Juventus Keen on Wolves Ruben Neves

Juventus are apparently interested in bringing Wolverhampton Wanderers midfield Ruben Neves to Turin, following a meeting between Sporting Director Fabio Paratici, Club President Andrea Agnelli and super agent Jorge Mendes.

Mendes represents Neves, who joined the English side for around €18m in July 2017 and lead the team's promotion to the Premier League, as well as current Juve players Joao Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to ​Tuttosport, while the meeting served principally as a catch up between the trio, and is not an irregular occurrence, it is understood the idea of Ruben Neves switching Wolverhampton for ​Turin was discussed.

The Portuguese midfielder, who was most recently in action for his country as they sealed their progression to the UEFA Nations League Finals with a 0-0 draw against Italy in Milan, has been integral to Wolves' impressive start to life in the Premier League.

The 21-year-old has played every single minute of the Wanderers' league campaign so far, providing two goals and an assist.

Alongside the discussions about Neves, the prosperity of ​Ronaldo's move to I Bianconeri was also brought up in the meeting, which was also incidentally held in Milan. And Mendes is understood to have outlined his five-time Ballon d'Or winning client's satisfaction with his switch from ​Real Madrid to Juve.

As for Neves, the 36-time Serie A champions are thought to be keen to secure his services this January if possible, though ​Wolves fans can be comforted by the bumper five-year contract that their player signed this summer.

Source: 90Min.com

Man United Still in Hunt for Napoli Star as Report Dismisses Talk of €90m Bid

​After reports earlier this week claimed Manchester United had already seen a €90m bid for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly rejected, it has now been revealed that this was a mistranslation, while the rest of Europe's elite remain in the hunt for the defender.

According to ​Sport Witness, using Sunday's reports from La Repubblica, the misunderstanding centred around the use of 'maxi offer', which some publications thought signified the use of a club's maximum offer, when it actually just means a 'huge bid'.

Thus, the report actually explained: "​United would be willing to put on the plate a €90m maxi offer, but Naples will send it back to the sender."

It also revealed that the Red Devils, as well as other English clubs, had also been rebuffed in their advances for the Napoli defender during last summer's transfer window.

While the ​Partenopei have repeatedly stated that the 27-year-old Senegalese international is not for sale, that report claimed his transfer value is over €100m - a figure north of the record outlay for a defender set by Liverpool's £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk.

And fellow Italian publication Corriero Dello Sport have also cited the figure needed to pry Koulibaly away from Southern Italy as €100m+.

 

 

They have gone one step further though, and proclaimed that, while Jose Mourinho's side retain interest in the centre back, they will face considerable competition from ​Manchester City, ​Bayern Munich, ​Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and ​Real Madrid.

Koulibaly, who was born in France and came up throught the ranks at local side SR Saint-Die and later FC Metz, joined the Serie A side from KRC Genk in 2014 for a €7.75m fee. He has gone on to make 180 appearances for Gli Azzurri, picking up eight goals and six assists.

Source: 90Min.com

AC Milan Amid Speculation Over Zlatan Deal

​AC Milan have met with super-agent Mino Raiola, with the potential signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic thought to be high on the agenda as Milan look to recruit in January.

Milan are in the midst of an injury crisis. Ivan Strnic, Halkan Calhanoglu and Alessio Romagnoli have all picked up knocks in recent days, taking the injury count to seven, and according to ​Milan News, the club have turned to Raiola to discuss potential solutions.

The meeting, reported to have lasted four hours, is thought to have centred around ​Ibrahimovic, who Raiola counts among an extensive list of high-profile clients, as ​Milan are keen to secure his return to the club for whom he scored 56 goals in 85 games between 2010-12.

Ibrahimovic, 37, currently plays for LA Galaxy in MLS, and has scored 22 goals in 27 appearances since joining from ​Manchester United - recently winning the league's Goal of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.

Another topic on the agenda is expected to have been the injury to Giacomo Bonaventura, who is also a Raiola client, and isn't expected to return until well into 2019.

While the other 'market solutions' reportedly discussed haven't been named, the report claims that Raiola has become an ally to the club in their current 'emergency' situation, so it would come as no surprise to see a few of the agent's clients arrive at the San Siro in January.

Among the more high profile of his clients are Manchester United pair ​Romelu Lukaku and ​Paul Pogba, as well as PSG's Marco Verratti and Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Source: 90Min.com

Jannik Vestergaard: Southampton sign centre-back from Borussia Monchengladbach

Southampton have signed 6ft 6in Denmark centre-back Jannik Vestergaard from German side Borussia Monchengladbach.

