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It has been reported that Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is being considered by the Everton management as their next boss.

Everton chiefs lining up Mark Hughes to take over from Roberto Martinez
According to several reports, Roberto Martinez would be sacked at the end of the season. Although the former Wigan manager has been able to do well in the cup competitions, it is in the Premier league that the Spaniard has drastically failed.

The once promised dream of Champions league is far from accomplished and is one of the major reasons that Martinez would be sacked. Everton are currently eleventh in the table, a position which does not justify the quality of the team.

Apparently, Hughes is the favorite to take over, although Eddie Howe and Moyes are also being considered for the job as of now. The Stoke City manager has done a respectable job after taking over from Tony Pulis and the team is currently 10th in the table.

New major shareholder of Everton Farhad Moshiri has been taking interest in the proceedings with respect to the club, although Bill Kenwright is still the main man.

Ryan Shawcross was a former United player before moving to Stoke City in the year 2008 and then becoming the captain of the Potters.

Ryan Shawcross reveals what made him leave Manchester United all those years ago.
Shawcross had joined United in the year 2002 and had hopes of playing in a successful United squad. However, the England International was not satisfied with the amount of game time being offered to him by Sir Alex and decided to leave Old Trafford.

The then Stoke boss Tony Pulis offered the current Stoke captain more game time and the opportunity to play week in week out. He joined Stoke initially on loan in 2007 and made the permanent switch to the Britannia stadium six months later.

The Stoke captain has been a mainstay for the club and has been one of the best defenders in the league in the last seven years. One of the most horrible moments for Shawcross was when he was red carded for a tackle on Aaron Ramsey, which left the Arsenal player injured for a long time. Shawcross, earlier in the week, admitted that particular incident still haunts him as a player.

Shawcross has an aim of playing around 500 games for his current club and only has nice things to say about his former boss Sir Alex. He stated that Ferguson has been in constant touch with him and congratulated the defender when he made his debut for the national team.

The 'pride-wounded' Manchester United will travel to the Britiannia Stadium on Boxing Day, looking for nothing except a win. The team morale has hit a new low after last week's home defeat to Norwich City, and Louis Van Gaal's men have a point to prove at Stoke.

Preview: Stoke City vs Manchester United
For their opponents Stoke City, things are falling in place after a dismal start to the season which saw Tony Pulis getting sacked. However, his successor at the club has been doing tremendous work, which has helped the club to reach eleventh in the Premier League table.

The Red devils have been just a shadow of the former glory, and the team has not won even once in their last six matches across all competitions. Amidst speculation over the uncertainty of his managerial position at the club, LVG walked out of the press conference last week, after criticizing the reporters for stupid rumours.

But history favours Manchester United in this fixture as they have not lost to Stoke in their last 14 meetings. Also, the Manchester team has won 17 of their 18 Boxing Day fixtures, drawing just once.

Mark Hughes has revolutionized Stoke City with his brand of free flowing football, and Stoke are just six points adrift of their opponents who sit at fifth position. Stoke City have recently beaten Manchester City in the League and will hope for the same result against the other team from Manchester.

Predicted Starting Line-ups:

Stoke City: Rutland, Shawcross, Johnson, Pieters, Whelan, Charlie Adam, Arnautovi, Bojan, Shaqiri, Walters

Manchester United: De Gea, Jones, Blind, Smalling, Young, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Mata, Depay, Martial, Rooney

We look at some of the major events that have happened on this day in football history.

Newcastle United fans will have fond memories of this day as it was on 19 September 1999 that Sir Bobby Robson made his home debut as Newcastle's manager. Newcastle were struggling in the league at the time and they had just one point from their opening seven games. They needed a spark from somewhere and what a blast that day turned out to be.

Shearer hits 5 in Sir Bobby Robson's first home game as boss
Alan Shearer led the attack for the Magpies as they put eight goals past Sheffield Wednesday without reply. The 8-0 win is still the biggest win margin in Premier League history. Alan Shearer scored five goals himself on the day, and is among the four players to have scored five in a single Premier league game.

Bojan Krkić
Barcelona gave youngster Bojan Krkic his  Champions league debut on this day in 2007. Bojan was an exciting prospect to have come through the ranks of La Masia and became Barca's youngest ever player to appear in the competition. Bojan would later go on to become Barce

Asmir Begovic's goal against Southampton last season has booked a place in Guinness Book of World Records for the 'longest goal scored in football'. The goal was recorded to be scored from a distance of 91.9 metres (301ft 6in).


