Daily Archives: April 21, 2017

Arsenal wards off major interest to sign Sead Kolasinac

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Schalke 04’s Sead Kolasinac will be the first to join Arsenal in the transfer window this summer after agreeing personal term and a medical at the Emirates.

Kolasinac has made near to 130 senior appearances for Schalke since joining from Stuttgart in 2011 and is likely to become a regular in the Arsenal defence next season.

Although a defensive player, Kolasinac, 23, has been involved in eight goals this season — twice as many as in his first four Bundesliga seasons combined.

His move will represent something of a coup for Arsenal as major clubs such as AC Milan, Chelsea, Everton, Juventus and Manchester City have all expressed interest in Kolasinac.

Arsene Wenger has been looking to reinforce the Gunners defense after frequent exposures of a lacking back line this season. The importing of Kolasinac into the fold of the Premier League would is a sign of his first step in doing so.

The Bosnia & Herzegovina international will move to London on a free transfer his contract at Schalke expires on June 30. He was in England two weeks ago for a sponsorship event and underwent medical tests during his short trip.

While Wenger insisted in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City that no deal had been agreed for Kolasinac, other reports claimed that the defender will become an Arsenal player once his contract with Schalke expires this summer.

Marcus Rashford comes through again for Man United

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Marcus Rashford scored a vital extra-time goal that sent Manchester United into the Europa League semi-final with a 2-1 victory over Anderlecht (3-2 on aggregate).

United took the lead first through Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian drilled in a low finish in the 10th minute but Anderlecht got an equalizer when Sofiane Hanni scrambled home an equaliser after 32 minutes.

Amidst injuries to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rojo, United were themselves a reason they could not finish Anderlecht off in normal time as the players wasted plenty of precious chances.

It was only at the 107th minute that Rashford scored the decisive goal with a brilliant turn and finish.

Manager Jose Mourinho has been gradually shifting his attention upon the second-tier European tournament as it offers a potential route into the Champions League, away from the difficult battle for top-four places in the Premier League — making this victory a much needed one.

But even as they rescued themselves through an extra-time goal, Mourinho must know that his team deeply needs a cohesive attacking plan and to hone their finishing if they are to secure Champions League qualification.

And while Rashford was the deliverer of goals against Chelsea and here against Anderlecht, the loss of Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals for United this season, would still prove to be a heavy setback.

As for Rojo, who received lengthy treatment following a heavy collision with an Anderlecht player, meant that United’s defense is dealt a further blow. It was indeed the worst timing as United are already without injured two other defensive players, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

UEFA criticises WADA over Sakho drug test

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UEFA had criticised the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a mistaken drug flag over Premier League defender Mamadou Sakho.

Sakho, who was then playing for Liverpool, had been banned on April 2016 after being tested positive for higenamine, a form of fat-burner, following the second leg of Liverpool’s Europa League last-16 tie against Manchester United in the previous month.

Sakho was subsequently suspended as Liverpool officials agreed it would be prudent to omit him from games amidst the investigation. and he was then provisionally suspended by UEFA.

However, in early June UEFA absolved Sakho of taking a performance-enhancing drug and went further yesterday by releasing a report pointing out that higenamine is not specifically listed on WADA’s prohibited list.

The report by UEFA also points out conflict between experts about whether higenamine is among a group of drugs classified as B2–agonists — all of which are banned by WADA.

Additionally, it was also asserted WADA laboratories do not routinely test for the drug substance, and that if Sakho’s sample had been handled by the Lausanne laboratory and not Cologne’s then it would not have been tested for higenamine.

A line of the report reads: “Higenamine is not expressedly mentioned by name on WADA’s prohibited list. The fact that the Cologne laboratory tested for higenamine but had to check with Wada before making a determination indicates a problem, as does the fact that the Lausanne laboratory does not test for higenamine at all.”