Bosman bargains to be had for Premier League clubs this summer

This summer while some Premier League clubs are looking to spend major amounts of money on new additions, other clubs will be scratching around in the bargain basement.

Luckily for those clubs with slightly less transfer funds there a few bargains to be had.

Here is a list of players who are available on free transfers this summer:

Nigel Reo-Coker (Aston Villa)

Come July 1st Nigel Reo-Coker will be released by Aston Villa. This came as a slight shock to me.

He has always struck me as a decent midfield player with a good engine. He joined Villa in 2007 for £8.5million after captaining West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

For me signing the 27 year-old would be a no-brainer for most Premier League clubs. I cannot see the midfielder being without a club for very long. If fit, he would make a good addition to most Premier League teams, although he has also been linked with a move abroad.

John Carew (Aston Villa)

Carew is another player released by Villa this summer. It didn’t come as a surprise as he was on-loan at Stoke City at the end of last season and out-of-favour before that. The 31 year-old striker is hoping to secure a permanent move to the Britannia, but it remains to be seen if he has done enough to win a permanent contract.

Carew is still a good target man and for any teams wanting to play the more direct style of football he is perfect. He would be a good signing for a midtable team or a team battling against the drop.

David Vaughan (Blackpool)

The Welsh midfielder impressed last season, despite his club being relegated from the Premier League. The 28 year-old Welsh international has created a niche for himself as a defensive midfielder after previously playing on the left of midfield and defence.

Blackpool were hoping to persuade the former-Crewe player to sign a new contract but they look like they are fighting a losing battle. North East side Sunderland are believed to be leading the chase ahead of Wigan and Bolton.

Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff City)

The Cardiff City striker is hoping for a big move to the Premier League this summer after scoring 18 goals in the Championship last season. The 29 year-old has again failed to achieve promotion with the Welsh side and is now looking for his chance in the Premier League.

If recent reports are to be believed the recently capped England international could be joining Premier League Everton. However he is also attracting interest from SPL giants Celtic.

Craig Mackail-Smith (Peterborough) (Not free but cheap!)

The 27 year-old is one of the reasons that Posh won promotion to the Championship. He scored the third goal in Peterborough’s 3-0 play-off victory over Huddersfield. His play-off final goal was his 35th of the season.

The newly-capped Scotland international is now hoping for his big chance in the Premier League. He has been linked with a move to newly-promoted Norwich and is now believed to be attracting interest from other top flight clubs.

The striker has only played lower league football so far in his career. Premier League clubs looking at signing him would be taking a slight gamble, but as he’s available at a knockdown price so he would be worth the risk.

He has proved a prolific goalscorer in the past few seasons and he deserves his opportunity in the top flight. If not then I’m sure he will be snapped up by a Championship club.

Need

With money tight at a lot of Premier League clubs the need to sign players for cheap has grown. These are just five players who could be available on free transfers but there is likely to be lots more players available for a knockdown price this summer.

Who will be the best Bosman signing this summer?

Tue 31 May, 2011
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United are right celebrate

Can others catch them?

After they were totally outclassed by Barcelona on Saturday evening you may have expected Manchester United’s open top bus tour of the city to celebrate their nineteenth league title to be a little subdued. It was nothing of the sort as that defeat and the typical Manchester rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm and excitement of the players or the 100,000 or so fans who turned out to cheer their heroes.

Celebrations

Obviously the celebrations would have been even more wild if they had managed to beat Barcelona, but the fact they didn’t had little effect. And indeed, why should it? Barcelona have the best player in the world and he is surrounded by two forwards and three midfield players who are the current European and World Champions. Being beaten by them is no disgrace and whilst disappointed, United will certainly not be beating themselves up about it.

So putting that game to one side, United could look back on an historic season where they finally beat Liverpool’s record of eighteen titles and officially became England’s most successful side ever. They could look back at a season where they dropped just two points at home and won the Premier League by nine points. They reached their third Champions League final in four years and did so without ever reaching the heights that they know they can do.

Emergence

The season saw the emergence of players like Rafael, Fabio and Chris Smalling. It saw Valencia come back from a horror injury with a vengeance and Nani start to fulfil some of his promise. It also saw Hernandez and Rooney form a partnership that delivered much and promises even more. In other words, despite the emergence of Manchester City and the challenge of the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal and possibly Liverpool, United will still be there or there abouts next season.

Sir Alex is starting yet another rebuilding process and is putting together another new team. He has lost Edwin van der Sar and it looks as though Paul Scholes may also be on a downward slope. Ryan Giggs has been magnificent but he started to look his age in the game against Barcelona. It is time for the next Manchester United team to step up.

