English Championship

Cherries net promising keeper

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Mon, 17 Jun 2013 12:25:00

Groningen have confirmed that they have received an offer for Holland Under-21 international defender Virgil Van Dijk, with Celtic widely reported to be the bidding club.

It has been widely reported that the Glasgow giants are interested in bringing Van Dijk to Glasgow, with the player's agent Martin Henk Chin stating: "It is true that a bid for Virgil has been made but I can't say anything about the club."

In addition to this, Groningen director Hans Nijland also admitted that there was an offer on the table for the defender, but again did not reveal the club.

Celtic are rumoured to have already made two bids for the tall, imposing defender, and it may be that the current approach is the Scottish champions trying to finally land their man.

There has also been interest from within the Eredivisie, with Ajax, PSV and FC Twente all rumoured to be looking at the player, but Nijland confirmed that the move had come from outside the Netherlands.

"There is a bid from a foreign side," Nijland told magazine Voetbal International.

"The offer and our valuation are not on the same line at the moment. We want to keep Virgil but we understand his ambitions. It's an exciting period."

Van Dijk played every league game for Groningen last season as the club finished seventh in the Eredivisie.

Bale has filed an application to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to trademark a logo which copies the goal celebration gesture he makes every time he finds the net, with a number 11 - his shirt number - inside the heart.

An independent tribunal will decide in the next two months whether he can trademark the logo. Should it give him the green light, the Tottenham forward will then have a powerful icon which he can incorporate into his image rights.

That could stand to make him up to ?3million a year, according to Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brand-rapport.

He said: "The possibilities are huge for Gareth Bale. Once he has that right he can cash in on it and become a more well-known player.

"A third of his overall income could be made from his image rights, potentially up to ?3million a year."

Bale first incorporated the heart sign in to his goal celebration in 2010. He revealed afterwards that he did it as a gesture to his childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones, with whom he had a daughter last year.

Details of Bale's application to trademark the logo were first published last month. The 23-year-old, who scored 31 goals for club and country last term, has applied to trademark the logo for use on clothing, footwear and headgear as well as jewellery.

According to the IPO website, he has also applied to use the logo on leather goods, and "animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery."

Bale is not the first British sportsman to try to cash in on his image rights. David Beckham was the most famous person to do so, but the 'Eleven of Hearts' logo gives Bale a head start on the former England captain.

"Beckham does various things for various brands, but having this logo gives you the opportunity to use it as the brand image," Currie added.

"It can appear on any sort of product he wants, so it has massive potential.

"Once you have got something that is readily identifiable with the person and has the potential to be seen by millions every time he scores a goal, then it becomes more and more recognisable globally."

The versatile Strong made 201 appearances for Liverpool in the late 1960s and early 1970s having made his name as a forward with the Gunners.

Strong was born in Kirkheaton, Northumberland, in 1937 and grew up to play for local side Stanley United before being spotted by Arsenal and signing professional terms in April 1958.

He went on to become a big hit with the Londoners - forming a lethal strike partnership with Joe Baker - and averaged over a goal every other game when Liverpool paid ?40,000 for his services in 1964.

The move to the Reds yielded the success Strong had always targeted and, under Bill Shankly, helped the Anfield giants secure the FA Cup in his first season and the First Division title the following year.

Strong left Liverpool in 1970 to play one season with Coventry ahead of announcing his retirement in 1972, and then made countless returns to Anfield as a spectator despite suffering from Alzheimers disease.

The 16-year-old impressed on a tour last season and was invited to train with the club's keepers before being offered a two-year scholarship at the Goldsands Stadium.

"Jordan came to us at Easter for two weeks and did very well and we decided to offer him the chance to join our Academy next season," goalkeeping coach Neil Moss told the club's official website.

"He had offers from Premier League clubs to go on trial after playing against them on the tour, but he liked everything about the club and how he was treated here.

"I'm looking forward to working with him and hopefully between us all we can make a really good goalkeeper out of him."

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