Chelsea legend Didier Drogba confirms Romelu Lukaku return to Stamford Bridge

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Didier Drogba has confirmed Romelu Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge, saying that the striker is returning to his spiritual home.

The Belgium forward, 28, is expected to sign a deal with the Champions League winners, after the Premier League giants and his club Inter Milan agreed a £97.5million fee.

And Drogba, who has worked as a club ambassador at Stamford Bridge for sponsors Yokohama, has seemingly let the cat out of the bag before an announcement with a revealing tweet.

“He’s coming home @RomeluLukaku9@ChelseaFC,” Drogba wrote as a caption for a mock-up image of the centre forward in a Chelsea shirt.

According to reports, Lukaku will have a medical on Monday before inking a contract.

It has been claimed he has been offered a five-year contract worth £195,000-per-week.

Just a few days ago, Thiago Silva liked an Instagram post hinting at Romelu Lukaku’s move to Chelsea.

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has welcomed former strike-partner Romelu Lukaku’s imminent return to Stamford Bridge.

He’s coming home @RomeluLukaku9 @ChelseaFC 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙 pic.twitter.com/xFzxecgLZ2

— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) August 8, 2021

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Liverpool star Diogo Jota trains with former sprinter Francis Obikwelu

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Diogo Jota has been training with former sprinter Francis Obikwelu as he looks to get himself in peak physical condition ahead of the new season.

The Portuguese star has already found his scoring boots for Liverpool in pre-season, having returned from his time off following his involvement in the Euros over the summer.

But with his focus now back on Liverpool, Jota has brought in some help in the form of 42-year-old Obikwelu in an attempt to bring the best out of himself and keep up with the pace of his teammates Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

Obikwelu was born in Nigeria, but became a Portuguese citizen in 2001 and decided to compete for them from that point onwards.

The sprinter won silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens – his time of 9.86 seconds remained his personal best for the duration of his career and is still the European record over the distance.

Obikwelu also won three European Championship golds during his career, and so few are better placed than him to help Jota gain that extra bit of speed.

‘In football, we do a proper pre-season and then there are so many matches until December,’ Jota said.

‘But then there’s still half a season to go, and sometimes we’re dealing with some fatigue and we could use some time to switch off.’

But Obikwelu believes he has the answer to that issue of tiredness and dealing with a hectic schedule of fixtures.

‘I can tell you why you have that issue,’ Obikwelu said. ‘Your nervous system isn’t activated. It’s the body’s engine.’

Jota will be hoping all this advice helps him become a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.

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Antoine Griezmann set for Premier League despite Lionel Messi exit

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Manchester United are interested in Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann and will make a move for the striker soon, according to reports.

Barcelona announced Lionel Messi’s departure from the club last week but still need to sell players to balance the books.

The Catalan club must reduce their wage bill and as one of the highest earners they are prepared to let Griezmann leave.

The Frenchman is being chased by United, who, according to Todofichajes, plan to make a low offer given the knowledge of Barca’s need to sell.

Griezmann, 30, is reportedly paid a gross salary of £32million a year, and getting that off the wage bill would greatly benefit Barcelona.

The forward is believed to be keen on a departure and has asked his agent to try and force an exit from the Nou Camp.

And after fans booed Griezmann’s arrival at the training ground following Messi’s departure he may be even more determined to make a move elsewhere.

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Inter Milan identify Manchester United striker as Romelu Lukaku’s replacement

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Reports in England claim Inter Milan have identified Anthony Martial as a potential replacement for outgoing Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku is closing in on a £98million return to Chelsea from Inter, with the Italian side looking to ease their financial woes.

Should Lukaku return to Stamford Bridge, Inter will look to sign Martial on a season-long loan deal.

According to The Sun, Manchester United would prefer to accept a permanent deal rather than a temporary one for the striker.

Although it is believed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would agree to a 12 month loan deal as long as it included a requirement to buy after.

However, the Red Devils would only part ways with the 25-year-old for a figure close to the £50million they initially paid for him six years ago.

Should Inter fork up the required cash, they would finally land the payer – who they first sought after two years ago.

As it stands, Martial has three years left on the contract – which currently sees him earn £200,000 a week.

Given Inter and Manchester United’s good relationship – having successfully completed deals over Ashley Young and Alexis Sanchez – it is likely a pair will be able to push a deal over the line.

A transfer to Italy could benefit Martial as he has struggled to cement a place in Solskjaer’s starting XI.

Speaking after Saturday’s 4-0 friendly win over Everton, the United manager said: ‘Anthony has had a bad spell with injuries.

“He’s been training well with us but as players who’ve been out for a while, they need some more sharpness, need some more work.

“He tried to do the right thing; it didn’t come off all the time, but it’s better than what you fear sometimes when he’s been injured for five months – since March.”

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Tottenham boss reveals his intention to hold crunch talks with Harry Kane on Monday as Manchester City close in on striker

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Nuno Espirito Santo will hold crunch talks with want-away Harry Kane on Monday.

