Tag Archives: premier league

Hakim Ziyech ready to exit Chelsea.


He rarely completed the full 90 minutes even when he did start, and although Tuchel’s arrival was the chance for a fresh opportunity, early indications are that he is not an integral part of the German’s plans.

Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech is ready to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer if he continues to play a peripheral role under Thomas Tuchel, a new report has claimed.

The 27-year-old joined the Blues in the summer of 2020, but injuries have hampered his ability to nail down a regular starting berth. Ziyech has made just 11 Premier League appearances to date, and has not featured in the top flight since he started Tuchel’s first game in charge – the 0-0 draw with Wolves.


Now, Corriere dello Sport claim that Ziyech is ready to end his disappointing spell in the Premier League, with teams in Italy lining up to make a move for him in the summer.

AS Roma and Milan have both shown interest in the former Ajax star in the past, and could take advantage of his unsettled status to try and get a deal done.

For Ziyech, a departure would end what’s been a fairly miserable time in England so far, where his repeated injuries and inability to fit into certain tactical setups have seen him slide down the pecking order at Chelsea.


Initially a favourite under Lampard once he’d overcome injury, Ziyech soon slipped out of the side and onto the bench as the Blues strived for consistency.

Ziyech wants to leave Chelsea this summer | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He rarely completed the full 90 minutes even when he did start, and although Tuchel’s arrival was the chance for a fresh opportunity, early indications are that he is not an integral part of the German’s plans.

The Moroccan has played just 82 minutes of a possible 360 Premier League minutes under the former PSG boss, which is a far cry from his dominating spell at Ajax – one that yielded a Dutch Footballer of the Year award, four successive nominations for the Eredivisie Team of the Season and four seasons finishing as the player with most assists.

Ziyech was also a regular goal getter in the Netherlands, bagging 49 goals for Ajax in 165 appearances.


For Chelsea, he’s scored just twice in all competitions, and only once in thePremier League.

Chelsea’s mini-revival has coincided with Ziyech’s absence from the team, which may indicate that he’ll have little to no chance of earning a regular place in the team unless things dramatically change in west London.



William Saliba blasts Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta.


Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

Arsenal centre back William Saliba has criticised Mikel Arteta for not giving him enough time to prove himself at the Emirates Stadium this season.

A £27m arrival from Saint-Etienne, Saliba did not play a single minute for the Gunners this season and was eventually shipped out on loan to French side Nice in January, winning the club’s Player of the Month award the same month.


It was a confusing situation, particularly with Arsenal struggling defensively for a large part of the first six months of the season, and Saliba has confessed he was unimpressed with the way Arteta handled the whole thing.

William Saliba was unimpressed with his situation at Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

“It is clear that so much has changed in the last year,” he told RMC Sport’s Top of the Foot. “When I saw that the coach changed a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change in my personal life as well.

“He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn’t ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.


“I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you’re part of a team is a better feeling for me.”

Saliba hasn’t exactly shied away from the chance to bash Arsenal since returning to France, recently telling L’Equipe (via GFFN) that he was surprised to have been given up on so quickly.

“There were a lot of factors I think because when they were finishing their league season, I was in quarantine at home, where I could only run 1km in my house,” he explained. “And then there was this thing about the [Coupe de France] final, we didn’t know if I was going to be able to play or not.

“What I mean is as soon as my contract finished (with Saint-Etienne), I wasn’t able to train until an agreement was found. That was for two weeks, I wasn’t training, and the others had already started training again.


“After that, then I went over there at the end of July, they had one more week, so I was training all alone. They came back from holidays two weeks later and I was still training by myself. When they came back I played in two friendlies, but I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t played for six months. I had no preparation and to pick up rhythm, you need to play matches.

“The coach told me I wasn’t ready, I thought ‘That’s normal, these were just two matches and I hadn’t played for six months’. After that I waited for my chance, I waited for him to play me more to get a rhythm. But that’s football, it’s like that, it’s behind me and I took the experience.”



Fulham seeks £10m for Liverpool’s Harvey Elliot.


Liverpool recently sold Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for somewhere close to the £20m mark..

Fulham are expected to demand £10m from Liverpool for young winger Harvey Elliott when the two clubs head to a tribunal on Tuesday.


Liverpool signed the 17-year-old in the summer of 2019 before he had signed a professional contract with Fulham, but the Cottagers are entitled to some compensation after being responsible for his development.

Liverpool offered to pay close to £750,000 to sign the then 16-year-old, but as noted by The Athletic, Fulham want closer to £10m for a player who is: their youngest ever player, Liverpool’s youngest ever starter and the youngest player in Premier League history.

Elliott is currently shining in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers, notching four goals and eight assists in 22 appearances, and he has been tipped to be a major part of the Liverpool setup upon his return to Anfield.


Fulham still feel as though a £10m would be daylight robbery. They felt that Elliott had the potential to blossom into a future superstar at Craven Cottage, and young England internationals have been known to sell for more than that figure.

Harvey Elliott’s case is set for a tribunal | Nicola Sua – AMA/Getty Images

For comparison, Liverpool recently sold Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United for somewhere close to the £20m mark, despite the fact that the striker had not made a single appearance in the Premier League at that point.

Whether Fulham will actually get that £10m is unknown, but given the record amount of compensation set by a tribunal stands at the £6.5m Liverpool were ordered to pay Burnley for Danny Ings, it’s not looking good.

