Monday, July 20, 2015

Raheem Sterling's girlfriend Paige Millian 'suffers online abuse'

The girlfriend of Raheem Sterling has reportedly become a victim of online abuse after her partner sealed a big-money transfer to Manchester City.

Sterling became the most expensive English player in history when he joined the former Premier League champions from Liverpool for £49m on Tuesday.

Following the transfer, Sterling's partner Paige Millian was described as a "bitch" and 'money-grabber' in vile messages written on her Instagram page, according to the Daily Star.

Millian, who is from London, has since made her social media page private.
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Alexandre Pato heading for Premier League

Alexandre Pato has reportedly been offered to a number of 'mid-level' Premier League clubs as he attempts to leave Brazil this summer.

The Brazilian burst onto the scene in 2007 and during his time with AC Milan, was widely regarded as one of the best talents in world football.

A series of injuries have harmed Pato's progress over the last few seasons, however, and he is currently back in his homeland with Sao Paulo, who he joined on loan from Corinthians in 2014.

According to the Daily Mail, both West Ham United and Crystal Palace have been contacted over a move for a player that is still just 25 years of age.

Pato has scored 28 goals in 71 games for Sao Paulo.
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Juventus considering David Silva move

The 29-year-old has been one of the Premier League's outstanding players since making the move to Manchester in the summer of 2010.

Silva's success has coincided with City's rise, but it is understood that the Spaniard is keen to sample another major European league before entering the latter stages of his career.

According to The Times, Juve have been given encouragement in their pursuit of the former Valencia winger and are prepared to launch a bid this summer.

Silva, who also has 91 international caps to his name, scored 12 times in 42 games for his Premier League club last season.
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Manchester United 'unlikely to sign a new striker this summer'

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is reportedly willing to begin the season without a new striker in the squad.

Numerous reports have suggested that the Premier League giants are in the market for a forward following the departure of Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce.

Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane have been touted as potential targets.

However, according to PA Sport, Van Gaal intends to play captain Wayne Rooney as his central striker in the upcoming season and will stick with what he has rather than bid for a new player in this transfer window.

Van Gaal's only other strike options are Javier Hernandez, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, and young James Wilson.
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Real Madrid open Marco Reus talks

Real Madrid have reportedly opened talks with Borussia Dortmund over a move for German international Marco Reus.

The 26-year-old has long been linked with a move away from Dortmund, with almost all of the biggest clubs in European football believed to be interested in his services.

Talk of a transfer this summer has been surprisingly quiet, but according to beiN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri, Real Madrid have made contact with the German club.

Reus has struggled with a host of injuries over the last 12 months, but the attacker still struck 11 times in 29 games last season.

In total, the German has netted 53 goals in 119 games since joining Dortmund from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2012.
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Victor Valdes hit backs at Louis van Gaal over 'snub' suggestions

Victor Valdes has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

The 33-year-old's future at Old Trafford appears to be over after Van Gaal accused him of refusing to play for the reserves last season.

However, Valdes has now taken to Twitter to post a selection of images from youth team matches he took part in upon joining the club as a free agent in January, accompanied by the caption "respect".
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Manchester United to up Sergio Ramos offer

Manchester United have reportedly refused to give up on their pursuit of Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos.

Earlier this month it was suggested that the Red Devils had failed with a bid in the region of £28m for the 29-year-old.

They were informed by Los Blancos officials that it would take an offer of at least £60m to prise Ramos away from the Bernabeu, but United are hopeful that a financial package of around £40m could tempt their Spanish counterparts to do business, according to AS.

The report adds that if Madrid were to reject that proposal, United would move on to other defensive targets.

Meanwhile, it is believed that Ramos will be offered the Madrid captaincy in a bid to keep him at the club.
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Manchester United to up Sergio Ramos offer

Manchester United have reportedly refused to give up on their pursuit of Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos.

Earlier this month it was suggested that the Red Devils had failed with a bid in the region of £28m for the 29-year-old.

They were informed by Los Blancos officials that it would take an offer of at least £60m to prise Ramos away from the Bernabeu, but United are hopeful that a financial package of around £40m could tempt their Spanish counterparts to do business, according to AS.

The report adds that if Madrid were to reject that proposal, United would move on to other defensive targets.

Meanwhile, it is believed that Ramos will be offered the Madrid captaincy in a bid to keep him at the club.
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Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany delighted by Raheem Sterling arrival

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has backed Raheem Sterling to help the team win silverware next season.

The 20-year-old winger joined the Blues from Liverpool in a record-breaking £49m move earlier this week.

Kompany believes that England international Sterling is the type of player that City need to bring in this summer if they want to challenge for trophies again.

"We have great quality in the team but you can't compete nowadays if you don't improve every year," he told the club's official website. "Other teams improve, we need to improve and getting him puts us one step closer to being this team which can win trophies again – it's very important for us.

"He's quick, he's very unpredictable – he's shown that he has especially great determination. You play against so many players with great quality but it's the fact that he's always willing to put in the extra yard. That makes it that extra bit difficult when you have a player with quality who is not shy to run and put his body on the line – that's a special player."

Sterling recently flew out to Australia to join his new teammates on their pre-season tour.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger: 'Manchester United fans are so important'

Bastian Schweinsteiger has revealed that he cannot wait to play in front of Manchester United's supporters.

The German World Cup winner signed a three-year deal with the Red Devils on Monday following a reported £14m move from Bayern Munich.

During United's pre-season tour of the United States, Schweinsteiger reflected on his first experience with the club's supporters when he and then-Bayern boss Louis van Gaal took on the Premier League side in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2010.

"I am here with Manchester United because it is a big club and I am looking forward to playing at the great stadium," Schweinsteiger told reporters. "The supporters are so important.

"I remember when I was there in a Champions League match when we lost 3-2 but we progressed to the final and the supporters were very respectful and gave us applause after the match."

The 30-year-old will reportedly become the highest-paid midfielder in the Premier League with £275,000-a-week wages.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Michael Carrick must fight for Manchester United place'

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has warned Michael Carrick that he faces a battle to earn a starting spot next season.

The Red Devils have strengthened their midfield options this summer by bringing in Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger in a high-profile double swoop.

Carrick has acknowledged that competition for a central midfield berth will be fierce, which is likely be the case throughout the side as Van Gaal looks to improve on last season's trophyless campaign.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Seattle, the Dutchman said: "In top sport, no position is ever secure in top sport. Even my position is not secure.

"The players have to fight. Michael Carrick knows it because I told him at the end of the season. Morgan Schneiderlin has to fight with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Daley Blind.

"These are the players who can play in the centre of midfield. Matteo Darmian has to fight with Antonio Valencia. He knows that but Valencia knows that also."

United get their 2015-16 Premier League campaign underway with a home match against Tottenham Hotspur on August 8.
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Louis van Gaal suggests Javier Hernandez has a future at Manchester United

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has suggested that Javier Hernandez will have a chance to fight for his place this season.

The Mexico international spent the 2014-15 campaign on loan at Real Madrid after making just two competitive appearances under Van Gaal.

Despite being linked to West Ham United and MLS club Orlando City, Hernandez is expected back at Old Trafford as Wayne Rooney is the only experienced striker in the Red Devils' ranks following Robin van Persie's departure to Fenerbahce.

"When you play a system with two strikers or one striker then you [have to] make decisions and I let Chicharito go, but now he is coming back," Van Gaal told reporters in a press conference in Seattle.

United have signed Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin so far this summer.
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Younes Kaboul undergoing Sunderland medical

Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul is reportedly undergoing a medical with Sunderland.

The Frenchman struggled for first-team action at White Hart Lane last season, making 15 appearances in all competitions.

