Souness: Gers fall has hit game

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

Luiz Gustavo insists he is not looking for a move away from Bayern Munich amid mounting transfer speculation.

The Brazilian midfielder has seen his place in the Bayern side called into question following the summer arrivals of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara.

It is difficult to see how Pep Guardiola is going to fit the wealth of talent he has at his disposal into a starting XI, and keep everyone happy over the course of the 2013/14 campaign.

The potential availability of Gustavo has been noted at Wolfsburg, who have admitted to holding an interest, while Arsenal have also been linked with an imminent approach.

Gustavo is aware that his future has become the subject of much conjecture, but the 26-year-old says he has not sparked the rumours and would be happy to remain at the Allianz Arena.

A man who helped Bayern to an historic Treble last season told Deutsche Presseagentur: "I want to stay on at Bayern Munich.

"I am under contract with the club and I want to fulfil that commitment.

"I have been in a position to fight for a first team role throughout my career. I will keep on fighting this year, too."

The new Scottish Professional Football League chief executive on Wednesday revealed that the four divisions would be termed the Scottish Premiership, Scottish Championship, Scottish League One and Scottish League Two, replicating the names of the English leagues.

The lion-based logo of the SPFL, which was formed when the two league bodies merged, is also very similar to the Barclays Premier League insignia.

Amid accusations of a lack of imagination in the branding, Doncaster insisted the motif reflected the passion and drama of the Scottish game and feels the change of name for the second tier will send a message about its importance.

Doncaster, a former Football League director, said: "People are certainly familiar with what it represents. When the names changed in England, we saw the Championship elevated in terms of stature within the game and our sincere hope is that will also be the case here.

"So many of the changes we have created - the redistribution of £1.5million from the top flight to the second tier, the introduction of play-offs that will keep the Scottish Championship alive right to the end - so much of the benefit is about Championship clubs and ensuring full-time professional football is viable at that level."

The SPFL remains without a main sponsor ahead of the season opener between Partick Thistle and Dundee United a week on Friday, but Doncaster believes it is now in a stronger position to attract a key business partner.

"We've only been in existence for three weeks, we now have clarity and certainty about the structure people will be investing in and we now have the branding and names of the different tiers of Scottish football," he said.

"Let's see where that gets us.

"I'm confident, particularly with the benefit of at least four years of clarity with broadcasting contracts, that puts us in a very good place for conversations with partners and sponsors."

The Foundation of Hearts fans' group is competing with two rival parties to buy the Scottish Premiership club - one involving former Livingston owner Angelo Massone and another a partnership between US investors and Scottish businessman Bob Jamieson.

The interested parties submitted bids earlier this month and were asked to provide evidence of their financial power by the end of this afternoon.

Jackson told STV: "I'd imagine that one or two could fall away - they produce some sort of proof of funding but we need to decide if that's strong enough for us.

"I can see us making a decision on one or two of the offers that come in after close of business today.

"We will need a couple of days to look at what we have but we may still have to go back to the interested parties to clarify one or two things.

"Hopefully we can move to preferred bidder status within a couple of weeks."

The Light Blues dropped down to the Third Division this time last year after the newco club were denied entry to the Scottish Premier League following liquidation.

The game north of the border has now had a revamp, with the two league bodies merging to create the Scottish Professional Football League.

The new SPFL brand was launched at Hampden on Wednesday - still without a sponsor - and former Ibrox boss Souness believes the dramatic fall of Rangers is still having an impact on the game as whole.

Speaking at the event at Hampden, he said: "Rangers, by anyone's standards, are a big, big football club.

"I've got a totally biased opinion about them but it would be a fool who thought that the game hadn't suffered by Rangers being demoted.

"The interest, the cash they generate, the interest there would be from sponsors with them being around - I think the game has suffered and I think you would be a fool to deny that."

He added: "They find themselves where they are and they have to deal with that and they will deal with that.

"Ally [McCoist] did a great job last year and will do a great job again this year.

"They have to take their medicine and get on with it and deal with it.

"They find themselves in this league and you can only beat the teams that you're playing each week.

"They did that last year and I expect them to do it again this year."

This season will see Rangers compete in what will now be known as Scottish League 1 - very different circumstances to when Souness was manager between 1986 and 1991.

He said: "It's worlds apart. It's a very different football club. No-one could have imagined this happening.

"But it would appear that the right people are involved now and I have high hopes that in a very short period of time they will be back in the big league and doing well in the big league.

"Walter (Smith) is back involved now and I'd like to think he has a big influence on what's going to happen there."

Former boss Smith was appointed chairman in May, having agreed to return to Rangers as a non-executive director last November.

And, as far as Souness is concerned, the importance of Smith's role cannot be over-emphasised following a period of turmoil at boardroom level.

"It's paramount because he is there for the right reasons," he said.

"He's not there for any other reason than to get Rangers back and make Rangers strong and make Rangers the club that all the supporters have known for over 100 years.

"They are one of the big football clubs in the world, as Celtic are. They are a brand that's up there."