Following speculation on Friday last week, Brazilian striker Alfonso Alves has indeed joined Qatar league champions Al Sadd on a three year contract for an undisclosed fee, reported to be around £6million or around half what Middlesbrough paid for the player in January 2008.
Alves arrived at Middlesbrough from Dutch club Heerenveen, where the Brazilian could not stop scoring goals, but despite early promise the player could not reproduce that same form in the Premier League where he managed just ten goals in 42 appearances for the club.
Alves should find the pace of the Qatar league more to his liking, he will be playing for one of the top clubs in Asia and eleven times league champions in Qatar.
Alves has yet to play this season after undergoing surgery to a broken foot at the end of the last campaign, but is looking forward to the new challenge and also to linking up with compatriot Felipe Jorge in the Al Sadd team.
Choosing to forget his awful experience in the Premiership and the relegation of Middlesbrough, Alves instead clearly focused on the future when saying;
“I want to have great success with Al Sadd just like I did with Heerenveen in Holland in 2007 where I scored a lot of goals and I hope that I can do the same with Al Sadd.”
At this time of year football fans all over the UK are not only full of the excitement and possibilities a new season brings – will their team gain promotion, avoid relegation or have a decent cup run this year, but many are enthused enough to join fantasy football leagues where they can show friends how simple it is to be a ‘virtual’ football manager.
Football betting tends to peak at this time of year too, as football fans attempt to forecast what is going to happen over the next 9 months.
As far as this season’s Championship goes, I really can’t see there being clear favourites for promotion to the Premier League.
Bookmakers have made Newcastle United favourites to bounce straight back to the Premiership but even with a convincing display against Reading at the weekend, I still don’t fancy them for automatic promotion all the time there is board room and ownership turmoil at St James Park.
I believe Sheffield United and Cardiff City will kick on from last season. But what effect will Roy Keane have on Ipswich Town’s chances to return to the top league in English football nad likewise, Nigel Clough at Derby County?
Of the three teams relegated from the Premier League last season, I can only really see West Bromich Albion as possible champions, even with new manager Roberto Di Matteo. Until Mike Ashley sells Newcastle I think they will be destined to lose their best players and remain a Championship side. While at Middlesbrough, I’d like to see Gareth Southgate do well but I really don’t think they will be equipped for life in the Championship this season, and will have to accommodate a different style of play.
As previously mentioned on this blog, I think Leicester City had such a good season winning promotion from League One that they could quite easily win two promotions on the bounce.
The internet is full of good quality websites offering football news services to keep fans buzzing throughout the season. But as football fans, we all know only too well that there can only be one winner at the end of the season.
Leroy Lita has signed for Middlesbrough today on a free transfer having finished his contract with previous club Reading in June. Earlier reports suggested that Lita had been made offers from Sheffield United, Leicester and Norwich,but the player has opted for Middlesbrough.
Lita spent most of last season away from the Madjeski Stadium with loan spells at Charlton and Norwich after falling out of favour with Reading. The 24 year old is looking to kick start his career with Brough.
The troublesome Mido has been packed off to Egypt , on loan to Zamalek for this season. The player really does have a serious attitude and is frustratingly inconsistent but once in a while does something special. But Gareth Southgate has done the right thing to ship him away, without doubt.
Middlesbrough have signed welsh international goalkeeper Danny Coyne from Tranmere Rovers, as replacement for Russ Turnbull who left for Chelsea last week. The 35 year old is hoping that he can put some pressure on Middlesbrough number one Brad Jones for the goalkeeping jersey this season.
Coyne started his career with Tranmere before moving to Grimsby in 1999. He made over 200 appearances for Grimsby, many in the championship, before an ill advised move to Leicester City, who were then in the Premier league, in 2003. He played just five games for Leicester before moving to Burnley where he would stay for three seasons before a move back to Tranmere where he has been since 2007.
Danny Coyne was League One’s Golden Glove winner last season, he recorded twenty clean sheets in winning the award.
Coyne says that he is as fit as he has ever been and is expecting to push Jones for a first team place and hopes that he can contribute to Middlesbrough winning promotion to the Premier League.