The 29-year-old is now edging closer to joining the Black Cats, according to Sky Sports News.

Kaboul moved to Spurs for a second spell in 2010 after previously leaving the club for Portsmouth.
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Wilshere: 'Arsenal have a squad that can match Chelsea this season'

Jack Wilshere has claimed that Arsenal's squad contains enough quality to challenge Chelsea's Premier League title this season.

The Gunners finished third in the 2014-15 campaign, 12 points adrift of Jose Mourinho's champions.

Ahead of the start of the new campaign in August, Wilshere believes that Arsenal have enough depth in the squad to cope with the demands of a season.

"Competition is a good thing," the Daily Star quotes Wilshere as saying. "Look at the teams who have won the league in the past and look at Chelsea last year - they had a great squad and we feel we've got a squad to match them now.

"The Premier League is a tough, tough league. Add to that the FA Cup, League Cup and international breaks and players will pick up injuries, so it's important to have players who can come in.

"I think [it's important to start well] and without the European qualifier this year, which is almost a season definer, it gives us more time to prepare for the first game of the Premier League and concentrate on a good start."

Wilshere scored from the penalty spot in Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Singapore Select XI in the Barclays Asia Trophy.
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FIFA officials extradited to USA

The first of the seven FIFA officials being held in custody in Switzerland has been extradited to the United States on corruption charges.

Fourteen people were indicted earlier this year for allegedly receiving or accepting bribes of more than $100m (£60m) during the 1990s to the present day.

Exactly half of those figures were made the subject of a formal request of extradition by the USA to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice.

It has now been confirmed by the Swiss authorities that the first extradition process, believed to surround shamed vice-president Jeffrey Webb, took place on Wednesday.

Webb, it is claimed, will now face a
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Dzeko: 'Kevin de Bruyne should stay at Wolfsburg'

Edin Dzeko has urged reported Manchester City target Kevin de Bruyne to stay at Wolfsburg for another season.

The former Premier League champions have been linked with a move for the attacking midfielder, who is also thought to be on the radar of Paris Saint-Germain.

De Bruyne, 24, joined Wolfsburg from Chelsea at the start of 2014 for £18m. The Belgian international scored 10 goals last season, helping the team win the DFB-Pokal.

Dzeko, who moved to City from Wolfsburg in 2011, believes that De Bruyne should remain with the Bundesliga club because his first-team chances could be limited at the Etihad Stadium.

"Through his time at Chelsea he knows the Premier League and knows that it's completely different," the striker told Kicker. "A lot of players who excelled in other leagues have had problems here - take Angel di Maria.

"I'm certain that [Kevin] has what it takes to play for one of the top clubs in Europe but he's also aware that at these clubs there are 20 top players who always want to be on the pitch. Maybe it would also help him if he plays in the Champions League with Wolfsburg this season and takes another step in his development there."

De Bruyne has scored seven goals in 30 appearances for Belgium.
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Robinho signs six-month Guangzhou Evergrande contract

Brazil forward Robinho has joined Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande on a short-term deal.

The 31-year-old will link up with his ex-national team boss Luis Felipe Scolari, having penned a six-month contract at the Tianhe Stadium.

Robinho, a former Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan player, was expected to join Abu Dhabi outfit Al Jazira this summer, but opted instead for a new challenge in the Far East.

Guangzhou have also recruited midfielder Paulinho from Tottenham Hotspur, while rivals Shanghai Shenhua have brought in Senegalese international Demba Ba.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Robin van Persie knew Manchester United career was over'

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that Robin van Persie knew at the end of last season that his career at Old Trafford was coming to an end.

The 31-year-old striker signed a deal with Turkish side Fenerbahce on Tuesday after spending three seasons at United.

During the Red Devils' pre-season tour of the United States, Van Gaal revealed that he informed his fellow Dutchman that he was surplus to requirements after the pair played a round of golf.

"Every decision is difficult - not only to catch players but also to let them go," Van Gaal told reporters. "But I had the conversation with [Van Persie] at the end of the season after we played golf one day so he knew already what was coming and I think he has made a very good choice [in moving to Fenerbahce].

"After we played golf, we talked about the perspective for him at Manchester United."

The club are reportedly now on the hunt for a new striker, with Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani being touted as a potential target.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Van Persie fee not agreed with Fenerbahce

Manchester United have reportedly not agreed a fee with Fenerbahce for Robin van Persie.

The 31-year-old striker was unveiled by the Istanbul club on Tuesday after undergoing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

The Netherlands international has signed a three-year deal with the Turkish club.

However, United are still negotiating a fee with Fener for Van Persie, according to BBC Sport.

It is believed that the Premier League outfit want at least £5m for the frontman.

Van Persie has spent the last 11 years in English football with United and Arsenal.
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Manchester United explore option of Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani swap

Manchester United are reportedly exploring a deal to swap Angel di Maria for Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.

Di Maria endured a tough first season in the Premier League both on and off the pitch, leading to speculation of a summer departure from Old Trafford.

The Express reports that United value Di Maria at around £50m, but would be willing to do a straight swap with PSG for Cavani, as the club looks to bolster its striking options following the sale of Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce.

PSG boss Laurent Blanc recently insisted that the club are still interested in Argentina international Di Maria, having failed to acquire his signature when he left Real Madrid last summer.
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David de Gea 'could delay Real Madrid move until next summer due to sign-on fee'

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has reportedly been promised a sign-on fee by Real Madrid if he joins the club next summer.

The Spaniard is believed to be keen to make the move to the Bernabeu, but United are so far standing firm in negotiations.

With De Gea having one year remaining on his contract at Old Trafford, Madrid have told the shot-stopper that they will pay him a €5m (£3.5m) sign-on fee if he waits to join them at the end of the upcoming season, according to Marca.

There have been suggestions that United want defender Sergio Ramos included in a deal that would result in De Gea returning to Spain, but at this time, Madrid are reportedly reluctant to agree.

The possibility of De Gea staying put at United was strengthened further when he was included in the squad that flew to the United States this week for a pre-season tour.
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Robert Lewandowski will cost Manchester United £35m

The agent of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has warned Manchester United that only a £35m bid will force Bayern Munich to consider selling their forward.

The Premier League giants have been linked with a swoop for the Poland international following the departure of Robin van Persie.

The Red Devils have Wayne Rooney and James Wilson as strike options, but reports have claimed that manager Louis van Gaal is targeting a big-name arrival.

Lewandowski's representative Cezary Kucharski has claimed that England could be a destination for the 26-year-old in the future, but as of now, Bayern have no interest in selling.

"I think it would have to be a very high offer, definitely higher than £35m for Bayern to consider selling," Kucharski told Polish TV. "With a player of Robert's class, the truth is that not a lot of work is required because really there are only two directions in which he could go in the future, England or Spain, and only with Bayern Munich's acceptance.

"There must be a signal from the club, from Munich. There is no such signal so we are not thinking about it, because even thinking about a change of club would be unfair in my opinion to the current employers. There is no reason, apart from money to be honest, to even think about it."

Lewandowski made the controversial move to Bayern from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2014.
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Sunday Oliseh named Nigeria coach

Former Nigeria midfielder Sunday Oliseh has been appointed the country's new head coach.

The 40-year-old takes over from Stephen Keshi, who was sacked by the Super Eagles earlier this month.

Oliseh won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and a 1996 Olympic gold medal with Nigeria during a nine-year international career.

"There is no time to waste... it is imperative that Oliseh starts work immediately," Nigeria Football Federation general secretary Mohammed Sanusi is quoted as saying by Sky Sports News.

