OFFICIAL: Crystal Palace sign Adebayor

The Eagles have scored only one goal – an own goal – in their last six Premier League matches but have now bolstered their attack with the arrival of the Togo striker

OFFICIAL: Crystal Palace sign Adebayor

Crystal Palace have signed free agent Emmanuel Adebayor on a six-month contract.

The Togo international was released by Tottenham in September and has been without a club since, but has now signed a deal with the Eagles until the end of the season.

Palace boss Alan Pardew has made clear his desire to sign a striker this month and the club have also been linked with the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Loic Remy and Emmanuel Emenike.

Palace’s only goal in their last six Premier League games was an own goal scored by Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen on Saturday.

Adebayor was reportedly close to joining Aston Villa in the summer but was eventually let go by Spurs having failed to find a new club, and has not played since May 3 of last year.

The former Arsenal and Real Madrid player will wear the No.25 shirt at Selhurst Park.

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‘Ranieri old, Wenger a failure’ – Mourinho mockery coming back to haunt him

The Chelsea boss has made fun of the Leicester and Arsenal managers, plus Manuel Pellegrini, but they are challenging for the title while he languishes near the foot of the table

'Ranieri old, Wenger a failure' - Mourinho mockery coming back to haunt him

Throughout his coaching career, Jose Mourinho has often had the last laugh. The most successful coach in the past decade along with Bayern Munich and former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, the Portuguese has relished putting down some of his counterparts. This season, however, it no longer seems so clever.

On Monday, Chelsea travel to Leicester for a meeting with the Premier League’s surprise package in 2015-16 – and his old foe Claudio Ranieri.

The Portuguese replaced Ranieri at Chelsea for his first spell in 2004. “It was the end of the cycle,” he said back then. But he later attacked the Italian when the two men were working in Serie A, Mourinho at Inter and Ranieri at Juventus.

“Ranieri has the mentality of someone who doesn’t need to win,” he said in 2008. “He is almost 70 years old, he has won a Supercup and another small trophy and he is too old to change his mentality. He’s old and he hasn’t won anything.”

The Italian was actually 56 at the time, while he has won a little more than Mourinho gave him credit for: a Copa del Rey and a Uefa Super Cup with Valencia, plus a Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa Italiana at Fiorentina. Nevertheless, Mou’s Inter side beat Ranieri’s Juventus to the title and he kept his reputation as a master of mind games.

Ahead of Monday’s match, however, Mourinho’s Chelsea are languishing just a point above the drop zone while the Italian’s Leicester side sit only one from the top with a game in hand. So, perhaps logically, it was a more gracious Jose who spoke on the eve of the game.

Nevertheless, there was still a hint of damning his rival with faint praise. “I think he won manager of the month,” the Portuguese said of Ranieri. “He should win manager of the half-term… the first six months.” And he couldn’t resist a barbed comment to go with it. “Last year, Ranieri was sacked by Greece for losing to the Faroe Islands,” he said. “Now, top of the league. It’s exciting.”

It’s nothing new, of course. Mourinho has often attacked Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, famously calling the Frenchman a “voyeur” in his first spell in charge of Chelsea, before labelling the Gunners boss a “specialist in failure” last year. He has also questioned how the 66-year-old has been able to stay in his job for so long.

But ahead of Leicester’s game at home to Chelsea on Monday, Arsenal are on top of the Premier League, while the question marks these days surround the future of Mourinho and not Wenger, who has put together an excellent side in north London on a much tighter budget than the Portuguese has had at any of his clubs with the exception of Porto.

And the other team looking like title contenders at the moment, Manchester City, are managed by another of Mourinho’s many adversaries: Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean coach was replaced by the Portuguese at Real Madrid and when the former later visited the Santiago Bernabeu as Malaga boss, he quipped: “If Madrid sacked me, I would go to a big team in England or Italy. I wouldn’t go to Malaga.”

It is all very well making such remarks while winning league titles and Champions Leagues, but Mourinho’s current tenure is proving much less successful, despite winning the Premier League and the Capital One Cup last season, and he may have to reassess his options if his Chelsea spell is brought to an end in the coming months.

In the Premier League, he has already had to do so and after last weekend’s shock defeat at home to promoted side Bournemouth, he said: “Our objective is to fight for the top four, but maybe now we have to think of finishing in the top six.”

It is quite a fall from grace and whatever does happen in the rest of the season, Chelsea’s current predicament means there is now little room for Mourinho’s customary smugness and arrogance.