The England captain finally returned to Spurs on Saturday after taking an extended holiday following last month’s European Championships.

And new boss Nuno will finally get the chance to establish just how determined Kane is to quit the club and force a move to Champions Manchester City.

He said: “It’s true that Harry is back with us and we expect to integrate him with the squad as soon as he is allowed.

“I will speak with him as soon as possible because we have a training session on Monday and hopefully I will talk to Harry while maintaining social distancing.

“He has to quarantine but we have to be very strict and not take any chances because the one thing that everyone has learned is that the pandemic is still here so we have to be really careful.

“But Harry has already had his first day with the sports scientists and he is training.”

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Tottenham join Lionel Messi chase as PSG plot to seal star’s capture

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Tottenham could make a shock last minute move to sign Lionel Messi this week, according to reports.

Messi’s Barcelona departure has been confirmed in recent days following a total breakdown in contract extension talks at the Camp Nou.

The Argentinian has now departed from the club he has called home for 21 years and will be targeted by major clubs from across Europe as a free transfer.

Paris Saint-Germain are heavily rumoured to be the favourites to sign the 34-year-old with former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino already hinting at a possible move.

However, as per reports from ESPN, via the Daily Express, Spurs will now rival the Parisians in a possible bidding war.

Tottenham boss Nuno Santo has been handed a bumper transfer budget by the club ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League season.

The Portuguese coach is likely to be already planning for life without Harry Kane in 2021 with an extra £100m available to him if the England star moves on this month.

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Barcelona lawyer goes to court to block Lionel Messi move to PSG

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain may be scuttled if a Barcelona lawyer’s prayer in the court is gransted.

Spanish outlet Marca claim that a complaint has been filed that Financial Fair Play should rule PSG out of the running for the Argentine.

The report adds that the law firm representing Barca claim that the Ligue 1 club’s FFP situation is worse than the Catalans’.

Juan Branco confirmed the filing on Twitter alongside a letter.

He said: “On behalf of FC Barcelona partners, my firm has prepared a complaint with the European Commission and demands for provisional suspension before civil and administrative courts in France to prevent Paris-Saint Germain from signing Lionel Messi.

“PSG’s ratios in terms of ‘Financial Fair Play’ are worse than those of FC Barcelona.

“In 2019-2020, PSG’s salary-to-income ratio was 99%, while Barcelona’s was 54%. Meanwhile, the difference has increased.

“It is inconceivable that the ‘Financial Fair Play’ serves to aggravate the drifts of football-business, the instrumentalization of football by sovereign powers, and the distortion of competitions.”

Messi was reportedly due to be unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player at the Eiffel Tower on Monday, with the player flying to Paris after Sunday’s emotional press conference.

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Southampton set to sign third Chelsea starlet this summer

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Southampton look set to sign their third Chelsea player of the summer as they close in on a loan deal for Armando Broja.

The Saints have already acquired ex-Blues youngsters Valentino Livramento and Dynel Simeu on permanent deals.

And they now have their sights set on Albanian international Broja as they look to bolster their squad ahead of the new Premier League season.

The 19-year-old forward has only made one senior appearance for the Blues, which came as an 86th minute substitute in a 4-0 win against Everton in March 2020.

He then went out on loan to Eredivisie side Vitesse last season where he was mightily impressive.

Broja scored 11 times in 34 games for the Dutch side before returning to Stamford Bridge.

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(Watch Goals & Highlights) Cristiano Ronaldo fires blank as Barcelona beat Juventus in pre-season friendly (Match Report)

August 9th, 2021 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Juventus failed to make the most of their chances and were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the Gamper Trophy pre-season friendly.

Paulo Dybala was left behind in Turin to work on his fitness, while Italy internationals Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were only on the bench. Aaron Ramsey was again used as a midfield playmaker in front of the defence. The local fans were still shaken by losing Lionel Messi and repeatedly sang his name during the match.

It took just three minutes for the hosts to break through at the Estadi Johan Cruyff, as a pass was not cut out in midfield and Alex Sandro didn’t go with the rest of the offside trap, allowing Memphis Depay to score relatively undisturbed.

Neto’s gloves were stung by Cristiano Ronaldo and Yusuf Demir tapped in the rebound from an Antoine Griezmann effort while offside.

Wojciech Szczesny stuck out a foot to deny Demir after Rodrigo Bentancur and then Mattia De Sciglio were robbed. Neto also needed a fine double save on Morata and Matthijs De Ligt, then kept out Morata’s angled drive too.

On the stroke of half-time, Neto was again decisive on the long-range Ronaldo free kick.

Max Allegri made numerous changes at the break, including Danilo replacing Ramsey in front of the defence.

Federico Chiesa prompted a fingertip save with his well-taken strike, but Barcelona doubled their lead with Martin Braithwaite’s header from a corner at the back post.

Juve largely weren’t as effective in the second half and Riqui Puig added a third for Barca deep into stoppages with a wonderful curler from the edge of the box.

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