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Man City, Man United, Chelsea battle over Pellegrini

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

English Premier League heavyweights, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea are all in the race to sign Italy international, Lorenzo Pellegrini, for 21 million Pounds.

According to The Mirror, the trio are keeping tabs on the AS Roma star because of the low release clause attached to his current contract.

Pellegrini has put his name on several clubs’ transfer radar by impressing for the Serie A giants in 23 games.

The midfielder, who has been capped once by Italy’s national team, could spark yet another argument between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte with the warring managers both showing interest.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who are leading the Premier League by 15 points, are also set to join the transfer battle while Roma are hoping to offer Pellegrini a new deal to stay at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma academy graduate, Pellegrini, earned a name for himself at Sassuolo before his current club exercised a 9 million Pounds buy-back clause.

Monchi, Roma’s director of football, is not expecting to do much business in January and will instead look to promote from within.

“I do not think we’ll have to look for solutions outside, because I think the solutions are inside the team.”

Manchester City increases bid for Sanchez

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester City, have raised Alexis Sanchez‘s asking price to 40 million Pounds as they prepare an offer for the Chile international.

The 29-year-old will be available as a free agent at the end of the season when his contract expires, and the January window is the Arsenal’s final opportunity to receive a transfer fee for the forward.

Arsenal are open to negotiating a deal for Sanchez, while recent reports claimed that he was valued at 25 million Pounds. But the Gunners’ valuation is close to 40 million Pounds due to City’s circumstances.

Pep Guardiola was initially prepared to wait until the summer to sign Sanchez as he was wary of upsetting the balance of his City squad, who are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

With Gabriel Jesus sidelined for up to six weeks with a knee ligament injury, Guardiola is desperate to reinforce his options in the attack as his only fit first-team striker is Sergio Aguero.

The report also claimed that Arsene Wenger is ‘increasingly resigned’ to the prospect of Sanchez leaving in January, despite publicly claiming that the player will be kept at Arsenal for the remainder of the campaign.

Sanchez came close to joining City in the closing stages of the 2017 summer window transfer, but Arsenal ended the 60 million Pounds deal as they were unable to sign a replacement before the deadline.

The former Barcelona striker did not feature in Arsenal’s FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest on Sunday, January 8, implying that he would be available for City in the competition, as well as their UEFA Champions League knockout phase fixtures.




Dean admits error in controversial Arsenal game

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

English football referee, Mike Dean, has admitted he made a mistake by awarding West Bromwich Albion a penalty in their New Year’s Eve English Premier League clash with Arsenal.

Dean and his team of officials were confronted by Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, after Calum Chambers was penalised for a handball in the 88th minute of the 1-1 draw at the Hawtorns.

Wenger was subsequently handed a three-match touchline ban and a 45,000 Pounds fine. But, on the eve of the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology to English football, it has emerged that Dean has accepted he got the decision wrong.

According to English FA refereeing boss, Mike Riley, the VAR, which will be used for the first time in England on Monday, January 8, when Brighton hosts Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and on Wednesday, for Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semi-finals, would have helped overturn the decision.

“You award the penalty because what you have seen on the pitch is the arm coming towards the ball,” Riley said

“What is handball can look to you on the field of play if you get one look at it. But immediately there is evidence from another camera angle which shows actually the opposite. That is the safety net of the VAR.

“I think Chambers would have been overturned. The question you ask is, is it an act of deliberate handball? And the reverse angle shows him trying to bring his arm out of the way of the ball, rather than the reverse.

“I know Mike would have overturned it. He messages people, and he’s a very honest guy, and he goes, ‘I got it wrong’. He knows he did.”

Barkley joins Chelsea from Everton

By Onminyi Emmanuel with Agency report,

English Premier League powerhouse, Chelsea, have announced the signing of Ross Barkley from Everton in a deal understood to be worth 15 million Pounds which the midfielder described as “unbelievable”.

Chelsea went back for Barkley after a deadline-day move collapsed in the summer of 2017. The club agreed a 35 million Pounds fee and Barkley’s personal terms, only for the player to request more time to consider the deal as he recovered from a serious hamstring injury.

That delay has cost Barkley’s boyhood club 20 million Pounds in transfer revenue, although Everton risked losing the England international for nothing in the summer and reluctantly accepted a cut-price move.

