Romelu Lukaku has revealed he always knew he would become one of the Premier League’s most wanted youngsters.
But he is now desperate to prove himself at Chelsea, instead of becoming a loan star once again.
Lukaku outscored his Chelsea colleagues in the Premier League last season, despite being on loan at West Brom.
netted 17 times at the Hawthorns, alerting a host of European clubs.
EveryPremier League side outside the top four would love to take Lukaku on loan. Liverpool will even ask about him if they are forced to sell star forward Luis Suarez.
However,Chelsea have been adamant Lukaku will start the season at Stamford Bridge and the Belgium international is aiming to outperform his team-mates again – but this time for the Blues.
Askedhow it feels that so many clubs want him, Lukaku replied: “It feels good. I knew that, if I performed well, people would make a lot of requests for me. But I’m a Chelsea player and happy to be here. It’s upto me. If I do well, I will play.
“I have always felt like a Chelsea player, even at West Brom.”
, but admits life is much tougher than at The Hawthorns.
It will get even harder if Jose Mourinho lands top target Wayne Rooney, but Lukaku is determined to rise to the challenge.
“It’snot easy at Chelsea, it’s not easy at all,” said Lukaku. “You have to show yourself every day because you know how big the competition is and, if you don’t do well, there is always a player that can take your place.
“Of course, I think I can get into the first team at Chelsea. But there is still room for improvement.”
Anothermotivation for him is to regain his starting spot for Belgium ahead ofAston Villa’s Christian Benteke in time for next year’s World Cup.
“Iwant to play everywhere,” said Lukaku. “I want to be back in the starting XI in the national team, I want to be in the starting XI of Chelsea.”
Rio Ferdinand fears goal-line technology is about to take the fun out of football, .
From the start of the new season, thePremier League becomes the world’s first domestic division to use theHawk-Eye system to decide if a goal has been scored.
Butthe Manchester United centre-half believes it is unnecessary – and is concerned that too many alterations are being made to the game.
Ferdinandsaid: “Change is a word I don’t like in football. It is such a great sport, and we are always trying to find ways to change it. Why?
“It has great traditions. Even goal-line technology, I don’t agree with it.
“Incidents like that add to the game because it runs into radio phone-ins, people talk about it in the pub and in other media. Was it a goal or wasn’t it?
“People end up disappointed in those situations but it is swings and roundabouts.
“Tottenhamscored a goal against us once – it more or less hit the net – but it wasn’t given. That happens sometimes and you take it on the chin. Peopleare too quick to try to spice up the game. I say leave it as it is.”
Ferdinandhas seen it all in his 10 years at Old Trafford – and will celebrate with a testimonial match against Sevilla at Old Trafford on Friday.
and will resume a coaching coursethis year as he weighs up the prospect of going into management once hehangs up his boots.
Ferdinandsaid: “I want to give myself the option to be a manager. That way if someone does offer me a job, I have the ability to do it.
“I still don’t know if I want to do it or if I would be good.
“But I do think there is something to give back to football from me.
“I started my coaching badges three years ago but I had issues with my back so could not continue it.
“I will start again this year and then hopefully by the time I retire I will have my coaching badges behind me.
“Whether it be with our younger teams, the under-21s or someone else, I have no idea yet.”
Ferdinand,34, will remain an integral part of the squad as United attempt to retain their title once the campaign kicks off on August 17. He took up yoga three years ago to give him better longevity, inspired by team-mateRyan Giggs. But ballet lessons as a kid also set him up for a long career.
Ferdinand said: “With the ballet, at the start it was just about getting off my estate and going to meet new girls.
“I would travel 45 minutes on a bus toget there. I didn’t tell my mates because they would have hammered me.But I enjoyed it and I went two or three times a week.
“Eventually I had to make a decision on what I wanted to do and I chose football – but ballet paid off in a lot of respects.
“With balance and being supple it helped, so I am thankful I went to a ballet school.”