Liverpool will definitely hope to avoid paying that kind of money. Jurgen Klopp was open about the Reds’ lack of transfer funds in January, which is why centre-back Ozan Kabak was only signed on an initial loan, and shelling out £10m might not sit well with club chiefs.


It’s a big case for both Liverpool and Fulham, but also for academies as a whole. There’s a perception that smaller teams are often short-changed in these situations, with most pointing to the mere £850,000 Exeter City were awarded from Chelsea’s purchase of Ethan Ampadu, who earned his first cap for Wales just months after joining the Blues.

Fulham have invested a considerable amount of money in their academy to obtain Category 1 status in 2012, but there are fears that those efforts could be undermined if a player like Elliott is only worth pocket change to a tribunal.



Reguilon reveal who helped him settle at spurs.


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

Following an impressive season on loan at Sevilla, Reguilon arrived from Real Madrid for a fee in the region of £27m and has quickly established himself as one of the best left backs in the Premier League with a series of impressive performances.

Speaking to 90min’s Ben Haines as part of Spurs TV’s N17 Live, the 24-year-old credited Hojbjerg as a big part of the reason he was able to hit the ground running so seamlessly.


He said the Dane, who had signed from Southampton just a month earlier, was the first player to reach out to him after he arrived in north London.

Hojbjerg has earned high praise | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He did so via a WhatsApp message that went into a surprising amount of detail, and left Reguilon taken aback.

He said ahead of Tottenham’s clash with West Brom: “One thing that nobody knows is that Pierre, as soon as I arrived, he sent me a long WhatsApp message welcoming me to the team.


“He said ‘Hi, welcome to Tottenham. I’m Pierre-Emile Hobjerg. I hope you do well. We need you to do your work for the team.’

“I was surprised, because it was a big message!” he said, gesturing with his fingers to stress that it was, in fact, a big message.

“He went into detail about the team-mates, about the coach, all of it. I was like ‘OK!’

“When you arrive in a new city and a new country, it’s important to have people and players who help you, and Pierre is one of them.”


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

He is yet to miss a minute in the Premier League, and has been as consistent and meticulous on the pitch as he is over WhatsApp.



Timo Werner ‘not making’ excuses – Thomas Tuchel


Tuchel is hoping a return to a ground where Werner has had happy memories will be the catalyst for his rediscovering his appetite for goals.

Timo Werner is “working hard with a smile” as he tries to end his scoring drought in the Premier League dating back to last November said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.


The 24-year-old German international has failed as of yet to justify the £52 million ($71 million) former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard persuaded the board to spend on him in the close season.

He has scored nine goals across all competitions with just four in the Premier League.

However, fellow German Tuchel says Werner is “not looking for excuses”.

“With every player we try to create a relationship,” said Tuchel at his press conference on the eve of their game with Tottenham Hotspur.


“Every guy is different.

“Some need to be close and some need to be alone.


“We find out what suits him and allows him to open up and feel comfortable again on the pitch.

“It is our responsibility to create moments where he can bring out his best, which means attacking the space in behind to use his speed.

“We create situations with the whole team to use his strengths.”


Tuchel is hoping a return to a ground where Werner has had happy memories will be the catalyst for his rediscovering his appetite for goals.

“He has good memories at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium,” said Tuchel.

“He has scored for Chelsea and RB Leipzig there and he is not looking for excuses.

“He is working hard with a smile.”


‘Role model’
Tuchel’s first two games in charge since replacing Lampard last week have yielded four points, leaving them 11 points off the top two Manchester City and Manchester United.

His chances of securing a second successive win will be enhanced by the absence of Spurs’s injured talismanic striker Harry Kane.


Kane has scored or created 23 of Tottenham’s 34 Premier League goals this season.

“It is always easier when Harry Kane is not playing,” said Tuchel.

“He is one of the best number nines in the world and when he is in shape, he is maybe the role model number nine that every coach wishes for, in terms of work rate and ability.


“His goalscoring is outstanding. We assume he will not play but we will prepare for all cases.”

Tottenham’s form, like Chelsea’s, has dropped away after a bright start.

They topped the table in December, but have won just two of their past nine league games and lag behind in the race for Champions League spots as they are six points adrift of the top four.

Tuchel, though laid to rest any thought that he might feel sentimental towards his opponents having been rumoured to be a Spurs supporter when he was a boy.


“When I was a boy and I was Tottenham in the garden, it was to show off with my friends,” said Tuchel.

“I did not know they were a club in London, it was just a name we heard on the television.”



Grealish signing would’ve made ‘the difference’, and Lampard wouldn’t be sacked – Hudson


Both can drive forward from midfield with real purpose and are quiet often central to an attacking move.

Alan Hudson claimed that Frank Lampard would not have faced the sack had he signed Jack Grealish for Chelsea from Aston Villa.

The Chelsea icon told Caught Offside that Lampard could’ve kept his seat in the dugout had he made a move for Villa’s talisman.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on December 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

“I know Frank, used to know him well until becoming manager, and had I been his adviser I would have told him to buy Jack Grealish,” Hudson said.

“And I mention this because Jack has just learned the ins out outs of top-level football, and he’s 25-year-of-age – that’s how long it takes today, not eighteen months.


“Had Frank had signed Jack he’d still be the Chelsea manager.”

