OptiNews - Friday 29 December 2017 to Thursday 04 January 2018

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Optimus trousers posted this 29 December 2017

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@adamleitchsport - Adam Leitch

Pleased for Kelvin. A good guy, somebody who knows the club so well and can inject some extra character. Wish him w… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/946818194408443905

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from Daily Echo article

Saints legend Davis appointed first team coach

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Saints have appointed legendary former player Kelvin Davis as their new first team assistant coach.

The 41-year-old replaces Eric Black, who resigned from the position to focus on trying to rectify a long-term back problem.

It is Davis’ first senior coaching role.

In a statement, Saints said: “Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce that Kelvin Davis has been appointed as First Team Assistant Coach.

"A club legend who played for a decade at Saints, the former goalkeeper replaces Eric Black.

"The 41-year-old was a long-time captain at Saints, making 301 appearances while helping guide the club back to the Premier League.

"Davis had been working as Football Development Executive since his retirement in 2016, providing support to players at all levels, but he now joins Mauricio Pellegrino’s first-team coaching staff.

"Everyone at the club is excited to have Kelvin back within the first team environment where he shared many successful years with the club.

"Davis said: “I'm excited, I'm very proud. For me, it's a natural progression and, obviously, I'm very excited about being on the frontline and being able to help and support the manager, the first-team players and ultimately the club.

“It's a time in the season when I wasn't obviously expecting it to come along, but it has, it's presented itself, and obviously I'm looking to get my teeth into the current situation and try to support and help the first-team and the club as quickly as I can.”

Saints hope that Davis will bring some added character into the dressing room, given his close relationship with the club, his leadership qualities and his knowledge of the first team squad.

He is certainly a man who has the respect of the players given his status at Saints and his long career, not only at St Mary’s but before that with the likes of Ipswich and Sunderland.

Pellegrino’s frontline coaching team contains Carlos Compagnucci and Xavier Tamarit who he was allowed to recruit when he arrived.

Davis fits into the picture alongside goalkeeping Dave Watson and head of sports science Alex Gross.

Davis joined Saints from Sunderland for £2m in 2006.

He had a tough start to life at St Mary’s, and become a target for fans after a few mistakes early on in his Saints career.

However, he turned things around and enjoyed ten years, most spent as the club’s number one, and had a testimonial 18 months ago to mark the end of his playing career before taking up his previous role which provided support to first team players.

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from talkSPORT article

exclusive: Virgil van Dijk has had attitude problems in the past, says former Liverpool player

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Virgil van Dijk has got to show a better attitude at Liverpool than he did at Southampton last summer, according to former Reds player Dean Saunders.

The centre-back sealed a £75million move to Anfield earlier this week, making him the world’s most expensive defender.

The move and van Dijk’s price tag has divided many since it was announced on Wednesday that the Dutchman would start his Liverpool career on January 1st.

This saga has finally been brought to an end which saw Southampton and Liverpool engaged in a tug of war last summer for van Dijk who handed in a transfer request in August to try and force through a move.

And Saunders, who spoke to talkSPORT’s Jim White on the Jim White show suggested van Dijk has the potential to be difficult for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to handle.

“I have seen van Dijk with the chips down and I’ve got to be honest, I hope I'm wrong, but his attitude has got to be better than he has shown,” Saunders said.

“If I’m Liverpool manager I might think he’ll do that to me.”

Former Saints boss Claude Puel claimed van Dijk could become the best defender in the world at Liverpool but others remain unconvinced.

And Saunders went on to say that Klopp might try and strike a deal with his latest signing in order to prevent any potential conflict between the player and manager.

He added: “If I was Klopp, I would say to van Dijk: ‘I’m going to pay £75million for you, I’m going to give you £200,000 a week, all I want from you is an hour and a half’s training from you every day flat out and try your best on a Saturday, is that a deal?’

“If you come in one day and you’re not having a go in training you are breaking the contract. If he [van Dijk] doesn’t do that, he will get found out.”

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from Daily Mail article

Southampton and Stoke eye Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge in January

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Stoke are ready to challenge Southampton in pursuit of a January move for Daniel Sturridge.

Mark Hughes wants to add a striker to his squad when the winter window opens and has ambitious plans to recruit the England international on loan.

Hughes also holds a strong interest in Sturridge's Liverpool team-mate Danny Ings and hopes Stoke will be able to use geography as leverage against rival clubs to secure one or the other. Newcastle, West Ham and West Bromwich Albion, are all tracking Ings.

Liverpool are adamant Sturridge will no be allowed to leave on a temporary basis next month as Jurgen Klopp battles on domestic and European fronts.

But Stoke are set to test that resolve with Sturridge, 28, needing regular matches in his ambition to win a World Cup place.

Sturridge, who has 18 months left on his Anfield contract, has scored three goals this season in five starts and nine appearances off the bench in all competitions.

He featured for England against Lithuania in October. Hughes, who also wants a midfielder and full-back, would not be drawn on Sturridge or Ings specifically but did say: 'I think there's conversations about a lot of players.

'Some will be in regard to taking players on a permanent and there's always loan deals that can be done.

He continued: 'We are well aware of who's available and who might become available, but nothing is definite as yet.

'It's clear we need a little bit more help for the squad and a couple of extra bodies would help.'

Hughes added that Stoke's central location in the country, and close proximity to the suburbs surrounding Merseyside and Manchester, would be useful when recruiting players from those areas.