Oliseh's former clubs include Ajax, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
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Liverpool to make Marco Reus bid

Liverpool will reportedly use the money raised from the sale of Raheem Sterling to fund a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus.

The Reds have sold Sterling to former Premier League champions Manchester City for £49m - a record fee for an English footballer.

Reus recently signed a new contract at Dortmund, but it is thought that the Bundesliga side would be willing to sell if they receive a large cash offer.

Liverpool have been linked with the Germany international for some time, along with fellow Premier League sides Arsenal and Manchester United.

According to The Metro, the Merseysiders are looking to sign Reus this summer, although he could cost them as much as £46m.

Reus has scored 59 goals in 121 appearances for Dortmund in all competitions.
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Chelsea sign Begovic from Stoke City

The 28-year-old had been heavily linked with the Premier League champions over the last few weeks following Petr Cech's departure to Arsenal.

Aston Villa were also thought to be interested in the shot-stopper, but Begovic has opted to end his five-year spell at the Britannia to join Chelsea on a four-year deal.

On Twitter, Begovic wrote: "I would like to say thank you to everyone at Stoke Football Club, the chairman and Coates family, Mark Hughes and Tony Pulis, goalkeeper coach Andy Quy, all my teammates and especially the fans who have made me and my family so welcome.

"I have loved my time at Stoke, but I feel I had to take this opportunity for me to continue to develop and challenge myself as a player. I am very proud of what we have achieved during my time at Stoke and it has been a great team of players to work with. I wish you all the best for the season ahead.

"I am very happy to be joining @chelseafc. After speaking at length to the manager, I feel like I can develop here and be an important part of this team. I am looking forward to meeting up with the team on Wednesday for the pre-season tour."

Begovic, who is expected to play second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge, will wear the number one shirt.
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Fenerbahce to unveil Robin van Persie tomorrow

Fenerbahce have announced that they will be holding a signing ceremony to unveil new arrival Robin van Persie to their fans.

The Manchester United striker, who joined the club from Arsenal in 2012, arrived in Turkey yesterday to undergo a medical with the club.

Fenerbahce will hold the ceremony, which will be open to the club's supporters, at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul tomorrow afternoon.

Van Persie, who scored 10 goals last season, will also give his first press conference as a Fenerbahce player at the ceremony.
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: 'Manchester United's signings are interesting'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that it will be "interesting" to see how Manchester United's new signings integrate into the team.

Louis van Gaal was quick to snap up Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, but has since added Matteo Darmian to the side.

The Red Devils have also agreed a deal to sign Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich, while Morgan Schneiderlin is expected to join the club from Southampton after undergoing a medical on Sunday.

When asked about United's transfer business, Wenger told reporters: "We knew they wouldn't be happy with finishing outside the top three, they will respond.

"They have made some interesting signings. They came out of the season thinking they have to rebuild their midfield, and they did it by buying two important players - Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. They are two top-class players. One who is now coming up to the top level, Schneiderlin, and one who has done it all. It will be interesting to see how they mix with the other players."

Wenger also revealed that the club were never interested in signing Liverpool star Raheem Sterling, who is believed to be closing in on a £49m move to Manchester City.
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Raheem Sterling 'to undergo medical today ahead of Manchester City move'

Raheem Sterling is edging closer to completing his move from Liverpool to Manchester City as the youngster has reportedly been booked in to undergo a medical today.

The 20-year-old is on the verge of becoming the most expensive British player to sign for another domestic club after the Reds and City agreed a £49m fee at the weekend.

Sterling has been heavily linked with a move away from Anfield over the last few months after he refused to sign a new £100,000-a-week contract at the Merseyside club.

The England international was dropped from Liverpool's pre-season tour squad at the last minute, indicating that City had been successful in their latest bid after being knocked back by the Premier League club twice previously.

According to Sky Sports News, Sterling will have medical tests at some point today before putting pen to paper on a lucrative contract at the Etihad Stadium.

The attacker joined Liverpool's youth ranks from Queens Park Rangers in 2010.
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger rules out Mesut Ozil departure

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted that reports linking Mesut Ozil with a move away from the club are wide of the mark.

The Germany international has been linked with a move to Juventus, should either Paul Pogba or Arturo Vidal leave them this summer.

Wenger has stated that Ozil, who joined the Gunners from Real Madrid in 2013, has no intention of leaving the Emirates Stadium.

"During this period, the newspapers are creative and have to be creative, but many times the stories are created by agents," FourFourTwo quotes Wenger as saying.

"Ozil is our player, he will remain our player and wants to remain our player.

"It's a big season for him because he had a difficult start last year and in the second part of the season he was very important [for us]. He's improved his defensive attitude, he works hard and offensively he's a top-class player."

Ozil has scored 12 goals in 72 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions.
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Juventus confirm details of Tevez's move to Boca Juniors

Juventus have confirmed the financial details as Carlos Tevez completes his transfer to Boca Juniors, including options on four players.

The complex deal has a number of points to it, listed in a statement released by the Bianconeri.

Definitive transfer to Boca Juniors of the registration rights of Carlos Tevez for €6.5m to be paid on December 15 2016 in a sole instalment.

The disposal does not generate any significant economic effect for Juventus

Temporary acquisition by Juventus, until June 30 2017, of player Guido Nahuel Vadala for €3.5m to be paid on December 31 2016 in a sole instalment.

The agreement also provides Juventus the open right, to be exercised within April 20 2017, for the definitive acquisition of the player at a price of €9.4m.

Acquisition of Juventus of the option rights to the definitive acquisition, effective from the 2017-18 sports season, of the registration rights of the players Rodrigo Bentancur Colman, Franco Sebastian Cristaldo and Adrian Andres Cubas.

For each option right, Juventus will pay Boca Juniors €1m within December 31 2016.

Juventus is entitled to exercise the option rights within April 20 2017 at the following purchase prices: €9.4m for Rodrigo Bentancur Colman, €8.2m for Franco Sebastian Cristaldo and €6.9m for Adrian Andres Cubas.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Manchester United agree deal to sell Angel di Maria

Ligue 1 side PSG have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Man United wide-man Angel di Maria according to French source RMC.

The 27-year-old failed to impress in his debut season at Old Trafford and has been strongly linked with a swift exit this summer.

 Man United paid a British record £59.7m for the South American but the former Real Madrid man hasn’t come close to justifying the fee and the capture of Dutch international Memphis Depay has prompted speculation over di Maria’s future at the Premier League club.

Di Maria struggled with form and fitness in 2014/15 and the good form shown by both Ashley Young and Juan Mata, two players who had looked out of sorts during David Moyes’s stint in charge of the club, led to Louis van Gaal dropping the Argentine at points towards the end of the campaign.

The sale of di Maria would no doubt lead to the arrival of more big names with Louis van Gaal keen to strengthen his squad as Man United prepare for a return to Champions League action.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger: Manchester United's risk

World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to join Manchester United after a glittering trophy-filled career at Bayern Munich.

So what can United fans expect? 

Are they getting a World Cup winner in his prime? 

Will he help propel Louis van Gaal's side to their first Premier League title since 2013?

Bastian's last season at Bayern Munich

Schweinsteiger was injured after helping Germany win the World Cup last summer and did not make his first Bundesliga appearance until 22 November. 
Bayern were unbeaten until that point, both domestically and in Europe, so there was no need for manager Pep Guardiola to rush him back.


Schweinsteiger by numbers
111 caps and 23 goals for Germany
Won eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups, a Champions League title, and the 2014 World Cup
Has made 342 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich, the second highest after Stefan Kiessling who made 345
Only made 20 Bundesliga appearances last season, the lowest since his debut season of 2002-03, when he played 14 games


When he was fit he failed to dislodge Xabi Alonso from the defensive midfield holding role and continued to fall down Guardiola's pecking order.
In the end, he started only 15 of Bayern's 34 league games.