Lampard lost his job after Chelsea underwent a poor run of results that included a home draw against Grealish’s Villa.


Hudson was also critical of the youthful contingent who made such an impact under their previous manager.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 21: Mason Mount of Chelsea heads the ball as Jack Grealish of Aston Villa looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea FC at Villa Park on June 21, 2020 in Birmingham, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“That’s the difference – Jack makes things happen, he knows the game, not like these kids, who are players-in-waiting.”

It was not long ago that Grealish was a young gun trying to prove himself in the Premier League. He has since flourished into an exceptional talent and many at Chelsea are on a similar track.


One name that stands out is Mason Mount. The 22-year-old has easily been Chelsea’s best player this season and has a comparable influence on his team as Grealish does at Villa.

The pair have parallels in their respective styles of play.

Both can drive forward from midfield with real purpose and are quiet often central to an attacking move.

Mount and Grealish have been pitted against each other as rivals not just at club level, but the international set up as well.


Plenty was made about which one would make it into Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Mason Mount of England(L), Jadon Sancho of England(C) and Jack Grealish of England(R) look on during the national anthems during the international friendly match between England and the Republic of Ireland at Wembley Stadium on November 12, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Mike Egerton – Pool/Getty Images)

This obsession caused Grealish to call the whole debate ‘annoying’ and that ‘they weren’t even fighting for the same spot’ (Sky Sports).

Story Source: The Chelsea Chronicle



Mixed reactions on Twitter after United mercilessly torture Southampton in 9-0 win.


It took seconds for the first jibes to appear as the internet’s best and brightest lined up to take the mickey out of Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is literally Groundhog Day (check your calendar) and we have just witnessed Southampton lose 9-0 in a Premier League game. it is deja vu all over again…

This time, their tormentors were Manchester United and much like when Leicester subjected them to the same scoreline last season, social media greeted the news in typically understanding, respectful fashion.

Only joking.

It took seconds for the first jibes to appear as the internet’s best and brightest lined up to take the mickey out of Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side.


Before we dive into all of that carnage, how about a few stats as a light starter?

United were in merciless form on Tuesday night | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

One of the very best reactions came from the: ‘Has the 9-0 Been Mentioned’ Twitter account, set up in protest of pundits constantly referencing that Leicester defeat whenever they cover a Southampton game.

Of course, they quickly changed the name to the brilliant: ‘Have EITHER of the 9-0’s Been Mentioned.’


Well, if you can’t laugh at yourself…

Southampton’s bitter rivals, Portsmouth, then got in on the act.

A few famous faced were involved as well…

Read Trending Tweets Attached To The Story HERE »

Even on one of the most historic nights in Premier League history some people could not help but notice how Mike Dean had managed to steal the show, taking an age to review the incident that led to the penalty for United’s eight goal.

Before we let Southampton fans begin their recoveries, we could not live with ourselves if we did not share some of these fire tweets with captured the mood of a momentous evening perfectly.


Or, more accurately, just made us laugh.

We will see you next time the Saints treat us a nine goal thriller.

Story Source: 90Mins



Liverpool moves to sign Ozan Kabak ‘on loan’ – Report


Kabak has been one of the shining lights in what has been an otherwise disappointing season for Schalke.

Liverpool are pushing to sign Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, but face a race against time to get the deal over the line before the transfer window closes.

The Reds have sparked into life in the transfer window and are looking to conclude deals for two centre-backs. Preston’s Ben Davies is expected to be one, while Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car was identified as an option late on Sunday.


However, talks with the French side quickly hit an impasse, with Mohamed Bouhafsi revealing that a deal was now off the table, and sources have confirmed to NoRM‘s known Media that negotiations are now underway over a loan deal for Kabak.

Klopp wants more options at the back | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

A target during the summer, Liverpool have long admired the 20-year-old, who has also played his way onto the radar of Manchester United.

A report from Sky Sports News adds that Liverpool have already made preparations for Kabak to undergo a medical in Germany, but it could all come down to whether Schalke can find a replacement before the Bundesliga window closes at 17:00 (GMT).

Schalke have identified their preferred target, but there is no guarantee that they will be able to get a deal over the line in time, particularly as they will not be pocketing much money from Liverpool if they do loan out Kabak.


The Reds are keen to pay a loan fee of around £2.5m and pick up the option to sign Kabak permanently in the summer, but Schalke are yet to accept the bid as they are focused on finding an alternative.

Ozan Kabak is on Liverpool’s radar | Lars Baron/Getty Images

They currently sit bottom of the Bundesliga table, having picked up just eight points from 19 games, but their young defender has definitely stood out.



Ole Gunnar provides update on Brandon Williams’ Manchester United future.


The defender gained some vital match fitness in that win, and he’ll be hoping to have proven his worth to Solskjaer’s first team in the process.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that defender Brandon Williams will not leave Manchester United on loan in the January transfer window, despite Newcastle United and Southampton previously expressing an interest in the 20-year-old.

The left-back looked set to leave Old Trafford this winter in order to gain some much-needed experience at the top level, and a deal was believed to be close with the Magpies.

But after Man Utd’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Saturday, Solskjaer stated that Williams ‘will stay’ at the club, while announcing that no other players will be heading out of the exit door in the winter window.


“Brandon [Williams] will stay,” Solskjaer confirmed.

