Archive | July 2015

West Brom confirm Lambert signing….

NEW SIGNING: We are delighted to announce the arrival of Rickie Lambert from Liverpool

West Brom have completed the signing of Rickie Lambert from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee. The England international has penned a two-year deal and goes straight into the squad for Friday night’s game at Bristol Rovers.

Toure feels loved at Anfield….

Kolo Toure

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has told the Liverpool Echo that he turned down offers from a host of European clubs to sign a new contract with Liverpool because he feels loved at Anfield. “There were other offers but I couldn’t leave one of the best clubs in the world,” said the 34-year-old. “For me, to be able to be at Liverpool – playing for this manager and being part of this squad and playing for amazing fans – is massive. I really enjoy being here. I feel loved and that’s important. I am so lucky to be at a club like this and I want to help this club to get better.”

Guardiola undecided about future….

Pep Guardiola

Bayern Munich coach and Manchester City target Pep Guardiola says he is still undecided about his future at the German club with his contract due to run out the end of the season. The 44-year-old added that he had not received any offer from any club and there is still time to discuss his future with Bayern officials, who are eager to keep him. Bayern’s season starts on Saturday when they take on Cup winners Wolfsburg in the German Super Cup.

Jovetic moves to Inter….

Stevan Jovetic

Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic has signed for Inter Milan on an 18-month loan with a view to a permanent transfer. The 25-year-old Montenegrin joined City from Fiorentina in summer 2013, but has struggled with injury.

Walcott signs new Arsenal deal….

Theo Walcott

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has signed a new four-year deal with the club worth £140,000 a week. The 26-year-old has scored 50 league goals in 208 appearances since signing from Southampton in 2006 in a deal worth up to £12.5m. Spain international midfielder Santi Cazorla, 30, has also signed a new deal with the London club. “Both are top-quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad,” said manager Arsene Wenger. “As well as their huge contributions on the pitch, they both have a great deal of experience and are very popular off the pitch.” Walcott, whose previous contract was due to expire at the end of the 2015-16 season, had been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool and Chelsea were reportedly willing to offer him the central striking role that he has struggled to secure at times at Arsenal. However, an impressive end to last season – including a first-half hat-trick in the 4-1 win over West Brom and the opening goal in the FA Cup final win over Aston Villa – helped strengthen his claim to lead the line for the Gunners. Walcott is the longest-serving player in Arsenal’s squad.

Szczesny joins Roma on loan….

Wojciech Szczesny

Roma have announced the signing of Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on a year-long loan. Szczesny, 25, passed a medical on Monday and on Wednesday signed a contract with Roma until 30 June 2016. The Polish goalkeeper made 29 appearances for Arsenal last season but leaves following the arrival of former Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

Mourinho says Benitez destroyed Inter….

Jose Mourinho has accused Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez of “destroying the best team in Europe” when the Spaniard replaced him at Inter Milan in 2010. The Chelsea boss spoke after Benitez’s wife joked her husband was “tidying up” another Mourinho “mess” at Real. As well as Real, Benitez also managed Chelsea – although he did not directly replace Mourinho at either club. “The lady is a bit confused,” Mourinho, 52, said after Chelsea’s International Champions Cup win over Barcelona. “Her husband went to Chelsea to replace Roberto Di Matteo and he went to Real Madrid and replaced Carlo Ancelotti. “The only club where her husband replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time. “If she takes care of her husband’s diet, she will not have any time to talk about me.” Benitez’s wife, Montserrat Seara, appears to have re-ignited a sometimes prickly relationship between the two managers, who have won a host of domestic and European honours between them, and previously clashed when they were the managers of Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. Mourinho guided Inter to a European and domestic treble in the 2009-10 season before he left for Real Madrid. Benitez took over and, despite leading Inter to wins in the Italian Supercoppa and the Fifa World Club Cup, he was sacked after six months with the team seventh in Serie A.

Drogba joins MLS side Montreal Impact….

Didier Droga

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has signed for Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact. The 37-year-old left Stamford Bridge this summer after playing 381 games and winning four Premier League titles across two spells with the London club. Drogba is the Ivory Coast’s all-time top scorer, with 65 goals in 105 international appearances. Montreal president Joey Saputo said the signing made it “one of the biggest days in club history”. He added: “It’s an honour to welcome Didier Drogba to the Impact. “From the first conversation I had with him, I felt that he really wanted to play in Montreal. “His arrival will be beneficial in every aspect.” Drogba will be a designated player at the Canadian side, which means his wages will not be restricted by the MLS salary cap. Impact, MLS members since 2012, finished bottom of the table last season. Drogba follows former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard in moving to the North American league, with the 37-year-old having joined New York City.

Congolese player in intensive care….

