JULY 15 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

LUKAS PODOLSKI HAS PROVEN HE HAS THE STONES

JULY 15 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS

CHELSEA’S AFRICAN PAIR READY FOR PREMIER LEAGUE RETURN

Chelsea’s African duo Michael Essien and Jon Obi Mikel are set to return to Stamford Bridge after long injuries that kept both out of the World Cup.

Nigeria’s Mikel and Ghana’s Essien both had time during the World Cup to return to fitness and now look set to join the club for Chelsea’s opening Premier League fixture August 14.

“There should be no problem whatsoever,” Chelsea assistant Ray Wilkins told soccernet. “Mikel is slightly in advance of Michael Essien but they are both working very well indeed.

“They have been working double sessions for the last week and we will get them really firing before the season starts.”

AC MILAN IN FOR PODOLSKI, BUT ONLY IF…

AC Milan will splash to cash to but German striker Lukas Podolski, but only if they can first find a buyer for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, preferably to a Premier League club.

The 1 FC Koln striker has come back into vogue after a successful run in the World Cup, and Milan have sized up the 25-year-old who is a more versatile player than Huntelaar, being able to play as a more conventional forward. Nothing however will move the Rossoneri to approach unless they have cah in hand for Huntelaar.

“Podolski will arrive only if one condition is met and that is the transfer of Huntelaar to the (English) Premier League, which would then open a few paths from a financial standpoint.” Milan Vice-president Adriano Galliani told Sky Sport 24.

BAYERN LOOKING FOR VAN DER WIEL

Bayern Munich have approached Dutch side Ajax regarding Gregory van der Wiel.

Ajax have confirmed that the German superclub have made an offer for the 22-year-old Netherlands International.

“We are looking at things now and will discuss them again with the coach,” Bayern director Karl-Heinze Rummenigge said. “Theoretically, we have until August 31. Sometimes one has to pursue things with great calm so that they don’t become too expensive.”

Van der Wiel was the starting right back for the Netherlands through their World Cup Final appearance but Bayern employ German captain Philipp Lahm at that spot, but could be moved to left back if the transfer went through.

CELTIC POISED TO SNAG PUMAS DEFENDER JUAREZ

Efrain Juarez may be joining Celtic, if manager Neil Lennon has his way.

The UNAM Pumas defender is on the final roster for the Mexican clubs SuperLiga tournament appearance in Boston tonight, but he is probably thinking more about Philadelphia and Toronto as that is where Celtic played last night and Friday night respectively, in preparation for the upcoming Scottish Premier league.

“We are very close to signing him and hopefully over the next few days we’ll have something on that.” Lennon told Soccernet. “He might not come to Philly but hopefully he’ll come to Toronto,”

“He’s got great energy, is really comfortable on the ball and works really hard off the ball. He’s a very fit lad and I think his style will suit us. He’s a hardy little guy as well – he can put his foot in. I saw Juarez playing against England at Wembley before the World Cup and just kept an eye on him.

“I thought he looked decent there and in the World Cup and when the opportunity came up we watched him again and again and asked if he would fit in to what we wanted to do here. We all agreed that he would. We’re not paying massive money for him.”

The 22-year-old follows midfielder Pablo Barrera, whom is poised to sign for West Ham United, out of Pumas.

“Celtic is the team that best meets the expectations of everyone, both the player and the club.” Juarez’s agent Jorge Berlanga said. “Efra really liked the option, because Celtic are a top team in Europe, they tend to play Champions League football, and that is a big step, so for all that he is excited.”

“There are still things to work out, which are routine aspects, such as medical tests or work permits which are very difficult, mainly in the UK.” Berlanga said on Wednesday. “There are still some things that need defining – we are waiting for an answer – but negotiations could be closed in the next few hours.”

FULHAM MANAGER JOB STILL UP FOR GRABS

Fulham have yet to replace Roy Hodgson as manager after he made the jump to Anfield, but there are indications that the search may be coming to a close.

Martin Jol has apparently jumped to the top of the pecking order, as Mohammed Al Fayed balked at Sven-Goran Ericksson’s salary demands and has returned to negotiations to stay on as Ivory Coast manager.

Mark Hughes and Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz are also on the list, US manager Bob Bradley and Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld are no longer candidates, according to club sources.

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One Response to “JULY 15 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS”

  1. JULY 16 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS « GOODMAN BROWNE ON THE PITCH Says:

    […] GOODMAN BROWNE ON THE PITCH All Things North American Soccer « JULY 15 – SHORT CORNERS: INTERNATIONAL SOCCER NEWS, NOTES AND RUMORS […]

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