“He played Under-23s against Liverpool today, he needed match fitness. I don’t have any other players that we think will be going. It’s a relentless season and we go again on Tuesday.”

Williams was part of Man Utd’s crushing victory over Liverpool Under-23s on Saturday, when they romped to a 6-3 win, with new signing Amad Diallo scoring a brace – including a cheeky panenka penalty.

Williams fell out of the side towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign, and then dropped even further down the pecking order when Alex Telles joined in the summer from Porto.


Now behind both Telles and Luke Shaw in the race for the starting left-back spot, it appeared that a move to another Premier League club would be his only option to earn some regular playing time, but the Norwegian boss has closed the door on that possibility.

It appears he is wary of injuries leaving them short of quality alternatives across the pitch, so Williams must wait patiently for his chance to arrive, and grab it with both hands if it does.



Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea contract length uncertainty


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confessed he had to talk himself into accepting the Blues’ offer of an 18-month contract.


The former Paris Saint-Germain boss was earmarked as a preferred replacement for Frank Lampard, who was sacked after leading Chelsea on a run of four wins in 11 games in all competitions, and he was flown in to take charge in the 0-0 draw with Wolves last time out.

During negotiations with Tuchel, reports on the length of his contract varied wildly. Some said four-and-a-half years, but those who said 18 months were eventually proven correct, and Tuchel confessed that he was taken aback by the proposal initially.

“I want to be very honest with you, at first it was a concern, I was a little like ‘oh, why 18 months?’” Tuchel confessed (via Goal). “And after one minute I thought ‘what does it change?’


“What does it change? If they give me four-and-a-half years, they [could] sack me anyway. If they are not happy with me, they will sack me anyway. And if they gave me four-and-a-half years they would put in a clause that when they sack me, they’ll pay me.

“So where can I be sure that I’ll be there for four-and-a-half years? You cannot. That is the truth at this level. What is the role right now of the coaches? Are we in charge of the whole team and the transfers as well, or not, are we totally free in everything we do or not? Are we only responsible for bad results or also good results? What is this role and where do we find ourselves in that?”

Recently, Chelsea have made a habit of offering their managers short-term contract, with Roman Abramovich seemingly growing tired of shelling out enormous compensation fees to part ways with his staff.

While the Russian’s ruthless, trigger-happy approach to managers has left many concerned in the past, Tuchel insisted that he is not focused on the risks of such a perilous position.


“I decided not to worry too much, be brave enough to take on this adventure, because it was absolutely clear that I want to do it and I don’t want to miss the chance,” the German added.

“It’s also my character to believe more in the chances than the risks. There is absolutely, for me personally, nothing to be afraid of. I’m very grateful to do this job at this level and I don’t want to waste my time thinking about risks.”



Manchester United Manager, Ole backs Cavani despite sluggish Arsenal play


Those misses proved costly, as Man Utd failed to find the net at the Emirates Stadium, dropping two more points in the Premier League title race

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Edinson Cavani to ‘score a few soon’, after the Uruguayan’s poor finishing cost Manchester United a potential two extra points in a goalless draw against Arsenal.

The Red Devils were not at their best on Saturday, but they did carve out two gilt-edged opportunities for the 33-year-old, but the usually reliable striker first somehow hit Bernd Leno with his close-range effort, and then acrobatically fired wide late on.

..But coach Solskjaer was upbeat after the match, and he backed Cavani to hit a rich vein of form following his poor display against the Gunners.


“He’s there, I was a striker myself, I had periods when I don’t score, the gaffer [Sir Alex Ferguson] and everyone around me would say ‘you were there to miss the chances’,” Solskjaer said.

“To score you have to miss a few and he’ll definitely score a few soon.”

Speaking about the game as a whole, Solskjaer maintained that Man Utd created enough chances to beat Arsenal, and claimed that they ‘controlled the game’ despite the Gunners arguably coming closest, when Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick rattled the crossbar.

“We created enough chances to score, we’ll work on that and get them going again. We look at it as one step forward after Wednesday night,” he said.


“I felt that we controlled the game, the free-kick that hits the bar can always go in, but they didn’t bother us too much. We were a little bit passive outside the box, they had a few too many shots, but David wouldn’t be bothered by too many of them.”

The draw leaves Man Utd trailing Manchester City by three points in the Premier League table, while the Citizens still hold a game in hand over their fierce rivals.



Thomas Tuchel ‘rules out’ Premier League title challenge this year.


Tuchel added that he had huge admiration for the outgoing boss as both a player and a person, and revealed he’d already spoken to Lampard since being appointed.

Thomas Tuchel has described any chance of Chelsea embarking on a Premier league title challenge this season as ‘not realistic’, and says he intends to focus his efforts on the Champions League and FA Cup.

The German boss was addressing the media in his first press conference since being appointed Blues manager, despite having already taken charge of his first game at the helm.

His maiden outing saw his side fail to break the deadlock against a resolute Wolves side on Wednesday evening – a result which leaves them 11 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City – and while Tuchel recognises he must deliver success, he’s already ruled out a title challenge this season.

“Realistically this year it’s the Champions League and the FA Cup,” he told reporters (via the club’s official YouTube channel). “To speak now about the Premier League title there are too many teams between us and this is not realistic, we will just lose the focus.


“At Chelsea it is about results for us as managers. We always try to bring in performances, to bring in and develop and improve players and increase their value, but in the end I’m very realistic.

