PLAY IT SHORT: Fergie charm offensive for Lamps; Glazers won't sell Chicharito; Fernandes right to snap back; Pre-agreements coming to Premier League
FERNANDES RIGHT TO SNAP BACK AT TSK-TSK CROWD
Tony Fernandes has every right to snap back at opposition chairmen happy to taunt and point score over the way things have been done at QPR. The difference between Fernandes and other owners who have spent big in the Premier League and failed is that he's not about to abandon the club. He's fully committed, along with Lakshmi Mittal, and doesn't deserve the 'know-it-all' taunting from other owners. As he's stated, Fernandes made a success of AirAsia against the odds, as he has with all his business interests. If Rs fans keep the faith and do their homework on Fernandes, they'll know he won't be happy until the targets he's set the club are met. If the Malaysian has his way, this season's relegation will be just a blip in the grand scheme of things for QPR.
GLAZERS KNOW VALUE OF CHICHARITO
It's difficult to see the Glazers agreeing to part with Javier Hernandez at Manchester United. Being based in the USA, United's owners know the commercial potential of Chicharito. Sports marketers in the 'States regard the country's growing Latino population as the most lucrative demographic and Chicharito rates high among their idols. Talk of United sacrificing the Mexican for Cristiano Ronaldo does have legs, with Real Madrid knowing the financial potential of having a Mexican star - like Hugo Sanchez - on the books. But they're sure to struggle convincing United to part with Chicharito, particularly with Michel Platini about to inflict his Financial Fair Play laws on clubs.
SHORT TO SPLASH OUT BIG
If Paolo di Canio can keep Sunderland up, there's a genuine prospect of exciting times on Wearside. Di Canio has proved box office and news that Sunderland sounded out Napoli about a price for the £50 million-rated Edinson Cavani suggests owner Ellis Short is ready to sprinkle some real gold dust on Wearside.
FERGIE CHARM OFFENSIVE FOR LAMPS
Was Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson sending a message to Frank Lampard on Saturday with his fulsome praise of the Chelsea legend? It was a real charm offensive by Ferguson and you just wonder if there was more behind his words than simple admiration. That Ferguson's comments came on the same day United legend and confidant Paddy Crerand revealed he was keen to find a top drawer midfield signing only adds fuel to the fire. Interestingly, for the FA Cup replay, Ferguson was seen embracing Lampard like an old friend at Stamford Bridge. It will take a lot for the Blues icon to move to a Premier League rival, but Fergie is one of the few with the persuasive powers to make such a transfer happen.
FULHAM RIGHT TO TAKE SUNZU GAMBLE
No surprise Fulham are stepping in for Stoppilu Sunzu. Sunderland, with their change of manager, appear to have passed on the Zambia international after his impressive trials in January. Martin O'Neill wanted to sign Sunzu at the time, but his club TP Mazembe and commitments to the African Cup of Nations complicated negotiations. Now Fulham are ready to take advantage - and why not? Sunzu looked an absolute Rolls Royce at the back for Zambia in the AFCON and as he showed Sunderland's now departed coaching staff, he has all the ability to make an instant transition from African league football to the Premier League next season.
THE PRE-AGREEMENT PHENOMENON
Be warned. The pre-agreement phenomenon is now making its way to England. With former Barcelona directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain running things at Manchester City, the pre-agreement approach is set to become more and more common in the Premier League transfer vernacular. Edinson Cavani remains a Napoli striker, though has pre-agreements with Real Madrid, PSG and City. Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho hasn't just agreed personal terms with Chelsea, but also PSG and City. And Begiristain's meeting with Jesus Martinez, the agent of Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, last week suggests another such deal with the Chilean. It's about covering all bases, but can confuse fans not across this continental approach to transfer negotiations.
IT'S MALONEY TIME AT WIGAN
Roberto Martinez has declared this period of the season 'Wigan time'. Perhaps the Wigan Athletic manager should rethink the tag and name it 'Maloney time', because with the Scottish No10 in his current form, the Latics are capable of anything in the final games of this season. Shaun Maloney was again superb against West Bromwich Albion and was the player to create Callum McManaman's winner on Saturday. Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, remarked earlier this year that 37 points could be enough to be safe. But it now looks like 40 points won't be enough. Tonight's clash between Sunderland and Stoke City is massive for both clubs. The Potters have been talking like they're safe on 40, but can be plunged right back into the mire if Sunderland win.