PLAY IT SHORT: Laudrup shows up Wenger; Man Utd making room for Zaha; Everyone happy for Joe Cole; Battle of the super agents at PSG

BA EFFECTIVE - BUT WHAT ABOUT LUKAKU?You can see why Chelsea worked so hard to sign Demba Ba last week.
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BA EFFECTIVE - BUT WHAT ABOUT LUKAKU?
You can see why Chelsea worked so hard to sign Demba Ba last week. Two goals on debut is the perfect start and if he's prepared to play second fiddle to Fernando Torres then the Senegalese will prove a canny adaptation. The performance in the FA Cup win at Southampton was effective, though nothing more. But he slipped easily into Rafa Benitez's single striker system, was intelligent with his movement and kept his cool with his two close-range finishes. Torres need not feel threatened - he remains the club's No1 striker. But Romelu Lukaku is a different story. So similar to Ba, he must be concerned about his future at the Bridge, despite all the praise and plaudits coming his way on-loan at West Bromwich Albion.

BUTTNER CAN'T SILENCE BAINES RUMOURS
Patrice Evra, even at left-back, is a matchwinner. Up and back, up and back. Year upon year. When talking about finding cover for the Frenchman, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson described Evra as "a warrior". Perhaps Alexander Buttner is on a hiding to nothing trying to live up to that. But with Everton star Leighton Baines still being mentioned as a Fergie target, the Dutchman fluffed his lines on Saturday at West Ham United. Time and again, teammates in possession would look left expecting a breaking Evra to be bursting through and instead were forced to turn back as Buttner struggled to keep up. Defensively he did nothing wrong and saw off Ricardo Vaz Te, but Ferguson expects more from his fullbacks - in the mould of Baines - and was even spotted telling Buttner to get himself forward after Robin van Persie's equaliser. The former Vitesse Arnhem has a lot in his locker, but he will need to improve his workrate to convince Ferguson he doesn't need to go knocking on Everton's door.

COLE HASN'T LOST IT
Anyone who has come into contact with Joe Cole will be delighted for him this week. His return to West Ham United could not have gone better. Creating both goals for James Collins will do wonders for the self-belief, but it was a couple of bursts through the middle of the park, riding Manchester United tackles along the way, which will have everyone who has refused to write off the former Liverpool man feeling justified today. But should there really have been any doubts? After all, despite Brendan Rodgers' skeptism, Cole came into the season a French league winner - and Lille would have kept hold of him if not for finances. The question for Rodgers (and the Hammers fans who dominate the tabloid press rooms are sure to drive this home) has he been too dismissive of West Ham by sending both Cole and Andy Carroll to the Boleyn Ground? What price the Hammers finishing above the Reds this season?

BATTLE OF THE SUPER AGENTS AT PSG
As if the January market isn't exciting enough, two of the game's most powerful agents are locked in a battle for the confidence of PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi - with big repercussions for the Premier League. Mino Raiola, of Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fame, is moving to make up ground lost to Portuguese rival Jorge Mendes with Al Khelaifi. Raiola's comments about Napoli striker Edinson Cavani last week, touting the Uruguayan to PSG and Manchester City through the press, infuriated the player's actual agent, Claudio Ancellucci. It's claimed in Italy that Raiola is trying to maneuver himself to becoming PSG's go-to man after his deal for Ibra. But Mendes is now getting closer to the French mega spenders, with Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, along with Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao, all on his books. Manchester United and Chelsea will be monitoring the battle closely, particularly with Ronaldo and Falcao up for grabs.

UNITED MAKING ROOM FOR ZAHA?
They think highly of Robbie Brady at Manchester United. So to sell him to Hull City, as is being mooted today, would be a decision not taken lightly. Shifting on one young, talented wide player for another, perhaps? Sir Alex Ferguson must have been impressed with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha's performance against Premier League opposition in Stoke City on Saturday. Maybe that was the final nudge he needs to push through a deal for the England prospect.

WENGER SHOWED UP BY RAPID LAUDRUP PROGRESS
It's a real statement of where Arsenal is at the moment when they're satisfied with gaining an FA Cup replay at Swansea City. Forget the budgets and size of the respective clubs. Just focus on what Michael Laudrup has achieved in the same amount of time as Arsene Wenger. He's not built on the work of Brendan Rodgers, he's transformed it. The team that drew 2-2 with the Gunners on Saturday, following on back-to-back league wins, is completely different to what the Dane inherited. He's worked the transfer market, given Rodgers' system a greater cutting edge and has the team moving forward. When was the last time Gooners could say the same about Wenger and Arsenal?

SAUNDERS DESERVES WOLVES CHANCE
It'll be a great triumph for the football pyramid if Dean Saunders lands the Wolves job. The Doncaster Rovers manager has paid his dues, learning his craft in the non-league and lower divisions. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa star has steadily built his managerial reputation, beginning his coaching career at Bradford City and Newcastle United, taking the plunge with Wrexham and then landing the Rovers post. Steve Morgan, who knows all about Deano from his time at Anfield, has done his homework and can't but be impressed with the way Saunders has built up his experience, step-by-gradual-step. It'll be a landmark day for Saunders if granted the job, but also a nice win for British football if someone who has come through the system so impressively is given the chance at a club the size of Wolves.

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