The 25-year-old was in Russia for the World Cup but did not feature as Denmark reached the last 16.

Vestergaard, who has also played for Werder Bremen and 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundlesiga, has signed a four-year deal at St Mary's.

Saints boss Mark Hughes said the club "had to fight off a lot of competition" to sign the player.

He becomes the club's fourth signing of the summer after the arrivals of attacking midfielder Stuart Armstrong, forward Mohamed Elyounoussi and goalkeeper Angus Gunn.

Vestergaard, who spent two seasons at Monchengladbach, played in both the Champions League and Europa League with the club in the 2016-17 season.

Source: BBC NEWS

Antonio Conte sacked.

Chelsea have sacked manager Antonio Conte after two years in charge.

The 48-year-old Italian, who returned to pre-season training this week, had one year remaining on his contract.

Conte won the Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup in May, but the team finished fifth in the league last season, missing out on Champions League qualification.

Ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri is expected to succeed his compatriot at Stamford Bridge.

Should Sarri be appointed, he would be Chelsea's ninth full-time manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

During three years with Napoli, Sarri did not win a major honour but guided the club to second, third and second again - behind Juventus in 2017-18. The former Empoli manager was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

Chelsea announced on Friday that Conte had "parted company" with the club, with a two-line statement that ended: "We wish Antonio every success in his future career."

For the sixth time in eight seasons the Premier League's title-winning manager has left his job by the following summer - if not earlier.

Conte has a clause in his contract that guarantees him a pay-off, thought to be £9m, for the final year of his deal.

The club's Premier League opener is away at Huddersfield on 11 August.

Conte's Chelsea record

Only Pep Guardiola has a better win percentage than Antonio Conte in Premier League history

Conte pays for stop-start campaign

Conte's win percentage in all competitions is the best of any Chelsea boss to have managed over 100 games in the Premier League

Conte's future was under scrutiny even as his side beat Manchester United to lift the FA Cup in May, but he remained in place at the club.

However, his exit has been anticipated all summer after the Blues missed out on Champions League qualification.

The FA Cup win means Conte - who managed Juventus from 2011 to 2014 - has won a major trophy in each of his past five seasons as a club manager.

The 2017-18 campaign proved a fractious one for the west London club. Conte was outspoken about the congested festive fixture list and at times visibly agitated in news conferences when questioned about a public row with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea ultimately finished 30 points behind Premier League champions Manchester City and exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage after a 4-1 aggregate defeat by Barcelona.

In mid-October, the Blues were beaten by a Crystal Palace side who had gone into the match with no points from seven games, prompting Conte to dismiss rumours of unrest over his training schedule.

They suffered back-to-back league defeats twice after Christmas - first by Bournemouth and Watford, and then against Manchester City and Manchester United - and a run of four straight victories late in the campaign could not secure a top-four finish.

Hardest job in football?

Russian billionaire Abramovich took control of Chelsea in June 2003, with Claudio Ranieri - the future title-winning manager with Leicester - already in charge.

Ranieri lasted less than 12 months into Abramovich's reign, and was sacked in May 2004 after almost four years at the club. No manager has lasted that long since.

Like a number of his predecessors, Conte has been dismissed the season after winning a major trophy.

Silverware not enough at Stamford Bridge
Jose Mourinho: Premier League 04-05, 05-06, FA Cup 06-07, League Cup 04-05, 06-07. Left club on 20 September 2007 Roberto Di Matteo: FA Cup 11-12, Champions League: 11-12. Sacked on 21 November 2012
Carlo Ancelotti: Premier League 09-10, FA Cup 09-10. Sacked on 22 May 2011 Jose Mourinho: Premier League 14-15, League Cup 14-15. Sacked on 17 December 2015
Antonio Conte: Premier League 16-17, FA Cup 2017-18. Sacked on 12 July 2018 Interim bosses: Guus Hiddink: FA Cup 08-09 Rafael Benitez: Europa League 12-13

Source: BBC NEWS

Riyad Mahrez: Manchester City sign winger from Leicester for £60m

Manchester City have broken their club record to sign winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for £60m.

The 27-year-old has signed a five-year deal to become the Blues' first recruit since they won the Premier League.

They walked away from a potential deal for the Algerian in January after being put off by Leicester's valuation.

Mahrez said the club's style of play is "perfect" for him and he wanted to be part of a club which is "redefining the English game".

"Watching them from afar has been a pleasure," said Mahrez.

