International News - Issue 197

Newcastle Hit Pardew With £100,000 fine And An Official Warning AfterHeadbutt
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will not face the sack over his headbutt on Hull midfielder David Meyler. It is believed the 52-year-old’s job is safe, despite calls for his head after the ugly incident on Saturday at the KC Stadium, which League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan branded ‘unacceptable and inappropriate’. Owner Mike Ashley is understood to be furious with Pardew and the club have hit the former Reading boss with a £100,000 fine and an official warning. - Full Story via Metro

Aaron Ramsey may return from injury to provide Arsenal with the spark needed to prevent their season spiralling out of control. The Gunners have won just three of their last eight matches and are in danger of falling off the pace in the Premier League title race and crashing out of the Champions League. They now face a crunch run of six matches which could make or break their season as they seek to win their first silverware since their FA Cup victory over Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium in 2005. - Full Story via Metro

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis is prepared to take a hard stance with any of his players who dive during a match, as he makes it his mission to stamp the ‘disease’ out of Selhurst Park. Both Jerome Thomas and Marouane Chamakh are said to have tried to con the referee during their 1-1 draw with Swansea, with Thomas receiving a yellow card for his efforts, while Pulis believes Chamakh got away with a similar offence. And now Pulis is ready to fine both players as he fires a warning to his squad. - Full Story via Metro

Joleon Lescott, snubbed by Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City won the Capital One Cup at Wembley, could play in Turkey’s Super Lig next season. The 31-year-old England international is wanted by Besiktas, and the Daily Mirror reported they are willing to offer the ex-Everton centre-half £100,000 each week. Lescott has played 20 times this season but has been unable to hold down a regular starting place in Pellegrini’s plans. West Ham, Tottenham, Fulham and Aston Villa were among the clubs interested in signing him in the January transfer window but he opted to stay at City to win silverware before the end of the season. He has played just twice since the deadline expired. - Full Story via Metro

Arsene Wenger has admitted Arsenal are keen on a summer move for Real Sociedad star Antoine Griezmann. The highly-rated French winger is a long-term Gunners target and was heavily linked with a switch to north London during the January window. That transfer never materialised, but Arsenal boss Wenger has now openly admitted Griezmann, 22, is a player he is keen to bring to the Emirates. - Full Story via Metro

Manchester United started the week with a welcome boost after being told by Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho his future could lie at Old Trafford. The heat has been on the Premier League champions and manager David Moyes since a shocking 2-0 Champions League defeat at Olympiakos last Wednesday. But Carvalho, who has a £37.5million buy-out clause in his contract, would happily join the Red Devils in the summer even though this season has been disastrous by their high standards. - Full Story via Metro

Liverpool may lose out to former boss Rafael Benitez in the chase to sign Swansea skipper Ashley Williams. Wales captain Williams impressed Benitez in the two Europa League matches with Napoli last month and the Daily Mirror reported the former Chelsea manager is weighing up a transfer bid at the end of the season. Williams has just one year remaining on his current contract at the Liberty Stadium and would command a fee of around £5million. - Full Story via Metro

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been given a five-game ban for his controversial "quenelle" gesture after being found guilty by a Football Association hearing. Anelka has also been fined £80,000 and will have to complete a compulsory education course. The controversial salute happened shortly after Anelka scored for West Brom in their draw against West Ham United in December. His hearing lasted two days, during which he denied that his use of the gesture was anti-Semitic. The Frenchman has the right to appeal the decision but has only seven days to do so. - Full Story via Kickoff 

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he asked the club to place a £150 million price tag on Cristiano Ronaldo's head when Real Madrid came chasing after the attacker's services. Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer in history when he traded United for Real for 80m in 2009 - a mark which was bettered last year with Gareth Bale's 85m switch from Tottenham to Los Blancos. "I told [then United chairman] David Gill to ask for £150 million. - Full Story via Kickoff

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says there is no denying the club have a chance of winning the league for the first time since 1990. The Reds, 3-0 victors over Southampton on Saturday, are second on the Premier League table with 59 points from 28 games - four points behind Chelsea, level with Arsenal, and two points above Manchester City, who have two matches in hand. - Full Story via Kickoff

