Daily Archives: August 9, 2017

Virgil van Dijk submits transfer request after Southampton “insults”

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Dutch international Virgil van Dijk has submitted a transfer request in a bid to leave the Premier League club.

Van Dijk, 26, is highly rated and has plenty of suitors over the summer, but saw one move to Liverpool collapsed after Southampton reported the Merseyside club to the Premier League for an alleged illegal approach to the player.

Liverpool were subsequently forced into an apology. Additionally, in a bid to defuse the situation, Jurgen Klopp’s team also promised that they would refrain from any pursuits towards the former Celtic player, thereby placating Southampton authorities.

However, van Dijk became unsettled with the Saints after club coach Mauricio Pellegrino revealing that the player had been training alone and was not in the right frame of mind to play for Southampton.

Even as the club continuously insists that the Holland international is not for sale, Van Dijk has now made it plain he wishes to leave, saying that he felt “insulted” by suggestions he has refused to train.

A statement from Van Dijk read: “It is with regret I can confirm I have today handed in a transfer request to leave Southampton.”

“I have been left frustrated by the club’s position that I am not for sale and am disappointed inquiries from multiple top clubs have been consistently rebuffed.”

“The period of time that I have just spent injured and unable to play has put a number of things into perspective and made me realise just how important it is to take major opportunities should they arise. I have consistently relayed my feelings to senior management in what I believed to be private and personal conversations.”

“Disappointingly these conversations have regularly found their way into the media. I would also like to make clear that I have never once refused to train. As a proud professional I am insulted by the suggestion that it was me who refused to train and so feel it is important to point out the true version of events.

“However, the time for me to move on is now and I hope to be able to work with the club to find the best resolution to suit all parties.”

Liverpool were willing to pay a world-record sum for a defender — around £60m — to win the race for Van Dijk, although it remains to be seen whether Liverpool will now return for their No.1 summer transfer target.

Southampton completes club record deal for Juve’s Mario Lemina

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Southampton have signed Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina in a club record deal worth up to 20 million Euros on a five-year deal.

Lemina, 23, made 42 appearances for Juve in two seasons after joining the Serie A champions on loan from Marseille in 2015 before a £7.5m move last summer. In that period, he won a brace of Serie A and Coppa titles with Juve, and played in last season’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.

As Saints coach Mauricio Pellegrino’s second signing of the summer, Lemina will cost the club an initial £15.4m with the rest depending on his success.

While it remains that the fee could still inflate, it is slightly less than the previous record fee the Saints paid for attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal, who joined from French side Lille for £16m in August 2016.

Still, club vice-chairman Les Reed believed that the deal was a “significant statement of intent” for the South Coast club.

“Mario is an outstanding talent who has already achieved a great deal in his career, winning a number of titles and gaining experience of playing on some of the biggest stages in world football,” Reed said.

“Investing in a player of Mario’s quality and buying from a club like Juventus is a significant statement of intent from the club and this is a purchase that has set another club-record fee.”

“Mario still has his best years ahead of him and we believe he will not only be an excellent acquisition for us in the immediate future but that he will also be able to realise even more of his potential here in the years to come.”

Isco and Casemiro shine to win UEFA Super Cup for Real Madrid

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Spanish and European champions Real Madrid has successfully defended their UEFA Super Cup title after a 2-1 win over Manchester United, thanks to goals from Casemiro and Isco.

Real dominated possession for much of the time despite the warm temperatures in the Philip II Arena in Macedonia, despite occasional skirmishes up front made by the Red Devils.

Casemiro — who earlier hit the woodwork for Real — opened the scoring through a half-volley after twenty minutes, while Isco calmly slotted in from eight yards after a neat one-two with Gareth Bale less than eight minutes after the break.

Manchester United managed a reply as summer signing Romelu Lukaku tapped in following Nemanja Matic’s effort, despite being second best and rarely threatening the Real defense.

The match, which was twice stopped for scheduled cooling breaks implemented by governing body UEFA, then continued with Real peppering the United side with attempts on goal.

As a large roar welcomed Cristiano Ronaldo was given the final few minutes, Los Blancos then finished the game in jubilation and become the first team to retain the Super Cup since 1990.


Manchester United will start their new Premier League season at home against West Ham United under more welcoming weather, and while Real would celebrate a deserved trophy they would keep an eye on the horizon — they will be facing arch-rivals Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Sunday in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup in back-to-back El Clasico fixtures.