Sunday, 13 June 2021
Sports

Sports (307)

Manchester United standout Bruno Fernandes has this weekend opened up on his ‘regret’ at not yet being able to sit down for a proper conversation with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fernandes dazzling

Gifted midfielder Fernandes of course made the move to Old Trafford on transfer deadline in January of last year.

And whilst, at the time, there was understandable excitement surrounding his arrival, few could have predicted just how significant an impact the Portuguese would go on to have on the fortunes of his new side.

Fernandes has played an absolutely central role for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United since his arrival, having added a new dimension of guile and creativity to the club’s midfield.

All told, across 22 appearances in his first half-season in Manchester, the former Sporting CP man directly contributed to 20 goals.

The current campaign, to this point, meanwhile, has seen Fernandes’ production continue at a frankly staggering rate, with the 26-year-old having, at times, almost single-handedly carried a hit-and-miss Red Devils outfit through moments of individual brilliance.

‘Speak with him like I would like to’

Fernandes’ exploits, in turn, have of course seen him quickly secure cult hero status at Old Trafford, with many of a United persuasion hopeful that their midfield star will some day take over as club captain.

And, as outlined above, the deep bond between club and player appears to be very much mutual.

Speaking in an interview with Inside United this weekend, Fernandes was drawn on whether or not he has yet been afforded the opportunity to speak with Sir Alex Ferguson, since arriving in Manchester.

And the 26-year-old went on to admit that he has not, labelling the situation one of his ‘biggest regrets’, having grown up as a fan of the Red Devils during the legendary tactician’s time in charge:

‘So, that is one of my biggest regrets in the club until now.’

‘I met him already but never had the chance to speak with him like I would like to do.’

‘I think everyone who watched Manchester United in the past remembers Sir Alex. [That is true] for me, growing up and seeing the club, being a fan of the club and seeing the development of the team.’

‘I would like to have a conversation with him and understand, from his point of view, what he thinks about me and what I can improve or still improve in my game to be better.’

Posted On Sunday, 16 May 2021 17:12 Written by

West Ham United are keen on Southampton striker Danny Ings, according to Sunday Mirror.

The Hammers want to sign a number nine after failing to replace Sebastien Haller in January and have identified striking targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

Southampton are hoping Ings will sign a new deal with just a year left on his current contract.

However, they would demand £30 million for his signature if he insists on leaving.

West Ham are not the only club keen on Ings, with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton also monitoring developments.

The 28-year-old has bagged 12 goals in 27 Premier League games this term and is expected to be included in England’s European Championship squad this summer.

Ings is unwilling to sign a new deal with Southampton that would make him the highest earner at the club.

It is unclear whether he would view a move to West Ham as an upgrade, although the lure of playing in Europe could be tempting.

Joining Man City may also be enticing, with the club offering him the chance to work under Pep Guardiola and regularly challenge for silverware.

Everton and Spurs have established first-choice strikers in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harry Kane, meaning Ings could struggle for game time with either club.

On that basis, West Ham may be Ings’ most viable option, given that they desperately need to find a replacement for Haller this summer.

Posted On Sunday, 16 May 2021 17:03 Written by

Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero would consider joining Tottenham Hotspur when he leaves his current club at the end of the season.

The Argentine wants to remain in the Premier League after 10 years at the EtihadStadium, and he is even ready to sacrifice Champions League football for next season in order to do so.

With 181 Premier League goals in 272 games for Man City, Aguero has established himself as one of the best strikers in the English top-flight, and landing such a player will definitely boost Spurs’ chances of winning silverware and returning to Europe’s elite competition.

While the 32-year-old will be signed as a free agent, his wages could prove too much for a side like Tottenham.

Chairman Daniel Levy has been prudent with his side’s finances for a while, and he would have to break his policies in order to bring Aguero to North London.

With four Premier League titles and five League Cups to his name, the Man City legend is the type of serial winner Spurs need in their dressing room, and his experience and quality will very much come in handy.

