PLAY IT SHORT: Fergie plays blinder over Rooney row; Chelsea fight-back without Lamps, Terry; Remy QPR gamble pays off; Song must quit Barca to reach potential
FERGIE PUTS IT ALL ON ROONEY
Wayne, it's over to you. Sir Alex Ferguson played a blinder reacting to the reports of a bust-up with Wayne Rooney. By announcing United will be sitting down with his No10's management in the summer to discuss a new deal, Ferguson has not only cooled talk of wanting rid of the Scouser, but also brought Rooney's commitment to the cause front and centre. With Robin van Persie having usurped Rooney as United's most valuable player and Ferguson even openly discussing sharing a second striker role with Shinji Kagawa, there's no way the England man can expect the same terms as he is on now. Rooney is the club's highest paid player - by some distance - and the club's money-men, led by new CEO Ed Woodward will drive a hard bargain when they get around a table in June. The spotlight will be on Rooney, not the manager. Will he stick or twist?
UNITED HAVE THEIR OWN BELGIAN SUPERKID
Sir Alex Ferguson has twice in the past three weeks highlighted the progress of Adnan Januzaj with Manchester United's U21 team. Now 18, the Belgian is well ahead of schedule and has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo. United had to fight hard to land Januzaj, who was tempted away from the excellent Anderlecht academy with a contract worth over £100,000-a-year just over 12 months ago. United also coughed up £600,000 compensation to Anderlecht. Given the winger's exciting progress under Warren Joyce with the U21s, it is looking money well spent.
SONG NEEDS TO QUIT BARCA TO FULFILL POTENTIAL
When Alex Song left for Barcelona, he was coming into his own as the complete midfielder. With Arsenal, Song would cover every blade of grass, breaking up opposition attacks and creating chances of his own - including an almost telepathic connection with Robin van Persie. At Barca, he's found himself restricted to being little more than a water carrier and it's encouraging that his camp are now making noises about returning to England. Just as we didn't realise how good a player Yaya Toure was until he quit the Nou Camp for Manchester City, Song's fans will be hoping he follows the same path and finds a club that allows him to reach his full potential.
REMY GAMBLE PAYING OFF FOR HARRY
Two wins on the bounce and QPR fans have every right to start believing. The most important factor is the Loic Remy gamble is paying off. While Mark Hughes was building for the long-term, Harry Redknapp is in it for the here and now. In their predicament, there was no luxury to sign players on potential. Redknapp convinced Remy to join QPR as a stepping stone to bigger things - whether it be in six, 12 or 18 months, it didn't matter, he just wanted the Frenchman's finishing ability. And it's paying off. If the Rs are going to survive, they need someone on a scoring streak and Remy isn't letting anyone down. While those above them dithered, Tony Fernandes' cash bought quality. And even if the ex-Marseille man jumps ship in the summer, it will be money well spent if QPR stay up.
STOKE BOO-BOYS MUST BE CAREFUL
Stoke City's boo-boys must be careful. Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, there's plenty of recent examples of how pressure from fans to change managers have destabilised clubs and sent them into a (as AVB would stay) death spiral. Tony Pulis deserves better. He's proved his coaching with the development of Ryan Shawcross and Asmir Begovic into top class performers, attracting quality like Peter Crouch and Robert Huth and keeping the club on track for an amazing fifth consecutive year in the Premier League. He's been gradually changing the style of Stoke's play, but those plans have been hit by Charlie Adam's circumstances and the injury problems to Matthew Etherington and Michael Kightly. The jury should hold fire on Pulis until the summer market and also how he brings through the exciting Belgian talent, Florent Cuvelier.
CHELSEA FIGHT-BACK WITH LAMPS, TERRY WATCHING FROM DUGOUT
Was Chelsea's comeback a landmark moment for the current team? Two goals down against the champions-elect, on their own patch and barely 48 hours after playing in Eastern Europe, Chelsea were gone. To fight-back in such circumstances will have the dressing room buzzing. But even happier will be those in the boardroom, as it was achieved without the influence of Frank Lampard and John Terry. Perhaps the biggest result not to feature either Blues icon.
RODGERS DESERVES TRANSFER BACKING
With every little inside pass Philippe Coutinho makes, he is strengthening the position of Brendan Rodgers in his battle to convince Liverpool's owners to abandon their 'Moneyball' approach. Rodgers wants FSG to drop their youth policy when it comes to signing players so he can take the club to the next level. And given the success of Coutinho and Danny Sturridge, along with the progress of Joe Allen, his strike rate (even taking Fabio Borini into account) is looking good. If the manager wants the board to go the extra mile for a senior addition, the example of Coutinho and Sturridge should be enough to convince John W Henry and Tom Werner to back the Ulsterman.