Why Bayern are letting him go.

It might seem a bold move for Bayern to allow the captain of the world champions to leave but, certainly on last season's evidence, he will not be a huge loss. 
Indeed, most of Bayern's hierarchy will be happy to get some money for Schweinsteiger although chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has described his impending departure as "regrettable because Bastian meant a great deal to the club".
Former Liverpool midfielder Alonso did more than a capable job last season when Schweinsteiger was injured and when it came to a straight choice between the pair, Guardiola more often than not plumped for Alonso, who is three years older than his team-mate.
Also, Bayern are allowing someone to leave who has not had a reasonable injury-free run since the 2010-11 season.


Question mark over his fitness

Schweinsteiger has suffered a series of knee and ankle problems recently. Will he be able to play week in, week out? One thing is for sure, he will certainly require a lot of care at Old Trafford.
While it is wrong to say Schweinsteiger is over the hill, I do not think it is unfair to suggest that he has seen better days.
If he is fit to play over 30 Premier League games, it would be amazing. That is why it is going down as a risky deal.


Where to fit

There is no great surprise in Germany that Schweinsteiger is heading for Old Trafford. He has played under Louis van Gaal before and, along with Thomas Muller, has been linked with a move to Manchester United since last season.

He has been a one-club man until now, and there has been a feeling that when the time came for him to move on, United would be one of his likely destinations.

He will hope to have a clean run of injuries so he can make an impact in a deep lying midfield position - a role in which Michael Carrick has excelled.

Expectations at Old Trafford

Germany coach Joachim Low has been quoted as saying that Schweinsteiger's new challenge at United "will do him good". Let us not forget, United are investing in a player who has won eight Bundesliga titles, seven German Cups and one Champions League. He has also appeared in three World Cups.

If he had retired from international football like Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker, it would be easier to say he would have a better chance of coping with the intensity, pace and the sheer number of games in English football. But no, he is Germany skipper ahead of Euro 2016. He will have to be very carefully managed.

Premier League suitability 

Schweinsteiger is used to a winter break. He has not played domestic football outside Germany before and it remains to be seen whether he can adapt. Radamel Falcao arrived at Old Trafford to huge fanfare last season but failed to make the impact many predicted he would.
Schweinsteiger is good in the air and brings with him superb experience. One thing is for sure, United will have an army of new followers from Germany. Whether or not he is past his best, Schweinsteiger is still a hero in Germany.

Bayern fans reaction to Schweinsteiger's imminent departure

Many Bayern fans are unhappy. They are losing a player who has served the club for 17 years after signing as a youth team player in 1998. Guardiola has been in charge for two years and in that time has brought in a number of Spanish players with varying degrees of success.
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Van Persie to arrive Fenerbahce today

Fenerbahce have confirmed that Robin van Persie is due to arrive at the club later today ahead of his proposed move from Manchester United.

The Turkish side has been in talks with the Premier League club in a bid to bring the Dutch international to Istanbul, having struggled for regular first-team action last season.

A statement on the club's website said: "Previously we reported that we had begun transfer negotiations with Manchester United and the Dutch player Robin van Persie. On the evening of Sunday July 12, he is coming to Istanbul."

Van Persie scored 10 goals for United last season.
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Cesc Fabregas convinces Pedro to join Chelsea

Pedro has reportedly decided to join Chelsea over Arsenal after speaking to former Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas, who has played for both London clubs.

The Spaniard returned to the Premier League last summer, joining Chelsea three years after leaving the Gunners for Camp Nou.

According to Spanish publication Sport, Pedro was worried that his lack of English would hinder a move to the Premier League, but Fabregas highlighted the number of Spanish speakers in the Chelsea dressing room to convince him to move to the champions.

The winger is thought to be considering his future after Barcelona signed Arda Turan.
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Bayern Munich confirm Bastian Schweinsteiger move to Manchester United

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that an agreement has been reached with Manchester United for the transfer of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Rummenigge said at a press conference this afternoon that Bayern had regretfully agreed to let the German international leave for Old Trafford because he wants a fresh challenge at the age of 30.

"We tried to convince him to stay with Bayern Munich," said Rummenigge. "But I also understand that a player who has been at Bayern for 17 years, at the end of his career still wants to gain a new experience."

United then confirmed the deal on their website, saying that the move would be officially completed once personal terms had been agreed and a medical completed.

It is believed that the fee United will pay for the central midfielder is around £14m and that he will sign a three-year contract with the Premier League side.

Schweinsteiger, who will link up with former manager Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, will become the Red Devils' second signing of the summer after the arrival of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven.
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Barcelona cut Pedro release clause to £21m

Barcelona winger Pedro has had his release clause cut to £21m, according to reports.

The Spaniard signed a new contract in June which included a £107m release clause, but Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo claim that it has now been cut.

This could alert Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, who have all been linked with a move for the 27-year-old.

Pedro has reportedly knocked back advances from Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
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Bayern Munich rule out Thomas Muller sale

Bayern Munich have insisted that Thomas Muller will not be joining Manchester United following reports linking the winger with a move to Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal's side have already brought in midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger from the German champions, subject to a medical.

Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sport 1: "Bastian's was a very special situation. I can reassure all the fans, we will not be selling another player to Manchester United.

"We have never received an offer for Thomas Muller. I won't hide the fact that I'm wistful. I regret it. We tried to convince [Schweinsteiger] to stay with Bayern, but I can also understand a player seeking to gain new experience at the end of his career."

Muller previously spent two years playing under Van Gaal during the Dutchman's spell as Bayern manager from 2009 to 2011.
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Manchester United plan Christian Benteke swoop

Manchester United will reportedly try to beat Liverpool to the signing of Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

The Belgian international has been linked with a move to the Reds, who are understood to be planning to use the cash from the expected sale of Raheem Sterling to secure the forward.

However, The Sun now reports that Louis van Gaal's side are willing to meet the £32.5m release clause in Benteke's contract, which is thought to be more than Liverpool are willing to pay.

United are short of strikers following Robin van Persie's move to Fenerbahce.

Benteke scored 16 goals in 35 appearances for Villa last season.
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Everton prepare Xherdan Shaqiri bid

Everton will reportedly make a bid for Inter Milan winger Xherdan Shaqiri after he failed to complete a move to Stoke City.

The Potters are believed to have had an offer for the Swiss international accepted last month, but could not agree personal terms with the 23-year-old, who only joined the Serie A side in January.

Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport now reports that Roberto Martinez is lining up a £12m bid for Shaqiri, who scored nine goals in 40 appearances for club and country last season.

Inter are willing to let Shaqiri go in order to reach their 25-man squad limit.
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Iker Casillas bids farewell to Real Madrid

Iker Casillas has asked to be “remembered as a good person” after tearfully bidding farewell to Real Madrid ahead of his move to Porto.

In an emotional Press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, the goalkeeper explained the motives behind his switch to the Portuguese giants and thanked Los Blancos for giving him the platform to enjoy success.

“First of all, thank you for joining me in this special moment.

“I have come to this great stadium to say goodbye to all of you and, especially, Real Madrid.

“As you know, I stopped being a Real Madrid player [on Saturday]. I’m joining Porto for two reasons.

“The first is desire on the Portuguese club’s part to sign me. The second is the affection that I’ve received [from them] in recent days.

“I’m very happy and pleased by this interest, and I’ll do all I can to win every possible trophy [with Porto].

“Now, I want to address Los Blancos. This difficult day has come to say goodbye to the club that have given me everything.