"Pep Guardiola is committed to playing attacking football, and City's performances last season were outstanding.

"I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep's management."

An end to a transfer saga

Mahrez scored 48 Leicester goals, with 39 of them coming in the Premier League

Mahrez was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year during Leicester's surprise Premier League triumph in 2015-16, and leaves the club having scored 48 goals in 179 appearances.

The Foxes said Mahrez had "played his way into the hearts" of supporters during four and a half years with the club.

"His moments of magic will live long in the memory as the club and its fans continue to build a long-term legacy for the success delivered by the teams to which Riyad so memorably contributed," a Leicester statement read.

Mahrez handed in a transfer request in January but his move broke down with Manchester City not prepared to pay a £95m package demanded by Leicester.

He stayed at the King Power Stadium - scoring 12 league goals in 36 games as the Foxes finished ninth in the Premier League - and admitted he had "regrets" over a dispute with the club which saw Professional Footballers' Association offer to mediate.

Manchester City were thought to have offered £50m at the time, but the final fee exceeds the £57m they paid Atletico Madrid for defender Aymeric Laporte in January.

The deal represents a profit in excess of £59m for Leicester, who signed Mahrez from Le Havre for £400,000 in 2014.

'He beats defenders' - what do Manchester City get for £60m?

Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: "Riyad is a hugely talented player. He beats defenders and creates space.

"Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the Premier League's most exciting players. We're sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad."

Mahrez in numbers

Mahrez met manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City's training ground on Tuesday

Source: BBC NEWS

Is £99m for 33-year-old Ronaldo good value for Juventus?

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his 112m euros (£99.2m) move from Real Madrid to Juventus after 450 goals in 438 games for the club.

But can that possibly be good value for a 33-year-old? And is he in decline?

Where does the deal rank in all-time list?

Ronaldo's move to Juventus makes him the fourth most expensive player of all time (he is also the seventh for his 2009 move to Real from Manchester United) - third if you exclude Kylian Mbappe's expected 180m euros (£159m) move to Paris St-Germain.

It almost trebles the most expensive transfer fee ever for a player aged 30 or more. Leonardo Bonucci's reported 40m euros (£35.1m) move from Juventus to AC Milan last summer was the record.

Is Ronaldo in decline?

Not really. His 44 goals for Real Madrid last season was his third lowest total in nine years at the Bernabeu - but it was still exactly one goal per game. Including Portugal goals, 54 in total, it was his lowest scoring season for club and country since 2009-10. But he did manage 22 goals in his final 13 La Liga appearances...

He has won the past two Ballons d'Or for the world's top player - and four of the past five. He has also been named in the past 11 Fifa Fifpro World XI and Uefa Teams of the Year.

He has won the Champions League for three consecutive years - and has won the Golden Boot in that tournament in each of the past six seasons - including one season when he was joint top scorer - and also won it once 10 years ago with Manchester United.

Of his 15 goals last season, three were against Juventus including a sensation bicycle kick which earned him a standing ovation from the Juventus Stadium faithful.

As well as winning the Champions League Golden Boot, Ronaldo also managed to finish second top scorer in La Liga - despite scoring only four times in the first half of the season. He hit 22 league goals from January onwards, despite not playing in seven games.

He is still the second top scorer at the ongoing World Cup, with four goals including a hat-trick against Spain, despite Portugal's last-16 elimination. Those goals made him the second top scorer in the history of international football with 85.

£99m for a 33-year-old? 'A sensible signing financially'

Interesting, the answer is yes according to a football financial expert.

Rob Wilson of Sheffield Hallam University says: "Even at about £100m the marketing leverage that Juventus will be able to create will be significant. Added to that the likelihood that he will strengthen the team, it seems plausible that they will be more successful domestically and qualify routinely for the Champions League. That means more sponsors, more TV money and more prize money."

He thinks the money Juventus, who have won seven consecutive league titles, earn from Ronaldo "should more than cover the transfer fee and his wages. It should also attract other players and help with the younger members of the squad".

"Winning the Champions League can be worth as much as 100m euros (£88.5m) and he will undoubtedly help achieve goals like that. The added exposure and marketing potential make it a sensible signing, despite his age. I'm sure, barring significant injury, he has many years left at the top table."

What about his fitness?

The 44 games he played last season were the fewest since his opening Real Madrid season.

But he only missed two games because of injury last term and was rested for several domestic games as Real, who were never in the title race, concentrated on the Champions League.