“I’m in a cub whose DNA it is to win and go for trophies and I’m here to challenge for every trophy we play for.”


Despite underling the need to deliver consistent silverware during his time at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel also stressed the importance of entertaining the fans in the process.

“Success is also to make the stadium happy,” he added. “People should be exited to come to Stamford Bridge, people should be excited to watch our team, people should be excited and feel like the team plays with a special energy and atmosphere.”

Tuchel had been out of work for little over a month when he was announced as Chelsea’s new boss, though he said he couldn’t pass on such a glorious opportunity when the job was offered to him.


“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world in the most competitive league of the world,” he said. “It felt like we should not miss the chance to be part of the Chelsea family and to compete for titles with the best manager and best teams. That was a pretty easy choice.”

The recent sacking of Frank Lampard has not been well received by some sections of the Chelsea fan base, with a banner hung on the gates of Stamford Bridge voicing displeasure at the decision to dismiss the former Blues midfielder.

“I was a huge fan of Frank as a player,” he said. “It was a huge joy to watch him play and to see how he played with personality. He was one of the key players to demonstrate in 90 minutes what Chelsea was about – intensity, devotion and winning mentality.

“I have the biggest respect for him personally and for his legacy, It just got bigger when I received a personal message this morning to wish me all the best and maybe meet in the future when this is possible.”


When quizzed about the possibility of adding to his squad during the January transfer window, Tuchel insisted he’s keen to show faith in those already at the club, though he failed to completely rule out any new arrivals.

“I have the feeling right now that the guys deserve to be trusted and I want to trust everybody,” he added. “If the possibility comes along that we all agree on making us stronger right away we will not hesitate, but it’s not like we have the absolute need to do something.”



Eric Garcia’s ‘free move’ to Barcelona to seal, January.


Unfortunately for Font, Laporta soon hit back and insisted that his mind is made up about the situation.

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font has claimed that the team should pursue a move for Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia this month as the defender has supposedly promised to play without a salary until the end of the season.

Garcia’s contract with City will expire at the end of the current campaign and he has made it clear that he will not be signing a new one. He intends to move to Barcelona, but City have always been reluctant to sell, regardless of the financial risk.


The decision on whether to sign Garcia this month was left to the three presidential candidates – Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font – but the trio could not agree on a move and now Garcia seems set to join on a free transfer in the summer.

Font was strongly in favour of landing Garcia, and he recently held a press conference to urge his fellow candidates to reconsider their stances.

“Eric García is ready to make an effort [to leave City this month] and not be paid this season,” Font said (via The Times).


“The movements we have made lead us to understand that the signing of Eric García is possible now, the club can manage it financially. Ronald Koeman and our sporting structure consider his signing fundamental to aspire to win titles this season. So we ask the managing committee to sign Eric this week.

“Why not sign him? If he’s ready to not be paid this season… City will accept €3m plus variables. The impact on the accounts this season would be €230,000 in amortisation. How do we motivate Koeman if the only request he’s made is denied?”

“After seeing the economic situation of the club, I remain in my position. Candidates do not have the power to tell the Management Board things that it cannot do.

“If a player wants to come here, he has to prove it. If he comes for free in June, I don’t know why we have to give money to a club that is our competitor. Now we are talking about amounts that are now different, but ultimately it would be to pay money for a player that in June would be free. We will wait until June and then we will talk.”


Laporta’s determination to avoid paying for Garcia culminated in a strongly worded letter to acting president Carles Tusquets, warning him not make any decisions which could negatively impact the winner of March’s elections, but Catalunya Radio note that Tusquets has hit back.

In his own letter, Tusquets accused Laporta of threatening him no less than five times, and he urged the presidential hopeful to keep his mouth shut until the elections on March 7. Yikes.



Manchester United loses to ‘away’ Sheffield United since December 1973.


The Red Devils have made a habit of coming back to take all three points from losing positions this term – but instead it was the visitors who found a second wind.

Sheffield United produced one of the shocks of the season as the Premier League’s bottom side recorded a 2-1 win over title chasing Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.

It was an energetic, tireless, cohesive performance from the Blades, reminiscent of the displays that they had turned in on a weekly basis last season.

Chris Wilder’s side took the lead after 23 minutes, former Manchester City academy product Kean Bryan rising highest to head home from a corner.


However, the goal was not without controversy, with Billy Sharp not penalised for a nudge on David de Gea in the buildup. Minutes later at the other end, a foul was awarded against Harry Maguire following a similar incident.

It was the only complaint United could muster after a flat first half performance.

But the Red Devils fought back and found an equaliser in the 64th minute, former Sheffield United academy product Maguire escaping the attentions of the excellent Phil Jagielka and powering home a header.


United twice failed to clear their lines and Oliver Burke was presented with all the time and space in the world inside the box to fire towards goal, and his effort deflected in off Axel Tuanzebe.

It was a glorious piece of completely calamitous defending from the Red Devils.

It was calamitous defending against a side with just one Premier League win and ten Premier League goals to their name prior to Wednesday evening.

It was ultimately a poor performance from Manchester United, who missed the opportunity to return to the Premier League summit and brought an end to their unbeaten top flight run.


The result and manner of the defeat also led to fans questioning their title credentials.

