Ornstein: England eye Colwell, 49-man key to Rutter deal, Trossard offer for Tottenham, Hudson-Odoi future

England manager Gareth Southgate is taking a serious interest in handing Brighton & Hove Albion defender Levi Colwell a first-team call-up.

The 19-year-old, who moved on a season-long loan from Chelsea in August, started his campaign on the bench but has been an integral part of Roberto De Zerbi’s first team in recent weeks.

He made just seven top-flight appearances but played every minute of Brighton’s last five league matches, including Saturday’s 3-0 win over Liverpool – their first home league win over the Merseysiders since 1961 and another notable scalp. in the previous season. He achieved victories over Manchester United and Chelsea.

This level has impressed the England coaching staff as Southgate contemplates his options for the squad to face Italy and Ukraine in the Euro 2024 qualifiers in March.


Levi Colwell has impressed Brighton this season, including beating Liverpool on Saturday (Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Colwell’s timing could hardly have been better. Southgate, who dedicated his future with England shortly after his team lost to France in the World Cup quarter-finals in December, could embark on modernizing his squad, allowing younger players to forcefully enter his line-up.

Colwell hasn’t been part of Southgate’s long 55-man World Cup squad, but as a left-wing centre-back he offers option in a position where England aren’t so well filled. He also progressed on the international track, representing his country at the Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels.

The Southampton-born defender impressed during his season-long loan spell at Huddersfield Town last season, and there was some surprise Chelsea’s willingness to send him off again, with many fans feeling he could have been part of the club’s rebuilt defense this season.

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As reported in this column last week, he remains a big part of Chelsea’s long-term plans, despite the recent arrival of 21-year-old defender Benoit Badiachel from Monaco, and Colwell is expected to vie for a first-team spot next season. .

England are keeping a close eye on all eligible talent as they chart their future line-ups, and Rico Lewis, a Manchester City right-back who has impressed in his first matches of the season, is another youngster who could be on Southgate’s mind.

Lewis, 18, lacks England Under-21 experience and while this is not in itself a barrier to selection, the fierce competition in his position means it is unclear if he will feature in the squad for matches in March.


49ers key to Leeds’ Rutter deal

It is a sign of the intrigue in the Leeds United boardroom that 49ers Enterprises, the club’s minority shareholder, was instrumental in prompting its record signing of Jorginho Rutter.

Rutter joined Leeds from Hoffenheim on Saturday night for a fee that broke the previous club record of £27m ($33m), which was paid for Rodrygo in 2020. A move to Hoffenheim could earn a total of around £35m if all add-ons are in place. like that. he met.

The discussions about the cost of a router were unexpectedly complex, and lasted several days last week. Hoffenheim held out for a high price tag, but the proposed deal has also led to discussions about how to fund the move at Elland Road – and at a shareholder level, who will foot the bill.


Georginio Rutter’s offers for Hoffenheim convinced Leeds to sign him (Picture: Christian Kaspar Bartky/Getty Images)

Leeds is majority owned by Andrea Radrizzani, chairman since 2017, but 49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of the San Francisco 49ers NFL franchise, controls more than 40 percent of the club and has been targeting full ownership for some time.

An option to acquire Leeds from Radrizzani, as revealed the athleteHowever, the contract extends through January 2024, but 49ers Enterprises is increasingly tempted to move forward with the acquisition before that date. Talks about the proposed move have been intense lately and figures involved in the deal expect the sale to be completed by summer at the latest.

The proactive role of 49ers Enterprises in backing Rutter’s bid and agreeing to make future payments to him is another strong indication of an upcoming change of ownership. Leeds, like most clubs, are structuring payments to match a new signing contract – Rutter runs until 2028 – and it seems likely that the responsibility for meeting many of those premiums will fall to 49ers Enterprises.


Trossard offered £12m for Tottenham

Andy Naylor writes that Leandro Trossard’s future at Brighton is increasingly looking to be over after his public spat with manager De Zerby last week.

Trossard’s agent, Josy Comhair, claimed his client was no longer speaking to De Zerbi after an altercation with another Brighton player effectively suspended Trossard from first-team consideration.

Kumher called on Brighton to help facilitate the Belgium international’s transfer this month, but it is unclear exactly what his options are.

Tottenham made a verbal offer of around £12m for Trossard, which was rejected by Brighton, who valued it much higher. This casual interest has not been pursued since.

De Zerby suggested after Brighton’s 3-0 win over Liverpool that the door was still open for Trossard to return to his side if he accepted his modus operandi.

“I’m fine with myself and I’m ready to open the doors for him because he’s a good guy and a very important player for us,” he said.

“He changes the team, but he has to understand my style and work according to my style, because I am the coach. I decide the rules inside the dressing room.”


Hudson-Odoi is facing Summer D-day

Simon Johnson has written that Callum Hudson-Odoi will make a decision about his future with Chelsea this summer.