“It only seems like yesterday that I wore the Real Madrid jersey for the first time as a nine-year-old.

“I saw my dream fulfilled. During this time, I’ve felt very loved and accompanied. This club have also formed me as a person and helped me grow. I’ve always tried to carry their values.

“Throughout these years, I’ve experienced unique moments. I leave great friends behind, but I know I can always count on them.

“I also want to thank all my Coaches. I remember them all because of all the many things that I’ve learned from them.

“[I] also [want to thank] the various coaching staff for giving me advice and understanding in bad times and entire club staff, who have been part of Real Madrid. They’re not seen but are always there.

“Thank you to my parents and family, who have always been by my side, plus my wife and son.

“Thank you Real Madrid for your unconditional support, being your captain for the last five years and being able to lift trophies.

“Above all, more so than being remembered as a good or bad goalkeeper, I hope that I’m remembered for being a good person.

“To the thousands of you [the fans], thank you. I’ll never be able to forget you. I’ll follow you wherever you go, shouting ‘Hala Madrid’.

“I won’t say goodbye because we shall meet here again soon.”
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Memphis Depay: 'I'm here to win trophies'

Memphis Depay has said that he wants to "win all the trophies it is possible to win" following his move to Manchester United.

The 21-year-old joined the Red Devils last month, after coming through the youth ranks at PSV Eindhoven.

Depay scored 28 goals for the Dutch champions in his final season with the club, and he has admitted that while he is excited to begin life at Old Trafford, he will be under pressure to perform.

"This is the biggest club in the world so I have to play for trophies - I came here to win trophies," he told reporters.

"We have a lot of quality and all the potential to win all the trophies it is possible to win. I am excited to do my job for Manchester United and to score goals - I am a striker so I have to score and give assists.

"I have worked with Louis van Gaal at the World Cup and I think you could see what he expects from me. I am a kid and still have a lot to learn but it is up to the boss where he plays me and I will give my all wherever he puts me."

Depay has scored three goals in 17 appearances for the Netherlands.

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Frank Lampard's New York City FC debut delayed by calf strain

Frank Lampard has been ruled out of New York City FC's Major League Soccer match against Toronto FC on Sunday after picking up an injury in training.

The former Chelsea midfielder was due to make his debut for the team at Yankee Stadium this weekend, but sustained a calf strain while preparing with the squad.

The former England international told the club's website: "I'm hugely disappointed to be missing out on Sunday's game, which I have been really looking forward to. I've been feeling great in training and have loved working with the squad. Unfortunately I sustained a small strain to my calf during a session.

"Whilst I've been taking it day by day since then and have been involved in light training, I've just been advised by the medical team that it needs a few days' rest for it to heal fully.

"The good news is that I should be back in full training next week. While I was desperate to play a role on Sunday, I have to take the advice of our medical team to let it heal and not risk further injury so I can get back on the pitch and play a full role as soon as possible."

Lampard joined the newly-formed franchise last summer before spending the season on loan with Manchester City.
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Martin Skrtel signs new Liverpool contract

Long-serving defender Martin Skrtel has agreed fresh terms on a new contract at Liverpool.

The Slovakia international has become a key figure in the heart of the Reds' defence since arriving on Merseyside seven-and-a-half years ago.

Skrtel, who made 48 appearances for the Anfield outfit in all competitions last season, has now put pen to paper to extend his stay further.

A new deal was agreed upon the player's return to pre-season training this week, which comes after his high-profile criticism of an "unacceptable" new offer earlier this summer.

Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Jordon Ibe and Jon Flanagan have each signed new contracts at Liverpool over the past 12 months.
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Manchester City closing in on Fabian Delph

Manchester City have reportedly activated the release clause in Aston Villa captain Fabian Delph's contract.

The 25-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Etihad this summer, following an impressive season at the West Midlands outfit.

He captained Villa during their FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal and also managed to break into the senior England side.

According to the Daily Mail, he will now complete an £8m move to City within the next 24 hours, after agreeing personal terms with the club.

Delph joined Villa in August 2009 from Leeds United and has made over 100 appearances for the club.
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Atletico Madrid complete Yannick Ferreira Carrasco signing

Atletico Madrid have announced that they have completed the signing of Yannick Ferreira Carrasco from French side AS Monaco.

The Belgian, who is reported to have cost around €20m (£14.4m), has signed a five-year contract with the La Liga side.

Sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero told the club's website: "We are very satisfied with the agreement reached with Monaco, because Yannick is a player with huge prospects and with an incredible future.

"He is a player with great speed, who's excellent at driving the ball and has a great shot. He will contribute perfectly to our aim of increasing the quality of our team and the competitiveness in the group. I am convinced that he will contribute a lot to the team."

The 21-year-old is Atletico's third new signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto.
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Marco van Ginkel joins Stoke City on loan

Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel has moved to Stoke City on a season-long loan.

The 22-year-old joined the Blues from Vitesse two seasons ago, but he struggled to break into manager Jose Mourinho's plans.

He made two Premier League appearances in his first season at the club, before being sent out on loan to AC Milan for the last campaign.

"Marco is the kind of player we have been looking to bring to the Club," Stoke manager Mark Hughes told the club's official website. "He will bring great energy to the side and is capable of scoring goals from midfield, as he showed during his time with Vitesse.

"I'm looking forward to him linking up with the squad in Singapore and getting the chance to work with him on the training ground and see him in action in the Barclays Asia Trophy."

Van Ginkel scored once in 17 Serie A games for Milan last season.
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Stoke City complete Shay Given signing

Stoke City have completed the signing of goalkeeper Shay Given from Aston Villa.

The 39-year-old has inked a two-year deal with the Potters, after being released from his contract by the Villans.

"I know Shay particularly well from our time together at Manchester City and I'm really looking forward to working with him again," Stoke manager Mark Hughes told the club's official website.

"He will not only be a great asset on the pitch as an outstanding goalkeeper but he's also a fantastic character to have in the dressing room and around the club – a true professional."

Given made 10 appearances for Villa last season.
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Aston Villa announce Idrissa Gueye capture

Aston Villa have announced that midfielder Idrissa Gueye has joined the club from French side Lille.

The Senegal international has signed a four-year contract with the side for an undisclosed fee, and will join up with the squad once he has received his visa.

Manager Tim Sherwood told Villa's website: "I'm really pleased to have brought Idrissa on board. He's been one of the best young midfielders in France for the last few seasons and there were a lot of teams trying to sign him this summer.

"I believe we are signing a player who is hungry to succeed, is entering what should be his best years and is perfectly suited to the Premier League."

Gueye scored four goals in 40 appearances for Lille last season.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Matteo Darmian will have Manchester United medical'

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Matteo Darmian will undergo a medical ahead of a £12.9m move from Torino.

The 25-year-old himself announced earlier today that a switch was close to being completed, with the finishing touches now being put in place.

In terms of outgoing movement, however, Van Gaal revealed that Robin van Persie's proposed transfer to Fenerbahce is not yet complete.

"When we feel we can say that he is going, we will. We don't have that feeling yet," he is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. "I said at the end of the season that buying and selling players is a process.

"The process lasts until 1 September. I find it ridiculous the transfer period is so long. I have said that many times. But we are on track."

United have already brought in Memphis Depay on a £31m deal from PSV Eindhoven this summer.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger agrees three-year Manchester United deal

Bastian Schweinsteiger has reportedly accepted a three-year contract worth £7.2m a year with Manchester United.

The German international, who has just one season left on his current deal with Bayern Munich, has been heavily linked with a move to Louis van Gaal's side this summer.

According to German publication Bild, the 30-year-old has told the Bundesliga champions that he has agreed a deal with the Premier League side, and is preparing to fly to England for a medical and to sign a contract.

