Everton legend Andy Gray ruefully expects John Stones to join Chelsea before the close of the transfer window, and believes the young defender can immediately challenge for a first-team spot at Stamford Bridge.Chelsea have been chasing the 21-year-old defender all summer, and have so far had three big-money bids – with the most recent reportedly around £30million – rejected by the Merseyside outfit.Stones has kept his head down throughout the whole saga, continuing to take to the field for the Toffees amid the speculation.But reports emerged on Tuesday that the England international had finally submitted a transfer request, while the Blues are thought to be ‘confident’ of landing him with an increased offer of £40million – which would make Stones the second most expensive defender in history.Former Toffees striker Gray is keen for Stones to remain at Goodison Park, but concedes the opportunity to join the Premier League champions is too good to turn down.Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, the Goodison Park hero said: “It’s tough. As an Evertonian, I obviously don’t want him to go, I’d rather he stayed at Everton for another couple of years.“But it’s really difficult for him. He’s been very quiet, he’s gone on and played, he’s done the right thing and gone about it really well.“But now with the transfer request, all that does is just tell everybody that he would like Everton to take the offer, if it’s acceptable, and he would like to move on.“Of course I would like him to stay, but I really do understand that the young lad has an opportunity to play for Chelsea.“But I don’t agree that he might spend the next two years on the bench, I don’t think that will happen. I think he’s good enough to force his way into that team sooner rather than later.“Even if he did spend a year learning about Chelsea, working with John Terry and Gary Cahill and making himself a better player and then coming into the team constantly next season – I can see him doing that.“I can’t see the deal not going through.“It’ll be a really big call from Everton if they turn down another bid, but I think Everton fans will have to get used to the fact that by next Tuesday, John Stones will be a Chelsea player.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed “a perfect week” for Tottenham after victory over Crystal Palace, but believes Harry Kane needs help to rediscover his goal scoring touch.Speaking to talkSPORT after our live commentary match at White Hart Lane, with Kane’s barren spell now two goals in 14 Premier League games, Pochettino said: “We need to help [Kane], to take away the pressure, not to say it’s 14 [games], 15.“I think Harry is calm, he works really hard in training, to try to score again. I have no doubt he will start to score again.”Aside from Kane, Pochettino praised Tottenham’s endeavour following the Europa League match against Qarabag on Thursday night.“I am happy with the performance and the effort, because it’s always difficult after the Europa League to play again and show the effort we made today.”‘FINALLY TOTTENHAM HAVE SIGNED A TOP PLAYER FOR TOP MONEY’ – SEE HOW SPURS FANS ASSESSED THE 1-0 WIN OVER PALACE
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has urged David Ospina to put his midweek howler against Olympiacos behind him.Cech watched from the bench as Ospina’s error at the end of the first half left Arsenal trailing before they were eventually beaten 3-2 by the Greek side to put their Champions League hopes in jeopardy.The former Chelsea stopper thinks the Gunners’ lack of game management contributed more to the defeat rather than Ospina’s mistake.“The biggest blow was we allowed them to score one minute later after coming back to 2-2,” Cech told talkSPORT.“This was where the game was decided. We probably went too much with emotion instead of going back to basics after that goal.“You always try to help your team-mate in a situation like this because I’ve been in the same situation a few times and you need to make sure the next day you put it behind you and you come back to work and get ready for the next game because you can’t change it.”The former Chelsea man believes his new club need to find a ruthless edge if they are to challenge for honours this season, starting with this Sunday’s clash with league leaders Manchester United.“We dropped points in the games you think you could have done better,” said the 33-year-old.“If we avoid games like that and if we keep winning and putting points on then I think the quality and experience of the team to challenge for the title.“The important thing is that it’s a game for six points, they [Manchester United] are top of the league and we are three points behind. If we want to close the gap we need to win the game.“After what happened on Tuesday there is more pressure on us to do well and bounce back from a huge disappointment and we need to make sure we are ready.”