The winger, who was awarded a five-year contract in 2019 after turning down the chance to join Bayern Munich, is currently on a season-long loan at Bayer Leverkusen in order to get regular first-team football.

A combination of a serious Achilles injury four years ago and former manager Thomas Tuchel’s selection policy restricted him to just 66 appearances for Chelsea, and while Graham Potter loves the player, the signing of Mykhailo Modric has only added to the competition for places. in attack.

A number of clubs across Europe are keen on Hudson-Odoi, 22, and have started registering their interest this month. He will likely be available for a deal fee as he will only have 12 months left on his contract in the summer.


Callum Hudson-Odoi is currently on loan at Bayer Leverkusen (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Chelsea will have to give him a contract extension or risk losing him on a free transfer. Hudson-Odoi will be able to start talking to foreign clubs in January 2024 about joining them as a free agent at the end of next season if they don’t.

Another factor in Hudson-Odoi’s thinking is whether Chelsea made the signing of Joao Felix on loan permanent in the summer.

Hudson-Odoi does not want to rush into making any decisions and is focused on continuing his promising form with Bayer Leverkusen, where he participated in 15 matches.


Fraser and Darlo can leave Newcastle

Chris Waugh writes that Ryan Fraser is free to leave Newcastle United this month, but the lack of offers for the club’s fringe players is likely to affect Eddie Howe’s plans to strengthen before the January window closes.

The 28-year-old is seen as Newcastle’s most sold asset among players Howe accepts losing mid-season. The Newcastle head coach is seeking to make room in his squad for a defensive midfield signature. Howe already has 27 seniors and can only score 25 for the remainder of the season. Newcastle are also keen to ease the burden on their wage bill by moving to some minor numbers.

At the start of the pre-season, Fraser asked to leave. But Newcastle’s failure to sign a wide striker prevented him from making a move, despite interest from Southampton and Bournemouth.


Ryan Fraser is surplus to requirements at Newcastle (Picture: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Fraser has only started three league matches this season and has not played for Newcastle since October. Howe is reluctant to take any chances this month, fearing his injury will undermine his chances of a transfer in January.

Newcastle would prefer to sell Fraser but would consider loan offers. They could also let Karl Darlow leave, given they have five senior goalkeepers after Martin Dubravka recalled from his loan at Manchester United.

Howe’s ability to sign the outgoing Newcastle business is not dependent on him, but will help his chances of bringing in new faces.


Hughton in the Ghana framework

Andy Naylor writes that Chris Hughton is one of the contenders to become the new head coach of Ghana’s men’s national team.

The former Newcastle and Brighton coach was appointed as technical advisor to the country in February, but his contract expired after the World Cup, when Ghana was knocked out in the group stage.

Former Ghana international Otto Addo left his post as head coach in December, 11 months after his appointment. He had already informed the GFA that he intended to leave after the tournament in Qatar.


Chris Hughton acted as technical advisor for Ghana during the World Cup (Photo: Stephen McCarthy – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The GFA said last week that about 60 people had applied for the position, none of them from Ghana.

Hughton, 64, has not acted as manager since September 2021, when he was sacked by Nottingham Forest.

He wants to be number 1 again and is keen on a role for Ghana but is open to returning to club management if the Black Stars decide to pursue other options.


New multi-club frontier? Poland

Matt Slater writes that in the week that new Bournemouth owner Bill Foley added a stake in French side Lorient to his portfolio of sports teams, one of the pioneers of the multi-club ownership model approached the first addition in the East.

Pacific Media Group (PMG), which owns full or part stakes in seven teams in seven countries including Barnsley, Kaiserslautern and Ostend, is close to finalizing a deal for Polish second-division team GKS Tychy.

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Based in Poland’s industrial heartland, the club can trace its history back to the early 1970s, and they have enjoyed two spells in their country’s top flight, most recently in the mid-1990s. Like many Polish teams, it is currently majority owned by the local council.

Managed by US investor Paul Conway and his Sino-American partner Shen Li, PMG has been looking forward to investing in Poland for more than a year, as it believes there is a great improvement in the Polish market.

With a population of nearly 40 million, Poland is the fifth largest country in the European Union, its national team has qualified for the last two Euros and the World Cup, and there are now Polish players plying their trade in premier leagues across the continent. . This last point is particularly important as PMG’s business plan is based around player trading.

And PMG isn’t the only US-funded multi-club conglomerate eyeing the country. Robert Blaytek, a partner at IT billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Partners, is in talks to buy another Polish second-tier club, LKS Lodz. Platek already owns Casa Pia in Portugal and Spezia, Italy.

With many of the most attractive deals already taken in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, multi-club investors looking for value will have to follow PMG and Platek to Poland and other less developed football markets.

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