EPL Daily 12.14: All things Capello; Derby/Coventry takeover?, etc.

Coventry and Derby are the latest English clubs to be pegged for an imminent takeover – Derby’s has an American feel however (an “American sports company”) and is still in critical stages. Whereas, Coventry has gone the Ray Ranson-led SISU Capital route (Ranson was responsible for a bid to takeover Man City early last year). With the takeover, which is now just subject to a 90% approval from all Coventry City shareholders, the Championship club saves themselves from administrative and competitive penalties. Also, West Ham is gearing up for yet another injection of capital as baldy Icelandic chairman Eggert Magnusson has relinquished his 5% stake in the Hammers to his Icelandic chum ‘BG’ – Bjorgolfur Gudmondsson – who plans to put another $60 million or so into the club (not player purchases persay).

Now – with the final verdict subject to contract negotiations (6.25 mill pounds/yr) – ALL of the controversy arises around the inevitable appointment of Italian Fabio Capello to the English manager’s position. Paul Parker at Eurosport says this confirms that England is now a ‘second-rate football nation’. Reading’s main man Steve Coppell, M’bro’s Gareth Southgate, former Arsenal defender Tony Adams don’t agree with the decision as well. Former English midfielder and MK Dons boss Paul Ince is pissed too. Got me thinking, were they this pissed when Sven Goran Eriksson took over? SoccerLens put together a list of 10 reasons why Fabio Capello IS a good choice.

If the head coach is Italian, does it balance it out if the majority of the coaching staff is British? Both Alan Shearer and current English U-21 gaffer Stuart Pearce have been tagged as potential number twos. Shearer to England seems a bit improbable as the former Newcastle striker turned down a chance to be assistant when McLaren took over.

Amidst all that, Chelsea’s new boss Avram Grant has just signed on for 4 more years. Pretty well done considering the Mourinho mess.

Nery Castillo – Mexico’s pride and joy at this past summer’s Copa America  and long-time Mexican Guiseppe Rossi – is already sick of Shakhtar (Ukraine) and is being linked to a loan deal with Sven Goran Eriksson’s Manchester City

One hell of a Sunday this weekend – Manchester United vs. Liverpool and Chelsea vs. Arsenal in the EPL. Ajax vs. PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. Valencia vs. Barcelona in La Liga. Juventus vs. Lazio in the Serie A. Who prevails??

EPL Daily 11.13: Boss under fire; Anichebe’s dilemma; Buying your own soccer team

Steve McLaren’s future is in the balance with the homestretch of Euro qualifying rapidly approaching and a largely controversial friendly with Austria awaiting this Friday. The under-fire English boss has called it a good tune-up before Croatia as well as another game for the summoned Beckham and Ashley Cole who haven’t played too much recently for club or country. Those calling for McLaren’s firing and even staunch supporters are debating the quality of this friendly…Look at the simplicity of it, the friendly is primarily a way for the English national team – coaching staff included – to take their mind off the fact that Russia – with a win over Isreal this coming Saturday – could effectively knock out England and its’ expected return to Euro competition.

Everton young’un Victor Anichebe has a Guiseppe Rossi choice to make. The 19-year old striker was born in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to England at the age of one. It seems though that 18 years in England and a strong arguement from Stuart Pearce was still not enough to persuade Anichebe to commit to England. Instead, he was called up for Nigeria to take on Australia in an international friendly. He has been called up before – but never saw time. The quest for playing time will hit no snags this time as Nigeria coach Berti Vogts plans to start the Toffee duo of Yakubu and Anichebe this Saturday night.

All those hoping to one day own a piece of their own soccer team – your hopes might come into fruition with MyFootballClub – a collection of 20,000 members paid 35 pounds each to provide themselves with enough cash to take over Ebbsfleet United – a Conference squad looking for a financial injection. Read on here.

Anton Ferdinand…………….and a bar fight?

EPL Daily 10.17: Goodbye Sammy Lee; Terry out; Brad Guzan targeted by Gunners?

Less than a year after taking over at Bolton, Sammy Lee has parted ways with the Wanderers after just 9 EPL games in charge. Pretty easy to see why – when you have Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Nolan, Gary Speed, El-Hadji Diouf at your disposal and somehow ALL are underperforming at the moment, it is time to move on. Mutual consent is the word on the street and no word on the replacement as of yet. Bolton – in European contention last season at this time – sits right above league whipping boys Derby. Did anybody else think Lee’s appointment was a bit of a hasty one to begin with? He has a superb knowledge of the game, but can’t man-manage worth crap. It could be that he was faced with big egos like Anelka and Diouf from the get-go, but almost every EPL manager has to deal with that. Wonder where he’ll end up next.

