Football news in brief

Mackay Newcastle link played downNewcastle have not made any approach for Watford manager Malky Mackay to become assistant manager at St James' Park, according to the Vicarage Road outfit.

Reports suggested Alan Pardew wanted the former Celtic and Scotland defender to join him, but Hornets chief executive Julian Winter said: "There has been no approach of any kind." Watford are 10th in the Championship, just four points outside the top six.

Kakuta commits future to Chelsea

Chelsea have ended speculation over the future of Gael Kakuta by announcing that the promising forward has signed a new four-and-a-half year deal at the club. Kakuta, who joined the Blues in the summer of 2007 after a legal wrangle with former club Lens, was due to leave the Barclays Premier League champions when his contract ran out at the end of the season.

Usmanov ready to up Arsenal stake

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Alisher Usmanov hopes to increase his stake in Arsenal to overtake Stan Kroenke as the club's main shareholder, according to reports. The Russian billionaire owns a 27 per cent share and hopes to buy another 2.9 per cent in order for him to surpass American Kroenke, who currently owns a 29.8 per cent stake.

Henry and Anelka stall on bonuses

Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka have yet to formally give up their World Cup-related bonuses, the French football federation (FFF) said yesterday. It was reported the two strikers had refused to sign the paperwork stating that they would give up the bonuses, but an FFF spokesman said that was not exactly the case. "They have not replied but they have not refused," he said.

Bilbao hold Barca to Copa del Rey draw

Athletic Bilbao ended Barcelona's ten-game winning streak last night with a superb defensive performance in a 0-0 draw in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey. With star Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente out with a pulled muscle, coach Joaquin Caparros deployed six midfielders and smothered Barcelona's attack in the first leg at the Nou Camp. Lionel Messi and David Villa came off the bench, but were unable to produce a breakthrough.