United should Target Sane

Undoubtedly, Jadon Sancho is at the top of Manchester United’s wishlist with the summer transfer window on the horizon. But with the financial situations of many clubs still very much uncertain, a fellow United legend thinks that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should try to keep his options open.

Speaking with Stadium Astro, former United striker Dwight Yorke expressed his admiration for Leroy Sane, another winger very familiar with the city of Manchester.

According to Pep Guardiola, Sane has already told the club that he wishes to move on in the summer instead of putting pen to paper on a new contract, and Yorke believes that United should at least attempt to try and pull Sane over to the red side.

“If I was to airdrop, the boy Sane at City I really do like,” Yorke told Stadium Astro. “United has got a real good attacking bunch of young players but we haven’t got a left-footed sort of winger. The boy Greenwood is coming to the fore recently, but I like Sane.”

It seems unlikely that Sane would swap Manchester’s blue for red, but that didn’t initially seem like too much of a possibility with Sancho either. And while Sancho will continue to top United’s shopping list in the coming months, Yorke feels that it would be good to express interest in someone like Sane, even just to ‘stir it up.’

“Sancho is obviously up there, but if you can’t get him, why not be brave and go for a player who’s played across next door and cause some stir?” Yorke said. “Just stir it up a little bit. That’s what I would do.

“I know he’s got some injuries but if I was brave, if I was Man United manager at this point in time, that’s the type of person I would go for. He’s had a couple of years in the Premier League, I’ve watched him very closely and I like him a lot. He is probably the quickest out of all of them and he’s really got a good attitude.”

The speculation linking United with Sancho has been very on and off lately. It changes almost daily. One day his head is already in Manchester, hence why he has been left on the bench for Borussia Dortmund’s final two league fixtures, and the next Dortmund aren’t quite willing to sell.

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Klopp says liverpool wont sign players

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he cannot spend “millions and millions” on squad reinforcements for his newly-crowned Premier League champions but does not believe he will need to.

The effect of the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have a significant impact on transfer activity for the majority of clubs this summer but Klopp insists even if he had a significant war chest to spend, it would not necessarily be the easiest or right thing to do.

Liverpool’s first league title in 30 years was achieved by a squad four years in the making and while the Reds boss will obviously look to strengthen – especially with the likely departures of fringe players Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana, to name two – he thinks it will be difficult to make significant improvements.

The club have already stepped aside in deciding not to compete with Chelsea for the £50m signing of RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

“Covid has of course influenced both sides with ins and outs, that is completely normal, and it’s just not likely that it will be the most busy summer in the world,” Klopp said.

“But maybe at a later point in the year, if the transfer window is still open, we will know more. But this squad… look at it.

“It is not a squad you have to change now and say ‘OK, we need this position and this position’.

“We don’t have a first XI, I say we have a first 16 or 17, they can all play to the same level. But we have to use this, 100 per cent.

“We cannot spend millions and millions and millions because we want to or we think it is nice to do. We never wanted that.”

Since the £65m purchase of Alisson Becker – then a world-record fee for a goalkeeper – in the summer of 2018, Liverpool’s spending has been modest and minimal.

Youngsters Harvey Elliott (whose fee from Fulham has to be decided by tribunal) and Sepp Van Den Berg (£1.3m) have been joined by Adrian (free) and Takumi Minamino (£7.25m).

During that time, the club has invested in longer contracts for their key personnel, meaning they spent a Premier League-high £30m on agents fees last year.

Klopp suggested the continued rise of youngsters within and around the first team deserves further exploration.

The likes of Wales Under-19 international Neco Williams becoming Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deputy and exciting Liverpool-born academy graduate Curtis Jones and fellow young forward Elliott fully integrating themselves into the team remains a realistic possibility.

“We want to strengthen this squad and this squad is strong. The problem with a strong squad is how do you improve a strong squad in the transfer market?” added Klopp.

“It works with money, obviously, that is possible. But it never works only with money.

“You have to be creative and we try to be creative. We try to find solutions internally and there is still a lot to come: we have three or four players who can make big steps.”

Barely had Liverpool been crowned champions following Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea last Thursday and questions were being asked about whether this was the start of a new era of domination, last seen under Sir Alex Ferguson with arch-rivals Manchester United, Klopp knows the expectation will be greater on his side next season but insists he will not even think about defending their title.

“I have heard people say it is only a real thing if we win twice in a row, but that is really funny. That is obviously an English thing,” he said.

