Author Archives: mirsinho

Transfer Rumours: AC Milan Chase Richarlison, Juventus Join Battle for Ryan Sessegnon & More

Yes, the Premier League title race is enthralling. Yes, the battle for the top four is so bad you can’t take your eyes off it. And yes, the Champions League semi-finals are shaping up to be some of the most memorable in recent history. 

But does any of that matter when it’s transfer rumour season?

Whether you think so or not, it doesn’t really matter. Like Game of Thrones’ army of the dead, the summer window is right around the corner and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest stories around Europe.


Barcelona Interested in Snapping Up Dutch Youngster Ludovit Reis

Ludovit Reis,Jann-Fiete Arp

​Barcelona have already secured a deal for Dutch starlet Frenkie de Jong, but it appears that they haven’t finished their business in the Netherlands just yet. 

Groningen president Hans Nijland seems to be resigned to the fact that Barcelona will be able to prize 18-year-old Ludovit Reis away from the Eredivisie outfit’s grasp, as he told Fox Sports (via ​Marca): “We’re seriously considering the possibility that he leaves for Barcelona next season.”

Nijland also confirmed that delegates from Barcelona have recently held talks regarding the availability of the youngster. Despite his tender years, Reis has been making a name for himself this season, making 27 league appearances. It’s looking increasingly likely that there’s going to be a Dutch revolution at Barça.


AC Milan in for Everton’s Richarlison Despite Huge Price Tag

Richarlison

Many scoffed at the huge fee ​Everton forked out for ​Richarlison, but the Brazilian has been able to prove his worth for the Toffees this season, bagging 13 Premier League goals.

While a summer move is incredibly unlikely, ​Calciomercato are reporting that ​AC Milan are willing to try their luck. The report claims that if Milan are willing to delve deep into their pockets then there’s a small chance they may be able to twist Everton’s arm by offering no less than €75m.

If he does end up leaving Everton, Richarlison is said to be demanding to join a club which is competing in the Champions League but, even if Milan do qualify for Europe’s top competition, this one looks as though it could be far too complicated to pull off. Don’t panic just yet Everton fans.


Juventus Look to Rival Tottenham for Ryan Sessegnon

Ryan Sessegnon

​Fulham’s season was undeniably miserable, but there were a few (very few) players to come away with their reputations relatively unscathed – one of which being Ryan Sessegnon.

The youngster is almost certain to be on the move after the Cottager’s inevitable relegation to the Championship was recently confirmed and ​Tottenham are one of the front runners to land his signature. However, according to ​The Express, Spurs will face stiff competition in the shape of European heavyweights ​Juventus.

Fulham would be looking to raise around £40m for Sessegnon and, given how tentative Spurs have been in the transfer market of late, I Bianconeri may have the edge in this one.


Watford Lead the Hunt for Gent Midfielder Birger Verstraete

SOCCER CUP 1/2 FINALS GENT VS OOSTENDE

​Watford have done a remarkable job under Javi Gracia this season, but there is no use in standing still and resting on your laurels when it comes to the transfer market.

The Hornets clearly recognise this and, according to ​HLN. they’re paying close attention to Gent midfielder Birger Verstraete. He’s by no means a household name, but earned himself an international cap with Belgium last year and, based on the plethora of talent they’ve been able to produce over the past few years, that’s no mean feat.

It’s not going to be a straightforward deal as the 25-year-old is also being pursued by a host of unnamed Bundesliga and Ligue 1 sides, but Watford are currently in the driving seat.


Manchester United Keeping Tabs on Chelsea Loanee Reece James

Reece James

Reece James is one of about 27,500 ​Chelsea players currently out on loan but, judging by his performances with Wigan this season, there’s actually a (small) chance he’ll have a sustained future with the Blues.

Not if ​Manchester United can help it. ​The Daily Mail claim that the Red Devils have been keeping an eye on the 19-year-old all season and could be prepared to make a move for him during the summer transfer window.

Interestingly, James’ sister Lauren currently plays for United and recently helped them to win the Women’s Championship title. Maybe she’ll be able to put in a good word for her brother.


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Chelsea 2-2 Burnley: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Clarets Move Closer to Premier League Safety

Chelsea were unable to move up to third in the Premier League as they drew 2-2 with Burnley on Monday night.

