Daily Archives: January 8, 2018

Chelsea signs Everton midfielder Ross Barkley for £15m

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Everton midfielder Ross Barkley signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Chelsea that would cost the defending Premier League champions £15m.

Barkley, 24, leaves Everton after 13 years at Goodison Park and having not played for seven months because of a hamstring injury and had surgery in August. He joined Everton’s academy as an 11-year-old in 2005 and played 150 times in the Premier League, scoring 21 goals as well as securing 22 caps for England.

The player previously turned down a £30m move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in August despite rejecting a new deal at Everton. With his Goodison contract expiring in the summer, he has now moved for £15m less.

With the Blues, Barkley will wear the number eight shirt at Chelsea — previously assigned to Frank Lampard and Oscar.

“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started. To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea – it’s unbelievable for me. I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes that Barkley is a “complete player” and hopes the midfielder can fulfil his potential at Stamford Bridge especially with his additional advantage of understanding the English footballing landscape.

“We are talking about a player with great potential,” Conte said. “He is a complete player but, at the same time, he is very young. He is complete because he has it all. He has stamina, he is strong physically and he has good technique. He is fast. He is a modern footballer.”

“An English player understands very well this league because you grow [up] in this league. For Chelsea, also, it is positive to buy English players because we lost important players like John Terry and Frank Lampard.”

Managerless Nottingham Forest ousts FA Cup holders Arsenal

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Managerless Championship team Nottingham Forest has ousted FA Cup holders Arsenal from the competition after a stunning 4-2 win over the Gunners.

Forest had a dream start when they took the lead through Eric Lichaj — who headed in from close range. Though the advantage lasted just three minutes as Per Mertesacker followed up after Rob Holding’s header had struck the post, Lichaj was able to reclaim the lead with a spectacular dipping volley from the edge of the area a minute before half-time.

Further trouble spelled for Arsenal as Forest pulled further clear in the second half when Ben Brereton sent David Ospina the wrong way from the penalty spot after Holding upended Matty Cash.

While Danny Welbeck reduced the deficit for Arsenal again after Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith failed to hold a through-ball, Arsenal’s first FA Cup third-round defeat since January 1996 — in a replay against Sheffield United — was confirmed courtesy of Kieran Dowell’s 85th-minute penalty.

The championship team who are 14th in English football’s second tier lost 1-0 at home to struggling Sunderland, leading to the dismissal of manager Mark Warburton with the side having won one of their past seven league games. However, caretaker manager Gary Brazil oversaw Monday’s goalless draw with play-off hopefuls Leeds United and that turnaround in form continued from the first whistle against Arsenal.

On the other hand, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made nine changes for the trip to the City Ground but said he was entitled to field such an experimental side with the League Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea mid-week. While the Frenchman added that Arsenal needed to take responsibility for themselves, he chose not to add any criticisms of referees — a staple of his comments in recent weeks.

“I have said what I had to say many times and will not talk about the referees,” Wenger said. “I’ve talked about that and I have nothing to add. I just think we were not good enough anywhere — not up front, in the middle or at the back — and we paid for it. We repeated the same mistakes — once, twice, three times.”

“They [Forest] looked sharper. They had more chances and an outstanding performance. They were sharp, winning decisive challenges, and dangerous going forward, and overall they deserved to win, as simple as that. Overall I would like to congratulate Nottingham Forest.”

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes insists that Arturo Vidal is staying put

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Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has ruled out a possible move for Arturo Vidal to Chelsea and insisted that the Chilean international will not be switching sides in the January transfer window.

The Blues have reportedly lined up a £33 million move for Vidal, with team manager Antonio Conte — who won three successive Serie A titles with Vidal at Juventus — has spoken in glowing terms of the 30-year-old in recent weeks and in December admitted: “I’d always want him with me” and that Vidal was “one of the best in the world”.

However, speaking to the assembled press in Doha on Saturday, Heynckes quashed rumours linking the midfielder Arturo Vidal with a January transfer, even going further to insist that Bayern will not see the sale of any player within the month.

“There is no contact between Chelsea and Bayern Munich,” Heynckes said. “We will not sell Arturo Vidal or any other player, for that matter, during the winter break.”

Vidal has featured in all but one of Bayern’s 16 games since Heynckes took charge of Bayern in early October, scoring in four successive matches between Bundesliga Matchdays 12-15.

The Chilean also previously played under Heynckes at Bayer Leverkusen prior to joining Juventus in 2011, although he now only has 18 months remaining on his current deal with the defending German champions.

Bayern are currently in Doha spending some of the mid-season break in Qatar and will play Al Ahli in a friendly match later on Saturday. Heynckes does not expect Robert Lewandowski or Mats Hummels to be involved due to minor injuries but could give a start to new signing Sandro Wagner, who joined from Hoffenheim on January 1.

“My players have been really excited to travel to Qatar. It’s great fun with the players,” he said. “Wagner has been well received. He can become an important player. Before, we had no alternative to Lewandowski.”