Who will Jose Bosingwa sign for?

Jose Bosingwa has been told he can leave Chelsea after four seasons with the club and may be looking to stay in the Premier League.

Jose Bosingwa has won the Champions League twice in his career

Since moving to Chelsea in 2008 he has had an indifferent time sometimes being a very good full back as he looked good going forward and was also solid defensively, but at other times he has looked very poor when defending and was often dropped. Nevertheless he picked up three FA Cups, a Premier League winners medal and to top it off a Champions League winners medal so he can count his time in England as very successful. In his first season at the club he looked quite impressive and barely missed a game, playing 48 times, he also added two goals and six assists. But, after that he struggled with injuries and form and couldn’t really put a string of performances together. In the season just finished he played 34 times which was the most since his first season in England and he may have done enough to stay at the club, unfortunately for him, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

So what does the future hold for Jose Bosingwa? Will he go back to Portugal and finish his playing career over there or will he remain in England? In my opinion there are a few teams that would be interested in him and could use his services. I don’t think he is good enough for a top four team but the 29 year old could make a massive difference to one of those that are challenging for Europe. Firstly, I think Newcastle United could be interested in him, although he doesn’t quite fit into the way they are conducting themselves in the transfer market, I think he would be worth a look at. With Danny Simpson not yet signing a new contract the club will be in need of an experienced right back, plus he has played a lot of games in Europe which would also benefit the team. However, they do have Ryan Taylor and James Perch who can play in there but I think that Newcastle will be looking elsewhere this summer so a move for Bosingwa is possible but unlikely.

Everton could be looking for a new right back this summer with Phil Neville getting older and may struggle to play every week. They do have Tony Hibbert as back up but for some reason he never seems to be able to keep his place in the side. A problem with signing Bosingwa could be his lack of consistency and his wages but if they can get him to lower his wage demands he should be interested in joining a club like Everton because every year they do fantastically well and have some of the best supporters in the country. Plus, David Moyes has a good record of getting the best out of players that didn’t quite cut it at teams like Chelsea and Manchester United.

Finally, I believe Fulham could maybe look at Bosingwa because they may look to improve that position this summer. With Aaron Hughes playing some of this season at right back it just shows that Martin Jol maybe doesn’t fancy Chris Baird or Stephen Kelly in that position. Jol likes his teams to attack and Bosingwa would certainly add a lot going forward so he could be a very good option. Fulham are a good attacking side under Jol and I think they would be a good team for Bosingwa to join.

With the Portuguese international being a free transfer it would be silly for teams not to look at him, I have enjoyed him in the Premier League when he has been on form but too often he has had off days. However, maybe it was the pressure of playing for a team like Chelsea that stopped him from playing his best football and every mistake he made was criticised heavily by the media and pundits alike.

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Why Grant Holt handed in a transfer request?

Grant Holt has had a transfer reject request at Norwich City rejected and it is unclear why he wants to move on.

Grant Holt has scored 70 goals for Norwich

Holt has had a terrific first season in the Premier League and finished with 15 league goals from his 36 games and was linked with a call up to the England squad for Euro 2012. So, I am going to look at the reasons why he potentially wants to leave the club.

The first thing that sprang into my mind when I heard the news was, is he doing this because manager Paul Lambert is leaving? Lambert has been linked with numerous clubs since the end of the season including Aston Villa and Liverpool. If Lambert leaves maybe the new manager will want to play a different style of football and won’t need Holt anymore. This may have been his way of thinking and after all of his hard work to get to the Premier League he will not want it taken away from him by a new manager and by handing in a transfer request teams will look at how well he has done this season and take a chance on him. So, basically this argument is that he wants his Premier League career secure and as he has found out in the past, new managers don’t always like a strong physical striker. Obviously, this may be completely wrong because Lambert hasn’t left and doesn’t look like leaving at the minute, although in football things can change quickly.

The second reason he may want to leave is because he didn’t get called up to the England squad and maybe he feels it’s because he plays for Norwich however some people will point to the fact that John Ruddy was called up. I believe goalkeepers are a lot different to outfield players and there isn’t a lot of options especially when you consider Paul Robinson and Ben Foster do not want to be called up. He may feel that if he had scored 15 goals for a team like Everton or Fulham he may have had more of a chance. But then again this argument is flawed because Darren Bent has continually scored goals for a number of clubs including Tottenham Hotspur and has still been overlooked by England managers when he has been the top English goal scorer. It is obvious looking at the England squad they do look at the best teams but if Holt did move to a team like Everton, he still wouldn’t get a call up even though I personally think he should have went to the Euros.

