Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In for a Portugeezer?

Four days to go until our season kicks off at Old Trafford, and the rumour mill is in full working order.

Both the Sun and the Gazzetta dello Sport are claming we've agreed a loan deal for Portuguese midfielder Tiago with an option to sign him permanently for around £8m. The former Chelsea man currently plays for Juventus, having also lined up for Lyon since leaving these shores in 2005. Despite arriving with quite a reputation and being a regular starter for his country, his one-year stay at Stamford Bridge wasn't particularly impressive. On the one hand, we need more creativity and flair in central midfield, but on the other he's failed to settle in England once before and seems to have serious commitment issues.

Next, the Rumour That Just Won't Die - James Milner to Villa - was back today in both the Daily Heil and the Ronnie Gill. As far as I'm aware, our winger's "long-term admirers" are still yet to make a firm approach for him - really, it's like being at a school disco and watching some bespectacled nerd sitting lustfully and nervously in the corner and downing can after can of coke in the hope they might be able to pluck up the courage to talk to the object of their affection. Hopefully, if it happens Milner will tell them to talk to the hand.

Meanwhile, Blackburn's Stephen Warnock has rubbished reports he's handed in a transfer request in a bid to force through a £4m move to Tyneside. That's not to say a deal won't happen, of course...

Premier League new boys Stoke - soon to be Premier League whipping boys Stoke - have apparently taken a fancy to Abdoulaye Faye. Rather bizarrely, the Potters have also recently taken our old boy Amady Faye on trial - perhaps Tony Pulis is facing up to the fact that his side are doomed and starting a collection as a hobby?

Around 12,000 fans turned up at St James's Park to see the open training session. A bit of a disappointment, all told: we already knew that Michael Owen, though present, wouldn't feature in the seven-a-side practice match, but it had been hoped Fabricio Coloccini would be unveiled, perhaps along with a couple of other signings.

One player who wasn't there was ASBO, otherwise engaged at Soho Square pleading guilty to the FA's charge of violent conduct over the Dabo incident.

Last but by no means least, from zero to hero: happy birthday Al! Celebrating by creosoting a fence, perhaps?


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