Five players Roma could target this January


Roma have been linked with a number of players in recent weeks, despite their sporting director Monchi insisting they are not going to bring in new recruits this January.

The Giallorossi are in fine form under manager Eusebio Di Francesco, and currently sit fifth in Serie A. They also through to the knockout stages of the Champions League having topped a very tough group c.

They lost some key players last summer, with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rüdiger moving on, while the additions of Rick Karsdorp, Cengiz Under, Gregoire Defrel and Patrik Schick are still yet to meet their undoubted potential.

Sam May takes a look at five players Roma could target this January…


Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)

The 21-year-old was a product of Pescara’s academy before going on to make 36 appearances for their first team. During his time in the senior team, he scored five goals and managed one assist. After Leaving Pescara at the end of the 2016 season, he only missed three league matches, featuring in 38 overall. But it was the defensive midfielder’s importance, which was obvious to Marco Giampaolo’s side through his continued presence. The Uruguayan has been hot property this season and has scored three goals in 13 appearances. He would be a perfect addition to the Giallorossi’s engine room and his deal with Sampdoria ends in June 2020. The pass master was also linked with a move to Sevilla, when Roma’s Monchi tried to lure him to Andalusia back in 2015. Despite his €40 million clause in his contract, Roma could still look to prize him away this January.


Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Roma could make a fresh move for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez this January. The Italian giants were hot on the heels of the 26-year-old last summer, despite the Foxes make it clear the Algerian was not for sale.

Leicester remained resilient in their efforts to keep hold of the attacking midfielder, despite him handing in a transfer request and the club rejecting a third bid of £32million. Mahrez has since proved Leicester was right and shown glimpses of his best form so far this season. Roma would have to pay close to £45million to lure him away from the King Power Stadium in January. Claude Puel has made it clear he hopes to keep hold of one of his key players, but Leicester’s resolve could be tested again when the window opens next month with Barcelona also keen on his services.


Dani Cabellos (Real Madrid)

Dani Ceballos is a player the Giallorossi have recently been linked with. The 21-year-old made the move to Los Blancos in the summer, following a £17.5million switch from Real Betis. Having failed to nail down a starting birth and becoming a fringe player under Zinedine Zidane. He has started just two La Liga games since his move, sparking rumours Di Francesco could sign him in the January window. Arsenal and Tottenham have also been keeping tabs on the midfielder and could reignite their interest. Monchi is a huge admirer of the Spaniard, and the player is hoping to book a spot in Spain’s World Cup squad but knows only regular first-team football can guarantee that. So Roma believe the player may be open to a departure and may tempt Madrid into a deal with a potential buyback clause.


Arthur (Gremio)

Arthur, 21, has been a revelation this season in the Brazilian championship, helping his side to the conquest of the Copa Libertadores. A buyout clause of £50 million has been interested in his contract, but this won’t put of current suitors, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are keen to secure his signature. As Brazilian clubs in general can’t match the financial power of European clubs, they have no option to sell the player sooner, rather than later.

He would be a perfect addition in the heart of the Roma midfield. The Giallorossi are desperate for some youthful additions to their squad and the attacking midfielder, who has been dubbed the Brazilian Andrés Iniesta, would be a perfect option for the club. Both Radja Nainggolan, 29, and 34-year-old Daniele De Rossi are not getting any younger, and Roma need to build for the future. By signing Arthur, he would take the burden off both and give Di Francesco an extra option in midfield.


Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid)

Spanish winger Lucas Vázquez is another player linked with a move to the Stadio Olimpico in January. The 26-year-old, who has also been linked with Newcastle, has not been a regular in Real Madrid’s plans this season. Marco Asensio and Isco will most likely be the first men called off the bench for Zidane, so Vázquez will not have the minutes he needs in order to secure a place in Spain’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad.

Real Madrid should probably sell the player while there are clubs willing to offer big money for him, just like they did with José Callejón to Napoli back in 2013. That’s the best thing for Vázquez and also for the club, so with Monchi impressed with the winger, Roma could look to swoop for highly rated player.


Who is Amanda Staveley? Newcastle United’s potential new owner profiled


Amanda Staveley is set to become the new owner of Newcastle, with Mike Ashley set to cash out. But who is she? Sam May takes a look…

Staveley, 44, runs PCP Capital Partners and set to replace the outgoing Ashley. The Sports Direct tycoon is expected to cash out and hand over the club to the financier and her mystery backers, for just over £300million.

