Friday, 24 September 2021



Sports (319)

West Ham United and Leicester City have been recently linked with a move for John McGinn and are likely to fail in their pursuit for the Aston Villa midfielder as talks have begun over a new long-term deal to keep him at Villa Park. The interested Premier League duo should instead wait until January, as Villa’s position in the table could affect players’ movements.

McGinn, like Grealish, was outstanding for the Claret and Blues in 2018/19 and could move to a bigger club in the future, but he appears committed to staying for Villa’s first season back in the Premier League. If the club were struggling by January, however, McGinn and co. might be open to agreeing a deal that would see them switching clubs the following summer.

Leicester need a midfielder as Vicente Iborra left for Villarreal in January, Nampalys Mendy has struggled for playing time, Daniel Amartey spent the second-half of last season injured while Adrien Silva and Matty James struggled for playing time in 2018/19 and may be offloaded.

As for West Ham, Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez spent the majority of last season injured while Pedro Obiang wasn’t a regular in 2018/19 – 12 Premier League starts. It’s hard to see Dean Smith letting McGinn leave mid-season, however, as keeping the £23k-per-week midfielder could be key to Villa avoiding relegation.

West Ham and Leicester stand a better chance of agreeing a deal with the Midlands club in January if McGinn could spend the remainder of the campaign at Villa Park and move on when the 2019/20 season finishes.

Posted On Sunday, 23 June 2019 17:20 Written by

According to The Sun, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is set for an Inter Milan switch which will see him earn £180,000-a-week, and both sides are expected to agree a £75 million transfer fees – the exact amount Everton were paid for his services.

The Belgium international is wanted by former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at the San Siro, and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is willing to let him leave after making Marcus Rashford his first-choice striker last season.

Juventus are also interested in Lukaku, but Inter appear to have won the race for the signature of the 26-year-old.

Since switching Goodison Park for Old Trafford two summers ago, the Belgian has struggled to live up to expectations despite scoring 42 goals in 96 appearances, and national team manager Roberto Martinez has since urged him to move on.

Solskjaer will be looking to invest the fees from Lukaku sales appropriately, but it remains to be seen if another striker would be brought in with Rashford expected to lead the line for Untitled next term, while 17-year-old Mason Greenwood could feature in the Norwegian’s first-team plans if he impresses during pre-season.2

Posted On Thursday, 20 June 2019 04:23 Written by
Mendy has joined Real Madrid, after spells with Le Havre and Lyon

New Real Madrid signing Ferland Mendy says he was told he might never play football again after hip surgery as a 15-year-old left him in a wheelchair.

The France defender, 24, joined Real on a six-year contract from Lyon last week in a deal worth up to £47.1m.

“I was in a wheelchair for a while and I spent between six and seven months in hospital doing rehabilitation so I could walk again,” Mendy said.

“They told me I wasn’t going to play again. Now I’m at Real Madrid.”

Only two years ago, Mendy was still playing for French second-tier side Le Havre before joining Lyon in June 2017. He made his international debut against Uruguay in November.

“At the beginning I just couldn’t believe it,” Mendy said of his move to the La Liga giants.

“This is a great club and being able to sign a contract with them to me is something absolutely incredible, fantastic. I’m absolutely overjoyed and hopefully everything will go well here.”

Mendy’s arrival has taken Real Madrid’s summer spending to close to £300m.

The club have already signed Belgium forward Eden Hazard from Chelsea for a fee that could exceed £150m, and Serbia striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported £53m.

In March, they signed Porto defender Eder Militao for £42.7m.

Posted On Thursday, 20 June 2019 04:19 Written by As per a report from ESPN, Chelsea will meet with Derby County boss Frank Lampard this week to table a 3-year contract offer to their former midfielder.

Lampard’s Rams’ stint

Blues’ legend Lampard was named the manager of Championship outfit Derby last summer.

His appointment marked Lampard’s first in senior management, though it didn’t take long for the former English international to showcase his talents as a tactician.

A solid debut campaign at Pride Park eventually saw Derby finish 6th in the Championship table, securing a playoff berth.

The Rams subsequently went on to defy the odds in putting Leeds to the sword in their playoff semi-final, after mounting a remarkable 2nd-leg comeback.

This left just one fixture between Derby and a return to the Premier League.

In the end, though, Lampard and co. were left disappointed, as a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the playoff final saw Derby confined to 2nd-tier football for the 12th-straight season.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 27: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa and Dean Smith, Manager of Aston Villa celebrate with the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final Trophy following their team’s victory in the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final match between Aston Villa and Derby County at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

Sarri out, Lampard in?