Rudy Guelord Bhebey Ndey

Congolese striker Rudy Guelord Bhebey Ndey is in intensive care after falling on his head during a match. The 25-year-old AC Leopards captain was hurt in the 17th minute of his side’s Confederation Cup Group B match against Egypt’s Zamalek on Saturday. He was taken to the Air Force Specialized Hospital in Cairo and arrived “in a very bad condition”. On Tuesday, Dr Salah Abdelkhaleq said the player was doing better but it was too early to say if he will play again. “He had serious damage to his spinal column between the fifth and sixth vertebrae, a blow to the spinal cord, breathing difficulties and brain bleeding, but the surgery was successful,” the doctor said. “The latest is that respiration is now stable after instability respiration on Monday. Chest muscles have been affected because of bruises in the cervical spinal cord. “His blood pressure has stabilised, and the player is conscious and recognises people around him. “As the main problem is the bruise in the spinal cord, we can judge the case after he get days of rest and medical follow-up.”

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Nigeria’s Troost-Ekong joins Gent….

William Troost-Ekong

Nigeria international defender William Troost-Ekong has joined Belgian champions Gent. The 21-year-old, who was a youth player with Tottenham, has agreed a three-year contract. However, he will spend the first year on loan at Norway’s FK Haugesund. “I’m very happy to have signed with the Belgium champions. I took my time deciding on my next best step,” Troost-Ekong told BBC Sport. “I thank Gent for this great opportunity and I look forward to joining the club at the end of my loan.” The Super Eagle rejected a big-money offer from Russian club Rostov and he also turned down interest from Spanish second-tier club SD Ponferradina and an English Championship side. He added: “I spoke with the Nigeria coach [Sunday Oliseh] and the emphasis was for me to ensure that I am playing regular top-flight football even if that meant seeking a loan move. “I’m thankful for his advice and together with what I and my management had in mind, this was the best option. “Going to Norway gives me an opportunity to play regularly and continue my progress.” Troost-Ekong, who made his debut for Nigeria in a match against Chad on 13 June, represented the Netherlands at youth level before switching allegiance to his father’s country.

African sides learn 2018 World Cup draw….

Samuel Eto'o

African sides have learned who they will face in 2018 World Cup qualifying following Saturday’s draw in St Petersburg, Russia. Fifty-three African countries were in the draw, with only Zimbabwe missing following their expulsion by FIFA for failing to pay a former coach. Africa has been allocated five spots in the finals, which will be played in Russia from 14 June to 15 July. There will be three rounds of qualifying for the African sides. Round one features the lowest 26 ranked countries on the continent in FIFA’s July rankings. The winners of those ties advance to round two where they will join the remaining 27 highest-ranked teams. In the final round, five groups of four teams will meet both home and away and the winner of each group will qualify for Russia 2018. Former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o was on stage in Russia to help with the African draw, and pulled out his own nation. The Indomitable Lions will feature in round two and will take on the winners of the tie between Somalia and Niger. In the pick of the other ties, 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa face a tough second round meeting against Angola; the African champions Ivory Coast will play either Liberia or Guinea Bissau, and the 2015 runners-up Ghana will face either Comoros or Lesotho. Nigeria, under new coach Sunday Oliseh, will play either Djibouti or Swaziland, and Algeria – Africa’s highest ranked nation – will play the winners of Tanzania v Malawi.

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Diaby has West Brom medical….

Abou Diaby

Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby is being examined by West Brom’s medical officers on Friday with a view to signing a pay-as-you-play deal. Manager Tony Pulis is also trying to do deals for, among others, Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert, QPR winger Matt Phillips, Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark.

Terry delight at Mourinho deal….

Jose Mourinho and John Terry

Chelsea captain John Terry believes manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to sign a new contract at the club is a huge blow to their rivals. Mourinho has confirmed that a new four-year deal has been agreed and it is only a matter of time before it is made official. “It’s great news for the club but terrible news for everybody else because the other managers know that he finds ways to beat teams,” Terry told the London Evening Standard. “He knows people inside out, on and off the pitch. Whether you’re a player or manager, he does his groundwork. He knows everything.”

Mourinho defends De Bruyne sale….

Kevin de Bruyne

Jose Mourinho says he has no regrets about selling Manchester City target Kevin de Bruyne, insisting the winger lacked the necessary mentality to succeed at Chelsea. Mourinho sold the 24-year-old Belgian to Wolfsburg in a deal worth £18m in January 2014 but he has been linked with a return to the Premier League for a fee in the region of £50m. “He needed a team where he knows he can play every game. He needs to know that he is important,” said Mourinho. “He did not want a team where he thinks, ‘am I playing or not?’. He needs that trust, he needs that quality. He needs that security. So I was not happy when he left.”

Sharapova and Dimitrov end relationship….

Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov

Russian five-times grand slam champion Maria Sharapova has split up with Bulgarian boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov after a relationship which lasted nearly three years. “Our paths split,” 24-year-old Dimitrov, who has fallen to 16th in the world after reaching eighth last year and reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, told Bulgarian media. “We experienced wonderful moments together. I wish her much happiness and success in life and in tennis. “Now I’m concentrated entirely on the game and I’m sure the results will soon be seen. This is the summer of the new beginning for me.”

