Ridgewell joins West Brom

West Bromwich Albion have signed defender Liam Ridgewell from Championship club Birmingham City.

The former Aston Villa man made the deadline-day move after an initial bid was rejected by Birmingham, with West Brom manager Roy Hodgson indicating he was prepared to ‘move on’.

Ridgewell made clear his wish to remain in the Premier League when he handed in a transfer request to relegated Birmingham at the end of last season.

The versatile 27-year-old can operate in the centre of defence or at left back and has inked a two-and-a-half year deal with Hodgson’s side.

“Liam is a very experienced defender and has the added benefit of being left-sided. We do not have many of those defenders at the club,” Hodgson said.

“He can also play in two positions and he is used to playing in teams under pressure to get results to stay in the league.”

“We hope we won’t be one of those teams under pressure but, if we are, it is good to have someone of that experience.”

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Miyaichi loaned to Bolton

Arsenal midfielder Ryo Miyaichi has completed a loan move to fellow English Premier League side Bolton for the remainder of the season.

Miyaichi, 19, had been strongly linked with a temporary move away from the Emirates for much of the January transfer window, with Owen Coyle’s Bolton side winning the race.

The Japan Under-19 international joined Arsenal in 2010, and was tipped to make an impression on the first team this season after an eye-catching spell with Feyenoord last term.

He scored three times 12 appearances for the Eredivisie side, but he is yet to make his Premier League debut, appearing on the bench once.

Bolton manager Coyle told the club’s official website: “He’s a very talented young player, who is quick and exciting. He had a great spell on loan at Feyenoord last season.”

“He’s a young player with tremendous promise and potential and hopefully at Bolton we can give him a platform on which he can display his qualities.”

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Kean in confident mood

Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean is in a positive frame of mind heading into Wednesday’s clash with Newcastle at Ewood Park.

Although they sit third from the bottom of the English Premier League, Blackburn will be looking to build on their 3-1 win over Fulham and their 1-1 draw at Everton when they host Newcastle – who knocked them out of the FA Cup on January 7.

Further buoying Blackburn’s hopes will be the news that Newcastle’s Senegal duo Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba will not play in the match because they will not make it back in time from the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We know Newcastle well, we know that there a team that could possibly miss a few of their first teamers at the moment,” Kean said.

“We’ve only lost one game in the last five (league games) and we’re actually disappointed we didn’t get a draw from that in the Stoke game.”

“We’ve went to three tough away games at Anfield, Old Trafford and Everton and managed to get points from that and managed to beat Fulham with ten men.”

“So we’re in a good vain of form and we’re confident we can keep the run going.”

Blackburn midfielder David Dunn echoed his manager’s sentiments about the team’s form, and is looking forward to an upturn in the club’s fortunes.

“I think the last couple of weeks our performance has improved massively. I think we’ve been playing some really good stuff and maybe a little bit unlucky not to have picked a few more points up,” Dunn said.

“If we keep performing like we have in the last two or three weeks, we’ll certainly get a few more points on the board.”

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Janko to fill Falcao void at Porto

Liga Sagres champions Porto have signed Austria striker Marc Janko from Eredivisie club Twente on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Janko, 28, has been in talks with Europa League winners Porto since Sunday, after his agent Rob Jansen travelled to Portugal with the intention of thrashing out an agreement.

An undisclosed fee has now been agreed between the two clubs, and Janko is happy with the personal terms on offer from the Liga Sagres title-holders.

“It was very strange for me when there was much (of the deal) still to be completed,” Janko told Sport Promotion.

“Of course you assume that everything will be okay, but still, what if it does not happen? Now everything is done and I can therefore only be satisfied.”

“Porto is of course a great club to play for. Not only in Portugal but also in Europe. They qualify for the Champions League almost all the time and I consider it an honour to represent this club.”

Janko explained the reason why Porto were in hot pursuit of his services, pinpointing the club’s lack of a clinical finisher since the departure of Radamel Falcao to Atletico Madrid in August.

“Goals, that is what is expected of me,” Janko said.

