West Ham sign Jose Fonte from Southampton in £8m deal 

  • West Ham have won the race for Euro 2016 winner Jose Fonte
  • The Portuguese defender has made the move to East London from Southampton
  • Fonte has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year deal with the Hammers
  • A fee in the region of £8million has changed hands between the clubs 
  • Fonte’s defensive partner Virgil van Dijk took to Twitter to say he is ‘gutted’ to see the Portuguese ace depart 

West Ham have announced the signing of Southampton captain Jose Fonte on a two-and-a-half year deal.

The Hammers sealed the deal for the Portuguese European Cup winner after having an £8million bid accepted by the south coast club, while back in Southampton Fonte’s defensive partner Virgil van Dijk took to Twitter to say he was ‘gutted’ to see his team-mate leave.

Van Dijk tweeted a heartfelt thanks to the Portuguese ace for helping him while at Southampton, after the pair struck up a telepathic defensive understanding out on the pitch.

West Ham have announced the signing of Southampton captain Jose Fonte 

The Portuguese defender has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year deal with the club

Fonte passed his Hammers medical and will now begin a new chapter of his career in London

Fonte was the final remaining piece of the Southampton squad who obtained promotion back to the top flight of English football back in 2012.

In recent weeks the 33-year-old had voiced his dissatisfaction with the Saints and put in an official transfer request with the club.

Fonte has put pen to paper on the two-and-a-half year deal, with the option of a further year involved in the contract. 

After sealing his move to the Hammers, Fonte outlined his ambition to achieve big things in the capital.

Virgil van Dijk took to Twitter to thank Fonte and say he was ‘gutted’ to see the defender leave

Van Dijk and Fonte struck up a telepathic understanding at the heart of the Saints defence

‘I signed for West Ham because they are a great club and a very big club. They have a lot of fans and I have known for a number of years how passionate they are,’ The defender told whufc.com.

‘The manager was also a very big influence. I thought that he really wanted me and that he sold me the project and the ambition of the club.

‘I also have part of my family living in London and they are big West Ham fans. It just made sense for me at this stage to join West Ham. It is a new challenge and a new beginning and I am looking forward to it.

Hammers fans will now get to see Fonte plying his trade at the London Stadium

The Portugal international will wear the number 23 shirt for his new club

‘With the way that West Ham is going we can only look to be challenging in the top eight.

‘I told the manager in conversations that we want to win and we want to win trophies. The ambition is big and we need to aim high.

‘West Ham are a massive club and it is an exciting challenge and it should be for everyone. We all need to get together and start working,’ Fonte added. 

Dimitri Payet, meanwhile, is determined to force a move to Marseille despite fears the French club are ready to walk away.

West Ham have rejected two offers and French sources hint Marseille have given up. 

It is understood Payet plans to spend at least this weekend back home in France.

Fonte was an integral part of the Portugal side who triumphed at Euro 2016

It is understood Dimitri Payet plans to spend at least this weekend back home in France


Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Tottenham unveil flash new stadium with all glass tunnel

  • Tottenham have unveiled the latest images of their glamorous new stadium in North London
  • Spurs will say an emotional farewell to their traditional White Hart Lane venue later this year 
  • Latest pictures reveal a glitzy restaurant along with a glass-fronted tunnel view for high-paying supporters
  • Fans will be able to get closer to the players than ever before at the new arena in Spurs’ new ‘Tunnel club’
  • The most expensive seats in the ground must be bought as a pair for an eye-watering £30,000
  • The £750million state-of-the-art stadium will also contain its own in-house bakery to provide match-day food

It was at White Hart Lane in the early days of the Premier League revolution when I was struck by my first bolt from football’s future.

Sheffield Wednesday were at Tottenham and the good folk of South Yorkshire had been plunged into a state of confusion having discovered there were pizza slices and hot dogs for sale but no pies. Imagine the shock.