After Chelsea started the game on the front foot, it was Burnley who took the lead in the eighth minute. The Clarets won a corner as the ball fell to Jeff Hendrick on the edge of the box, who excellently volleyed past Kepa Arrizabalaga to give the hosts a surprise lead.


Chelsea drew level four minutes later, as Eden Hazard worked his way through the Burnley defence before pulling it back to N’Golo Kante who fired home. The Blues scored their second goal in two minutes, as Gonzalo Higuain lashed his powerful shot past Tom Heaton.

However Burnley got themselves back into the game, as Ashley Barnes poked home from a free kick just 10 minutes later. The ball found its way through to his strike partner Chris Wood, as his glancing header was met by an unmarked Barnes who drew the Clarets level.

Here’s our breakdown of this one.


CHELSEA

Key Talking Point

Chelsea produced another mixed performance, as their defensive performance greatly contrasted their attacking one. While the Blues were excellent going forward creating chances and controlling their game, their defending was very poor with no signs of organisation.

While Chelsea attacked well, their lacklustre work at the back cost them. It was frustratingly mediocre, with poor marking and positioning contributing to Burnley’s goals. Chelsea lost two points at the Bridge, as they couldn’t capitalise on their top four rivals’ dropped points.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (6); Emerson (6), Luiz (5), Christensen (5), Azpilicueta (5); Loftus-Cheek (7*), Jorginho (6), Kante (7); Hazard (6), Higuain (7), Hudson-Odoi (6).

Substitutes: Pedro (6), Kovacic (5), Giroud (6).



STAR MAN – ​Ruben Loftus-Cheek had an excellent game on Monday night, as he controlled the game alongside Kante as well as working hard in attack. Although he picked up a slight knock in the first half, he carried on and played very well for Chelsea in a very physical affair.


BURNLEY

Key Talking Point

Ashley Barnes

​Burnley earned a hard fought point at Stamford Bridge, as they came away from west London with a result for the second year running. Their opening goal was excellent and although they found themselves behind just six minutes later, they fought hard to get back into the game.

It was a resilient display from Sean Dyche’s side, as once they drew level they fought to keep it that way. They stood firm in defence, giving a fine example of a strong back line. Burnley head home with a well deserved point, as they all but secured their Premier League safety.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Heaton (6); Taylor (6), Mee (8*), Tarkowski (6), Lowton (6); McNeil (6), Westwood (6), Cork (6), Hendrick (7); Wood (7), Barnes (7).

Substitutes: N/A


FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-BURNLEY

STAR MAN – At the heart of a superb defensive performance, Ben Mee was absolutely outstanding. The Clarets defender won every battle and every tackle, even pulling off a first half goal line clearance. He was outstanding all game long, and played a key role in Burnley’s draw.


Looking Ahead

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-BURNLEY

​Chelsea face another huge test in their pursuit of a top four finish on Sunday, as they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United. The Blues will then travel to Germany in the Europa League, as they meet Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final first leg on 2 May.

Burnley are back at Turf Moor next, as they host title chasing Manchester City on Sunday. The Clarets are then back on the road five days later, as they make the trip to Merseyside to play Everton on 3 May.

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Maurizio Sarri Set to Rest Olivier Giroud for Chelsea’s Clash With Burnley Despite Impressive Form

​Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has hinted that Olivier Giroud will return to the bench for Monday’s meeting with Burnley, despite his impressive form in the Europa League.

Both Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain have struggled in front of goal during their respective times at Stamford Bridge, but Sarri has continued to leave Giroud out in the Premier League, even though he is the Europa League’s top scorer this season.

FBL-ENG-PR-CARDIFF-CHELSEA

​Speaking ahead of the game, Sarri insisted that ​Giroud has played more than his fair share of games this season, and continues to be dropped for fitness reasons.

He said: “Giroud played the match number 39 [in Thursday’s win over Slavia Prague]. Thirty-nine! Not number nine… 39! 39!

Starting games? With 19 or 20 I don’t remember. He is playing because he is very useful for us, like in 70 minutes against Slavia. Very, very useful.

“He played really very well but he needs to recover more than the other players because he is 90kg and so after the match he needs time to recover, only for this.”