Finally it may simply just be because he wants a new contract and a lot of players do this sort of thing to make the chairmen and the board hurry up to get round to their contract situation rather than focusing on other things. Now I don’t think Grant Holt has a big ego and is doing it because he thinks he is bigger than the club, irreplaceable and will give into his demands, I think he is simply doing it to get his future sorted as he does have young children and would like to know where he will be in a few years. Every time he has spoke about Norwich it has always been positively so I cannot see him getting annoyed by the fact they rejected his request unless they don’t get round to sorting out his contract in time.

Who will be Gillingham’s next manager?

Andy Hessenthaler has agreed to join the board of directors after stepping down from his post as manager of Gillingham.

Gillingham picked up 70 points from their 46 games

One of his first tasks will be to find a manager to lead the club back into League 1 which he unfortunately failed to do. They only finished one place and two points off the playoffs but this was deemed a failure because the club were expecting to get promoted this season. But if they can keep hold of most of their players they do have a squad good enough to achieve their ambitions in particular I think if Danny Kedwell stays then he can score a lot of goals and win them a lot of games.

So choosing a new manager with similar ambitions is vital and the favourite for the job is Martin Allen who will get the respect of the players and is arguably too good to be a manager in League 2 anyway but that is where he finds himself as he is currently the manager of Barnet where he is in is third spell. He kept them up this season with an impressive two wins out of three and as his past shows he doesn’t mind leaving clubs, especially Barnet, after only a few games. In his second spell as manager he was only in charge for three games. In my opinion he would be a good choice as all through his career he has won a lot of games and makes his teams difficult to beat. However, a word of caution would be that if a better opportunity comes up he will leave, no matter what position his club are in.

The man who Allen replaced at Barnet is also linked with the role. Lawrie Sanchez, the former Northern Ireland manager has had an interesting managerial career and I think he believes he is a lot better than what he actually is. Yes he did well with Northern Ireland and achieved a lot when there were such low expectations on the team but looking at the rest of his career, he has been average at best. At Fulham, he only won four of his 24 games in charge. At Barnet he probably was going to keep them up anyway and was harshly sacked by the board but they struggled all season and you can defend him and maybe say he didn’t have the players or the funds but only winning 15 of his games out of 53 is not good enough. So why should he get given the job of a team that is going for promotion?

Finally, Paul Ince should be in with a shout for the job because even though his career got damaged slightly by his time at Blackburn Rovers, he has achieved some good things in the lower leagues and maybe tried to go to the Premier League too quickly. He saved Macclesfield Town from relegation after they looked dead and buried winning 14 of his 35 games in charge. It was a remarkable effort and shows that he can do a good job in League 2. Add this to the fact that he won League 2 with MK Dons and I think Ince deserves another shot at League 2 and could bring glory to Gillingham. After Blackburn, his second spell at MK Dons and Notts County were solid but not very spectacular and he was doing a good job for both in my opinion.

I would like to see Paul Ince get the job and hopefully get Gillingham promoted because the club deserve to be in a higher division and he deserves to manage at a higher division so it could be a match made in heaven.

Who will Andrew Johnson play for next season?

Andrew Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be not be a Fulham player next season.

Johnson has scored 147 goals in his career

Fulham rejected a bid for him in January from QPR which suggested that they wanted him to stay or maybe they just felt that QPR would come in with a better offer if they rejected it. He has played over 100 games for Fulham in all competitions in his four seasons at the club but has only scored 27 goals with a lot of them coming in the Europa League against opponents who Fulham should have beaten anyway especially in the earlier rounds of the competition. His 13 league goals have not been enough although he did suffer a serious injury in his second season at the club which may have hampered his progress. The transfer fee they bought him for was rumoured to be over £10 million and he certainly hasn’t lived up to that price tag.

But could he still do a good job in the Premier League for Fulham or should he be looking elsewhere? In my opinion he has to leave as Fulham have started to play a different way under Martin Jol and I can’t see where he would fit in. Also the form of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey has made it difficult for him to force his way into the team when he is fit.

So the next question is whether he is still good enough for the Premier League? This is a little harder to answer because he is getting towards the end of his career and he may not quite have the same attributes as he used to but it does also mean he has a lot more experience. He will have to adapt his game slightly as he does not have the pace he used to have, although he should still have his clever movement and will cause teams problems. At Everton, he wasn’t a consistent goal scorer but I thought that he showed enough quality to be a very good Premier League player. However, yet again the goals weren’t exactly flowing and 17 in two seasons in the league was possibly not good enough for the money they paid.

At Crystal Palace he got 21 league goals for a team that eventually got relegated which shows that he must have been a good player seen as though he almost kept them up on his own. This is why I believe one of the promoted teams should take a chance on him as he can score goals from few chances like at Palace and he might just give one of the teams a little bit more experience. Reading would be a good fit in my opinion and would be a slightly different option to Noel Hunt and Jason Roberts. Although he is quite similar to Adam Le Fondre.

