Daily Archives: July 28, 2017

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.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would sign Tottenham’s £100m Harry Kane

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said that he would sign Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who he believes is worth at least £100m in the transfer market.

Conte, whose club had just signed Real Madrid Alvaro Morata for an initial £58m earlier this month, pointed to the England international as the player he would most like to sign.

“For me, Kane, now, is one of the best strikers in the world,” Conte said. “If I had to buy one striker I would go to Kane.”

“He is a complete striker. He is strong physically, with the ball, without the ball, he fights and he’s strong in the air and acrobatic on the right and the left. He’s a complete player. He’s one of the top strikers in the world. If you go to buy Kane now it would be at least £100m. At least. For me, if I see this price for a striker I know for sure he’s a big striker.”

Kane, who plays for Chelsea’s neighbouring rivals Tottenham, scored 93 goals over the last three seasons with 29 in the Premier League last season as Tottenham finished as runners-up behind Chelsea.

With Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino yet to make any new signings this summer, Conte questioned the Tottenham’s ambition but also acknowledged that his counterpart is under far less pressure to win silver, and that the current inflated transfer market makes signing players, even defenders, difficult.

“If they don’t win the title, it’s not a tragedy,” he said. “If they don’t arrive in the Champions League, it’s not a tragedy. For Chelsea, Arsenal, City, United and… I don’t know… Liverpool, it is a tragedy.”

“Every team has to understand what their ambitions are. If their ambitions are to fight for the title or win the Champions League, you must buy expensive players. Otherwise you continue to stay in your level. It’s simple. My question is this: What are Tottenham’s expectations?”

“(But) Honestly, I think now every single player is expensive. For you to even enquire about one player, he is expensive. You go to buy a right-back, a left-back or a central defender and he is expensive. It is very difficult in the transfer market for the teams that need to improve their squads.”

Bayern CEO joins Carlo Ancelotti in warding off bids for Arturo Vidal

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Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has echoed manager Carlo Ancelotti in ruling out the possibility of Arturo Vidal leaving the club amidst reports of Inter Milan preparing an offer for Chilean international.

Vidal, 30, has been linked with a €50 million move to the Nerazzurri as they look to improve their squad and mount a challenge for the Serie A title.

However, Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti had since told them to give up on trying to land the Chilean, and Rummenigge also followed his footsteps by insisting they would turn down all bids for the star man.

“I can 100 per cent rule out Arturo’s departure, for us he is a fundamental player,” he said in a press conference. “I have not heard from anyone at Inter so far, I just read what has been written, (but) the decision to continue with Vidal was taken long ago.

“Ancelotti talked with him: the door is 100 per cent closed. This is regardless of the offer: when Bayern decide not to sell a player, the fee does not matter.”

Another Bayern player who is linked with a move to Italy is 19-year-old Renato Sanches. AC Milan have shown an interest in the young Portuguese international showing an interest in switching sides if it meant more regular playing time.

However, Milan CEO Marco Fassone had since said that negotiations have broken down because of the asking price; and although the Bundesliga giants are open to letting him go out on loan, they also maintained that could play a part for Ancelotti’s team in 2017-18.

“We are considering his (Sanches) situation,” Rummenigge said. “He wants to play consistently but at Bayern Munich that is not easy. We will discuss it with Carlo, there is still time, no hurry.”