Chilean youngster to sign with United

18 August 2012 01:45

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

The 18-year-old will complete the move before the end of August, after reportedly completing 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 games league games, while he has also been prolific for Chile at Under-20 level.

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

“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 the imminent move 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.

Uchida pens new Schalke deal

18 August 2012 01:38

Schalke have extended the contract of Japanese international Atsuto Uchida until the summer of 2015.

The former Kashima Antlers player has been a consistent performer in Huub Stevens’ side, making 26 appearances last season as Schalke achieved a respectable third-place finish in the Bundesliga.

General manager Horst Heldt was thrilled that the right-back had committed to a new deal, praising Uchida’s passion for the game.

“Atsuto loves playing the game,” he said. “We’re delighted he’s signed a new deal because he’s a very dependable player who identifies 100 percent with FC Schalke 04.”

Uchida is not the only player to have renewed his contract at the club.

Talented goalkeeper Lars Unnerstal also pledged his future to the club after breaking into the first-team last season.

Uchida has made 50 appearances for his country and is set to be included in his team’s trip to FC Saarbrucken in the first round of the DFB Pokal on Sunday.

Pardew seeks to unravel Tottenham mystery

18 August 2012 01:30

Alan Pardew admits that he does not know what to expect when his Newcastle United side face Tottenham on Saturday.

It has been a summer of upheaval at White Hart Lane, with manager Harry Redknapp being replaced by Andre Villas-Boas and Luka Modric’s protracted move to Real Madrid reportedly stalling the expected arrival of striker Emmanuel Adebayor back to the club on a permanent basis.

Newcastle suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat last time they faced Tottenham, and Pardew, despite believing the side are ‘slightly different’ this time around, has lamented the ‘mystery’ when it comes to pre-match preparations.

“They are a little bit different to last year because their style is slightly different, and obviously in terms of the personnel,” Pardew said.

“It is a bit of a mystery really what the team is going to be, so we are kind of guessing what we think it is and we’ll work towards that.

“But I still think they will have a good season – they have great players and a great manager. It is a tough game for us.”

Villas-Boas was brought in as Redknapp’s replacement at the beginning of July, despite a torrid time at Chelsea before his sacking in February.

And Pardew has backed the former Porto boss to recreate his success from Portugal and guide Tottenham to a strong season.

“I think he will do well because he is a great manager,” Pardew said.

“I think this time around, he’ll prove a lot of people wrong and I hope so as well, because I think he’s a really top guy and has great plans there.

“Put those things together, and they should have a real strong season.”

Newcastle enjoyed a strong campaign last term as they were in the hunt for a Champions League place on the final day – in the end settling for a spot in the Europa League.

And though the boss has admitted that the added pressures of European football could have an adverse effect, he is very much keen to improve on their fifth-placed finish last season.

“It is going to very much be about how we progress in the Europa League – we still have to qualify, so we’ll get through those two games and then we’ll have to look at the matches and how we are going to schedule them,” Pardew said.

“Without a doubt, I can tell you now that the Premier League is going to come first for sure, and we want to try to push from where we were last year, push those Champions League teams.

“We were the closest to them and we are going to try to narrow that gap if we can.”

Alves: Barcelona still the team to beat

18 August 2012 01:21

Barcelona defender Dani Alves is determined to prove that Barcelona are still the greatest team in world football.

The Brazilian is not fazed by last season’s disappointments and is keen to remind people that Barcelona remain the current world champions, having won the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan last year.

“We’re still the team to beat because we’re the best team in the world,” he told the club’s official website.

“We’re the ones that have the logo on our shirts that distinguishes us as world champions.”

Last season saw the La Liga title slip from Barcelona’s grasp to their arch-rivals Real Madrid, but Alves has warned Los Blancos he is hungrier than ever for domestic success.

“I’m as eager as ever. If we lost the last Liga title it’s because we weren’t as good as the team that finished first. There are no excuses in this club, we have to improve.

“It’s all the same to me if we’re defending a title or trying to win it. I’m comfortable knowing that the team is competitive, that we have the capacity to fight for all of the titles.”

The attacking right-back, who has represented Brazil on 55 occasions, is also confident that Barcelona will get off to a good start under the guidance of new manager Tito Vilanova.

“Pep left us in good hands. There will be continuity to his work. I’m sure that the athletic project will be reinvigorated and that the players will be eager to do important things,” he said.

Alves believes that Barcelona will challenge for honours on all fronts and that he has faith in the ability of his team-mates.

“The team is ready and starting off on the right foot gives you more confidence for the rest of the season. It’s difficult to find the right balance if you start with doubts,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if we have a lot of players on the roster. Every player must bring something to the team, that’s the important thing. That’s why we’re calm and ready for the season to start.”

Vilanova’s title charge begins at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday evening before their Spanish Super Cup showdown with Real Madrid on Thursday.

Premier League preview: Everton v Manchester United

18 August 2012 00:55

Manchester United begin the 2012/13 English Premier League season with a revenge mission away to Everton on Monday.

A dramatic 4-4 draw at home to Everton on April 22 was a major blow to United’s title challenge, as rivals Manchester City ultimately claimed the championship on goal difference.

United have added Japanese attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and teenager Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra over the close-season transfer window.

Kagawa scored the match winner in United’s 4-3 friendly win over German club Hannover on August 11.

In the same match United star Wayne Rooney continued an encouraging pre-season with a two-goal performance, converting both a free kick and penalty attempt.

The game showed off a new-look attacking combination for the 2012/13 season, with Rooney playing a deeper role beside Kagawa and Tom Cleverley.

Cleverley participated in the London Olympics for Great Britain and has said the experience will benefit him for the forthcoming season.

For Everton, Steven Naismith and Steven Pienaar have been brought in by manager David Moyes.

Pienaar returns to Everton after playing for the club from 2008 until 2011, returning on loan from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, before sealing a permanent transfer back to Goodison Park.

Naismith’s addition to the side has already proved fruitful, with the former Glasgow Rangers striker scoring a hat-trick against AEK Athens in a friendly on August 8.

Yet perhaps more significant were the players which left Everton over the close season.

Long-time servant Tim Cahill and promising midfielder Jack Rodwell have both left, with Cahill moving to the New York Red Bulls and Rodwell signed by Manchester City.

In their absence, Everton will look to Croatia international Nikica Jelavic to shine.

The striker netted 11 goals in 13 league starts following a January move from Rangers last season.