I also think he could do well at Wigan as he would fit into their hardworking ethic and Johnson never stops running and works hard for the full 90 minutes and the one thing that is missing from the Wigan side is a clinical and proven goal scorer. Johnson could just be the man to take them from a battling relegation side to a mid table team.

A prayer for Fabrice Muamba

Bill Shankly once said ‘Football isn’t a matter of life and death, it is more important than that’ but right now football should mean nothing to any person after seeing what happened to Fabrice Muamba.

On the pitch we saw players demoralised, the tears were flowing from both sets of players and both sets of supporters with many of them including Rafael Van Der Vaart saying a quiet prayer. Everyone was very respectful and Howard Webb deserves some praise as he did not interfere with anything and didn’t even want to blow his whistle in case it distracted the medical team that were working on the young Bolton midfielder. Webb quietly spoke to all the players and both managers and made the obvious decision to abandon the game.

They were heartbreaking scenes even though anyone watching the TV coverage like myself did not see the actual moment when it happened. Afterwards, Kevin Keegan was clearly traumatised by the whole event as he was choked up and struggled to do his punditry work for ESPN. Just hearing people talk about the incident made people fear the worse and remember similar incidents over the years such as Marc Vivien Foe.

Football does not matter today and this will overshadow other players’ accomplishments today but who cares that Rickie Lambert scored a hatrick for Southampton or that Swansea beat Fulham comfortably, these events are massively insignificant. Just like if you are a Newcastle fan and are gutted that Sunderland are now close to getting to Wembley in the FA Cup, it literally does not matter what is going on anywhere else in the world of football, everyone should be thinking of the health of Muamba and not stupid petty rivalries.

The reaction of every footballer on Twitter has been very good as they have forgotten their allegiances and are just praying for Muamba like we all should be tonight.

Some people will argue there are more important things in this world and that people die every day all around the world but what they have to realise is that this young lad, he is only 23, was doing something he loved and was involved in the oldest cup competition in the world and would not have expected anything like this in a stadium full of people. He is a model professional and I will be hoping and praying that he pulls through even if he never kicks a football again I will be very happy and delighted because he always seemed like a good person and a good role model for young people. He has never really been in the papers for his personal life and when I wake up tomorrow I will be hoping that the football families’ prayers are answered and Fabrice Muamba is healthy and can enjoy more time with his family.

Solid defensive work at Newcastle United

Newcastle moved up to fifth place with a victory over Blackburn with a very good defensive performance. Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul have been getting praise and all season and rightfully so as yet again they both out in flawless performance. Mike Williamson has came back into the team in recent weeks and yes he has problems when dealing with players with a bit of pace and good movement but when the ball is in the air he is one of the best as he very rarely loses a header. With Steven Taylor missing, the club needed Williamson to step up as last year he started off very well but fell away towards the back end of the season and was dropped after a few dismal performances particularly against Liverpool at Anfield.

In the full back areas they also have players that are consistent rather than brilliant but this has worked for the team so far this season. Danny Simpson at right back at times looks very good and dependable but then at other times he looks very suspect like against Brighton in the FA Cup when he was beaten far too easily on the halfway line and it eventually led to the winning goal. He does always provide an attacking threat and constantly tries to put crosses in although his final delivery can also be very inconsistent and lack the necessary quality for the Premier League. On the other side Davide Santon has had a decent start to his Newcastle career, but like Simpson can look suspect defensively, like against Fulham when in the second half he was targeted and led to a capitulation eventually losing the game 5-2. But going forward he is confident with both feet and likes to play the ball around, he seems to be developing a good understanding with Jonas Gutierrez who in my opinion can make any left back look good because he is always helping them and providing support and not leaving them too exposed. It is a great credit to Gutierrez but you can definitely see why Santon was very highly rated at Inter Milan.

But I am going to give a lot of praise to James Perch who for long periods has been criticised by the Toon faithful because of some of his performances from the early part of last season. He tried to make tackles he couldn’t win and was inevitably booked, he was caught out of position and I’m sure not many will forget his own goal against Stoke. But this season he has turned a corner and has become a fantastic addition to the Newcastle squad as he has played at centre back and the centre of midfield and has not disappointed anyone. He came on at halftime in the game against Blackburn and deserved man of the match because he changed the game as at the end of the first half Rovers began to take control of the game and it looked as though they would get an equaliser. But Perch came on and steadied the ship and made some vital blocks and put in some good challenges and then when he had the ball played it simple.

It just shows in football how quickly opinions of certain players can change very quickly and James Perch deserves praise because he has clearly trained hard and wants to become a success at St James’ Park so he deserves a lot of credit for this and I just hope the fans will now cheer his name when it’s read out.

The fight for survival

Blackburn showed they have enough team spirit and determination about them to successfully battle against relegation this season.