Twenty-five years on and I’m back at the same venue, this time in the swish Spurs offices inside Lilywhite House with massive goggles strapped to my head and the unfamiliar feel of a games console in my hand, preparing to tour a stadium yet to be built via the concept of ‘augmented reality’.

Tottenham’s new stadium is set to dominate the local skyline in north London in impressive fashion

When Tottenham’s players had a go at this, Moussa Sissoko had to cut it short because he felt seasick. For once, it’s possible to understand where Sissoko is coming from. 

There’s plenty to make your stomach turn as you sweep through the north London sky while bombarded with information about the ‘world’s most technologically advanced stadium’, set to open next year.

It is going to be ‘London’s biggest’ (apart from Wembley, of course, and Twickenham). There will be a retractable pitch and the UK’s biggest single-tier home end, with a capacity of 17,000, inspired by Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall.

The ‘Tunnel Club’ is a new facility which offers fans exclusive access to a private bar by the tunnel area

A glass-fronted luxury bar will look out over the live action being played out down on the pitch at the new stadium

The figures behind Spurs’ incredible new North London stadium, including the £750m cost and the 1m pints to be brewed

And the Tunnel Club will offer some very wealthy people an ‘exciting glimpse’ of the players through one-way glass as they prepare to take the field.

Manchester City are creating something similar at the Etihad Stadium — but it will not be ‘purpose built’ like this one.

Spurs will have windows built into the tunnel area at the end of a trendy bar and members will have tickets to watch the game from heated seats in the rows immediately behind the home dug-out.

Spurs released a video on their Twitter account showing how the venue would appear when hosting NFL

The club also gave a glimpse of how the stadium could double up in style as a multi-purpose venue

An interior shot on the video shows how the view from pitch-side is set to look for supporters 

Under the lights the new arena is expected to look as majestic and as imposing as some of Europe’s finest grounds

The players were also treated to a first viewing of their new home, using specialist headset technology for a virtual tour

Star midfielder Christian Eriksen casts his eyes on Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium for the first time

The food and drink areas inside the ground also take on a futuristic feel with multiple screens broadcasting the action

A glitzy restaurant area will afford supporters the opportunity to dine in style and comfort prior to kick-off

The glass-fronted exterior also allows for panoramic views of the local area surrounding the stadium

The stadium’s entire colour scheme closely adheres to that of Tottenham’s traditional match-day kit

Spurs are aiming to give supporters a completely new experience with the designs for their new stadium

While the new facilities at the stadium will be high end, the costs for using them are steep to match

‘Dangerous,’ said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino with a smile when this was put to him. Pochettino, it is fair to assume, has been involved in plenty of tasty skirmishes in the tunnel. 

Last season, he went on to the pitch at Stamford Bridge to separate players who wanted to fight. Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink was knocked to the floor when it all kicked off again near the tunnel at the end of the game.

‘There have been a lot of things,’ said Pochettino. ‘I can’t tell you what I’ve seen. You need to buy a ticket.’ Two tickets — they are only available as a pair — for the Spurs Tunnel Club will cost £19,000 per season, with 104 packages on offer and a one-off membership fee of £30,000.

A wine and cheese bar, complete with cheese waiter, will cater for the finer tastes of some supporters

The plush interiors of the new restaurant will compete with Europe’s top stadiums for luxury

The ground will boast a Michelin star dining experience on match-days before the games get under way

These are not the most expensive seats in the stadium. Two tickets in the H Club will cost £30,000 per season, plus a £30,000 membership fee. Cheaper than Arsenal’s most exclusive package, it was stressed.

Inside the H Club — for which there are 176 packages available — there will be a Michelin star dining experience, with cheese waiter and sommelier on hand to select for you the perfect wine to accompany a disappointing draw against Stoke.

And there will be pies.

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Manchester City boss in La La Land

  • Pep Guardiola celebrated his 46th birthday with a trip into Manchester 
  • He was spotted outside the Printworks right in the Manchester city centre 
  • He took his Manchester City players to see new romantic comedy film La La Land

Pep Guardiola spent his birthday on Wednesday taking his Manchester City players to watch La La Land at a Manchester cinema.

