Senior figures at Swansea want Laudrup out: Michael Laudrup's future at Swansea City is once again uncertain with elements of the club’s board believed to be keen for him to leave before the end of the season, according to the Daily Mail. The paper says some members of the board are extremely unhappy with the team’s performances on the pitch and there are elements who believe a quick change might be necessary to avoid a relegation fight. The paper says that it has "long been assumed within the club" that the Dane would leave at the end of this season anyway.
Paper Round's view: Laudrup is certainly struggling with 'second season syndrome' but it is hard to see what Swansea would gain by sacking him now. The Dane brought them silverware last season and has had to try and juggle European football with the Premier League this campaign. Injuries have not helped but the Swans still look to have enough about them to avoid the drop. It wasn't long ago that Laudrup was being linked with some of the top jobs in Europe so expect both manager and club to stick together until the end of the season at least before deciding what to do next.
Wenger knew Kallstrom had broken back: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger last night admitted he signed Kim Kallstrom knowing he has got a broken back, reveals the Mirror amongst other papers. Arsenal’s medical team flagged up and alerted Wenger to Kallstrom having a fractured vertebrae during an extensive medical on Friday. But Wenger yesterday admitted he decided to press ahead with the loan deal even though he conceded the 31-year-old Swede may never play for Arsenal.
Paper Round's view: Kallstrom was not the killer signing that Arsenal fans were hoping for in January but he could still be useful down the stretch. It looks as if he will be out for six weeks but crucially, Spartak Moscow will pay his wages while he is recovering from his injury. So, while it is tempting to make fun of Arsenal over this deal, it seems like there is little downside for the Gunners. It is not like they have wasted millions on this guy.
Lerner could sell naming rights to Villa Park: Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner insists he has no plans to sell up and is looking for new fund-raising ideas to help the club, according to the Daily Mirror. Lerner is looking into selling naming rights to Villa Park to raise revenue and expanding the stadium’s North Stand.
Paper Round's view: It would be a shame if Villa Park was to have a tacky sponsor's name attached to it but this is modern football. However, just changing the name doesn't mean it will stick. Villa have been at Villa Park since 1897 and it is hard to imagine the fans will call it anything else. Whether they are happy with Lerner staying is another matter. The American lost a good deal of money in the financial crisis and had to sell his NFL franchise, the Cleveland Browns, in 2012. Villa have been in the top flight since 1988 but are flirting with relegation for a third successive season. They will need serious investment if they are to become one of English football's big hitters again.
100 million people to watch £3 billion game: The Daily Express reports that an estimated world-wide TV audience of around 100m will tune in for the battle of the money men at the Etihad Stadium tonight. The two most expensive teams in British football history go head-to-head in a clash that will go a long way to deciding the destiny of this season’s Premier League title. City's squad cost around £360m to assemble compared to Chelsea's £340m but while Sheikh Mansour has 'only' invested around £1bn since buying City in 2008, Roman Abramovich''s total outlay is now around £2bn since buying the club in 2003.
Paper Round's view: They say money can't buy success but it can certainly help. There is a reason why most people consider City and Chelsea, and not Arsenal, the main contenders for the title and that is because they've spent so much money that even their reserve teams would be the envy of most Premier League outfits. And the massive TV viewing figures just goes to show that the swell of money into the game does not seem to be putting off the average consumer when it comes to the Premier League product.
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- Kim Kallstrom
- Arsene Wenger