African Cup of Nations 

+ A senior official of the dissident group that launched a fatal ambush on the Togo football team has expressed his "condolences", saying rebels attacked their bus by mistake. Two people have been arrested in connection with the fatal machine gun attack.

+ Togo’s request to play in the Africa Cup of Nations has been turned down by the tournament’s organisers. Flags flew at half-mast in the west African nation today as the country began three days of national mourning. The squad flew home yesterday in the wake of Friday’s gun attack, which killed three people; the side’s assistant coach, its press officer and the Angolan bus driver.

+ Togo goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale remains in intensive care in a South African hospital following the terrorist attack on the squad’s coach on Friday.

+ Guardian Video: Togo team returns home from Africa Cup of Nations.

+ Togo defender Assimiou Touré has spoken of his terror during Friday’s attack on his team’s bus as it entered Angola. The Bayer Leverkusen player said he had prayed that he and his colleagues would get out alive.

+ Udinese are taking steps to ensure the safety of their players after the events in Angola and have requested the Ghanaian Football Association and FIFA to release Kwadwo Asamoah immediately.

+ Arsene Wenger has questioned fellow Premier League managers’ motivation for calling for their players to return from the African Nations Cup over security concerns.

+ Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba is not in the correct frame of mind to be competing at the Africa Cup of Nations following Friday’s terrorist attacks, according to Togo’s Alaixys Romao.

+ Sam Wallace: Why did Africa award the Cup to a country so inadequate to host it?

+ Kevin Garside: Togo’s African Cup of Nations tragedy is product of fascination with sport.

+ Paul Myers: As football begins, west is warned — don’t stereotype whole of Africa.

+ Martin Samuel: To guarantee safety in Angola was deceitful and fateful.

+ Supporters at the World Cup in South Africa face "a deadly serious threat" from terrorists encouraged by the global impact of last week’s atrocity in Angola, security analysts have warned.

+ Hosts Angola blew a four-goal lead after 79 minutes to be held to a 4-4 draw by Mali on Sunday in the opening match of the African Nations Cup.

(Best I can find right now)

+ Kanu has denied reports he has had a bust-up with Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu.

+ Simon Kuper: Africans may find their Cup not English enough.

 

North America

+ Guillermo Barros Schelotto plans on talking to Crew GM Mark McCullers about a new deal with the club.

+ Luciano Emilio, who spent three years with D.C. United and was MLS’s most valuable player in 2007, will not return to Washington this season. Emilio’s contacts in the United States say he has signed a six-month contract with second-division Rio Branco de Americana in his native Brazil.

+ Red Nation speaks with Toronto FC midfielder Amadou Sanyang.

+ The San Jose Earthquakes are set to hire Mark Watson (78 caps for Canada) as an assistant coach.

+ Brandon McDonald has been promoted to the Earthquakes senior roster, while it appears Mike Zaher (ex-TFC draft pick) and Jamil Roberts will likely not return to the club.

+ The Red Bulls have made the signing of Costa Rican defender Roy Miller official.

+ Chivas USA striker Eduardo Lillingston is going out on loan to second division Mexican team Tijuana.

+ Carlos de los Cobos is likely to bring wide open style to Chicago Fire, and could also persuade Cuauhtemoc Blanco to come back to the club.

+ Canada’s Teal Bunbury capped an impressive season by winning the MAC Hermann Trophy, U.S. college soccer’s version of the Heisman Trophy. Bunbury spoke with Inside Minnesota Soccer after winning the award.

+ Buzz Carrick lists his 2010 MLS Draft forward prospects.

+ MLSDraft.net has MLS combine notes, with 5 up and 5 down from day 1.

+ Greg Seltzer lists the five best late round steals in MLS Draft history.

+ Wizards Coach/Technical Director Peter Vermes talks about going to the combine, evaluating players, scouting the local area for players, signing new players and how that changes the draft strategy and early picks versus later picks.

+ Free agent U.S. U-20 midfielder Bryan Arguez is on his way to train with Flamengo for a week.

+ The Yorkies: MLS side effects during the economic downturn. (Humour. Number 3 is my favourite).

+ The Big Lead: Does age explain Freddy Adu’s decline?

+ Glenn Davis: Futsal helps development.

 

England

+ Stoke City are attempting to secure the signature of Real Madrid striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

+ Kevin Kuranyi has turned down a £3.5million move to Sunderland after holding talks with club officials and his agents in Bavaria.

+ Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is ready to swoop for Paraguayan striker Salvador Cabanas.

+ Bruce has dismissed suggestions that he had launched a £5 million bid for Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

+ Arsène Wenger will not rush talks over a new Arsenal contract with 18 months to go before his current deal expires.

+ Denilson is confident that he will be fit to face Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, but will undergo a scan on Monday on his intercostal muscles amid fears it could be related to his recent back fracture.

+ Dimitar Berbatov’s troubled season at Manchester United has suffered another blow after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed he could be forced to undergo a knee operation.

+ Manchester United have confirmed they plan to raise £500 million in a bond sale as the Glazer family aim to restructure the club’s punishing £699m debt.

+ Without the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, who announced pre-tax profits of £48.2m today, would have been reporting a loss of £31.8m.

+ Sir Alex Ferguson has risked further trouble with the Football Association after criticising referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision to dismiss Darren Fletcher in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.

+ Owen Coyle says decision to reject Celtic job is proof he has not joined Bolton to boost his wage packet.