The City manager, who celebrated turning 46, was keen to lift morale following Sunday’s 4-0 humbling at Everton and thought a trip to see the musical comedy at Manchester’s Printworks would give some light relief as they prepare to face Tottenham on Saturday.

The Spaniard oversaw training as normal before the 10-minute drive into the city centre with Vincent Kompany, Fernando, Pablo Zabaleta, Jesus Navas, Fabian Delph, Raheem Sterling, Aleix Garcia and John Stones.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola with two security guards outside the Printworks

City have lost four of their last eight league matches.

City are expected to be handed an extra week to answer an FA doping charge after falling foul of logistical rules. 

The club failed to tell the authorities where first-team and development players were on three occasions, something necessary for random drug testing. 

Yaya Toure looks on during Manchester City training as he gears up for the Tottenham clash 

Star striker Sergio Aguero was also among the Man City stars present during their session 

(Left-to-right) Tosin Adarabioyo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Leroy Sane walk to training

Clubs are told to update their schedules if circumstances change, something the FA say City did not comply with. 

City return to action this weekend with home fixture in the Premier League against in form Tottenham.

Guardiola will be hoping his side can reduce the gap between them and the top four, which includes Spurs in second place. 

Guardiola’s City host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday night at the Etihad

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Lincoln 1-0 Ipswich: Nathan Arnold scores late winner

  • Neither side managed to create glaring opportunities in first period with Mick McCarthy fuming at display  
  • Second half played out in much the same manner but Lincoln broke away and scored winner at the death 
  • Nathan Arnold was the man to score the historic goal as he rounded the keeper in stoppage time 
  • After the match Mick McCarthy said: ‘From my point of view the way we lost the game was ridiculous’ 
  • Lincoln manager Danny Cowley praised his team’s work rate and pressure in relentless will to win 
  • The National League side will host Championship high-flyers Brighton in the next round on January 28 

Nathan Arnold scored a dramatic late winner to send non-League Lincoln City into the FA Cup fourth round for first time since the late Graham Taylor’s team in 1976.

On a night when Taylor was honoured by the club where he first cut his managerial teeth, the class of 2017 couldn’t have paid him a better tribute against a side ranked three divisions and 59 places above them.

Fans held up a poster of their current young and vibrant manager Danny Cowley next to Taylor before kick off and his reputation will soar even higher after this performance.

The Lincoln team celebrated in their dressing room after the match in the wake of a historic victory for the club

Nathan Arnold broke away in stoppage time to round the keeper and pass the ball into the net with the decisive goal

Arnold chopped the ball onto his left foot with the keeper left stranded and had a simple task with the finish 

Arnold sent the home fans into raptures with his goal securing progression to the fourth round of the FA Cup  

Lincoln players dance in celebration of their progression to the fourth round of the FA Cup following their upset


Lincoln: Farman, Wood, Waterfall, Raggett, Habergham, Hawkridge (McCombe), Woodyard, Power, Arnold (Muldoon), Robinson (Marriott), Rhead 

Subs not used: Long, Miles, Walker, Weatherall

Booked: Wood, Rhead

Goal: Arnold (90+1) 

Ipswich: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Digby, Emmanuel, Skuse, Douglas, Ward (Dozzell), Knudson, Lawrence, Best (Sears)

Subs not used: Bru, McDonnell, Morris, Bialkowski, Webber 

Booked: Douglas 

Dominant Imps missed chances through Theo Robinson, Luke Waterfall, Alex Woodyard and Matt Rhead but were rewarded in the 90th minute when substitute Adam Marriott threaded a ball to Arnold and remained the coolest person inside the stadium to round Dean Gerken to score.

‘We spoke about Graham Taylor in the week,’ said Cowley. ‘I watched a documentary about him after he died and I reminded myself of what he’d done at this club and others.

‘In terms of atmosphere, this was the greatest experience during my time here and one that everyone will be connected with Lincoln will remember for a long time.’

