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Laurens: Pastore matures for PSG

Ligue 1 15 hours ago
Read
Jul 31, 2009

Stevie G walks free, Ramon's wine bill

This was the week in which Steven Gerrard was cleared in his court case for affray, Kolo Toure signed for Manchester City (while Joleon Lescott did not), Patrick Vieira was linked with a return to Arsenal and Ramon Calderon made it clear he could spend €12,000 on a bottle of wine.

Stevie let off, Bangor's cash mountain? - Friday, July 24

After six months of waiting, Steven Gerrard's court case finally came to a head on Friday as the jury at Liverpool's Crown Court retired to make their decision over claims he had been involved in a bar brawl last December. They found the Reds' skipper not guilty and accepted his explanation that it was in self defence, with Gerrard looking a relieved man after the verdict was delivered. Must have been the character reference from Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish.

Meanwhile, a glowing tribute to Bangor City football club was being paid by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose uncle owns Manchester City. The billionaire went to University in the town and is now keen to give something back - to tune of a few million being poured into the club - with Bangor chairman Dilwyn Jones, unsurprisingly ''very happy to talk to the sheikh".

Rafa's love for Xabi - Saturday, July 25

Rafa Benitez started the love-in for Xabi Alonso at the weekend as he claimed that the player was loved by the fans and that he really wanted to keep him at Anfield. Perhaps the real reason behind his desire to butter up the Spaniard lies in the fact that the Reds have been linked with the likes of Fabrice Muamba and Lee Cattermole as possible replacements, so it really would be a blow if he decided to go.

JT commits, Fergie riled by City ploy - Sunday, July 26

Finally, John Terry committed his future to Chelsea, ending months of speculation that he might pop off to Manchester City to pick up a cool £1m-a-month salary. The defender has been linked with a move for months, but has kept his mouth shut over his future - which really didn't help matters. Finally, he said: "I am as committed as ever to helping drive Chelsea forward and I will be proud to lead the team as long as I can." There, wasn't that hard now was it?

One person quite happy to open his mouth is Sir Alex Ferguson. The United boss was at it again on Sunday as he claimed Man City were ''arrogant'' over a poster that suggested City were the only club in Manchester because United are based in the Borough of Trafford. A poster of Carlos Tevez with the words 'Welcome to Manchester' seems to have riled the Scot, but we're pretty sure he'll get over it when he walks over to his trophy cabinet.

Zlatan and Eto'o swap completed - Monday, July 27

Another of the summer's big transfer deals was finalised on Monday as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o swapped clubs. Ibra joined Barcelona from Inter Milan, while Eto'o headed to Italy with €45m in a padded envelope marked 'Please don't open until Christmas'. A deal that has caught the attention of the world because of the names involved, it didn't take long for the badge-kissing to begin from Zlatan, while Eto'o was forced to field questions about his desire to play under Jose Mourinho (who had a bit of a bust-up with him a few years back while manager of Chelsea).

Calderon's wine bill, Argentine debt crisis - Tuesday, July 28

What a nice man Ramon Calderon is. It makes no difference that he is no longer the top dog at Real Madrid, he still finds a way to offend people. Speaking about the £80m fee paid for Cristiano Ronaldo (which of course he agreed when he was in charge), Calderon claimed it was all about what you consider to be a lot of money and added that: ''€12,000 is a year's salary for people here in Spain but I could spend that on a bottle of wine.''

If he feels the need to redeem himself at all, he could plough some of his hard-earned wine cash into Argentine football to help them out of their crisis. Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Julio Grondona has said that the start of the new season could be delayed because of the numbers of clubs in debt. Although he has no links with the Argentine league, we still think Calderon should send over a few bottles of finest red to at least clear his conscience.

Toure signs for City, Sorin retires - Wednesday, July 29

Manchester City pulled off the signing of another Arsenal player on Wednesday as they provided a ''new challenge'' for defender Kolo Toure. A £16m fee was probably inflated, but they've actually strengthened in the right area instead of blowing more cash on a striker and it seems a good move for Toure as well since he began to fall down the pecking order at the Emirates. City are probably breathing a sigh of relief that their £30m bid for John Terry wasn't accepted; but the news was also sprinkled with a smattering of annoyance as they found out their £18m bid for Everton's Joleon Lescott had been rejected.

Meanwhile, a slightly premature retirement occurred in Brazil as former Argentine skipper Juan Pablo Sorin hung up his boots at just 33. The Cruzeiro defender has struggled with injuries, but at least went out with some dignity, telling reporters: "I'm going to stop playing football. It's been 15 years - a very enjoyable career."

Vieira's return, Spurs' striker surplus - Thursday, July 30

It would be an amazing piece of news if the story of Patrick Vieira's return to Arsenal turns out to be true. The Inter Milan midfielder is available on a free transfer and looks set to leave the San Siro to pursue a regular first-team place in order to get fit for the World Cup in 2010, but Tottenham have also shown an interest in him. If it turns out that Arsene Wenger is keen on a deal - despite his claims that the squad is ''strong enough'' - then, for the ex-Gunners skipper, the choice between Arsenal or Tottenham seems easy.

Spurs could temper their disappointment with the signing of another striker. Harry Redknapp has not ruled out the possibility of signing Dutch international Klass-Jan Huntelaar from Real Madrid, despite having four strikers (and Darren Bent) already on his books. "You cannot have too many good players,'' said the wheeler-dealer, presumably while teaching Roman Pavlyuchenko the art of making a slide tackle to compensate for the club's chronic lack of centre-backs.