Dortmund ready to release Aubameyang as Arsenal deal nears completion

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Borussia Dortmund could release Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from their squad soon as the Bundesliga club could soon settle an agreement with Arsenal for the Gabon striker for a fee said to be around £60m.

The club has said they are prepared to sell him if “certain parameters are fully met”.

However, Dortmund has also made clear that the transfer will not be sanctioned until Dortmund have a replacement striker lined up, with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud among the reported options.

It was known that Arsenal have already had two bids for the striker this month, both of which has been rejected by Dortmund. One of the rejected bids, worth 50m Euros, was made last Wednesday.

Aubameyang, 28, started for Dortmund for the first time since 16 December as they drew 2-2 with Freiburg on Saturday, after he was suspended by the club for their match against Wolfsburg two weeks ago for missing a team meeting.

The Gabon forward was also left out of the squad for the game at Hertha Berlin last weekend because club officials felt he was not focused enough, but he played 90 minutes in the draw with Freiburg.

“We are ready to realise a transfer under certain parameters but only if these are fully met,” sporting director Michael Zorc said.

“We have a clear position. Arsenal has started several attempts so far. We have up to now refused them all.”

Arsenal are looking to Aubameyang to replace Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, who joined Manchester United earlier this month in a swap deal with midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs boss says praise for Tottenham is deserved

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Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that Arsene Wenger, his counterpart at Arsenal should keep quiet about Tottenham, insisting all the praise his squad has gathered is deserved.

Before the Gunners’ Carabao Cup semi-final win against Chelsea on mid-week, Wenger said pundits “celebrate some teams who have not been in a final for 25 years”.

His comments were taken as a dig at Tottenham and Liverpool, who together have won only two trophies since 2008.

However, Pochettino took exception to Wenger’s analysis, saying: “I’m so young and only five years in the Premier League, in two clubs Southampton and Tottenham, but there’s no point to talk about another team.”

“Praise? Of course we receive praise. Football is not only to win trophies, it’s the circumstances of different clubs. For me he is and will always be one of the best managers in the world, I respect him, but I think he needs to talk for himself and for Arsenal.”

“For me he is a special manager,” Pochettino added. “But everyone sometimes makes a mistake and for me he made a mistake to talk about us or a different team.”

Tottenham will travel to the League Two promotion hopefuls Newport on Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup, which realistically represents Pochettino’s best chance of winning a trophy this season.

“We have to be ready to fight and put ourselves in the same level as them,” Pochettino said. “The same motivation, no complaints, no excuse-finding – we try to believe that we are going to play against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus in the Champions League.”

Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have returned to training after hamstring and knee problems respectively but this weekend could come too soon for them; Newport share their pitch at Rodney Parade with two rugby teams — Newport and Dragons — meaning the surface may not be kind to players just coming back from injury.

Zinedine Zidane: pressure mounts on Real Madrid boss after Copa exit

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says that he is enduring his “worst moment” after the defending La Liga champions were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday at the Bernabeu.

Although Marco Asensio had scored a last-minute winner at Butarque in the first leg which gave Real an advantage a 2-1 defeat saw them knocked out on away goals. They were in the cup tie without Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo as per Zidane’s player rotation policy.

“To start this tie in the manner we did it’s really bad,” added Zidane. “For that I’m angry. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

Real faces Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last-16 in what will be the only realistic campaign left for Los Blancos.

had led Real to back-to-back Champions League titles since taking over as head coach, winning eight major trophies since he took charge in January 2016 and enjoying a record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions last season.

However, a poor start this season saw his team lag 19 points behind of La Liga leaders Barcelona.

“It’s a fiasco,” the French World Cup winner said. “My worst moment as a coach. I don’t regret anything I did in the game, though. I take responsibility for what I do.”

When asked if his future at the club depended on the Champions League tie against PSG on 14 February, the 45-year-old said: “Yes, that’s clear.”

“I’m responsible for this, I’m the boss. I have to find the solutions. We’ve found some of them but not consistently enough. I need to take responsibility and I’ll always fight.”

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho extends Red Devils contract

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Jose Mourinho has extended his Manchester United contract by a year to at least 2020, adding that he is “honoured and delighted” to extend his stay at Old Trafford.

“I am really honoured and proud to be Manchester United’s manager,” he said. “I would like to say a big thank you for the recognition of my hard work and dedication. I am delighted they feel and trust I am the right manager for this great club for the foreseeable future.”

“We have set very high standards — winning three trophies in one season — but those are the standards I expect my teams to aim for. We are creating the conditions for a brilliant and successful future for Manchester United.”

Mourinho added that Sanchez is “one of the best attacking players in the world”, although he admitted that the signing process for the player had very little to do with him.

“Sometimes managers can take responsibility for signings but my contribution for Alexis to be here was zero,” he said. “That was [executive vice-chairman] Ed -Woodward’s work after the green light from the owners.”

Mourinho also described the deal that saw Sanchez arrive at Old Trafford in a straight swap with Arsenal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan as “fantastic” both clubs and for Arsene Wenger, his opposite number at Arsenal.

“I lost a fantastic player, so did Mr Wenger,” he said. “Mkhi has gone to a fantastic club and Alexis changed from a fantastic club to a giant club. I believe Mkhi is going to be even better than he was with us. He has had one and a half years in England now and he should fit in with the way Arsenal think.”