Chelsea return for Premier League youngster as Bayern Munich, Arsenal, others circle

February 22nd, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

There are reports that Crystal Palace are facing a fight to keep Michael Olise this summer.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Lille and Bayern Munich are among those keeping tabs on the exciting 20-year-old Eagle.

Palace pulled off a coup by pipping a number of bigger Prem and European clubs to sign him from Reading in an £8million deal in July.

But the south Londoners are already staring at the prospect of losing him in the next window following his increasingly impressive displays for them this season.

The Hammersmith-born rookie has made just 18 top flight appearances, with 12 of those as a sub.

But the way he has settled seamlessly into Premier League football has kept him on the radar of a number of clubs at home and abroad.

His latest eye-catching performance came in Palace’s 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.

The reigning European and world champions were among several clubs interested in signing him before Palace swooped last summer.

The Eagles had hoped their capture of Olise would have cooled interest in him. But the France Under-18 international’s rise has resulted in even more clubs courting him.

Photo Credit: EmiratesFACup/Twitter

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Neymar reveals why he rejected Real Madrid move

February 22nd, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Neymar has revealed he turned down a move to Real Madrid when he was 12 because he was “too homesick”.

The Brazil international joined Barcelona for €86.2m in 2013 at the age of 21 from Santos, before leaving to join PSG for a world-record €222m in 2017, but previously had the opportunity to join Real Madrid.

“When I was 10 Real Madrid invited me for a try-out,” Neymar said in an interview with former Brazil great Ronaldo Nazario in a podcast on Twitch. “I was thrilled, I was so happy, I watched their practice. It was during the Galacticos era. I watched their game.

“I watched a game and I think all the goals were scored by Brazilians. I think two by Ronaldo, one by Robinho and a free-kick from Julio Baptista and another by Roberto Carlos.

“After the game I got a picture with all of them. I was over the moon. I stayed there for a week, for the try-out. It lasted for four of five days.

“On the fifth day they wanted to take me to a championship being held in Barcelona MIC Cup but I quit. I got really homesick and I wanted to go back home. It was pretty much all set up for me to play at Real Madrid but then I got back. It’s funny because I met Pablo Sarabia playing at PSG and he was there too at Real Madrid back then. He remembers everything, that I was there for a few days and then I left.”

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Former Chelsea star explains why he snubbed Barcelona in January

February 22nd, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Former Chelsea triker Alvaro Morata has revealed how Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri convinced him to stay Juventus and that if it were up to him he would always remain with the Bianconeri.

Morata returned to the Allianz Stadium in September 2020 and is in the second season of a loan from Atletico Madrid.

During last month’s January transfer window Morata was linked with a LaLiga return, with Barcelona reported to have been interested in his signature.

Such speculation only mounted with Juve spending big to land Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina.

Asked about Barca’s interest, Morata – speaking at a news conference previewing Juve’s Champions League last-16 first-leg tie against Villarreal – said: “It’s not important.

“We talked with the coach during the transfer window, about his ideas, and he told me the arrival of Dusan would help me and that has been the case. I’m happy to be here.

“If it depended on me, I would always stay here.”

Morata went on to explain how influential Allegri was in convincing him to stay in Turin.

“I have always felt his confidence, since we started working together. He is the first to ask me things, but he knows what I am and what I am not.

“He told me that I had to stay and that he trusted me. Now I have to give everything to return his trust.”

Vlahovic moved to Juve in an €80million deal and Morata spoke about how his arrival has lifted Juve’s squad.

“He has given us all extra energy,” he said.

“You can see in his eyes how much Dusan is looking forward to tomorrow’s match. He only brings positive things.

“He is young and he has a wonderful career ahead of him. He’s adapted right away.”

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Chelsea set for transfer negotiation with Real Madrid star

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea are reportedly ready for negotiations with Eder Militao for the star’s potential move to Stamford Bridge in the summer.

Marca claims Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender has emerged as a target for Thomas Tuchel.

And, the west London club have requested a meeting and this will take place in the near future.

Militao is open to leaving the Bernabeu as he eyes a new challenge. But there are reports in Spain that Real Madrid want to renew Militão’s contract [which ends in 2025] and he wants to renew with the Spanish giants.

Meanwhile, there have been no conversations yet but talks are expected to be held over the coming months

And Chelsea could need at least one new centre-back with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all out of contract this summer.

Photo Credit: edermilitao/realmadriden/Twitter

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Azpilicueta keeps Barcelona, Chelsea waiting despite lucrative offers

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Barcelona are said to be waiting on Chelsea star Cesar Azpilicueta to accept their contract offer.

The Catalan giants have continued their pursuit of the Spanish defender, and have offered him a two-year deal with the option of a further season.