Following talks in London, it seems the deal for Staveley to take over at Newcastle is almost complete. Involved romantically with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, she met her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi, when he worked for her company.

The businesswoman has one child, Alexander (Lexi), who she has had with Mr Ghodoussi, and ended up in labour following a business. They also married in 2011, and now work’s between Dubai and their London apartment in Park Lane.

Her company is backed with £28billion in funds from China and the Middle East and she wants to become who of the biggest figures in football. She has an incredible business mind and is no stranger at cutting deals.

Staveley and PCP helped broker Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City from Thaksin Shinawatra in 2009. She was initially spotted in the stands at St James’ Park in October when Newcastle took on Liverpool in the Premier League.

Fenway Sports Group had previously rejected an approach from Staveley, who was looking to take a share in Liverpool. It isn’t just football that she is interested in however, she also enjoys horse racing.

She is the daughter on Robert and Lynn Staveley. Her father founded the Lightwater Valley theme park in 1969 while her grandfather, Ralph, was successful running a betting business and, later, Doncaster dog racing track.

Staveley attended Queen Margaret’s School in York and had a keen interest in sports. She left school at 16 and took her A-levels in a single year before being accepted into Cambridge’s St Catharine’s College to read modern languages.

After packing in her degree, Staveley took out a £180,000 loan to open the restaurant Stocks between Cambridge and Newmarket. With no formal training, she “lived and breathed business and banking” both studying for her future roles in the city and working as a waitress. Opening her Newmarket restaurant in the Middle East it is here where she started to make her money. She was then named Businesswoman of the Year in 2000.

But after selling a 49 per cent stake to EuroTelecom, a company which flopped in the collapse of the Dotcom boom, but after buying back her stake in Q.ton in a complicated deal the company failed.

She will join Southamton’s Katharina Liebherr, West Ham’s Karren Brady and Ann Budge of Hearts in becoming one football’s prominent women figures.

Three strikers Everton could target in January


Sam Allardyce is looking to bolster his attacking options this January

The newly appointed Everton manager has made it clear he is looking to add firepower to his team and strengthen his forward line, having claimed the Blues failed to replace Romelu Lukaku last summer.

Troy Denney is a name that has been mentioned already, but who else could they target? Sam May takes a look…


Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)

The Toffees could make a move for the former Liverpool forward Christian Benteke having worked with the Belgium international during his short spell at Crystal Palace. Benteke, 27, has failed to score so far this season, having made 10 appearances, but re-uniting with Sam Allardyce could kick start his season.

He is your old fashioned centre forward and right now that is what Everton need, somebody to put the ball into the back of the net. They are lacking goals and have scored just 18 in total, having let Lukaku join Manchester United in the summer window for a fee that could rise to £90 million.

Under Allardyce, Benteke netted 17 times in total helping the Eagles to avoid relegation, so a move to Goodison Park would certainly be a perfect option for player, manager and club. The fact he has proven Premier League experience could also be a factor for director of football Steve Walsh and Big Sam to consider.


Jermaine Defoe (Bournemouth)

Defore, 35, would be seen as a temporary option until the end of the season. He has netted just once this campaign, his goal coming against Brighton back in September to roll back the years, when he first scored for the Cherries as a teenager in 2001.

When Allardyce took the experienced striker to Sunderland from Toronto FC, not only did he score 34 goals in two seasons, but also got an England re-call. Clearly, he likes working under Big Sam. He has found game time hard to come by on the South Coast, so a loan move away could well be on the cards.


Danny Ings (Liverpool)

The third option is not as controversial as you might think. He could – and it would be a great move for all concerned, to go for a loan move for the Reds 25-year-old forward. Now before you KOP diehards go crazy, think about it. Ings is the forgotten striker in the Premier League.

He is wasted in the Reds under-23 side and is way down the first team pecking order behind Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke. True, the Reds have been loyal and patient with his injury problems, but his open market stock value is at an all time low.

The player needs first-team football and is happy to be on Merseyside, training each day. A loan move across Stanley Park can only be good for both sides. His value would increase, and the Reds could cash in this summer – maybe with a permanent move to the Toffees.

No doubt he could help keep the Blues up and that keeps the Derby clashes alive. After all, who on the Kop would relish a derby against Stoke under the lights at Anfield over the Toffees? Or if you’re a Gladys Street true Blue, the same against Preston North End or Bolton Wanderers over the Reds – it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Big Sam won’t be afraid to call Jürgen Klopp, and if the call comes, let’s hope it’s a positive for the player and both our city clubs.