Naughton extends Spurs stay

17 August 2012 21:01

Tottenham Hotspur full-back Kyle Naughton has signed a new contract, keeping him at the club until 2016.

The former England under-21 international enjoyed a successful loan spell last season at Norwich City, where he made 32 appearances.

Naughton has also spent time at Middlesbrough and Leicester.

While at Leicester in 2010/11, he was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

The right-back joined Tottenham in 2009 from Sheffield United, along with Kyle Walker, who he will now compete with for a first-team spot at White Hart Lane.

The 23-year-old is yet to start an English Premier League game for Spurs and has only made four appearances for the north London club in all competitions.

Makelele welcomes improving Ligue 1

17 August 2012 20:47

Paris Saint-Germain assistant Claude Makelele believes foreign players are helping Ligue 1 improve in quality.

The former Marseille midfielder, who also earned 71 caps for France, feels the gap is closing between Ligue 1 and the likes of La Liga and the English Premier League.

“For a time it (Ligue 1) was at the same level as Spain or England,” Makelele told the Ligue 1 website.

“The level dropped a little bit because a lot of players, the best French players, moved to another country like Spain or England. I think now it’s different.

“The big players are coming back to the country and that’s making the level stronger.

“The way I am seeing it now, the big players are coming now and joining Ligue 1. We have a good example in Paris Saint-Germain.

“We have a lot of good players. I think the level is moving in a good way for the fans. I think it’s been a long time since Ligue 1 has been such a hard competition. I think it’s good for the French league.”

The 39-year-old went on to praise the ambition of PSG as the club look to establish themselves as a major force in Europe.

“The club have a lot of ambition,” Makelele said.

“They want to reach the level of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea. I think the club is doing it in a good way. The coach (Carlo) Ancelotti has experience, he has won a lot of things.

“I think the experience he has of big competitions like the Champions League is a huge opportunity for Paris Saint-Germain. The objective for the club is to become like Manchester United and Real Madrid.”

Buffon eyes Champions League success

17 August 2012 20:30

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon insists the Serie A champions are looking to win the Champions League on their return to the competition.

The Turin-based club went unbeaten in the league last season, but their preparations for the new season have been hit by their coach Antonio Conte’s 10-month suspension following his role in the Scommessopoli match-fixing scandal.

Despite the setback, Buffon believes the club is prepared to challenge on all fronts this season.

“When you play for a side like Juve you have the ambition and aspirations to try to win everything,” the 34-year-old told reporters.

He admitted it had been the team’s desire to earn a place in the Champions League last season and that after winning the Scudetto they had earned the right to play in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

“It’s the right reward for a side who last season achieved something great,” Buffon said.

“It is normal that the fans dream of success, just as much as it is normal for players and staff to remain grounded.

“(However), it’s a different environment with respect to last year, there’s more positivity and belief around the place now.”

Juventus start their Serie A campaign against Parma on August 25.

Sanchez backs Hernandez

17 August 2012 20:24

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has a future at the club, according to Mexico and Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez.

After the arrival of former Arsenal forward Robin van Persie, United now have an embarrassment of riches up front and the 24-year-old faces some stiff competition from the likes of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, while Dimitar Berbatov is still at the club.

Nevertheless, Sanchez believes that as long as the club continue to trust the former Chivas Guadalajara man, he still has a part to play at Old Trafford.

“They must have patience with him, he’s a great player,” the former Madrid man told reporters.

“Javier has a lot of quality that he will keep showing, what he needs is continuity because when he was given that before he was effective.

“He needs to be calm and have confidence in his ability because when there is more competition the pressure can rise.”

Hughes in talks to loan out Barton

17 August 2012 19:57

Former Queens Park Rangers captain Joey Barton looks set to go out on loan following talks with manager Mark Hughes.

Barton will be suspended for the first 12 games of the season after his red card and violent behaviour in the final match of last season against Manchester City in May.

He has spent part of pre-season at League Two club Fleetwood Town and was this week stripped of his squad number at Loftus Road.

Reports have surfaced about a possible move to Marseille, but Hughes said there has only been initial contact with the Ligue 1 club.

“There has been interest shown by Marseille but there has been no offer made,” he said.

“There has been a few e-mails sent back and forth but nothing concrete yet.

“We hope there might be an opportunity for him to go to another club on loan but that has not developed as yet but may well do in the next few days.”

Hughes was also asked about the possibility of bringing in defender Jose Bosingwa on a free transfer following his release by Chelsea.

“We’re having discussions with him and his advisors,” he said.

“We think we’re very close to bringing him in.”

Reports emerged late Friday indicating the Portuguese fullback had signed a three-year deal with the club.