Another struggling club having a go with Joe.
Sam Allardyce's watch with Joe Cole has ended and the former England international was released by West Ham for a move to the MLS or somewhere suitably retirement friendly for quality players on the wane in their thirties. However, Paul Lambert is on a mission to rescue the unwanted and recently followed up the signing of Philippe Senderos with the acquisition of Joe Cole. Two freebies with tons of Premier League experience with big and middling clubs? Here's a two-year deal for the pair.
It's good to see Aston Villa attack the transfer window with conviction and ambition that will surely inspire confidence among the supporters of the former European Cup winners.
Sparky takes on Sid.
Steve Sidwell may be turning 32 in December but he's a good Premier League midfielder who shouldn't be earning his crust in the Championship. He may be a bit of a bread and water midfielder but if Fulham had a bit more bread and water approach to running the club and performing on the field there wouldn't have been an unexpected relegation. Sidwell scored 7 league goals and registered 2 assists in 38 appearances, where he started all but two of those games. Interestingly, his main work in midfield was to intercept the ball, tackle, disrupt opponents' attacks through persistent fouling, clear the ball, and generally pass the ball accurately.
Mark Hughes is building a solid side at Stoke City and it seems fitting that Hughes takes on Sidwell, especially considering the player is available on a free transfer. This is a good bit of business and it is one that adds to the midfield options at Stoke for the next two years at least.
Going and never coming back?
Roll up, roll up! All ye with sizeable transfer coffers in need of a quality striker on offer, look no further than this impressive possibility to solve your striking woes. Mario Mandžukić will leave Bayern Munich this summer and will most likely never, ever go back. The source is reliable as it is the man himself who announced his own availability before his nation takes on the hosts Brazil in the World Cup's opening game. The Croatian international's words left little to be interpreted, he's off once a suitable bid and buyer arrives.
Bayern is a fantastic club, and indeed it was not until recently that I thought about going - I never thought it would happen like this, but let's be honest - I do not correspond with the style of game that Guardiola wants to play. After the first game with Real Madrid [in the Champions League semi-finals] I definitely realised that no matter what happened I could not be at my best. Because of this, I think it is best that we part company. I thank the club for offering me a contract extension, and I thank Guardiola who is a great coach and I wish everyone at the club well in future, their fans have always been beautiful with me - but now it's time for a new challenge.
He's a very good striker who will be a reliable goalscorer elsewhere but he isn't a false nine nor is he Robert Lewandowski. Keep those eyes peeled people because this transfer is happening at some stage this summer.
Four more years of Monster Masch.
Barcelona have tied down former Liverpool midfielder, Javier Mascherano, to 2018. The Argentina midfielder is part of his nation's World Cup squad and is looking forward to a successful tournament in the belly of their great rivals. He can fight on the field as he always does in the knowledge that his future at Barcelona is secure after he signed a new deal to end speculation over his future.
There are players who will not survive Luís Enrique's squad pruning this summer but Mascherano will be part of the inaugural season of the Enrique era. Cesc Fàbregas is on the verge of a move to Chelsea if reports are to be believed and Alex Song Billong is another likely midfield departure. Now that Mascherano's future with Barcelona is confirmed, will he be back in midfield or continue in defence?
Super Pippo over Clarence Clyde.
From one AC Milan legend to another as Clarence Seedorf was sacked after a few blinks of an eye only to be replaced by his former team-mate, Filippo Inzaghi. This was something that was in the works virtually weeks after Seedorf was appointed. The club statement was typically terse but Silvio Berlusconi dropped the biggest hint last week that Seedorf was more done than that toast that was burnt because you like to put the toaster settings on maximum because you have no patience for things like time and waiting for 90 seconds.
We'll see at the next board meeting what solution we find for Clarence Seedorf but that's enough talking about the past, we are looking to the future.
That was pleasant even if it was coming for quite some time. Will Inzaghi be the one to revive AC Milan's fortunes and take an average squad, unlikely to see significant investment with a number of better organised sides above them in the league that are managed by competent managers who are trusted by those running the club, back to the Champions League? What of Clarence Seedorf? Will he take this coaching excursion that was a few days short of five months further elsewhere or rescind his decision to retire so that he can play somewhere hot and sunny?