MEL STRUGGLES THROUGH

West Brom bought in Pepe Mel as the replacement for Steve Clarke only a few weeks ago, but results have not improved following his arrival and the club are continuously slipping towards the drop zone. This could force the club into taking an action, according to the manager himself.

WANTS TO STAY

Nicolas Anelka has made it clear that he doesn’t want to move away from England at this point of time.

The French player has constantly been in the news for the last few weeks due to his controversial way of celebration after finding the net in the league match against West Ham United. He has taken a bit of hammering from the Football Association for that and has been warned not to do that again on the pitch.

There were rumours that Anelka has fed up with all the criticism that he has been receiving for that goal celebration and he has started thinking seriously about transfer, but, as per the veteran striker, there is nothing like that. He is comfortable in England and isn’t willing to leave at all.

When asked about the rumours of him planning to leave England, Anelka said, “You need to have a reason to make a move away. I don’t have any at the moment. I am absolutely fine at this club and I don’t think I have done anything drastically wrong. I am just looking to concentrate on my game.”

Anelka might end up getting banned for that celebration act. His hearing is believed to take place towards the end of this month and if he is considered to be at fault, he would have to remain out for at least 5 games.

This is Anelka’s debut season at West Brom. He had signed for the club in July last year on free transfer.

He has looked good since his arrival. He has had a couple of league goals under his belt and he is believed to be the key for the Baggies in their bid to finish above the relegation zone.

West Brom is currently at no. 17 in the points table with 22 points in 23 games.

ANGER MANAGEMENT

Avram Grant has said that Nicolas Anelka could have become one of the all time greats, but, he didn’t manage to do so because of his lack of temperamental skills.
Grant was the man who had signed Anelka for Chelsea 6 years back in 2008.

Anelka has changed clubs quite frequently in the recent past and that has disturbed his rhythm. He hasn’t put up too many top class performances in the last one and half years.

Currently, the 34 years old French striker is playing for the English club West Bromwich Albion. He has so far scored a couple of goals in his 8 League appearances for the Baggies.

According to Grant, Anelka is someone who has got enormous amount of talent, but, when it comes to temperament, he is not that good.

The former Chelsea boss said, “Nicolas is certainly one of the most talented players I have ever worked with. He has got the ability to do wonderful things on the pitch. His speed is fantastic and he can beat any defender in the world, but, his biggest drawback is that he is not as passionate as a sportsperson should have. He has not been eager enough to keep improving his game.”

“It’s the temperament which separates good players and great players. You need to be temperamentally good enough if you want to become one of the greats of the game and I think that’s where Nicolas is a bit behind than some of the other guys. It’s a shame really. If he had had the right kind of mentality, he would certainly have achieved greatness.”

Anelka has scored more than 200 goals playing for various clubs all around the world in his 17-year long career so far.

Clarke not worried about the dry spell of Nicolas Anelka

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke has categorically denied that he is at all worried about the lack of goals from star striker Nicolas Anelka as the competition for places in the Baggies attack heats up.

The 34 year old Frenchman has yet to find the back of the net for West Midlands side since he joined the Premier League club in the summer on a free transfer.

And with the likes of Saido Berahino, Victor Anichebe, Stephane Sessegnon, Shane Long, Markus Rosenberg as well as Matej Vydra vying for a start, Anelka has strong competition ahead of him and the former Real Madrid and Chelsea player hasn’t responded as expected from him in the situation.

However, the English manager is certain that this is just a blip in form the Frenchman is having and doesn’t doubt that he will once again find his touch in front of goal. West Bromwich Albion take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and speaking about Nicolas Anelka ahead of the match, Clarke stated that the thing about great strikers is that they will get into good positions even when they are not scoring and when they take up good positions, the goals are bound to come at some point or the other.

And he stated that has got to be the mantra of every striker, they must into those good positions in front of goal. He also stated that Victor Anichebe is back to full fitness and is available for selection and admitted that it gives him a headache. But he also stated that it is a good headache to have.

Nicolas Anelka is the senior most striker in his side and he hopes the experience of the Frenchman will rub off on the other players in the side as well.