Fergie has done this many times over the years and I have little doubt that he will do it again.

Noticeable

As the parade took place yesterday it was noticeable that out of contract players such as Michael Owen and Paul Scholes were there celebrating with the others as was top scorer Dimitar Berbatov, who had been completely left out of proceedings at Wembley on Saturday. That is the strength of Fergie’s Manchester United. They are a team and have a never say die attitude and team spirit and work ethic that you simply can’t buy.

The leader of Manchester city council summed up the feelings of the fans when he said,

“Manchester United winning their 19th top flight title is a remarkable and historic achievement.”

The fans themselves would not let Saturday’s defeat stop them from celebrating in the rain.

One said,

“It’s great to see the players enjoying themselves. They’ve done us proud this season.”

Another added,

“I’m not disappointed at all. It’s not ‘only’ one trophy. City and Liverpool can say what they want, we are the best in Britain and we’ll have another crack at Barcelona next season. United have done Manchester proud.”

Pride

That was the overriding feeling that I got from watching the parade. The players, management and fans all shared a common pride in being part of Manchester United.

I am not a Manchester United fan but I have the utmost respect for what they have achieved and what they have got. The challenge for everyone else in English football is to match them, overtake them and knock Fergie ‘off his perch’. I won’t be holding my breath!

Tue 31 May, 2011
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Coaching upheaval in MLS

Struggling Major League Soccer clubs Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps both sacked their coaches on Monday.

Carlos de los Cobos has been shown the door in Chicago after leading the Fire to an overall 1-4-6 record this season.

The Fire, who have gone winless in their past nine matches, sit second-bottom in the Eastern Conference with nine points from 11 games.

Meanwhile, Teitur Thordarson has paid the price for Vancouver’s poor start to life in the MLS, sacked at the rookie club following a winless streak dating back to their first-ever match in the top-flight.

The Whitecaps have not won since announcing their arrival in the MLS with a 4-2 defeat of Toronto FC in March.

They prop up the Western Conference table with nine points from 12 matches.

Director of Soccer Operations Tom Soehn will take over in Vancouver on an interim basis, while technical director and former Fire player Frank Klopas has been handed the reins in Chicago.

Tue 31 May, 2011
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Swansea elated after playoff success

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers hailed his side after they earned their place in the English Premier League with a 4-2 win over Reading.

The Welsh outfit led 3-0 at half-time in the Champion playoff final at Wembley, courtesy of a Scott Sinclair brace and a Stephen Dobbie half-volley, before Reading provided a spirited comeback to cut the deficit to 3-2, and nearly levelled after Jem Karacan’s strike hit the woodwork.

But Rodgers saw his side earn Premiership promotion when Sinclair completed his hat-trick with a late penalty, and while the City manager said his side could have played better, he was full of praise for their efforts to win football’s richest game.

“It was a fantastic game. I don’t think we played as well as we did for most of the season. But on the moments when we did show our quality we were very, very good,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers took the positive out of his side’s inability to keep a clean sheet, stating that Reading’s two second-half goals helped Swansea reset and regain composure.

“Conceding two goals helped us refocus and get a bit of control,” Rodgers said.

“These players deserve to be in the Premier League, they showed great courage. It’s fantastic. The supporters today were incredible and it’s nice to repay their faith and get promotion.”

“Ourselves, (runners-up) Norwich and (champions) QPR will be a credit to the Championship and will try to do well.”

“We show courage and try to pass the ball but the important thing today was to try to win the game.”

It is Swansea’s first visit to the English top flight in 28 years, and it comes eight years after they were on the brink of demotion to League One on the final day of the Championship.

Conversely, Reading manager Brian McDermott was devastated in defeat.

“This is the worst feeling I have ever felt in football. I can’t remember a worse feeling than this,’ he said.

“Wembley is not a place to lose but it gives you a feeling of wanting to come back and put it right next time. And that is the only thing you can do.”

“I can’t fault our players, what I didn’t want was the first half to be seen by the whole world, us having not produced what we’re capable of. We did that after the break, we were the better side in the second half.”

“We started off OK, they got a goal and for them to go in 3-0 up at half time, it was a real blow. Even at 3-0 I felt we had a chance if we could get the next goal, which we did.”

“We got the second and then we were inches away from a third. I thought Swansea had gone at that point to be honest.”

Tue 31 May, 2011
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West Ham turn to Allardyce

Former Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has agreed to terms to lead relegated West Ham in the Championship next campaign.