The goal was scored in just 12 seconds after kick-off . The ball caught the wind and then bounced over Artur Boruc into the net.

Watch Begovic's goal here:

Begovic told www.stokecityfc.com: 'I feel amazing to be honored in this way and as a goalkeeper I didn't expect this to happen, not for this type of record anyway. I will take it though and enjoy it.

'I really do appreciate this award and the certificate will certainly take pride of place on the wall at home.

'So thank you to everyone at Guinness World Records for presenting me with this wonderful award.'

Yesterday, just before Man United's unceremonious dumping out of the Capital One Cup by a superb MK Dons side, Angel Di Maria became the most expensive signing for an English club of all time. As Fernando Torres will attest to, money doesn't always equal success, but Di Maria could well be the best signing of the season if he can reproduce his form from last season and if Man United can fit him into their side, but enough has been said and written about Di Maria's role. This is about players who could be the Signing of the Season for less than Mario Balotelli, another big name signing, as I look at the slightly lower profile signings that could shine this season.

1. Remy Cabella

Remy Cabella
Despite being touted as a star attacking midfielder in France with many French journalists and fans endorsing him for some of the biggest European teams (no disrespect to Newcastle, but they're not quite Dortmund or Atletico), it seemed that teams were reluctant to take a risk on the creative midfielder. Cabella is a very quick, skilful midfielder who loves to take a man on and is a very good goalscorer from midfield. He creates chances for those around him and though Newcastle are yet to score, he has been the brightest spark in the team and their season's hopes could rest on him.

2. Bojan Krkic


Bojan Krkic [Image from Flickr by: Tsutomu Takasu]
8 years ago, if you'd have told the coaching staff at Barcelona, and any scouts who'd seen him play, that Bojan would end up at Stoke at 24, they'd have laughed in your face. Having been touted as the biggest young talent in the world with comparisons made to Lionel Messi, those comparisons seem a long way away now. However, there was a reason that he was rated so highly by Barcelona, so if Bojan can showcase his talent that he clearly possesses, then £6.5 million could be an absolute steal for Stoke. Bojan is a wonderfully gifted player with a similar style to the aforementioned little Argentinian, who could be an absolutely amazing signing if, if, he can flourish in England.

3. Cheikhou Kouyate

Cheikhou Kouyate [Image from Flickr by: Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht]
West Ham have recruited extremely impressively; Mauro Zarate is similarly talented to Bojan, but Cheikhou Kouyate could be the real coup for West Ham. A powerful midfielder who is adept at playing at centre-back too, Kouyate joins national team mate Mohamed Diame at West Ham and after two impressive performances for West Ham, he looks like he could be an improvement. Diame is extremely talented but inconsistent so Hammers fans will be hoping he can continue his form which has some people comparing him to Patrick Vieira. Maybe a touch too far, but Kouyate could be a extremely impressive signing who goes under the radar.

4. Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi playing for Iceland in 2012 [Image by:Andrzej Otrębski]
After a mixed spell at Tottenham, Sigurdsson is back at Swansea, where he appears to be more comfortable, which is wonderful for Swansea fans to see, but also the neutrals. Sigurdsson is a yard of pace away from being an elite player, making him a perfect fit for a team aiming to break into the top half of the table. He is a wonderful striker of the ball, capable of scoring goals from almost any distance, with impeccable technique and passing range. Surrounded by the pace and skill of players like Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony, he could really show his talents this year and really grow into the player that he looked like he would be as a young player.

5. Dusan Tadic

Dusan Tadic
The most expensive buy in this article, Tadic comes with a big reputation in the Netherlands, despite not too many people knowing who he is in this country. Tadic is a direct replacement to Adam Lallana at Southampton, at half the price they sold him for. He's a similar player - capable of beating a man and creating chances for the players around him - but time will tell whether he can be as successful. If he is, then he has to be considered a bargain, due to the price of Lallana. Tadic has a lot of ability and could be one of the best creators in the league if he hits form.

So who will be the lower profile Signing of the Season? I personally fancy Cabella to shine this season, but it could easily be any of the mentioned players.

Article contributed by:  Elliott Griffiths 

Twitter: @ElliottBCFC

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