Nicolas Anelka brings star appeal

James Morrison, the West Bromwich Albion midfielder was just a teenage ball boy for his first club Middlesbrough when the club made it big. And now, the Baggies star believes former French international Nicolas Anelka will have the same effect on the club that Fabrizio Ravanelli had on the Riverside club.

Steve Clarke clinched the surprise signing of the former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City player from Juventus in the close season and having played with him already on pre-season, Morrison cannot wait to line up alongside him when the team begins the new Premier League campaign in about two weeks.

And the Scotland international is also hopeful that Nicolas Anelka can raise the standards as Steve Clarke targets a few more signings before the club kicks off the new season on the 17th of August. Morrison remembers the effect the signings of former Italian international Ravanelli and Brazilian international and future World Cup winner Juninho had at the Riverside Stadium in the middle of the 1990s.

However, he will also remember clearly the slide Middlesbrough went through after that initial sizzle fizzled out and were relegated to the Championship after a few years and the 27 year old is hopeful under the management of Steve Clarke, West Bromwich Albion can avoid going through the same phase that Boro did all those years back.

He stated that when Ravanelli came, he was just an academy player and ball boy and that’s how he developed a love for the club. The club reached Wembley a couple of times and it was an experience to cherish forever. And Morrison is also hopeful if West Bromwich Albion can make a few more big name signings like that of Nicolas Anelka, the club will be in line for big things in the future.

FRANCE LOSE TO BRAZIL

The France national football team has been defeated by Brazil in a friendly match played at Arena do Gremio on Monday. Brazil won the match by a profound margin of 3-0.
This was Brazil’s first win over France in the last 21 years. This victory would be a confidence booster for them before the Confederations Cup.

The three goal scorers for Brazil in the match were Oscar (54th minute), Hernanes (85th minute) and Lucas (stoppage time).

The manager of Brazil, Luiz Felipe Scolari was ecstatic after his team’s victory. Talking to the reporters in the post match press conference, he said, “It was a great day for us. Our record against France in recent times hadn’t been that good. So, there was pressure for sure, but, the boys did not let that affect their performance. They played attacking football which was nice to see.”

“It’s fantastic to win convincingly against a top class team like France before the Confederations cup. Now, we will enter that tournament with a positive mindset.”
On the other hand, the manager of the French team, Didier Deschamps, was looking perplexed in the press conference.

When asked about the performance of his team, he said, “We got a good start just like the Uruguay game, but, our intensity decreased as the game went on. We were pretty ordinary in the second half. You have to play well for the entire 90 minutes to beat top teams. You can’t beat them playing like this.”

“We need to improve our game significantly if we have to qualify for the world cup.”

France’s next world cup qualifying match is against Georgia in September. Currently, they are at no. 2 in Group I points table with 10 points in 5 matches.

CONTE IN DEMAND

After managing to guide Juventus to the first title in nine seasons, Antonio Conte has turned out to be one of the highly wanted managers in Europe.

He has been linked with major clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid over the last few months, but the 43-year-old has said that he does not plan to leave Juventus now. He has said that it is extremely overwhelming to learn about the interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Chelsea, but he feels extremely happy at Juventus itself. He has pointed out to the harmony between him and the directors at Juventus as the main reasons for this happiness.

Until recently, Conte has recalled that he was just the manager who had won two promotions from the division of Italian football. However, Juventus decided to place their faith in him. He has said that there are several stages in his Juventus stay, which aims to make the club the top dog in Europe once again. It has been more than a decade the club lost won the Champions League. The club managed to dominate and win the league last time around. There are favourites to do the same this season as well due to their substantial nine-point advantage over second placed Napoli.

"There is absolutely no chance of me leaving Juventus at the end of the season. It's very pleasing to hear big European clubs appreciate you, but the praise is there for the players and Juventus overall. This means we are all working well together and should be proud. I am very much in sync with the president, directors Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici. As long as this harmony exists, there will be no problem. Do I feel ready for a big European club? I am already at a big European club," said Conte.

