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.
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.”
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.”
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 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.”