The emotions at the final whistle were exciteable, spontaneous and genuine as a fair proportion of a 9,000 full house ran onto the Sincil Bank turf to celebrate.

Many of those supporters had held up lights from their phones in the 76th minute as a tribute to Taylor who had won promotion in 1975/76 and it seemed to inspire Lincoln to one late surge.

‘I’m embarrassed,’ admitted beaten manager Mick McCarthy, whose side have now been knocked out at the third round for the seventh consecutive season.

‘It would have been bad enough in front of nine thousand live fans but for millions to be watching live on television makes it even worse.’

The Lincoln faithful pay tribute to their late former Graham Taylor after he passed away last week

Christophe Berra, who has been linked with a return to Scotland, is upended by Theo Robinson during a robust challenge 

Alan Power lunges in with a ferocious challenge as Paul Digby of Ipswich is dispossessed of the ball in the tackle 

McCarthy is a fighter but even he must fear for his job now having failed to learn the lessons from the 2-2 draw at Portman Road in the first tie.

Lincoln are no mugs, top of the National League with one defeat in 22 matches, and big-match players like Arnold, who scored the winning goal for Grimsby when they won promotion to the Football League at Wembley in May.

After emotional applause for Taylor before kick-off, Ipswich’s plan to try and silence the crowd worked reasonably well for half-an-hour until Robinson – who scored twice at Portman Road – turned sharply and forced a goal-saving block by Paul Digby.

After that, a floodgate of chances opened. Top scorer Rhead just failed to bury a header at the far post while skipper Waterfall was denied by an excellent tip aroud the post by Gerken.

As for Ipswich, they hardly amounted a shot on goal with Tom Lawrence, their own two-goal hero in the first game, starved of service.

The second-half tribute to Taylor gave the red-and-white-stripe shirts new impetus despite McCarthy, growing tetchier by the minute in the technical area, threw on Freddie Sears.

Ipswich were on the attack when Lincoln forced the counter-attack and Arnold fulfilled his partner’s dream by converting from eight yards.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy cut a frustrated figure for the first 20 minutes as his side struggled to find their rhythm 

Lincoln City were the dominant side for the first half of action with Ipswich struggling to match their intensity 

Matt Rhead holds his hands on his head after the hosts miss a crucial chance to go ahead in the game 

Luke Waterfall wheels away in anguish after missing a chance to score and put the underdogs into the lead 

Waterfall connected with the ball in flamboyant fashion but could not breach the net as Ipswich survived a scare

‘My Missus had a dream we won 1-0 and I scored the goal. My experience allowed me to keep a cool head for the goal,’ he said.

The celebrations will live long in the memory for those jaded by the exploits of Dimitri Payet and Diego Costa in this window.

Cowley, a former schoolteacher, won’t want to be described as a new Graham Taylor but his team certainly personify the same spirit, who give everything with one of the country’s football backwaters.

‘It frightens me that people will fall out of love with football because the supporters can be disconnected with the big clubs. Why I enjoy this level is you still have a connection with the people.’

Taylor couldn’t have put it better himself. 

Lincoln manager Danny Cowley celebrates in fine style with his players after the late goal but urges them to pay attention

Paul Farman sprints up the pitch to celebrate with his team-mates after keeping a clean sheet in the victory

Lincoln fans run on to the pitch to celebrate with their heroes after progressing to the fourth round of the FA Cup

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Cohen Bramall makes first appearance for Arsenal

  • Bramall made his Gunners debut in the Under-23 clash against Southampton
  • The defender was signed by Arsenal from non-league side Hednesford Town
  • Bramall has been training with both the first-team and Steve Gatting’s Under-23s

Cohen Bramall pulled on an Arsenal shirt for the first time on Monday night just days after being plucked from non-League.

The 20-year-old defender, who made a shock £40,000 move from eighth-tier side Hednesford Town last week, made his first appearance for the Gunners in an Under-23 match at Southampton

Left back Bramall completed 83 minutes for Steve Gatting’s side in a 3-1 Premier League 2 win at Staplewood. 

