Alex Chick

  • Deadline Day: What will happen

    It's transfer deadline day tomorrow, and if it all feels a little wearingly familiar, there's a good reason for that.

    The final day of every January and August should be made an official bank holiday for lovers of half-baked half-truths, baseless conjecture and outright lies.

    A few deals will no doubt get done, and some of them might even be important.

    But you can expect that same old feeling of anticlimax: like hanging around at a rubbish gig next to an excitable reveller who insists the Beatles are about to come on. Then finally, after hours of waiting, Kula Shaker take the stage and you

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  • Impotent Bruce could ‘win’ sack race

    Last week saw the strangest transfer of the year - a deal that could end up sealing Sunderland manager Steve Bruce's fate.

    Asamoah Gyan's move to Al Ain saw the Black Cats net a world record £6m loan fee, but they ended up humiliated.

    Of particular embarrassment to Bruce was the fact he seemed to be the last person to find out about it.

    On Saturday morning the papers ran quotes from Bruce saying he had cleared the air with Gyan and ended the rumours - "absolute rubbish," Bruce said - about him leaving the club.

    A couple of hours later we heard that Gyan had signed for Al Ain.

    Bruce lamented

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  • What now for Tevez?

    After Roberto Mancini accused Carlos Tevez of refusing to
    play and declared him "finished" at Manchester City, here's a look at the club's options.

    OFFLOAD HIM

    The most likely outcome, even though City were unable to get
    rid of Tevez in the summer. Circumstance means they will have to reduce their
    asking price to a level his suitors can meet.

    The main obstacle is finding a club Tevez wants to join.
    Nobody can force him to leave City, and it would be surprising to see any
    European giants (even Internazionale) go in for such a disruptive player.

    The teams who can afford him (Anzhi Makachkala,

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  • Time for Wenger to leave Arsenal

    Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest managers in the
    history of English football.

    He revolutionised Arsenal, helped drag English football
    into the modern age and changed the way clubs scout players.

    Oh, and he masterminded three Premier League title-winning
    campaigns - one unbeaten - won four FA Cups, and produced some of the most
    sublime football ever played.

    He will go down as a legend. And it is time for him to leave
    the Emirates Stadium.

    One of Wenger's stalwarts, Martin Keown, defended him on
    Monday, saying that if you told Arsenal fans 15 years ago what Wenger's reign
    would encompass,

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  • In defence of foreign managers

    "It's a
    form of cheating in international football and it's a bit embarrassing."

    What was Jamie
    Carragher talking about? Doping? Match-fixing? Maybe diving?

    No -
    Carragher's condemnation refers to the perfectly legal practice of appointing a
    foreign manager.

    "I've got nothing against (Fabio) Capello,
    I went to the World Cup and got to know him, but that's not what international
    football is," he said.

    "It's like saying if our keeper's not good
    enough, we'll go and get (Gianluigi)
    Buffon from Italy.

    "It's different for developing countries
    in Africa and elsewhere, who are trying to build the

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  • International football at its best

    Tonight will be the most sustainedly tense, thrilling
    night of international football since Thierry Henry's sleight of hand gave
    France the ultimate hollow victory against Ireland two years ago.

    It is the final act of Euro 2012 qualifying, and across the
    continent buttocks are being clenched in anticipation of a nerve-shredding,
    agonising night.

    Sure, England might be through, but there is ample
    excitement to be had, not least in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland's efforts
    to reach the play-offs.

    In any case, England fans might consider the superb 2008 tournament
    (and indeed the latter

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  • Why has Villas-Boas lost his cool?

    When Andre Villas-Boas arrived in England he came with a
    reputation as the archetypal modern coach, schooled in tactical detail and
    forensically thorough scouting.

    A man seeking to eke out every possible advantage through statistical
    analysis - Moneyball in football manager form. Something of a nerd, in fact.

    From what I'd seen of his Porto side in the Europa League,
    he seemed a thoughtful and hugely talented manager.

    Certainly passionate on the touchline, but always respectful,
    always in control, and never prone to the histrionics of that other Portuguese
    bloke who moved from Porto to

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  • The evil threat that doesn’t exist

    This week, defenders of English football have been
    circling the wagons against a proposal that could destroy the game as we know
    it.

    Plans are afoot, we have been told, to eliminate promotion
    and relegation from the Premier League.

    Foreign owners supposedly want to create an exclusive group
    of carefree money-makers, unburdened by worldly concerns like finishing in
    the bottom three.

    And it has created quite the furore.

    It has echoes of the '39th game' controversy, when the
    suggestion of playing an extra Premier League game abroad was met with outrage.

    That time it was Richard Scudamore who

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  • Footballers are people too

    One
    of the summer's more left-field transfers went through on Tuesday when Robbie
    Keane left Tottenham for LA Galaxy.

    For
    a player aged 31, who said a few months ago he had "four or five
    years" left at the top, it seemed like a rum old move.

    Why,
    the critics asked, would he abandon all pretence at being a serious footballer
    in favour of chasing some ridiculous Hollywood folly?

    Why
    wouldn't he knuckle down and join a proper Premier League club like Bolton,
    Blackburn or Stoke?

    There
    is concern in Ireland that the poor standard of play might adversely affect
    Keane's national team performances.

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