Tottenham fans cannot believe that Aguero would be open to joining their club, and some of them have taken to Twitter to react thus:

While the Portuguese is not a huge fan of a two-striker system, things could change with two of the best finishers on the planet at his disposal.

It is too early to predict how things can go during the summer transfer window, but Aguero definitely will not be short of suitors, and Tottenham will strike gold should they land such a player.

Posted On Wednesday, 07 April 2021 15:31 Written by

A selection of Manchester United fans on Twitter have produced a mixed reaction to the speculation that goalkeeper David de Gea could be sold at the end of the campaign.

The Spain international has been an excellent servant for the Red Devils for a decade, registering 153 clean sheets in 434 appearances.

However, his performances have been inconsistent over the past few years, and Dean Henderson is now regularly getting the nod over him in goal.

De Gea missed a few games last month due to personal reasons, and he could not reclaim his spot on his return as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued to stick with Henderson.

This has led to question marks regarding his future with his contract expiring in over two years, and The Mirror reports that the club are prepared to sell him.

The club are looking to offload his £350,000-a-week salary from their wage bill, but it won’t be straightforward as clubs may be reluctant to match his contract demands.

United have reportedly set a £50 million price tag, and it is claimed that they may have to offer him a big pay-off such that he will accept a pay-cut at his next club.

The report has produced a mixed response from some of the Red Devils’ faithful, and here are a few reactions on Twitter.

In a recent press conference, Solskjaer refused to confirm whether the Spaniard would start between the sticks against Brighton & Hove Albion tonight.

While De Gea remains highly valued by the club, he may not entertain the prospect of playing second fiddle to Henderson at the prime phase of his career.

He was linked with Paris Saint-Germain a couple of years ago, and it will be interesting to see whether Les Parisiens are interested in signing him this summer.

Posted On Sunday, 04 April 2021 15:56 Written by

LONDON — The Champions League talking points ahead of the first-leg matches in the quarterfinals:

TUESDAY:

MANCHESTER CITY VS. BORUSSIA DORTMUND

While City could hardly be in better shape, Dortmund has been plunged back into uncertainty and self-doubt. City, the runaway Premier League leader, headed into April still on track for an unprecedented “quadruple” of major trophies this season and has won 26 of its last 27 games in all competitions. The Champions League will be the toughest title to claim and there will be much focus on the approach Pep Guardiola takes for the game, with the Spanish coach often accused of overthinking his tactics on the big occasions. Dortmund’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League were dealt a major blow by the 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, which left Edin Terzić’s team seven points behind fourth-place Frankfurt with seven rounds of the Bundesliga to go. Speculation over star striker Erling Haaland’s future has added to the concerns, with City among the many clubs reportedly interested in the Norway international. Dortmund failing to qualify for Europe’s premier competition would add to the likelihood of Haaland’s departure. He is the Champions League’s top scorer this season with 10 goals.

REAL MADRID VS. LIVERPOOL

It is a meeting between two of the aristocrats of European soccer — they have won the competition 19 times between them — and they come into the quarterfinals in good form. Madrid, a 13-time champion, is unbeaten in all competitions since Jan. 30 and is back in the title race in the Spanish league, not least because of the brilliant form of striker Karim Benzema. The Frenchman has scored nine goals in his last seven games, including against Atalanta in the Champions League’s last 16. Liverpool’s improvement has been more recent — and chiefly due to the return of Fabinho to central midfield after a spell filling in at center back as well as Diogo Jota after injury. The soon-to-be-deposed English champions have kept clean sheets in their last three games but there are still concerns about their defense, especially at center back where understudies Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips are holding the fort. Real Madrid will remain without the injured Sergio Ramos, but there’s a chance Eden Hazard may return to the squad after another injury layoff.

