Veteran Solano set for Leicester City after Newcastle and Colchester opt out

Jan 22, 2010

High hopes: Solano wants a return to England
Leicester City have followed Colchester United and Newcastle in running the rule over veteran midfielder Nolberto Solano.
The 35-year-old Peruvian is available on a free transfer after parting ways with home-country outfit Universitario de Deportes.
The classy midfielder enjoyed spells at Newcastle, twice, Aston Villa and West Ham but left Upton Park for Greek outfit Larissa in 2008. He returned to Peru a year later.
The South American winger is now hoping to secure a return to his England.
Colchester had initially been impressed with Solano but failed to produce a contract allowing Newcastle to swoop in. They too saw promise but have stalled on making their former player an offer.

United delay Berbatov decision

Jan 15, 2010

SIR Alex Ferguson is crossing his fingers record signing Dimitar Berbatov can make it to the end of the season without needing knee surgery. Berbatov has been struggling with the injury since November and Ferguson revealed last week the advice has been for the £30.75million forward to have an exploratory operation so medical staff can work out the extent of the problem. That is not a route the 28-year-old is keen to go down, especially as he did not feel any reaction this week during United's warm weather training camp in Qatar. Ferguson admitted there may come a point when United have to "make a decision" about whether to put Berbatov under the knife should symptoms persist. However, as it has previously been suggested that could rule him out for three months during a period when United are hardly over-burdened with in-form forwards, Ferguson is desperately hoping to avoid that scenario. "If we could see it through until the end of the season it would be better," said the Reds chief. "The advice was to have an exploratory operation but Dimitar wants to play through it. "Sometimes he feels it and sometimes he doesn't. Maybe the climate helped but he didn't feel it when we went away, so he trained every day. "It is a difficult one and if he is feeling OK it is not a problem. "But if he is keeps continually coming up against a problem we would have to make a decision on it." United could certainly do with Berbatov performing consistently at the level Ferguson felt he was capable of when he lured him north from Tottenham 18 months ago. Ferguson view Although the Scot was prevented from entering into any discussion about the Old Trafford outfit's debt mountain - and their plans to tackle it, which he backed seven days ago - due to "regulatory compliance" - United could certainly do with some of the heat being taken off the club by the team putting a consistent run of results together. On the face of it, an FA Cup home defeat by League One Leeds, followed by a draw at Birmingham does not achieve that objective. Yet Ferguson was actually quite pleased with the manner of his side's performance at St Andrew's, and their tenacity at fighting back once Cameron Jerome had put the hosts in front. "It was not an easy game and I wasn't upset about the performance in any way," he said. "You are looking for consistency but you can't think you are going to steamroller a team like Birmingham, who have got themselves to eighth in the league, when you are 1-0 down at half-time." Nevertheless, this was supposed to be a spell in which United exerted themselves in their usual manner prior to the encounter with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on January 31. The likely return of Edwin van der Sar, who has missed 12 successive matches, initially due to a knee injury suffered against Everton on November 21, then because his wife Annemarie suffered a stroke back home in Holland, should help bring some stability to United's defence, which Ferguson believes is crucial to any change in fortune. Yet United must also take a far greater percentage of their chances, starting tomorrow against a Burnley side whose depressing run of away results - just one point so far this season - is being balanced out by impressive home form that began with that shock defeat of tomorrow's opponents at Turf Moor in August. "It was a great emotional night for them and everyone was caught up in it," said Ferguson. "We created a lot of chances but when you miss as many as that you can't say you deserve to win." Will United beat Burnley? Have your say.


England footballer Jermain Defoe fined for speeding

Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe has pleaded guilty to speeding while driving in Portsmouth.

The England and Tottenham Hotspur striker did not attend the hearing at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court.

He admitted the charge through his barrister Dean George but denied a second charge of failing to give details, which the prosecution dropped.

Defoe, 27, was fined £400, ordered to pay £45 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and given four points on his licence.

