EPL Daily 1.10: Sissoko, Big Al and a new Magpie Boss, Hunt, Lita, Alves, Chimby, Defoe, and Downing

SAM ALLARDYCE: Sacked – well actually, Big Sam left by mutual consent – but yea, sacked. Who’s next? There are reports out there that Newcastle immortal Alan Shearer will take the post but he has already distanced himself. Everton’s David Moyes – Lucius Vorenus look-alike – was also put out there, but that’s already been shot down. Harry Redknapp, known to be linked to everything out there – including criminal charges – was next in line but that’s been refuted as well. Back to square one Mike Ashley (I’m sure he’s got other targets). As for Allardyce, he’s already moving on and ready to continue his career as told in a very ‘I’m on Oprah’ response to BBC’s questions.

MOMO SISSOKO: Sissoko to Juventus is certainly heating up and according to SkySports, it is very close.

AFONSO ALVES: The Brazilian goalscorer is most likely headed to either Manchester City or Middlesbrough in a deal reportedly worth $20 million. Other clubs interested include Turkish giant Fenerbahce. Alves could be a great purchase, but due to the many pundits’ varying opinions of the quality of play in the Dutch Eredivise, we won’t know until he puts on a different shirt. Then again look at Dirk Kuijt and Ruud van Nistelrooy (who just extended his contract with Real Madrid, one year). Either way, Alves has played his last game at the Abe Lanestra for the Frisians.

MIDDLESBROUGH : Speaking of Gareth Southgate’s side, they are desperate to hold on to young winger and English international Stewart Downing, but it’s becoming increasingly hard to do so as Downing’s ambition is getting the best of him (not a bad thing). Tottenham and Everton are in driver’s seat, biding their time and deciding whether to bid for the winger now or wait until his contract runs out in 2010.

CHIMBONDA/DEFOE: Tottenham fullback is keen on a move to Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa. O’Neill is keen to bring in the back along with ostracized striker Jermain Defoe which instantly make them a Euro possibility for the second half of the year. Defoe could offset the loss of John Carew, sidelined in recent weeks with injuries. I wouldn’t expect either of the two to go for cheap though. Alan Hutton’s possible move from Rangers to Tottenham has put Chimbonda in fear for losing his right-back position and rightfully so.

MARLON KING: The Jamaican international is wanted badly by Roy Hodgson’s new-direction Fulham squad. An $8 million bid was rejected by Championship-side Watford making that move a bit more expensive. King has a strong track record for the Hornets having struck for 11 goals so far this year and Fulham are in dire need of a true striker (i.e. healthy Brian McBride) as David Healy, Shefqi Kuqi, and Diomansy Kamara haven’t done crap for the relegation battlers.

STEPHEN HUNT: Sunderland’s third try to sign the Irish winger, who has forced Bobby Convey into a different role at Reading, was met with a warning issued by manager Steve Coppell.

“It doesn’t matter. They can come calling every day – there is no positive response from us in that direction.”

That was Coppell turning down a $9 million bid for a guy consider marginal at the most last year. He has picked up his game becoming a clutch and go-to player for the Royals. Hunt has 5 goals and 3 assists this year. Coppell’s warning was a blanket statement as he doesn’t plan on parting with highly rated striker Leroy Lita either.

Slowly but surely, this transfer market is starting to pick-up!

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EPL Daily 1.9: Yanks transfer news hits the other side of the pond…

BRAD GUZAN: Brad Guzan’s transfer speculaton hit SkySports for the first time adding credibility from both sides of the pond to his potential suitors. Celtic is the most recently named party interested in the shotstopper, while we have all heard the rumors involving Arsenal. Some other suitors include Liverpool, Auxerre, and Greek champions Olympiakos. In terms of playing time, Guzan’s best bet would be at Auxerre where 26-year old Olivier Sorin mans the net. They have Lyon-product Remy Riou as back-up, but neither have impressed much as Auxerre has sputtered to 15th place. Liverpool and Arsenal would be a grooming back-up role, as would Celtic. The difference with the Hoops, however, is that Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc has recently signed a new deal with a reported “get-out” clause in which if a suitor comes along and gives the right price (number set in the contract), Boruc would move on. Guzan could go in, learn under the wing of Boruc, and wait for his exit someday soon. Olympiakos could be an ideal place as well as age is what will wipe out the two top goalkeepers there now – Antonios Nikopolidis (36) and Tomislav Butina (33). The real question is: if Guzan leaves, what happens at Chivas?

TWELLMAN: Though Preston North End isn’t the EPL, a Twellman bid is something every American fan wants to hear about. PNE would be a fantastic place for Twellman to restart his European career, but the bid was already rebuffed according to Mike Burns. SkySports caught wind of it and placed the transfer fee at $1.5 million.

JOHNSON: Soccer365 has gotten us all confused now. What is different at Derby County (other than a record MLS transfer fee) now that Eddie Johnson would even consider a move to Derby? All things considered, a lot has happened since this article (1/4/2008) was published. Manager Paul Jewell brought in Argentinian striker Emmanuel Villa for $4 million making it unlikely for EJ’s destination to be Derby. There are others interested out there though……..

MOMO SISSOKO: Ever since Javier Mascherano came to Anfield, the big defensive midfielder from Mali hasn’t had the best of times. Raw talent left unused, however, never goes unnoticed as many of the top European clubs watched Momo has he grew not unhappy, but underappreciated, with the Reds. The problem with Liverpool is Mascherano is a question mark in his own right with his contract status pending, so expect Benitez to beg for Sissoko to stick around a little bit longer. Unhappy though? Enter Juventus…

CARLING CUP: Chelsea 2, Everton 1

Everton went down 1-0 early to a Shaun Wright-Phillips 26th minute finish, but all hopes were revived when Jon Obi Mikel unleashed a ridiculous studs-up tackle on Phil Neville which had him sent to the showers. Chelsea was left to survive 40 minutes a man down. Kind of funny isn’t it? – Chelsea fights to keep Mikel around for at least one more game heading into the African Nations Cup and the Nigerian gets himself sent off, offering no help at all. The Blues paid for it as Yakubu fired home a shot, upper-90 after a scrum in the penalty box with about 15 minutes to go. Then it happened…a goofy cross in injury time left Shaun Wright-Phillips unevenly matched in an aerial battle against the big Joleon Lescott. SWP jumped in full-force forcing Lescott in cringe, close his eyes, and head the ball into his own net. A 1-0 win will do it back at Goodison Park, but Everton will be without their rock in the back, Joseph Yobo. Chelsea will be hurting as well, but in terms of depth, one can never bet against the Blues.

Today’s Carling Cup Semifinal – Arsenal v. Tottenham (expect a young Arsenal squad to take the pitch against the Spurs)