Begovic Believes He Is Due An Extension

Asmir Begovic, the first choice shot stopper at Stoke City, believes that there would be talks between him and the club pretty soon regarding the extension of contract.

There are a couple of seasons remaining for Begovic’s present contract at Stoke to finish.

The club head Peter Coates also hinted in his most recent interview that Begovic getting an extension this summer is very much possible.

Begovic has been contracted to Stoke City for 4 years and has already played more than 100 Premier League matches for them.

He is one of the very few goalkeepers who have been fortunate enough to score a goal in the Premier League. The 27-year old Yugoslavian had done it last season against Southampton FC. One of his long balls in the very first minute of the match had outfoxed the opposition goalie and had gone into the net. It was a memorable incident for everyone.

Speaking about the new deal, Begovic said, “There haven’t been talks as yet, but, I reckon very soon, we would be having a chat.”

“It was one of the busiest summers obviously because of the World Cup. So, nobody had the time for it, but, now that we all are back, we can talk.”

When asked about his thoughts on the signings made by the Potters this summer, Begovic said, “There are quite a few exciting guys who have been brought in. Obviously, Bojan stands out. We are happy to have a player like him in our camp, but, apart from him, the other new signings are good too and I can’t wait to play alongside them.”

Some of the big players who have been landed at Britannia Stadium this summer are Steve Sidwell (From Fulham), Bojan Krkic (from Barcelona) and Phil Bardsley (from Sunderland).

Robben Reveals Van Gaals Desire For Him

Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben has claimed for the first time that Dutch national team coach Louis van Gaal, with whom he enjoys a great relationship, wants to join him at Manchester United. Robben is regarded as one of the finest wingers in the last decade. After having represented top clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid since 2004, he is playing for Bayern Munich and is regarded as one of the important players. Even at 30 years of age, he continues to be linked with top clubs with Manchester United being the latest.

The Premier League giant recently appointed van Gaal as their new manager. The Dutch coach apparently wants to sign Robben for around £ 20 million, as it targets to revive the former glory days of United. The club finished in a disappointing seventh place last season and will be without Champions League football for the coming campaign. However, there is a lot of expectations that United will once again challenge for the title under van Gaal, who has won league titles at all of his previous clubs.

Just like Robin van Persie, Robben has claimed that he has a great relationship with van Gaal. Bayern Munich will feel threatened by the interest from United. Robben has also been a key player for the Dutch national team at the World Cup 2014.

“No – that’s what I told Van Gaal. I am happy at Bayern but he’s said there is always room for me [at United]. Van Gaal is the best coach I’ve had. We’ve got a very special relationship. After the match he did ask me to come to Manchester, but I will not move. I’m at the right place at Bayern so that has nothing to do with Van Gaal or United,” said the former Chelsea winger.

4 IN A ROW

Olympiakos secured their 4th consecutive League title as they went through a rampaging season in the Greece Superleague with more than 15 points of advantage over their nearest rivals.

Michel guided Olympiakos through the league only suffering 4 losses in the entire season and even though the squad has been performing superbly well in just about every area of the team, there still are a number of changes and possible arrivals that will be happening before the start of the upcoming campaign.

Mirko Vucinic is not a constant performer in Juventus and he was on the verge of leaving the side of Antonio Conte and on his way to Inter Milan the transfer was cancelled at the last minute. Olympiakos has now taken an interest in signing the Montenegrin forward.

The Mexican attacker Alan Pulido is another target of Olympiakos who is a potential candidate of joining the team of Michel by the next season and Pulido is well aware of the interest that Olympiakos has on him.

“Obviously, I would like to go and play there. It is a team that plays in the Champions League and it wouldn’t be at all bad.” Pulido said.

On the managerial staff of Olympiakos there will also be a new member joining the team with Rafael Alkorta agreeing to join the club as the assistant manager. Alkorta is a former Real Madrid player which helped the Spanish club on securing the Spanish League in the 1994-95 season as well as 1996-97.

Michel and Alkorta will be working together once more just like they did a few years ago in Real Madrid but only this time around it’s going to be a more managerial role in the club and they have their work cut out as Olympiakos will be playing in the Champions League once more in the upcoming season.