Rio Ferdinand’s new book Rio: My Decade As A Red is out on August 9.
Welcome to day two of the Emirates Cup, where Arsene Wenger has rung the changes and is giving a debut to his "top class" new striker.
No, we’re not talking Luis Suarez. It’s French youngster Yaya Sanogo, of course. The French under-20 striker joined Arsenal after his contract expired at Auxerre.
And Wenger berated me at Friday’s press conference for not having enough faith or high enough expectations in Sanogo.
I’m given to believe he’s technically brilliant. And, of course, he’s relatively unknown. Unless you watched the World Under-20 championships, won by France. Shades of Nicolas Anelka? Let’s hope so, Arsene.
Santi Cazorla is also back and starting after his extended break following the Confederations Cup.
With Porto winning, it’s all set up as a winner takes all with Arsenal due to play Galatasaray at 4.20pm kick-off.
I’m Ed Malyon and I’ll be guiding you through this afternoon’s semi-competitive proceeding from North London.
Everybody’s go-to man for Arsenal, John Cross, is in situ at the Emirates Stadium to provide us with his own unique insight and opinion as the Gunners look to end their trophy drought (even though it doesn’treallycount).
Sanogo starts for Arsenal, an intriguing choice and you can
Otherwise, strap yourselves in and grab a drink because it could be a long 90 minutes if yesterday’s struggles against Napoli are anything to go on.
Galatasaray will line-up thus: Muslera, Melo, Hamit, Elmander, Riera, Umut, Chedjou, Semih, Eboue, Engin, Amrabat.
That lineup is in shirt number order, by the way, not done by position.
They both carried their teams on their backs last season yet one is deemed to be worth twice the value of the other.
GarethBale’s were an outstanding return for a winger and made him the go-to guy once the goals dried up for Emmanuel Adebayorand Jermain Defoe.
But Luis Suarez struck 30 times for Liverpool last year, the first player so to do since Fernando Torres in the 2007/8 campaign.
has expressed his confusion at the fact that while to raise up to £105million for 24-year-oldBale.
While Rodgers is clearly trying to get the best possible price he can for a player that he knows wants out of Anfield, it is hard to disagree with his view thatBale is not twice the player that Suarez is.
In fact, Suarez performed marginally better in the Premier League last season.
Both players played 33 times in the top flight but Suarez hit 23 goals compared to just 21 from Bale.
Interms of assists, Suarez edges it there as well with five goals to Bale’s four. And in percentage terms the value of both players to their clubs was equal with each scoring 32percent of their team’s goals.
Yes,Suarez has baggage with his short fuse offsetting his undoubted brilliance. But it will be interesting to see whether Rodgers gains any support for his view that Suarez is grossly underrated.
Eitherway, should Suarez join Bale in Madrid both players will do well to match the feats of footballing shock and awe set by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last season Ronaldo hit a superb 34 goals in 34 appearances and, including assists, created 62 chances.
LeoMessi hit a staggering 46 goals in 31 La Liga appearances – a shooting accuracy of 62percent – and, including assists, created 46 chances.
last night claimed a “classic” Didier Drogba penalty robbed Arsenal of their annual trophy.
Wenger even laughingly said “very” SIXTIMES as he described Drogba’s penalty award as being “soft” after the ex-Chelsea striker took a tumble to win a spot kick.
Drogba,Arsenal’s nemesis down the years, duly converted the spot kick and thenfired a spectacular late winner to seal the Emirates Cup for Galatasaray.
** with our LIVE BLOG rewind **
It may not be the Premier League title or FA Cup, but the traditional pre-season curtain raiser has at least swelled the Arsenal trophy cabinet during the past eight barren years.
Wenger said: “It was a classic Drogba. I think honestly the penalty was very, very, very, very, very, very soft.
“Drogbadid well when he come on. You could see he has kept that physical strength and that intelligent game and he finished well.
“ButI must say we were exhausted in the end, especially Per Mertesacker whoplayed the two full games after just coming back from Asia, and he (Drogba) took advantage.”
