Monthly Archives: July 2017

Manchester United finalizing deal for Nemanja Matic

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Manchester United is close to completing a deal for Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic in a deal worth £40m.

Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 pre-season win over Valerenga, United manager Jose Mourinho said: “We are waiting for news. He wants it very much. I think we have a chance. Number 31 is a free number.”

Chelsea had also left Matic out of their tour to Asia to allow him to finalise a move, while a picture circulated on Twitter purporting to show Matic in United training kit and wearing No31, which has been vacant since the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

If Matic does join United, it would be the second time Mourinho bought Matic after spending £21m in January 2014 to buy the player from Benfica as Chelsea’s manager for a second spell with the Blues. He had been valued at less than £5m in January 2011 when he left Chelsea as a makeweight in the deal for Brazilian defender David Luiz.

Matic, 28, scored just once in 35 Premier League appearances during Chelsea title triumph, but also struck spectacularly in their FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham in April.

However, the Serbian international is expected to leave Stamford Bridge after the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte signed the France international Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco in £39.7m deal this month.

If a deal comes to completion for Matic, he will become Mourinho’s third signing of the summer following a £31m deal for the defender Victor Lindelof and the £75m move for Lukaku from Everton.

Naby Keita staying put at RB Leipzig, Liverpool told

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RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl had warded off interest from Liverpool for Naby Keita by saying that the Guinea national is “”100 per cent” staying with the Bundesliga runners-up.

Keita, 22, had been impressive in Leipzig’s debuting season in the German top-flight, scoring eight goals in 31 appearances last season to help Leipzig also qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

His performance has attracted a suitor in Liverpool F.C., albeit their two bids for the player had since been rejected by the Bundesliga newcomers, with Hasenhuttl emphasizing the importance for the players to stay especially after making it into the Champions League together.

“The chance is null,” he said. “It’s 100% clear that Naby will play this year in Leipzig.”

“At the beginning of the transfer period we said we would start with the same team and of the players we had last year no one will go. That would be our answer now also. For us everyone can see how important Naby Keita is for our game. It’s 100% sure that he will be with RB Leipzig in the Champions League.”

“I said for all the players it is very important to stay together as it’s the first time we play Champions League and that is a new situation for every one of us. We have very young players and I think for them it is very important to play the first year in the Champions League as a team. We will learn this very much again this year.

“Keita is more focused on us and has more fun now than last year. He knows this season will be fantastic for us. To play Champions League for Naby Keita is a great thing.”

Hassenhuttl added that it was also “normal” for Keita to have suitors, but also told Liverpool that there could be more competitors even if the Reds choose to maintain their interest in Keita beyond next season.

“Until next summer we keep it closed and then we have a look,” he added.

Luciano Spalletti: Serie A coach wants Ivan Perisic to remain at Inter

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Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti has revealed his desire to keep Ivan Perisic for his team in the upcoming season.

Spalletti, whose Inter squad defeated English champions Chelsea by 2-1 in a friendly during the weekend, “strongly opposed” the prospect of Perisic leaving the club in the current summer transfer window.

Throughout the summer, Perisic, who scored 18 goals in 70 Serie A games since joining from German side Wolfsburg for reported £14.5m in August 2015, has been strongly linked with a transfer to Premier League club Manchester United.

However, despite Jose Mourinho’s club having lined up a deal that could amount to £48m for the player, club officials at Inter had denied the completion such rumours, and, intent on keeping the player had brought him along the squad embarking on their pre-season tours.

Perisic then started the friendly against Chelsea and scored the winning goal in the second half; his team had took the lead in first-half injury time through Stevan Jovetic’s penalty, with Perisic doubling their advantage.

“There has been no more significant contact in the last few weeks,” Spalletti said before the game against Chelsea. “As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing more to say.”

“The more days that go by, the more difficult it becomes for us to replace him and therefore I would strongly oppose his departure.”

Everton takes slim lead in Europa League qualifier

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Everton managed to take a slim 1-0 lead against MFK Ruzomberok in their Europa League third qualifying round match.

Toffees captain Leighton Baines scored the only goal of the night through a deflected shot at a half-cleared corner 20 minutes after the interval.

While Everton were dominant in possession throughout, the Merseyside team had struggled to register efforts in the first half and still needed Maarten Stekelenburg to make a crucial save and turn Jan Maslo’s header on to the crossbar.

Nonetheless, the reason that the Premier League club face such a struggle could be due to a reinvigorated team — with coach Ronald Koeman gave debuts to summer signings Cuco Martina, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez.

In Klassen and Ramirez’s case, both played particularly well with Klassen almost coming close with a shot in the first half and with a header in the second.

Ramirez, on the other hand, plays with the zip, confidence and aggression that stretched the Ruzomberok defence well wide, boosting Wayne Rooney and Klaassen behind him.

This means that Everton have a challenge in finding the right formation that would bring the best of each of their players. However, they could hardly rest on their laurels in their attempt to do so, as Ruzomberok had been able to overcome a first-leg deficit against Brann Bergen in the last round.

“Nothing has been decided yet,” Ruzomberok coach Norbert Hrnca said. “We had two good opportunities tonight, maybe next week we can do the same and take them.”

“We know we are in for a tough game next week,” Baines said after the game. “It was tough tonight, but at least we will know a bit more about what to expect, and as a team we will know each other that bit better too.”