+ Martin Dobson is set to take charge of Burnley against Manchester United on Saturday following caretaker-manager Steve Davis’s decision to follow Owen Coyle from Turf Moor to Bolton.

+ Manchester City are on the verge of a deal to sign Cristian Ansaldi, 23, for £4 million from Rubin Kazan.

+ Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists he never made a serious offer to bring Juan Sebastian Veron back to the Premier League.

+ Patrick Vieira has provided an insight into why Roberto Mancini has won over Manchester City’s players so rapidly – he still thinks he is one of them.

+ Vieira believes he is a better player now than he was when he left the Premier League four-and-a-half years ago.

+ Vieira has been ruled out of today’s Premier League game against Blackburn Rovers because of injury.

+ Paul Wilson: Vieira deal shows slipping standards.

+ Tony Cascarino: Vieira’s move to Manchester City does not make sense.

+ Liverpool’s £1.5m acquisition of Atletico Madrid’s Maxi Rodriguez is virtually complete.

+ Tom Hicks Jr has bowed to pressure to resign from the Liverpool board following his obscene comments to a supporter in a row over Rafael Benítez’s transfer budget.

+ Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher managed to turn a simple interview with FIFA’s website into a family row after forgetting his son’s age.

+ Striker Louis Saha’s Everton future appears to be in the balance after the Frenchman issued the club with a hefty wage demand, wanting to be Goodison Park’s highest paid star.

+ Birmingham are interested in Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega.

+ Roma and Fulham have agreed terms on the loan transfer of Stefano Okaka to London but the player still has to agree terms with the Cottagers.

+ Portsmouth have told Manchester City and Sunderland they want £14 million for defender Younes Kaboul as the hard-up Premier League club attempt to raise crucial funds.

+ David James has attacked the "irresponsible" spending at Portsmouth which has pushed the Premier League club to the point of being wound up.

+ Eidur Gudjohnsen is weighing up a return to the Premier League after falling out of favour at Monaco. Spurs, Blackburn and West Ham are considering a move.

+ Gianfranco Zola is set to hold crisis talks with the West Ham board next week to discuss any big-name departures and the potential takeover of the club.

+ Steve Tongue: Wilson Palacios "’I lost a brother, so losing a game is no big deal.’

+ Former Manchester United star Eric Cantona has taken on a challenging role in new Paris theatre drama directed by his wife.

 

Spain 

+ Lionel Messi kept Barcelona on top of La Liga with a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at Tenerife on Sunday.

+ Cristiano Ronaldo welcomed the return to action of team-mate Kaka as Real Madrid’s two biggest summer signings were able to start only their second league match together since September against Real Mallorca.

+ Atletico Madrid have signed Juventus midfielder Tiago on loan until the end of the season.

+ Villarreal midfielder Robert Pires has revealed he is considering leaving the club in the summer, with a return to England or France in the pipeline.

 

Italy

+ AC Milan kept up the pressure on table-toppers and city rivals Inter Milan with a 3-0 win away to Juventus – a result which turns the heat firmly on home coach Ciro Ferrara.

+ Reports in Russia suggest the country’s Football Association has freed Guus Hiddink, allowing the Dutch tactician to replace Ciro Ferrara at Juventus.

+ Inter Milan tightened their grip on the Serie A leadership thanks to a thrilling 4-3 win over Serie A bottom club Siena on Saturday.

+ Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi will be out for the next five weeks through injury but he has reached an agreement to extend his contract until 2015.

+ Sampdoria goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi will be out of action for at least six weeks through injury.

+ Genoa are seriously considering a bid for Wolfsburg’s Italian centre-back Andrea Barzagli.

 

France

+ Marseille are a step closer to securing a loan move for Inter winger Mancini following a green light from the OM board.

+ Wigan midfielder Olivier Kapo has joined Boulogne on loan until the end of the season.

+ Nice have secured the services of Didier Digard on a six-month loan from Middlesbrough.

+ Frank Leboeuf is set to take to the stage in a tour of the French production L’Intrus (The Intruder).

 

Germany

+ Germany international Christian Gentner will leave Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg and return to his former club Stuttgart when his contract expires in the summer.

+ Hannover president Martin Kind says the death of Robert Enke can no longer be used by his team’s players as an excuse for failing to win matches.

+ Mainz have signed former Stuttgart youth player and Real Madrid forward Adam Szalai on loan until the end of the season.

+ Michael Skibbe has signalled his intention to leave his position as coach of Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of the season as the club do not match his own ambition.

 

Scotland

+ Celtic are today set to make Jos Hooiveld their first January transfer window signing and are understood to have offered the Dutch defender a three-and-a-half year contract. The 26-year-old is expected to be a direct replacement for Gary Caldwell, who, along with his team-mate Barry Robson, is currently discussing terms with Middlesbrough.

+ Canadian international Richard Hastings was sent off in Hamilton Academical’s 3-3 draw with Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

+ Dunfermline Athletic face expulsion from Scottish Cup for fielding an ineligible player.

 

Russia

+ Ukraine striker Andriy Voronin has joined Dinamo Moscow on a three-year contract from Liverpool.

 

Portugal

+ FC Porto have reached an agreement to sign Vitoria Guimaraes defender Sereno.

+ Arsenal de Sarandi’s Franco Jara has spoken out publicly of his desire to make the move to Benfica and hopes that the transfer materialises soon.

 

Greece

+ Australia defender Craig Moore has signed an 18-month contract with Kavala to maintain his World Cup aspirations.

 

Liberia

+ Steve Bloomfield: Liberia’s amputee footballers — from civil war to African champions.