Barkley is out of contract at the end of the season and Everton’s manager, Sam Allardyce, admitted on Thursday, January 4, that the club was resigned to losing its homegrown talent, who has rejected offers to extend his stay.

The 24-year-old, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal, told Chelsea’s website: “I’m overwhelmed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m really excited to get started. To be given a fresh start at a new club like Chelsea, it’s unbelievable for me. I’m looking forward to continuing where I left off at the end of last season and hoping to improve and add more goals to my game.”

Chelsea’s boss, Antonio Conte, explained on Friday, January 5, why he wanted to bring Barkley to Chelsea.

“We are talking about an English player, a young player. He has good prospects for Chelsea. I think the club decided for this investment also for his contract. I think this is a good opportunity for the club to buy this player. For sure he is a good prospect for Chelsea,” the manager said

Chelsea close in on Sandro’s signature

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As clubs make bids to strengthen their side during the transfer window, English Premier League side, Chelsea, are ready to push through a 50 million Pounds deal for Juventus full back Alex Sandro.

Chelsea’s boss, Antonio Conte, has prioritised bringing in the 26-year-old who Chelsea tried to get last summer, but they have renewed a strong interest in the Brazilian left-back.

The London giants who face stiff competition from Manchester United, have made a move to try and get him ahead of Jose Mourinho whose team’s defence needs to be bolstered due to injuries.

Juventus are ready to do business on Sandro despite having fought to keep him in August 2017, and the Italian giants are looking at replacements, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Brazilian, Wendell, on their hit-list.

Conte is determined to be busy as he looks to bolster the club’s squad for the Premier League’s mounting fixtures, and games in the domestic cups and UEFA Champions League.

The management of the club are also looking to do a deal for a striker as they are looking at a loan in January, if they cannot get a big name to back up Alvaro Morata in the attack.

If Chelsea land Sandro, however, it would only heighten the chances of United signing Tottenham’s Danny Rose. The Manchester side are also hoping to secure the services of the former FC Porto defender.

Real Madrid set to swap Bale for Chelsea’s Hazard

By Emmanuel Onminyi wit Agency report,

Spanish giants, Real Madrid, in a bid to rescue what is left of their season, are ready to propose a swap deal to English Premier League side, Chelsea, involving Eden Hazard.

The Belgium international is a long-term target of the Spanish heavyweights, with Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and manager, Zinedine Zidane, both huge admirers of the forward.

The 26-year-old was expected to move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2017, but the former Lille winger broke his ankle while on international duty, ending any hopes of a deal.

Meanwhile, Spanish transfer outlet, Don Balon, said the European Champions are still desperate to sign Hazard and Zidane is willing to give up Gareth Bale in a swap deal for the highly-rated attacker.

Madrid are confident an offer of Bale plus cash would convince Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, to sell his player at the end of the season. Although, Bale has been tipped to quit the Spanish side in the summer of 2018.

In the mean time, Manchester United and Tottenham have place the 28-year-old Wales international on their radar, and they may launch a full request for his signature.

Red Devils’ boss, Jose Mourinho, publicly revealed his admiration for Bale, however, the Special One claimed a move would be ‘mission impossible’.

Bale has struggled to impress under Zidane in the ongoing 2017/18, with injuries plaguing his performances.

Omeruo, Aina, will not be recalled this season- Conte

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has indicated that Nigerian internationals, Kenneth Omeruo and Ola Aina, will not be recalled from their loan clubs in the January transfer window.

The Blues currently have no less than five players of Nigerian descent out on loan, with Omeruo and Aina, who are at Kasimpasa and Hull City respectively, joined by Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Ike Ugbo.

According to football.london, aside from Ugbo at Barnsley, the players have all enjoyed regular playing time at their loan clubs and Conte believes they are better left to develop their games rather than being recalled.

“I don’t think this could be realistic. The players we send on loan are playing,” said Conte in a press conference.

“I don’t see a possibility for players to come back on loan. I remember last January with [Nathan] Ake, Kenedy and [Charly] Musonda coming back to improve our squad.”

Chelsea, who are currently third on the English Premier League table, two points behinds second-placed Manchester United, will face Arsenal in a heavyweight London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, January 3.

Manchester United eye move for Madrid star, Ronaldo

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As the January transfer window opens in few day, English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester United, have been put on alert by claims that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to quit Real Madrid.