Chelsea have reportedly told Cesar Azpilicueta that they will wait for him to decide his future.

Fabrizio Romano claims that the Blues will not rush their captain into a decision.

The Italian transfer guru said: “Chelsea have told César Azpilicueta that they wait for him, as it’s a personal decision. It’s about life and not just football – waiting for Azpi to communicate his plans.”

The Spaniard is out of contract at Chelsea this summer and he is likely to leave after a decade at Stamford Bridge.

There have been some reports that Chelsea have the option to extend the contract, but they are unlikely to do so against their loyal defender’s will.

Azpilicueta has seen his involvement reduced this season, and that could lead him to pursue a deal away from West London.

According to Sport, negotiations with Barca are already at an advanced stage, and Barca are said to be waiting on the offer they have presented to the defender.

Azpilicueta is already able to agree a contract ahead of the summer, as long as it is with a club outside of England.

The Blaugrana enjoyed a busy January transfer window, despite their ongoing financial issues.

Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all brought in to strengthen Xavi Hernandez‘s squad.

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Nantes hand PSG shock defeat with full complement of Mbappe, Messi, Neymar

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Paris Saint-Germain were stunned by Nantes despite the Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi up front, with the Ligue 1 leaders being defeated by 3-1 at Stade de la Beaujoire.

Antoine Kombouare’s side had raced into a 3-0 lead by the break and were able to hold on for the three points, despite the visitors threatening a comeback.

The hosts were a constant threat going forward against an out-of-sorts PSG defence, and it took just four minutes to break the deadlock as Randal Kolo Muani collected a perfectly weighted pass and slotted through the legs of Keylor Navas to make it 1-0.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side wasted a glut of chances at the other end, something that came back to haunt them when Nantes doubled their lead through Quentin Merlin, who collected the ball just inside the area and unleashed an unstoppable shot that arrowed into the far top corner.

Dennis Appiah had a reprieve for the hosts when he was shown a straight red card for bringing down Mbappe outside the box, only for the referee to overturn the decision after consulting with VAR.

The third came deep into added time after a penalty was awarded, via VAR, against Gini Wijnaldum for handball. Ludovic Blas stepped up to take it, and comprehensively dispatched his eighth goal of the season.
Ligue 1 table

PSG came out all guns blazing after the break and reduced the deficit immediately when Neymar converted from Lionel Messi’s pass.

They had the momentum by now, but Neymar missed a penalty on the hour mark and, after that, it gradually dissipated. Mbappe missed a further glorious chance and Nantes were able to cling on for the win.

Photo Credit: PSG_Espanol/Twitter

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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick breaks silence over reported Maguire/Ronaldo rift rumour

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Ralf Rangnick has responded to reports that there is friction between Manchester United captain Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Speaking in his press conference, the Red Devils boss said: “I’m not frustrated at all because I know this is not the truth.

“I told you already about Harry being the captain.

“This is not an issue at all and it has never been an issue for us and for myself as the manager.

“All the other things, to be honest, I don’t listen to that noise because my job is to focus on preparing for the next game.”

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Chelsea star faces driving ban

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Premier League football ace Ross Barkley faces a driving ban after being caught on his phone behind the wheel.

The Chelsea midfielder, who has previous road convictions, is understood to have hired a driver for the next 12 months.

Barkley, 28, was spotted using his mobile phone at the wheel of his £150,000 Mercedes-AMG in Wandsworth, South West London, last July.

The Scouser, who has played for England 33 times, scoring six goals, pleaded guilty to a charge of using a handheld mobile phone while driving a vehicle.

The £84,000-a-week star will appear at Bromley magistrates’ court in South East London next month after totting up enough points to face a ban.

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Chelsea make decision over Declan Rice and highly-rated loanee Conor Gallagher

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea could reportedly opt against a move for West Ham’s Declan Rice and instead promote Conor Gallagher to their senior squad.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is set to be heavily backed during the summer as owner Roman Abramovich looks to get the club challenging Manchester City for the title.

Chelsea have been linked with England star Rice for several months.

However, the Evening Standard claims that Gallagher’s form on loan at Crystal Palace has potentially convinced Tuchel to change his plans

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Rangnick says Harry Maguire will remain Man United captain despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s interest

February 20th, 2022 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Ralf Rangnick has confirmed that Harry Maguire will remain as Manchester United captain despite rumours in the press that the armband was set to be handed to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Several United players have spoken out against stories of a split in the dressing room, and the interim boss echoed their views by labelling the reports as ‘absolute nonsense.’

Speaking at his press conference this afternoon, Rangnick said: “I have never spoken with any player about a change of captaincy. This has never been an issue. It is me who decides who is the captain.

“Harry is our captain and he will stay captain.”

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