WEDNESDAY:

BAYERN MUNICH VS. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

With a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title almost certain, Bayern Munich can turn its full attention to defending its Champions League crown. Bayern opened a seven-point gap in the Bundesliga with a win over closest rival Leipzig on Saturday and promptly set its sights on Wednesday’s visit from PSG. Parisian Kingsley Coman scored the only goal as Bayern beat the French team in last year’s final, and he may have to do it again with top striker Robert Lewandowski out with a knee injury. Leon Goretzka stepped up with the winner against Leipzig, with Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich both involved. All three have been outstanding this season and will be tasked with making up for Lewandowski’s absence. PSG will be without its two best midfielders. Marco Verratti has contracted the coronavirus for the third time and the tough-tackling Leandro Paredes is suspended for the first leg. Danilo Pereira and Idrissa Gueye could find themselves under a lot of pressure to stop Bayern from dictating the game, so PSG’s wide players will probably have to drop back and help out.

PORTO VS. CHELSEA

Porto is the most surprising team in the last eight after eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus in the round of 16. The Portuguese club is trying to make it to the semifinals for the first time since winning the European trophy in 2004. It also was a quarterfinalist in 2019, being eliminated against eventual champion Liverpool. Chelsea has drastically improved since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager in January. It was unbeaten in 14 games under the German — including back-to-back wins over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League’s last 16 — until a stunning 5-2 loss to lowly West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday. Chelsea had previously conceded only two goals in Tuchel’s tenure. Defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante is set to miss the game after sustaining a knee injury during the international break.

———

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Posted On Sunday, 04 April 2021 15:13 Written by

By Oluwatomisin Amokeoja/ THE NATION

Super Eagles’ Alex Iwobi has tested positive for COVID-19 following mandatory tests taken alongside other players and staff members.

It was gathered that Iwobi will consequently be missing the 2021 AFCON qualifiers match against the Squirrels of Benin Republic coming up at 5 pm Saturday.

The team had been subjected to coronavirus tests before leaving Nigeria and on arrival at Porto Novo Friday.

Posted On Saturday, 27 March 2021 17:36 Written by

Wolverhampton Wanderers are interested in signing the Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old has been outstanding for the Spanish outfit since joining them in 2019 and Wolves are looking to strengthen their attack with the signing of the Argentine international.

Ocampos can play across the front three and he could prove to be a quality addition to the Wolves attack alongside Raul Jimenez and Pedro Neto. The 26-year-old has 7 goals and 4 assists to his name so far this season.

According to Football Insider, the player has three years left on his Sevilla contract and he has a release clause of £62 million.

Apparently, the Spanish club could sell him for much less because of the financial crisis due to the pandemic.

SL View: Upgrade on Adama Traore?

It will be interesting to see if Wolves are willing to pay big money to sign the Argentine international this summer.

The likes of Adama Traore have been quite underwhelming this season and Wolves should look to replace the Spaniard with Ocampos. Traore is an excellent dribbler but his decision making in the final third often lets him down. Ocampos on the other hand is much more efficient and he has more end product in his game.

The 26-year-old is at the peak of his powers right now and he has the quality to come in and make an immediate impact for the Molineux outfit next season.

Posted On Tuesday, 23 March 2021 02:29 Written by

The Chilean’s goal looked like being enough, but Los Nervionenses denied the White and Violets in a dramatic conclusion

Yassine Bounou was Sevilla’s hero as his last-gasp strike cancelled out Fabian Orellana’s goal in a thrilling 1-1 draw against Real Valladolid at Jose Zorrilla on Saturday.

Los Nervionenses had managed just three shots on target and trailed to the Chilean winger’s first-half penalty, but the Morocco international goalkeeper levelled matters with the last kick of the game.

With his effort, the 29-year-old has now scored his maiden goal for club and country. He also became the first goalkeeper ever to score for Sevilla in a Spanish topflight fixture.

Unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, Sergio Gonzalez’s men came into the encounter in dire need of a win against the title-chasing visitors.

Nonetheless, Sevilla – who came prepared probed a couple of times early on but red-hot Youssef En-Nesyri was caged from wreaking havoc.

Two minutes before the half-time break, hosts Valladolid were awarded a penalty after VAR confirmed that goal-bound Shon Weissman was fouled by Karim Rekik and Ivan Rakitic in the box.

Orellana stepped up to take the resultant kick by sending Bounou the wrong way to give his side a slim lead heading into the halftime break.

