Chelsea, Liverpool suffer transfer blow as Bayern Munich chief confirms agreeing personal terms with highly-rated defender Dayot Upamecano

Reports in Germany and France claim Bayern Munich have won the race to sign one of the most prized defenders in Europe RB Leipzig center-back Dayot Upamecano who is said to have agreed personal terms with the Bundesliga giants.

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić confirmed that Upamecano to the club is a done deal: “I can confirm that and we are very happy about that at FC Bayern. We had very good, intensive and professional discussions with Dayot and his agent Volker Struth for several months.

“During the past week in Doha, I spoke to everyone involved again. At the end of a long process, the player, his family and his management were convinced that FC Bayern was the right partner for them.”

Reports say Bayern will activate his €40 million release clause and bring him to Munich. There is no word on the length of his contract or the wage he was offered.

The first report came from RMC Sport journalist Loïc Tanzi:

Dayot Upamecano has chosen Bayern. The club has reached an agreement with the Frenchman. Bayern will activate Upamecano’s release clause [@Tanziloic]

— Sextuple winners (@iMiaSanMia) February 12, 2021

This was quickly followed up by a second confirmation from L’Equipe. According to their report, Upamecano had been wrestling with the choice of staying in Germany or moving abroad to England, where suitors such as Chelsea and Liverpool awaited him.

However, the Frenchman decided to stay in the Bundesliga after careful consideration.

Tuchel explains why he changed to back four against Barnsley, comments on prospect of Sheffield United

Thomas Tuchel has stated that he had to changed the team’s formation to back four for tactical reason.

Chelsea narrowly sealed their spot in the FA Cup quarter-final with a 1-0 win over Championship side Barnsley on Thursday night at Oakwell.

The German gaffer’s side progressed into the last eight despite a sub-par performance in Yorkshire as Abraham saved the day and spared a cup upset.

Tuchel said: “We changed to a back four and took Marcos [Alonso] out for this tactical change. Andreas [Christensen] had to go out because he had a headache. The changes made it a little easier to get into the opponent’s half and overcome the first press.

“We did it well at the start of the second half and played constantly in the opponent’s half.

“We scored the goal and I had the feeling that they increased the risk but we stepped down in the little decisions. Not enough courage and it was too deep for a long, long time.

“We clearly can play better, so yes I expected more but not in terms that I am frustrated.

“If you lack a rhythm and a bit of self-confidence and you have to show on this pitch, against an opponent that takes all the risk and plays the game of his life, that is not easy. We can do better but I don’t want to be too hard on the players.”

On playing Sheffield United in the last eight: “It’s going to be a tough one. They are a very physical team that presses high. They are organised but I am happy to have a home game. This is what we wanted.”

Spurs star recalls day he and Pep Guardiola cried together

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will forever remember the moment he and Pep Guardiola cried together.

Dane Hojbjerg joined Bayern Munich from Brondby as a 16-year-old and was four months shy of his 18th birthday when he became the youngest player to represent the German club in the Bundesliga.

Yet just a couple of days after he turned 18, in 2013, Hojbjerg’s dad, Christian, called to reveal that he was suffering from stomach cancer.

Hojbjerg revealed: “Guardiola called me in and said: ‘I heard about your father, I’m incredibly sorry. Let’s just talk together’.

“Then all of a sudden I started crying and said I was confused and scared.

“Then he said to me: ‘The people you care about the most and who are closest to you, you have to stick to them, even if it costs a little in the workplace’.

“He said that he would always be there for me. And then he started to cry and did not know what to say.”

Wilfred Zaha reveals why he can’t share room with Arsenal star

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe is not a man you want to share a room with.

That is according to Wifried Zaha, who has recalled a nightmare evening alongside his Ivory Coast team-mate.

The Crystal Palace winger told On The Judy Podcast: “Oh my days. Nicolas Pepe. I asked to leave the room.

“I went and asked to leave the room because he sounded like a motorbike.

“It was mad, it was crazy. I was like, ‘No’. These are the first times as well when I went [with Ivory Coast].

“They let me move and share rooms with Salomon Kalou. And he was like ‘Bro, I know’.”

AC Milan, Juventus target Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech is reportedly being targeted by Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus after a rough start to life under Thomas Tuchel.

The 27-year-old wideman has struggled for game time under Chelsea’s new boss and CalcioMercato claims Milan and Juventus are monitoring his situation closely.