The former Old ­Trafford star has ­reportedly fallen out with Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and has asked the Spanish giants to slash his 900 million Pounds buy-out clause to 90 million Pounds.

The 2017 Ballon D’or ­winner also wants to send his seven-year-old son, ­Cristiano Jnr, to a private school in ­England, and secretly ­visited several of the top fee-­paying schools when he was in the United Kingdom in November.

A source close to the player said: “He’s also looked at possible homes in Leatherhead in Surrey and even a flat in central London.

It’s obviously something that he’s very seriously considering, but he’s yet to sign on the dotted line yet anywhere.”

The Portugal forward left United for Madrid in 2009, but a return to Manchester may be on the rise as his relationship with Perez has hit the rocks.

Ronaldo, who signed a five-year deal worth 850,000 Pounds a week in 2016, is said to be unhappy over broken promises regarding a pay rise that would give him parity with his 1 million Pounds-a-week Barcelona rival, Lionel Messi.

The Portuguese is also furious that Madrid are trying to lure Neymar away from Paris St-Germain in a world-record deal that would make the Brazilian football’s highest-paid player.

According to Mirror.co.uk, the former Sporting Lisbon forward has debunked claims that his age is having an effect on him. He stated: “There are many young players who have injuries because they do not take care of their body. I am 32 years old and I feel good.

“I’m very motivated and I feel powerful. I still have a lot of passion for football. I love it and I feel able to get more and more year after year.

“I had one of my best seasons last year. I got five team trophies, so 2017 was my best year. That’s why I say that age does not really matter.”

Jesus, De Bruyne pick injuries as Palace ends Man. City’s winning streak

By Emmanuel Onminyi with agency report,

Manchester City saw its record 18-game winning run in the English Premier League ended with a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Sunday, December 31, with the leaders dealt a further blow with injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.

It needed a penalty save from Ederson Moraes off Luka Milivojevic in injury time to preserve City’s unbeaten run after 21 games and leave Pep Guardiola’s side 14 points clear heading into the new year.

Despite being in a commanding position with 17 games remaining, City will be concerned in particular with the injury to Jesus, who limped off in tears with a left leg injury midway through the first half after falling awkwardly.

According to Guardiola, the Brazilian forward would be out for one or two months.

However, Belgian star man, De Bruyne, was carried off on a stretcher in injury time, moments after Ederson’s penalty save, and was helped along the touchline by two members of City’s medical staff after the final whistle.

The Spanish manager also posited that the midfielder was “lucky” it was not more serious, and he failed to give more details about the injury.

Meanwhile, City failed to score in a league game for the first time this season as Palace showed no inferiority complex against one of the best sides to ever play in the Premier League.

The draw leaves City with 59 points, 14 points ahead of Chelsea who occupy the second position with one point ahead of third-placed Manchester United.

Chelsea star, Moses, makes 2017 African Team of the Year

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Chelsea and Super Eagles star, Victor Moses, has been named in the African Team of the Year for 2017 by celebrated French football magazine, France Football.

The right talented wing-back was the only player of Nigerian descent that made the prestigious list after commanding a good performance in the year.

The list contains English Premier League stars, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, (both from Liverpool), but there was no spot for Borussia Dortmund’s striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was listed among the five substitutes.

Moses had a good season in 2017, helping Chelsea win the Premier League title and reach the final of the Emirates FA Cup; he was also outstanding during Nigeria’s quest for a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 27-year-old missed out on the Confederation of African Football and BBC Player of the Year but is among the favourites to be named in CAF’s Team of the Year at next week’s gala ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

He has been nominated for the best right winger in Africa in 2017 by CAF along with Keita Balde (Monaco, Senegal) and Mohammed Ounnajem (Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca, Morocco).

The African Team of the Year according to France Football include:

Essen El Hadary (Egypt, Al-Taawoun), Nabil Dirar (Morocco, Fenerbache), Medhi Benatia (Morocco, Juventus), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Naples), Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria, Naples), Victor Moses (Nigeria, Chelsea) , Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, Guinea), Jean-Michael Seri (Ivory Coast, OGC Nice), Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool), Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon, FC Porto).

The substitutes are:

Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon, AC Seville), Ahmed Hegazy (Egypt, WBA), Thomas Partey (Ghana, Atletico Madrid), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco, Ajax Amsterdam), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund).