Fabregas’ future must be sorted before World Cup
Transfer Talk: The player wants to be focused on Spain, not Barca and Arsenal, in South Africa
Cesc Fabregas has demanded that his future be sorted out before June's World Cup Finals in South Africa, according to Spanish daily sports rag AS. In what the paper described as an "informal conversation" with Fabregas, the Arsenal skipper revealed that he wants Spain coach Vincent Del Bosque to be assured he is totally focused on the tournament.
Fabregas has been unwittingly drawn into a war of words between Arsenal, the club that made him, and Barcelona, the club that cast him out when he was a teenager. Realising the error of their ways, the morally bankrupt Barcelona board have embarked upon a public campaign to entice Fabregas back to Spain. Arsenal are furious with what they see, justifiably, as a crude attempt to 'tap up' their skipper and have written a letter of complaint to the ailing Spanish giants, who this week failed to beat lowly Stuttgart in the Champions League.
AS says that Fabregas, who has scored 15 goals for the Gunners this season, made it plain that he is committed to Arsenal but wants his "future tied up" by the end of the Premier League season.
Nigeria will today announce their new manager and among the five men shortlisted for the job are two former England managers of contrasting outlooks. On the one hand there is Glenn Hoddle, the Bible-basher, and on the other hand there is Sven-Goran Eriksson, the serial bonker who was runner-up in the coveted Durex Man of the Year competition in 2006.
Hoddle coached England during the 1998 World Cup Finals, a tournament that ended in tears with a last 16 defeat to Argentina following David Beckham's red card for petulance. The following year Hoddle, a born-again Christian who brought faith healer Eileen Drewery to team meetings, declared in an interview that disabled people were being punished for the sins of a previous life. He was promptly sacked after the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, strongly condemned his remarks.
Hoddle's replacement was Eriksson, the former Lazio boss who guided England to the 2002 and 2006 finals. In both tournaments, however, England underperformed, something that couldn't be said of Eriksson when it came to the ladies. Among those who fell under the charms of the smooth-talking, spectacle-wearing Swede were ageing beauty Ulrika Jonsson and Football Association floozie-cum-secretary Faria Alam.
Last night Eriksson's representative, Athole Still, said that they were in Africa and having a good time: "We've looked around and studied all the potential of Nigeria," he said. "Sven met with the federation today [Thursday]. It was a general discussion rather than an interview I would say. We will see what happens."
Meanwhile Nigeria Football Federation spokesman Ademola Olajire confirmed that Hoddle is being considered for the post: "We have five candidates and Glenn Hoddle is one of them," said Olajire. "He took his turn [to be interviewed] yesterday and we will make a decision tomorrow [Friday] evening."
Asked if he was worried about some of Hoddle's more hare-brained views on life, Olajire said: "Coaches are hired and fired at any time, it depends from one field to another, one society to another. We cannot judge people's competence against different professional environments. He took England to the World Cup round of 16 in 1998 and he was a very good player."
Also hoping to become Nigeria's new manager are Bruno Metsu, the French coach who steered Senegal to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, ex-Sweden coach Lars Lagerback and former Ghana boss Ratomir Dujkovic.
Nigeria, nicknamed the Super Eagles, sacked Shaibu Amodu following last month's Africa Cup of Nations. Whoever gets the job will have little time to prepare the squad before their opening World Cup game on June 12 against Argentina. ·