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Football News: Striker Chase For Leicester, Williams Gets New Contract, Chelsea Loan Out Yet More Players, and More

Striker Chase For Leicester, Williams Gets New Contract, Chelsea Loan Out Yet More Players, and More
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1. Adidas get confused by Cech's summer transfer
It seems that sportswear giants adidas are struggling to get their head round the fact that Chelsea allowed their legendary keeper Petr Cech to leave them in the summer and join London rivals Arsenal. The 33 year old shot stopper was the last line of defence for Chelsea for 11 years and owner Roman Abramovich allowed him to choose his destination as a thank you for the good service he provided, when it was clear that Thibaut Courtois has usurped his place in the first team. Cech chose to stay in London and left last season's champions to join one of the main contenders for their title. His arrival has been hailed as final piece in a jigsaw that will see Arsenal lift the league trophy once more. With the Gunners top of the league and Chelsea struggling against possible relegation, the madness of the decision has obviously not been lost on adidas, whose disbelief is so total that they decided to send his new gloves to Chelsea's training ground instead of Arsenal's.

2. Iniesta still has it
Andres Iniesta was put under pressure deep in his own half as Barcelona led Athletic Bilbao 2-0, the Spanish genius with the dancing feet kept his cool and dribbled his way out of trouble:


3. Williams gets new deal with big money release clause
Athletic Bilbao's latest youth product Inaki Williams has been awarded a new contract with an increased release clause of 50m Euros. The Spanish U21 international has been scouted by the English Premier League moneybags, as well as the Madrids sides and Athletic have moved to ward off interest by extending his contract until 2021. "Athletic Club and Iñaki Williams have signed the renewal agreement by which the player will remain in the club until 30 June 2021," read a statement on Athletic's official website. "The cancellation clause will be 50 million Euros."

4. Ranieri looking to add a striker
Claudio Ranieri has allowed striker Andrej Kramaric to head out on loan to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim this week, this, the Leicester City boss admits, has put the Foxes into the transfer market on the search for a new forward. With Jamie Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki as the only out and out strikers at the club, he will be on the lookout for a new man. "We have our eyes open," said Ranieri. "If there is a good opportunity for us, we are ready. Now I want another attacking player - a striker. I am very confident. My staff is fabulous, every day they are working, because when I ask about something they are ready. I'd like to do my business as soon as possible." The Italian boss also explained why he allowed Kramaric to head out on loan: "Andrej wasn't the main striker, he was more behind Vardy. But behind Vardy I prefer Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki, because Ulloa covers the ball very well, he's a fighter, and Okazaki is another who presses everybody every second. Kramaric has fantastic skill but sometimes he rests and recovers. This team can't recover, they need to run, run, run. When I say we are building a good team, I would like to have two players for each position, so when I change, you don't see the difference. Kramaric didn't play, I have Ulloa, Okazaki and Vardy so I need one more I can change so the result is the same, I will have good strikers on the pitch. I think in this moment he needs to reinvigorate his mind because in my mind he is a very good player," the Foxes boss added."He has very good skills and qualities, but this season is difficult for him to play with me. He can't lose this season because it is very important for him, and for us. It is important he goes to the European Championship. It is better for the team, the club and for the player for him to go and play. It is important for him now, in his career, to show his quality. I wish him all the best, he deserves it. He is a very nice boy."


5. Hughes denies Keane link up
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has confirmed the Potteries club are actively looking for new signings in the current transfer window, but has denied speculation regarding a move for Michael Keane. The former Manchester United player is currently leading Burnley's defence as they look for an instant return to the Premier League, but Hughes, another former Man Utd player, denies they are interested in him, though he did refuse to rule out moves for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino, Southampton striker Shane Long or Porto midfielder Giannelli Imbula. Hughes was asked about the interest in Keane and said: "I'm not quite sure where that's come from. My understanding is that is not true." When asked about the other three though, Hughes was not as clear cut: "All good players, all at good clubs, and the clubs they are at will probably feel they want to keep them there." Hughes continued: "It is inappropriate for me to talk about individual players, other than to say we're in the market for good players. We are actively looking. We think there are opportunities if everything falls into place, but there are a lot of factors. We never get too ahead of ourselves because we know the potential pitfalls of the transfer process. We just have to be patient. If it happens, we'll be delighted. If we have to bide our time until the summer, so be it."

