Author Archives: mirsinho

UEFA Dismiss Reports of Deadline to Complete Champions League by August

​UEFA have stressed that reports of a deadline to complete all Champions League matches this season by 3 August are not true, reiterating that the main priority is still ‘to preserve public health’.

There has been numerous reports published which have stated the Champions League will be cancelled if it can not be completed before 3 August, with these new outlets even writing that UEFA have confirmed that themselves.

But European football’s governing body have released a statement to assure fans that is not the case.

It has been reported that UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin told ZDF in Germany that the UEFA Champions League must finish by 3 August. This is not true,” UEFA’s statement read.

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“The President was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season.

“UEFA is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on 17 March. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health.

“Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed, depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities.”

Major leagues across Europe have been put on hold until more is known about the coronavirus outbreak, with the authorities refusing to provide an exact date for when it is safe to host football matches against – either behind closed doors or with fans in the stadium.


Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League have become trailblazers for those demanding the season is cancelled, with their league leaders Club Brugge crowned as the champions, while Gent will be given their other Champions League qualification place.


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Manchester United Monitor Progress of Juventus Star Matthijs de Ligt & Consider Paul Pogba Swap Deal

​There may not be any football to keep us glued to our screens, but transfer speculation will always keep us company – even on these lonely, mind-numbing weekends. 

And much like last season, the future of talented Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt is up in the air once more, despite the fact Juventus beat the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United to his signature in the summer. 

Matthijs de Ligt

However, De Ligt has struggled to adapt to the demands of Serie A this season, and without the guidance of the injured Giorgio Chiellini by his side, the starlet has not progressed at the speed which Juventus hoped. 

And according to ​the Evening Standard, Man Utd have been keeping a close eye on the Netherlands international’s difficulties in Italy, and they are considering launching another bid for the misfiring centre-back this summer. 

But that’s not all. The Red Devils are prepared to sweeten the deal by throwing in a player of their own as a makeweight in the deal. And luckily for Juventus, it’s not Phil Jones. 

​Paul Pogba has been strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford, and it’s believed that the Premier League club would be willing to send him back to Turin, if it bolstered their chances of signing De Ligt. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is aiming to find an adequate partner for club captain Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence, and the Norwegian boss still holds De Ligt in very high esteem. And given the improvements made since Bruno Fernandes’ arrival and Fred’s emergence as a quality midfield option, the reliance on Pogba has waned somewhat. 

Matthijs de Ligt

And with the French star’s future drifting further away from Manchester with every passing week, it’s likely that he would be open to a return to his former employers in Serie A. 

However, there is little indication that ​Juventus are desperate to offload last summer’s big-money signing, and although the young defender did take some time to find his feet, he then began to demonstrate his true capabilities before the season was brought to a premature halt. 

With I Bianconeri far from ready to cut their losses on De Ligt, it would appear that ​Man Utd may be better off looking elsewhere for Maguire’s future partner. 

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Chelsea Outcast Emerson Palmieri Attracting Interest From 3 Serie A Giants

​Chelsea outcast Emerson Palmieri is attracting interest from Juventus, Inter and Napoli.  

The Italian has been a bit-part player since arriving at Stamford Bridge in January 2018, making just 52 appearances in all competitions. 

90min revealed all the way back in October that he was not part of Frank Lampard’s ​long-term plans and according to ​Goal, a return to Serie A could be on the cards.

Emerson Palmieri

Despite several clubs circling, the 25-year-old is understood to want to stay at ​Chelsea and fight for his place in the team. However, with the Blues already drawing up a list of replacements, his days at the club are surely numbered. 

One possible destination for Emerson is Napoli. Gennaro Gattuso’s side are considering him as a replacement for Mario Rui or Faouzi Ghoulam – the latter of whom did not even make Gli Azzurri’s ​Champions League squad. 

​Int​er are also interested, because apparently signing Ashley Young and Victor Moses is not enough second string Premier League full-backs for Antonio Conte’s liking. ​Serie A holders ​Juventus complete the trio of sides contemplating a move.

Although Chelsea are likely to spend the majority of their war chest on a striker and centre-back when the transfer window opens, Frank Lampard ​remains eager to strengthen at left-back as well.

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Ben Chilwell has been heavily linked, but the Blues are understandably put off by Leicester £80m valuation. This has led to Chelsea exploring several more affordable targets.

Ajax’s Nicolás Tagliafico is one such option. The 27-year-old would be available for a fraction of Chilwell’s price and his signing would also see him link up with current teammate Hakim Ziyech – who agreed a ​move to Chelsea in February.

Porto’s Alex Telles and Barcelona’s Marc Cucurella – who has impressed on loan at Getafe this season – have also been ​shortlisted.


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Gonzalo Higuain’s Father Rules Out ‘Impossible’ Return to Argentina

Gonzalo Higuain’s father Jorge has called a return to River Plate for his son ‘impossible’ for the time being, insisting he remains focused on seeing out his Juventus contract. 

