Saturday 24 March 2018

In brief: Villa's Sidwell in West Ham talks

Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell has held talks with West Ham over a possible move back to the English capital.

The former Chelsea and Reading player (28) has made just one league start this season after falling out of favour at Villa.

One midfielder not on the move, though, is former England captain David Beckham. LA Galaxy said yesterday they expect him to return for pre-season training next month. Beckham, who has been linked with Spurs, spoke last week of his desire for a short-term move to Europe.

Blackpool to leave it late on Liverpool tie

Blackpool will leave it as late as possible before deciding whether their St Stephen's Day Premier League match with Liverpool will go ahead.

Games at Bloomfield Road against Manchester United and Tottenham have already been postponed this month.

There is no under-soil heating at Bloomfield Road, and despite fears the Liverpool game will be delayed, the Premier League said that it is not mandatory for clubs.

Tributes pour in for hero Bearzot

Enzo Bearzot, the coach who led Italy to the World Cup in 1982, died yesterday, aged 83. Tributes poured in for Bearzot, who was in charge of the national side for 11 years, despite never having managed a Serie A side. He had two playing spells with Internazionale and Torino, and won one cap.

"For me he was like a father," said Paolo Rossi, the 1982 golden boot winner. "I owe him everything. He was an incredibly honest person."

Usmanov looking to up stake in Gunners

Alisher Usmanov hopes to increase his stake in Arsenal and overtake Stan Kroenke as the club's main shareholder.

The Russian billionaire owns a 27pc share in the club and hopes to buy another 2.9pc, which would see him surpass American Kroenke, who owns a 29.8pc stake. Should the 57-year-old succeed in increasing his share to 29.9pc, he would still be 0.1pc short of the stake required to trigger an automatic takeover.

Kakuta signs new Chelsea contract

Chelsea have ended speculation over the future of Gael Kakuta by announcing that the promising forward has signed a new four-and-a-half year deal at the club.

"Since I signed for Chelsea when I was 16 all I was thinking about was to get to the first team," Kakuta said. "I have to make a way for myself into the starting XI and make my dream come true."

Irish Independent

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