6. Transfer round up
Chengdong Zhang, Rayo Vallecano to Beijing Guoan, loan return
Igor Lichnovsky, Porto to Sporting Gijon, on loan
Rafael Bastos, Figueirense to America-MG, free
Douglas Coutinho, Atletico Paranaense to Cruzeiro, on loan
Mauro Zarate, West Ham United to Fiorentina, £1.4m
Dodo, Inter Milan to Sampdoria, on loan
Tino Costa, Spartak Moscow to Fiorentina, on loan (£350,000 fee)
Luciano Becchio, unattached to Rotherham United
Mikael Dyrestam, Aalesunds FK to NEC Nijmegen, free
Cosmin Matei, Dinamo Bucharest to Atromitos Athen, £70,000
Franck Tabanou, Swansea City to Saint-Etienne, on loan
Lex Immers, Feyenoord to Cardiff City, on loan
Amaral, Flamengo to Vitoria, free
Chumbinho, released by Qarabag Agdam
Mijo Caktas, Hajduk Split to Rubin Kazan, £700,000
Tonci Kukoc, Livorno to Como, undisclosed fee
Akos Elek, Changchun Yatai to Diosgyor, undisclosed fee
Victor Figueroa, Newell's Old Boys to CA Colon, on loan
Ezequiel Cerutti, Estudiantes to San Lorenzo, £2.24m
Jesus Fernandez, released by Levante
Stijn Wuytens, Willem II to AZ Alkmaar, undisclosed fee
Milos Stojanovic, Gyeongnam FC to Busan Ipark, undisclosed fee
Federico Bonazzoli, Sampdoria to Virtus Lanciano, on loan
Papy Djilobodji, Chelsea to Werder Bremen, on loan (£280,000 fee)
Davide Lanzafame, Perugia to Novara, undisclosed fee
Hakan Cinemre, Fenerbahce to Gazientepspor, on loan
Jaime Baez, Fiorentina to Livorno, on loan
Stefano Sabelli, Bari to Carpi, on loan (£210,000 fee)
Kevin Nolan, unattached to Leyton Orient (as player-manager)
Elkeson, Guangzhou Evergrande to Shanghai SIPG, £12.95m
Erick Moreno, Braga to Tondela, on loan
Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Asteras Tripolis to Atromitos Athen, free
Gerson Magrao, Clube de Regatas Brazil to Piracicaba, free
Nicola Bellomo, Ascoli to Chievo Verona, loan return
Josip Brezovec, Spezia Calcio to HNK Rijeka, loan return
Ibrahim Salah, Zamalek to Smouha, on loan
Rafael Miranda, ABC to Ferroviaria, free
Karim Matmour, unattached to Huddersfield Town
Lucas Evangelista, Udinese to Panathinaikos, on loan
Leandro Benegas, Universidad de Chile to Audax Italiano, on loan


7. Chelsea youngster heads out on loan
Yet another of Chelsea's players has headed on loan, this time a short term loan deal to League One side Fleetwood Town. Alex Kiwomya is an England U19 winger who is hoping to use the time to get some first team experience. "Fleetwood Town have agreed to sign Chelsea forward Alex Kiwomya on loan until 20th February," Fleetwood said on their official website. "The 19-year-old, who has been capped at numerous age levels by England, will go straight into Steven Pressley's squad for this weekend's game against Doncaster Rovers."

Kiwomya had confused matters with a tweet about being en route to Blackpool, but he quickly explained he was merely staying there:

8. Chinese team claim they sold player to rivals to help them
Guangzhou Evergrande won last year's AFC Champions League with striker Elkeson the star man, scoring the only goal in the two legs against Al Ahli. Guangzhou have now sold him to Shanghai SIPG, with the claim it was to support the Shanghai team's attempts to compete in this year's AFC Champions League. Obviously the millions of pounds they received was entirely irrelevant. "For the purpose of supporting Chinese teams to compete in the AFC Champions League, and for the national glory, we agreed Elkeson's transfer to Shanghai SIPG club," a club statement said. "The sale of Elkeson created a record high number in Chinese transfer market, the club got back €5.7 million investment and acquired profit." Elkeson had scored 76 times in his 111 games for Guangzhou, as well as 24 assists, as they won three consecutive domestic league titles.


9. Baggies sell another young prospect
West Bromwich Albion have sold Adil Nabi to Peterborough United, a player that was touted as one of the most promising youngsters they have ever had. Nabi joins Kemar Roofe in the form of young talent released early by the club without ever being given a chance. Roofe, incidentally, has scored 23 goals already this season for Oxford United, and is being tracked by Premier League clubs. Nabi was sent out on loan to Delhi Dynamoes earlier this season and, on his return, was given little chance to progress by manager Tony Pulis. Will this policy of moving on young prospects without giving them a chance come back to bite them?

10. United's handling of Depay criticised
If there is one man you can guarantee will be able to find something in the fitness coaching aspect to criticise about every single situation, it Raymond Verheijen. The Dutch fitness coach has been out of work for a while, other than when he is talking about how this club and that club got the fitness coaching wrong. I am quite sure that he was desperately searching for some way to link fitness coaching to the recent furore around Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey's abuse at the hands of Stoke City fans, just so he could get his name in the papers again. His latest target is Manchester United and their handling of Memphis Depay. Admittedly he may have a point, but it is difficult to take him seriously without having intimate knowledge of the club's training regime for Depay, as it is very possible that they did follow the same path prescribed by Verheijen. "If you look at Memphis Depay, you can use an objective reference, in this case a metaphor, to explain his situation," Verheijen told the Daily Express. "Just imagine you are running on a treadmill and you are running for lets say five miles per hour and after 30 minutes you are exhausted, and then next week you are going to run on that same treadmill but now you're going to run at 10 miles per hour. The speed goes up. What is going to happen to the 30 minutes? Well, the 30 minutes will become shorter because if you are exhausted after 30 minutes from running at five miles per hour, you will probably be exhausted after playing 15 or 20 minutes at 10 miles per hour. If the treadmill goes faster you will become exhausted sooner. There is a very clear correlation between the speed and duration: the volume. That is an objective reference, and based on this you can look at a player like Memphis Depay. He goes from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United, so that means that the speed goes up," Verheijen continued. "The speed of play and in training in the Dutch Eredivisie is lower than at Manchester United, in training and in the games in the Premier League. For Memphis Depay, the treadmill goes faster. That means that temporarily you have to reduce the volume for him so he has to train less and play less game minutes for his body to get used to the higher tempo and once he has caught up with the speed of actions then gradually, over time, you can increase the number of training sessions and game minutes all the way to team level. Then, after some months, his body will have caught up with playing football at a Premier League level. What should have been done with Memphis Depay and all other young players all around the world is to reduce the volume but in reality, these youngsters are just thrown in the deep and they will gradually become exhausted, their performance will drop and eventually they will get injured."

Written by Tris Burke January 22 2016 08:15:28