Itwas Ignasi Miquel who “bundled” Drogba over and referee Jon Moss did not hesitate to award a spot kick. Drogba’s penalty cancelled out Theo Walcott’s first half opener.
Drogbathen monstered Arsenal again with a late winner after seizing on fellowsubstitute Wesley Sneijder’s through ball, turned the defence with his right foot and then rifled home with his left. Intriguigingly, Drogba has never been booked in English football for diving.
Wengerhas not managed to land any of his top targets yet but was pleased withnew boy Yaya Sanogo, the French youngster who joined after his contractexpired at Auxerre.
Sanogo led the attack and impressed even though he failed to take a couple of openings while Walcott and substitute Olivier Giroud both went close.
Wenger,whose team drew 2-2 with Lazio on Saturday, said: “Considering he (Sanogo) has only just come back from holiday with only three or four days practice, what he did do is encouraging.
“We had a contrasting performance. In the first half we had a good performance. We were in control.
They didn’t look dangerous and we were not capable of maintaining physically that pace and that rhythm and that control.
“Inthe second half we dropped. It’s a long time since I have seen two suchdifferent halves and then I believe we were not capable of keeping the ball in the second half and we were punished for it. But it was a good preparation.”
Wenger believes Cesc Fabregas will definitely stay at Barcelona even though Manchester United are readying a third bid but Arsenal still have first option on their former captain.
The Arsenal boss did confirm Gervinho is close to joining Roma and Maroune Chamakh is set to join Crystal Palace permanently.
“WhatI know is Fabregas will stay one more year at least in Barcelona,” saidWenger. “That’s the information I have. If that changes, I don’t know. But that’s what I have been told.”
Arsenalpicked up no injuries during the two games but Japanese winger, who played a key part in the Asia tour, has a cracked rib and is out while Nacho Monreal returns to training today [Monday] while Thomas Vermaelen is out for another six weeks.
Wenger added: “Ryo is injured, a crack in the rib he got in Japan and he will be out for two weeks.”
Ashley Williams is "scared" to admit just how good he thinks Swansea can be this season, writes Matt Lloyd.
scored a remarkable 28 goals in just seven pre-season matches and conceded just once.
And they will take this week for the second leg of their Europa League qualifier.
Now skipper Williams, who lifted the club’s first major silverware in the Capital One Cup Final in February, reckons the Welsh club can hit new heights this season.
He said: "I’m really excited and I’m almost scared to admit that I think we’re going to be good this season. I don’t want to jinx it.
"We’ve progressed every year but I’ve never had a pre-season this good before. We’ve scored a lot of goals and haven’t conceded many. It couldn’t have gone better."
Swansea have won plenty of admirers for their passing football, inspired by an armada of Spanish talent.
But Williams reckons with the capture of England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony.
He said: "The new boys have fitted straight in and I’ve never known this level of competition for places here before.
"I’m a big fan of Jonjo’s and you can see what Wilfried brings to the team. He’s a great focal point for us attacking-wise and we haven’t had that sort of physical presence up front since Jason Scotland in the Championship [in 2009].
"I’m sure when he gets up to speed and knows Michu’s game, those two are going to be a big threat."Swansea face Malmo on Thursday aiming to carry their form into the Premier League and hand David Moyes a testing start to his Manchester United reign on August 17.
Williams said: "He [Moyes] came to watch us last week and I hope he was impressed.
"We couldn’t ask for anything better on the opening day and we’ll be right up for it."
Malky Mackay could be without record signing Andreas Cornelius for the Premier League kick-off, writes Matt Lloyd.
Mackay splashed £8million for the 20-year-old Danish international – then
Butthe striker is in danger of missing first game back in the top flight for 51 years after he damaged his ankle in training.
Mackaysaid: “We’re working on him to get him back for the start of the season. I would be guessing right now if he will be fit for the first game but we still have two weeks.”
