Premier League

RM unhappy with spending rules

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Sat, 09 Feb 2013 08:26:00

Wellington Phoenix have added some depth to their squad with Fulham striker Corey Gameiro joining the club on loan until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old shot to prominence at the under-19 AFC championship, scoring all six of Australia's goals at the tournament to help them qualify for the 2013 FIFA under-20 World Cup.

He has never played a senior match for Fulham, but made eight appearances for Dutch club FC Eindhoven on a recent loan spell.

"It is important to establish relationships with clubs around the world and it is exciting that we are now forming one with an English Premier League side," Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said.

"Having players coming this way is good for the future of the club."

Gameiro should be available to make his debut next week against the Brisbane Roar.

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Benitez, appointed in November until the end of the season tasked with sealing Champions League qualification, spoke with Russian billionaire Abramovich following the defeat of Arsenal but in the four games since the Blues have failed to win.

Whether the silent treatment indicates Abramovich is preparing to replace Benitez after three wins in 10 matches is difficult to tell, but the oligarch is not renowned for his patience.

Benitez did confirm, at least, that Abramovich was content following the Arsenal match.

"The Arsenal game was the last conversation we had," Benitez said.

"That was 20 days ago - we were doing really well. He was very happy.

"We were talking about football. In terms of football everything is fine. Since then I've had conversations with people close to him, not directly."

The subject of Benitez's future was not raised on that occasion, yet it may be on the agenda should Chelsea fail to beat Wigan in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

The Spaniard was unable to say whether he will remain in post until the end of the season.

"He (Abramovich) is not talking about this; he likes to talk about football," Benitez said.

"He was saying the team were fantastic in the first half, then the second half... He was talking about normal things."

Benitez refused to entertain questions over his future and insisted his focus was on Wigan.

"If you win, it's fine. If you cannot, people start talking," he said.

"I cannot talk about the future if my priority is the next game," he said.

"I have a contract until the end of the season and we can be talking and talking, but all I can do is to win games.

"My position is to concentrate on games and try to improve the performance of the team.

"My job is to do everything to win games. I will try to do that.

"We want to win. He (Abramovich) wants to win. That's it.

"He wants to be in the top four, obviously. We know with a little bit of luck we will be in a much better position."

Benitez, who spent the first part of the international break at his family home on the Wirral, was adamant the uncertainty over his position was not unsettling.

"My job is exactly the same," he said.

"I knew that I was signing six or seven months of contract.

"I'm not here to change things outside the pitch. I'm here to improve players, to do my best every day.

"I'm really pleased to be here. I'm just concentrating on trying to do my best and trying to have a positive effect."

Individual errors have proved costly, Benitez believes, but he feels performances in general have been good.

"We have played a lot of good games, we have scored a lot of goals and we have won games in style," he said.

"But we have had some problems in some games, so we have to come back to the same things we were doing."

The Premier League's bottom side pulled off something of a surprise on transfer deadline day, breaking the transfer record they set earlier in January to bring in the former Blackburn defender from Anzhi Makhachkala.

Samba has penned a four-and-a-half-year deal with the west Londoners, who remain in serious danger of dropping in the second tier.

QPR are six points adrift of safety heading to Swansea tomorrow but Redknapp remains confident of staying up - and keeping Samba.

"When people say he is a risk and you're putting the club in a difficult position if it went down, you could sell Chris Samba for what you paid or more at the end of the season if you wanted to," Redknapp said. "Without a shadow of a doubt.

"I had a chairman ring me a week ago asking me about him and saying 'what would you do if you went down?'

"I said 'we ain't going to go down' but he said 'well, we want to sign him...if we'd have known he was available'. I am talking about a big club.

"There will be big clubs wanting him. Big clubs, not a danger.

"I could see a club not too far away 18 months ago and I thought 'surely they've got to take Samba?' I was always after Samba at Tottenham. Always."

Last season Roberto Mancini's side incredibly overcame an eight-point gap on Manchester United in the final three weeks to secure a first title since 1968.

However, City look unlikely to repeat the feat this term as Manchester United already post a nine-point lead at the top.

Joe Hart has admitted defeat at St Mary's on Saturday would all but end their hopes of retaining the title - something Lallana has echoed in the build-up.

"Yeah [I agree]," the Saints skipper said. "I think if we beat them and United win, it would be a 12-point gap.

"I am not really looking at that end of the table as I'm concentrating on the other end at the minute.

"But if that is what Joe Hart says, he is an experienced character and player. As an England international, he knows his stuff."

Lallana linked up with Hart back in September when the Saints winger was called up to the England squad that faced Ukraine.

Frank Lampard scored in a 1-1 draw that night and Lallana is perplexed by his potential Chelsea exit.

"I'm the one that saying to anyone I speak to that I don't know why Chelsea haven't signed Lampard up," said Lallana, speaking as Southampton launched their new official timekeeper partnership with Eterna.

"He's got double figures again this season. He was only on about four goals a few weeks ago and then he came back form injury and is in double figures already.

"His finish for England against Brazil was just remarkable, typical Lampard.

"I hope he plays for England and Chelsea for as long as he can. The next two to three years at least.

"For young lads like me, he's a role model that you've got to look up to."

Lallana is in line for his first start since suffering a knee injury on December 8 and hopes to impress England boss Roy Hodgson once again.

"My main target is to keep Southampton in the Premier League but I would like to eventually be involved with England again," he added.

"In time, I definitely would like to get back into the fold at some point."

Although City voted against their introduction, a vote was passed with the required two-thirds majority by club bosses on Thursday that will curb excess spending in the top flight.

Clubs will now only be able to incur losses over a three-year period of ?105million, whilst those with annual wage bills in excess of ?45million can only increase them by a maximum of four per cent.

As commercial income is not taken into account, there does seem an obvious way around the issue.

However, Mancini believes the new rules are a restriction on the ambitions of owners.

"I do not agree," he said.

"If I am a rich man, I want to spend all my money on my team."

As City are already working towards meeting UEFA's FFP rules, which are even tighter, the practical impact may be negligible.

However, the kind of huge spending sprees funded by Sheikh Mansour that catapulted the Blues from their mid-table base in 2008 to become Premier League title winners within the space of four seasons will simply not be possible in future.

It is City's good fortune therefore that the drawbridge is being pulled up with them safely across it.

What Mancini does acknowledge though, is that the Blues will have to be far cuter in the transfer market than they have been in the past, when their vast wealth has been enough to seal many deals.

"We can't change this," he said.

"If these are the rules we should work with them.

"It is normal. We need to buy good players, If you want to buy good players you have to spend money.

"This isn't only the situation for us, it is the same for every team.

"But if we work well and work quickly in February, March and April, we can find good players without spending ?30 million."

Indeed, the major problem City face is that the price for new recruits increases when they express an interest rises substantially because everyone is aware of the resources at their disposal.

It places greater emphasis on signing youngsters, although even that can be problematic.

"Every time Manchester City move for a player his value goes up," said Mancini.

"If a normal club that doesn't have a lot of money to spend wants to buy a player it might cost them ?8million. If Manchester City move for the same player the club asks for ?25 or ?30million.

"There should be other rules for this."

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