KOMPANY BACKS CITY & UNITED

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says that he believes that the club can overcome a 2-0 deficit on aggregate against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. City were extremely poor in the first leg at the Etihad stadium, but they now face the prospect of finishing the season with only one trophy if they do not recover against Barcelona. This is after they were knocked out of the FA Cup during the weekend by Wigan. City have been struggling for form in recent weeks and it has also been the case with Barcelona.

The Catalan outfit have not only suffered three defeats in the last six league matches, but they have also surrendered their six-point lead over Real Madrid around the Christmas period to go four points below their arch rivals. Hence, Barcelona also come in with a similar situation to that of City, but Kompany feels that his team has enough firepower to cause Barcelona problems early on in the match. He says that scoring an early goal will be the key to City’s recovery. Despite scoring goals for fun earlier in the season, City’s strikers have not found the back of the net in almost 1000 minutes.

Edin Dzeko, who is likely to start, has not scored in more than 400 minutes of football.

“I’m looking at the strikers we have – Aguero, Negredo, Dzeko – and I will tell you one thing, I’m just really happy. I’m trying to focus on the fact that we have firepower at the front. If everything goes well we can hurt Barcelona. We attack and defend as a team. If we score, we have a chance. We’ve done it before. It’s a one off, yes – but football is made out of nights like this,” said Kompany.

INKOOM ON LOAN

Ghana’s Samuel Inkoom has completed the loan move to Greek club Platanias in order to get regular first-team football, which he found it difficult to get at his current club, Dnipro. He has been at the Ukrainian outfit for the last 18 months, but former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos has used very sparingly. As a result, he has moved to Platanias since first-team football is extremely important for him in the next six months. This is because he has to play regularly to get a place in the Ghana National team, who have qualified for the World Cup 2014.

Ghana are expected to be one of the dark horses at this tournament, but they face the prospect of a very difficult group stage. The African team has been grouped alongside Brazil, Portugal, and the United States. Brazil and Portugal will be regarded as the outright favourites to qualify for the next round, while United States have also done well in recent major tournaments. They were surprisingly good in the Confederations cup 2013. Hence, Ghana boss Akwasi Appiah is expected to name the best squad – players who play regular football at the top level.

Inkoom says that he is hoping that the move to the Greek club pays off since he will not only it into the Ghana team, but may also secure a transfer elsewhere.

“I am so happy and relieved,It’s a dream come through. I am ready to give off my best to prepare me for the months ahead. Let me focus on club duties first and after we can talk about the World Cup. I am most grateful to God for this opportunity. I am going to make good use of it,” said the defender. Platanias will be hoping that the arrival of this quality player will help them move up the table.

Olympiacos to make a bid for Braga striker Eder

Olympiacos is all set to bid for forward Eder, who is also wanted by English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. There were reports that the north London club was keeping a close eye at the Braga striker for the last 6 months as their coach Andre Villas-Boas was looking forward to strengthen their forward line up. The English team wanted to get him during summer but instead they paid £26 million to Valencia to get Spanish footballer Roberto Soldado.

Now, it has emerged that Olympiacos is also interested to sign the Braga striker following Tottenham’s apparent failure to sign Eder earlier. The twenty five year old’s contract with Braga goes till 2016. Even though he is yet to score a goal in 2013 – 2014 season, yet he is highly want by the Greek by the Greek club.

Braga value Eder around £ 6.7 million. It would be interesting to see who gets Eder during the January transfer window.
In the mean time, English Premier League club Liverpool is getting ready to make a £ 7 million bid for Kostas Mitroglou, the Olympiacos forward. Chief scout Barry Hunter and Head of Recruitment Dave Fallows were in Romania to watch the Greek footballer.

The last week has been quite tough for Olympiacos, the Greek champions. Now they have to face FC PAOK Thessaloniki and FC Panathinaikos for Greek Superleague. In between these two tough games,  they also have to confront SL Benfica in the 2nd qualifying place game in the UEFA Champions League.