In dire need of an away victory, Sevilla made a couple of substitutions in the second-half, yet, they were unable to break down the dogged hosts.

Substitute Luuk de Jong came close to equalising for Julen Lopetegui’s side, albeit, his effort kissed the woodwork.

When it appeared like the visitors would return home empty-handed, Bounou came to the rescue. The Moroccan connected to Jules Kounde pass before firing a superb side-footed strike beyond Roberto Jimenez.

However, he was cautioned for taking off his shirt while he wheeled away in celebration as his teammates swamped around him to celebrate the equaliser.

Alongside Bounou, En-Nesyri was in action from start to finish for Sevilla, while their compatriot Munir El Haddadi was an unused substitute.

For Real Valladolid, Morocco’s Jawad El Yamiq was not listed for action due to fitness issues. With 55 points from 28 outings, Sevilla occupy the fourth spot in LaLiga log, while Valladolid are 16th with 27 points from the same number of games played so far.

Posted On Sunday, 21 March 2021 15:48 Written by

Manchester United have stepped up their efforts to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic this summer, Tuttomercatoweb reports.

The Red Devils are long-term admirers of the Serbian, and they were initially interested in him when Jose Mourinho was their manager.

He continues to be linked with the club, and it was recently claimed that the Red Devils have ‘a clear advantage‘ in signing the 23-year-old.

It is now reported that the centre-back is heading ‘towards’ United, and the club’s efforts to sign him are ‘getting stronger’.

Milenkovic has no plans of renewing his contract, which expires in June 2022, and La Viola are set to part ways with him this summer.

Sportslens view:

The Red Devils currently have Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire as the preferred central defensive pairing, with Eric Bailly being the back-up option.

Bailly could be on the move this summer while there have been question marks over Lindelof’s performances in the past.

Solskjaer is eyeing a left-footed centre-back option alongside Maguire, and Villareal’s Pau Torres has been reported as a target.

However, Milenkovic could be a quality purchase with his strong aerial presence and willingness to clear his lines.

The Serbian is valued at €35 million by La Viola but could be prised away for less with his contract expiring in 15 months.

Posted On Sunday, 21 March 2021 15:45 Written by

The Genk striker was initially put on the stand-by list before he was selected to replace Moses Simon in Rohr’s team on Wednesday

Former Nigeria forward Peter Ijeh has slammed Gernot Rohr for the late invitation of Paul Onuachu despite his fine goalscoring form in the Belgian First Division A this season.

The 26-year-old stands as the highest scoring Nigerian player in Europe this season after scoring 27 goals across all competitions for Genk.

Onuachu was called from the standby list on Wednesday to replace Nantes’ Moses Simon who has been barred from leaving France due to Covid-19 restrictions as Nigeria prepare to face Benin and Lesotho for their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next week.

But Ijeh suggested the late consideration of the Genk star could affect his morale.

“The late invitation of Paul Onuachu first as a standby and now invited because another player opted out is so disheartening psychologically,” Ijeh wrote on his social media page.

“I wish he performs, but psychologically it is demoralising to be called up in the format with duress, pressure and not of value and consistency.

“If you watch the patterns written so far in the Super Eagles, it looks like the team is already decided without following the players’ club consistency.

“Though I respect all coaches and their philosophies. But you don’t run a national team with the same philosophy of a club.”

Onuachu has struggled to find the back of the net in Gernot Rohr’s team and has only scored a goal for the Super Eagles which came in his debut outing against Egypt in March 2019.

Ijeh wants better service for the 26-year-old to replicate his club’s goalscoring form at the national team.

“The question now is not if he can perform. The main question is if he can get supply,” the ex- Malmo and Copenhagen forward added.

“As it is today, in Europe today, he is no. 1 finisher with 27 goals. So it is the job of the technical crew to find that missing link or be regarded as incompetent.

“If he is a European, they would celebrate him every day and build around him to contest for European Player of the Year. But when Nigeria devalue such, I wonder where the next generation of players will be?”

Posted On Thursday, 18 March 2021 21:45 Written by
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