HR: Samba circled by 'big club'
Sat, 09 Feb 2013 08:48:00
Wellington Phoenix have added some depth to their squad with Fulham striker Corey Gameiro joining the club on loan until the end of the season.
The 20-year-old shot to prominence at the under-19 AFC championship, scoring all six of Australia's goals at the tournament to help them qualify for the 2013 FIFA under-20 World Cup.
He has never played a senior match for Fulham, but made eight appearances for Dutch club FC Eindhoven on a recent loan spell.
"It is important to establish relationships with clubs around the world and it is exciting that we are now forming one with an English Premier League side," Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said.
"Having players coming this way is good for the future of the club."
Gameiro should be available to make his debut next week against the Brisbane Roar.
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Benitez, appointed in November until the end of the season tasked with sealing Champions League qualification, spoke with Russian billionaire Abramovich following the defeat of Arsenal but in the four games since the Blues have failed to win.
Whether the silent treatment indicates Abramovich is preparing to replace Benitez after three wins in 10 matches is difficult to tell, but the oligarch is not renowned for his patience.
Benitez did confirm, at least, that Abramovich was content following the Arsenal match.
"The Arsenal game was the last conversation we had," Benitez said.
"That was 20 days ago - we were doing really well. He was very happy.
"We were talking about football. In terms of football everything is fine. Since then I've had conversations with people close to him, not directly."
The subject of Benitez's future was not raised on that occasion, yet it may be on the agenda should Chelsea fail to beat Wigan in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
The Spaniard was unable to say whether he will remain in post until the end of the season.
"He (Abramovich) is not talking about this; he likes to talk about football," Benitez said.
"He was saying the team were fantastic in the first half, then the second half... He was talking about normal things."
Benitez refused to entertain questions over his future and insisted his focus was on Wigan.
"If you win, it's fine. If you cannot, people start talking," he said.
"I cannot talk about the future if my priority is the next game," he said.
"I have a contract until the end of the season and we can be talking and talking, but all I can do is to win games.
"My position is to concentrate on games and try to improve the performance of the team.
"My job is to do everything to win games. I will try to do that.
"We want to win. He (Abramovich) wants to win. That's it.
"He wants to be in the top four, obviously. We know with a little bit of luck we will be in a much better position."
Benitez, who spent the first part of the international break at his family home on the Wirral, was adamant the uncertainty over his position was not unsettling.
"My job is exactly the same," he said.
"I knew that I was signing six or seven months of contract.
"I'm not here to change things outside the pitch. I'm here to improve players, to do my best every day.
"I'm really pleased to be here. I'm just concentrating on trying to do my best and trying to have a positive effect."
Individual errors have proved costly, Benitez believes, but he feels performances in general have been good.
"We have played a lot of good games, we have scored a lot of goals and we have won games in style," he said.
"But we have had some problems in some games, so we have to come back to the same things we were doing."
The Premier League's bottom side pulled off something of a surprise on transfer deadline day, breaking the transfer record they set earlier in January to bring in the former Blackburn defender from Anzhi Makhachkala.
Samba has penned a four-and-a-half-year deal with the west Londoners, who remain in serious danger of dropping in the second tier.
QPR are six points adrift of safety heading to Swansea tomorrow but Redknapp remains confident of staying up - and keeping Samba.
"When people say he is a risk and you're putting the club in a difficult position if it went down, you could sell Chris Samba for what you paid or more at the end of the season if you wanted to," Redknapp said. "Without a shadow of a doubt.
"I had a chairman ring me a week ago asking me about him and saying 'what would you do if you went down?'
"I said 'we ain't going to go down' but he said 'well, we want to sign him...if we'd have known he was available'. I am talking about a big club.
"There will be big clubs wanting him. Big clubs, not a danger.
"I could see a club not too far away 18 months ago and I thought 'surely they've got to take Samba?' I was always after Samba at Tottenham. Always."