Defender Cohen Bramall makes first appearance for Arsenal in Under-23 victory

The 20-year-old defender made a shock £40,000 move from Hednesford Town last week

Jonathan Afolabi put Southampton ahead just before half-time with a fierce volley.

But Stephy Mavididi, Eddie Nketiah and Chris Willock all found the target as Arsenal claimed a fifth win in six Premier League 2 games. 

Bramall was spotted by Arsenal scout Brian McDermott during a trial for Sheffield Wednesday in a game against Birmingham City  

Bramall completed 83 minutes for Steve Gatting’s side in a 3-1 Premier League 2 win

Bramall, who will earn in the region of £3,000 per week, learned of his move just days after being made redundant from his £400-a-week job as a factory worker at Bentley Motors in Crewe. 

He initially thought the call from Arsenal was a prank but the move is now a reality with Bramall posing for pictures with the traditional red home kit.

The former Hednesford Town full back, speaking to Arsenal Player, said of his move: ‘It feels incredible. I can’t believe I’m here already. It’s been mental.’

Bramall initially thought the call from Arsenal was a prank but the move is now a reality


Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Marseille fans turn on Didier Drogba telling him to ‘stop saying you love OM’ and to ‘go back to China’  

  • Marseille held up a banner before their 4-1 defeat at home to Monaco 
  • Drogba launched his career at Marseille but the fans don’t want him back 
  • Boss Rudi Garcia has stated he doesn’t think it would be good for him to return 

Marseille supporters have told Didier Drogba that he is not welcome at their club and he should look at a return to the Far East.

Drogba launched his career at the Ligue 1 club in 2003, scoring 32 goals as Marseille got to the UEFA Cup final.

He has always been open to a return but the club’s fans sent him a message before Sunday’s 4-1 loss at home to Dijon telling him that they don’t want him back.

Marseille fans at Stade Velodrome hold up banner telling Didier Drogba isn’t welcome

A large banner was held up before kick-off, and read: ‘Drogba, stop saying you love L’OM, you make in a month what we won’t earn in a lifetime.’

‘Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go back to China.’

The last part of the banner was a nod to his time at Shanghai Shenhua between 2012 and 2013. 

Didier Drogba launched his career during the 2003-2004 season at Marseille

Marseille’s fans have already been backed up by manager Rudi Garcia.

He has acknowledged Drogba’s contribution while at the club but doesn’t believe a return would be the best idea.

He said: ‘It’s true that he was a fantastic player here. But I think that sometimes you have to just leave the great experiences as they are.’  

Drogba hasn’t played since leaving Montreal Impact at the end of the MLS season last year

The former Chelsea player hasn’t played since leaving Montreal Impact at the end of the MLS season last year.

He scored 21 goals in 33 appearances last season but is looking for a new challenge.

Monaco’s victory over Marseille sent Leonardo Jardim’s side top of Ligue 1. 

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has his cake and eats it as he takes a bite of journalist’s treat at press conference

  • Chelsea moved seven points clear at the top with 3-0 victory at Leicester
  • Antonio Conte was feeling hungry at his post-match press conference
  • Chelsea boss asked a journalist if he could try his sponge cake before starting
  • Conte appeared to enjoy the treat, noting: ‘That’s good. I didn’t eat. I am hungry.’

Antonio Conte had certainly earned a treat after his side’s impressive victory at Leicester, and he got exactly that when he tried a bite of a journalist’s cake.

Following Chelsea’s 3-0 win at the King Power Stadium, Conte was feeling peckish as he entered the room for his post-match press conference and proceeded to ask if he could sample the food.

Upon sitting down at the microphone, Conte spotted the sweet treat and noted: ‘It’s good, the cake? The cake is good? Yeah? I’m jealous about this.

Antonio Conte appeared peckish as he asked a journalist about cake at his press conference

The journalist brought him a plate and he tried a mouthful of what appeared to be sponge cake

‘If you offer me a bit, I taste. Yeah, a little bit. Is possible, yeah? Because I didn’t eat. Thank you.’

