Daily Archives: January 12, 2018

AC Milan to make no January signings after summer buying spree

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AC Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli says the club will not make any January signings despite the club languishing being in the bottom half of the Serie A table.

Mirabelli has led the club in bringing in a host of players, including Portugal striker Andre Silva and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, in the off-season thanks to heavy capital influx from Chinese investors.

However, the Rossoneri have struggled for results and only won one of their last four Serie A matches — a narrow home success against Crotone last time out — despite heavy investment in the squad.

“This weekend I will be in Germany to watch a few games but we won’t sign anybody in January,” Mirabelli said. “We won’t do anything, I’ll tell you that as official information. There could be some outgoings, but these will be small things.”

Few of Milan’s arrivals have made a significant impact, with Andre Silva yet to score in Serie A and having already been linked with a switch to Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Results have not improved despite the sacking of Vincenzo Montella from the team coach position, with replacement Gennaro Gattuso leading Milan to only two league wins from his six games in charge, although the Rossoneri beat rivals Inter to reach the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

“We needed to give a strong signal to the youngsters in terms of Milan DNA,” Mirabelli said. “Rino was chosen, full stop.”

“He’s not a makeshift solution, I take responsibility and I’m happy with the way he’s working. It took hard work to improve, there were already aggravating circumstances in December. I’ve found someone who works even more than me.”

Valencia signs Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin or £12m

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Valencia CF has signed defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin from Arsenal on a four-and-a-half year deal for a £12m release clause in his contract.

The Spanish side is also understood to have attached £71.2m release clause to the former Gunner after the player himself had rejected interest from Premier League clubs West Ham United and Crystal Palace.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger broke the news after his team’s goalless draw against Chelsea in the League Cup, saying: “He (Coquelin) goes to Valencia. Because he didn’t get enough games with us this season and he had an opportunity and I let him go.”

Coquelin, 26, joins Valencia with the club third in La Liga, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona as they look to bring Champions League football back to the Mestalla.

The Frenchman enjoyed a degree of prominence under Wenger after his return from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic in December 2014 — most notably when he formed a partnership with Santi Cazorla — but struggled for game time this season and started in only one game in the Premier League.

Despite having only signed a new contract that had been set to expire in 2020 at Arsenal just a year ago, Coquelin was never in consideration to play against Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge.

“It’s true that there was interest in the summer but in my head I wanted to continue at Arsenal and do well there,” Coquelin said after joining Valencia. “It wasn’t to be and now this opportunity has come up.”

“I almost regret not having come before. I think it’s an excellent opportunity for me and I’m very grateful. It’s a big challenge, and a new start in my life for me, which I’m very excited about.”

Valencia would visit Deportivo La Coruna this weekend in La Liga as the struggling hosts would hope to build on their draw against Villareal last weekend and further their gap against the drop zone.

Coutinho’s departure “shouldn’t affect” Reds — Oxlade-Chamberlain

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Philippe Coutinho’s £142m move to Barcelona will not damage Liverpool according to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The former Arsenal player who moved to Liverpool in the closing days of the transfer window last summer also described Coutinho’s departure as “strictly business”, and the responsibility of every Liverpool player to compensate for the second biggest transfer fee of all time.

“I haven’t really even thought about Phil leaving,” he said. “You pay it attention and you realise it happens but you can’t think: ‘What are we going to do now that Phil is not here?’. It can’t be that at all. It’s business as usual.”

“When Phil didn’t play in some games we still played great football and we still have amazing players who can score goals – the likes of Mo [Salah], Sadio [Mané], Roberto [Firmino] and everyone else. We have goals and creativity all over the team.”

“Obviously Phil added to that, there is no doubt about that. The fact is he has gone now and we have to think about what we have got that is going to get the job done. I have every faith in the boys that we just move on now. I don’t think it should affect us at all.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain added that Coutinho’s departure represents “an opportunity for me, just as it is for the rest of the boys who want to play there”.

“You want to play as much as possible but I am not the type of character to go bursting walls down. I knew coming into a new environment that the manager would want me to learn the way he wants me to play and how to play best with the team. I respected I was the new boy and I had a lot of learning to do.”

“The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is how this manager likes to stop situations at source and how he likes to attack is slightly different to how my manager before [Arsene Wenger] liked to attack. There’s not really one right and one wrong way but after six years at one club certain things become second nature to you and it takes time to break that instinct.”