It’s been an arduous season so far for Manchester United, despite the club sitting in third position, just one point off top spot.Louis van Gaal’s side have come under fire from their own supporters for their unexciting displays, even though their defensive solidity has been the platform for their title tilt so far.With supporters growing weary, the Dutchman could well use the upcoming transfer window to bolster his ranks and inject more pace and invention into his side.But which superstars are being linked with moves to Theatre of Dreams? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the yellow arrow above, right, to find out the latest Manchester United transfer rumours… Manchester United are reportedly targeting Basel starlet Breel Embolo – Click the arrow above, right, for more Red Devils transfer news… – As Louis van Gaals overhaul of the Manchester United forward line continues he could be set to sign another teen sensation. Chief scout Peter Braund watched 18-year-old striker Embolo when Basel took on Fiorentina in the Europa League last week, hinting a move could be considered as the Old Trafford manager looks to add goals to his team. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – Find out which Brazil star could move to Old Trafford next… – This is a transfer saga which looks set to rumble on until his next move actually occurs, but with Ronaldo reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye with manager Rafa Benitez, he is possibly closer to leaving the club than on previous occasions. Hell cost a huge sum of money if a deal is to happen but he could well turn down huge wages from Paris Saint-Germain to make an Old Trafford return happen. 5 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – Find out which Premier League flop could be handed a chance by Manchester United next… – Whatever happens in the coming weeks, the Red Devils seem set to land another marquee player in either January or the summer. Having been linked with Bale ever since his days at Southampton, its understandable the Welshman on their shopping list and with injuries and poor form hampering his time in La Liga, he could be open to a Premier League return if Man United stump up £80m. 5 Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain) – Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has already identified the type of player he wants in January. Pacy widemen with tricks up their sleeves appear to be the men in his sights, so its understandable Lucas Moura is on his radar. Sir Alex Ferguson previously missed out on the Brazilian, but he could now move to Old Trafford as the Red Devils are again in the frame for his signature, although it seems the player himself is keen on staying in Paris. Borja Valero (Fiorentina) – Click the right arrow for the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo’s future… – The Spanish international wasnt exactly a hit during his time with West Brom between 2008 and 2011, but hes been one of Fiorentinas key men since 2012 and been named in the Europa Leagues squad of the season in the last two campaigns. Valero’s playmaking could add some much needed creativity and craft in the Man United midfield with their scouts keeping an eye on him, according to Swiss newspaper Blick. 5 5 5
Newcastle could make a January swoop for former Premier League flop Adel Taarabt.The controversial winger has yet to feature for Benfica since joining them from QPR on a five-year deal last summer and now could be on his way back to England.According to O Jogo, Benfica are keen to get Taarabt off their wage bill in January and Newcastle have expressed an interest in the 26-year-old.The Magpies are also enduring a torrid season and are desperate to add attacking reinforcements to avoid relegation from the Premier League. 1 Former QPR attacker Adel Taarabt
Manchester United should reward Louis van Gaal by respecting the remainder of the Dutchman’s three-year contract.That’s the verdict of former Red Devils goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, who feels the under-fire boss deserves the opportunity to see out the rest of his deal despite some uninspiring performances this season.United face a make-or-break showdown with Wolfsburg tonight in the Champions League knowing that if results go against them they could make a premature exit from the competition.But, while Bosnich understands the pressure will ramp up if they fail to qualify, the Australian hopes his former club stand by their man regardless of the outcome.“I don’t think if they go out tonight everyone will turn on him but it will increase the pressure to do well in the two remaining competitions,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“But they are moving in the right direction and they should stick by him. He originally signed a three-year contract – they should give him that time and stick by it.“We saw the same kind of pressure on Sir Alex Ferguson in his early years and look how that eventually turned out.”Bosnich also regards United as genuine Premier League title contenders due to the unpredictability of the top flight so far this season.He added: “They are capable of winning the league looking at what’s going on with the other sides.”United may have scored just six goals in the month of November and drew another blank against West Ham at the weekend, but they sit just three points off surprise pace-setters Leicester ahead of the busy Christmas schedule.You can listen to Wolfsburg v Manchester United in the Champions League live on talkSPORT from 7.45pm BST tonight.
