Liverpool chairman slams Serie A, heaps praise on Premier League

Tom Werner has taken a swipe at the Serie A for lack of competition as Juventus have routinely been winning the Scudetto without much challenge from other clubs.

Liverpool won the Champions League last season and tallied 97 points in the Premier League yet still lost the title to Manchester City, while Juventus coasted to an eighth straight Scudetto with five games left to play.

“Of course, the League title is a big, big ambition but I think last season taught us the key is to focus on just winning the next game and being greedy to keep winning and see where that gets us,” the Liverpool chairman told The Athletic as cited by Football Italia.

“There’s so much to compete for this season thanks to our success in Madrid. The Super Cup, the Club World Cup competition, domestic cups, the Champions League again and yes, the Premier League.

“We go into every one of them knowing we are good enough to be in the conversation to win them. I think that’s pretty cool.

“The Liverpool team on that pitch over the past year was such a united team. Listen, we have to compliment Man City.

“They played flawless football in the Premier League for the final four months of last season. They didn’t drop a point after January.

“I’m not taking anything away from our season, but City are a magnificent football team and it’s going to be a big challenge for us again.

“I think last season was very good for the sport. It’s important for the Premier League that the competition is there.

“We don’t want a League like Serie A where Juventus win it every year without any competition.”

Mauricio Pochettino phones Barcelona star for last-minute move to Tottenham

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly made a dramatic move for phoned Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho in a bid to convince him to join the club

The Brazil international has not had a rosey stint at the Nou Camp since joining the Catalan giants from Liverpool, especially with Barcelona fans.

According to the Sky Sports, Pochettino reportedly phoned the Brazilian in order to join the UEFA Champions’ League runners-up.

The North London club are favourites to secure a last-minute loan deal for the Brazi playmaker, who is surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp.

Coutinho enjoyed a successful six-month loan under Pochettino while he was manager of Espanyol in 2012, scoring five goals in 16 appearances.

It’s thought few teams can afford Barca’s £80m price tag they have put on the former Liverpool midfielder, who they paid £142m in January 2018.

Coutinho’s arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium would add credence to reports that Manchester United are considering a late move for Christian Eriksen.

Wayne Rooney agrees terms with Championship club as player-coach, says “I am very excited about the opportunity”

Former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney today agreed a sensational return to English football by joining Derby County from DC United on an 18-month deal starting in January.

The 33-year-old was a marquee signing for DC United and moved to America last June, on a contract that runs until the end of next season.

He has been a big hit after scoring 23 times in 42 appearances, but Derby have come in with an offer to match his £85,000-a-week wages.

The record-breaking former Manchester United and England star will start playing for the Championship side from the new year, with the long-term aim of becoming a coach.

Rooney has been convinced to move back to the UK by wife Coleen, who wants their four boys to grow up closer their home in Cheshire, Thye Sun reports.

But he will stay at the MLS side for the rest of their season.

Rooney said: “I am very excited about the opportunity that Derby County have provided me with.

“I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and the first-team squad from the start of January.

“I am sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially the supporters.

“I am equally excited to begin my coaching career at Derby County working with both the first team and Academy.

“I must also take this opportunity to thank DC United, their owners, executives and supporters who have been superb to work with.

“I want them to know that I will give my all in support of our push for the play-offs.”

Ambitious Derby chairman Mel Morris said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wayne Rooney will be joining Derby County.

“This is clearly an exciting signing for us, and Wayne’s presence will further enhance the club’s standing and its ability to perform both on and off the pitch.

“To have Wayne Rooney as a player, and equally as an aspiring coach, is incredible and I can only imagine the buzz this will generate amongst our supporters at home and internationally.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was also keen to bring Rooney home and wanted to offer Premier League football close to the family’s Merseyside roots.

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Gary Cahill reveals Chelsea star who convinced him to join Crystal Palace

Gary Cahill has revealed former team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek helped convince him to join Crystal Palace.

The former Chelsea captain signed a two-year deal Selhurst Park.

Cahill said Loftus-Cheek was full of praise for the club that gave him his first real taste of Premier League football.

He said: “He loved it here and I thought it benefited both parties.

“Ruben is a special player, he is going to have a massive future and I thought he was fantastic in the games he played for Palace.

“Likewise, Palace gave him the opportunity to go and play football in the Premier League so I think it worked.

“He spoke very highly of the place, not just playing for the team and for the fans but also behind the scenes at the training ground and all the people that surround the club.”

Antonio Conte wants his former midfield hatchet man to join him at Inter Milan

There are reports in Italy that former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is considering taking Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on a season-long loan for Inter Milan.

The Chilean midfield strongman was with Conte at Juventus, and the Italian is reportedly keen to re-unite with Vidal, especially now that Radja Nainggolan has left the Beneamata and joined Cagliari.

According to FcInterNews, Inter have received positive signals from Barca and Vidal is open to the move.

The Chilean looked set for the Nerazzurri last summer until the Blaugrana swooped in late to sign him from Bayern Munich, Football Italia reports.

However, the website claims the 32-year-old is now ready to work for a second spell under Antonio Conte, with whom he won three Scudetti at Juventus.

“I would follow him everywhere, even in war,” he was once quoted as saying about the Coach.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde recently hinted at midfield departures, with his side heavily stocked for options in the middle of the park.

They would also benefit from the Spanish champions having already paid Vidal two lots of wages this season.

Official: Former Chelsea captain Gary Cahill joins Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have completed the signing of former Chelsea captain Gary Cahill on a free transfer.

The former England international Gary Cahill signed a two-year deal withe the Eagles.

Cahill said: “I’m glad to be here, I think it’s a good opportunity for me to continue my career in the Premier League, and to play in a good, exciting team. There are some very exciting, talented players here. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m hungry to prolong my career as long as I possibly can – I feel like I’m in great shape and whoever I play for, I’d like to think that I give it 110% and leave everything out there – so hopefully that will be good enough for the manager, my team-mates and also the fans.”

Roy Hodgson added: “I’m delighted that Gary has joined us. He’s a fantastic footballer who brings a wealth of international and Premier League experience.

“Having worked alongside Gary during my time as England manager, I know that he is going to be a valuable asset and I’m so happy to be working with him again.”