FIFA seeks Russia racism answers….

Emmanuel Frimpong

FIFA has asked the Russian Football Union (RFU) to explain an alleged incident of racism inflicted on former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong. Ghana’s Frimpong was sent off playing for FC Ufa against Spartak Moscow on 17 July for a gesture to the crowd after saying he heard monkey chants. The midfielder was banned for two games but Spartak escaped punishment after the RFU found no evidence of racism. FIFA has given the RFU until Tuesday, 28 July to respond to its request. Russia host the 2018 World Cup and have been criticised for their handling of the issue of racism against a backdrop of incidents. Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has even gone so far as to suggest black players could boycott the Russia World Cup. In February, football anti-discrimination group Fare documented more than 200 incidents of racist and discriminatory behaviour linked to Russian football over two seasons. FIFA sustainability boss Federico Addiechi says the governing body will work with the RFU to tackle the problem ahead of the World Cup, with the qualifying draw for the tournament set to take place on Saturday in St Petersburg. He said: “It is up to us as the organizers of this event to make sure this event is welcoming everyone, not just for the players and participants but also for the fans. “If the Russian Football Union are in need of our support, and I think they are, then we can provide certain support.” United Nations chief of anti-discrimination Yuri Boychenko says Russian authorities are slowly acknowledging racism is a problem in the country. He added: “First comes recognition, that authorities here should recognise that there is a problem and I believe that the recognition is coming.” Russia’s minister for sport Vitaly Mutko – a FIFA executive committee member – said the country’s football authorities were working to address the problem. “We have introduced punitive sanctions for clubs and offenders and they are more harsh now,” he said. “Another measure is a special inspector at the match whose responsibility will be to pay attention to that kind of incident so no incident is left unpunished.”

Vidal joining Bayern, Muller staying….

Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller playing in a friendly against Inter Milan in China

Bayern Munich have agreed a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and say “priceless” forward Thomas Muller will not be sold this summer. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed they have received offers for Muller, 25, who was reported to be a target for Manchester United. He added: “There are some players who don’t have any price tag. We would be out of our minds to sell Muller.” Vidal, 28, has agreed terms with Bayern and will have a medical this weekend. The German champions will pay a reported £26m for the player, who is on holiday after helping Chile win the Copa America last month.

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Frimpong says Russian FA is beyond a joke….

Emmanuel Frimpong

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong called the Russian Football Union ‘beyond a joke’ after he was handed a two-game ban for reacting to alleged racist abuse. The Ufa player said he was the subject of monkey chants before being sent off for a gesture against Spartak Moscow. Spartak will not be punished as the RFU said it found no evidence of racism. “For the Russian FA to say they didn’t hear or see any evidence of racism is beyond a joke,” Frimpong tweeted. “Been banned for two games – acceptable on my part for the gesture, no problems with that. “I’ve always said we are blessed in England and how wonderful of a country it is. Not saying there isn’t racism in England of course. Must stress not all Russians behave like that.” Artur Grigoryants, head of the disciplinary committee, said: “The match inspector and the match delegate did not note that there had been any disciplinary violations by Spartak supporters towards Frimpong in the match reports. “There were no instances of racism. We have no grounds to take disciplinary sanctions against Spartak.” Ghana midfielder Frimpong, 23, apologised for his reaction but did not attend the hearing. Last season, Dynamo Moscow’s Congolese defender Christopher Samba was given the same ban for an identical offence. Zenit St Petersburg’s Brazilian striker Hulk has recently said racism happens at “almost every game” in the Russian league and that it is a genuine threat to the 2018 World Cup, which will he held in the country. He said he had repeatedly faced monkey chants and also accused a referee of racially abusing him. It was announced on Wednesday that the striker will be one of the star names taking part in the preliminary draw for the World Cup, along with compatriot Ronaldo, former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro and ex-Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o.

Ghana’s Mensah joins Atletico Madrid….

Bernard Mensah (left) in action for Vitoria Guimaraes

Ghana international midfielder Bernard Mensah has signed for Atletico Madrid on a long-term deal, the Spanish La Liga side said on their website. The 20-year-old moves from Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes and has agreed a six-year contract. However, he will spend the first year on loan at city neighbours Getafe. Mensah, who scored five times in 30 games for Vitoria, made his debut for Ghana in a match against Togo on 8 June and scored the only goal of the game.

Frimpong given two-game ban for racism response….


Ufa midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has been given a two-match ban by the Russian Football Union after he was sent off for raising a finger to the crowd in response to alleged racist abuse at the weekend. Spartak Moscow will not be punished as the RFU committee “didn’t find any confirmations of monkey chants so they deny racism in this case”. Following his dismissal Frimpong questioned how Russia can contemplate hosting the 2018 World Cup when racist incidents are still occurring.