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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 13 hours ago
Read
Jul 10, 2009

The greatest U.S. transfer ever?

This was the week in which Michael Owen had the last laugh following his transfer to Manchester United, Carlo Ancelotti revealed his plans for bionic engineering at Stamford Bridge and Oguchi Onyewu made a shock move to AC Milan in possibly the greatest U.S. transfer ever.

Owen has last laugh - Friday, July 3

For almost the entirety of last season the football world was of the opinion that Michael Owen was past it. The speedy England striker that sprung to fame with his wonder goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup had lost his pace and eye for goal as Newcastle United were relegated from the Premier League.

How we laughed as his PR people put together a brochure to promote their 29-year-old client and dispel the reports that he was plagued by injury.

With only Stoke City and Hull City seemingly interested in signing the fallen icon the laughter continued. And then... the most successful manager in English football, Sir Alex Ferguson, left us all opened mouthed as he swooped to sign Owen on a free transfer for Premier League champions Manchester United.

And judging by Owen's interview just ten minutes after he had completed his move to Old Trafford he was in as much shock as the rest of us. " ... out of the blue Sir Alex phoned me on Wednesday afternoon, invited me to have breakfast with him next morning during which he told me that he wanted to sign me. I agreed without a moment's thought."

As the former Liverpool striker laughs last and longest at all those who had written him off he won't be at all bothered that the club shop has yet to receive a single request for an Owen shirt.

Kinnear's heart still in football - Saturday, July 4

It seems that two heart attacks and one of the worst win records in Newcastle United's history is still not enough to put Joe Kinnear off management.

The unwanted and unloved Toon boss has been given the go-ahead to return to management and has set his sights on possibly taking over again at St James' Park, despite being forced to vacate his post in February for a heart operation.

"I feel as fit as a fiddle," the 62-year-old said. "I love the game. I'm desperate to get back into it. It just depends where and when. I just hope it happens sooner (rather) than later."

Generally speaking it's better to give up something that has given you heart trouble on two occasions but Kinnear, who also suffered a heart attack during his time as manager of Wimbledon, seems determined to stay in football until the bitter end.

Terry will be forever Chelsea - Sunday, July 5

New Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is planning to introduce bionic engineering at Stamford Bridge after declaring that Blues skipper John Terry will stay at the club "forever".

The Italian was speaking at his first press conference since being confirmed as the new mastermind at the West London club and was reacting to the news that Manchester City were set to lodge a £40m transfer offer for the England centre-back.

"For Terry (there is) no price. Terry will be at Chelsea forever," the former AC Milan coach said. "I like to have a captain like Terry, he is very close to (Paulo) Maldini for professionalism, for quality and he will be the best captain for Chelsea."

Ancelotti admitted that he didn't know anything about two of Chelsea new signings, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull, and he might regret not doing his homework on Terry.

Former Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari's departed after Terry missed an open goal the weekend before the axe fell. And Avram Grant got the boot after the 28-year-old slipped and missed a penalty kick in the Champions League final in Moscow. Ancelotti might last longer without him.

Who the f*** are Sunderland? - Monday, July 6

Girondins Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud reacted to Sunderland's reported interest in £13m-rated forward Marouane Chamakh with a withering put down on Monday.

The Moroccan, who helped fire Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title last year, has been lined up as a possible replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor at Arsenal and Triaud balked when he heard of the Black Cats interest in the 25-year-old.

"What the f*** would he do at Sunderland?" Triaud blasted. "You have heard him say he will only sign for a big English club. I don't want to insult Sunderland, but I don't even know where they finished last season."

AC Milan have since ended their interest in Adebayor, meaning Arsenal will probably not sign Chamakh, and Triaud might have to do a bit of grovelling in Sunderland's direction if he wants to cash in on his prized asset. Expect the old "I was misquoted" line to be rolled out any time soon.

Madrid short on cash - Tuesday, July 7

After splurging over €200m in the transfer market and spending money like it is going out of fashion, Real Madrid have suddenly discovered a stingy streak and have declared that they can't afford to buy Xabi Alonso from Liverpool.

Los Blancos' general director Jorge Valdano said: "Xabi Alonso is a priority if he fits into our budget, but that does not seem to be the case. We are very far away from the figures that Liverpool have presented."

Real have already paid well over the odds for Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema but spending their seemingly limitless bank loans on a fellow Spaniard appears to be a step too far.

Valdano also ruled out a move for another compatriot, Valencia striker David Villa. "With the arrival of Benzema, we are not going to sign Villa. We are happy to have got the Frenchman. He is 21, powerful, and is enthusiastic and eager."

Onyewu: the greatest U.S. transfer ever? - Wednesday, July 8

The Confederations Cup maybe much derided around Europe but without Sepp Blatter's pet project USA international Oguchi Onyewu would never have signed for AC Milan in what is arguably the highest profile move by an American player, ever.

And before the comments board is flooded with debate over that statement consider that the Rossoneri are one of the most successful clubs in European football and the spiritual home of quality defending - with the likes of Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi donning the famous shirt.

What makes the move even more exceptional is that Onyewu, who was hugely impressive at the heart of the U.S. defence as the national team reached the Confederations Cup final, beating European Champions Spain along the way, was deemed a failure during a loan stint at Newcastle United - the spiritual home of dire defending.

The 6'4" centre-back has spent five-years at Belgian club Standard Liège and his Belgian passport will allow Milan to register him as an EU player.

Eto'o gives Barca the cold shoulder - Thursday, July 9

Samuel Eto'o's rocky relationship with Barcelona looks like it could be coming to end after the Cameroon striker resorted to ignoring phone calls from club president Joan Laporta.

The 28-year-old has caught the eye of Manchester City and such is the Premier League club's desire to hook up with Eto'o that they have lodged a "stratospheric" bid to take the forward to England.

Barcelona had offered to extend their union for another two years, with a lucrative contract offer, but Eto'o now appears to be giving Catalan advances the cold shoulder.

"I've called him a couple of times, but he hasn't picked up the phone. I don't know if he has changed his number or what," Laporta told TVE. "The situation has saddened me because we've always had a clear and direct relationship."

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