QPR have appointed former manager Chris Ramsey as technical director. The 53-year-old was sacked by the club in November, being replaced by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, but has returned to Loftus Road.Ramsey was in charge of Rangers between February and November last year, winning nine of his 32 games as they were relegated from the Barclays Premier League last season.And director of football Les Ferdinand revealed Ramsey had a clause in his contract which paved the way for his comeback.“Whilst we were disappointed things didn’t work out with Chris at first team level earlier in the season, we were determined to retain his services at QPR,” Ferdinand told the club’s official site.“As such, we actually put a clause in his contract which allowed us to retain Chris’s services in a player-development role should things not work out for him as head coach.“Chris knows academy football inside-out and having put the building blocks in place for a lot of the good restructuring work that’s been done here over the past 11 months, he can come in and make an instant impact in an environment he has helped build.”Ramsey will oversee coaching and coach education within the club’s academy and be responsible for developing and implementing player development strategies.He will also oversee the integration between the academy, development squad and first team, as well as focusing on the monitoring and reporting of players on loan to other clubs.Rangers are 16th in the Sky Bet Championship with Ramsey’s replacement Hasselbaink yet to win in six games in charge. 1 Chris Ramsey
Mark Hughes The unpredictable nature of this year’s Barclays Premier League means Mark Hughes is adjusting Stoke’s targets this season, with a top-four finish now not out of the question.Hughes’ side face league leaders Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday currently occupying seventh spot and they are only four points off Tottenham, who sit in the final qualifying berth for a place in next year’s Champions League.With Leicester, West Ham and Crystal Palace all also in touching distance of one of those four spots, England could be represented by a surprise team in Europe’s premier competition next season.And while such a feat seemed improbable before the start of the campaign, Hughes is beginning to think a historic season might be possible for Stoke.“It wasn’t what we were aiming for at the beginning of the season but, as the season progresses and the league takes shape, your realistic targets change,” the Welshman said when asked if a top-four finish was achievable.“It’s fair to say we’ve changed our targets in terms of what we think we can achieve this year. I’m not necessarily saying we’re going for the Champions League at all, but you never know? It’s one of those seasons. We could get to a point in March, April where we’re very much in the mix and we’ll have a go.“For our part, we’re really pleased where we find ourselves at the moment, it’s higher than we anticipated before the beginning of the season.“At the end of the season we hope we can look back and pat ourselves on the back by virtue of the fact we’ve beaten our previous total over the last two seasons. If we do that, it’s fair to say we’re progressing.”The Potters are yet to wade into the January transfer window and Hughes is happy with the strength of a squad that is still competing in both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.That is why if he does make an acquisition to bolster a Champions League charge this month, it will likely be a marquee name to rival the likes of previous recruits Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri.“I think it’s fair to say that,” Hughes noted.“The squad is strong, we’ve proved over the last couple of years that the depth that we have should be able to maintain us. It certainly did last year and it’s looking like it will again this year.“If we’re going to improve then we need to get those players that can make a difference. It’s key players who can make a difference, those are the ones we’re looking for.”Switzerland international Shaqiri will not face Arsene Wenger’s Gunners after suffering a hamstring injury while Geoff Cameron is highly unlikely to return because of an ankle problem. 1
Dietmar Hamann has hailed the return of Daniel Sturridge to the Liverpool team, telling talkSPORT: ‘The guy is dynamite!’Injury-hit Sturridge made his first start under Jurgen Klopp against Aston Villa on Sunday and helped inspire a stunning 6-0 rout.Hamann is now hoping Sturridge stays fit for the remainder of the campaign, as he claims the England hitman’s presence brings out the best in his teammates.Speaking on the Colin Murray show, the former Anfield star said: “Liverpool have their problems, but they’ve got Sturridge back now and they looked very good on Sunday, although that was against a very poor Aston Villa side.“There’s a bit of a new dawn at the club at the moment. Everybody’s buzzing and there’s only a couple of weeks to the League Cup final.“Everyone is hoping for a good end to the season. Hopefully Sturridge stays fit, because it’s a completely different team when he plays.“The guy is dynamite and when he does play he makes a difference. Everyone else seems to play better.” Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring for Liverpool 1
WASHINGTON – Raging blazes throughout California are sparking a political firestorm in Washington, where House Republicans are trying to douse a vote on children’s health insurance. Seven California GOP lawmakers are in the state today, touring wildfire damage and working to help evacuated constituents. And they are blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding a contentious vote in their absence that would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. “The Democratic leadership is once again showing that they only care about scoring political points,” said Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands. “They are showing a blatant disregard for the people we are elected to represent and are trying to help.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Republicans made several attempts this morning to block the bill from going forward, forcing three procedural votes that would have sent lawmakers home for the week. All three attempts failed. In addition to Lewis, six other California Republicans are in their districts today, including Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks and Ken Calvert, R-Riverside. Pelosi and other Democrat leaders argued that the absence of seven Californians will not change the outcome of the vote. They also noted that critical votes were held in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina even though several lawmakers flew home to address the disaster and were unable to participate. “We all understand how important it is for members to be home with their constituents. But that doesn’t’ mean that we don’t continue with the work of government,” Pelosi said. She contended that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supports expanding the children’s health insurance program, personally urged her to go forward. In a phone call about the fires, she said, Schwarzenegger asked her “How are we doing on SCHIP?”
