One to watch: Nani, Sporting Lisbon

Spurs have put themselves at the front of the queue for Portuguese youngster Nani. The 20-year-old is the latest sensation off the Sporting Lisbon production line and has been dubbed the new Cristiano Ronaldo - although the old one might have some life left in him yet. Manchester United are also known to be interested in the attacking midfielder, who is reported to have a £17 million buy-out clause in his contract. Let's see what the kid can do:

[Rob Parker]

March 23, 2007 in Manchester United, Players to watch, Tottenham Hotspur, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (2)

One to watch: Emile Mpenza

103895100_13Manchester City have taken Belgian striker Emile Mpenza on trial. The 28-year-old scored in a practice match against Blackpool last night. The former Schalke and Hamburg player most recently played in Qatar but has now ended his contact with Al Rayyan.

Mpenza was once a much sought after player, with Newcastle reportedly eager to bring him to the Premiership a few seasons back. It will interesting to see if he has the motivation to get back to his best, but he is certainly talking the talk. He said: "I am not finished and I will prove it in Manchester. I  make this move as revenge with respect to all those who criticised my decision to play in Qatar."

Click below to see a video of Mpenza in action.

One to watch: Emile Mpenza continued

[Rob Parker]

February 16, 2007 in Manchester City, Players to watch, Rumours & gossip | Permalink | Comments (0)

One to watch: Dan Gosling

GoslingYoung Plymouth Argyle right-back Dan Gosling has made the papers this morning amid rumours that Jose Mourinho is staring longingly towards Home Park and wishing he could sneak the transfer window back open.

Gosling signed his first professional contract earlier this month when he turned 17, which - as the mathematicians among you will have worked out - means he is a professional footballer born in the 1990s. Scary!

One to watch: Dan Gosling continued

His boss at Plymouth, Ian Holloway, is trying to keep his young charge's feet on the ground. In a relatively sober quote, he said: "It's the first rung on the ladder that we hope he will climb all the way to the top. If he keeps working hard, he has got a real chance of being a Premiership player. I am really looking forward to working with him and helping him get there - but he's done nothing yet."

Gosling fancies himself as a midfielder in the style of Roy Keane, although I don't suppose he would mind the opportunity to play at right-back for the Premier League champions! [Rob Parker]

February 13, 2007 in HolloWatch, Players to watch, Rumours & gossip, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (3)

One to watch: Julius Aghahowa

The latest Nigerian international striker to make the Premiership their stomping ground is Wigan's new signing Julius Aghahowa. The 24-year-old has a decent goalscoring record at international level. He is also the proud owner of a somersault celebration capable of making Lomano LuaLua look distinctly underwhelmed at scoring! Here is a compilation of some of his goals (starting with the scrappiest first, I presume).

[Rob Parker]

January 31, 2007 in Players to watch | Permalink | Comments (0)

One to watch: David Nugent, Preston North End

It's easy to see why so many clubs are reportedly keen to buy Preston striker David Nugent. He scored a cracking goal – great run and a composed finish – at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday, which you can watch below…

Hard to believe Nugent is only 21 - he looks a lot older. Nugent is also a lifelong Everton fan, so I imagine David Moyes would love to bring him to Goodison. However, it now looks like Nugent will stay at Preston, at least until the end of the season.

January 29, 2007 in Players to watch, The Championship, Video clips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Micah Richards and Gareth Bale go head-to-head

103895100_9 Although - as we predicted - the transfer window gossip has been dominated by the big clubs making cooing noises towards Micah Richards and Gareth Bale, both have stayed put so far. That means that the two young full-backs will go head-to-head in tomorrow's FA Cup tie between Manchester City and Southampton.

The BBC has put together a nice feature comparing the two to decide who earns the title Best Young Defender In Britain. Click here to read it. [Rob Parker]

January 26, 2007 in Manchester City, Players to watch, The Championship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wigan gun for Lee Chun-Soo

Wigan boss Paul Jewell is going after Lee Chun-Soo. The South Korean starlet announced himself on the World Stage at the last World Cup with a stunning freekick against Togo. The 25-year-old former Asian Young Footballer of the Year has emerged as a target as Jewell looks to strengthen his squad. Lee currently plays for Ulsan Tigers in the K-League and is keen to return to Europe after spells at Real Sociedad and Numancia in Spain.  Let's have another look and hope he makes a decent impact on the Premiership.

January 23, 2007 in International football, Players to watch, Rumours & gossip, Video clips, Wigan Athletic | Permalink | Comments (0)

One to watch: Jamie McCarthy

_42429441_mccarthy_snsb203A host of English and Scottish clubs are currently battling it out to capture 16-year-old Hamilton Academical wonderkid Jamie McCarthy. The midfielder/Neil Lennon Mini-Me scored his first senior goal against Livingston at the weekend.

Liverpool and Reading - where McCarthy is currently training for a couple of days - are leading the chase. Liverpool were quick to make an offer after the youngster impressed during a week-long trial. Hamilton manager Billy Reid said: "Reading is a well-run team, as are Liverpool. But there is so much interest in Jamie just now and we're not in a hurry to sell him." [Rob Parker]

January 9, 2007 in Liverpool, Players to watch, Reading, Rumours & gossip, Scotland | Permalink | Comments (0)

Meet Chelsea's new star defender Baltemar Brito

BritoJose Mourinho appears to have put an end to Chelsea's defensive crisis, and the solution was underneath his nose all the time. The Special One has revealed he is considering playing 55-year-old assistant coach Baltermar Brito (pictured in his original playing days) because of the prices being demanded by English clubs for their players (the very same prices that have been driven up by Chelsea's relentless pursuits of transfer targets, irony fans!).

Meet Chelsea's new star defender Baltemar Brito continued

Brito_1In what was presumably a thinly-veiled dig at Manchester City - who are unwilling to let Micah Richards leave on the cheap - Mourinho said: "Just because of the smell that Chelsea needs a central defender has people thinking we are stupid. With the reality of the English market I prefer to play with Brito than pay the crazy money."

More Chelsea news and features

[Rob Parker]

January 3, 2007 in Chelsea, Funny old game, Players to watch | Permalink | Comments (3)

One to watch: Moses Ashikodi, Watford

Ashikodi_2Watford have completed the signing of Rangers striker Moses Ashikodi. The 19-year-old former Millwall and West Ham youth team player had not found favour at Ibrox since moving there in January 2006, but impressed during a trial at Vicarage Road. The Nigerian-born youngster has represented England at every level from under 15s to under 19s.

One to watch: Moses Ashikodi, Watford

Ashikodi's fledgling career has not been without controversy though, even aside from his 19-year-old journeyman status. He left Millwall by mutual consent in 2004 after allegedly threatening team-mate Mark McCammon with a knife. With Aidy Boothroyd desperate for goals expect the player he has described as "talented, hungry and with baggage" to feature fairly soon as the Hornets battle to beat the drop.

Not_mosesI'm not quite sure who the person pictured next to this story on BBC Sport is (at the time of writing at least), but I'm fairly certain it is not Moses Ashikodi!

[Rob Parker]

January 2, 2007 in Players to watch, Watford | Permalink | Comments (0)