Reports emerging over the course of the last week, though, have suggested that Lampard’s debut campaign at Pride Park could yet prove to be his solitary season in charge of the Rams.

With Maurizio Sarri having been named the new Juventus boss yesterday afternoon, Chelsea are said to have identified Lampard as their no.1 target to replace the Italian:

And, despite claims that Derby had moved to ward off Chelsea’s interest by opening talks with Lampard over a contract renewal over the weekend, subsequent reportshave suggested that the 40-year-old is nevertheless keen to discuss the vacant hotseat at Stamford Bridge.

As per the latest update courtesy of ESPN, meanwhile, Chelsea will make a formal approach to gauge Lampard’s interest in making a return to the club this week.

At this point, the Blues will offer the English tactician a 3-year contract.

ESPN also label Lampard as ‘the preferred choice’ to replace Maurizio Sarri.

If appointed, former Chelsea academy coach Jody Morris and fitness coach Chris Jones would be expected to join Lampard’s staff.

Posted On Tuesday, 18 June 2019 02:35 Written by Leeds United are reportedly interested in the Fenerbahce forward Michael Frey.

The 24-year-old is a target for Middlesbrough as well according to Fotomac.

The report translated by SportWitness claims that the Turkish club are willing to sell the attacker this summer and Middlesbrough are plotting a €5m move.

It seems that Leeds will have to move quickly if they want to sign him this summer.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements and Frey could prove to be a useful addition.

With Roofe injured at times last season, Leeds really struggled to score goals. They cannot afford to go into another season with just one reliable goalscorer.

Bamford is inconsistent and he is best suited to a backup role.

Frey scored 5 goals for Fenerbahce last season but he is quite young and talented. He could develop into a quality player under Bielsa’s guidance. Also, before moving to Turkey he had a 16-goal season with FC Zurich.

It will be interesting to see whether the Whites are prepared to make their move in the coming weeks.

Getting in a striker should be a top priority for Leeds United in the transfer marketthis summer.

Posted On Tuesday, 18 June 2019 02:32 Written by

The Foxes midfielder has been linked with some of the biggest names in the Premier League, but he only has eyes on Nigeria’s AFCON campaign

Leicester City star Wilfred Ndidi has admitted he is “flattered” to be linked with a big money move away from the King Power Stadium, but insists his focus is currently on Nigeria’s bid to win the Africa Cup of Nations.

The midfielder was an ever-present for the Foxes in the Premier League last season, and enjoyed an eye-catching campaign – particularly once Brendan Rogers had taken the managerial reigns in February this year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, his form has attracted the attention of some of England’s biggest clubs, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Champions League winners Liverpool all credited with an interest in the 22-year-old.

But, while Ndidi has acknowledged such reports are complimentary, his feet remain firmly on the ground as he looks to make his mark in Egypt over the next five weeks, and in the blue of Leicester beyond that.

“I am flattered when hearing such a thing,” Ndidi, who arrived in the Premier League from Belgian club Genk in a £14m deal in early 2017, told Goal.

“It is very good to hear about that interest from big clubs, but there is nothing on the ground so I won’t care about it.

“I am focusing on AFCON with Nigeria now, and then pre-season with Leicester City. We have a great manager with ambition to compete with big clubs in the Premier League.”

Nigeria open their AFCON campaign against Burundi in Alexandria on Saturday, and are overwhelming favourites to qualify for the last 16 from a group that also contains Guinea and Madagascar.

Ndidi, however, is taking nothing for granted ahead of next weekend’s opener, and claims one of the biggest potential challenges could well come from one of his former Leicester team-mates as well as the tournament’s other big hitters from the likes of Egypt and Senegal.

“Mohamed Salah is a very good player,” he says. “I’ve played against him three times – he’s a great finisher and very fast. Sadio Mane is also a very good player.

“But the toughest one for me is (Algeria’s) Riyad Mahrez. He was at Leicester and we trained together every day before he left for Manchester City.

“He is very difficult, skinny and very technical. You have to slow down to take him out – if you go fast he will finish you in seconds.

“I don’t think that it is an easy group. For me, there is no easy team in modern football. The name does not matter – the only thing that matters in the 90 minutes of the game.

“We can get a shock from this group, so we have to stay focused on the game, not on how easy it is, and ignore what people say.

“We will play tough games against very good teams, and our target is to be on the top by the end of the group stages.”