ANELKA BACK AT PSG

Ever since it has been reported that Nicolas Anelka is not happy at Shanghai Shenhua, he has been linked to several clubs all around the world. The 33 years old French striker is currently training with the Paris Saint Germain squad.

The managers of Paris Saint Germain and Queens Park Rangers have made it clear that Anelka is not going to sign for their clubs. Earlier, there were speculations that Anelka is very close to signing for one of these two clubs.

When asked if he is thinking of signing Anelka, the coach of Paris saint Germain, Carlo Ancelotti said, “There is nothing like that. He is only practicing with our squad. We are not going to offer him a contract and I can’t see him asking for a contract. So, it’s 100% certain that he is not going to sign for us.”

Anelka had begun his career with Paris Saint Germain in 1996. But, he left PSG after playing for them for just one season. He featured for PSG in 10 matches and scored 1 goal.

He again joined PSG for his second tenure in 2000. His record during his second tenure was a bit better. He played for PSG till 2002. During this period, he played 39 matches and found the net on 10 occasions.

On the other hand, the manager of Queens Park Rangers, Harry Redknapp, has said that his club can’t offer Anelka as much money as he is getting right now.

When asked about the possibilities of Anelka joining QPR, Redknapp said, “Anelka is a great player. He has the experience of playing all over the world. He has performed brilliantly for every club he has played for. We would have loved to sign him, but, we can’t pay him as much as he is being paid right now and I don’t think he would agree to play for us at lower wages. So, I don’t think there is any chance of him signing for QPR.”

ALLARDYCE CHASING ANELKA

The manager of West Ham United, Sam Allardyce, has said that he wants to sign Nicolas Anelka again. Allardyce had signed Anelka in 2006 when he was the manager of Bolton Wanderers. Allardyce left Wanderers in 2007 and just after one year, Anelka left Wanderers as well.

Allardyce was appointed as the manager of West Ham United in the last season and the West Ham team performed brilliantly under his guidance in the last season. West Ham won the 2012 Football League Championship Play-off Final and made its way into the Premier League.

The Hammers are performing pretty well in the ongoing season as well. Out of the 13 matches that they have played in the Premier League so far, they have won 5 and have lost 4. The remaining 4 matches have ended without any result. They are currently at no. 8 in the points table with 19 points.

West Ham has to play its next match against Stoke City on Monday. Allardyce was talking to the reporters in the press conference ahead of that match. When he was asked if he would like to sign Nicolas Anelka again, Allardyce said, “Yes off course. If he wants to return to the Premier League, we would definitely be interested in signing him. He has been a great player over the years.”
“I haven’t talked to Nicolas’ agent yet, but, I have heard that he wants to return to England. If it’s true, then, we would definitely approach his agent.”

When asked if he hadn’t enjoyed a good relationship with Anelka during his tenure at Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce said, “These reports are just rubbish. I had a very good tuning with him. When I decided to leave the club, he was gutted. We both respect each other a lot.”

WILL LAMPARD COME TO CHINA

The Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has become the latest high-profile player to be linked with a move to the Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.

Even though there have been numerous reports suggesting that the Chinese club could be going under the radar due to the problems in the background, they have reportedly made an offer of around £ 1 million in wages for the Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. The 34-year-old Frank Lampard is coming to the end of his career. He has previously stated that he would like to end his career at Chelsea, but if not offer the opportunity, then he is willing to look at other alternatives like the MLS.

However, the Chelsea players Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka have started the new trend of moving to China in order to make the most out of the final payday. Due to the fact that Chelsea are reluctant to offer a long-term contract for Frank Lampard, he could finally decided to quit Stamford bridge after more than 11 years at the club. The former West Ham United midfielder was £ 11 million signing back in 2001. He has become one of the best players at the club during this period.

He has won every major title with Chelsea including Premier league titles and one Champions League title last season. The future of the England international has been thrown into doubt due to the policy by Chelsea of not offering contracts of more than a year for players older than 30. Despite being 34 years of age, Frank Lampard still continues to play an important role for the England national team. Hence, many have suggested that it would be extremely bad on the part of Chelsea to let the midfielder leave the club after his immense contribution in various ways over the years.