The Seasiders were strengthened further this week, bringing in David Carney from FC Twente and Richard Kingson, the free agent who excelled between the posts for Ghana at the World Cup. Ian Holloway, the manager, also moved to bring in forward DJ Campbell on a permanent deal from Leicester City for £1.2 million (Dh6.8m), which would be a record expenditure for the northwest club. It is Campbell's third spell at Bloomfield Road following two successful loan deals. "I've been wanting this for I don't know how long now and finally it has come true, so I am delighted," the 28-year-old striker said.
Danny Shittu was released by Bolton Wanderers this week as Owen Coyle named a 24-man squad that included new signing Rodrigo Moreno, who moved to the Reebok Stadium on loan from Atletico Madrid, the reigning Europa League champions. Meanwhile, with Jussi Jaaskelainen suspended following his sending off against Birmingham last week, Adam Bogdan, the Hungarian, 22, gets his second start in goal. "Some keepers get a chance at 18 or 19 and play for the first team because they're so good or just get lucky with opportunities," he said. "Some have to do it step by step, and that's what I am doing."
With Franco Di Santo, the striker, being forced to join Wigan Athletic in search of first-team opportunities, Neymar, the the Santos striker and Chelsea target, should take note. He continues to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, where he would join his Brazilian compatriots Alex and Ramires. Jeffrey Bruma, the fine young defender, opted to renew his deal with the west London club. Matej Delac, the Croatian goalkeeper, signed professional terms before being being loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem. Chelsea were drawn in the Champions League alongside Spartak Moscow, Marseille and MSK Zilina.
David Moyes, the manager, had declared this team the strongest of his career, yet with rumours swirling on Tuesday evening there was talk that he might have been about to lose two of his most important midfielders. Steven Pienaar, having so far refused to sign a new deal, was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, while Jack Rodwell was being touted as being on his way to Old Trafford for big money with Michael Carrick heading in the opposite direction to Goodison Park. Neither deal materialised, and Moyes will be confident that if his team can stay injury-free that they can challenge for a high finish in the table.
* Compiled by Paul Radley and Gary Meenaghan