They have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and now without their best centre back Chris Samba who looks like he could be leaving in the transfer window they beat Fulham at home 3-1. Adding to this, their top scorer Yakubu got sent off which must have left the Blackburn fans with the sinking feeling of here we go again. But the team pulled through and beat a Fulham side who had been on a decent run themselves and in their last league game came from behind to beat Arsenal.

It shouldn’t be all doom and gloom at Blackburn, yes the board made a terrible decision in sacking Sam Allardyce and maybe Steve Kean should have been sacked but there is definitely quality in this Rovers side and this includes some good young promising players.

Martin Olsson at left back is only 23 and is a very capable player and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played for a top team in the league because he adds a lot going forward with his pace and also his defending is improving as he is getting more experienced. Grant Hanley, the player that scored the winning goal at Old Trafford reminds me of Phil Jones and he could be set to follow in his footsteps and leave the club for a very good price. Although this isn’t what the fans want, if the club sell some of their young assets they can add experience to the squad which would help the team in their scrap at the bottom.

Players that are experienced players in the squad such as Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn are very good players and could fit into most sides that are in the bottom half of the Premier League. They both scored in the win over Fulham and they could have a big say in whether Blackburn are playing in the Premier League or Championship next season.

Up front they do look lightweight with only Yakubu scoring the goals for them but Ruben Rochina who is only 20 has provided real moments of quality at times this season but probably because he is only young he has been inconsistent however I see a bright future in the game for him. He possesses a rocket of a left foot and looks very good on the ball therefore he will surprise a few defenders this season. They also have David Goodwillie who has not acclimitised to the Premier League yet but if he can reproduce some of his form from his days in the SPL then he may be a good addition to the squad. His goal against Newcastle in the FA cup would have done him the world of good.

The most promising player at the club is Junior Hoilett and the proof of this is that he is linked to some of the best clubs in the Premier League, most noticeably Tottenham. His pace and trickery are his main assets but the reason why Blackburn have to keep him is that he is very unpredictable and is the only player in the squad that can really make the Ewood Park faithful get up of their seats. If Blackburn are to stay up this year, they need to keep hold of their 21 year old winger.

Newcastle’s striking dilemma

Demba Ba has been one of the best signings in the Premier League this year and Newcastle need someone to step up to the plate and fill his boots while he is away on international duty.

The options they have are Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa and Leon Best. Sammy Ameobi would have had a chance to try and cement his place in the starting line up but he picked up an unfortunate injury which could keep him out for months in a reserve game against Wigan.

Since coming back from injury himself Ben Arfa has been blowing hot and cold for Newcastle producing wonderful moments that any player in the world would be proud of with his goal against Blackburn where it seemed like the ball was stuck to his foot. But, in other games it has seemed like he hasn’t got back to his best and has looked off the pace. A lot of the Toon Army want to see him playing on the right wing but manager Alan Pardew seems reluctant to do this, seeing him as more of a number 10 type player that drops off the main striker and dictates play from there, in the way that Dennis Bergkamp did so effectively for Arsenal.

Shola Ameobi can be one of the most frustrating footballers in the world (especially to Sunderland fans as he seems to perform to the best of his abilities in the Tyne-Wear Derby) because at times he looks like he is a good player, for example when he rescued a point for Newcastle earlier in the season with an unstoppable left foot strike against Tottenham. He can cause problems to defences, using his height and power to his advantage but then there is the other side to his game. He frustratingly gets caught offside countless times in a game and trips over his own feet. When he is good, he is very effective, but when he is bad, he looks more like a Sunday League footballer.

Leon Best is another player that can be frustrating, he had to wait almost a year to score his first goal for Newcastle but he did have limited chances when Andy Carroll was at the club. He contributed magnificently when Carroll left for Liverpool in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League by finishing the season with an incredible six goals in 11 league games. Then he started this season where he left off and was a potential candidate for the coveted number 9 shirt. After his double against Fulham and his equaliser against Aston Villa he has struggled slightly but in his defence he has picked up a few niggles recently and has been on the bench. Many people would argue Ba produced his best alongside the Irish international as he challenged aerially and didn’t mind putting in a shift for his team.

Peter Lovenkrands has been frozen out of the Newcastle squad this season and will be desperate to prove a point to his manager but I can’t see this happening as he has lost a yard of pace and that was his main asset. He will be loved by the Newcastle fans because of his performances in the Championship and also playing and scoring in a game against West Brom despite having just returned from Denmark after his father died. He will be remembered very well by the Newcastle fans but I can’t see him making much of an impact unfortunately

I believe Newcastle play at their best when they have two out and out strikers on the pitch and therefore should play Best and Ameobi however I do believe the team needs slightly more creativity and that is why Ben Arfa also needs to be in the team, although I think he should play on the right wing as Gabriel Obertan has looked very poor so far.

Alan Pardew will be hoping to get through this period
picking up as many points as possible and then hoping to end the season with a flurry of points upon the return of Demba Ba as they look to secure European football at St James’ Park next season