1 Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham are all scouting teen sensation Ruben Neves, according to reports in Portugal.The 18-year-old became the youngest Champions League captain in the tournament’s history on Tuesday as he led Porto to victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv. The midfielder is widely regarded as one of Portugal’s stars of the future and has been likened to Barcelona anchorman Sergio Busquets.According to Jogo, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham are all scouting the Portugal Under-21 international as they weigh up moves.Scouts from the Premier League trio were reportedly in the stands for Tuesday’s Champions League win.And further scouting trips are expected as the January transfer window draws ever closer. Ruben Neves
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) – There have been reports over the last few days which suggest the Colombian star isnt too happy in the Spanish capital. Hes been on the substitutes bench under Zinedine Zidane so far and Spanish website Fichajes believe Manchester United could attempt to capitalise on this and may bid a record-breaking £65m on the playmaker. 5 The transfer window’s closure is edging towards us, slowly but surely.Manchester United are yet to make any moves, despite their less than impressive performances and their lack of depth and quality.Fans are crying out for an injection of pace, while others want to see certain members of the Red Devils squad sold.But what are the latest transfer developments involving Louis van Gaal’s side? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the right arrow above to find out the latest Manchester United transfer rumours… Felipe Anderson (Lazio) – Click the right arrow above to find out more Manchester United transfer news… – Anderson is a long-term Man United target who hasnt performed quite as well as he did last year but remains a threat, with the Red Devils still keen on him. Coach Marcel Bout, according to Calciomercato, speaks extremely favourably about the 22-year-old but it is yet to be seen if the Premier League side are willing to part with £36m to secure his services. Marouane Fellaini – His header onto the crossbar might have helped Wayne Rooney score the winner against Liverpool but Fellainis time at Old Trafford looks like it is running out. The Red Devils will make a loss on the ex-Everton star but could get up to £20m, depending on the deal they do. AC Milan are still frontrunners but appear to favour an initial loan move before signing the player permanently. 5 5 Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain) – Manchester United officials had reportedly flown to the French capital this week in an attempt to seduce the Argentine star, who is available on the cheap this January. Sadly for the Red Devils, though, Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claims the players agent, Alessandro Moggi, is going to be in London to discuss a move to Premier League rivals Chelsea. However, Moggi believes Inter are the team in pole position at the moment. 5 5 Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – The Toffees will do anything they can in their power to keep hold of their star striker, who the Red Devils are interested in signing. Lukaku has been in stunning goalscoring form, scoring 19 goals in all competitions, and to warn off suitors like Man United, its reported by The Sun that Everton have slapped a £65m price-tag on their main man.
1 Manchester City defender Gael Clichy looked back on two dropped points in the Barclays Premier League title race and admitted: “We have to do better.” City needed two Sergio Aguero goals to salvage a 2-2 draw at West Ham after Enner Valencia had twice fired the hosts into the lead.They can count themselves unfortunate, having also hit the post twice through Aguero and Fabian Delph.But in the end City were relieved to come away with a point after Hammers midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate’s header rattled the crossbar in stoppage time.“I think we can always do better. We conceded a couple of goals which tells you we can do better,” full-back Clichy told City TV.“Overall our performance was good but the second goal killed us a bit as we were on top of them. But that’s what happens if you don’t take your chances.“It’s a hard place to go. We wanted the three points and we didn’t get them, but we will take the positives.“I’m not surprised at how good West Ham were, they are a great team with great players. But we can do better and we have to do better.” Gael Clichy chases Victor Moses during Man City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham
Besiktas are eyeing a summer approach for former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko.The Turkish club are set to lose Mario Gomez in the summer and have identified the powerful Bosnian striker as his replacement.Dzeko left City for Roma at the start of the season but, after a promising start to life in Serie A, the 29-year-old has struggled in front of goal, netting only once since November. And now, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Besiktas are lining up an offer for Dzeko at the end of the season and the report suggests Roma could be tempted to cash in.The three-time Bosnian player of the year spent four campaigns at the Etihad and netted 50 Premier League goals for the club.But he fell out of favour with manager Manuel Pellegrini last season and was shipped off to Roma in August.And now it appears he will be on the move again with Besiktas keen on securing his signature. Edin Dzeko 1
Liverpool The Reds are desperate to get Balotelli off their wage bill this summer 1 Galatasaray have become the latest club to register an interest in signing Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli.The controversial forward spent last season on loan at AC Milan, but he failed to earn himself a permanent deal back in his home country after only finding the three times.According to Sport Mediaset, Galatasaray are ready to stump up a bid for Balotelli’s signature, while Lazio are also keeping an eye on his situation.Liverpool are desperate to get the £80,000-a-week striker off their wage bill this summer and are intent on sanctioning a deal as soon as possible.
