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PLAY IT SHORT: Moyes shopping for lefty; Will Spurs fans rally behind AVB?; Mourinho kidding no-one with striker search; We'll die when we want to, Allam!

MOYES TRANSFER PLANS TROUBLE FOR YOUNGIt's becoming clear that David Moyes is seeking a new wide player ahead of the January market. Talks with Cruzeiro for Everton Ribeiro are yet to kickoff, though United have begun discussions with the Brazilian FA about details of the player's complicated registration. Moyes, himself, has taken over the focus on Dundee United's teen Ryan Gauld and there's also Torino's Alessio Cerci, who was watched by United scouts on Friday night. All three are left-sided players, which surely spells trouble for Ashley Young. Cerci has been in spectacular form this season and has been likened to Arjen Robben by former Juventus and Napoli star Massimo Mauro in recent days. Certainly, of the three, Cerci looks the best bet to make an instant impact.

IS ROOKIE MEULENSTEEN THE ANSWER FOR FULHAM?Is Rene Meulensteen the answer at Fulham? The Dutchman was always the odds-on favourite to take over from the beleaguered Martin Jol. But what sort of record of success can he offer new Cottagers owner Shahid Khan? Yes, his work at Manchester United was outstanding, from the juniors right up to being Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man. But Meulensteen's record as a manager is nothing to write home about. First leaving United in 2006, he lasted barely a year in charge of Brondby in Denmark. And for his second top job, stepping in for Guus Hiddink at Anzhi, he was shown the door within the month! Where is Meulensteen's record in the transfer market? Or know-how when it comes to battling successfully against relegation? With so much on the line, Khan must be certain he is making the right choice when it comes to handing the reigns to Meulensteen.

HUNTE SHOULD CALL BIG SAMRemember Conor Hunte? This time last year, tribalfootball.com was full of stories about this Chelsea whizkid. Baulking at committing to pro terms, Hunte had the country's biggest clubs chasing his signature. He was getting better press than many of his senior teammates at Chelsea. Fast-forward to today and Hunte, by all accounts, remains without a club. He did sign that deal tabled by Chelsea, spurning interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. But only months later, on the back of being dropped for Chelsea's FA Youth Cup final defeat to Norwich City, Hunte was dumped by the club for disciplinary problems. Capped by England at U17 level, so much was expected within the game of Hunte, but for now and for all his talent, he remains without a club. Perhaps someone close to Hunte should get on the blower to Sam Allardyce and ask the West Ham United manager to do for Conor what he has achieved with Ravel Morrison.

WE'LL DIE WHEN WE WANT TOWhere do you start with Assem Allam? The Hull City owner is hell-bent on changing the club's name and yesterday in The Independent basically declared war on fans upset with his push. In terms of the PR battle, saying "they can die as soon as they want" when referring to the 'City Till We Die' supporters' group is the mother of all own goals. The very least Allam should be doing is offering fans access to the marketing studies he claims shows that rebranding the club 'Hull Tigers' will work globally - and more importantly what he has in the pipeline to maximise the apparent lift in worldwide appeal. As much as it feels like their club is being ripped away from them, Hull fans could be in a good position to leverage greater visibility from Allam about what he has planned for the club - and to keep him to his word when it actually comes to committing resources to build the Tigers' profile around the world.

WHO'S MOURINHO TRYING TO KID?C'mon Jose, who are you trying to kid? Okay, so you didn't meet with Henrique Pompeo last week about Jackson Martinez. But the Lisbon press are convinced someone from Chelsea - Michael Emenalo most likely - did meet with the Porto striker's new agent. This is on the back of Mourinho, himself, making a personal check on AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao the previous week. Mourinho is in the same position as everyother title chasing manager in the Premier League. The race is wide open and the ultimate winner is likely to come from the club that works the winter market best. It's going to be the hottest midseason transfer window we've seen - and you can bet Mourinho will be headlining most days during January.

VALENCIA FORM GREAT TRIUMPH FOR MOYESEven David Moyes admits he's running out of things to say about Wayne Rooney. So let's switch focus. Antonio Valencia was outstanding at Tottenham yesterday. He really had Jan Vertonghen rattled and even AVB's double-teaming in the second-half didn't slow him down. It was still this season when Valencia was hammered for the defeat at Manchester City, with captain Nemanja Vidic visibly chastising his teammate for letting Alexsandar Kolarov get the better of him. After a flat previous 12 months, the Ecuadorian appeared on his way out of Old Trafford. But he's now back to his very best - a great triumph to Moyes and his newly-assembled coaching staff.

WILL SPURS FANS RALLY AROUND SPIKY AVB?So how will Tottenham fans react to Andre Villas-Boas' spiky post-match media conference yesterday? He was magnificent, taking on those he believed had misrepresented his comments last week about being "ashamed" of their humiliation at Manchester City. He rightly pointed out there's a helluva of a difference between saying "we should be ashamed" as opposed to the players "should be ashamed". But how will Spurs fans react? After a rousing four goal thriller against the defending champs, seeing your manager take on his critics could unite supporters behind AVB. Then again, the reaction could be used by detractors to further push the agenda that he lacks experience, struggles with the media and is simply too thin skinned for the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League. Daniel Levy has been in the game long enough to know foreign signings take time to settle. To build a long-term 'project', Spurs need a long-term manager. Levy must stand with AVB.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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