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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.

 

 

 

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.

Ex-AC Milan, Chelsea, and PSG striker emerges Liberia’s president

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

After vying for the position over a decade ago, former Chelsea, Manchester City and AC Milan striker, George Weah, will be the next president of Liberia, following the country’s election conducted recently.

Weah, 51, became the first non-European player to win the Ballon d’Or in 1995; just one of many achievements over a prolific 18-year professional career that ended in 2003.

He entered politics after his retirement and had been serving as a senator in Liberia’s parliament.

His victory was announced by Liberia’s National Elections Commission, and it said that with 98.1 percent of ballots counted, Weah had won 61.5 percent of the vote.

Weah will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Africa’s first elected female president. She defeated Weah in 2005, in elections held shortly after the end of a brutal civil war.

The former Liberian international is famous for his moments with AC Milan, one of which was a solo effort against Verona which started in his own penalty area and saw him dribbling past almost an entire team.

First brought to Europe by Arsene Wenger at Monaco in 1988, Weah scored 47 league goals for the club in four years before a move to Paris St-Germain. There, he won the league title in 1994 and was the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League a year later, finishing ahead of Jari Litmanen, Romario and Hristo Stoichkov, before moving to Milan in 1995.

After a stellar season with Milan, Weah featured for Manchester City, and Chelsea, winning the FA Cup with the London club before returning to France to play for Marseille. He retired from football in 2003 after playing Al Jazira.

Liverpool sign Van Dijk for world record fee

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

English Premier League powerhouse, Liverpool, have signed Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for a reported 75 million Pounds ($100-million), in a deal that makes him the world’s most expensive defender.

Van Dijk has been linked with a move to Liverpool for several months and the Anfield club were forced to issue an apology after an alleged illegal approach for the Netherlands international earlier this year.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has remained determined to sign Van Dijk as he tries to patch up a leaky defence that has fatally damaged Liverpool’s Premier League title ambitions.

“Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player,” Van Dijk wrote on Twitter, alongside a photo of him with a Liverpool shirt.

“Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football.

“I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.”

Although Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola were said to be interested in Van Dijk, it was Klopp who had the last laugh.

The defender will earn a weekly wages of 180,000 Pounds.

Manchester United needs to spend more- Mourinho

Emmanuel Onminyi,

Manchester United’s manager, Jose Mourinho, has revealed that the club will need to spend more money to bolster their defence, if they need to become real title contenders

United could fall 15 points behind Premier League leaders, Manchester City, if their rivals win at Newcastle on Wednesday following a 2-2 with Burnley at Old Trafford.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to score twice to rescue United from an embarrassment in front of the home fans, including a stoppage-time equaliser, after the visitors had opened up a 2-0 lead.

Responding to a question that such a gap might be unacceptable for a club of United’s calibre, Mourinho said, in his press conference: “One thing is a big club and another thing is a big football team. They are two different things.

“We are in the second year of trying to rebuild a football team that is not one of the best teams in the world. Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of strikers. When you speak about big football clubs, you are speaking about the history of the club.”

When it was pointed out United have spent heavily, roughly 286 million Pounds since Mourinho took charge in 2016, the Portuguese said: “OK, (but) it is not enough. The price for the big clubs is different than for the other clubs.

“The big historical clubs, they are normally punished in the market because of their history.”

Mourinho was then asked if he intended to spend big in the January transfer window, but he left the room before answering.

The Red Devils play Southampton next on December 30, 2017.

British-born Nigerian midfielder dubbed new Yayah Toure

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

British-born Nigerian midfielder, Tom Dele-Bashiru, has been tipped to make it to the top in his football career, after making his professional debut for Manchester City in their win over Leicester City in the League Cup.

The 18-year-old has not looked back since he was promoted to City’s Under 18 squad on a permanent basis last season, and has featured prominently for the Development Squad this season.

The midfielder has been involved in all the matches played by the Under 23 side in the Premier League 2 apart from the 3-0 loss to Everton, when he was an unused substitute, and the December 19 game at Chelsea which clashed with his debut for the first team.

