International News - Issue 189

Walcott To Miss The Rest Of The Season and World Cup
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has been ruled out for the rest of the season – and the World Cup finals in Brazil – after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the FA Cup third round win over Tottenham on Saturday. Walcott should be out for at least six months and also learned that he will not face an FA charge for his gesture to Tottenham fans. Having played a key role in a dominant Arsenal performance the England man was subjected to verbal abuse and a volley of coins from the away end when being stretchered from the pitch with his knee injury. - Full Story via  The Independent

Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski will finally don the Bayern Munich jersey after signing a pre-contract with the German giants. The Polish international has been a long-term target for the Bavarian giants, and came close to making the switch at the start of the season. The likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea had also been linked with a move for the player, so Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is understandably pleased to have concluded the deal. “We are very pleased that we managed to complete this transfer,” he said. “Lewandowski is one of the world's best strikers. He is going to strengthen our team; he will give us another boost.” - Full Story via Kickoff

Arsene Wenger admitted he considered a move for Borussia Dortmund hot-shot Robert Lewandowski, but conceded defeat to Bayern Munich over a year ago. “Yes, we looked into Lewandowski, but honestly he signed for Bayern one and a half years ago, everyone knows that,” he said. “They can only make it official now because he is in the last six months of his contract.
Lewandowski has vowed to give his best for Dortmund before his summer move to Bayern Munich. - Full Story via Metro

New Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to make two fellow Norwegians his first signings in South Wales. Molde and Heerenveen have confirmed that they are in talks with Cardiff over their respective midfielders Mats Moller Daehli and Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Solskjaer has worked with both players before at Molde and also Manchester United, where they were youth players. Eikrem left United in 2011 to return to his homeland and was then sold to Dutch outfit Heerenveen in June. - Full Story via Sky Sports

Chelsea and Manchester United have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Luke Shaw after the England Under-21 left-back told Southampton that he does not want to leave. Shaw is only 18 but has already made 40 Premier League starts for Southampton, after progressing through their academy, and believes that his development is best served by staying where he is. That is unlikely to stop Chelsea and Manchester United continuing to pursue their interest and making a bid, if not in this transfer window then during the summer. - Full Story via The Telegraph

Under-fire David Moyes admitted Manchester United are ‘urgently’ in need of new players after a fifth home defeat of the season, but fears they are unlikely to get them. Swansea cranked up the heat on Moyes with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round but Moyes warned any fans looking for a quick fix in the transfer window that they may be disappointed. “I have said I will try to get players but it will probably be doubtful in January,” said the Scot. “There is an urgency that we would like to bring players in but are those players available in January? - Full Story via Metro

Liverpool appear poised to add highly-rated Milton Keynes Dons youngster Dele Alli to their ranks. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was in the crowd as the 17-year-old impressed in Saturday’s 3-3 FA Cup third-round draw at Wigan. Dons boss Karl Robinson all but confirmed Rodgers is keen on the midfielder, who has come through the youth ranks at the League One club and has nine caps for England at Under-17 level. - Full Story via Metro

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is open to receiving offers for striker Nikica Jelavic, despite insisting the Croatia international still has a role to play on Merseyside. Jelavic has started only five Premier League games this season, jeopardising his prospects of featuring at this year's World Cup in Brazil.  When asked if Jelavic is still in his plans, Martinez said in the Liverpool Echo: "Absolutely, I felt he did really well when he came on against Stoke and he has been working really well for a while. - Full Story via Kickoff

Chelsea have had a bid for Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain turned down. The 26-year-old has been in fine form for his club, scoring nine goals in 16 Serie A games. Napoli insist that Higuain is not for sale, as they attempt to stay in touch with Serie A leaders Juventus. Chelsea have had the majority of their goals scored by midfielders, and Higuain was wanted by Jose Mourinho to boost his misfiring strike force. - Full Story via Kickoff

Crawley fans have got their wish – after chairman Dave Pottinger asked them who they wanted the club to sign in the transfer window. The League One outfit took the unusual step of asking supporters who they wanted new boss John Gregory to add to his squad this month. And for Crawley followers, among all the suggestions there was one name which stood out – that of fans’ favourite Matt Tubbs. The striker scored 58 goals in 78 games during his time in West Sussex between 2010 and 2012 before joining Bournemouth. - Full Story via Metro

Former European Footballer of the Year Eusebio died from a heart attack on Sunday at the age of 71, Portuguese media reported. The death of the charismatic striker, whose full name was Eusebio da Silva Ferreira and was known as the ‘Black Panther’ and idolised throughout the Portuguese-speaking world, was confirmed by state television and the country’s sports dailies. Eusebio was European Footballer of the Year in 1965, but won world acclaim the year after at the World Cup in England, where Portugal reached the semi-final and he scored nine goals. - Full Story via Kickoff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has slammed the pace of Brazil's preparations for this year's World Cup, taking place from June 12 to July 13. The tournament hosts failed to meet several FIFA deadlines for venues - including the Sao Paulo Stadium where two workers died in November - prompting Blatter's disapproval.  "Brazil has now come to realise that they started too late," Blatter said. "They are the country who are the most delayed in terms of World Cup organisation since I have been at FIFA, even though they had such a long time [seven years] to prepare. - Full Story via Kickoff

Kevin De Bruyne is edging closer to the Chelsea exit door after his agent was spotted at a Wolfsburg training session and later admitted the midfielder was keen on a switch. The Belgian international’s future at Stamford Bridge has been in doubt since returning from a loan spell with Werder Bremen at the end of last season. De Bruyne has featured just nine times for the Blues under Jose Mourinho this term and has frequently been linked with a return to the Bundesliga. - Full Story via Metro

Juan Mata has hinted he’ll fight on at Chelsea despite Jose Mourinho seemingly opening the door for his departure. The Spaniard has been marginalised this season under Mourinho, and the midfielder showed his frustration after being substituted on a rare start during the recent 3-0 victory over Southampton on New Year’s Day. His public strop resulted in Mourinho declaring that his ‘door was always open’ for any unhappy players looking to quit the club, but Mata seems determined to stick it out at Stamford Bridge. - Full Story via Metro

Millwall have appointed Ian Holloway as their new manager on a two-and-a-half year deal. The Championship club have been without a full-time boss since Steve Lomas' sacking last month. But the Lions have moved to fill the vacancy by targeting Holloway, who has vast experience of the Championship. It marks a quick return to south London for the popular 50-year-old boss. Having guided Crystal Palace to Barclays Premier League promotion, Holloway left Selhurst Park in October following a dismal start to the campaign. - Full Story via Daily Mail

West Ham have launched an appeal to find a boy spotted crying during the 5-0 FA Cup drubbing at Nottingham Forest, and are willing to offer the youngster and his family a VIP package in a bid to make amends. The travelling Hammer was filmed in floods of tears by TV cameras during the Premier League side’s embarrassing third round exit, and the London club have moved swiftly in an attempt to bring the feel-good spirit back to Upton Park. - Full Story via Metro