In the Premier League this season, Giroud has made just seven starts, as Sarri has preferred Alvaro Morata, Higuain and even Eden Hazard in a central role. He has been forced to settle for minutes in the Europa League, in which Giroud sits atop the scoring charts with ten goals from 11 outings.

By contrast, Morata managed just nine goals in 24 appearances before his January loan move to ​Atletico Madrid, and Higuain has found the back of the net three times in 13 matches, all of which came against opposition who have since been relegated from the league.

Olivier Giroud

Giroud recently suggested that ​he may be forced to leave the club over concerns about his game time, saying: “I’m not satisfied with being second choice. The important thing for me is to have more minutes. I’m a competitor, so obviously I want to play more.”

He is out of contract this summer, but the Blues have the option to extend his deal by a further year. Sarri ​confirmed that club officials intend to do so, which would keep Giroud at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2020.

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Women’s Super League Roundup: Arsenal Move to Within One Win of Title After Latest Victory

Arsenal took a huge step towards their first Women’s Super League title since 2012 on Sunday after a narrow win over Everton took the Gunners four points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table. It means just one more victory from their two remaining games will seal the title.

First half goals from Arsenal defender Louise Quinn and record breaking WSL top scorer Vivianne Miedema proved decisive, with second from bottom Everton pulling one back in the second half through Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah.


The Gunners have dropped just six points all season and now have enough of a cushion over City, who didn’t play this weekend, that a win against Brighton in their next outing will ensure that the title is wrapped up with a game to spare.

That being said, an unexpected slip up against Brighton would turn the final day of the season into an all or nothing title decider when Arsenal host City on 11 May. Based on form, the more likely scenario is that the Gunners beat Brighton and the final day becomes a victory lap.

Elsewhere in the WSL, Liverpool ended a run of three consecutive defeats by thrashing Bristol City 5-2. There was a hat-trick for England junior international Rinsola Babajide, while Yana Daniels and Ashley Hodson also got on the score sheet for the Reds.


Dutch defender Danique Kerkdijk had equalised in the first half for Bristol, but four further Liverpool goals without reply ensured a late Niamh Fahey own goal was only consolation.

Birmingham kept up the pressure on reigning champions Chelsea in the race for third place by winning their game in hand against West Ham. Canadian international Adriana Leon had given the Hammers a first half lead, but goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse was then sent off shortly before the interval for handling the ball outside of the penalty area.

Birmingham’s Hayley Ladd immediately capitalised by converting the resutling free-kick, while Chloe Arthur scored a 75th minute winner for the visiting Blues to move just two points behind Chelsea, who were in action in the Champions League semi final this weekend instead.

The only other WSL action of the weekend took place on Saturday when Reading emerged victorious over Brighton after a single goal from Rachel Furness early in the second half.

That result confirmed that Reading can finish no lower than sixth this season, while Brighton are now almost certain to end their campaign at top flight level in ninth place.


​​There will be a full WSL fixture list on Sunday 28 April, with Yeovil to host Chelsea on Tuesday 7 May, before the final day of the 2018/19 season on Saturday 11 May.

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Maurizio Sarri Claims Reaching Champions League Final Is Easier Than Winning League Cup

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has made the eyebrow-raising claim that reaching the Champions League final is ‘easier’ than getting to the same stage of the Carabao Cup.

The Blues find themselves in a battle for the top four to qualify for next season’s premier European competition, while they also face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals of the Europa League next month.

Maurizio Sarri,Eden Hazard

Speaking ahead of his side’s ​Premier League clash with Burnley on Monday night, Sarri seemed to play down the importance of the Champions League, comparing it unfavourably to Chelsea’s League Cup run.

The Italian said (as quoted by the ​Daily Mirror): “The Premier League is very difficult. To get to the final of the League Cup, we had to play Liverpool, Tottenham and then Manchester City in the final. It is easier to get to the final of the Champions League.

“But in the Europa League at this point you cannot expect anything easy, either. We have to try in both ways.”

The ​Chelsea boss added: “People give the Champions League too much importance. Of course it is the most important competition for clubs, but now [in the knockout phase] it is one with straight elimination – the ball goes in off a post or out and you qualify or are eliminated.

“You need to play very well, but you need to be lucky in that competition. It’s clear it’s the most important competition for clubs in the world – but it’s a competition where you need to be lucky.”

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