The journalist in question then brings the Italian a slice of his sponge cake with a fork, allowing Conte to take a bite.

‘Thank you very much. That’s good. I didn’t eat. I am hungry.’

Conte worked up an appetite screaming and shouting from the sidelines at the King Power

The Chelsea boss appeared to be a fan of the dessert as he gave a big thumbs up to the man

Conte finished his mouthful, noting ‘I am hungry’ before continuing with the press conference

On the pitch, Chelsea’s first-team stars were also hungry, as they demolished the champions and secured another precious three points in the Premier League.

Left wing-back Marcos Alonso scored the opening two goals – missing out on a hat-trick by the width of a post – before Pedro finished the scoring in the second half.

Chelsea now sit seven points clear of the chasing pack, until Sunday afternoon at least, and remain odds-on favourites to win the title. 

On the pitch, Chelsea ran riot and secured three more precious points in their race for the title

David Luiz screams in delight at the Chelsea fans after Marcos Alonso netted his second goal

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has no fear in going to Old Trafford: ‘Give me 11 players and we will be competitive. These are my players’

  • Wobbling Liverpool head to Manchester United to play a side hitting top form
  • Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp is relishing the challenge of Sunday’s big derby
  • He has positive experiences of Old Trafford and playing at the league’s top sides

Jurgen Klopp scrunched up his face as he gathered his thoughts. It was almost time for him to return to his office but, first, he wanted to clear something up.

‘Fear?’ Klopp asked to ensure he had understood the original question.

So, in a small room to the side of Liverpool’s press auditorium, the words were repeated. What do you fear about going to Old Trafford? The context was explained further.

Manchester United have won their last nine games, Liverpool, after losing at Southampton and drawing with Plymouth and Sunderland, appear to be wobbling. Again Klopp scrunched his face.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp did not understand what he might fear going to Old Trafford

He secured a Europa League quarter-final with a fearless 1-1 draw Old Trafford last season

‘Nothing,’ came the matter-of-fact reply. ‘What could I fear? At this moment, anything is possible. It could be United are not at their best level and it’s just nobody knows about it yet. I don’t fear things like this. I’ve had enough time in the game to realise what happens.

‘I’m 100 per cent positive — absolutely looking forward to the game. We’ve now had four days to react from a really bad game (at Southampton) on our side by playing in a very important game. I love it. That’s how football should be.’

Then came that megawatt smile. Hands in his pockets, leaning against a wall, Klopp was displaying all the traits that he does before a big game and few come bigger than a collision between English football’s most successful teams.

‘When I woke up this morning I thought, “Yes! Only two days to go!”,’ said Klopp. ‘I hear in your questions that, because of our last game, it’s “Oh my God! Now it’s Man United!” and all that stuff. But give me 11 players and we will be competitive. These are my players.’

Liverpool have been struggling of late, including their midweek defeat by Southampton

Klopp gave the impression of not having a care in the world but, privately, he will recognise what is at stake on Sunday. His side could move eight points clear of their bitter rivals and dream about the remainder of the season or have their advantage slashed to two points.

This is a ground that has given Liverpool nightmares. Their first visit on February 19, 1910 was successful. Captain Arthur Goddard — one of the club’s first big players — scored twice, including the winner, but since then victories have been few and far between. 

To give it context, it is one of only 16 wins Liverpool have recorded against United away from home in the league in 121 years. He is also facing up to a resurgent Jose Mourinho, who has won eight of his 13 Premier League fixtures against Liverpool.

None of that, though, perturbs Klopp. He might be without his leading scorer Sadio Mane, while skipper Jordan Henderson and key defender Joel Matip have fitness issues but the opportunity to make progress is not lost on him.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will be monitored in the build-up to Sunday’s clash


2-2 v Sunderland (January 2)

0-0 v Plymouth Argyle (January 8)

1-0 loss v Southampton (January 11) 

He had a glint in his eye, too, when discussing United’s form. They may have rattled out an impressive sequence and Klopp acknowledged they are in a better moment than when what was titled ‘Red Monday’ became ‘Dead Monday’ on October 17 after an insipid 0-0 draw. But have they played a team with Liverpool’s capabilities?