And if Ranieri, Pellegrini or Wenger walk away with the title next May, it will be they who will have had the last laugh. For Jose, meanwhile, it’s just not funny any more.

Culled from goal.com

Gary Neville is right – Wenger’s arrogance will cost Arsenal the title

The former Manchester United defender has attacked the Gunners’ “naive or arrogant” transfer policy since their last Premier League title in 2004 – and with justification

Gary Neville is right - Wenger's arrogance will cost Arsenal the title

Arsene Wenger bristled when he was informed of Gary Neville’s stinging criticism of Arsenal’s “naive or arrogant” transfer policy in the 11 years since they last won the Premier League title.

But the Gunners manager would be better off taking Neville’s criticism on board and examining it in more detail – because the former Manchester United defender is spot on with his assessment.

Arsenal still have 35 matches to correct their shaky start to the season, but in their first three games Wenger’s side have looked miles away from winning the title.

Neville’s argument is that Wenger falsely clings on to a belief that Arsenal can return to the top with only technical players and that they have never replaced the physical dominance of the likes of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto.

Few Arsenal fans could disagree having watched so many lightweight performances since the ‘Invincibles’ tore opponents apart on a weekly basis in 2003-04.

In the interim, Wenger has tried to copy the model of Spain and Barcelona by relying on flair players.

When it clicks, it looks brilliant, yet they cannot grind out results in the same way as their more physical title rivals like Chelsea and Manchester City.

Wenger strives for a utopia in which the Londoners can simply outplay their opponents every week. It is never going to happen and it’s not how you win the league. Santi Cazorla can buzz around all he likes, but he needs an imposing figure next to him when the going gets tough.

Ignoring the opposition might have worked for the ‘Invincibles’ but not only did they have the physical prowess that Neville cites, they were so good that they could play how they wanted.

It is naive to think that the current Arsenal team will always pass their opponents off the pitch.

It is arrogant to believe that Arsenal can win the league this season by signing only a goalkeeper after they finished 12 points behind the champions last term.

You could sense that attitude had crept through to the squad over the summer, too. After the players spoke about something “special” happening throughout pre-season, they were caught cold by West Ham on the opening day.

Wenger admits his side have made a “very average” start to the season with four points from their first three matches already leaving them six points behind City. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when you consider that Arsenal have the same outfielders as last season while City have improved their already superior squad.

Arsenal’s title challenge was blown apart long before Christmas last year after a poor start to the campaign and supporters will dread history repeating itself. It has happened too many times in recent seasons.

So how does Wenger plan to turn it around in the remaining week of the transfer window?

Wenger insists that he is only in the market for “exceptional” players to improve his squad and that is understandable in many respects.

The lack of top class strikers in world football means the club have focused on Karim Benzema as their main forward target this summer, with few alternatives that can provide a guaranteed upgrade on Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.

But Wenger also turned his nose up at the £25 million pricetag for Morgan Schneiderlin earlier in the summer when the French midfielder could add the physicality and experience that Neville talks about. There are others out there who can do a similar job such as Grzegorz Krychowiak at Sevilla, who has been strongly linked with a move to north London.

“I can’t think of a word to describe that bunch – I could but it wouldn’t be usable on television,” Neville said about the Arsenal squad.

“They’re certainly not what I would call what you want to win you a league, the powerful characters, the strength you need running through your team.

“I just cannot get my head around why he would not sign players of power to assist these talented players you’ve got to enable them to win the league.

“It is the one big, if you like, black mark against Arsene Wenger in these last 10 years… to me it’s arrogance – to think that you are not going to adapt your team to impact on the other teams you’re playing against. It is either naivety or arrogance because they keep losing this way.”

Wenger has an enormous transfer budget – up to £80m – and he should be more ruthless, too. While Per Mertesacker is a good player and a great leader, there are plenty of central defenders out there that would improve Arsenal’s starting XI.

Petr Cech is an exceptional signing and showed why with two magnificent saves in the goalless draw with Liverpool on Monday night.

It is naive and arrogant, though, to think that Cech’s arrival alone will be enough for Arsenal to win their first title since 2004.

Why childish & spiteful Mourinho-Wenger rivalry actually ISN’T that amusing any more…

The Arsenal and Chelsea managers have no time for each other, but they need to make sure their bitter feud does not cross the line

Why childish & spiteful Mourinho-Wenger rivalry actually ISN'T that amusing any more...

