RODGERS TO COME HOME
Brendan Rodgers. Brendan Roger Rodgers. That isn’t really his middle name – though it would be rather funny. But where next for Brendan Rodgers? The Northern Irishman was sacked by Liverpool in October, and has been without a club since. Chelsea were linked. No. Newcastle were linked. Nada. England continue to be linked. Nope. Swansea were linked. No. Well, actually, maybe.
The South Wales Evening Post reports that our favourite outstanding manager could be set for a return to the Premier League with the club he left in summer 2012. Francesco Guidolin is current manager of Swansea, and while the club have steered clear of relegation under his tutelage, doubts remain and his contract was only ever short term.
Guidolin’s deal will ‘be re-assessed’ at the end of the season, it is claimed, with the Italian’s continued struggles with the English language posing a potential problem in the future. The 60-year-old is keen to continue at the Liberty Stadium, but Swansea are yet to decide on the future.
Which is where Rodgers comes in. The 43-year-old, who revealed he had rejected five new job offers back in February – including from Swansea – would ‘be interested in the idea of coming back ahead of the 2016-17 campaign should Swansea make contact’.
It does make sense. Rodgers is no mid-season manager – he is no quick fix. But the appeal of the job would be obvious if he is given a pre-season. Either way, please come home, Brendan.
BETTER CALL SAUL
It’s Google Translate time. Yay.
‘The Atletico has addressed the renewal of Saul contract with the club Manzanares,’ begins a piece by Spanish newspaper AS on Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. ‘The player Atletico has a contract until June 30, 2020 and has become one of the essential Simeone. Possibly the player that has evolved throughout the season, but Atletico seems unwilling to reach that quantity.’
So he is of vital importance to the club, but Atletico are not quite willing to offer improved terms as yet. Very good; please continue.
‘The problem can get in summer with the call of the clubs in the Premier. Atletico has a large sign in England and rojiblanco has been associated with several clubs for next season: Manchester United and Arsenal are among the clubs that claim to Atletico.’
So Manchester United and Arsenal are interested. It’s understandable. The midfielder is 21, a Spanish youth international on the cusp of a senior call-up, and has started 19 of 29 La Liga games this season. He’s been great. Therefore Premier League clubs will be interested. Niguez’s release clause equates to around £18.5million, which is a more-than-tempting valuation.
DESTRO TO UNITED
‘Mattia Destro wants to join Jose Mourinho at Manchester United,’ reads the headline in The Metro. ‘Bologna striker wants to join unattached manager at Premier League club,’ is the alternate but unused headline. Shame.
Destro played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, and certainly seemed to enjoy his time there. When asked if he would fancy a reunion, the striker responded: “To be able to train with champions and with a coach like Mourinho made me mature and prepared me to make a giant step into real football.”
Then came the leading question: Would you like to join Manchester United if Mourinho became manager? A striker playing for Bologna, 9th in Serie A, and with eight goals and three assists in 27 league games, is sure to say ‘no, not a f***ing chance,’ right? Well, obviously not.
“If he called me to Man United? I’d like to see myself in that situation,” was his response. Colour us shocked.
AND THE REST
Liverpool will hold talks next week over the prospective signing of Udinese midfielder Piotr Zielinski…Arsenal have made a move for Roma starlet Umar Sadiq, according to the player’s agent…Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is wanted in a £4million deal by Borussia Monchengladbach, where the 19-year-old is currently on loan…Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani hopes more than ever he can leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer…Kyle Lafferty is desperate for a move away from Norwich as his hopes of a place in Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad are being harmed by not playing…Nigel Clough and Nigel Pearson are the top contenders to replace sacked Dougie Freedman as Nottingham Forest manager.