Higuain is contracted to ​Juve until 2021 and is enjoying something of a renaissance under Maurizio Sarri in Turin. He has missed just three matches in all competitions, though he has scored just eight goals in that time.

With the football news cycle slowing down due to the coronavirus crisis, reports which were spread far and wide in Argentina by daily newspaper ​Clarin claimed that River Plate were keen on bringing ​Higuain back to the club. 

Hellas Verona v Juventus - Serie A

Clarin noted that Higuain does remain under contract, but speculated that Juve could cut ties with the 32-year-old ahead of time due to the financial constraints of the football shutdown that has so emphatically consigned us all to boredom over the last three weeks. 

According to his father Jorge, however, that’s not an option that is under consideration just yet.  

“It is impossible for now,” Jorge told ​Goal. “Gonzalo has a contract that still has this year and next year. At the moment he cannot return to River.”

Higuain started his senior career at River Plate back in 2004, scoring 15 goals in 33 appearances for the Primera Division side before earning an £11m move to ​Real Madrid. 

Julien Escude,Gonzalo Higuain

He admitted himself last year that he has an affinity for the club and ‘would not close any doors’ on a potential return down the line, but the prevailing sentiment even then – when his future in Turin was far less secure – was that he was happy to stay put for the time being. 

“I don’t close any doors,” Higuain told Fox Sports. “The future is uncertain. I have a two-year contract here and then we’ll see. I’m always tied to River, the players and the fans. To tell the truth, I don’t know what will happen. But at the moment I want to enjoy Juve.”

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Samuel Umtiti: Assessing the Candidates & Where He Should Go

​As former Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha once said: “The dogs bark and the caravan keeps on turning.”

As transfer rumours persist despite the world of football being completely shut down for the foreseeable future, those words of infinite wisdom seem to vaguely apply. Well, they would, if any of us knew what they meant. 

Anyway, here are the five main contenders to sign ​Barcelona defender ​Samuel Umtiti this summer, rated on their likelihood and suitability. 


Juventus

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​Juventus were briefly linked in the summer, but having since splashed out more than €100m to land Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral, it’s difficult to imagine this one resurfacing unless there is major movement. 

Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani are also in the Turin giants’ expansive defensive ranks, while Giorgio Chiellini may still extend his stay beyond this season. So. Yeah. 

Likelihood Rating: 2/10

Suitability Rating: 1/10 


Manchester United


They’ve got ​Harry Maguire – why would they need him?

In all seriousness, it’s not unthinkable that United will be in the market for a centre-back to offer cover for the first-choice pairing of Maguire and Victor Lindelof (though Eric Bailly’s contract extension makes that a little less likely). 

But if they do go shopping in this department, Umtiti…isn’t the answer. He’s expensive, he’d be high earning, he’s injury-prone and he’d expect regular first-team football. None of that is good news for the balance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s still-fragile squad.  

Likelihood Rating: 3/10

Suitability Rating: 3/10


Arsenal

Arsenal have been crying out for a high-profile defensive addition, and although the hotly-anticipated arrival of Saliba ​will quench the thirst somewhat, it’s worth remembering that despite the fact he’s 6’4, he’s still just 12 years old. 

An experienced, proven, elite-level defender would do nicely, and Umtiti ticks most boxes. He’s also French, which usually helps at Arsenal.

The one thing he has going against him, however, is a pretty big one. He’s expensive, and Arsenal don’t tend to do expensive. 

Unless Barcelona sanction a loan move or the Gunners can pull some Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swap-deal shenanigans out of the bag, this one seems like a stretch. 

Likelihood Rating: 4/10

Suitability Rating: 6/10


Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona are reported to have offered virtually their entire squad to PSG in order to bring Neymar back to the club, and Umtiti – again, being French – is not an exception (there’s only one exception, in fact, and it’s Lionel Messi).

The fact that he’s expensive and injury-prone won’t bother the Parisians; they’ve never minded a risky transfer, after all, why should they bother now?  

This one, you could quite easily see, though some outgoing movement would be required first, since Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Presnel Kimpembe, Thilo Kehrer, Abdou Diallo and emerging duo Tanguy Kouassi and Loic Mbe Soh offer some pretty serious depth. 

Likelihood Rating: 6/10

Suitability Rating: 5/10


Chelsea

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A need for defensive improvements, more money than sense, and in strong enough position that they can afford to take a risk? Check, check and check. 

Chelsea just seem like the right club for Umtiti, and have the means to make it happen if they see fit. From Umtiti’s perspective, it’s a club where he represents a clear enough improvement on the current options, but with Antonio Rudiger, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma in competition, the situation isn’t quite dire enough that he would be able to rest on his laurels. 

It’s pretty much the ideal situation for him to go into. Only Chelsea qualifying for the Champions League might complicate it somewhat, but it’s hard to imagine Barcelona, in their current predicament, holding up the deal for competitive reasons.

Likelihood Rating: 7/10

Suitability Rating: 8/10 



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