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Football Shorts – all the latest from Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Leeds United

Ashley Cole, probably England’s – even the world’s!? – greatest ever left-back, will win his 100th cap against Brazil this evening, but says he is still blown-over by his achievements.

Speaking at a special event to commemorate his century of international appearances, Cole made it clear how thrilled he is at reaching such a significant milestone.

“I never thought a little boy from the East End would get a chance to represent my country,” he said. “I am proud, privileged and overwhelmed by how many times I have done it. When I retire I will look back and think I achieved something.”

A friend once told me “never go back to a lit firework”, and I have since found it to be one of football’s truest mantras. Graham Taylor at Villa, Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool and Kevin Keegan at Newcastle have proved that returning to the scenes of past glories are usually overshadowed by clouds of the past – so the fact that Billy Davies is favourite to be confirmed the new manager of Nottingham Forest should be regarded with caution by fans.

The man who took the midlanders to the brink of the Premier League three years ago is set to return to the club which saw Alex Mcleish walked out on two days ago. Mcleish was reportedly frustrated at the club’s lack of spending in the January transfer window, which famously saw the club’s Kuwaiti regime pull the plug on the transfer of George Boyd from Peterborough at the eleventh-hour on deadline day. Let’s hope for Billy’s sake he is given a little more legroom in the transfer market this summer.

The Guardian has reported this morning that Newcastle’s wonderful little playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa may make a move to join Brendan Rodgers’ wonderful little Liverpool team this summer – a perfect fit, you’d think, especially when there’s talk of black-and-white-blooded Andy Carroll moving in the opposite direction.

The Frenchman’s future at Newcastle has been in doubt for some time, and Newcastle could be tempted if it meant them getting some extra muscle in for their forward-line. Carroll is currently on loan at West Ham, who have the option to sign him permanently in the summer. But Carroll may be tempted to return to the site of his former glories – what was that about lit fireworks again?

Such a move would leave West Ham seeking a striker (unless Big Sam would be content with Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole as his striking options (we’ll leave you to decide on that one)), and Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony looks to be topping Allardyce’s list.

The Sun reports today that the Ivorian, who has banged in 16 goals in the Eredivisie this season, would cost around £12 million (phew!), which would be a considerably smaller fee than Andy Carroll, who would reportedly set the Eastenders back a cool £17 million (y’what!).

How can such an exciting young footballer generate such boring transfer gossip copy?

Neymar is in England with the Brazil squad, and he’s clearly not doing as he is asked by the papers, and seems to be a man of his word when he tells people he will not leave Brazil until after the 2014 World Cup.

This has left the nation’s press scavenging for scraps when it comes to possible transfer destinations for the Brazilian, with the Daily Star claiming that he will go to Chelsea after the tournament – because his agent has strong links with the club.

Stoke seem to have a remarkably gloomy take on the future of star-goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

After signing young England ‘keeper Jack Butland on deadline day, and the increasing interest from big clubs in Begovic, The Potters seem to have all-but-accepted the inevitable departure of the Serbian, and Begovic himself has now conceded his time at Stoke could soon be coming to an end.

He told Football 365: “I believe that Stoke didn’t buy Butland to be a reserve so I think I’m going to be sold in the summer.

“To whom? I can’t move to a smaller club and I also know that some top clubs are interested in me. They are also the only ones who can afford the fee.”

Not one for self-depreciation, eh Asmir?

Manchester City were quiet this January. A little too quiet.

And if noises in Naples are to be believed, this could be due to the Mancs’ plans to pummel the current British transfer record by splashing out £55 million on striker Edinson Cavani this summer – that’s more like it!

According to Sky Sports, Manchester City coach Angelo Gregucci told a Neopolitan: “Edinson is scoring a huge number of goals this season, and it will be difficult for City to take him. The 10 biggest clubs in Europe all have Cavani in their sights.”

Leeds United have sold out their allocation of tickets for their FA Cup clash at Manchester City.

A statement on the club’s website said: “The club’s allocation of 6,100 tickets for the FA Cup fifth round trip to Manchester City has now sold out.

“The 500 remaining tickets for fans who had attended two away games, which went on sale on Wednesday morning, sold out in just five minutes.”

 

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