Arsenal attacker Mesut Ozil could make a surprise return to La Liga this summer with Barcelona seemingly keen on his services.
The Germany international has been added to the Catalan club’s shortlist as they look to find a suitable replacement for Paris Saint-Germain-bound Neymar. Neymar is expected to travel to Qatar later this week where he will undergo a medical before sealing his world-record £196m move to Parc des Princes.
The Brazilian has been a pivotal player for Barcelona alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and his departure is likely to leave a huge void to fill ahead of the Spanish Super Cup. Real Madrid will have the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo when they take on Barcelona in the first-leg of the competition on August 13, and the absence of Neymar could significantly reduce the forward strength.
According to Don Balon, Barcelona have identified Ozil as a probable replacement for Neymar, should they fail to clinch a deal for top target Philippe Coutinho. The Copa del Rey winners are willing to pay a club-record sum for the Reds attacker, but unfortunately, Jurgen Klopp is adamant that the Brazilian won’t be sold at any cost. read more …
Former Liverpool striker-turned-pundit Michael Owen insists that the Reds are close to securing the club-record signing of midfielder Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.
The Guinea international put up an all-round performance for the Bundesliga newcomers last season as his eight goals and eight assists helped the club to a second-place finish.
The Reds have failed with two bids worth £50m and £66m for the midfield enforcer this summer, and they are set to return with a third offer of £70m, which many sources believe would be sufficient to seal an agreement. In a report by The Mirror, Owen suggests that his former club are ‘on the cusp’ of signing Keita, who has already earned comparisons with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante for his tireless workrate.
“They are on the cusp of signing Keita, and that could be an amazing signing if that came off,” he told The Mirror. Meanwhile, he also praised the club’s recruitment of Mohamed Salah, who has significantly bolstered the Reds attack ahead of their Champions League playoffs next month. read more …
Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has insisted that he will evaluate his future following the England’s Under-21s bid to lift the European Championship this summer.
The shot-stopper will fly out with his teammates on Monday ahead of their crunch clash against reigning champions Sweden on Friday.
Pickford was one of the standout performers for Sunderland alongside Jermaine Defoe last term, but this was not sufficient to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League for yet another campaign. The Wearside outfit had been playing with relegation over the past few years, but this year was not to be theirs after they failed to gather a winning run in the backend of the season.
The 23-year-old earned his maiden call-up to the senior England squad earlier in the season, and the Black Cats graduate admits that he would like to stay put in the top flight in order to better his international hopes. However, any further decision on the future could be made after Euro 2017 which Pickford is determined to win with the Under-21 side. read more …
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he “does not know” if the game against Chelsea would be his last in charge of the team.
The board of the club is set to meet after the game and there the fate of the French coach would be decided.
Wenger’s contract is set to lapse this summer. He has been with the club since 1996 but is now on the verge of being sacked after the club reached a new low – missing the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
Wenger says his focus is wining the FA Cup for the team. He said winning the title is not for farewell sake but for the team to achieve something. In his two decades at the club, Wenger has lifted three Premier League title and six FA Cups. He did a back to back in 2014 and 2015. read more …
Mauricio Pochettino says that Tottenham have improved a lot in the space of a year.
The club were surprise title contenders last season, but they were unable to sustain the title challenge towards the end of the campaign and lost out to Leicester City. This was a huge blow for the club after having been regarded as one of the finest outside the top four. This season has been an improvement over the last campaign, as the club has been able to remain in the title race even against the big guns like Chelsea and Manchester City.
Speaking ahead of the game with Arsenal during the weekend, Pochettino claimed that the north London outfit have come a long way since the days when they were just barely managing to qualify for the Europa League. Unlike in the past, Spurs will be the favourites to win victory over Arsenal considering that they have been extremely strong at White Hart Lane in recent seasons. read more …
La Liga champions Barcelona have taken a step further with the plans for a Johan Cruyff Stadium.
The club president Josep Maria Bartomeu presented the plans of the stadium with Sant Joan Despi council. The event was just outside the city of Barcelona at the MerceRodoreda Cultural Centre. The commissioner for the EspaiBarcaJordiMoix, and the Mayor Antoni Poveda joined Bartomeu in presenting the plans to the public.
The first brick for the Johan Cruyff Stadium could be laid this year while the whole project can be rounded off in the 2018/19 season with planning permissions being processed, according to the Spanish club.
“The idea would be to lay the first brick in July. We have been working on this project for the last seven years. The name ‘Minestadi’ will no longer be used and from now on it will be the Johan Cruyff Stadium,” Moix said during the ceremony. read more …
David Moyes is not ready to admit that because of the fact he took the players to a short visit of the United States of America, it put the jobs of some of the Sunderland employees in danger.
Only a day or so after the Black Cats’ return from the States, the news has come that Sunderland hierarchy is planning to relieve some of the club’s servants of their duties.
And people have started blaming it on the America tour as they doubt that the costs of that tour might have destabilised the finances of Sunderland a little bit.
But, as per Moyes, people are getting it totally wrong. First of all, it was the kind of a holiday which the players deserved because they had to keep going without any break at all during the festive period towards the end of the last year and they didn’t even complain. So it was only fair that during this little gap when no matches were scheduled, they were taken away. read more …
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has appeared to question the team selection for the recent game against Chelsea.
The gunners suffered yet another embarrassing loss against a top opposition, as they suffered a 3-1 defeat. The score could have been much worse had it not been for Olivier Giroud’s late consolation. After Marcus Alonso’s goal in the first half, Arsenal appeared to be in the game. However, everything came to a crashing halt in the second half with Eden Hazard scoring a fine solo goal and Cesc Fabregas capitalising on a mistake by Petr Cech.
Chelsea had numerous chances to rip apart Arsenal on the counter-attack – a problem for the team for several years now. The calls for manager Arsene Wenger to step down intensified during the game. The Frenchman has been in charge of the club for more than two decades, but he has failed to lead them to a league title in the last 12 years. The 2016-17 season looks to bring more disappointment in terms of the title challenge, as Arsenal have dropped 12 points behind the blues. read more …
Southend United manager, Phil Brown expects defender Anton Ferdinand to be fit to play as his side face Charlton Athletic this weekend, despite the 31-year old suffering an ankle injury in Boxing day encounter against AFC Wimbledon.
The defender appeared to be limping late on in 3-0 win over The Dons.
But Brown does not think the centre-back will be forced onto the sidelines.
“Anton took a whack to the ankle at the end of the Wimbledon game and it caused him a lot of discomfort. We will monitor the situation through the week but he won’t miss the Charlton game which is good news for us because he is a big player for us,” he said. read more …
Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza has confirmed that striker Mauro Icardi will remain as the third choice for the Argentina national team.
It comes as a major blow to the forward, who is the Italian Serie A’s top goal scorer with 14 goals. The Inter Milan forward has been in fine form this season, although it has not helped Inter move up the table much.Icardi has been regarded as one of the talented forward available for the Argentina national team, who also have an incredible array of talent pool that includes Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, and Angel di Maria amongst others.
Yet, the national team managerBauza sees only three options when it comes to the centre forward role – Gonzalo Higuain,Lucas Pratto, and Icardi. Among these players, the manager has confirmed thatHiguain will be the first choice striker. read more …