TRENTON, N.J. – HIV testing will soon become part of routine prenatal care and be required for some newborns in New Jersey under a new law that supporters say is putting the state in the forefront of the national fight against HIV transmission to babies. Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey signed the measure into law Wednesday at University Hospital in Newark. The law will take effect in six months. “We can significantly reduce the number of infections to newborns and help break down the stigma associated with the disease,” Codey said. “For newborns, early detection can be the ultimate lifesaving measure.” Codey, the acting governor while Gov. Jon S. Corzine is out of the country this week for the holidays, sponsored the bill as the Senate president. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonMeanwhile, a ban in Washington, D.C., against using city money for needle-exchange programs was lifted Wednesday, a move that officials say will help reduce the soaring rate of AIDS and HIV there. A provision allowing the city to fund needle exchanges was included in the $555billion spending bill signed by President Bush on Wednesday. Federal spending packages dating back to 1998 had previously blocked such programs. The New Jersey bill allows women to opt out of the HIV testing, but critics contend that the screening will deprive women of their right to make medical decisions. According to the Kaiser Foundation, a nonprofit research organization focusing on U.S. health care, New Jersey is the first state to push HIV testing for both pregnant women and newborns. Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas require health-care providers to test a mother for HIV, unless the mother asks not to be tested, while Connecticut, Illinois and New York test all newborns for HIV, according to the foundation. New Jersey has required providers only to offer HIV testing to pregnant women. Under the new law, HIV testing will be part of routine prenatal care for all pregnant women, and doctors will provide pregnant women with information about HIV and AIDS. It also requires newborns to be tested when the mother has tested positive or her HIV status is unknown. Riki E. Jacobs, executive director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation in New Brunswick, the state’s largest AIDS service agency, said the law won’t help the women who don’t get prenatal care. “We need to focus on getting people into care and keeping them in care,” Jacobs said. “That is our most potent prevention weapon.” The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all pregnant women be tested for HIV, though it has said testing should be voluntary. The CDC also found that medical intervention during pregnancy can cut mother-to-child HIV transmission from 25percent to 2percent. New Jersey has about 17,600 AIDS cases, according to the Kaiser Foundation. Women represent 32.4percent of the cases – the third-highest rate in the nation. The national average is 23.4percent. The state has about 115,000 births per year and had seven infants born with HIV in 2005, according to state health department officials. The American Civil Liberties Union and some women’s groups contend that the bill deprives women of authority to make medical decisions. “Women’s privacy rights and choices are as constitutionally valid as any other citizen, regardless of reproductive status,” said Maretta J. Short, New Jersey’s National Organization of Women president. In Washington, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said in a statement Wednesday that needle exchanges will be included in a larger city program to reduce AIDS and HIV infections. About $1million will be devoted to the exchanges. About 128 of every 100,000 Washington residents have AIDS, compared with 14 cases per 100,000 people nationwide, according to a recent study. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
“I apologized to the team, and everything’s all right now,” Stewart said. “We’re moving past that.” Stewart is relieved that he will be able to play tonight against Washington, his hometown team. Tim Floyd decided not to further discipline Lodrick Stewart, who was back at practice Wednesday after being kicked out of Tuesday’s practice for elbowing a teammate. Stewart and Floyd met briefly before practice Wednesday, and Stewart addressed the team. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “I’ve been praying and everything to get a win,” Stewart said. “Like how everyone takes the UCLA-USC games so seriously here, that is how I feel about the (Washington) game because that’s where I’m from.” Stewart knows many Washington players and is good friends with standout guard Brandon Roy, who leads the Huskies with 19.1 points per game. He took a lot of grief last year after Washington beat USC by 30 and 25 points. “When we hang out in the summer, they bring it up all the time,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of embarrassing but kind of funny at the same time because I know all of them. Hopefully this year I’ll get the bragging rights for when I go home.” Back to basics USC spent the first two days of practice this week going back to early defensive drills in an effort to correct what went wrong last week, when both Arizona and Arizona State made over 50 percent of their shots against the Trojans. “We’ve got to get back to where we were in understanding how important (defense) was to us when we were winning games,” Floyd said. “… We were working on everything going back to Day 1, and that starts with defensive transition.” The USC defense will be put to the test against Washington, which has the No. 1 scoring offense among NCAA Division I teams at 90.0 points per game. “I know everyone is nervous because when we watch film on this team it’s like the Harlem Globetrotters,” Stewart said. “They get out and score in such big bunches. You don’t see too many teams in the nation do that.” Recruit update Floyd said Tuesday that forward Kasey Cunningham, who has signed a letter of intent to attend USC in the fall, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while playing for his high school team. However, the Albuquerque Tribune reported Wednesday that Cunningham was hopeful the injury wasn’t a tear. Cunningham, who plays for Cibola High in Albuquerque, was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday. Floyd said he expects Cunningham to be with USC next season regardless of the extent of the injury. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!