Monthly Archives: November 2017

Arsene Wenger: Ozil and Sanchez to stay beyond January 2018

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Arsene Wenger has ruled out January departures for Arsenal pair Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil bar the case that “something unbelievable” happens.

The contracts for both players are set to expire by the end of the season and both have so far refused to sign new deals at the Emirates.

While there are yet to be concrete offers for Ozil, Sanchez almost joined Manchester City on the final day of the summer transfer window, only for Arsenal to pull out from the deal at the very last moment when they failed to land Monaco’s Thomas Lemar as his replacement.

However, Wenger remains keen to hold on to both players until the end of the season.

“I do not think about that every day,” the Frenchman said. “At the moment, as long as they are here, they have to give their best for the team and for the club.”

“In my head, they stay until the end of the season and that’s a decision that was taken at the start of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.”

Still, it remains that Wenger could not offer any assurances that he could keep either player through new deals and extend their stays beyond 2018.

“They’re into the final year of their contract,” he added. “Will they stay longer? That’s impossible to answer today because I don’t know. They have a contract until the end of the season.”

“I am not the only one who can decide that. They have a part to play in that as well. If it’s my decision, yes.”

Gennaro Gattuso replaces Vincenzo Montella as head coach of AC Milan

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Gennaro Gattuso has replaced Vincenzo Montella as Milan manager after a disappointing start to the season which saw the club slipped to six Serie A defeats in 14 games.

“AC Milan announce to have parted ways with VMontella,” a statement on the club official account read. “Management of the first team is entrusted to Gennaro Gattuso, who leaves his position as Primavera coach and to whom we wish the best of luck.”

Montella also tweeted saying that it had been an “honour” to have coached the side.

Gattuso, 39, made over 400 appearances for the club as a player between 1999 and 2013, won a brace of Serie A titles and Champions League trophies with the club. He has been head coach of the club’s youth team before being appointed as new first-team coach for the Serie A club.

While Milan have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League with a match to spare, their dwindling domestic form has been a concern for some time.

They are in seventh place in Serie A, 18 points behind leaders Napoli. The decision was made by the club’s board after they were held to a goalless draw by Torino at the weekend.

The team, which was bolstered by over £205m worth of summer signings have won just twice in their last nine league matches, with their match against Torino being the fourth successive home league game without a goal.

A record of only six wins in Serie A have now cost Montella his coaching position as his impressive start to the campaign, winning 10 of the first 12 matches in all competitions, faded quickly.

Alan Pardew set to be appointed as West Brom manager

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West Brom are set to appoint former Newcastle and Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew as their manager in place of Tony Pulis.

The Baggies sacked Tony Pulis on 20 November after the club went for 10 Premier League games without a victory and was left just one point above the relegation zone.

Pardew, 56, who himself has been out of a job since he was sacked by Crystal Palace in December 2016, is expected to sign a deal until 2020 as he prepares to assume the role of Albion’s sixth permanent manager since 2011.

West Brom let slip a two-goal lead on Tuesday as they drew 2-2 at home to Newcastle, but moved up to 16th place in the table ahead of Everton.

Pardew will take charge of his first game against former club Palace at The Hawthorns on Saturday, as Albion then face trips to Liverpool and Swansea before a home fixture against Manchester United.

The English coach has also had spent time at Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton in an 18-year managerial career, highlighted with two FA Cup final defeats.

Former West Brom boss Gary Megson has taken temporary charge since Pulis’ departure.

“I will meet the chairman at 10:00 tomorrow, what about? I don’t know,” Megson said following the draw against Newcastle. “Something has to be done at some point. I was just told in the interim period to take the team. What I’ve done the last eight or nine days is what I’ve done for the last 20 years, so I have enjoyed all that.”

“I haven’t applied for manager jobs in the last three years but whatever happens now, if ones do come up I will apply.”

Lionel Messi extends contract with FC Barcelona to 2021

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Lionel Messi has ended speculation of a move away from FC Barcelona by extending his contract with the club through to the summer of 2021.

The Catalan club also announced that the Argentina forward has had a 700 million Euro buy-out clause inserted into his contract, indicating that he will finish his career at the Camp Nou in all likelihood.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who described Messi as “the best player in football history”, said the new contract, with a significantly higher buyout clause, was “more in line with the current situation in the ever-changing world of football”.

“The buyout clause had to be modified,” Bartomeu added. “and it has gone from 300m euros to 700m euros. It fills me with pride to see him with us renewing his love for the club.”

“The objective is to continue achieving things and making history,” Messi said after signing his new contract. “We’ve been lucky enough to have won a great many things and I hope there will be more in the future. I’m happy to continue with the club, which is my home. My dream was to finish my career at Barca and we are moving down that path.”

Initially, a renewal had been agreed in principle between player and club in back July but it is only now that Messi has put pen to paper on the contract.

Messi, who joined Barca as a 13-year old made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in a friendly against Porto, has eight La Liga titles, four Champions League wins and five Copa del Rey successes under his belt during his time with the Catalan club.

He then made his first competitive appearance against Espanyol as a 17-year-old before coming to score the first of his club record 523 goals — which have come in 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005, and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

On his contract extension ceremony on Friday, Messi was presented with his fourth Golden Shoe award for being the top scorer in Europe, while his 30 trophies put him alongside his team-mate Andres Iniesta as the most anyone has won in club history.