However, the report adds that the two clubs are yet to agree a price for Schweinsteiger, with Bayern understood to value to player at £15m.
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Tottenham Hotspur reject bid for Vlad Chiriches

Galatasaray have failed with a £3.6m offer for Tottenham Hotspur defender Vlad Chiriches, according to reports.

The 25-year-old moved joined Mauricio Pochettino's side from Steaua Bucuresti for £8.5m in 2013.

However, the Romanian international has fallen down the pecking order at White Hart Lane and will be allowed to leave this summer if a club meets Spurs' £5m asking price, reports Eurosport.

Chiriches, who has 32 caps for his country, made just 10 Premier League appearances for Spurs last season.
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Glen Johnson 'undergoing Stoke City medical'

Former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson is reportedly closing in on a move to Stoke City.

The 30-year-old left Anfield at the end of last season following a six-year stint at the club.

It has previously been suggested that both West Ham United and Stoke were in the running to land Johnson, but Sky Sports News claims that the Englishman favours a move to the Potters.

Johnson is said to be undergoing a medical this evening, before terms of a proposed three-year contract are agreed.

Stoke face Liverpool on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Manchester United's Victor Valdes rejects Valencia offer

Victor Valdes has reportedly turned down the opportunity to sign for Valencia.

Following a spell on the sidelines with a cruciate knee ligament injury, the goalkeeper joined Manchester United on an 18-month contract back in January.

However, he only featured towards the end of the season due to an injury to number one goalkeeper David de Gea.

Los Che had offered the 33-year-old the chance to play regular football, but having considered the proposal, he has decided to continue his career at Old Trafford, according to AS.

Valdes has made just two appearances for the Red Devils, during which he kept one clean sheet.
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Jose Mourinho agrees new Chelsea deal

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly agreed a new four-year contract with the Premier League champions.

The 52-year-old's current deal at Stamford Bridge is due to expire in 2017.

Mourinho returned to the club in 2013 before guiding the Blues to the Premier League title and League Cup crown last season.

Chelsea are expected to confirm the Portuguese's contract extension before the start of the new campaign, according to the Evening Standard.

Mourinho, whose previous clubs include Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, will remain on his £8.5m-per-year salary.

Chelsea will begin the defence of their league title on August 8 when they host Swansea City.
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Thiago Silva too expensive for AC Milan

Thiago Silva's agent has claimed that the Paris Saint-Germain defender is too expensive for AC Milan to have a chance of re-signing him this summer.

The Brazilian centre-back left San Siro to join PSG in 2012, and despite indicating that the 30-year-old would be open to returning to Milan in the future, Paulo Tonietto has played down rumours linking Silva with his former employers.

"One day Thiago could return to Fluminense as well as Milan, and he would like to, but at the moment there is not the slightest chance that he could change club," Tonietto told MilanNews.it.

"At the moment he costs too much, he has a contract until 2018 and a very high salary. Milan couldn't pay him because they have a policy about their wages.

"Thiago Silva is doing very well at PSG and there's no chance of him changing clubs, he's too expensive for Milan."

Reports have suggested that Milan are also considering a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
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Millennium Stadium to host 2017 Champions League final

UEFA has confirmed that the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff has been chosen to host the 2017 Champions League final.

The decision was taken at Monday's UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Prague.

It will be the first time that Wales has hosted the final of Europe's elite club competition.

A UEFA trophy has been decided in the Welsh capital before, though, with Real Madrid's victory over Sevilla in the 2014 Super Cup being played at the Cardiff City Stadium last August.

The Millennium Stadium has hosted several major cup finals since it was opened in 1999, including six FA Cup finals and seven League Cup finals, during Wembley's redevelopment in the 2000s.

The final of the Champions League was last hosted on British soil at Wembley in 2013.
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Franz Beckenbauer: 'Mario Gotze needs to improve'

Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer has warned Mario Gotze that he must improve his form if he is to be considered a success at the club.

Despite playing regularly under Pep Guardiola, Gotze was often criticised by his own supporters last season and the World Cup winner's agent recently suggested that he did not receive enough support from Bayern.

However, Beckenbauer believes that the pressure is on the 23-year-old to prove his worth as he looks to finally silence his doubters.

"I don't know whether Mario is lacking support at Bayern," Beckenbauer told TZ. "He could not have had a better team around him than here at Bayern in the past two seasons. I don't know what kind of support he would need.

"The player himself is responsible for his own performances.

"If he wants to succeed at Bayern and really make an impact in his third season, he might have to change his game. He has to do more, especially in the one-on-ones. You have to offer more at this level."

Gotze made 48 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring 15 goals.
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Lionel Messi contemplating international sabbatical

Lionel Messi has reportedly given some consideration to taking a break from international football.

It is believed that the Argentina attacker has been hurt by the criticism in his homeland of his recent performances at the Copa America, where La Albiceleste were defeated in the final by hosts Chile.

As a result, the Barcelona talisman could withdraw his services for upcoming friendlies and World Cup qualifying encounters, according to Ole.

The report adds that the 28-year-old took a similar decision following the conclusion of the 2006 World Cup, although his sabbatical lasted just one match.

To date, Messi has scored 46 goals from his 103 caps.
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Inter Milan to use Xherdan Shaqiri in move for Ivan Perisic

Inter Milan have reportedly explored the possibility of using Xherdan Shaqiri in a deal to bring Wolfsburg winger Ivan Perisic to San Siro.

Recent reports have suggested that Inter are keen to complete a deal for Perisic this summer, with the possibility of a season-long loan being followed by a permanent move next year.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter have fallen short of Wolfsburg's valuation for the Croatian, but they could include Shaqiri in the bid to keep the Bundesliga club interested.

Stoke City were reported to have had a bid accepted for the Swiss midfielder but it remains unclear whether he is open to moving to the Britannia Stadium.

Shaqiri joined Inter from Bayern Munich in January.
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Bayern Munich to offer Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben for Angel di Maria

Bayern Munich are reportedly considering offering Manchester United Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben in a deal that would result in Angel di Maria moving to the Allianz Arena.

The Argentine struggled to hit top form last season and scored just three Premier League goals after joining the Red Devils from Real Madrid for £59.7m in 2014.

Despite the 27-year-old's form in England, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola is believed to be keen to bring Di Maria to Germany.

According to the Daily Mail, the Bundesliga giants are prepared to hand over Muller, Robben and cash to United, who have also enquired about Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The North-West outfit have secured just one signing so far this summer; Memphis Depay officially joined the club from PSV Eindhoven earlier this month.
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Alexis Sanchez to miss start of new Premier League season

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez will miss the beginning of the Premier League season due to his presence at the Copa America, according to reports.

The 26-year-old helped Chile win their first ever Copa America title over the weekend, and he is now starting his summer holiday.

The Telegraph reports that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger plans to manage Sanchez carefully in the opening few weeks of the new campaign, in a similar way to how he treated German World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski last year.

Arsenal are due back in pre-season training this week, but Sanchez has been given three weeks off and is unlikely to feature against Chelsea in the Community Shield on August 2.

The Gunners start their Premier League campaign against West Ham United a week later.
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Manchester United agree personal terms for Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos

Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, according to reports.

The 29-year-old's future at the Bernabeu is currently is in doubt after he allegedly told the club's hierarchy that he is keen to leave.

According to The Metro, the Red Devils have agreed personal terms with the Spain international for a five-year contract worth £39m.

Ramos joined the 2013 Champions League winners from Sevilla in 2005.
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AC Milan plan Ilkay Gundogan move

AC Milan have reportedly emerged as surprise contenders to make a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

The confirmation of Gundogan's decision to extend his Dortmund contract only arrived last week after months of speculation suggested that the Germany international was being targeted by the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal.

