CITY WANT PEPE

The manager of Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini, will probably be looking to secure the services of the Real Madrid defender Pepe again during the upcoming mid-season transfer window. Pellegrini had tried to do that during the pre-season transfer window as well, but, he hadn’t succeeded.

Manchester City hasn’t lived up to the expectations in the ongoing Premier League so far. Their defense, in particular, has looked pretty fragile and that’s because their main defender and skipper Vincent Kompany has been largely unavailable.

Pellegrini’s main focus this January will be to strengthen the defense of his team and the man who is still believed to be at the top of his list is Pepe. There have been a few reports that Madrid is looking to give Pepe a contract extension, but, if City goes to them with a good offer in January, they might change their mind and let the 30 years old Brazilian leave.

Pepe had signed for Madrid 6 years back. Los Blancos had bought him from the Portuguese club FC Porto after paying a transfer fee of 30 million Euros.

During Pepe’s tenure at Santiago Bernabeu so far, Madrid has lifted the La Liga trophy a couple of times and in both those campaigns, the Brazilian centre-back was the standout performer for them.

Pepe has played under the guidance of Pellegrini when the latter was in charge at Madrid during the 2009-10 Season. The tuning between these two was believed to be pretty good and one should not be surprised if Pellegrini eventually manages to land Pepe at the Etihad Stadium this January.
Pepe has played all his football outside England so far. After spending the first few years of his senior career in Portugal, he had made a move to Spain in July 2007.

REAL NET WIN

Real Madrid managed a 4-1 win over Getafe during the weekend, which helped them keep pace with table leaders Barcelona. One of the most high-profile absentees from the match was Gareth Bale, who had to pull out from the starting line-up after suffering a thigh injury.

He was initially set to make his home debut by starting the match, but as he was preparing, he suffered this injury. Manager Carlo Ancelotti then included summer signing Isco as his replacement. It was a good match for the home team because they won comfortably against a good team.

They managed to open the scoring through defender Pepe. However, it was winger Cristiano Ronaldo who stole the limelight with two goals to his name. After the match, Ancelotti was not concerned about the injury suffered by Bale because he thinks that it was not very serious. Bale has not been involved in pre-season for Tottenham or Real Madrid due to the protracted transfer saga. He was not fit to start the match against Villarreal recently, but he was included due to the pressure from the club. Bale repaid the faith of the club by scoring on his debut, but it looks like he’ll be out for a few weeks.

“He had a small problem when he was warming up. It’s not an injury. He just didn’t feel comfortable. He is disappointed because he was very excited to play. I don’t know if Bale can play on Wednesday because it’s difficult for a player to be ready in three days. I think Bale will be ready for Saturday’s match. We are working to improve Bale’s fitness because he didn’t have a good pre-season,” Ancelotti told the club’s official website. His goal against Getafe means that Isco has scored five goals in his six league appearances this season.

CITY KEEN ON PEPE

New Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is extremely keen on bringing Real Madrid defender Pepe before the end of the transfer window. The club recently lost Kolo Toure to Liverpool on a free transfer, while it is also understood that Pellegrini does not see Joleon Lescott as a first-team regular.

Hence, he wants to bring in Real Madrid defender Pepe, who has been one of the controversial figures in Spanish football over the last few years. The Portuguese defender is not thought to be in the plans of new manager Carlo Ancelotti at the Santiago Bernebeu.

However, there could be a slight chance that Pepe will end up staying at Real Madrid beyond the summer because there have been reports that Italian club Napoli are looking to sign Raul Albiol, who has found it extremely hard to secure a first-team spot since his arrival from Valencia a few years ago. The combination of Pepe and Sergio Ramos had dominated the central defence under José Mourinho and the Spaniard does not see his opportunities increasing under Ancelotti as well.

Pepe could cost in the region of £ 20 million, which could put Manchester City off. However, they are extremely keen on strengthening the defence, which was extremely inconsistent last season under Roberto Mancini.

Meanwhile, City also want to confirm the deal that would take Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo to the Etihad stadium. City have been in talks with the Spanish club over a £ 20 million transfer for the last few weeks. There are also involved in negotiations with Fiorentina over the transfer of Stevan Jovetic. These signings would help them finally strengthen the attack department, which has been severely weakened following the departures of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. City have failed in the pursuits of Falcao and Edinson Cavani.

