, a future meeting will determine if Alan Shearer could have a role within the new Newcastle regime.

LIVERPOOL: American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have firmly solidified their intentions at Liverpool amidst heavy scrutiny as well as a recent failed takeover bid from Dubai. A $700 million re-financing should ensure for all Liverpool supporters that a new stadium at Stanley Park will get done on time and in perfect order. In the same breath, both Hicks and Gillett have expressed that they are behind Rafa Benitez, even despite media reports otherwise.

MARLON KING: The Jamaican striker was angry to see a transfer to Fulham fail due to fee negotiations, but Wigan has come in to rescue King and offer him Premiership football. The fee was undisclosed but expected to be in the range of $ 6-8 million. Watford was quick to try and bring a replacement, securing 22-year old Dutch misfit Collins John from Fulham on a season’s-end loan.

FRANCO DI SANTO: One of the stars of the U-2o World Cup in Canada for champions Argentina, Di Santo has been snapped up by Chelsea, who continue to nurture their young stars rather effectively. Look at Jon Obi Mikel, Solomon Kalou, and Scott Sinclair – all have continued to progress and provide decent appearances for the Blues. Di Santo should be no different. Chelsea came out on top of the battle for Di Santo’s signature which has been wrestled for over the past 6 months. At 19 years old, nothing crazy is expected of the 6’4″ Audax Italiano (CHI) forward, but with comparisons to Diego Maradona abundant (but which Argentinan youth star isn’t compared with Diego), many Blues fans aren’t looking for him to wait in the reserves for long.

THEO WALCOTT: Signed at 16 and now only 18, some Arsenal supporters are already calling Walcott a dud. I’d give him until at least 22 before you decide that, especially considering you paid around $15 million for the kid. Regardless, there was speculation that Wenger might loan him out to see if he gain some much-needed experience (how’s a cap for England for experience?). Wenger has declared those claims untrue. The rumors put him going to Stoke City (the Championship squad whose owner recently secured a USL-Division 1 expansion squad in Austin, Texas – the Aztex).

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EPL Daily 12.26: Happy Holidays! And some Dempsey, Beckham, Boxing Day, etc.

Thank you to all that come here every once in a while to read what we got to say. It’s Boxing Day and we’re in for a good day of soccer (going on as I share these headlines with you).

DUECE: Clint Dempsey struck for his 6th goal of the season in (the game is close to done) a rather lopsided loss to Tottenham. Dempsey is doing what they expected David Healy, Diomansy Kamara, and Shefki Kuqi to do – clean up the mess of offense Fulham has. Heading into the New Year, there is no doubt that the Cottagers are going to be fighting the relegation battle. Dempsey kept them up last year though…can he do it again, with some late help from a soon-to-be returning Brian McBride (they desperately need a target man)?

EPL SCORING: An update of EPL Leading Scorers – notice Dempsey at the bottom…

Cristiano Ronaldo (MU) 12
Emmaneul Adebayor (ARS) 10
Nicolas Anelka (BOL) 10
Robbie Keane (TOT) 10
Benjani (POR) 9
Yakubu (EVE) 9
Fernando Torres (LIV) 9
Marcus Bent (WIG) 7
Roque Santa Cruz (BLA) 7
Carlos Tevez (MU) 7
Steven Gerrard (LIV) 7
Gabriel Agbonlahor (WHU) 6
Cesc Fabregas (ARS) 6
Obafemi Martins (NEW) 6
Clint Dempsey (FUL) 6
Dave Kitson (RDG) 6

ARSENAL: With the January transfer window looming, look for there to be a flurry of activity. One team that will be holding out……or so it seems…….is Arsene Wenger’s young Arsenal squad. Even with the imminent absence of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue for the African Nations Cup – Wenger is pretty sure recalled Johann Djourou and Philippe Senderos can do the job.

LAWRIE SANCHEZ: Gone. Martin Jol was apparently to be considered for the Fulham opening – but that has gone to the crapper. Former Cottager John Collins – who recently left his post at the SPL’s Hibernian – will most likely grab the job.

DAVID BECKHAM: Expected to train with Arsenal starting as early as January in an attempt to get fit for the upcoming MLS season as well as his potential 100th appearance for the English national team. Arsene Wenger has assured that Beckham comes to train, NOT play for the Gunners.

FRANKIE SIMEK: Though not the EPL, the American Sheffield Wednesday right-back warrants a headline due to an unfortunate injury that could keep him out for up to 2 months. Simek – now on the USMNT radar – also was looked at by Everton and a couple other EPL clubs this past summer but with Sheffield Wednesday’s poor performances recently, an injury, and a new contract extension, it looks like Simek won’t get that look again for a while.

UCL Round of 16 DRAW: For those who missed it, the draw looks like this…

Liverpool vs. Inter Milan
Chelsea vs. Olympiakos
AS Roma vs. Real Madrid
Schalke 04 vs. Porto
Arsenal vs. AC Milan
Barcelona vs. Celtic
FC Sevilla vs. Fenerbahce
Manchester United vs. Lyon

Predictions as the match dates get closer. For those interested, the two legs will be held on February 19th-20th and March 4th-5th.

EPL Daily: Wenger extends, Leeds punished again, Gio staying put

Many assumed Thierry Henry’s departure could mean a mass exodus of the French influence from the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has decided to dispel that rumor and sign on for three more years after some speculation that he would leave when vice-chairman David Dein left in the Spring  – truth is, where else could you see him?

The once free-spending, upstart Leeds United has fallen upon rocky times. Most of which we have all heard about. Today, however, brought new sanctions from the FA. Instead of a full membership – He-Man Woman-Hater Club? – Leeds have been slapped with a partial membership. They will still get to compete in all domestic competitions, but will not be able to vote at FA meetings or receive any tickets for the FA Cup final…um, okay. All of this is due to some taxes that still weren’t taken care of. The worst of it, however, came before the season after the Yorkshire club was slapped with a 15-point penalty. The former home of Alan Smith, Harry Kewell, Paul Robinson, Robbie Keane, the list goes on and on…luckily, they’ve won their first four games.

Remember the news about Gio dos Santos yesterday? The Mexican phenom’s father, Zizinho, has dispelled any rumors that link him to an EPL move. Both Chelsea and Man United or reported to be interested since Gio has broken into the Barca senior team.

Other than that, a rather tame day in the U.K.