Monthly Archives: July 2017

West Brom signs Saints striker Jay Rodriguez n £12m deal

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West Bromwich Albion have signed England striker Jay Rodriguez from Southampton in a deal amounting to £12m.

Rodriguez, 27, often struggled with injuries in his time with the Saints, scoring 32 goals in 126 games.

He missed the entire 2014-15 season after a serious knee injury and then had ankle surgery in November 2015, making only 16 appearances that season, before netting six goals in 34 appearances last season.

However, he enjoyed a prolific season in 2013-14, in which he scored 15 Premier League goals and made his only cap for England.

“After one or two ‘near misses’ I’m absolutely buzzing to be here,” Rodriguez — a long-term target for West Brom boss Tony Pulis — said in a statement published on the club’s official website.

“The most important thing for any player is to be wanted – and Tony Pulis and Albion have made it clear just how much they have wanted me to join. That’s fantastic for any footballer to hear.”

“I’m genuinely delighted to be joining a club of Albion’s stature. The team is full of top players and it’s pretty clear that they are also a great set of lads.”

Rodriguez, who started life as a youth product of Burnley, left his home town club for Southampton in a reported £7m move in 2012, and made his international debut against Chile in November 2013.

Although he was in contention for England’s World Cup squad, his knee injury in April 2014 meant he was out six months and unavailable as England was subsequently eliminated in the group stages.

Saul Niguez signs record nine-year contract with Atletico Madrid

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Spain and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has signed a nine-year contract — one of the longest in football history — that will allow him to stay with the club until June 2026.

Niguez, 22, has been an influential figure for both club and country in the past two seasons, helping Atletico reach the Champions League semi-finals in the last season.

Just last week, Niguez also helped Spain enter the European Under-21 Championship final. He was then awarded the Golden Boot of the tournament for scoring five goals in five matches as well as a runners-up medal after a slim 1-0 defeat to Germany.

A product of Atletico’s youth system, Niguez had played 53 games for Atletico last season, scoring nine goals, four of which were in the Champions League.

“I am very happy because at Atletico we are a family and there is no better place to be,” Niguez said in a statement. “I will work my full potential on the field as always to pay back the trust that the club is giving to me.”

“I’d like to thank all my team-mates and the coaching staff for their help day by day so that I can be the player I am today.”

Atletico are subject to a transfer ban until January 2018 following a failed appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). For them, keeping key players such as Niguez and Antoine Griezmann — the latter of whom signed a one-year contract extension this summer — were key for Atletico to stay competitive in the next season.

It was also worth noting that since Niguez was under a long term contract before signing his new deal, it gestures how highly he is rated by Atletico’s manager, Diego Simeone.

Germany wins Confederations Cup with second string squad

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World Champions Germany asserted their dominance in international football with a 1-0 victory over Chile to win their first FIFA Confederations Cup despite fielding a second-string squad.

After Germany fans saw their team win the under-21 European Championship in Poland on Friday, they can once again celebrate another impressive tournament victory 12 months before they launch the defence of their world title.

Chile had the better of the opening encounters, but Die Mannschaft launched a rapid counter-attack against the run of play and while Chile initially neutralised the move, terrible mistake by Marcelo Diaz allowed Timo Werner to collect the ball and pass to Lars Stindl for an easy-tap in.

Despite the setback, the Copa America winners maintained the pressure against their opponents, somehow even doubling it in the second-half — but the German team that had not managed a clean sheet all tournament held them back as Chile’s Arturo Vidal and Angelo Sagal both blazed over the bar in the closing stages.

The second-half also turned ill-tempered as Vidal and Joshua Kimmich, both team-mates in Bayern Munich, were booked following one spat while frustrated Chile players piled on a prone Emre Can in an attempt to retrieve the ball.

Video assistant referee (VAR) technology was cast under the spotlight too after Chile’s Gonzalo Jara remained on the pitch despite landing an elbow in Timo Werner’s face during a second-half challenge. The foul was brought to the attention of referee Milorad Mazic, who reviewed the footage from the touchline but only proceeded to caution Jara with a yellow.

German coach Joachim Low, while suggesting diplomatically that it “could have been worthy of a red card”, did not allow the issue to dampen his spirits as the youngest team at the tournament lifted the trophy.

“The fact that these young players have won this trophy is a historic achievement. It’s unique in Germany history,” Low said. “It is just outstanding: players with so little international experience, with so few caps in other final matches, have been playing at the top level of quality.”

Even before the game, Low said that he felt “vindicated” of criticism for fielding an inexperienced squad and leaving out stars such as Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

Indeed, with just 12 months left from the 2018 World Cup and winning a considerable accolade with what was effectively a second-string squad, Germany is a strong favourite and could very well become the third team ever to defend the World title successfully.