Didier Drogba, left, was celebrating scoring Chelsea's first goal on Saturday, but his days at Stamford Bridge may be numbered.
Didier Drogba, left, was celebrating scoring Chelsea's first goal on Saturday, but his days at Stamford Bridge may be numbered.

Andre Villas-Boas plans a striker clearout in January window



Andre Villas-Boas is planning a partial clear out of the club's strikers when the transfer window opens next month.

The Chelsea manager is readying for the departure of either Nicolas Anelka or Didier Drogba with Salomon Kalou also being encouraged to move elsewhere.

Anelka was excluded from first-team training last week along with Brazil central defender Alex, who the club are also keen to offload. Villas-Boas says that the club has accepted transfer requests from both.

"The conversation was fair and direct with the players," he said. "They are top professionals and their professionalism and integrity is never in question, but on recent results and form we have decided to try to get the group together and we have decided to assign different training times for them. The transfer requests were accepted but it doesn't mean it will happen, and if it doesn't happen they will return to full training."

Despite possessing the Premier League's most expensive collection of centre forwards in terms of accumulated transfer fees and salaries, Chelsea have had little consistency of selection in the position this season and questionable returns from most of them. Frank Lampard, who has also been in and out of Villas-Boas' side was the team's top scorer entering the weekend's fixture with six League goals.

Though Daniel Sturridge surpassed that figure with a goal in yesterday's 3-0 win at Newcastle United, the 22-year-old has failed to convince Villas-Boas when used at the point of Chelsea's attack and had been told by the manager that he will continue to be employed primarily on the right wing. Fernando Torres' £50million (Dh287.5m) purchase price made him the preferred option at centre forward, but the Spaniard's performances have been so poor Villas-Boas has taken to leaving the player on the sidelines while discussing how to reinvigorate him.

There has been sparse appetite for blooding Romelu Lukaku, acquired for a fee that can rise to over £15m last summer but limited to just three substitute appearances in the league and three League Cup ties in which the teenage Belgian has failed to score. Villas-Boas has, however, publicly ruled out a January loan

Anelka and Kalou have been become peripheral figures under the Portuguese coach, afforded just three and two Premier League starts respectively as they are ushered towards the exit door. Both the Frenchman and the Ivorian are out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea would be happy to realise any kind of fee for them in next month's window.

Drogba's situation is more complex. Sounded out by several significant European clubs in the last window, including Real Madrid, he asked Villas-Boas how the new Chelsea intended to use him this season. Villas-Boas told him he was a declining force and would not have a guaranteed starting berth in his team, but that he would also not be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge.

With the club attempting to control its salary commitments, Drogba was subsequently offered only a single year's extension when discussions tool place following the end of the summer transfer window. The terms were not acceptable to the striker who is seeking a two-season deal.

He remains, however, an extremely popular figure at the club. He has had an unusually strong relationship with Roman Abramovich, who personally intervened to improve the terms of the Ivorian's current contract, also topping up Drogba's personal commitment to redirect 100 percent of his commercial income to charity work. His efforts to support education and health in Africa and his interventions in the Ivory Coast's civil wars were recognised when he was received a Humanitarian in Sport Award from the Beyond Sport organisation.

Drogba will turn 34 in March but such has been his level of performance with Chelsea he has no shortage of suitors. Harry Redknapp had joined AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani in expressing a desire to sign him on loan or an end-of-season free transfer and there have been potentially lucrative proposals from Russia, the Middle East and Major League Soccer.

sports@thenational.ae

SOUTH KOREA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu, Jo Hyeon-woo, Song Bum-keun
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-jae, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Ju-sung, Kim Ji-soo, Seol Young-woo, Kim Tae-hwan, Lee Ki-je, Kim Jin-su
Midfielders: Park Yong-woo, Hwang In-beom, Hong Hyun-seok, Lee Soon-min, Lee Jae-sung, Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min (captain), Jeong Woo-yeong, Moon Seon-min, Park Jin-seob, Yang Hyun-jun
Strikers: Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Gue-sung, Oh Hyeon-gyu

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 680hp
Torque: 1,020Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh530,000 (estimate)

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The biog

Title: General Practitioner with a speciality in cardiology

Previous jobs: Worked in well-known hospitals Jaslok and Breach Candy in Mumbai, India

Education: Medical degree from the Government Medical College in Nagpur

How it all began: opened his first clinic in Ajman in 1993

Family: a 90-year-old mother, wife and two daughters

Remembers a time when medicines from India were purchased per kilo

AT A GLANCE

Windfall
An “energy profits levy” to raise about £5 billion in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

