It seems fitting to being with the league leaders and although they have been producing stuttering performances since their demolition of Arsenal in November, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has fired a sharp “back off” warning at Jose Mourinho after the Inter Milan boss revealed he wants to take charge of an English club next season. It is sure to make an enticing encounter all the more appealing when the two sides meet in the last 16 of the Champions League in February.
From the top of the league to rock bottom and Portsmouth. The south coast club have reportedly invited Manchester City to make a bid for defender Younes Kaboul as Pompey attempt to balance the books. Avram Grant’s is also said to have been told that he must sell at least Ã‚Â£6m worth of players to avoid the club being declared bankrupt.
Phil Brown’s struggling Hull City are trying to secure the signature of Manchester City striker Benjani on loan until the end of the season. The Tigers currently sit second-bottom of the league despite having come back from 2-0 down to earn a point at Bolton on Tuesday.
Top-four rivals Aston Villa and Liverpool are set to battle it out for more than just a European places as the two sides look to secure the services of West Ham midfielder Scott Parker who is rumoured to be available for around Ã‚Â£8m. At Stoke City, Tony Pulis is also said to be interested in Parker’s services but would most likely lose out should Villa or Liverpool declare their interest.
Arsene Wenger was furious at the manner in which Robin van Persie was effectively ruled out for the rest of the season when the Dutchman damaged ankle ligaments while playing for Holland in a meaningless friendly against Italy. Nevertheless, the Arsenal boss is likely to look to bring in a striker in order to help the Gunners mount a serious title challenge in the new year. Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh is the Frenchman’s most likely target.
Liverpool have also been linked with an attacking player to partner the prolific Fernando Torres, with Real Madrid’s Ruud van Nistelrooy being linked with the Merseyside club on a six-month loan move.
At Old Trafford Sir Alex Ferguson may find himself in a fight to hold onto defender Nemanja Vidic who has been linked to a summer move away from Manchester United with Real Madrid the most likely destination for the Serbian centre half.
Elsewhere Alex McLeish could try to bring in Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy as the Scot looks to continue Birmingham City’s impressive run of form which has seen them shoot up the table and into eighth place.
Tottenham have once again been linked with a swoop for Portsmouth goalkeeper David James as the England international looks to recover from injury and get a run of games under his belt in order to stake his claim to be Fabio Capello’s first choice in South Africa.
And finally, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has been linked with a swoop for Ivory Coast defender Steve Gohouri from Borussia Monchengladbach as the Spaniard looks to bolster his side’s rearguard.
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