‘Jose is at the top level but that’s not new,’ said Klopp. ‘We go there to get a result. Last year was my first time at Old Trafford (in the Europa League) and it was good. A good, intensive game (that finished 1-1). We will be ready again.

‘No matter how much Jose or myself want to win, we can’t make the difference. The players have to perform. In all games they’ve won since they last played us, they haven’t played us.

‘They were different kind of games.

Klopp acknowledged United are in a better moment than when they met earlier this season

First league visits to Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal were all wins for Klopp

‘They had some results people expected and in others they had some luck, goals in the right moments — offside, not offside. They deserve the run they have had. But our plan is to make it difficult for them. The last game doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us stronger.’

Liverpool will certainly be in a stronger position if Klopp can continue his own remarkable sequence. He has won each of his first league visits to Stamford Bridge, the Etihad Stadium, Goodison Park and the Emirates and the incentive to do likewise at Old Trafford is huge.

‘It would be a huge gap, but they were already a few points behind a few teams at the top of the table,’ said Klopp, when asked if an eight-point chasm would prove insurmountable. ‘The season is long, this game decides not a lot, actually.

‘At the moment everyone thinks Chelsea will win all their games and I don’t know what they think of Tottenham. The whole of December and January is outstandingly intense but there is still a lot to be done and a lot of things to fix. You cannot wish. You have to do the work.’

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

West Ham determined not to sell Dimitri Payet in January

West Ham are adamant Dimitri Payet will not be sold in this transfer window — despite the Frenchman refusing to play for the club again.

Payet, 29, was sent to a back specialist on Thursday after claiming he was injured and could not train.

West Ham are sceptical about the timing of the fitness issue, although determined to ensure it is investigated thoroughly. Co-owner David Sullivan will meet the player’s agent Jacques-Olivier Auguste on Friday to discuss the next step.

Dimitri Payet has told West Ham that he no longer wants to play for the club

Slaven Bilic revealed the extent of the situation at a press conference on Thursday

Manager Slaven Bilic broke the news at a press conference on Thursday, and Payet is not expected to feature in Saturday’s crucial home match against Crystal Palace.

Bilic said: ‘I have a situation with a player. It is Dimitri Payet. He wants to leave. He has refused to play for us. We are not going to sell him.

‘I have a team to manage and he is probably being tapped up by some clubs. Until he changes his attitude he is out of the team. He is not going to train with us. It’s not a money issue. I feel angry. 

‘We gave him everything. Of course I am feeling let down and angry. We want to keep our best players and I expect him to come back and show commitment and determination to the team — like the team has shown to him.’

By making clear they will not budge in January, West Ham aim to prevent their star player becoming further unsettled by offers from clubs at home and abroad.   

 Payet departs the West Ham training ground on Thursday in his Ferrari 458 Speciale

The hope is that when Payet sees he is still a West Ham player on February 1, he will relent and play until the end of the season. In the meantime, he will be fined every time he fails to fulfil a contractual obligation.

Payet returned to France last week and Marseille have twice been in contact in recent weeks, but their interest has been rebuffed.

Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with Payet, as have Arsenal and Manchester United. But West Ham insist there is no offer good enough to buy Payet this month, even though Bilic’s decision to make the affair public could drive a wedge between player and fans.

Payet signed a £125,000-a-week, five-year deal in February but told Bilic this week he wished to return to France for personal reasons, only for club executives to ask him to wait until May. Although reluctant to sell, it is believed West Ham will listen to offers then, if he still wants to leave.

Bilic conveyed this message to Payet earlier this week but the player insisted he would not play for West Ham again.

It was after that he reported for training saying he had a back injury.