Arsenal drew first blood ahead of the new season with their Community Shield triumph over Chelsea on Sunday, but the brutal war of words between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho shows no sign of abating.

It is petty and it is childish, yet the obvious hatred between the two managers makes their feud oddly compelling.

The Premier League has built much of its popularity around the stories behind the action on the pitch and Wenger has often been involved. His personal spats with Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsenal’s great rivalry with Manchester United – and now his contemptuous relationship with Mourinho.

Eleven years after they first locked horns, the two managers can barely look each other in the eye. No-one should really be surprised by the handshake snub between the pair at Wembley as Wenger finally beat his old nemesis at the 14th attempt.

It’s only a handshake, who really cares? There is no reason at this stage for Wenger and Mourinho to make any pretence towards cordiality. They can’t stand the sight of each other.

But it does feel a little pathetic.

If they were two schoolboys, their parents would have been called in by the headmaster by now and they would have been forced to drop their childish squabbles: “Now little Jose, tell Arsene you’re sorry.”

The fear now is that they might cross the line, especially with Arsenal looking genuinely ready to challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title this season.

Between them, they have been on the planet for 117 years, they are educated to degree level and speak several languages, having been in management for more than 35 years. Their combined annual salary is around £20 million-a-year.

Yet they can’t even shake hands. You’ve got to be kidding me.

There have been occasions in the past when both men have crossed the line.

Mourinho has skirted the boundaries with certain comments – labelling Wenger a “specialist in failure” was one – but his claim in 2005 that the Gunners manager was a “voyeur” was particularly tasteless. It was totally inappropriate for a football manager.

Wenger, for his part, is 65 – that’s retirement age in the UK – yet last October he shoved Mourinho on the touchline at Stamford Bridge and looked ready to trade punches with the Portuguese. It was a scene you would usually expect to see outside the Red Lion on a Saturday night.

He has his image as the professor, but it was not the first time that Wenger has got physical on the touchline. He has previous with the likes of Martin Jol and Alan Pardew.

Likewise, Mourinho famously eye-gauged Tito Vilanova in 2011 and often looks to fan the flames of bitter feuds. He is the master of the psychological mind games and has used his razor sharp tongue in the last week with a devastating put-down of Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez.

The rivalry between Wenger and Mourinho isn’t going anywhere and all eyes will be on the touchline when Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge on September 19.

Wenger likes to suggest that their main difference of opinion is in their football philosophies. Mourinho counters that his philosophy is winning and Wenger’s is losing. Last April, he mocked Arsenal’s “very boring” failure to win the title since 2004.

At the heart of the animosity, though, is the fact that both are terrible losers.

This year, Arsenal and Chelsea are likely to be directly battling for the Premier League trophy towards the latter stages of the season.

It will be fun, and the Wenger-Mourinho rivalry will provide an intriguing and entertaining subplot. Let’s just hope that neither man goes beyond the standard of acceptable behaviour.

Arsenal happy to play Benzema waiting game

Real Madrid do not want to let the France international leave, but the Gunners will be ready to pounce if he falls out of favour as Rafa Benitez’s reign gets under way

Arsenal happy to play Benzema waiting game


Arsenal are prepared to bide their time and wait until the end of the transfer window for a potential deal to sign Karim Benzema from Real Madrid.

Arsene Wenger has identified his fellow Frenchman as his top target to improve the Gunners’ attack this summer and still believes the striker could end up in north London.

Real Madrid have said that Benzema is not for sale and the 27-year-old is happy in the Spanish capital, but Arsenal are closely monitoring his situation.

Manchester United have also expressed an interest in the France international should he become available towards the end of the transfer window.

Arsenal believe they can clinch a deal for Benzema in a similar manner to the £42.5 million (€60m) signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on the final day of the transfer window in 2013.

There has been speculation in Spain that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have both been pencilled in to play in more central positions by new Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez.

Benzema is known as a favourite of Madrid president Florentino Perez but could look to move if he finds himself out of the side in the early part of the season.

Wenger wants to add a top quality forward to his squad and has allowed alternatives to join other clubs this summer in the hope that Benzema will become available in August.

Arsenal are prepared to spend around £35m (€50m) on Benzema as they look to make the former Lyon man their marquee summer signing following the arrivals of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the last two years.

Wenger has told confidants that, if he cannot land Benzema, he is prepared to continue with Olivier Giroud as the club’s main striker next season, with Sanchez and Theo Walcott also able to play as central strikers.

Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain, but Wenger has made it clear that he believes Benzema is the player that can fire Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 2004.

Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009 and has won one La Liga title and the Champions League since his arrival. Last season, he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Source: Goal.com

Why PFA nominees show Premier League delivers best experience to fans

The Spanish Liga has its Galacticos. But it’s the Premier League where stars are made.

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The Spanish Liga has its Galacticos. But it’s the Premier League where stars are made.

At 24, is there a better young player in the game than Eden Hazard? What about goalkeepers and David de Gea? Harry Kane and young centre-forwards?

The shortlist for last night’s PFA Players Player of the Year epitomised the strength of the Premier League – and its inscrutable relationship with fans.

Yes, it still must be a wrench for Tottenham supporters seeing Gareth Bale bombing down Real Madrid‘s wing. But it also must have been some journey for those fans who followed the Welshman from battling in the Spurs reserve-team to running Inter Milan ragged at the San Siro.

At Chelsea, they’ve seen Hazard go from a stroppy, self-important 21 year-old, famous for kicking out at ball-boys, to a leader of men. A pro’s pro. A player who has world greats, including Zinedine Zidane, queuing to lavish praise on him. And Blues fans have seen all this, up close, develop over three years. That’s some football experience.

The same can be said of De Gea and his emergence at Manchester United. Forget about being the best young goalkeeper in the game, some claim he is the outright best on the planet. But those fans who follow United home-and-away will remember that infamous flap at Tottenham two years ago, the blast from former captain Gary Neville and all the headlines about the Spaniard not being good enough.

If he does return to Madrid this summer, Real’s support will be getting the finished article. But they will have missed the chance to see De Gea develop into the player he is today. The highs and lows. The unswerving faith a supporter has in a player’s potential being realised. For many, it’s a big part of being a football fan.

Just ask Spurs supporters about ‘one of our own’, Harry Kane.

Some will have seen Kane in youth games at Enfield. Picked him as ‘one to watch’. Kept faith as he battled away on-loan with the likes of Leyton Orient and Millwall. And now celebrate with fans around the world as Kane smashes through the 30-goal barrier.

You can’t manufacture that experience. It’s among the most enjoyable aspects of being a football fan. And the Premier League offers this to us like no other competition.

Philippe Coutinho’s story is arguably the best of the lot. Bouncing between Italy and Spain, his career was going nowhere. At 21, he was washed up, Inter Milan couldn’t get rid quickly enough. But with Liverpool, under Brendan Rodgers, Coutinho has rebuilt his game and his confidence. He’s now delivering on the potential which had Europe’s biggest clubs chasing his signature as a 17 year-old at Vasco da Gama. And this has all played out – in spectacular fashion – in front of the Kop.

Even the ‘old men’ of the PFA shortlist have their best years ahead of them. Both Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Arsenal‘s Chilean dynamo Alexis Sanchez are still 26. We’re sure to see their greatest moments achieved playing in the Premier League.

Since this season’s Champions League flop, English clubs have been hammered over transfer policy, scouting, even their development structure. But given the nominees we celebrated last night, the Premier League is still where stars are made.

‘Boring is 10 years without the title’ – Mourinho hits out at Arsenal boo-boys

The crowd at the Emirates Stadium chanted “boring, boring Chelsea” late in the two sides’ 0-0 stalemate on Sunday but the Portuguese took a swipe at his opposite number

'Boring is 10 years without the title' - Mourinho hits out at Arsenal boo-boys

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hit out after his side were booed off by Arsenal supporters following Sunday’s 0-0 stalemate at the Emirates Stadium.

The Blues saw out their game plan perfectly in securing the draw that they needed to maintain a 10-point gap from their London rivals and take what captain John Terry described as a “big step” towards the title.

But Arsenal supporters let their feelings be known towards the end of the match, chanting “boring, boring Chelsea” as the game petered out.

Mourinho, however, responded in typically defiant fashion after the game by referring to the Gunners’ failure to win the league title since 2004.

“I think boring is 10 years without the title,” he said. “I think waiting, waiting, waiting for the title for 10 years is very boring.

“Maybe they were not singing to us. When you are playing at home and take your No.9 off … maybe they wanted to see [Olivier] Giroud and [Danny] Welbeck together.

“The boring team has scored the second most goals in the Premier League and has the best goal difference.
I think only top teams can be top of the league since day one.”