At sunrise on Wednesday morning I was driving the various Palos Verdes Drives to Marymount College, where a bunch of wonderfully deluded chamber of commerce people were waiting for me to be funny over breakfast. This was a mass meeting of the San Pedro and Palos Verdes Peninsula chambers and they were all newspaper readers, smart people who politely laughed at all the dumb places in my talk. There was a time in my cynical young life when I didn’t think much of groups like this. Then I realized that cynicism doesn’t provide a community backbone, it doesn’t raise money as this group did for Cheer For Children, and it doesn’t make things work like these people make things work. All in all, it was a gift of a day that started with the kind of clear bluish dawn that you see on early-morning air approaches into places like Dublin and Reykjavik. From Palos Verdes Drive West, sky and sea merged in a light offshore flow destined to reverse itself, with Thursday night rain taking us from deadly dry to deadly wet. It was that kind of sea, epic as a Winslow Homer painting – a sea vast, killing and irresistible. I parked in the crowded lot at Paseo del Mar, where towel-wrapped men and women wriggled expertly in and out of wet suits. There, high above the point break at a spot called Haggerty’s, 60 surfers – straddling boards – bobbed like seals in 10- to 12-foot waves. This after navigating an eroded 100-foot cliff-face barefooted, bloodied often, with board under arm. Having grown up in Florida, beside a sea still as a swimming pool, I have been from my first days here taken with what may well be the most difficult and demanding sport ever, an eccentric, special-case activity for people who have the right mix of audacity, balance, grace, stamina and stupidity. That and the desire to enter a cold sea early on a Wednesday morning, forsaking all other responsibilities, for a sport absolutely dependent on the whims of nature. There is, of course, a surfer stereotype. You know, the dim bulb, the terminally hung-loose. And while they certainly exist, most of the surfers I’ve met over the years were anything but that. In fact, they were everything and everyone but, as several surfers reminded me on this morning, you still don’t want to penetrate the jealously guarded waves on the other side of that break. USC architecture student Ryan Fischvogt (a pretty good name for a surfer, I thought) had just come up the cliff and was still looking out to sea when he described for me his three hours in the surf. “They weren’t super powerful, not overpowering. They were just beautiful,” he said, tired, awed, satisfied and standing only feet from people trying to capture with cameras that which can only be felt and experienced. Being a West Coast guy, he wasn’t nearly as impressed as classmate and fellow surfer Nathan Doctor, who told me, “I’m from New York. We got nothing like this.” Actually, we don’t either. Not all the time. But every few years or so we do. And sometimes it’s terrifying, like the single day in January 1988 when I watched waves nearly demolish King Harbor. At those times our fleeting grip on this storied coast is made clear. It’s ours only on loan. Mostly, the vastness and power of an onrushing sea humbles us as it makes nonsense of our sand berms, homes and seemingly substantial piers. Christiana Boerger, a 28-year-old marine biologist from San Pedro, has just navigated the cliff trail with surfing pal Danica Holt, a longshore worker. Even sand-covered and water-soaked, the wet-suited pair were the very images of California women. They are fit, smart, funny and they have great smiles. During nearly three hours in the water they took about six rides each and were elated. “You get noodle-arms and claw-hands after paddling for that long,” Boerger joked. “But the waves had awesome size and shape. That plus the sun’s out, the air is warm and, best of all, when you go through a wave, when you’re on its far side, the offshore wind blows a spray over you like rain. It’s amazing. Just amazing.” And it was, for all those nonsurfers just standing and watching, for me, for everyone with a beating heart and eyes to see, it was just that, amazing. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at email@example.com or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThis reminds me of the old Bob Hope joke: “Only in California do you have fire, flood, rain, snow, high winds and earthquakes and all on the same day.” After the breakfast I drove back to the paper via Portuguese Bend just because I love the view from the sheltered side of the Peninsula and because I enjoy the road sign that warns of constantly moving ground. There’s something magical and truly terrible in that great swath of earth that started moving back in 1956 for reasons mostly man-made. And it’s still sliding across its slick Bentonite base toward an intractable sea. But what I was looking for lay just beyond that, where the high cliffs face into the rare big swells that were on this day pounding the entire California coast. Suddenly there were people standing in every turn-out, at every spot where there was a view of the huge waves that slipped around normally sheltering Point Conception and between the Channel Islands, coming at us from a storm in the Pacific Northwest. Along the way these wind-generated monsters kept boats in port and killed an experienced big-wave surfer at Ghost Trees near Monterey.
THE Donegal Post – part of the Letterkenny-based River Media newspaper group – has been withdrawn from an industry watchdog which monitors the circulation figures of newspapers.The paper, which circulates in parts of the south of the county, is published on Wednesdays.River Media have not made any comment on the move which comes after rapidly deteriorating sales at the struggling title. It means the company cannot provide potential advertisers with an independently audited circulation figure provided by ABC – the Audit Bureau of Circulation.Latest ABC figures showed the Donegal Democrat Thursday edition figures down 6.6% year-on-year while the Tuesday Democrat/Peoples Press was down -4.5%.The Derry People/Donegal News Friday edition was down 0-2% year-on-year. The Monday paper has added an extra 150 copies in the same period.The Derry Journal Friday edition was down -1.9% on the year while the Tuesday edition was down -3.8%. The Derry-based titles are amongst the best performing in Ireland. River Media does have its Inish Times publication audited. It was down -2.4%. The company does not audit the freesheet Letterkenny Post.endsRIVER MEDIA TITLE WITHDRAWS FROM INDEPENDENT AUDIT was last modified: March 29th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Derry PeopleDonegal DemocratDonegal NewsDonegal PostInish TimesLetterkenny PostRiver Media
5 Roberto Firmino – Like his countryman Coutinho, Firminos skills and finishing would make him a great striker. 5 5 5 Emre Can – Can is powerful and an adept defender as well as possessing a fierce long shot, a good option for defence. 5 Jurgen Klopp is still trying to get the best out of his Liverpool team the Premier League this season, but how would they fare in a five-a-side league?As all amateur footballers will testify to, the five-man game is a completely different animal to it’s 11-a-side big brother.Long balls become useless, the big man who is good in the air is redundant (sorry Christian Benteke) and the strong-tackling hard-man is pinged every time he risks his knees sliding on the astro-turf.So who would make your team’s five-a-side from the current crop of players? talkSPORT look at who would be the likely line-ups.Click the arrow above, right, to see the Liverpool five a-side team.Agree with talkSPORT’s selections? Let us know who you would pick in the comments section below!TOTTENHAM’S FIVE-A-SIDE TEAMARSENAL’S FIVE-A-SIDE TEAMMAN CITY’S FIVE-A-SIDE TEAMMAN UNITED’S FIVE-A-SIDE TEAMCHELSEA’S FIVE-A-SIDE TEAM Nathaniel Clyne (goalie rush) – Click the arrow, right, to see the rest of Liverpool’s five-a-side team – Strictly speaking, you cannot have rush goalie in five-a-side, but weve made an exception for Liverpool, given the goalkeeper alternative. Joe Allen – Controversial perhaps, but Allen has an engine and is a decent passer of the ball which are two key components in five-a-side. Philippe Coutinho – Coutinho is full of tricks and flicks and would be able to squeeze out of any small space with the ball intact.