With a warm-up friendly against Senegal to come on Sunday, Nigeria’s attempt to reach next month’s final in Cairo will depend heavily on the form of Ndidi and his midfield co-star John Obi Mikel.

The former Chelsea man and Nigeria’s captain, now 32, was something of a hero of Ndidi’s during his younger days, and his influence in the middle of the park for the Super Eagles could have a huge bearing on their fate.

“It is great to play with him,” admits Ndidi. “I grew up watching Mikel. He is my role model and playing alongside him is a great thing

“He is very calm, a good captain, and he gives advice to everyone and speaks with everyone. When you talk to him, he is very humble.

“It is a plus to the team having such a player. We grew up watching him, and now we’re playing with him he gives us more confidence

“With our current players, coach and staff, I think we can do something great. The important thing is to try to win games as much as we can.

“We cannot talk about winning the cup now – we will deal with it game by game and see what will happen. There are many good teams here.

“For me, Senegal and Egypt are the favourites. Senegal is a very good, tough team and they have great players, while Egypt are at home.”

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Posted On Sunday, 16 June 2019 17:51 Written by

According to Euro United (via GFFN), Everton were among a myriad of clubs present at the Ligue 1 game between Lyon and Lille on Sunday night, with Director of Football Marcel Brands and Head of European Recruitment Gretar Steinsson said to be scouting Lyon duo Lucas Tousart and Memphis Depay.

With Senegalese defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye – a January target of Paris Saint-Germain – likely to leave Goodison Park this summer, the Merseyside outfit are scouring Europe for a replacement, and it’s not a suprise that they are looking at Tousart.

Unfortunately for the Everton chiefs, the 22-year-old midfielder wasn’t involved in last night’s action, but they saw plenty of Depay – who played all 90 minutes.

The former Manchester United flop, once famously compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, assisted Lyon’s first goal in the 2-2 draw, taking up his tally to nine assists and eight goals in 33 Ligue 1 appearances this term.

Brands knows the 25-year-old so well having watched him grow up at PSV Eindhoven, but it remains to be seen if Everton have a keen interest in him ahead of the summer transfer window.

The Toffees are looking to break into the English top six going forward, and manager Marco Silva will have to make more quality additions this summer.

Tousart and Depay both look capable of improving the club, and it will be interesting to see if a move is made for both or either of them.

Posted On Tuesday, 07 May 2019 03:40 Written by

As per a report from highly-reliable Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Premier League champions Manchester City have clinched an agreement with Sporting CP over the signing of Bruno Fernandes.

Sporting standout

Fernandes, a gifted attack-minded midfielder, made the return to his home country of Portugal with Sporting in the summer of 2017, after a 5-year stint in Italy.

And to say that the 24-year-old has since gone on to establish himself as a key contributor at the José Alvalade Stadium would be putting it lightly.

Fernandes’ combination of eye for goal, set-piece prowess, creative flair and penchant for the spectacular have seen him emerge as one of Portuguese football’s leading talents over the last two seasons.

After directly contributing to over 30 goals across all competitions during his debut Sporting campaign, Fernandes has since taken his game to another level altogether this season, having notched an eye-catching 31 goals and 17 assists in the league alone.

Imminent Man City switch

As such, the 11-time capped international’s standout showings in the Portuguese capital have inevitably begun to catch the eye of some of European football’s biggest clubs.

Of the sides named as serious suitors of Fernandes, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City have been the most persistently-touted as potential destinations.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes during the UEFA Europa League Round-of-16 first-leg match between Sporting Lisbon and Viktoria Plzen. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

But, after reports in Portugal over the weekend suggested that Pep Guardiola’s City had taken a clear lead in the race for the midfielder, the Citizens now appear to have all-but wrapped up Fernandes’ signing.

As per the respected Gianluca Di Marzio, the English champions have agreed a 55 million Euro deal with Sporting.

A full agreement is expected to be found imminently, with Fernandes set to ply his trade at the Etihad from next season on.

Posted On Tuesday, 07 May 2019 03:28 Written by

Sadio Mane scored twice to steer Liverpool into the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday after a superb 3-1 win at Bayern Munich dumped out the German giants.

Having missed the goalless first leg at Anfield three weeks ago through suspension, Virgil van Dijk’s long pass led to Mane’s excellent first-half goal at the Allianz Arena.

“His first goal was ridiculous, the calmness with how he’s finished it off,” Liverpool midfielder James Milner told BT Sport.

“He’s on fire at the minute and let’s hope it continues for the rest of the season.”

