Mark Hughes has added Moussa Dembele, the Belgian international striker, to his ranks, but is still on the look-out for more reinforcements before the close of the transfer window. The Cottagers pipped Birmingham to the signing of the 23-year-old on a three-year contract from the Dutch side AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday. "I'm glad that we have finalised the deal with Moussa and I'd like to welcome him to the club," Hughes told the club's official website. "It's important that we go into the season with some additions to the squad that will enable us to compete at a consistently high level throughout the season."
Roy Hodgson, the manager, recently attempted to go back to Liverpool's past in an attempt to improve the immediate future prospects, according to reports from Germany. The Bayer Leverkusen hierarchy were quoted as saying Sami Hyypia, the defender, had asked if he could be released from his contract to return to Liverpool. Hyypia, a legend of the recent past at Anfield, is 36 now, but had apparently harboured hopes of a return to his former club he served for a decade between 1999-2009. The request was given short-shrift, however, as Leverkusen already have him lined up for a coaching role at the club.
Most clubs would be spitting feathers if their new £16 million (Dh92m) left-back suffered an injury less than halfway through his club debut. But for City, the loss of Aleksandar Kolarov for a fortnight due to an ankle problem sustained against Tottenham Hotspur is little more than a petty annoyance. Wayne Bridge, the former England full-back, is also absent with a toe injury, but there is still plenty of choice for cover. Joleon Lescott and Pablo Zabaleta are both vying to fill the left-back berth, while Jerome Boateng, another summer import at Eastlands, will also be available for Monday's meeting with Liverpool.
Sir Alex Ferguson tends to know a thing or two about coaxing the best from his players, and he was at it again with misfiring Wayne Rooney this week. The England striker has been on an uncharacteristic barren run of late, yet Ferguson remains unconcerned by his lack of form. He believes the 24-year-old striker, who swept all before him before suffering an ankle injury last season, is still improving, and has three years before he will reach his peak. England fans may need some persuading given Rooney's indifference at the World Cup, but Ferguson still rates his man as one of the best strikers in the world.