Monthly Archives: July 2016

Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker to miss early Premier League games

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is set to miss the early Premier League games in the 2016-17 season after sustaining a knee injury.

The centre-half, likely to be Arsenal’s new captain in the upcoming season, went down during a friendly match against Lens.

Mertesacker, 31, did not travel with the rest of Arsenal’s squad for their two-match tour at the US. He made 24 appearances as the London club finished runners-up last season.

Speaking during a press press conference before the club’s friendly against the MLS All Stars, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that Mertesacker would miss a “few months” of action.

Mertesacker’s injury leaves Wenger short in defensive players. French international Laurent Koscielny has been given an extended break after Euro 2016, having played for France up until the tournament final.

The other regular centre-back, Gabriel Paulista, currently struggles with tonsilitis.

However, Wenger could compensate for the German’s absence by playing club newcomer Rob Holding. Holding had joined Arsenal from the Bolton Wanderers for a fee believed to be around £2m last week.

Calum Chambers could start with Holding in the centre of defence when Arsenal play a team that features Kaka, Didier Drogba, Andrea Pirlo and Clint Dempsey on Friday at the Avaya Stadium, the home of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Federer set to miss Rio and remaining tennis season

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Roger Federer is set to miss the Olympic Games in Rio and the remainder of the tennis season including the US Open.

The 34-year-old posted the news on his Facebook page, saying that he took the “very difficult” decision after consulting his medical team.

Federer, the only 17-times grand slam champion had underwent a knee operation in February before missing the French Open with a back problem. He had also been plagued with a number of health issues across this year, and required treatment twice during a five-set semi-final defeat by Canada’s Milos Raonic at Wimbledon earlier this month.

Federer has won the gold medal for tennis doubles at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but has never won a singles title.

But instead of carrying on for the only honour that has eluded his grasp, the Swiss Maestro elects to withdraw from the remaining tennis season in order to ensure career longevity.

“I’m extremely disappointed to announce I will not be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio and that I will also miss the remainder of the season,” Federer wrote in the post.

“Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year.”

“The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury-free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover. It is tough to miss the rest of the year.

“However, the silver lining is that this experience has made me realise how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries. The love I have for tennis, the competition, tournaments and of course you, the fans remain intact.”

“I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017.”




Gonzalo Higuain secures record £75.3m move to Juventus

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Gonzalo Higuaín is now the third most expensive player in history after signing for Juventus from Napoli in a deal worth £75.3m.

Higuain’s transfer had been confirmed as his name surfaced on a list of completed deals on the Serie A website. Napoli subsequently Tweeted that Juventus had met the release clause for the player.

A statement on the club’s official website reads: “Juventus can today confirm it has purchased the registration rights of Gonzalo Higuaín for €90m (£75.3m), payable in two financial years. The player has agreed a five-year contract.”

Many speculated that Juventus is using capital expected from their sale of Paul Pogba back to Manchester United, but the Serie A Champions assured everyone that it was otherwise.

The deal also places Higuain behind Real Madrid stars Gareth Bale (£85m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£80m) on the record list of most expensive players. It is also the biggest domestic deal in Italy.

Higuain, 28, scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games last season as Napoli finished second in the table, nine points behind Juve. The tally is league record-equalling, and won him the Capocannoniere – Serie A’s golden boot.

The Argentine striker began his career with River Plate in Argentina, before moving to Europe with Real Madrid.

During his time with the Galaticos, Higuain scored 107 goals in six and a half seasons and helped Real win three La Liga titles and the 2011 Copa del Rey. He then moved on to Napoli in 2013 and added the 2014 Coppa Italia to his list of honours.

Higuain also won 63 caps for Argentina since his debut in 2009, scoring 32 goals and helping them reach the 2014 World Cup final and in the Copa America final this year and last – but were beaten on all three occasions.



Juventus demands United to increase bid for Paul Pogba

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Juventus has continued to raise the price tag on Paul Pogba, telling Manchester United to add another €10m to their €120m bid for Paul Pogba.

The Serie A Champions also added that their €95m signing of Gonzalo Higuaín from Napoli does not mean they will be forced to sell Pogba.

Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has discussed the terms of a five‑year contract with United and it is understood his wage demands have been met.

Should the transfer be succesful, Pogba will earn a basic salary of about £11m a year plus incentives at Old Trafford while retaining sponsorship deals and image rights. He would also become United’s fourth major signing since Jose Mourinho took charge of the club, though the manager insists he has other options if the move does not happen.

However, Juventus continues to milk United as the latter attempts to secure the services of a player who left Old Trafford in 2012 after refusing to sign a new contract having made seven senior appearances for the club.

Pogba, 23, is contracted to Juve until the end of the 2018-19 season but eager to return to United despite the fact that the Red Devils are not taking part in the Champions League.

Nevertheless, United club legend Paul Scholes questioned the wisdom of the deal, citing that Pogba was not worth the world-record fee.

Scholes, a teammate of Pogba in United prior to the Frenchman’s departure, said that he was not in the same class as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“He was a very talented young player, I played with him and I knew how good he was,” Scholes said. “He played for the first team maybe once or twice, but from my understanding he was asking for too much money [when he left in 2012].”

“For his age, he was asking for far too much money, for a player who hasn’t played first-team football. OK, he has gone on to great things. I think certainly there has been a lot of improvement. He needed to improve if he is going to be a player worth £86m.”

On the other hand, the former England international believed that Manchester City’s fee for Ilkay Gundogan was justified.

“I think Gundogan is a really impressive player. I’ve seen a lot of him at Borussia Dortmund. I think he has a lot of injury problems, which could be a problem.”

“If he can stay fit, I think he can be a fantastic player. I also think he is great value for the money Manchester City paid for him. I think he is a bargain.”