Swings and roundabouts

THE FIRST high profile managerial casualty has already occurred in the Premiership with the start of the new season still over two weeks away. Controversial Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, himself on his last legs in the face of take-over bids and internal revolts, has fired under pressure boss David O’Leary. Alan Curb-ishley and Martin O’Neill have both been approached as potential replacements, but neither man is willing to take over the crisis club.

New Spurs signing, Dimitar Berbatov, has proved to be an instant hit at White Hart Lane, the Bulgarian international scoring twice in three minutes during his debut against Birmingham. But manager, Martin Jol, will be less than happy about losing out to Newcastle in the bidding war for Damien Duff. The Republic of Ireland winger, who was also wanted by Liverpool, had been firmly expected in North London before putting pen to paper on a 14 million euro five-year deal at St James’.

Chelsea has completed its third major summer signing following Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko. After a turbulent three month period, Salomon Kalou has arrived at Stamford Bridge from Feyenoord. The 20-year-old Ivory Coast-born striker turned down the chance to play in the World Cup for the country of his birth, pending his application for Dutch citizenship. Marco van Basten had promised him a place on the Dutch team, but he was not accepted.

A real Dutchman, who did play in the World Cup, Denny Landzaat, has signed a three-year deal at Wigan, as Paul Jewel plans a second successful Premiership campaign. Mido, who left Spurs at the end of the season to return to AS Rome, is back with Blackburn. Manager Mark Hughes was happy to spend the 4.5 million euros Tottenham was not prepared to invest in the tempestuous striker.

Finally, Harry Redknapp is preparing to take enfant terrible Nicolas Anelka to Fratton Park, insisting that he can bring the best out of the French striker who has disappointed at a number of clubs since leaving Arsenal for Real Madrid.