The Englishman – who has managed current English Premier League sides Bolton, Newcastle and Rovers – confirmed on Monday he would be coaching at Upton Park next season, and would attempt to bounce the beleaguered Hammers back into the top flight.

“Everything has been agreed in principle and I look forward to taking charge after I have had a family holiday,” Allardyce told British tabloid The People.

“It’s always difficult dealing with the aftermath of relegation, but I want to get West Ham back into the Premier League as quickly as possible.”

West Ham sacked former manager Avram Grant merely hours after their 3-2 loss to Wigan this month, which ensured the Londoners of relegation to the Championship.

West Ham’s official website have pre-empted unconfirmed reports on Monday of Allardyce’s appointment at Upton Park, with the Hammers releasing a statement announcing they would unveil their new boss in the near future.

Allardyce was controversially sacked by Blackburn in December 2010 with the side sitting in 13th place in the Premier League, a position which they failed to improve on under replacement boss Steve Kean.

Tue 31 May, 2011
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Zhang takes AFC reins

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have announced Zhang Jilong will take over as President in the place of the suspended Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Bin Hammam was suspended from all football activity by world governing body FIFA, pending investigations into allegations he bribed Caribbean Football Union officials to ensure their votes in the presidential election.

The AFC executive committee released a statement confirming Zhang, of China, would fill the role while Bin Hammam was suspended from involvement in any football operations.

“We will be following the investigation as it takes its course. We hope the outcome of the investigation will be in the best interests of football in Asia and beyond,” the statement read.

“In light of the decision taken by the FIFA Ethics Committee regarding AFC President Mohammad Bin Hammam, the AFC’s most senior Vice-President, Mr. Zhang Jilong will be the acting President.”

“The AFC will continue its work in promoting and further developing Asian football in the spirit of Asian unity and solidarity.”

Tue 31 May, 2011
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Blatter: ´Damage´ to FIFA, but no crisis

FIFA president Sepp Blatter says the world governing body’s image has been damaged after recent corruption and bribery allegations.

Blatter – the lone candidate for the presidency election on Wednesday – was forced to defend FIFA after a tumultuous few days saw both Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner suspended amid accusations of bribery and corruption.

Bin Hammam was due to challenge Blatter for the FIFA presidency and is set to appeal his suspension.

In an eventful press conference on Monday, Swiss national Blatter said FIFA had suffered as a result of the recent revelations.

“I regret what has happened in the last few days and weeks. (There has been) great damage to the image of FIFA, but especially a lot of disappointment for football fans. I’m speaking to the football fans,” he told reporters in Zurich on Monday.

“What we have to do is in the congress, to get a unity, in solidarity and to look forward for the next four years.”

“It will not be an easy task, but together we can do it. I’m sure, and it has been confirmed in the four meetings and in the two I will have tomorrow, (it) will be the same. We go together for the good of game, for the fans of football and for the perception of our game in society.”

When asked if the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar had been ‘clean’, Blatter said FIFA had no problem with the way the process had been conducted.

“I believe that the decision which we took for the 2022 World Cup was done exactly in the same pattern and in the same environment that we have made the decision on the 2018 (tournament, which was awarded to Russia) and there was no problem for FIFA’s ExCo to act in this direction,” he said.

“Again, I say – there is no issue for the 2022 World Cup.”

While Blatter said the organisation was ‘in a very bad situation’, he denied FIFA was in crisis and said only the congress of football’s governing body could help rectify the matters.

Blatter refused to answer questions regarding FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke and his email to Warner, which had been released earlier on Monday.

Valcke had written that Qatar had ‘bought’ the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.

He clarified the comment in a statement released shortly before Blatter’s press conference: “I’d like to clarify that I may use in an email – a ‘lighter’ way of expression by nature – a much less formal tone than in any form of correspondence.”

“Having said that, when I refer to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in that email, what I wanted to say is that the winning bid used their financial strength to lobby for support. They were a candidate with a very important budget and have used it to heavily promote their bid all around the world in a very efficient manner.”

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Swansea deserve promotion, says Rogers

Swansea manager Brendan Rogers said his side got its just reward after clinching promotion to the English Premier League on Monday.

The Welsh club looked in control at half-time of the Championship playoff against Reading at Wembley after jumping out to a 3-0 lead inside 40 minutes.

But Reading scored twice in the first 12 minutes of the second half to give hope to their band of supporters, only for Scott Sinclair’s penalty – his third goal of the game – to ice the result for Swansea on 80 minutes.

