Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has stressed that he is not scared by the impending arrival of Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City.
The England international is due to join the Blues before the transfer deadline with reports emerging a £30m fee has been finalised for his services.
Speaking to SFR Sport, Bakayoko insisted that he is not scared of new arrivals as the competition for places would only make him a better player. He added to praise the abilities for Drinkwater, who he feels will make the team stronger in the centre of the park.
He said: “I’m not scared of any player but it’s competition and that’s what makes you better. He [Drinkwater] is a good player and he’s going to help the team. We don’t have enough players in the centre and he will make the team stronger.”
Blues boss Antonio Conte has cut a frustrated figure during the course of this summer’s transfer window with the club’s hierarchy failing to make quick progress on his preferred targets. However, there appears to be movement prior to the deadline day with deals for both Drinkwater and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the pipeline. 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 …
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has issued a rallying cry to the players after a splendid 2-1 win over Burnley during the weekend.
The Belgian international claims that Liverpool should now use this victory as a stepping board towards securing a place in the Premier league’s top four. With the possibility of winning the title all but ruled out, the club are effectively trying to finish in the top four and ensure a return to the Champions League next season. Since 2009, the club has had only one Champions League campaign, and it is extremely disappointing for the club which has won the trophy five times in the history.
After appearing to lose his place to Karius,Mignolet seems to be back in favour once again. He has been the club’s regular starter, but he watched Ashley Barnes gave Burnley the lead early in the first half. 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 …