But take nothing away from Sheffield United, who produced a stunning performance from front to back. The midfield three of John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood and John Fleck were absolutely everywhere, while their three centre halves were absolutely imperious.



Madrid’s Odegaard arrives Arsenal on loan.


Gunners coach Mikel Arteta was also delighted with the transfer, stating that Odegaard will offer ‘quality offensive options’ to his current crop of players.

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Real Madrid star Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.

The Norwegian midfielder travelled to North London to put the finishing touches on the deal on Sunday, and with the details in place, all that was missing was the official confirmation from the clubs.


Now, the Gunners announced Odegaard’s arrival in video form on their Twitter account, offering pictures of the 22-year-old in their famous red strip for the very first time. The midfielder has taken the number 11 shirt, leaving the number 10, previously worn by Mesut Ozil, open to one of his new teammates.

Odegaard’s signature has softened the blow of the German’s Emirates exit, with fans disappointed in how the former talisman’s career ended in North London. They can now look forward to witnessing Madrid’s playmaker in action, after he struggled to make his mark in their first team under Zinedine Zidane.

The youngster enjoyed a breakout season at Real Sociedad last year, and Los Blancos decided not to allow him to rejoin their rivals on loan for another campaign. Odegaard was expected to become an integral part in the champions’ midfield, but he ended up making only seven La Liga appearances in 2020/21.


That absence from their plans allowed the Gunners to jump in and land themselves an excellent piece of business. Arsenal technical director Edu was full of praise for the club’s new signing, thanking Madrid for their collaboration in allowing the move to come to fruition.

Martin Odegaard to play for the Emirates Stadium on loan from Santiago Bernabeu. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

“We are delighted to welcome Martin to the club until the end of the season. I would like to thank everyone at Real Madrid and Martin’s representatives for their collaboration in making this loan move happen.

“Martin is an exceptional talent and we are strengthening our squad by introducing an exciting offensive player to the club for the remaining months of this season.”

“It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while.


“Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”

• Emile Smith Rowe’s career on the line •

For Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe has undoubtedly been the saviour of the season.


Since his arrival to the Gunners’ Premier League starting lineup, Arsenal have been fantastic domestically.

He has led them to four wins and a draw in the last five games, offering up three assists and transforming their season.

Emile Smith Rowe might have to bench for a year? (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

The 20-year-old has given Arsenal the sort of creativity they were hoping to find by spending big in the January transfer market, and he’s turned the Gunners back into a genuine threat.

It’s now understood that he’s due to be rewarded with a bumper new contract, but on top of that, Arsenal are now looking to reward Smith Rowe with an enormous threat to his young club career.


Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard has now sealed a six-month loan switch to the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal stressing the need to bring someone in to rotate with Smith Rowe and steer them through to the end of the season.

On one hand, that’s absolutely right. Relying so heavily on a 20-year-old with seven Premier League appearances to his name is a recipe for disaster. Arsenal need someone to help shoulder the burden, 100%.


However, that replacement probably shouldn’t be someone who is coming to the Emirates to take most of Smith Rowe’s minutes.

Smith Rowe needs regular game time if he is ever going to blossom into the kind of player Arsenal feel like they can rely on. He doesn’t need to play 38 games and 90 minutes every week, but he needs to be playing more often than not.

Unfortunately, you have to say that same thing about Odegaard as well.


The 22-year-old former wonderkid has found his career at somewhat of a crossroads. Despite an impressive loan spell with Real Sociedad last season, he’s not yet at the level he needs to be to star for Real.

Martin Odegaard tries new career at EPL. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Zinedine Zidane handed Odegaard a grand total of 367 minutes this season – five starts and four substitute appearances – forcing the Norwegian to head out on loan to try and find more minutes.

He’s chosen Arsenal, with manager Mikel Arteta understood to have personally convinced Odegaard to pick the Emirates as the perfect spot for his development. That probably means Arteta has promised him minutes.

Odegaard will rock up to Arsenal expecting to be a regular starter, but the problem is that Smith Rowe currently demands – and deserves – the same. There’s only one No. 10 spot, just ask Mesut Ozil.


For Arteta, there needs to be a delicate balancing of the situation, but there’s a real possibility of nobody winning. If Smith Rowe plays too much, Odegaard doesn’t play enough. If they play 50:50, both will be lacking.

To have two wonderkids fighting for one spot can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen plenty of players choose to walk away from their clubs because of a lack of confidence in their development path – Tariq Lamptey leaving Chelsea for Brighton is a recent example.



EPL agrees to ‘implement concussion substitutions’


There is now a solution that will ensure teams can at least immediately replace a player suspected of having suffered a concussion.

The Premier League has approved a trial of concussion substitutions that could be introduced to games very soon.


In the event of a suspected concussion, it will give clubs the power to make additional substitutions and contribute to better player welfare.

Once the final details surrounding implementation are ironed out between FIFA and international lawmakers IFAB, the trial can begin and each side in a game will be allowed to make a maximum of two concussion substitutions, regardless of the number of substitutions made already.

As things stand, players with a head injury or suspected concussion may force themselves to carry on, putting themselves at risk of more serious injury, if the only alternative is that their team would be at a numerical disadvantage without them.


A Premier League statement explained: “Premier League Shareholders today formally agreed to introduce the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) additional permanent concussion substitutions trial.

“The trial will be confirmed when the implementation of the reporting processes, including private medical information, has been resolved with IFAB and FIFA.

