Peter Crouch ❤ Jermain Defoe
According to the Mirror and the Sun, David Moyes wants to bring Peter Crouch to Sunderland.
The reports indicate that Crouch has become Moyes' number one target for the looming January transfer window, moving ahead of Leicester's Leonardo Ulloa on the Sunderland manager's wishlist.
Moyes is lining up Crouch in a bid to resurrect his partnership with Jermain Defoe which netted 20 goals at Portsmouth during the 2008/9 season.
The beanpole 35-year-old was also linked with Derby County last week in what would be a reunion with Steve McClaren who managed England at the time Crouch broke into the national set-up.
It's not the first time Sunderland have been linked with Crouch. He turned down a move in 2009 when he left Portsmouth, eventually opting to join Tottenham rather than link up with then-boss Steve Bruce. And two years later Bruce was again in for the striker, but an asking price of £13m proved too much for the powers-that-be at the Stadium of Light.
Certainly now Peter Crouch would be available for a nominal fee, but this is not a signature which would excite many fans. With David Moyes last week stating that a pure 4-4-2 formation would be a risk for his Sunderland side, a return to the Crouch-Defoe, big-man-little-man partnership of old, seems unlikely.
Lens Still Happy In Turkey
Jeremain Lens has again been speaking of his desire to stay at Fenerbahçe at the end of his season-long loan spell.
In a wide-ranging interview in Turkish publication, Fanatik, Lens speaks of his current thoughts on a permanent move away from Sunderland:
I would love to stay here. I love Fenerbahçe. I would not be surprised if I am here a long time.
But it's not up to me due to other factors - Sunderland and other issues.
The 28-year-old missed yesterday's Istanbul derby as Dick Advocaat's Fenerbahçe beat Galatasary by two goals to nil.
The player speaks of being settled in the Turkish capital, of walking his two dogs and of getting out of the city in his spare time.
But he also discusses his found-again love of football, of "having fun on the field" and of his delight at linking up once more with Dick Advocaat and the veteran coach's staff team who have previously worked with Lens at AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven.
Sunderland certainly didn't suit Jeremain Lens and he appears to be blossoming in a completely different environment.
Anichebe's LA Lifestyle
In the Mail, and various other Sunday papers, Sunderland powerhouse Victor Anichebe revealed the secrets behind his resurrected form.
Anichebe spent three months of his summer in Los Angeles with a celebrity personal trainer, and hit the gym at a non-league club near his Cheshire home on his return:
I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles over the summer, working with my trainer, often doing three sessions a day, which was a huge help.
Knutsford FC, near where I live, let me use their facilities and I'm really grateful to them for that. I was there every day and able to keep as fit as possible.
The celeb-personal trainer was Nicky Holender, an English former professional footballer who made his name in Norway before turning out for LA Galaxy.
Holender has appeared in a few movies and TV shows, the names of which have been consigned to the bargain bucket, playing - well himself - a celebrity personal trainer. He also tried his hand at being a pop star and did a spot of modelling before shaping up the rich and famous of LA.
Anichebe reckons his Californian workout with Hollender wasn't as glamorous as it sounds though:
We didn’t train at Muscle beach... Just football places.
Anichebe's rise from training alone during the summer, to signing on a free as an out-of-contract agent in early September, makes quite the story set against the instant impact his inclusion in the first team has had in recent weeks.
Indeed, on the day the Mirror were reporting that David Moyes would "battle Crystal Palace for Christian Benteke over a £30m move", Victor Anichebe posted this (below), from the ground of his local club who play in the Cheshire League, on social media:
Ultimately, Benteke signed for Crystal Palace in a deal worth £27m and his side now haven't won since September when they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in that gifted three points at the Stadium of Light.
Freebie, Victor Anichebe, is now just one goal behind Benteke's current season haul of four, smashing three goals in his first two starts of the season as well as providing an assist and winning a penalty.
Saturday's hero also spoke of his burgeoning rapport with Jermain Defoe and the Sunderland fans saying:
I wanted to play with Jermain and I wanted to taste what it's like to play in the North-East, because I've heard how passionate the fans are. That sort of support really pushes you on as a player.
And David Moyes is under no illusion that the 28-year old thrives on support from the stands and from the dug-out:
I think he needs a bit of love, I think he wants to be respected. He's probably been to a lot of places where he's maybe not been.
I've always respected him and he knows that, and I think that's why he came to play here.
Meanwhile, the Independent picking up on a quote from the player himself, has christened Anichebe 'The Beast of The North East'.
Pickford Gives Up Burgers
According to the Times, Jordan Pickford has a penchant for burgers and fast food but manager, David Moyes, keeps a close eye on his dietary activities in a bid to keep his 22-year-old star on track for greatness.
At least he's graduated from this Middlesbrough-muck:
Going to experience my first ever chicken Parmo today to see what it's all about !!— Jordan Pickford (@JPickford1) December 29, 2014