Dutch centre-back Van Dijk then headed last season’s runners-up Liverpool into a 2-1 lead from a Milner corner on 69 minutes after Joel Matip’s own goal had handed Bayern a first-half equaliser.

Mane made absolutely sure of Liverpool’s place in the quarter-final draw by nodding in six minutes from time.

Liverpool’s 3-1 aggregate victory means they join Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United in the quarter-finals, completing a clean sweep of English sides reaching the last eight for the first time since 2008/09.

“It is good for English football — that’s what you want,” added Milner.

“We have good feelings from last year, so hopefully we can carry that on and go as far as we can.”

It is a bleaker picture in Germany as Bayern’s exit leaves no Bundesliga club in the quarters for the first time since 2005/06, as Borussia Dortmund and Schalke also bowed out in the last 16 — to Tottenham and Man City respectively.

This is the first time since 2011 that Bayern have failed to make the quarter-finals.

“Both teams were very cautious for a long period, but the second goal took the belief out of us,” said Bayern defender Mats Hummels.

“Jurgen Klopp is good at neutralising the opponents’ strengths and he did that once again.

“We didn’t play well enough to create enough clear chances at this level.”

Henderson forced off
Milner was preferred to Fabinho in Liverpool’s midfield, but Jurgen Klopp was forced into an early change when captain Jordan Henderson hobbled off on 12 minutes.

Brazilian Fabinho made an early entrance and Milner took the skipper’s armband.

Klopp had urged his side to “be brave on the ball” and it was that, combined with an amazing piece of skill by Mane, which gave them the lead.

Van Dijk’s pin-point pass over 40 metres found Mane in the Bayern box with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer off his line.Mane spun away and looped his shot inside the far post to give the visitors a valuable away goal in the 26th minute.

The bravery Klopp wanted flowed through the Liverpool ranks and Milner, winning the midfield battle, set Firmino free in the box, but the Brazilian blasted his shot at Neuer.

However, the hosts drew level six minutes before the break when Serge Gnabry slipped his marker Andrew Robertson and hit a cross intended for Robert Lewandowski.

The ball went in off Matip, who was focused on marking the Polish striker, to the despair of the Liverpool centre-back and the delight of the home crowd.

The tempo of the game dropped sharply after the restart, but Bayern wasted a chance on the hour mark when Gnabry fired in a cross, only for Lewandowski to mistime his slide.

Liverpool were heading for the quarter-finals when Milner swung in the second of two corners in quick succession and Van Dijk powered a header past Neuer.

Mane scored his second when Mohamed Salah’s chip found him at the far post to head home his sixth goal in four matches, as Liverpool’s travelling fans started singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, while the Bayern supporters began to slip away.

Posted On Thursday, 14 March 2019 00:58 Written by

Zinedine Zidane will make a shock return as coach of Real Madrid after the club decided on Monday to sack Santiago Solari, say reports in the Spanish press.

Madrid president Florentino Perez has reportedly met with the board and resolved to dismiss Solari, with Zidane set to be his replacement, nine months after the he resigned at the end of last season.

Zidane could take training as early as Tuesday and be in charge for Madrid’s La Liga game at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday.

His priority will be to secure Madrid’s place in the top four after a turbulent fortnight that has seen them lose twice to Barcelona and knocked out by Ajax in the Champions League.

Zidane won that tournament in each of his three seasons in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, as well as La Liga in 2016-17, while enjoying a strong relationship with the majority of the players.

Gareth Bale was one of the few not to see eye-to-eye with the Frenchman and Bale’s future will become even more uncertain, should Zidane’s appointment be confirmed.

Sergio Ramos had said earlier on Monday he accepts blame for the club’s “deeply disappointing” season but insists the players have no say on the coaching situation.

Ramos posed a series of questions to himself on social media after Madrid had beaten Real Valladolid 4-1 in La Liga on Sunday night.

“As footballers we like to do our talking on the pitch but this season is not turning out that way,” Ramos wrote.

“Recent events have been disastrous and I’m not hiding. We are not hiding. We the players are primarily responsible and I, as captain, more than anyone.”

On Solari’s position, Ramos said: “It’s a decision that’s not ours to make and in which we never interfere. We have enormous respect for the position and we always support the Real Madrid coach.

“These reflections are, without doubt, the result of a deeply disappointing season but if success didn’t stop us, we’re not going to let defeat stop us. It’s our obligation to carry on, to work and to evolve.”

Posted On Tuesday, 12 March 2019 03:47 Written by
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