However, La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the 24-year-old remains unsure about his future with the club and that AC Milan are considering matching Dortmund's €25m (£17.7m) valuation.

According to the report, Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani could launch the bid soon as the club look to add experience to their midfield following a frustrating campaign.

Gundogan's new deal with Dortmund expires in 2017.
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Manchester United agree Matteo Darmian deal

Manchester United have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Italy defender Matteo Darmian from Torino.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, with reports over the weekend suggesting that the Red Devils had tabled a £14m bid for the full-back.

Darmian, who can play anywhere across defence, is also said to be a target for Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

He joined Torino in August 2012 following spells with Palermo and AC Milan.

According to BBC Radio Manchester, United have agreed terms with Darmian, who would cost them a fee in the region of £14m.

Darmian made 44 appearances for Torino in all competitions last season.
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Real Madrid plot Zlatan Ibrahimovic move

Real Madrid have reportedly declared their interest in signing Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

President Florentino Perez was recently pictured in Qatar, where it is believed that he discussed the Swedish international's future with PSG's owners.

According to Sport, Perez was informed that the former Barcelona centre-forward, who has just 12 months left to run on his contract at the Parc des Princes, was available.

The report adds that PSG are prepared to part with the 33-year-old to ease the club's wage bill.

During his stint with Madrid's rivals Barca, Ibrahimovic scored 22 goals in 46 outings.
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Arda Turan could return to Atletico before July 20th: Everything you need to know about Barcelona's new signing

Barcelona have signed Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid for a reported fee of €34m despite currently having a transfer ban imposed on them.

However, the surreal nature of this transfer doesn’t end there – oh no. The recently crowned treble winners are currently in the midst of a presidential election and with no one quite knowing who is going to come out on top on July 18th, a deal has been put in place that allows Barcelona to sell Arda Turan back to Atletico Madrid before July 20th if the victorious president doesn’t want him.

Wait, there’s more. If said president does trigger this clause in the deal it will come at a price. The 2013/14 La Liga champions confirmed earlier that should the player return to the Vicente Calderon next season, he will do so for 90% of the original fee Barcelona paid (€34m).

This might seem careless by the Catalan giants, but it could prove to be a wise move. Arda has been heavily linked with both Man United and Chelsea in recent weeks, and if Barcelona waited until after their presidential elections finish then they run the risk of losing out on one of their prime transfer targets.
To cut a long story short (a bit late for that now, isn’t it?), Barcelona seem to have put a 10% deposit down on Arda Turan – stopping other clubs from negotiating and possibly luring him to the Premier League. 
Even then, what president would be foolish enough not to want the Turkey international at their club?

It’s safe to say, he’ll be a Barcelona player next season but will not be able to play until January 2016.

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Dangote reveals reasons behind interest to buy Arsenal

Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian billionaire who recently declared an interest in buying Arsenal, has revealed the reasons behind his designs on the north London club. 

The 58-year-old business mogul believes that buying a Premier League team will help to raise the profile of his home country. Dangote had been criticised by some people in Nigeria for not investing the domestic league there, but he thinks that the Gunners represent a better project.  
'The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here,' Dangote told Forbes. 

He added, 'Buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever (Chelsea owner) Roman Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country comes up. Everyone knows he's Russian.'
Dangote amassed his fortune by becoming the majority shareholder in giant cement, flour and sugar companies and currently supplies 90 per cent of Nigeria's 170million population.  

Dangote's business empire also extends to oil and he is building a private refinery in one of the country's jungle swamps due for completion in 2018. 
Five years ago, Dangote attempted to buy a small stake in Arsenal but was rebuffed. He tried to take over the 15 per cent owned by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith who eventually sold Stan Kroenke. 

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Lucas Leiva: 'Liverpool need to start season well to achieve top-four ambitions'

Lucas Leiva has insisted that getting off to a winning start is crucial for Liverpool if they want to achieve their ambition of finishing the season in the top four of the Premier League.

Brendan Rodgers's side hoped to achieve a Champions League spot in the 2014-15 campaign, but they eventually finished sixth.

The Reds face a tough start, with visits to Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City within their first seven away fixtures of the campaign.

"I think the important thing for us is to start the season well," Lucas told the club's official website. "We didn't last year, which cost us probably.

"The second part of the season we played well and we won a lot of games but the beginning of the season wasn't good enough. With the new signings as well, it's always exciting but we just need to see how the group develops in pre-season and start on the front foot.

"Our first seven away games are hard and we will have to start well otherwise by December we won't be in a good position."

In terms of new signings, Liverpool have added James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne so far this summer.
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Liverpool confirm Sean O'Driscoll as assistant manager

Liverpool have confirmed that they have appointed Sean O'Driscoll as their new assistant manager.

The 58-year-old has left his position as England Under-19s boss to become part of Brendan Rodgers's backroom staff at Anfield.

The Reds had been without an assistant since dismissing Colin Pascoe last month.

"I am excited to be joining one of the world's most iconic football clubs," O'Driscoll told Liverpool's official website.

"The hallmark of any successful club is its culture and that comes from the people who work there, from the chief executive and first-team manager to those people behind the scenes whose faces may not be known but who are the lifeblood of the club.

"From the moment I drove into Melwood last week and was greeted by Kenny the gateman, I could not have been made to feel more welcome. If you are going to have any level of success these people are as crucial as the players; from my experiences so far it is clear everyone wants to help this club succeed."

Rodgers has also appointed Pepijn Lijnders to the newly-created role of first-team development coach, following a 12-month stint at the Liverpool academy.

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Liverpool to meet Christian Benteke's £32.5m buyout clause this week

Liverpool appear to be edging closer to signing Christian Benteke from Aston Villa as they have reportedly planned to trigger the striker's £32.5m buyout clause this week.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is believed to be keen to add a striker to his squad this summer after Luis Suarez's replacements Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert failed to deliver last season.

Benteke has been linked with a switch to Anfield in the last couple of months, and according to The Express, the Merseyside outfit will officially make their move this week.

Recent reports have stated that the Reds were put off by the expensive buyout fee, but now it appears that a decision has been made regarding Benteke, who is believed to have rejected a move to Tottenham Hotspur in favour of a switch to Anfield.

The 24-year-old has scored 49 goals in 101 appearances for Villa.
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David de Gea 'to knock back Manchester United's latest contract offer'

David de Gea will reportedly turn down Manchester United's latest contract offer as he still holds a desire to sign for Real Madrid this summer.

The Spaniard has been heavily linked with a return to his homeland, but United are believed to be standing firm in negotiations with the La Liga giants.

Reports have suggested that the Red Devils will only allow De Gea to move to the Bernabeu if Sergio Ramos is included in the deal.

According to Cadena Cope, while United are making it difficult for Madrid to get their hands on the 24-year-old shot-stopper, the player himself has not been persuaded to sign fresh terms at Old Trafford.

De Gea will return to the Premier League club today for pre-season training.
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Toby Alderweireld 'to undergo Tottenham Hotspur medical in London today'

Toby Alderweireld will reportedly have a medical in London today ahead of a proposed move to Tottenham Hotspur.

An £11m fee is believed to have been agreed between Spurs and the defender's club Atletico Madrid.

There have been concerns that the deal could be put on hold due to a legal dispute between the Spanish club and Southampton, who signed Alderweireld on loan last season.

The Saints reportedly had a clause in the loan agreement which stated that Alderweireld could be bought for £6.8m unless Atletico scrap it by paying a £1.5m fee, which Southampton argue has not been paid.