Quick facts on cancer
  • Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, after cardiovascular diseases 
  • About one in five men and one in six women will develop cancer in their lifetime 
  • By 2040, global cancer cases are on track to reach 30 million 
  • 70 per cent of cancer deaths occur in low and middle-income countries 
  • This rate is expected to increase to 75 per cent by 2030 
  • At least one third of common cancers are preventable 
  • Genetic mutations play a role in 5 per cent to 10 per cent of cancers 
  • Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved annually by implementing the right health
    strategies 
  • The total annual economic cost of cancer is $1.16 trillion

 

Navdeep Suri, India's Ambassador to the UAE

There has been a longstanding need from the Indian community to have a religious premises where they can practise their beliefs. Currently there is a very, very small temple in Bur Dubai and the community has outgrown this. So this will be a major temple and open to all denominations and a place should reflect India’s diversity.

It fits so well into the UAE’s own commitment to tolerance and pluralism and coming in the year of tolerance gives it that extra dimension.

What we will see on April 20 is the foundation ceremony and we expect a pretty broad cross section of the Indian community to be present, both from the UAE and abroad. The Hindu group that is building the temple will have their holiest leader attending – and we expect very senior representation from the leadership of the UAE.

When the designs were taken to the leadership, there were two clear options. There was a New Jersey model with a rectangular structure with the temple recessed inside so it was not too visible from the outside and another was the Neasden temple in London with the spires in its classical shape. And they said: look we said we wanted a temple so it should look like a temple. So this should be a classical style temple in all its glory.

It is beautifully located - 30 minutes outside of Abu Dhabi and barely 45 minutes to Dubai so it serves the needs of both communities.

This is going to be the big temple where I expect people to come from across the country at major festivals and occasions.

It is hugely important – it will take a couple of years to complete given the scale. It is going to be remarkable and will contribute something not just to the landscape in terms of visual architecture but also to the ethos. Here will be a real representation of UAE’s pluralism.

While you're here

Michael Young: Where is Lebanon headed?

Kareem Shaheen: I owe everything to Beirut

Raghida Dergham: We have to bounce back

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Meg 2: The Trench

Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Cliff Curtis, Melissanthi Mahut and Shuya Sophia Cai
Rating: 2/5

Voices: How A Great Singer Can Change Your Life
Nick Coleman
Jonathan Cape

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

COMPANY PROFILE


Company name: Clara
Started: 2019
Founders: Patrick Rogers, Lee McMahon, Arthur Guest, Ahmed Arif
Based: Dubai
Industry: LegalTech
Funding size: $4 million of seed financing
Investors: Wamda Capital, Shorooq Partners, Techstars, 500 Global, OTF, Venture Souq, Knuru Capital, Plug and Play and The LegalTech Fund

UAE rugby season

FIXTURES

West Asia Premiership

Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Knights Eagles

Dubai Tigers v Bahrain

Jebel Ali Dragons v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Division 1

Dubai Sharks v Dubai Hurricanes II

Al Ain Amblers v Dubai Knights Eagles II

Dubai Tigers II v Abu Dhabi Saracens

Jebel Ali Dragons II v Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

Sharjah Wanderers v Dubai Exiles II

 

LAST SEASON

West Asia Premiership

Winners – Bahrain

Runners-up – Dubai Exiles

UAE Premiership

Winners – Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners-up – Jebel Ali Dragons

Dubai Rugby Sevens

Winners – Dubai Hurricanes

Runners-up – Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Conference

Winners – Dubai Tigers

Runners-up – Al Ain Amblers

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 8

Display: 41mm, 352 x 430; 45mm, 396 x 484; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits, always-on; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless, U1 ultra-wideband

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 3rd-gen heart rate sensor, temperature sensing, ECG, blood oxygen, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 8, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,999 (45mm)

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

GRAN TURISMO

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Stars: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Darren Barnet

Rating: 3/5

RESULTS

5pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (Dirt) 1,600m
Winner: Samau Xmnsor, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi (jockey), Ibrahim Al Hadhrami (trainer)
5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Ottoman, Szczepan Mazur, Abdallah Al Hammadi
6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,800m
Winner: Sharkh, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi
6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 85,000 (D) 1,800m
Winner: Yaraa, Fernando Jara, Majed Al Jahouri
7pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Maaly Al Reef, Bernardo Pinheiro, Abdallah Al Hammadi
7.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,000m
Winner: Jinjal, Fabrice Veron, Ahmed Al Shemaili
8pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000 (D) 1,000m
Winner: Al Sail, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel


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