The report states Serie A leaders Milan and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus could make a move for Ziyech when the summer window opens if his standing at Chelsea becomes more precarious.

The Morocco international has not hit form since his return from injury and though he displayed glimpses of class during the first-half in the Emirates FA Cup win over Barnsley on Thursday night.

Three Premier League clubs keen to sign Ahmed Musa despite West Brom disappointment

Ahmed Musa could choose between Southampton, Brighton and Burnley – after West Brom reportedly turned down the chance to sign Leicester’s former record buy.

The £16.6 million Nigeria striker has seemingly not done enough to impress Baggies boss Sam Allardyce during a week’s trial.

But at least three other Premier League teams and his old club CSKA Moscow, are said to be keen on the 28-year-old.

The Express and Star say second-bottom West Brom tested out Musa but have limited scope financially.

That’s mainly because Allardyce was so busy adding to their wage bill in the January transfer window.

Barnsley manager reveals his team’s strategy against Chelsea

Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael states that his strategy was designed “to make Chelsea make mistakes” in the Emirates FA Cup clash on Thursday night.

Tammy Abraham’s second-half goal helped Thomas Tuchel’s side squeeze through in a match that Barnsley were superb and gallant in defeat, with Alex Mowatt and Callum Brittain dictating play for the hosts.

Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael to BBC Sport: “It’s exactly the game we wanted, we made a great performance. We could see how far we can bring our principles, to make Chelsea make mistakes, we did it perfect in the first half but we had to score.

“It was a change in the second half, Chelsea made a change of shape and had more control. We were punished for one moment which was a shame. But we kept fighting to the end, we are proud of the performance.

“We know that we can compete at that level. Chelsea could have had a penalty, the goal could have been offside, they are 50/50. Tonight we go to bed with a good feeling.”

(On there being no VAR for tonight’s game) ” I saw Sheffield United v Bristol City and I saw the VAR (being used) and I was delighted against Chelsea we would have it, but it didn’t happen.

“We had to score in the first half, this was the most important thing, if we scored it could’ve been a different game.

“We were very delighted with the performance, less with the result but we improved and tonight it was the next step for the guys to see how far we can bring our principles against a side like Chelsea and I think we saw that tonight.”

Photo Credit: BarnsleyFC/Twitter

Jorginho’s agent warns Chelsea star may rejoin Maurizio Sarri at Napoli

Jorginho’s agent says the Chelsea and Italy midfielder is open to moving back to Serie A and refuses to rule out Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli return.

Jorginho and Sarri joined Chelsea from Napoli in the summer of 2018.

They won the Europa League in the only season they spent together in South London before the coach moved to Juventus.

Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is now on the brink and according to Sportitalia, Aurelio De Laurentiis has already contacted Maurizio Sarri trying to offer him the Azzurri job.

“Football is dynamic and nothing can be ruled out,” Jorhino’s agent Jorge Santos told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli, as cited by Football Italia.

“If Sarri returns to Napoli, he would make an attempt to take Jorginho back, he is perfect for his football, I can’t rule it out,” he added.

Jorginho converted two penalty kicks to help Chelsea seal victories against Tottenham and Sheffield United in their last two Premier League games. But would he be open to returning to Serie A?

“He has two years left in his contract and he is an Italy starter,” his agent claimed.

“However, with a good project, he would be open to coming back.”

Thomas Tuchel explains why Chelsea struggled against Barnsley

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has identified the condition of the pitch as a major reason for his team’s performance against Barnsley in the Emirates FA Cup, saying that: “The circumstances were very difficult”.

The West London side made it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Barnsley at Oakwell.

After the match, Tuchel said: “We were lucky and we have admit, we were lucky in some situations, we had Kepa who saved two big chances in the first half and we had Tammy who saved the one on the goal line with his head. We struggled in the beginning of the game, it was a better second half.

“It was a very, very good goal which I liked a lot, it was an excellent run from Reece and finish from Tammy. The Opponent took a lot of risks and played a physical game and we had difficulties coping with it.

“We ended the last 15 minutes way too deep, we couldn’t push the game into the opponents half and in the end we have to admit we were a little bit lucky, but its not forbidden to be lucky in the cup.

“The circumstances were very difficult, the pitch was very difficult, I don’t want to be too hard on the players. It’s clear we can do better, but we have to admit that our opponent played a very, very good game.

“It was a rough day for us. It’s not easy, you arrive for a cup tie like this against a strong opponent who plays the game of their life and suddenly you lack rhythm and a little self confidence.”