He no longer has the legs of the swashbuckling wide player he once was, reinventing himself as a centre forward. Of his 44 Real appearances last season, 31 of them were as a striker with 13 on the wing. Back in 2013-14 he made only one centre-forward appearance.

In May, Ronaldo said: "Right now I have a biological age of 23. I've still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I'm 41."

During the World Cup, his Portugal coach Fernando Santos said: "He is like a Port wine. He knows how to refine his capacity and age at his best.

"He is constantly evolving, contradictorily to the other players. He knows himself and he knows what he can do.

"What he does now is not what he did three or four years ago, and not what he will be doing in a few years from now."

And his international boss thinks he could play at the next World Cup at the age of 37.

He added: "Cristiano is the best in the world and I hope in Qatar once again he is going to score in a World Cup."

Source: BBC NEWS

West Ham Target Yarmolenko Has 'Completed Medical'

Andriy Yarmolenko has completed a medical with West Ham ahead of a now likely move from ​Borussia Dortmund.

The Ukrainian winger emerged as a transfer target for the Hammers following the fact that their current pursuit of Lazio's Felipe Anderson has recently stalled. Yarmolenko signed for BVB last summer after signing from Dynamo Kyiv, but has failed to nail down a place in the starting XI for the German outfit - making just 26 appearances in all competitions.

He did however manage to bag himself a reasonable six goals and six assists in those 26 appearances, which has done enough to catch the eye of West Ham, who are looking to rebuild their squad under their new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

A permanent deal was said to be being negotiated between the two clubs with the ​Daily Mail reporting that West Ham had laid down a £17.5m bid for the 28-year-old.

Now, the deal looks set to become a certainty as Ukrainian news outlet ​​Zbirna​ are claiming that West Ham completed a medical with Yarmolenko on Saturday evening. Furthermore, German outlet ​Kicker are reporting that the transfer will be announced tomorrow.

 

Borussia Dortmund v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga

 

If West Ham are able to push the deal over the line then then Yarmolenko would be the next in a procession of new players joining the Hammers this summer.

 

Hebei China Fortune v Shanghai SIPG - China Super League

 

Time will tell as to whether Yarmolenko is a success in east London given his relative lack of experience playing at the top level. His solitary season with Dortmund has been his only one outside of playing in Ukraine so he may well be a high risk signing.

Source: 90min.com

Washington DC mayor declares 2 July 'Wayne Rooney Day'

The mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, has declared 2 July 'Wayne Rooney Day' following the striker's move to DC United from Everton.Rooney, 32, has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Major League Soccer side.In his first news conference in the USA, Rooney said he was "here to win" and will demand "a lot" from his new team-mates."I'm not here to see out the last few years of my career," he said."I'm here to compete, I'm here to win and that's the way I've always played and will always play."Even on the training pitch yesterday, there were a few of the academy players and I had a go at them for not running as hard as they should have. That's on my first day."I've always set high targets. I demand a lot of myself and expect that from team-mates as well."Rooney will make his DC United debut when the club open their new 20,000-capacity Audi Field Stadium on 14 July.He says he chose the American capital for its benefits for his family, adding he "never fancied" moving to London."It seemed like the right place where my family can come over and have a good upbringing," he said."LA and New York are too hectic, like London. I've never fancied moving to London. I need my own space to get away from things and this gives me a chance to do that."Source: BBC NEWS

Arsenal sign Greece defender Papastathopoulos from Dortmund

New Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos said he was joining "one of the three biggest teams in the Premier League" as he joined the club from Borussia Dortmund.

The Greece international, 30, joined for an undisclosed fee for what the Gunners describe as a "long-term" deal.

Prior to making 186 appearances for Dortmund he played for Werder Bremen, Genoa and AC Milan.

"I feel very good, everything is special," Papastathopoulos said.

He told Arsenal's website: "It is a beautiful moment and I am very happy that for the next years I will be here. Arsenal are one of the three biggest teams in the Premier League.

"I'm a normal defender. I like to defend. I like that my team doesn't take goals. I like a zero in the defence and I will do everything to help to achieve this goal."

Papastathopoulos, who has 79 caps, will wear the number five shirt for the Gunners.

He becomes Arsenal manager Unai Emery's third signing since taking over from Arsene Wenger in May.

The Gunners have already signed defender Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Italian champions Juventus, while Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno has agreed to join from Bayer Leverkusen.

Papastathopoulos will link up again with former Dortmund team-mates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

"They called me not every day but a lot of times telling me to come here," he said.

Source: BBC NEWS