JOSE STANDS BY DECISION

Real Madrid manager José Mourinho has defended his decision to drop defender Pepe from the match against Espanyol during the weekend. Real Madrid could only draw the match 1-1, which led to them seeing Barcelona winning the title without playing a match.

Defender Pepe was dropped from the squad after being critical of Mourinho earlier in the week. Pepe responded to Mourinho’s claims that he would have signed Diego Lopez much earlier in his Real Madrid managerial career. This was seen as an indirect dig towards the captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, whose relationship with Mourinho has been strained in recent months.

Pepe said that Mourinho could be paying more respect to Casillas, who has achieved a lot with Real Madrid. Mourinho responded to this criticism by saying that Pepe was probably speaking out of frustration that he has lost his first-team place to a teenager. The 31-year-old Portuguese defender has not been a first choice at Real Madrid in the last few months. Mourinho has been preferring 19-year-old Varane as his centre back. Mourinho will be leaving Real Madrid after three years in charge of the club. During this time, he managed to win the league title once and the Copa del Rey once.

“It was my decision and that’s it. I’m the coach. I don’t have to justify anything. From the first to the last day I’ll always be the one to decide. Sometimes I can share the reasons for my decisions and sometimes not, I’ll take that option. On Friday you’ll see who plays and it will always be my decision and responsibility. We have alternatives. It is a position in which we have people who are playing well and that’s good. We are obviously sorry that he cannot play in match that everyone wants to play,” said Mourinho.

BELLAMY WILL MANAGE

The 33-year-old Cardiff city striker Craig Bellamy has revealed that he wants to get into management once his playing days are finished. The striker has represented the likes of Manchester city, Liverpool, and West Ham during his playing days.

He is currently with the Championship club Cardiff city, who are currently top of the Championship table. Bellamy is regarded as one of the best strikers from Wales, but his temperament has been questioned in the past. He has said that management is certainly an option for him once he retires from playing football.

He has gone through biographies of several great managers like the former Barcelona manager Guardiola. Bellamy has claimed that it is now his ambition to become the best manager in the world. Even if he is not successful at this, Bellamy has said that will be extremely satisfied with the hard work that he would have put in trying to become one. Bellamy has also spoken about the loss of his friend and the former Wales manager Gary Speed, who committed suicide a few years ago. Cardiff are looking to get promotion back to the top flight for the first time for more than four decades, and Bellamy has said that he cannot wait for the occasion.

“I am reading the biography of Pep Guardiola. I find it really interesting. I’m going to take a big time out and visit people like Marcelo Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao. I have a huge affection for him. There is no one better than Jose Mourinho for how he cherishes his players and their affection for him is unique. I want to become one of the greatest managers that has ever lived. Why not? If it doesn’t happen, then I’ve given everything and I’d be proud of whatever I’m able to achieve,” said Bellamy.

With only weeks to go before the Premier League action kicks off, here is some bargain football betting advice for the new season.

Anyone who is looking for a bargain bet on the Premier League will need to look further afield than placing a wager on the 2012/13 champions. Odds are predictably short on the contenders – title holders Manchester City, rivals Manchester United and European champions Chelsea.

However, things get a little more interesting if you’re looking to have a flutter on the relegation places. Unsurprisingly, the three promoted sides, Southampton, Reading and West Ham, are among the favourites to go straight back down.

You will find much longer football betting odds on the likes of Aston Villa, Stoke City and Fulham. Although all three sides finished mid-table last time round, Villa spluttered their way to safety and it is questionable whether Paul Lambert can work the kind of magic he produced at Norwich. Meanwhile, Tony Pulis’ Stoke also stumbled towards the end of the campaign, while Fulham blew hot and cold and look set to lose key striker Clint Dempsey.

So, if you are looking for lucrative Premier League odds, look down, not up. And while there are lots of sportsbooks that will accept your money, football betting at William Hill is the best place for fantastic odds and news on Man City, Man Utd and all the other teams you’re watching.