“With player welfare the Premier League’s priority, the protocols will allow a maximum of two concussion substitutes to be used per team, with the opposition side able to use the equivalent number.

“The additional concussion substitutions may be made regardless of the number of substitutions a team have made already.


“The trial is a result of the IFAB’s consultation with stakeholders and recommendations from their concussion expert group to allow additional substitutions for players with actual or suspected concussion.”

With Premier League games coming thick and fast in an ever more congested season, any measures intended to improve player safety, health and welfare cannot come soon enough.



Mourinho got United more penalty goals – Rashford.


But Rashford is also adamant that United do not go out looking for penalties or are awarded more than they deserve.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has revealed that former manager Jose Mourinho taught him to be ‘more savvy’ in the penalty area so that he is more likely to win a penalty if he is fouled by giving the referee no doubt

A player who tries to stay on their feet when fouled in the box can end up disadvantaged and not getting the decision because a foul is not always as clear.

“When you are making runs in behind or dribbling with the ball and if you see a challenge coming, you don’t want to get tackled because you are looking at an opportunity to score a goal,” he said on Thursday night as he accepted the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award.


“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me it is a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals and penalties can happen. There have been times when we have probably not got penalties.

“When Jose [Mourinho] was manager, there were five or six times where I should have had a penalty and Jose ended up saying to me, ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to [get] it.’ After that, we started to get a few penalties.

“It was something, in terms of development, you have to learn and understand.”

Bruno Fernandes attacked by critics for scoring penalty goals.

Jurgen Klopp recently made a pointed jibe that United have had more penalties since 2018 than Liverpool have had in his entire time at the club.

That is true, but this season alone United have had only one more in the Premier League and both have scored five.


It is actually Leicester that have been awarded far more than anyone else – 10 so far, scoring eight.

Liverpool have also benefitted more from penalties, taken seven additional points as a direct result of scoring from the spot. United over the same period have taken six additional points.



Bruno Fernandes ‘named’ EPL player of December.


United have also completed a clean sweep of player and manager of the month awards in the WSL, with Leah Galton and Casey Stoney respectively recognised.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has been named Premier League Player of the Month for December for his performances that helped fire his team up the table.

It is the second month in a row in which Fernandes has scooped the individual prize, while he has also made history as the first player ever to win four times in a single calendar year following previous wins for February and June, as well as obviously November.

“Three goals and four assists was a complete month. Scoring and assisting your team-mates is perfect. I want to achieve other trophies and awards but I’m really happy to make history,” the Portugal international told the Premier League’s official website.


Initially rested, Fernandes was brought on at half-time in United’s opening game in December and helped the team pull off a 3-1 comeback win after trailing.

Bruno Fernandes

He later got two goals and an assist in a 6-2 thrashing of Leeds in the club’s final game before Christmas, a goal and assist in a 2-2 draw with Leicester on Boxing Day, plus another assist in a 1-0 win over Wolves to end the month and the calendar year.

As a team, United rose from seventh at the end of November to second by the end of December. Now, that momentum has continued into January and they are top of the table.

This weekend, Fernandes and United face second place Liverpool at Anfield in what will now be the biggest game of the 2020/21 season so far.


“It’s a long way before we can start talking about being champions. We have to keep working. We play against one of the best teams in England and we know what it means to the fans. But the main point is the same: three points,” Fernandes explained.

It is the second month in a row the league leaders have received both awards, with Tobin Heath previously winning for November.



Officially: PFA award nominees have been announced


PFA men’s and women’s player and young player of the year nominees have been announced.

Winners will be crowned on Tuesday 8th September

The nominees for the PFA Player of the Year

The nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year

Men’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year nominees

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Women’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year nominees

Beth England (Chelsea)

Sophie Ingle (Chelsea)

Kim Little (Arsenal)

Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)

Guro Reiten (Chelsea)

Ji So-Yun (Chelsea)

Men’s PFA Young Player of the Year nominees

Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Women’s PFA Young Player of the Year nominees

Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea)

Lauren Hemp (Manchester City)

Lauren James (Manchester United)

Chloe Kelly (Manchester City formerly Everton)

Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Georgia Stanway (Manchester City)

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‘Liverpool can continue dominating Premier League like this’ – Salah


Liverpool star Mohamed Salah sees no reason why his side cannot continue winning the Premier League and create a patch of ongoing dominance in English football.

Jurgen Klopp’s side lifted the trophy they most craved on Wednesday night following victory over Chelsea, as the top flight title returned to Anfield following a 30-year absence.

And now Salah has already turned his attention to next season and outlined how his team-mates need to retain both their consistency and a hunger for success.


‘Great, a great feeling to win the Premier League with the club after 30 years,’ he told the BBC. ‘It’s a dream come true.

‘We need to keep the hunger for next season as well because next season is going to be more difficult than this one. Other teams will try to strike back again to win titles.

‘But I think the hunger can drive us again to win another trophy and another one. Hopefully we can do that. We have to fight for that, that has to be the main target.

‘I don’t know why we can’t win the Premier League two times or three times. It’s only in our head. I think if you keep that hunger and we fight with all we have, it will be OK to do it next season, it will be possible.’

Salah has also outlined that fresh personal targets need to be set in order to keep hunger at an all time high, and ensure the squad remains as competitive as ever.

