Keegan encourages Carroll stay

18 August 2012 10:04

Former Liverpool player Kevin Keegan said Brendan Rodgers would be best served keeping hold of Andy Carroll this season.

The 23-year-old has struggled for the most part with both form and fitness during his 18-month spell on Merseyside so far, but Keegan is just as worried about the potential knock-on effect it could have on Newcastle if the player were to rejoin the club.

“If you sign Andy Carroll for Newcastle, then what happens to Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba?” Keegan told Goal.com.

“For Liverpool, replacing Andy Carroll, what other forwards have they got? (Luis) Suarez is not really a center forward and I think they’ve got to be careful there.”

Carroll isn’t the only big-name player to have been linked with a move away from Merseyside this summer, and center back Daniel Agger has been the subject of strong interest from league champion Manchester City.

Keegan, however, has stressed the importance of holding on to your best players and believes the club should keep hold of the Danish international.

“I do, not only because he’s a very good player and his partnership with (Martin) Skrtel is very good, but if you sold him, who do you replace him?” Keegan explained.

“Who else are you going to find that knows the league as well as Agger and who consistently performs like Agger does?

“The answer is that it’s not going to be easy. You don’t want to sell your best players, you want to try and improve by keeping your best players and selling on the ones that you don’t want. Well, when you look at the players that they’ve got there, they need to improve by playing together more.

“They’ve got (Pepe) Reina, although he had a poor season last year, is a world-class goalkeeper and you’ve got Agger and Skrtel, then you’ve got (Steven) Gerrard and Suarez – there’s five players that you can build a team around.”

Abate confident in Milan´s prospects

18 August 2012 10:10

Ignazio Abate is confident AC Milan can do well in the upcoming campaign, and is eagerly anticipating their Serie A opener against Sampdoria.

Milan are currently preparing for Sunday’s friendly against last season’s Serie A champions Juventus, and although they sold players such as Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the off-season, Abate feels they can go a long way in 2012/13 as long as they keep working hard.

“I am very optimistic for the season to come because I have seen how much we have been helping each other – something that should never be underestimated. We must keep on working united for 95 minutes in every match,” Abate told the club’s website.

“We are still putting in a lot of hard work. Now we have the Juventus match to look forward to, then the season gets underway with Sampdoria, a tough customer who have bolstered their squad with a great forward like Maxi Lopez.”

Espanyol sign Simao

18 August 2012 10:02

Espanyol have announced they have completed the signing of Simao Sabrosa on a free transfer.

The former Portugal attacker recently terminated his contract with Besiktas, and has now inked a two-year deal with the Catalan outfit.

Simao, 32, came through the ranks of the Sporting Lisbon youth academy, and also wore the jerseys of Barcelona, Benfica and Atletico Madrid before joining Besiktas in January 2011.

He won the Turkish Cup in his first season at the Istanbul giants, but has now returned to the Catalan capital again after 18-months in Turkey.

Espanyol have also secured the services of Sergio Tejera, Wakaso, Joan Capdevila and Diego Colotto.

Montanier anticipates Barca battle

18 August 2012 09:53

Real Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier is looking forward to their season-opening date with Barcelona in La Liga.

Real were beaten 2-1 in last season’s away match versus the Catalans, and Montanier expects another difficult encounter at the weekend as the La Liga season kicks off.

“I expect Barcelona to dominate the game and have more possession because of all the individual quality they have and the great team they are,” Montanier said.

“However, it is only one game and everything can happen. We will do whatever we can to get a positive result. We aim to put in a good performance and hope to take our chances.

“It won’t be easy, though, as it is Tito Vilanova’s first game in charge. Barcelona will be fired up to do well.”

United set to sign Henriquez

18 August 2012 09:03

Universidad de Chile striker Angelo Henriquez is set to join Manchester United, the Chilean club has confirmed.

The 18-year-old will complete the move before the end of August, after undergoing a medical earlier this week, to become the first Chilean ever to play for the club.

Henriquez is one of the most sought-after players in South American football having notched up an impressive 10 goals in 15 league games, while he has also been prolific for Chile at Under-20 level.

“Angelo Henriquez will join Manchester United this month,” a Universidad de Chile statement read.

“The player is physically and mentally prepared to take this determining step in his career.”

President Jose Yuraszcek added: “Manchester United’s representatives told us that it was fundamental for them to take him now.”

Henriquez, who made his debut for the club earlier in the year, confirmed the move earlier in the week, describing it as ‘a dream’.

“I am coming to stay at Manchester United and I’m going to play to obtain that objective,” Henriquez told La Tercera.

“They are giving me this opportunity and I can’t let it go, it is something that I have searched for my whole life. It’s a dream I have always had and I can’t afford to not want to be here.

“Everything is spectacular here in Manchester. For me it is all a dream. Imagine it, just to be able to play and share a dressing room with people like Wayne Rooney. It’s a dream.”

Henriquez is believed to have rejected an approach from Manchester City to sign for United.