According to reports on British daily, The Sun, Dele-Bashiru’s performance against Leicester City has pushed him closer to a first-team place in future.

”Joined City at six and moved to the Under-18s from the Under-16s last summer, although his career stalled when his father called the club’s handling of his contract talks “disgusting”,” Phil Thomas wrote in the publication.

”A powerhouse midfield man who is being compared to Yaya Toure.”

Tosin Adarabioyo, Lukas Nmecha, Felix Nmecha, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, Nathanael Ogbeta and Ashinme Kigbu are the other talented players of Nigerian descent on the books of Manchester City.

Nigerian youngsters react to their Man City debut, as Guardiola hails Adarabioyo

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

For the first time in his managerial career, Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, handed minutes to three talented Nigerian players in his side’s win on penalties against Leicester City in the League Cup on December 19.

Central defender, Tosin Adarabioyo, impressed in a full shift for the Citizens, Lukas Nmecha came off the bench in the 88th minute and the two players were joined on the pitch by Tom Dele-Bashiru in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.

Lukas Nmecha and Tom Dele-Bashiru took to the social networks to express their joy at making their maiden appearances for the Citizens shortly after the game at the King Power Stadium.

Nmecha said : ”Great experience getting my debut today, the team and fans were fantastic!”

Dele-Bashiru added : ”What a great win! Also very humbled to make my professional debut”

Meanwhile, City coach, Pep Guardiola, was pleased with the performance of Tosin Adarabioyo, and told Manchester City’s official website: ”Our young players played so well. Brahim (Diaz), Tosin (Adarabioyo) and Phil (Foden) played really well and I’m so happy.”

Manchester City’s Nigerian contingent will discover their next opponents in the League Cup when the semi-final draw takes place on Wednesday, December 20.

We can beat Manchester City- Tottenham boss, Pochettino

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has insisted that containing Manchester City will not be on his mind when both teams meet on Saturday, December 16, as he believes Tottenham can beat the English Premier League’s unbeaten leaders.

Spurs climbed back into the top four on Wednesday after grinding out a 2-0 win over Brighton as they turn their attention to this weekend’s crunch visit to the Etihad Stadium.

City’s 4-0 win at Swansea maintained their 11-point lead at the top and provided the latest demonstration of their exceptional quality.

A Serge Aurier’s cross dropped into the top corner against Brighton and with a late header from Son Heung-min wrapping up the points to make sure Spurs head home on the back of three consecutive victories.

The Argentine stressed, ‘We’re going to enjoy it, because it’s a fantastic challenge to play against Manchester City. They’re the best team in England and one of the best in Europe.”

The side also received a boost with the return of Erik Lamela, who had been out since October due to injury. The forward came on for Dele Alli with Spurs ensuring that their efforts counted for the night, as they condemned Brighton to a winless run of six straight games.

City breaks Premier Leagues most consecutive victory record

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Manchester City broke the English Premier League record for consecutive victories with their 15th win in a row, against Swansea, on Wednesday evening, December 13.

Pep Guardiola’s had equalled the record of 14 set by Arsenal in 2002 when they won the Manchester derby against rivals, Manchester United, on December 10, and then they broke it with 4-o success in South Wales.

David Silva continued his fine goal-scoring form with the opener against the Swans, with Kevin De Bruyne doubling that advantage just two minutes later.

Silva then continued his fine scoring form with another goal early in the second half, before Sergio Aguero rounded off the scoring five minutes from time.

City have won 16 of their 17 Premier League matches this season, with their only dropped points coming in their second match of the campaign against Everton.

Manchester United’s victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday ensured that Guardiola’s men remain 11 points clear at the top of the table, as they seek a first league title since 2014.

City went into their recent fixture against Swansea on the backdrop of their dugout row with United following their 2-1 victory on December 10, but the Citizens looked sharp against their host with the four nil rout, as they head into the last few games of the first half of the season.