“When we (former club, Borussia Dortmund) became champions in 2011, nobody told us we had to become champions again.

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Barcelona sign Pjanic on a four year deal

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic will join Barcelona at the end of the season in a swap deal with Brazil international Arthur.

Bosnian Pjanic, 30, has agreed a deal worth an initial 60m euros (£54.9m), with a further 5m (£4.6m) in add-ons.

He made 214 appearances for Serie A champions Juve after joining in 2016

Arthur will remain with Barcelona until the end of the season.

Juve are four points clear at the top of Serie A as they chase a ninth consecutive title.

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Victor Osimhen wins Best young African player

Lille have sent congratulatory message to their Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen who won the 2020 Marc Vivien Foe Best African Player in Ligue 1,

Organised by Radio France International and France 24, the award is named after the late Cameroonian midfielder Marc-Vivien-Foe.

Osimhen beat Super Eagles team-mate and Nantes star Moses Simon and eight other African star to the prestigious award.

“King @victorosimhen9,” Lille wrote on their verified Twitter handle on Monday.

“Congrats to our super striker who wins the 2020 #PrixMarcVivienFoe by @RFI as the best African player in @Ligue1_ENG.”

Osimhen, who was also voted Lille player of the season scored 18 goals and recorded six assists in 38 appearances in all competitions during the campaign.

Former Nigeria international Vincent Enyeama won the award in 2014 during his time at Lille.

Cote d’Ivoire forward Gervinho won it in 2010 and 2011, while Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal who now plays for Southampton was the winner in 2016.

Arsenal record signing and Cote d’Ivoire winger Nicolas Pepe won the 2019 edition after his fine contributions for Lille last seaso

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Barcelona frustrated at draw

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez lamented his side’s 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday after the champions twice threw away the lead to hand more momentum to title rivals Real Madrid.

Suarez scored both of Barca’s goals but Celta forward Fedor Smolov and Iago Aspas each levelled for the struggling hosts. Aspas equalised with a free kick with two minutes remaining.

“I’m happy to have been able to help the team with my goals but overall I’m left with sensations of anger and frustration,” Suarez said.

“We feel as though we have dropped two points and there are many things we need to improve. We are giving away a lot of points away from home which we didn’t used to do in previous seasons.”

Barca were trailing Real in the standings due to their inferior head-to-head record but Zinedine Zidane’s side cemented their advantage and went two points clear at the top after defeating espanyol on sunday.

The Catalans were two points ahead when the season was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic but have won three of their five matches back, also drawing away to Sevilla last week.

Barca’s next match is a testing home fixture against third-placed Atletico Madrid, while Real have a slightly more comfortable run-in, with their hardest match looking like being an away game against Athletic Bilbao.

“We’re feeling very negative because we have lost two more points in the fight for the title,” Suarez added.

“We had our fate in our own hands but now we have to wait for Real Madrid to slip up here and there so overall we are feeling frustrated at giving away the two points today.

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Robben comes out of retirement

Arjen Robben was inspired to launch a comeback with Groningen after they showed him a montage of basketball great Michael Jordan’s career.

Groningen officials met with Robben just days after he retired in May 2019.

While that initial approach failed to convince 36-year-old Robben, talks were revived last month.

The Dutch club used clips from the Last Dance documentary about Jordan, interspersed with images from Robben’s own career, in their successful pitch12

“I’m here to help the club,” Robben said on Sunday.

“You do that by showing the right attitude. I don’t have anything to lose and I’m going into the challenge with a positive attitude and to try and make the best of it.

“I haven’t set any goals, it could be over in a month or it could last two years.”

Jordan also famously came out of retirement. After initially ending his baseball career at the age of the age of 30 to attempt a professional baseball career, he returned to the Chicago Bulls to win another three NBA titles.

Robben spent his time away from football on another sporting challenge. He had been training to run the Rotterdam marathon before the coronavirus pandemic forced its postponement from April to October.

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Man city to face Arsenal to retain their fa cup triumph

Holders Manchester City will face Arsenal in a strong FA Cup semi-final line-up after showing class and patience to beat Newcastle at an eerily quiet St James’ Park.

Shorn of a fervent home support, Newcastle struggled in the first half against their opponents who are aiming to complete a cup treble after conceding the Premier League title to Liverpool this week.

After wasting several good chances, City opened the scoring from the penalty spot when Kevin de Bruyne slotted past Karl Darlow following Fabian Schar’s needless push on Gabriel Jesus.