Driving ban

The former Portsmouth striker admitted driving at 45mph in a 30mph zone in Anglesea Road, Portsmouth, on 8 May 2008.

The court was told that Defoe is already disqualified from driving for six months for other speeding offences.

Mr George said of this offence, which involved a Land Rover 4x4: "It was 1.08am, there was no other traffic on the road, there were no other aggravating features."

Defoe's other driving offences were four points for speeding on 4 October 2008 and six points for speeding on 18 April 2009.

He was disqualified from driving for six months on 14 July 2008 and received a further six-month ban on 10 July 2009.

Road safety campaigners have criticised the level of the latest fine and said Defoe should have been more responsible.

A spokeswoman for road safety charity Brake said: "It's setting an extremely bad example when someone who is looked up to by many people obviously has no respect for the law and safety of others on the roads.

"For a footballer who earns thousands a week to be given a fine of just a few hundred pounds - it is not much of a deterrent.

"We would like to see courts being able to link fines to how much offenders earn."

Birmingham track 65m Janko but loan move for Pavlyuchenko in doubt

Jan 14, 2010

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is considering a fresh approach for Red Bull Salzburg striker Marc Janko.
McLeish has hit a few brick walls with moves for Liverpool's Ryan Babel, Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones, Schalke's Kevin Kuranyi and Hugo Rodallega at Wigan, but the Scot has been alerted to the fact that Janko is available for £6.5million.
Wings: Red Bulls ace Marc Janko (right)
Salzburg had warned clubs that they would not consider offers until the summer unless those clubs were competing in the Champions League but, aware of Janko's desire to play in the English top flight, they have relented and will consider letting him go now as long as their valuation is matched.

Liverpool 1 Reading 2- Long goodbye - Shanes winner has Rafa reeling

Shane Long's first goal since April condemned Rafa Benitez to yet more humiliation in a season that has already been full of it.
Benitez gambled by taking off skipper Steven Gerrard at half-time with his side 1-0 up at Anfield, only to see Long win the last-gasp penalty that Gylfi Sigurdsson converted to take this FA Cup third-round replay into extra time. Long then added the winner 10 minutes into the added half-hour.
Stunner: Substitute Shane Long nods in Reading's winner
Long had not scored in 15 games this season but he was perfectlypositioned when Brynjar Gunnarsson beat Yossi Benayoun and thennutmegged Emiliano Insua before crossing to the near post.

Bale hopes hard work pays off

Jan 13, 2010

Tottenham Hotspur left-back Gareth Bale is determined to try and secure a regular run in the first team at White Hart Lane, having been forced to play a back-up role in recent times.

The 20-year-old Wales international has started just four games this season, none of which have been in the Premier League, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto manager Harry Redknapp's first choice.

Bale was handed a rare opportunity against Peterborough United in the third round of the FA Cup just over a week ago and hopes to have done enough to keep his place.

He told the club's official website: "I've been working hard in training and every time I've been given a chance I've tried my best and I'll keep doing that.

"I needed to improve on certain aspects of my game and I've been working on that with the coaching staff. The main thing I've worked on is my defending.

"Every player needs to improve, we've worked on a lot of things and hopefully it's coming together.

"Obviously it's not been easy sitting on the bench, but it's an experience I've learnt from - I'll take it all on board and it will do me better for the future. I just want to keep playing and hopefully I'll get a run in the team now."

Palacios thanks Spurs for helping him cope with death of his brother

Tottenham midfielder Wilson Palacios has given a frank account of his traumatic year when he was persuaded out of retirement after his brother was killed by kidnappers.
Palacios still has fears for his family following the death of Edwin but has vowed to carry on playing and has thanked Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and other staff at White Hart Lane for their support during the ordeal.
Remarkably, when the 25-year-old heard about his brother's death in the middle of the night on the eve of the clash against Everton in May, he stayed in the hotel until the morning to ask Redknapp permission to return home.