“The club was looking for a ‘killer’ in the penalty area, so they came to me. I’ll do everything possible to meet these expectations.”

A 24-cap Austria international, Janko made his name at Red Bull Salzburg between 2005 and 2010, where he netted an impressive 75 goals in 108 league appearances, before earning a move to then-Eredivisie champions Twente.

Janko managed to sustain his goal-scoring form in the Netherlands, reaching double figures in each of his two seasons in Enschede, including a haul of 17 to date this season.

“I’ve always done my best, trying to score as many as I could,” he said.

“I could not do more than that as a player … I have had a wonderful time at Twente and appreciate the fans’ support.”

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Cisse, Ba unavailable for Newcastle

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has revealed Senegal duo Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba will not return in time to meet Blackburn on Wednesday.

Despite Senegal’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations, Pardew said the pair will not be a part of his squad for the match at Ewood Park, although he expects they will be ready for the home clash with Aston Villa on Sunday.

“They have got a very difficult journey in front of them with the time difference and everything else, so we don’t think they are going to make the game,” Pardew said.

“I have accepted that they won’t make the game. We tried everything to get them here, but they have got commitments to their federation. But we are in good heart that they will be involved on Sunday.”

Newcastle are in sixth place in the English Premier League, but Pardew is expecting a stern test of his side when they journey to Blackburn, who are third from the bottom.

“I think Steve Kean has done a terrific job just lately with that team, I think they are a lot stronger and better than they were when we have played them before,” he said.

“You have to admire him (Kean), to come through what was the eye of the storm really.”

“And now it will be the second half of the season, trying to keep the team in the division and I hope he does.”

“It is going to be a tough game.”

Pardew said he was a lot more relaxed this January transfer window than he had been last year, when a deadline-day swoop from Liverpool saw Andy Carroll leave Tyneside.

“Well I’m smiling and that’s a good sign, because I wasn’t last year,” Pardew said.

“I think in terms of our players going out, I think all of our big players are going to stay, which I think is important – bearing in mind the position we are in in the league.”

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Tshabalala commits to Chiefs

After taking time out to contemplate his future, Siphiwe Tshabalala has signed a three-year contract extension with Kaizer Chiefs.

Chiefs’ football manager Bobby Motaung confirmed the news on the club’s official website.

“We are delighted that Tshabalala has renewed his contract after he was given time by the executive chairman (Kaizer Motaung) to ponder about his future,” Motaung said.

“He has always been loyal to the club and his experience will be important at this stage of the season.”

Last week Tshabalala asked for three days to consider his future, after English Championship side Crystal Palace revealed they would possibly offer him a contract in June.

Opinion was divided over whether Shabba should sign an extension at Chiefs or not, and how long he should sign for, considering how that would affect his chances of a move to Palace.

But with the English club holding out, Shabba has taken the plunge and signed on the dotted line.

The left-winger has scored 20 goals in 97 Premiers Soccer League appearances for Chiefs, and also boasts 62 caps for South Africa.

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Transfer deadline day news

The winter transfer window will shut at 11pm tonight and already there has been some deals completed and speculation over the future of some big players.

Here I will take a look at some of the completed deals and deals that could go through before the window shuts.

Completed

QPR have completed the signing of Djibril Cisse for an undisclosed fee from Serie A side Lazio. The 30 year-old striker has signed a two and a half year contract at Loftus Road. Cisse has previous Premier League experience with Liverpool and Sunderland.

Sunderland have signed Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge on-loan for the rest of the season. The former-England full-back had fallen badly out of favour at the Etihad Stadium.

West Brom have completed the signing of Birmingham defender Liam Ridgewell for an undisclosed fee. The defender started his career at the Baggies Midlands rivals Aston Villa.

Tottenham full-back Vedran Corluka has joined German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen on-loan until the end of the season. The Croatian international has fallen down the pecking order at White Hart Lane and was behind Kyle Walker in the Spurs first team.

Talks

As mentioned in yesterdays article Everton are close to completing the £5million signing of Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic. The big striker is on Merseyside having a medical and discussing personal terms. The 26 year-old is expected to complete the move before the window shuts.