“It was a fantastic game,” said Rodgers, who was sacked as Reading coach in December 2009 and joined Swansea in July 2010.

“I don’t think we played as well as we did for most of the season.”

“But on the moments when we did show our quality we were very, very good.”

“Conceding two goals helped us refocus and get a bit of control.”

“These players deserve to be in the Premier League, they showed great courage. It’s fantastic. The supporters today were incredible and it’s nice to repay their faith and get promotion.”

“It was a proper, proper game and these players deserve to be in the Premier League.”

Reading manager Brian McDermott was left to rue what could have been, with midfielder Jem Karacan smacking the upright with his drive when the score at 3-2.

He told reporters after the game that his side ‘would have won’ if it had made it 3-3, and that he considered his team the better on the day.

“I thought when we got to 3-2 we were going to win the game,” he said.

“I said to the players at half-time, ‘Don’t worry about four goals, get one’. We were inches away from the third goal. If we had made it 3-3 we would have won that game.”

“What I can say is I thought we were by far the better side.”

“We gave away a penalty, the second goal went straight to one of their players after (goalkeeper) Adam Federici palmed it out, the third went straight to one of their players.

“Obviously, the fourth goal killed the game but our players were a credit to the fans and club. I’m proud of the players. They showed great resilience. They are a great bunch. The fans could see the team giving it absolutely everything.”

But despite believing his side were the better outfit, McDermott had praise for winners Swansea and tipped them to deal with the step up to the English top flight: “Credit to Swansea. In the first half they were very good. They are a really good side and in the Premier League they will do well.”

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Bin Hammam to appeal FIFA ban

Mohamed Bin Hammam intends to appeal the suspension handed to him by the FIFA ethics committee.

The governing body banned the Asian Football Confederation president from football-related activities after he was accused of corruption.

But Bin Hammam said on Monday the process was unfair after he was suspended without being proven guilty.

“Mohamed Bin Hammam will not accept yesterday’s decision by the FIFA ethics committee,” a statement on his website read.

“As he is only allowed to appeal against the motivated decision by the FIFA ethics committee, he urgently requested this by Tuesday to be able to file his appeal in due time and to revoke the provisional ban before Wednesday’s congress is starting.”

“The way these proceedings have been conducted is absolutely not compliant with any principles of justice. I am punished before I am found guilty.”

Bin Hammam said he did not have faith in the committee to provide a decision through their investigation without being influenced.

“This is not acceptable as the FIFA ethics committee is supposed to be a fully independent body,” he said.

“Therefore, I also expect the further investigation to be influenced and manipulated.”

The Qatari pulled out of the race to be FIFA president on Sunday, leaving incumbent Sepp Blatter to enter Wednesday’s election as the only candidate.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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Championship playoff: Reading 2 Swansea 4

Swansea City are back in English football’s top flight for the first time in 28 years after a 4-2 win over Reading in the playoff final.

A hat-trick from attacker Scott Sinclair helped Brendan Rodgers’ side win their way from the Championship on Monday and into the English Premier League for the first time since the 1982/83 season.

Reading fought back from 3-0 down at half-time to pull it back to 3-2, but Sinclair’s third from the penalty spot ended any hope they had of a remarkable comeback.

It was two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half that gave Swansea the advantage.

Midfielder Nathan Dyer was brought down by Reading defender Zurab Khizanishvili in the area and Sinclair stepped up to coolly slot the spot kick into the bottom corner.

He had his brace a minute later as Stephen Dobbie broke free down the right, squaring across the area with Sinclair free to tap in at the back post after Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici had managed to fingertip the cross.

With five minutes to play in the half, Swansea went 3-0 up as Khizanishvili cleared a cross from the right into the path of Scottish attacker Dobbie, who placed his right-foot strike into the bottom corner.

Reading forward Shane Long should have pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, but he mis-hit his chance at the back post.

Reading midfielder Jay Tabb, who started on the bench, and assistant manager Nigel Gibbs, were sent off at the interval for abusive language.

But Brian McDermott’s team fought back in the second half, striking twice in the space of eight minutes.

Forward Noel Hunt headed in a corner from Ian Harte at the near post, before captain Matthew Mills brought it back to 3-2.

Mills rose highest to head in midfielder Jobi McAnuff’s corner in the 57th minute.

Reading went within inches of an equaliser three minutes later as Jem Karacan saw his fizzing 20-yard effort deflected onto the post.

Sinclair completed his treble 10 minutes from the end as a poor challenge from Reading defender Andy Griffin handed him another penalty.

He again struck to Federici’s right to seal a famous win.

Mon 30 May, 2011
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