Manchester United plan contract negotiations with Chris Smalling

Manchester United are reportedly prepared to kick-start contract negotiations with Chris Smalling with his existing deal due to expire at the end of the current campaign. The England international started the season as one of the backup central defenders in the matchday squad but he has since managed jump ahead in the pecking order with Eric Bailly struggling to impress.

According to The Star, the Red Devils are keen on prolonging the stay of the former Fulham man, who has featured in each of the club’s previous five games across all competitions. It is added that manager Jose Mourinho is unsatisfied with the current options at hand but the arrival of another recruit in the New Year won’t hamper Smalling’s proposed extension with the club.
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Martin Keown urges Jose Mourinho to focus on winning matches

Former Arsenal favourite Martin Keown has urged Jose Mourinho to focus on winning matches with Manchester United rather than regularly indicating the club’s failure to sign top players during the summer transfer window. The Red Devils recently suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and this has ensured their worst start to a Premier League season since 1992/93.

As a result, there have been plenty of question marks raised over the future of Mourinho but Keown believes the 55-year-old should carry on with the focus of winning games for the club, he said: “One of Mourinho’s main problems is that sometimes he is too honest. He honestly felt in the summer that if United did not buy more players, the group would not be good enough to win the league. Results have endorsed that view. He needs to ignore the media. This is a new Mourinho. I want to see him prove how good he is by turning this situation around. He needs to focus on winning matches, not arguments.”
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MOWBRAY EARNING PRAISES FOR TURNING ROVERS FORTUNES AROUND

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray and his side have earned praises for their performance in the football season and earning a promotion. At the end of the 2016/17 season, the side failed to make their mark so they were relegated to the League One.

They used to be a formidable Premier League side about a decade ago but their fortunes changed gradually, culminating into their third tier status in the English Football League. Between that time, the club has employed and sacked numerous managers, amid protests from the fans against the owners Venky’s. The public have watched as transfer policies failed and the club sunk in debt.
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Watzke thinks Ramos and Immobile will come good

Borussia Dortmund have undergone massive changes in the last few years after the sale of several important players like Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski. In order to replace those important names, the club brought in players like Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile in the summer. It is estimated that the club parted with around € 10 million for Immobile, while Ramos has been brought in for an undisclosed fee. It is well estimated that both these players have together cost more than € 20 million. Dortmund scored just over a  goal per game this season.

Apart from moments of brilliance like that against Arsenal a few weeks ago, they have been struggling in the German Bundesliga. This has led to speculation that Dortmund may look to reinvest in the squad during the January transfer window. The club’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, however, says that the two players will eventually come good for the club. Immobile has scored three goals in eight appearances, while Ramos has fared slightly better by scoring five in 10 matches. Dortmund, as a whole, have been struggling this season, and they are in the bottom of the table after seven matches.

They have managed only two wins during this period, which has threatened to bring an end to Jurgen Klopp’s brilliant reign at the club. “The future will show whether Immobile and Ramos are right for Dortmund. It’s too soon to judge them now. And let’s not forget that they have already scored 15 goals in official games together with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That’s a good return. Lucas Barrios and Robert Lewandowski initially struggled as well when they joined Dortmund. It wouldn’t be normal to expect a new signing to fit in perfectly within six weeks. We play a different game than what they were used to,” said Watzke.

Chelsea v Schalke

Schalke will be coming up against Chelsea in the first Champions League group match of the season. This is seen as an easy group for the 2012 European champions, as they will be up against lesser teams like Sporting CP and Danish outfit Maribor in their quest to reach the knockout stages. Schalke will be the favourites to finish second behind Chelsea. The first match for the German club will be at Stamford Bridge and this is already proving to be a difficult match. Schalke go into the encounter knowing that Chelsea have just scored 15 goals in the opening four matches.

Much of the attacking threat has come from Diego Costa, who has had a fantastic start to his Chelsea career by scoring seven goals in just four matches. However, Schalke defender Dennis Aogo says that his team will be making a big mistake if they consider Costa as the only threat within this Chelsea team. Even though Costa has been a major goal scorer, the English club have also secured goals from the likes of Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle. Cesc Fabregas is proving to be a major addition in the centre of midfield as he has already contributed six assists.

Aogo’s Schalke come into the match after having just lost 4-1 to Borussia Mönchengladbach. “In Germany we have seen [Diego Costa] has had a great start to the season, but it’s not just him. The whole team is playing very well and they are not top of the Premier League for nothing. We are a playing against some of the best players in the world here so we don’t need any extra motivation. Who is to say that we won’t have a great day and compete at the highest level,” said Aogo. After three matches in the Bundesliga, Schalke are to get a win.

Pedro Believes Fabregas Will Make Chelsea Strong

The Blaugrana striker Pedro reckons that Cesc Fabregas’ arrival has made Chelsea’s midfield immensely strong and they would be a team to watch out for in the European Cup next season.

The Blues have spent a big amount of 27 million Pounds to bring Fabregas at Stamford Bridge and according to Pedro, that’s going to benefit them a lot.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, Pedro said, “Cesc is all class. He’s a tremendous playmaker. As a striker, you want a player like him in the XI because you know if he is around, you are always going to get scoring opportunities.”

“We are close buddies. Apart from Barcelona, we have played alongside each other for Spain as well. I think he is going to make Chelsea a very strong side.”