‘I think the next season for myself, when I see the situation right now, it will be really difficult,’ he added. I think more difficult than this one because the hunger when you win something – you win the Champions League, you win the Premier League – and when you win something it takes from your hunger.

‘So the thing is, now we have to change that mentality. You have to find the point in your head that drives you forward and keep that hunger for next season and still after.’


Jurgen Klopp’s side can reach 99 points if they beat Newcastle on the final day of the season, in a showdown at St James’ Park.

Salah and his team-mates are then to be afforded a short break following their heroics this season, before football makes a swift return to the calendar.

On Friday it was confirmed by Premier League officials that the 2020-21 season will start on 12 September and end on 23 May 2021.

Congestion has been caused due to the delay of the coronavirus pandemic, in which football was halted across the world between March and June this year.

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Jurgen Klopp Confident In Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool have no need to be at their “all-time best” in order to clinch a first English league title in 30 years.
Premier League officials are now aiming to restart the season in mid-June, with Liverpool just two wins away from the title when the campaign was postponed on March 13 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

For so long the dominant force in English football, the Merseysiders have not been crowned domestic champions in the Premier League era, with the last of their league titles coming when they won the old First Division crown in 1990.

But as teams start returning to training, Liverpool manager Klopp has tried to ease any mounting pressure on his runaway leaders who are 25 points clear at the top.

“Football is a game where everyone is pretty much in the same situation we play against another team and we don’t have to be at our all-time best we have to be at our best possible and that’s exactly the same for the other teams,” he told the BBC’s Football Focus programme.

“Whenever we will start we will have had the same time for preparation and our job was always, and always will be, to use the situation you are in. We will be in as good a shape as possible.”


Meanwhile the German boss said he was desperate to return to “normal life” after an unexpected two-month break by getting back to Liverpool’s Melwood training base, where players will initially train in small groups.

“Lockdown has been as good as possible it’s not exactly what I want to do but it’s what we all have to do so we try to make the best of it,” said Klopp.

“We started eight weeks ago and now you feel everyone is desperate to get back to a ‘new’ normal life.


“I have missed the boys the most because we have created a group there not only the boys but all the people at Melwood because we have a really good relationship and we became friends over the last four-and-a-half years.

“We see each other pretty often with Zoom and those things but it’s still not the same and going back to Melwood and doing all the things we usually do is something I really miss.”




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Premier League matches could be free-to-air once the season restarts

The Premier League is considering showing matches on free-to-air television when the season resumes.

It’s been six weeks since the last top-flight game was played due to the coronavirus virus, which has plunged much of the sporting world into lockdown.

There is currently not a set date for when the remaining fixtures can be fulfilled, although they are expected to take place behind closed doors.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that positive talks about broadcasting matches on terrestrial TV have been held with the Premier League.

“It’s a very good point and I’ve raised exactly this challenge to the Premier League in the conversations I had with them,” Dowden said, per the Mirror.PSX_20200424_071425

“I have said to the Premier League in particular… I think it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it.

“I appreciate that sports are reliant on the revenue they derive [from subscriptions] so I don’t want to issue some blanket mandate on trying to change things round.

“But they are mindful and there are different ways you can protect revenue from broadcasting but also look at ways of increasing access.

“I have urged them to do that and that’s what they are considering.”

Currently, games in England’s top flight are only screened on subscription channels such as Sky Sports and BT Sport. Amazon also hold rights.

However, Dowden’s plans could see BBC and ITV given an opportunity to screen matches.PSX_20200424_072459

The government are concerned that airing the run-in on subscription channels could cause members of the public to gather at houses to watch games.

Sky and BT wouldn’t be happy with losing games, but making games accessible to the larger population would reduce that threat.


Premier league to televise Saturday 3pm kickoffs in step towards closed-doors football.

In another unprecedented step necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, UK TV stations will be able to televise football live at 3pm on Saturdays, after UEFA lifted the ‘blocked hours’ protection for the remainder of the season.

Broadcasters have been banned from televising matches at the traditional kick-off time since the 1950s, initially implemented to encourage amateur players to take part in matches on Saturday afternoons.

It has since become something of a failsafe to encourage fans to attend matches rather than stay home and watch football on the TV. However, as the coronavirus continues to grip the sport, The Times report that blackout has been lifted until the end of the season.

The newspaper reports that the UEFA regulation banning broadcasters in England, Scotland and Montenegro has been updated, and now reads:

“Taking into account the current exceptional circumstances, UEFA has lifted the ‘blocked hours’ protection granted to the England and Scotland for the remainder of the 2019-20 football season, following requests from the relevant national associations as a result of measures taken in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

It means that Premier League, EFL and SPFL Premiership matches, should the season resume, will have no restrictions on when they are allowed to be televised.

The same applies to the FA Cup and Scottish Cup.

Reading between the lines, this is a major step towards the eventuality of football being played behind closed doors in order to conclude the current domestic season.

Premier League clubs are reported to be keen to avoid the prospect of voiding the season and the accompanying financial consequences of failing to fulfil broadcasting contracts.

But with no end in sight to the ban on mass gatherings in the UK, closed-doors matches look like the only real means of bringing the season to a reasonable end in time for UEFA’s 30 June deadline.

The temporary easing of broadcasting restrictions means that fans who would have gone to games will not necessarily miss out on watching their team play on Saturday afternoons.