It appears that Everton striker Louis Saha could be heading out of Goodison Park. Premier League high-fliers Tottenham are in talks with the 33 year-olds agent. A fee has yet to be revealed but unconfirmed reports have suggested that former-Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar could return to the club as part of the deal.

Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala are in talks with Arsenal about the £6million signing of midfield playmaker Andrey Arshavin. The Russian international has struggled to find his form in the last year but is still highly-rated back in his home country.

QPR could follow-up the capture of Cisse with the signing of Fulham striker Bobby Zamora. His club has given him permission to speak to their London rivals about a £5million move. The 30 year-old forward was believed to have fallen out with boss Martin Jol at the end of last year.

Fulham are looking to replace Zamora with Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak. The 28 year-old Stuttgart striker could arrive on a season-long loan deal. His contract with the German side expires in the summer.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are in talks to sign Roma midfielder playmaker David Pizarro  on-loan for the rest of the season. The 32 year-old has been linked with a move to Russia with Zenit St Petersburg. However the Etihad Stadium now looks like his preferred destination.

Watford defender Adrian Mariappa has been given permission to talk to Premier League side Wigan. The two clubs have agreed an undisclosed fee for the 25 year-old. Newcastle are also believed to be interested in signing the centre-back.

Late

There are always late deals completed on transfer deadline day and I’m sure there will be more players on the move before the window slams shut at 11PM. Soccernews will keep you updated with any fresh developments in the transfer market.

Will any big name players be on the move late on transfer deadline day?

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Espanyol snap up Sanchez

Former Barcelona player Victor Sanchez has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Espanyol on a free transfer.

The versatile midfielder, who can also play in defence, had been without a club following the financial collapse of Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax, who were declared bankrupt last week.

Espanyol confirmed on Tuesday that the 24-year-old, who spent time on loan at Jerez and Getafe during his Barca career, has now arrived back in Catalunya.

“Victor Sanchez has signed for RCD Espanyol for the remainder of this season and three more after that,” a statement on the club’s website read.

“And, after passing a medical examination, he will be incorporated into training this afternoon (Tuesday).”

Sanchez, who came through Barcelona’s youth teams, made just eight first-team appearances for the club between 2007 and 2001, before moving to Switzerland last summer.

Espanyol announced earlier on Tuesday that they had also taken advantage of Neuchatel Xamax’s expulsion from the Swiss Super League to sign forward Kalu Uche.

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Ballack to stay at Leverkusen

Michael Ballack is set to remain at Bayer Leverkusen at least until the end of the season, according to his representative.

Ballack’s agent Michael Becker told Der Spiegel the player intends to fulfil his contract, and will not move in the January transfer window.

Becker conceded his client is likely to leave Leverkusen at the end of the season for a club based outside of Europe.

“Michael will not leave today (Tuesday), this is for sure,” Becker is quoted as saying.

“After his contract with Leverkusen expires, he could go to China, Arabia or the United States.”

Becker went on to dismiss the somewhat farfetched rumours regarding a possible switch for 35-year-old Ballack to Manchester United.

The former Germany captain has made 18 first-team appearances for Leverkusen this season, but has reportedly fallen out of favour with head coach Robin Dutt.

Tue 31 January, 2012
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Barrios to remain with Dortmund

Lucas Barrios will not leave Borussia Dortmund during the January transfer window, according to the player’s agent.

Paraguay international Barrios had been tipped to join Fulham on Monday, with the Premier League club reportedly offering eight million euros for his services.

Dortmund are understood to be willing to part ways with the attacker, but were not prepared to lower their asking price of 10 million euros.

And the player’s agent is apparently doubtful that such a sum will be tabled before the window shuts.

Barrios’ name has nevertheless been released on the Bundesliga’s official transfer list, meaning Dortmund still consider a move possible before February 1.

Mohamed Zidan was also included on the transfer list – the Egypt forward has been linked with a return to former club Mainz.

Tue 31 January, 2012
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