Month: December 2016

Dimitar Berbatov keen for return to Premier League

Former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov is keen to make a return to the Premier League, his agent says.

The former Bulgarian captain, 35, is on free agent after Greek club PAOK Salonika released him in June.

“Dimitar feels he can play for at least another year and his priority would be to come back to England,” Berbatov’s agent Emil Dantchev said.

Before his dismissal this week, former Swansea boss Bob Bradley said that Berbatov had been “on his radar”.

The former Red Devil striker, who also played for Tottenham and Fulham in the Premiership, made 229 Premier League appearances over nine seasons, and has previously been linked with a move to America’s Major League Soccer.

Berbatov was part of the Manchester United team that won the league in 2009 and 2011, when he was joint Golden Boot winner with Carlos Tevez.

However, he was benched during United’s 2009 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona and also missed out two years later when Sir Alex Ferguson’s team were beaten by the same opposition at Wembley.

In addition, he won League Cups with both United and Tottenham, scoring for Spurs in their 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in 2008.

Torsten Frings announced as new Darmstadt coach

torsten-frings

Former Germany international midfielder Torsten Frings has been named the new head coach of Bundesliga struggling team SV Darmstadt 98.

The 40-year-old has put pen to paper on an 18-month deal through to June 2018 and takes up the reins from Norbert Meier’s interim successor Ramon Berndroth.

“I’m delighted that the responsible parties at Darmstadt have put their faith in me,” Frings said at his unveiling.

“I’m itching to get going at this special club, who are a great match for my personality.”

Frings, who made 402 Bundesliga appearances as a player for SV Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munich, acquired his coaching license during his time as assistant coach to Viktor Skripnik at Bremen since October 2014.

He was out of work since being dismissed as assistant coach of Werder Bremen together with boss Skripnik in September, and Darmstadt is his first position as head coach.

Nonetheless, the 40-year-old will have his work cut out with a side who are sitting at the bottom of the Bundesliga, eight points adrift of outright safety.

Darmstadt had been searching for a new coach after dismissing Norbert Meier in early December and promoting Ramon Berndroth as interim coach. However, their fortunes did not change for the better as Berndroth lost all three of his games in charge.

Darmstadt will hope to turn the corner with Frings leading his first training session on January 3, in preparation for the second half of the season.

The Lilies resume their Bundesliga campaign at home to 1. FC Koln on 21 January.

Jose Mourinho expresses intent to stay longer with United

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to stay longer than his three-year contract because he is “loving” his time at Old Trafford despite the attraction of lucrative salaries on offer to work in the Chinese Super League.

Mourinho, 53, joined the club in July, and they are sixth in the Premier League after 17 games as United struggled for form until a recent improvement in results.

Regarding a new contract with United he said: “They didn’t [offer it yet] and I’m not expecting them to do because they gave me a three-year contract. They were being super supportive with me. They always gave me the feeling that three years is not the time I’m going to stay.”

“I know that if one day they bring a new contract, I will sign it.”

Mourinho says he will not be making the switch to China – although he admitted that “China money is attractive for everyone”. With his winning record – which makes him a target for clubs across the globe – he believes that he has many years left at the top of European club competition.

“I want to stay in the most difficult place to win,” he said. “Too young, too many years of football to go to a place like China. China money is attractive for everyone but I love more my football at the highest level.”

Mourinho also claimed that he “will be more than happy to keep the squad as it is” as the January transfer window apparoaches, and also expresses sympathy for players who had less first-team opportunities.

“I still have some bad feelings towards myself because I didn’t give a real chance to everyone,” he said.

“Some positions in our squad have overbookings. The attacking wing positions, not just pure wingers but also others who can play there so we added Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney to Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay, Ashley Young.”

“So to be honest, people like Ashley Young and Memphis Depay, I didn’t really give them a run of matches to play.”