CraigBellamy also missed Saturday’s 1-0 win over Serie A regulars AC Chievo-Verona after he was laid low by an illness. But South Korean midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung proved he could be a surprise goal-scorer this season after hitting the target for a third game in a row.
Stephen Caulker made his debut off the bench following a £9m move from Spurs.
Next Sunday take on Wigan Athletic in the FA Community Shield at Wembley.
A glorified friendly it may be but as sure as Dave Whelan will dedicate any victory to the broken leg that seemingly never healed, so the game takes on Anderson-sized importance for David Moyes as an early indicator of how he’ll cope as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor.
It has always been the traditional curtain-raiser to a new season but as far as United are concerned you almost expect a spokesperson to comically fumble through the velvet drapes Eric Morecambe style and sheepishly announce that a special guest has failed to turn up.
It would be fitting for a close season that has seen the club descend into very public farce.
To his credit Moyes was quick to identify midfield as requiring specific and immediate attention, an admission that felt positively Archimedian to United supporters urging the club to add quality to the area for years.
Yet weeks on Uruguayan Guillermo Varela remains the club’s sole recruit – a youth player invited to train at the club during Ferguson’s reign. Moyes must feel like boy who wanted a bike for Christmas only to be told he was Muslim.
United have spent the summer like a drunk and creepy uncle at a wedding; clumsily making unwelcome passes at anyone vaguely attractive, whilst groping repeatedly and embarrassingly at the plus-ones of others.
Extending the metaphor further you wonder whether they’d be in any fit state to seal the deal were anyone to actually say yes.
New chief executive and Ian Hislop-alike Ed Woodward hasn’t exactly helped. At the beginning of the summer most supporters would have been satisfied enough with a decent midfielder and exciting young recruit or two.
Since then Woodward has publicly stated that United wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending £60 or 70m on the right man, whilst the club have repeatedly briefed the media about the world-class standard of player they are in the market for.
Big names and have been banded about as prospective targets and expectations have soared.
It has added unnecessary pressure on United to produce and produce big. Whereas the club would previously be at pains to deny any such speculation, the new incumbents seem intent on fuelling it.
Whether it’s intentional or not the club have become a bit of a circus, and not in a good way. The kind where everyone looks like an incompetent clown and the wheels come off at the end.
Missing out on Thiago was understandable. He decided to join his mentor at Bayern and there was little United could do about it.
What is less becoming is the very public pursuit of Cesc Fabregas. The player himself has wisely kept his council; Barcelona have consistently claimed he’s not for sale (as they would); but United have conducted a cringeworthy negotiation-by-media like some attention-seeking Big Brother contestant eager to stretch out their fifteen minutes of fame.
The whole episode and indeed the summer has been an embarrassment. Every move has seemed amateur and clumsy. The club are working through their plans A, B and C like a dullard loudly reciting the alphabet and struggling to get past the first letter.
If they miss out on Fabregas and turn their attentions to, say, Luca Modric, how will he feel about being a very public consolation prize for the one that got away? Selling clubs will also start to sense United’s desperation and add idiot tax to any quoted price.
You’ve got to feel for Moyes in all of this. A few weeks ago he excitedly announced that the chairman had told him there was ‘no budget’ at United. He must now be wondering whether that’s the same ‘no budget’ he had to contend with at Everton.
The club need to back a manager who will be under tremendous pressure to succeed from the outset. It requires an intelligence, decisiveness and tact in their pursuit of players that looks far beyond them.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously referred to Manchester City as being United’s ‘noisy neighbours’. Recent months have seen one of those clubs go quietly and efficiently about the business of strengthening their squad whilst the other shouts very loudly and achieves precious little. There’s been plenty of talk of ‘marquee’ when not so much as a child’s tent has transpired.
Perhaps the most laughable story to come out of Old Trafford was Woodward dramatically jumping on a plane from Australia to deal with urgent business at the club. A few weeks on he still seems hopelessly unable to land.