Saturday Ticker: No Holtby for Spurs in January, African Cup of Nations kicks off, and more

BY DAN KARELL

FC Schalke’s Lewis Holtby is unlikely to move to new club Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window, according to Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who has an English father and German mother, has already signed a pre-contract agreement with the North London club. Nevertheless, since the news of Spurs midfielder Sandro’s injury spread, there have been plenty of rumors that Holtby will join his new club six months earlier than expected.

Villas-Boas has lowered expectations though, saying that it would be “very very difficult” to bring in Holtby before the end of this month.

Holtby was in fine form on Friday night, scoring once and assisting on two goals as his squad beat Hannover 96 in the first Bundesliga match since the winter break began in mid-December.

Here are some more stories to check out this Saturday:

AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS KICKS OFF TODAY

Two and a half years after the World Cup, South Africa opens its arms once more, this time to host the African Cup of Nations. The tournament will kick off tonight when South Africa takes on Cape Verde.

Many of the world’s stars like Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Younes Belhanda will take the field representing their country, for a chance to travel to Brazil this summer as Africa’s representative at the Confederations Cup.

Last year’s edition of the African Cup of Nations saw Zambia take the title for the first time in history.

LIVERPOOL INTERESTED IN SIGNING COUTINHO

Inter Milan has been in the process of selling two of their midfielders, and now both of them have been linked with a move to Liverpool.

Both Wesley Sneijder, who has had a bid accepted by his current club from Galatasaray, and 20-year-old Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho, have been on the eye of Merseyside club manager Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool have reportedly made an unsuccessful bid of £8 million for Coutinho, who moved to Inter at the age of 16 but never became the star they had hoped. Both clubs will continue to negotiate a deal, according to the reports.

BRAZIL ELIMINATED FROM UNDER-20 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

Brazil has completed the unthinkable, as their 2-0 loss last night to Peru sent them spiraling out of the South American Youth Championship, which means Brazil will join Argentina as South American powerhouses that will not take part in the Under-20 World Cup.

It is the first time in the tournament’s 59 year history that both Argentina and Brazil will not be participating past the group stage. Brazil are not only the three-time defending South American U-20 champions, but also the defending World Champion.

Now, neither Argentina or Brazil will be participating in the FIFA U-20 World Cup set to take place later this year in Turkey.

Brazil scored just two goals from open play, as they won one, drew one, and lost two.

QUICK KICKS

F.C. Porto linked with Brazilian striker and former Sporting Lisbon player Liedson. (REPORT)

Espanyol completes signing of Martin Petrov from Bolton Wanderers. (REPORT)

After reports that he had accepted the position, Sven Göran Eriksson has decided to decline the 1860 Munich managerial position (REPORT)

Real Madrid’s appeal to reduce or rescind Sergio Ramos’ five-match ban for a red card in the Copa Del Rey has been dismissed by the Spanish FA. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Holtby moving to Spurs before the end of the January window? Do you think Liverpool will successfully bring in Coutinho? Are there any footballers in the African Cup of Nations that we should keep our eyes on?

Please leave your comments below.

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6 Responses to Saturday Ticker: No Holtby for Spurs in January, African Cup of Nations kicks off, and more

  1. isaf says:

    No Adebayor for 3 weeks and Spurs arent signing any strikers. Perfect time for Dempsey to get a few 90min appearances and score his butt off

  2. Pelotas says:

    Peru look like the real deal. Shame you guys aren’t covering it more. Some interesting players to watch out for.

  3. fischy says:

    With Brazil and Argentina not qualifying this time around, it puts the USA’s qualifying failures in the last U20s and the Olympics in some perspective. Also, it probably really boosts our chances of getting some hardware this time around. We still gotta get there…and worry about the Mexicans and whatever European and African teams get in. but it’s always good to see the heavyweights go down before you would have to face them.

  4. Gord Downie says:

    Now that Pochettino is in charge of Southampton I would bet that they beat out Liverpool to signing Coutinho, ala Gaston Ramirez and Forren (to an extent..). Pochettino was the one who brought Coutinho in on loan to Espanyol last year where he was superb, so it makes sense that he wants to bring him to Southampton. The Saints had been pondering a move for Coutinho for a couple weeks and now it makes sense with the firing of Nigel Adkins and the hiring of Pochettino. Rumor has it they’re preparing a 10m (euros) bid for him after their 10m bid for Cagliari defender Davide Astori was rejected… Southampton Chairman Nicola Cortese is a big fan of the Serie A which is why he and Adkins never saw eye-to-eye… the rest is well.. history… sigh

  5. Mig says:

    Who was coaching Brazil, Porter or Rontgen?

    [yeah, I know it's mean spirited]