The midfielder Cesc Fabregas is happy to have committed his long-term future to the club. "I took a huge step forward when I decided to extend my contract last summer until 2011," the 18-year-old said. "It's the same for Jose Antonio Reyes and he also believes that we can achieve great things here."
Mark Delaney is convinced the international break came at the right time and the squad is looking forward now to Saturday's match at Sunderland. "We needed this break to get ourselves back together, look at ourselves, realise what's going wrong and start putting it right," he said. "The table doesn't lie."
Nicky Butt has predicted 19-year-old midfielder Neil Kilkenny, who has appeared in the last four games, has the potential to become a Birmingham regular. "Neil is very talented and gifted," Butt said. "If he carries on listening and learning, he can go a long way. Neil is not a shy lad. He fits in and he'll do very well."
Blackburn are reportedly considering making Zurab Khizanishvili's loan move permanent in January. The defender is on loan from Rangers until June and a fee had already been agreed. However, Mark Hughes is believed to want to tie up the deal as soon as possible because Khizanishvili has been so impressive.
An inexperienced Bolton reserves were beaten in a 3-2 thriller by Blackburn on Monday. The England youth player Robert Sissons gave Bolton the lead but Keith Barker equalised for the visitors. Sergio Peter then put Rovers ahead, but Ricardo Vaz Te made it 2-2 after 35 minutes. However, Peter won the game with his second on the hour.
Alan Curbishley is rumoured to be interested in the Swansea City striker Lee Trundle. Curbishley is believed to be in the market for a new forward in the January transfer window as a partner for the prolific Darren Bent. However, Trundle, who recently signed an image rights deal with Swansea, is reluctant to leave the Welsh club.
Juan Sebastian Veron is ready to return to Argentina next summer. "At the end of the season I will go home," Veron said. "It's my family that wants me." However, the 30-year-old midfielder, who has been on loan at Internazionale since June 2004, is still under contract to Chelsea until 2007.
The club are rumoured to be pursuing the Kansas City Wizards striker, Josh Wolff, after the manager David Moyes signalled his intent to strengthen his attacking options. The 28-year-old United States international scored a penalty for his national side in their 1-1 draw with Scotland at the weekend.
The midfielder Steed Malbranque is expected to commit his future to the club by signing a new three-year contract. The 25-year-old appears to have resolved his differences with the manager Chris Coleman and looks set to reject a move to Manchester City, a club with whom he has been persistently linked.
Jerzy Dudek's agent has indicated that the goalkeeper is interested in a move to Benfica. "Benfica is playing in the Champions' League and would be an attractive option for any player, not least because Dudek played with Ronald Koeman [Benfica manager] at Feyenoord," Dudek's agent, Jan De Zeeuw, said.
The manager Stuart Pearce has handed a one-week trial to the Finnish international, Tuomas Haapala. "This is the best team so far that I've had a trial with," Haapala said. The 26-year-old midfielder is under contract at the Finnish side MyPa and made his Finland debut against Estonia at the weekend.
The future of United target Michael Ballack is still uncertain after Bayern Munich withdrew their offer of a new contract to the German midfielder. Ballack had told the Bayern board "I still haven't made up my mind". However, Bayern manager Felix Magath said: "I believe he's going to stay with us anyway."
The defender Gareth Southgate is set to return to action this Sunday against Fulham. The 35-year-old has responded well to treatment for a groin injury that was expected to keep him out until December. "I am back in full training and hope to be in consideration for Sunday," the club captain said.
The manager Graeme Souness has been dealt a further setback as defender Steven Taylor was told that he could be unavailable for another two months after dislocating his shoulder last week. Souness said: "The specialist says eight to 10 weeks from when he did it, but I'm confident he may be back before that."
Alan Perrin has revealed that he is concerned about his precarious situation as manager and has thanked the patience of Milan Mandaric. "My chairman keeps his faith in me," Perrin said , "but the sack can come." Sir Bobby Robson is allegedly a candidate for Perrin's job if he were to go.
It looks as though Julio Arca will not be fit for Saturday's game against Aston Villa after not fully recovering from a fractured toe. "At the moment, my chances of playing look slim, but my toe does feel a lot better," he said while stating the importance of the forthcoming fixture, "It's a massive game for both clubs."
Mido has reaffirmed his desire to stay and has hinted at signing a permanent deal. "I had a lot of problems but Martin Jol took me and put me on the right way. I'm determined not to let him down," said Mido, who is on loan from Roma. "This club has a lot of ambition - I would love to stay," the Egyptian said.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Zoltan Gera underwent a groin operation yesterday, which could keep the Hungary captain out for up to six weeks.The midfielder, who has been out for a month, broke down in training on Monday. Chris Kirkland has also suffered an injury set-back and will be out for a further two weeks.
WEST HAM UNITED
The England Under-21 captain Nigel Reo-Coker is out of action for six weeks with an ankle injury. The midfielder suffered the setback against West Bromwich and after a scan, it was confirmed that he has a small crack in his ankle bone. However, the goalkeeper Roy Carroll has returned to training and will be available to play Tottenham on Sunday.
Paul Jewell has declared that at the moment he has no interest in becoming the England manager stating: "the England job wouldn't be for me." Jewell has been at the centre of speculation surrounding a possible successor to Sven Goran Eriksson. Reports also suggest that Jewell will be linked with Rangers if the manager Alex McLeish is sacked.Reuse content