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Ferdinand Will Be Ready for Arsenal Match, BBC Says: Roundup

The following is a roundup of soccer stories from U.K. media, with clickable links to the Web.

Ferdinand Return

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, taken off in the second half of last night’s 1-1 draw with Valencia with a tight hamstring, will be able to play next week against Arsenal, the British Broadcasting Corp. said.

United manager Alex Ferguson said Ferdinand hadn’t torn any muscles and that the club would “have several days now to make sure he is right.”

Pardew the Pick?

Newcastle is likely to hire former West Ham and Charlton manager Alan Pardew after ex-Tottenham coach Martin Jol declined to replace the fired Chris Hughton, who worked for him at Spurs, the Daily Mail said.

Pardew, 49, may take over tomorrow to prepare for this weekend’s home match with Liverpool, the newspaper said.

Carroll Departure?

The next Newcastle coach will take the job knowing that striker Andy Carroll may be sold by the club, the Independent said.

The 21-year-old is the team’s biggest asset, with a value of about 15 million pounds ($24 million), and had a close relationship with Hughton, the newspaper said.

21 Million-Pound Man

Arsenal may give midfielder Samir Nasri a new five-year 21 million-pound contract extension after the Frenchman became the London club’s leading scorer this season with 11 goals, the Sun said.

Nasri’s contract still has 18 months on it, and the 23-year-old said he’s benefiting from a break in playing after not making France’s World Cup squad, the newspaper said.

Arsenal will also try to sign extensions with defender Gael Clichy and forward Andrey Arshavin, the newspaper said.

Benitez Problems

Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez is under pressure to win the FIFA Club World Cup as his club sits in fifth place in Serie A, the Mirror said.

The Spaniard has overseen four league losses, including one to AC Milan, and is getting caught up in internal political conflicts involving President Massimo Moratti, the newspaper said.

Inter will have a bye to the semifinals of the FIFA event, which is being held in Abu Dhabi.

Loyalty Questions

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier was criticized by his own fans for acknowledging and applauding the crowd at Liverpool and ignoring Villa’s supporters after his 3-0 loss in his return to Anfield this week, the Sun said.

Houllier, who left Liverpool in 2004, joined Villa less than three months ago, and with the team just two spots out of the relegation zone, supporters are turning on him, the newspaper said.

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