Monthly Archives: June 2017

Chelsea to step up efforts in securing transfer targets

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Chelsea will step up on their efforts to strengthen their squad with improved bids for Alex Sandro at Juventus and Tiemoue Bakayoko at Monaco.

The Blues are raising an improved bid worth up to £55m for Sandro and a fee in excess of £40m for Ligue 1 winner Bakayoko, as coach Antonio Conte was reportedly unhappy with the club’s lack of progress in securing their transfer targets.

His discontent was apparent as Conte, 47, had left a contract extension worth £9.6m a year through to 2021 — which makes also him the best paid coach in the Premier League — unsigned.

Conte, 47, who won the Premier League in his debut season with Chelsea, is seeking to augment his squad ahead of next season where his team will try to defend their title while making their return to the Champions League.

Sandro, who has earned seven caps with Brazil, stands as a potential replacement for Marcos Alonso at the left-wing back position. Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta had indicated earlier that Chelsea’s initial bid for Sandro had to been turned down last weekend, although he did not provide assurances over the player’s future with the club.

“I don’t know what he [Sandro] thinks about the interest,” Marotta said. “Players are masters of their own destinies.”

Bakayoko on the other hand represents a long-standing interest for the Blues, with the France international potentially joining Chelsea on the back of a fee in excess of £40m after winning the Ligue 1 with Monaco.

Davide Nicola: Serie A coach fulfils promise and finishes 1,300km bike ride

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Crotone coach Davide Nicola fulfilled his promise to his players that he would be cycling the entire 1,300km distance to his hometown in Turin if the team escaped the drop to Serie B.

Despite a 2-1 win at Chievo — the team’s first-ever Serie A away win — two months ago, Crotone had remained poised for relegation from Serie A to Italy’s second division in their Italian top-flight debut.

Nicola made the promise at the time that he would complete the challenge should his players be able to secure survival for the Serie A survivors.

And the promise seems to have the intended effect; with just 14 points from 29 games, they managed to find their form to win six of their last nine matches and finished on 34 points, two points above the relegation zone.

Despite their remarkable late run, the side began the final day of the season in the bottom three, but thanks to a surprise 3-1 win over Lazio and Empoli’s defeat by Palermo Crotone survived their maiden top-flight campaign.

The coach was greeted by about 300 people after he completed his journey from Crotone, in the southern Italian region of Calabria, to Turin after nine days of of cycling from the southern Italian region of Calabria.

“Am I tired? I still do not feel any particular pain,” he told reporters after his long trek. “From tomorrow I will have a better idea and maybe I will feel a bit tired.”

“What matters most to me is that my goal has been achieved. I kept the promise and, with the help of many people, we have also attracted the attention of many people to the question of safety on the roads. Here in Turin I was greeted with great enthusiasm: I am very excited.”

Nikola himself also has individual motivations about road safety stemming back from when his 14-year-old son, Alessandro, was killed when a bus hit the back wheel of his bicycle close to his home, in July 2014.

Furious Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Real over tax dispute

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An outraged Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Real Madrid over what he feels is unfair treatment by tax authorities.

Ronaldo, who has helped Real win the double of La Liga and Champions League this season, is accused by Spanish authorities of evading tax to the value of 14.7m euros (£13m; $16m) between 2011 and 2014.

Real Madrid have since released a statement saying they had “full confidence” in their player, and that they were convinced he would prove his innocence.

However, a source close to the player claimed that Ronaldo “feels great indignation” with all the conjecture about his tax affairs and a sense of “injustice” at the allegations, which he contests, and has made a decision to leave Spain.

“He’s very sad and really upset,” the source reportedly told BBC. “He doesn’t want to stay in Spain. At this moment, he wants to leave.”

As Ronaldo’s future remains uncertain, he could make a return to his former club Manchester United — one of the select few clubs with the financial muscle to offer a competitive package for Ronaldo. The Red Devils had been predicting record revenues of up to £570m this year and his return would be a dream commercial move.

Nonetheless, Ronaldo has a €1bn (£880m) release clause in his current Madrid deal and United – now without having to pay Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wages and the potentially Wayne Rooney’s soon – would be able to meet Ronaldo’s wage demands of around £400,000 a week.

Among other clubs that could match United’s offer is Paris Saint-Germain, but the Old Trafford move presents Ronaldo with a grander stage in the Premier League on which to perform compared to Ligue 1, especially with their re-entry into the Champions League after their Europa League victory.

But with the potential availability of one of the world’s most marketable players, Chinese Super League clubs will also naturally be on alert for the player.

Monaco and Real Madrid holding talks over Kevin Mbappe

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Real Madrid and Monaco have held talks for potentially reaching a deal for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe has risen to stardom in Ligue 1 and the Champions League in the 16-17 season and could command a world-record transfer fee should he leave the principality.

However, it is clear that the Ligue 1 champions has no intentions to sell, and could hold out for a huge fee for the teenage sensation but have entertained discussions with Los Blancos.

Real are huge admirers of Mbappe, and the teenager revealed this week that the reigning European champions have been trying to sign him since he was 14 years old.

The two clubs had met at the end of last week but Monaco do not want to sell the 18-year-old, and reports in France have suggested they could demand as much as €135 million for his signature — comfortably eclipsing the fee Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.

But such numbers has not discouraged them from sitting down with Monaco and attempting to work out a resolution, and for his part, Mbappe will go on holiday and mull over his options after meeting the Monaco hierarchy on Thursday morning, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City also interested in signing him.

Mbappe could decide to stay at Monaco as they will in the draw for the Champions League group stage and can offer him guaranteed first-team football, although he had known to be a Real Madrid fan and has previously visited the club’s Valdebebas training ground.

Additionally, there will also be some doubt around Monaco that they can replicate their 2016-17 season, with Bernardo Silva already having been sold to Manchester City and Benjamin Mendy likely to follow, with Fabinho also looking unsettled.