Pedro also said that the punishment that has been imposed on the club’s new signing Luis Suarez seems to be a bit harsh and the officials are trying to get it a bit softened.

When asked about Suarez, the 27-year Old Spaniard said, “It (the punishment) looks like a little too harsh. We are looking into it. But, in case we don’t get any relief, we will have to wait for the ban period to get over.”

“Luis’ signing is fantastic news for everybody including the fans as well as the players. He is going to get enormous support here if he performs up to his level. There are not too many better than him in the game at the moment.”

Suarez was a great hit at Liverpool scoring 69 in 110 league games. But, his behaviour there was not the best as he always remained in some sort of controversy. Barcelona definitely would want a bit of improvement from him on that front.

Spain dominates Europe

It took 40 years for Atletico Madrid to return to the final of the Champions League and they will face their greatest rival.

The team led by Argentine manager Diego Simeone will be on their second final of their history and will try to win their first title, after they were beaten in 1974 by Bayern Munich (4-0) at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

Meanwhile, the Merengues, who got their first road win against Bayern, will be looking for their tenth cup. The last time they played in a final was in 2002, when they defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at Hampden Park with goals from Raul and Zinedine Zidane. Continue reading “Spain dominates Europe”

REINA FUTURE UNSURE

The introduction of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool in June of 2013 forced Pepe Reina on seeing his way out of the Premier League club as the 26 years old Belgian goalkeeper arrived to take the place of Reina and he has already made over 30 appearances in England with his new club.

Pepe Reina was loaned out to Napoli and is playing as a consistent starter for Rafael Benitez but the Spanish goalkeeper wrote a goodbye letter to Liverpool and his fans as he revealed his intentions of not going back to Anfield.

The head coach of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers revealed details of the letter that Reina wrote.

He wrote a goodbye letter didn’t he? Obviously Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli that he was looking to move because he penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he’d worked with which was Rafael Benitez and thanked him for his time for Liverpool.

“So, for me, it probably sounded like he’d made his decision there.” Rodgers announced.

Ever since Reina joined Napoli, he has established himself as the undisputed number 1 goalkeeper for the Italian club and the president of Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentilis has taken notice of his performances and has confirmed that he wants to sign the former Liverpool shot-stopper on a permanent basis.

He said: “After out victory against Juventus went down to the locker room and I promised the players a bonus if they can finish second. Then I talked to Reina and told him that he must remain with us. I want him confirmed for next season.  He was happy, for him it was a double reward’’. Laurentilis revealed.

Napoli are on their way of playing against some of the best clubs in Europe if they are able on maintaining and securing a top 3 spot in Serie A

VERTONGHEN STRUGGLES

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen was earlier in the season called as the disgrace to football by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho for his involvement in the sending off of Fernando Torres when the two sides met each other at White Hart Lane. Torres was given a second yellow card for his challenge on Vertonghen, but the defender appeared to go down a little too easily. Replays showed that Torres had not touched him and that he went down so as to get the striker sent off. Vertonghen will be coming up against Chelsea for the first time since that incident.

Tottenham will be the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday looking to improve their form, which has been mediocre in recent weeks. As a result, they have lost the race to keep in touch with Liverpool for a top four spot. Liverpool have gone on to become title contenders after moving in within four points of table leaders Chelsea. Even though Manchester City are in the fourth place, they have a couple of games in hand over Tottenham. Vertonghen has raised the Torres issue ahead of the match and says that he is not prepared to talk about it.

Mourinho has been playing mind games with several managers over the last few weeks and Vertonghen does not want to get involved in them.

“I did not respond to Mourinho at the time – and I won’t do it now. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire in the run-up to the match. I don’t want to go into a war of words with Mourinho. I just want to prove myself on the field. We’re going to Stamford Bridge for the three points. If we want to reach the Champions League we have to win this game,” said Vertonghen ahead of the match.

MIKEL INTERESTS INTER

The Nigerian midfielder of Chelsea John Obi Mikel is attracting the attention of Inter Milan from Italy of the Serie A with an offer of around €12 million suspected to be launched in order to add the player to Inter Milan.

Obi Mikel is not the preferred option of Jose Mourinho as the Portuguese coach usually chooses Lampard, Ramires, Oscar or the newest signing Nemanja Matic instead of the Nigerian midfielder and a move to Inter Milan would see him becoming a consistent starter for Walter Mazzari.

Manchester United will not be happy to hear Fredy Guarin’s intentions on staying with Inter Milan as the Colombian midfielder has been a target of the Premier League club since last summer and there were even rumors being spread around involving a possible swap deal with Javier Hernandez who could be used as bait in order to lure Guarin from Inter Milan.

Guarin has a contract with Inter Milan that runs up until 2016 but the Colombian player has admitted that he wishes to stay with the Italian club even longer than what his contract states.

“The president knows about the player I am. We have talked about a contract renewal and we will do it soon’’.

“If Thohir offered me a contract for life with Inter right now, would I think about it? No, I wouldn’t need to think for a moment. After what happened, I have had to work even harder because the fans expected more. Even I thought I should be doing more, the team needs me and I want it to win. I want to give everything for Inter and for the fans who have always believed in me’’. Guarin told Sky Sport Italia.

Manchester United will have to look somewhere else if they want to solve some of the midfield crisis that they have been suffering from as Guarin has no intentions on leaving Inter Milan anytime soon.