But after switching to a more positive formation in the second half, Steve Bruce’s team pressed higher up the pitch and the game opened up before a key turning point after the hour mark.

Although Andy Carroll caused problems of a physical nature on his first start since December, it was his replacement Dwight Gayle who had Newcastle’s best chance when he somehow skied over from six yards following Allan Saint-Maximin’s low cross.

Within two minutes, Raheem Sterling raced down the other end and slotted into the bottom corner with an exquisite curling finish for his 22nd goal of the season.

The errors by Schar and Gayle undid Newcastle’s hard work, but City kept their composure to extend their winning FA Cup run to 10 games.

Having already won the League Cup and with a lead over Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, it could still be a memorable season for Pep Guardiola’s side.

For Newcastle, the dream of reaching an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley for the first time since 2000 was beyond them, but they can now concentrate on trying to fulfil Bruce’s aim of breaking into the Premier League’s top 10.

Manchester United will face Chelsea and Arsenal will play holders Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

The draw features three of the Cup’s four most successful sides, with Arsenal the record 13-time winners.

United, who beat Norwich to reach the last four, have won it 12 times, while Chelsea, who edged past Leicester in the quarter-finals, have eight wins.

Both ties will be played at Wembley on the weekend of 18 and 19 July.

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Real Madrid go top of La liga

Real Madrid are two points clear at the top of La Liga after grinding out a victory at bottom club Espanyol.

Casemiro scored the only goal as he latched onto Karim Benzema’s brilliant no-look backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa before firing home.

The Brazilian had earlier gone close to the opener when his shot from his own half was saved by Diego Lopez.

Espanyol had several chances with Thibaut Courtois making five saves.

Sporting director Francisco Rufete took over as manager on Saturday after replacing Abelardo Fernandez – the third Espanyol boss to be sacked this season.

They put up a good fight, with Wu Lei among the players to go close, but fell just short.

Real Madrid are now only six wins – or five wins and a draw – from a second La Liga title since 2012.

City rivals Atletico can do them a favour when they visit Barca on Thursday.

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Arsenal qualify for fa cup semi final

Arsenal remain in the hunt for silverware to brighten their underwhelming season after Dani Ceballos’ 91st-minute winner took them through to the FA Cup semi-finals at Sheffield United’s expense.

The on-loan midfielder slotted home a low, angled drive to win the tie in dramatic fashion, after David McGoldrick’s hooked finish just a few minutes earlier looked to have ensured extra time at Bramall Lane.

The Gunners had led from midway through the first half when Nicolas Pepe had slotted home a penalty after Alexandre Lacazette had been fouled in the box by Chris Basham.

They had earlier had a reprieve when John Lundstram’s close-range header following a corner was ruled out because the scorer was offside.

The home side also had another effort chalked off in the second half when John Egan poked the ball in after McGoldrick had strayed beyond the last defender.

There was further bad news for Lundstram and Sheffield United with the midfielder having to be substituted before the break because of a shoulder injury.

Arsenal also failed to make it through the game unscathed, with centre-back David Luiz – who had only just returned from suspension – limping out to increase their already lengthy injury list.

The win adds another fixture to Arsenal’s already crammed post-restart schedule but they will welcome it as they continue their pursuit of a European place.

As for the Blades, there were positives to take from their front-foot display but they remain without a win in four games since football resumed – a run of form they must quickly arrest to ensure their otherwise impressive first campaign back in the top flight does not peter out.

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Chelsea go past leicester to qualify for semi final

Ross Barkley came off the bench to send Chelsea to Wembley as manager Frank Lampard’s half-time changes transformed this FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City.

The Foxes held sway in the first 45 minutes at the King Power Stadium, although it took a flying save from Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel to keep out Christian Pulisic’s powerful drive.

Lampard’s discontent could be heard echoing around the virtually deserted arena – and he acted by introducing Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta at the interval for Reece James, the subdued Billy Gilmour and Mason Mount.

It had the desired effect as Chelsea improved markedly. Barkley, who was on target in the 2-0 win against Liverpool in the last round, scoring the winner after 63 minutes when he reacted to get in just ahead of Jonny Evans and sweep Willian’s clever cross past Schmeichel.

Leicester, missing the injured James Maddison, were out of sorts after the break although they applied late pressure and defender Caglar Soyuncu was frustrated late on when his header struck Azpilicueta and flew over.