Former Nigeria international, Nwankwo Kanu, has successfully undergone a corrective heart surgery at the weekend. The surgery which was done at the Cleveland Hospital in Ohio, USA was carried out during one of his normal yearly routine medical checks at the same hospital where he also had the 1997 career-saving heart surgery. Coordinator of Kanu Heart Foundation, Onyebuchi Abia, confirmed that the surgery was successful and the that former Arsenal and Inter Milan forward has since left the intensive care unit, ICU, of the hospital and is currently recuperating. - Full Story via Kickoff

Nigerian striker Michael Olaitan is reported to be in 'stable condition' after collapsing during the first-half of Olympiakos' League game against Panathinaikos. The forward slumped without any contact during the game, and looked immobile as teammates, opponents and the referee frantically called for medical personnel. He was treated on the pitch and immediately taken to hospital. Later in the day it was reported that he was in a 'stable condition'. - Full Story via Kickoff

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been handed a two-game touchline ban - with another match suspended for two years - for his criticism of Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson. Pellegrini hit out at the official following their 2-0 defeat at home to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, saying: “I think in the whole match we didn’t have a referee with impartiality to both teams.” The Chilean has since apologized for the remarks, but will still be missing for the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 12. - Full Story via Kickoff

Jordan Henderson’s Liverpool side may have crashed out of the Capital One Cup way back in September, but that didn’t stop the midfielder making his way to Wembley to cheer on former club Sunderland – where he sat among the Black Cats’ supporters. Gus Poyet’s men are making something of a name for themselves as cup giants this season, having reached the League Cup final and the sixth round of the FA Cup, where they face Hull at the weekend. - Full Story via Metro

The draw for the Last 16 of this year’s Europa League competition has been completed following last Thursday night’s conclusion of all the round of 32 encounters. Tottenham Hostspur – the only English club left in the competition – will face a tough task when they face Portuguese giants Benfica. There are two local match-ups as Spanish sides Sevilla and Betis were drawn against each other, while it will be an all-Italian affair as Fiorentina face Serie A leaders Juventus, who will be looking to progress through to the final of the competition which will be staged in their home stadium in Turin. One of the draw’s biggest matches sees two-time Europa League champions Porto take on Italian outfit Napoli.

Round of 16 draw (13 & 20 March)
AZ Alkmaar (NED) v Anzi Makhachkala (RUS)
Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) v Valencia (ESP)
FC Porto (POR) v Napoli (ITA)
Lyon (FRA) v Viktoria Plzen (CZE)
Sevilla (ESP) v Real Betis (ESP)
Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) v Benfica (POR)
Basel (SUI) v Salzburg (AUT)
Juventus (ITA) v Fiorentina (ITA)

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie was fuming at his teammates' positioning in their 2-0 defeat to Greek outfit Olympiacos in their first-leg round of 16 Champions League tie last Tuesday evening. The Dutchman blamed his fellow players for infringing upon his areas on the pitch, causing him to adjust his game and be out of position. "Our fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in,” the United forward told a Dutch TV channel. - Full Story via Kickoff

Torquay United manager Chris Hargreaves buys a round of drinks for all away fans after their defeat. The Torquay United boss is buying every Gulls fan who attended last Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Hartlepool a drink as consolation for a result that leaves the Devon club rooted to the bottom of League Two. Hargreaves revealed he ‘gave a couple of fans £20 to get themselves a pint on the way home’ because ‘it was the least he could do’. One fan, Thomas Kelly, later claimed on Twitter to be the grateful recipient of Hargreaves’ generosity. - Full Story via Metro

Furious Stoke have vowed to ‘vigorously appeal’ Charlie Adam’s violent conduct charge for an alleged stamp on Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud. The incident during the second half of the Potters’ 1-0 win over the Gunners on Saturday was not seen by referee Mike Jones and his officials at the time. However, the Football Association has acted retrospectively after viewing video footage of the match, and charged the Scot. But Stoke immediately issued a statement which read: “The club have learnt within the last hour that the FA have chosen to charge Charlie Adam following an incident involving Olivier Giroud in Saturday’s Barclays Premier League game against Arsenal. - Full Story via Metro