John Terry is out against Russia for England’s second-to-last Euro 2008 Qualifier. Wayne Rooney has stated that not qualifying for Euro 2008 would be devastating and Terry’s injury certainly doesn’t help, but injury problems have plagued England as of late and yet they have still come up with results. A win versus Russia potentially guarantees a qualification and without Terry – Sol Campbell comes in. Don’t mean to jinx anybody, but England has been looking good and were without Terry against Estonia. Therefore, if the offense is firing – Campbell is more than capable of shoring up an ailing defense.

Apparently, Chiva USA’s Brad Guzan is being scouted by Arsenal and it looks like he is at the top of their keeper shortlist with a goalkeeper at 30 and 38 years old. Lehmann is ready to go and Almunia has been decent lately, but Guzan – 23 years old – would be well-suited for a career in the EPL and as many have seen, although he has been improving, Guzan has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential. At 6’4″, 215 lbs., Guzan possesses the size to be a goalkeeper but it’s his ‘wise beyond the years’ knowledge of the game that is extremely appealing to EPL scouts. An American in goal at Arsenal? That would cover three of the Big Four – Friedel at Liverpool, Howard at Man Utd, and Guzan?? What do you think of him? Does Guzan have the tools to make it across-the-pond? Other news from the Emirates is that the Gunners have launched a $20 million bid for the apparently unsettled Olympique Lyonnais striker Hatem Ben Arfa (Karim Benzema stealing all your thunder)?

EPL Daily 10.5: Kroenke to start another EPL Cold War?; ten Cate to Stamford?

Henk ten Cate – Ajax boss – looks poised to join Avram Grant at Stamford Bridge in the capacity of assistant coach. Grant has already said he wants to improve the backroom staff – bringing in one big domestic target and a foreign coach who already backs the style Chelsea likes to play. ten Cate lost out on the Dutch Eredivisie Championship last year by one goal and the pinnacle of his career might have already passed as assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. At he seemingly doesn’t want to budge from his position at Amsterdam ArenA after giving a press conference that states just that.

The big-bad American doesn’t look so bad after all as Arsenal Peter Hill-Wood has looked to American billionaire and Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke to counter the questionably-intentioned Russian Alisher Usmanov. About 45% of the Arsenal shareholders have signed a ‘lockdown’ agreement to ensure the Usmanov and Kroenke don’t launch a takeover bid, but now Kroenke’s 12% share is seen as friendly instead of hostile. Can’t wait to see how this one pans out.

An England squad that has several surprises will take on Russia and Estonia in about 2 weeks. Michael Owen was included despite injury, Dean Ashton found his way back onto the shortlist, and Joleon Lescott will get a go at his first cap. Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick are the biggest injury disappointments (and you can’t help but feel a tad sorry for Sir Alex Ferguson on these losses).

Full England squad: Robinson (Tottenham), James (Portsmouth), Carson (Liverpool, on loan at Aston Villa), Richards (Man City), Brown (Man Utd), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Terry (Chelsea), A Cole (Chelsea), P Neville (Everton), Campbell (Portsmouth), Lescott (Everton), Shorey (Reading), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Aston Villa), J Cole (Chelsea), Downing (Middlesbrough), Lampard (Chelsea), Young (Aston Villa), Bentley (Blackburn), Owen (Newcastle), Rooney (Man Utd), Smith (Newcastle), Ashton (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Johnson (Everton), Crouch (Liverpool).

EPL Daily 9.10: Leeds continues to roll; Hargreaves/Lampard out; and the Toffees sweat over Howard

Everton is waiting patiently for their key netminder to return from Chicago with only the knowledge that Tim Howard has somehow injured his finger making him questionable for the Everton – Manchester United derby coming up.

Stevie Gerrard has been given the green light to play in England’s upcoming Euro 2008 qualifier against Russia. Great news and all but it comes coupled with the ruling out of Frankie Lampard and Owen Hargreaves. Not good – but then again they handled Israel rather well (3-0) with a somewhat watered down squad. Just give Shaun Wright-Phillips 40 chances and he’ll most likely make one of them.

The much maligned Leeds United is back to a clean slate. Five consecutive wins to start the season has wiped out their 15 point deficit with a 2-0 win over Hartlepool. They now sit only 3 points from safety and considering their form it would be one hell of a story if they could pull off a play-off spot. Leed’s worst summer ever started back in late 1990s – read this.