Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schalke look to strengthen

Schalke boss Felix Magath has stated his intentions of bringing Brazilian forward Julio Baptista to Germany.

After finishing only five points off title winners Bayern Munich last time out, Schalke only needed to add a little more firepower to challenge for the league more strongly this season.

The first order of business for Magath this summer was to secure the signing of Spain’s all time leading scorer and genuine legend, Raul from Real Madrid. The Spanish side have since strengthened and are hoping to close the gap on current La Liga champions Barcelona. The latest La Liga odds suggest it will be a tightly-fought race.

Meanwhile, Schalke are now hoping to team Raul up with his former Real team-mate Baptista.

Magath has made it clear he is chasing the striker by declaring "Julio Baptista is a good player, the rebuilding of the club has just started. If we want to fulfil our expectation we need new quality inside the squad. We could use some more signatures.”

After a decent first season in Italy with Roma, Baptista suffered a difficult second campaign in the capital, starting only four games in Serie A, scoring a meagre three goals.

Baptista has proven his quality ever since he was first brought to Europe by Sevilla in 2003. His prolific scoring record with Sevilla convinced Real to make a move for the player. During a three year spell in the Spanish capital, Baptista won the La Liga title in 2008 before spending time at Arsenal and then being sold to Roma.

The 28 year old is under contract with Roma until 2012 but his club have made it known they would be willing to listen to offers for the player. Schalke look to be in the lead to sign the Samba boy and if they do, they will see their chances of winning the title in the Bundesliga odds significantly strengthen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

United fans to have the last laugh?

Whilst Manchester City have spent over £150 million pounds acquiring new players this summer, compared to the small amount spent by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to acquire Chris Smalling, Bebe, and Hernandez, history suggests that United fans have little to worry about.

Having in large part beaten off the challenge to United’s dominance of the Premier League from Chelsea, winning three titles in a row, and with Ferguson enjoying a second success in the Champions League during that time, the United boss is no stranger to fighting off wealthier contenders.

However, with the ‘noisy neighbours’ showing no sign of letting up, Ferguson is aware that City are not likely to be giving up any time soon in their quest to lead the way when it comes to English Premier League betting.

With City putting in a lacklustre display at Champions League rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, yet still managing to come away with a point, Ferguson will be aware that City will be determined to gel their squad as quickly as possible, something that Roberto Mancini knows his job depends upon.

Should Mancini be able to get his squad pulling together and looking like a team, few people would argue that, whilst United are the more seasoned campaigners, City have the stronger squad, and one that includes players such as James Milner and Joe Hart, who have every incentive to show they are the best in the country.

Whilst Mancini will have to demonstrate he can keep a squad of stars happy, Ferguson is famous for discarding any player who deems himself above the team, including Roy Keane and David Beckham, and has shown that when United are up against it, he is at his very best. For that reason, who would bet against United’s football odds to have the last laugh?