However, it appears as though the Belgian's switch to White Hart Lane remains on the cards as Het Laatste Niewus journalist Kristof Terreur has claimed that a medical has been booked in for today.

Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the 26-year-old.
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Cristiano Ronaldo unhappy with questions about Real Madrid contract

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo recently ended an interview abruptly after he was asked questions about his contract situation.

The 30-year-old discussed the arrival of new head coach Rafael Benitez with SNTV, but decided to walk away when he was asked for his thoughts about the future when his contract ends in 2018.

According to Marca, after storming out of the interview, Ronaldo told his entourage: "You're the ones who ought to do this, man. You have to tell them, 'wrap it up, wrap it up.' I'm being made to look stupid in front of people. I know when I have to stop."

The 30-year-old joined the Spanish giants from Manchester United in 2009 for a then-world record fee of £80m.
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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Nigeria sack Stephen Keshi

The Nigeria Football Federation has terminated the appointment of Stephen Keshi as Head Coach of the Senior National Football Team, Super Eagles.

A statement by the NFF Executive Committee on Saturday said this decision was made, “having thoroughly reviewed the reports/findings of the NFF Disciplinary Committee and NFF Technical and Development Committee, as well as having reviewed the actions and inactions of Mr. Stephen Keshi, in the performance of his duties as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, which we found to lack the required commitment to achieve the Federation’s objectives as set out in the Coach’s employment contract.”

The statement went further: “To this end and pursuant to the provisions of Clause 4.3 of the Employment Contract between Mr. Stephen Keshi and the NFF (The Contract) and the various clauses therein, the Nigeria Football Federation has decided to exercise its option to summarily terminate the employment contract of Mr. Stephen Keshi with the Federation with immediate effect.”

It added that the termination was “without prejudice to the settlement of any existing and due financial obligations between the NFF and Mr. Keshi.”

NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, speaking on behalf of the entire Executive Committee of NFF, assured Nigerians that the decision was not taken lightly or with any prejudice, but in the ultimate interest of Nigeria football. He thanked Mr. Keshi for his services to the country and wished him the very best in his future endeavours.

“In the interim, the Super Eagles’ team affairs will be jointly managed by Assistant Coach, Salisu Yusuf and the Technical Directorate of the NFF headed by Coach Shuaibu Amodu, until the Federation names in due course a new Head Coach, who, along with the NFF will chart a new direction for the Super Eagles to ensure credible participation in international competitions and assist in building a sustainable football culture for the country,” said Akinwunmi.
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Marcos Rojo: 'Angel di Maria is as good as Lionel Messi on his day'

Marcos Rojo has claimed that his Manchester United teammate Angel di Maria is as good as Lionel Messi when he is performing at his best.

Di Maria had an underwhelming first season with the Red Devils following his record £59.7m move from Real Madrid.

However, Rojo has insisted that the 27-year-old's struggles were down to adjusting to life in the Premier League and has backed him to rediscover his peak form next season.

He told reporters: "People forget Di Maria last season was adapting to a new league. They just saw a big transfer fee, and maybe didn't think about England being very different from Spain – it's a lot more physical.

"He's one of the best in the world and on his day can do things like Messi and Ronaldo, that's the level he's on. I'm sure this coming season we will see very special things from him."

Rojo and Di Maria are part of the Argentina squad that will play Chile in the Copa America final on Saturday.
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Tottenham Hostpur ready to beat Chelsea to Aleksandar Mitrovic

Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has emerged as a transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur, according to reports.

The 20-year-old, who has scored 44 goals in 90 appearances for the Belgian side, has been linked with Chelsea recently.

However, Spurs are ready to beat their London rivals to the Serbian international's signature, according to the Daily Star.

Mitrovic, who has 13 caps for his country, joined Anderlecht from Partizan Belgrade in 2013 for £3.5m.

Mauricio Pochettino also faces competition for his signature from Roma, the newspaper adds.
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Gerardo Martini backs experienced Argentina to overcome Chile

Gerardo Martino has backed his experienced Argentina side to overcome tournament hosts Chile in the final of the Copa America on Saturday.

Argentina are preparing themselves for their second major final in over a year, after they were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.

However, Martino says that the past experience of reaching the World Cup final will help them overcome the host nation and secure their first trophy in 22 years.

"We have been treated wonderfully here. But this is football. We have to play with the ball and try to win the game," Martino said in a press conference.

"There's an emotional aspect here but the players know all about that because they played in the World Cup final. They know exactly what they are going to face.

"In these cases, the importance of the prize tends to divert the attention away from the match, so I think the best thing we can do is to ensure we play like the team we are usually."

Chile have only beaten Argentina once in their last 14 meetings and are yet to win the Copa America.
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Copa America Final: Chile VS Argentina

Chile are one win away from their first Copa America success and face 2015 favourites Argentina in Saturday's final in Santiago.

The hosts might not have as much talent across  the board as their South American neighbours, but they will hope that a fervent home crowd can help them to victory.

Chile

Not only are La Roja chasing a first Copa title, they have also never won a major international tournament in their history.

They have come close, though. They have hosted the World Cup and Copa America on seven occasions and never not reached the semi-finals on their own turf.

The Chileans have also been runners-up at the Copa on four occasions, the last of which came in 1987 when they fell to Uruguay in the final.

Chile are this year's top scorers with 13 goals in five games and they possess the top marksman in Eduardo Vargas, who has netted four times, including a match-winning brace in the semi-final.

The forward, who was on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season, sealed the win for Chile against Peru with a dipping long-range effort in the 64th minute.

Before that, they had finished top of Group B with two wins and a draw and edged out defending champions Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

Recent Copa America form: WDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Argentina

Like Chile, Argentina drew one game in the group stage to finish top of Group B, setting up a quarter-final with Colombia.

After a goalless 120 minutes, La Albiceleste ousted Los Cafeteros 5-4 on penalties to book a last-four match with surprise package Paraguay, who had toppled Brazil on penalties in the quarters.

Paraguay couldn't match the highest-ranked team at the Copa as Argentina romped to a 6-1 triumph, with Angel di Maria netting two as Lionel Messi, who has one goal in the tournament, went scoreless.

La Albiceleste have won the Copa 14 times and victory on Saturday would see them match Uruguay as the competition's most successful ever country.

Their record in Copas hosted in Chile is also superb - they have never failed to reach the final, winning it four times and finishing as runner-up on two occasions.

They are, however, without a major competition win since the 1993 Copa in Ecuador, losing last year's World Cup final to Germany in extra time.

Recent Copa America form: DWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWW

Team News

Chile, ironically managed by an Argentine in Jorge Sampaoli, could go with the same XI that started against Peru.

However, Gonzalo Jara will be hoping to return in defence after missing out against Peru in the semis. Stars Claudio Bravo, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez will be the backbone of the team.

The likes of Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi all started on the bench for Argentina in their semi-final win over Paraguay, but former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino has little reason to change things after the 6-1 demolition of La Albirroja.

Still, a frontline of Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Messi is not one to be sniffed at.

Chile possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Isla, Medel, Rojas, Jara; Diaz, Aranguiz, Vidal; Valdivia; Sanchez, Vargas

Argentina possible starting lineup:
Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Pastore; Messi, Aguero, Di Maria

Head To Head
Chile have beaten Argentina just once in the two countries' last 14 meetings - a run stretching back to 1959.

Their last encounter was at the same stadium as Saturday's final in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, and two first-half goals in three minutes from Messi and Gonzalo Higuain were enough for a 2-1 victory.

Neither side has lost a competitive game since their respective World Cup losses at the quarter-final and final stages to Brazil and Germany.

Kick Off Time - 20:00HRS

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