Anelka to turn his back on Chinese Super League
Despite playing his role in Manchester United’s season thus far, Paul Scholes may already be a no-go for this season’s Champions League final should the Red Devils make it there, and a familiar Premier League face is heading to Serie A.
Those are just some of the headlines in Saturday’s helping of the B/R World Football Gossip Roundup. We’ll also be looking at Julio Cesar’s possible move back to a top European outfit, Brendan Rodgers’ recent ticket to success, as well as Sir Alex Ferguson’s most recent idea for a Nemanja Vidic replacement.
Keep reading to find out more.
Anelka flailing with Shanghai
After a year away from Europe, it would seem that Nicolas Anelka is just about ready to end his Shanghai Shenhua turmoil and make a return to the European elite with Juventus.
According to Goal.com, the former Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid star has agreed to a six-month deal at the Old Lady with the option of signing on for a further year this summer.
And would you believe that’s only half of the striker’s clubs in a 17-year professional career?
The same report confirms that Fernando Llorente will join up with the Turin outfit this summer, but Anelka would provide the Serie A champions with a comfortable stop-gap until the Spaniard’s arrival.
Scholes' focus elsewhere
Although the Red Devils are undoubtedly some distance from actually reaching the European final, it now appears that Paul Scholes is considerably further away after agreeing to a 300-mile charity bike ride.
The Manchester Evening News has said that Scholes will team up with fellow athletes and also television celebrities as part of a cycle from Málaga to Gibraltar.
The charity event starts on May 23 and is expected to take around four days which would make the English legend unavailable for the Champions League final taking place on May 25.
Whether it’s a sign of Scholes’ lack of confidence in United making their way to the climax of the European tournament or a lack of confidence in how much he would be able to influence the match anyway, his presence would certainly be missed regardless.
In what would be one of the biggest player standard improvements of the season, Julio Cesar might have the chance to swap a Premier League relegation battle for a place in the Champions League Round of 16 this month.
A broken hand ruling Iker Casillas out for up to four months has left Jose Mourinho scouring the market for goalkeeper recruits, leading him to former Inter charge and fellow European champion Cesar (via The Mirror).
Just how keen Harry Redknapp would be in letting his side’s summer recruit go at this early stage is up for debate, but the ‘keeper himself may be pretty keen on a jump quite so big.
After experiencing a major surge in form of late, Brendan Rodgers has lifted the lid on what may be the secret to his side’s success.
As reported here by The Mirror, the Northern Irishman treated his player to some fine dining just before their emphatic win over Norwich City and allegedly plans to keep splashing the cash as long as results come his way.
Speaking on the matter, Rodgers said:
“As one of the ways in which we have tried to get consistency into the team, I said in the New Year if we got three wins on the trot I would pay for lunch.
“Team spirit is important and the more you are together and you can do that, your spirit just grows. Little small things like that, adding that one per cent can help you. They enjoyed it. I realised it could cost me a few bob when Glen Johnson was having apple tart.”
Fergie found his focus
In a bid to shore up Manchester United’s disappointing defensive record of late, Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to bring highly rated Ligue 1 starlet Kurt Zouma to Old Trafford.
The Daily Mail suggest that as well as Zouma, the Red Devils’ manager has sent scouts to check out the progress of Benfica centre-back and former Real Madrid defender, Ezequiel Garay.
According to reports, United would need to fork out around £8million for St-Etienne’s Zouma, who has recently been offered a contract extension by the French club.