Bilic said: ‘It started 10 days ago. I spoke to the chairmen. We have said hundreds of times that we do not want to sell our best players. I am disappointed. I can understand that the players are being ‘tapped up’.

‘I have to look after my team who are very committed. I cannot let it happen. No way.

‘Let’s be honest, Dimitri Payet, when he is in that form … it is hard to replace his quality. But we will put a player there who has the character, the desire and the quality to help us replace him.’

Payet’s form has dipped this season, despite him being the highest-paid player in the club’s history.

After Payet’s impressive performances at the start of the European Championship this summer, his agent asked to renegotiate the deal for a figure in the region of £165,000. 

This was flatly refused. Payet did receive a signing-on fee of £1million in September, however, which the club believe entitles them to ask for loyalty at least to the end of the season.

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge was ‘a little boy’ compared to Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk

  • Daniel Sturridge endured a difficult evening in a rare Liverpool start 
  • Sportsmail columnist Jamie Redknapp did not hold back in his criticism
  • Redknapp also criticised Emre Can, saying he slowed down Liverpool’s play

Virgil van Dijk versus Daniel Sturridge was ‘like watching a man play against a little boy’ according to Jamie Redknapp, as the highly-rated Southampton defender dominated the Liverpool striker in their EFL Cup tie.

The Saints beat the Reds 1-0 in the semi-final first leg, with Van Dijk comfortably keeping the England forward quiet to secure the clean sheet and demonstrate why he is valued at £50million.

Speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports, Sportsmail columnist Redknapp said he had been very impressed with the Dutchman, but was also critical of Sturridge.

Virgil van Dijk versus Daniel Sturridge was ‘like watching a man play against a boy’

Sturridge endured a difficult evening in a rare Liverpool start in the EFL Cup semi-final

Sportsmail columnist Jamie Redknapp did not hold back in his criticism of Sturridge


First legs: 

Jan 10: Manchester United 2-0 Hull

Jan 11: Southampton 1-0 Liverpool

Second legs:

Jan 25: Liverpool v Southampton

Jan 26: Hull v Manchester United 

He said: ‘He is immense. I say it every time I watch him, he just gets better and better. You know what it was like tonight, it was like watching a man play against a little boy with Daniel Sturridge. He bullied him all game. He never gave him a sniff.’

Sturridge failed to impress on a rare start for Liverpool, and Redknapp feels he is unlikely to earn a place in Jurgen Klopp’s regular starting XI on the basis of this performance.

The former Liverpool midfielder feels Sturridge did not do enough to assert his influence on the game, as he endures a frustrating season.

Redknapp said: ‘Daniel Sturridge didn’t do enough today. He didn’t move around, he didn’t have enough touches in the box. I know, he might be in there thinking, I didn’t get the service. But for great centre forwards, it doesn’t matter, they don’t need service, they make things happen for themselves and he didn’t do enough today.

‘At times he was on the periphery wasn’t he? It was frustrating. Last year, when they won 6-1 here and I think it was Jurgen Klopp’s first real look at him and he probably thought great, this is someone I could use and he has got so much pace.’

Van Dijk’s assured performance showed why he is rated as a £50million defender

Sturridge’s night descended into farce as he was forced to carry a tactics sheet to team mates

Redknapp, who also played for Southampton, criticised Sturridge’s team mate Emre Can as well, as Liverpool suffered a deserved defeat they will have to put right in the second leg at Anfield on January 25.

He said at half-time: ‘Every time Emre Can has had the ball, he has made six touches and tried to show us how good he is. Keep it simple because with Southampton, they’ve got two banks, the four and the five, and they’ve just tried to make it difficult. 

‘They’ve got to move the ball quickly, they’ve got to be fast with their passing. Can has slowed the game down too much.’

Nathan Redmond scored the only goal of the game in the first half to earn the hosts a win at St Mary’s.

Redknapp also criticised Emre Can (right), saying he slowed down Liverpool’s play too much

Nathan Redmond scored the only goal of the game in the first half to earn the hosts a win

Courtesy: Daily Mail Online