'You've got to use every means at your disposal and that plays a part in recruitment,' he said.

'We've got a good location here so why wouldn't you want to come here?

He added: 'It is about the football too, because we feel we're a top-10 Premier League club and that resonates with players.

'Players look at us in a different light these days and would like to come here if they feel they're not getting the games their talent deserves.'

Hughes may be forced to field two teenage full-backs at Chelsea as an injury crisis cripples his defensive options.

Tom Edwards and Josh Tymon, both 18, are in contention to start at Stamford Bridge with Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi out injured, Erik Pieters a major doubt, and Kurt Zouma ineligible due to his loan agreement.

Shawcross is out for at least a fortnight after limping out of the Boxing Day draw at Huddersfield with a calf injury.

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from Mirror.co.uk article

Exclusive - Sturridge wants Southampton move but Liverpool have set lofty price

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Frustrated Daniel Sturridge IS interested in a move to Southampton - but fears a move would be blocked by Liverpool.

Stoke also want the 28-year-old marksman who is determined to quit Anfield next month in search of regular first-team football.

But Liverpool are set to rebuff loan bids. The club will only be tempted to allow Sturridge to leave if an offer of £25million is made.

Sources close to the England striker have indicated he has become disillusioned by Liverpool’s stance - particularly given his team ethic despite his lack of action.

Sturridge has knuckled down without complaining publicly about his ongoing bit part role with Roberto Firmino the man striker.

Whether on a loan or on a permanent basis, Sturridge now wants to play for a club that values him enough to give him regular first-team football.

Spanish clubs Valencia and Sevilla have had an interest for some time while Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez also has Sturridge on his shortlist for a new striker.

Southampton are ready to sell their Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini, eleven months after signing him for £14.6million.

Gabbiadini exploded into life on the south coast with six goals in his first four games but has not been the same player since a groin injury in March put him out for a month.

With Charlie Austin set to miss two months with a hamstring injury, Southampton are in dire need of reinforcements up front.

The problem for Sturridge is that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is more intent on allowing Danny Ings leave on loan to regain full fitness with Stoke interested.

Sturridge would then be kept as cover unless Liverpool were to receive an offer they could not refuse.

The marksman’s future did not form part of the discussions over Virgil van Dijk’s record £75million transfer. But it means Southampton do now have the cash to meet Liverpool’s valuation of Sturridge.

Mirror Sport revealed before Christmas that the striker fears his World Cup hopes will be all but over if he is still at Anfield in February.

Gareth Southgate has made it clear that only players that are playing regularly stand a chance of making it to Russia next summer.

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from Mirror.co.uk article

Leicester boss Puel reveals his plans to change Harry Maguire's game

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Claude Puel has revealed he is coaching Harry Maguire to be a top ball-playing defender like Virgil van Dijk.

French coach Puel worked with Van Dijk at Southampton last season in his one term in charge on the South Coast.

He says Van Dijk,26, progressed under him leading to Liverpool to bid for the Dutch stopper in the summer.

The Reds finally got their man this week in a world-record £75million deal for a defender.

Now Puel, in charge at Leicester, has turned his attentions to improving England international defender Maguire.

Hands-on coach Puel has a reputation for bringing on young talent since working with Eden Hazard at Lille.

He has already had a big impact at the King Power Stadium with England U21 starlet Demarai Gray.

Now he has high hopes too for stopper Maguire,24, signed from relegated Hull in June for £17million.

Puel explained: “Virgil in the beginning was a player comfortable with the ball with good qualities and good potential.

“But he played before with the defence just on the box without space behind him, without cover for the full-back.

“Last season we tried to play higher up the pitch, to have possession and to defend one against one, with 15 metres in his back.

“It is different things and an evolution, he made progress about this.

“For Harry it is a little bit the same thing, to take confidence one against one, to stay in contact with his striker.

“After, he has good technique and is comfortable also with the ball.

“We look to make progress sometimes on set-pieces and also in anticipation.

“But he is a young player with quality and an international player.

“He has to continue his form and improve. I am satisfied about him.”

Maguire, who has three England caps, produced some indifferent displays earlier this term.

But he was outstanding in the EFL Cup quarter-final loss on penalties to Man City which impressed Pep Guardiola.

He then followed it up in the 2-2 draw against Man United with a last-gasp equaliser.

Puel is enjoying coaching Maguire and says he loves trying to develop young talent.

He believes it is important for the future of English football to improve players rather than just buy ready-made stars.

But Puel admits it can be hard for coaches, who don't always get enough time from impatient owners.

Puel added: “English football needs to develop young English players for the national team.

“It will be important to develop all the players, not just to buy the best players in the world.

“It’s about technique, intelligence with the ball, and to build something with young players into the team, it’s a long process.

“I don’t know if all the owners and chairman are ready to respect the results because it’s the Premier League.”

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from A tweet by stighefootball tweet

@stighefootball - Sam Tighe 🎅🏻🎄

Southampton’s transfer strategy has long been to buy young, develop and sell on for a huge profit. Wages naturally… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/946811656134451202

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Optimus trousers posted this 30 December 2017

Sourced from Optimus trousers summary article summary

Summary of non-mainstream articles: 30/12/2017 08:00:16

Van Dijk fee 'not nice', says Klopp FOURFOURTWO
Mourinho: There is no financial fair play, clubs do what they want FOURFOURTWO

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