Newcastle have agreed a fee, believed to be about £12m, to sign Tottenham’s England winger Andros Townsend. The 24-year-old has made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League this season. Townsend – who has played 10 times for England – was dropped for a Europa League match in November after a row with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner. Newcastle have already signed midfielders Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet in this transfer window. Townsend joined the Tottenham academy aged eight but did not become a first-team regular until the start of the 2013-14 season, by which time he had been sent out on nine separate loan spells. This season, though, he has only started three games – two in the Europa League and the Capital One Cup defeat by Arsenal. He appeared to confirm that he was leaving Tottenham on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting a picture of him leaving the club’s training ground.
The home based Super Eagles of Nigeria have been eliminated from the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN), after they were defeated 1-0 by Guinea in their last Group C game on Tuesday. Sankhon scored the only goal of the encounter, with one minute left in the first half, as the Syli Stars took full advantage of the Super Eagles’ lack of urgency. In the other game, Tunisia hammered 10-man Niger Republic 5-0 and finished with 5 points at the top of the group. Guinea qualify as runners-up from the group with 5 points too. Too bad for the coach Sunday Oliseh boys.
Evergreen Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon intends to retire after the 2018 World Cup. Buffon, who turns 38 this week, has represented his country a record 154 times and has made well over 500 appearances for Juventus, for whom he signed in 2001. The World Cup winner is expected to keep goal at this summer’s European Championship but the World Cup in Russia – should Italy qualify – will be his last tournament with the Azzurri. In quotes carried by Tuttosport, Buffon said: “Am I going to sign a new contract? If we manage to reach the World Cup in 2018 then I’ll press on. “But after that… I’ll bring down the shutters.” Buffon, who holds the record for most clean sheets kept in Serie A, remains the most expensive keeper in history as Juve paid Parma €52million for his services almost 15 years ago.
Manchester United have denied manager Louis van Gaal offered to resign following Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Southampton. Reports emerged late on Monday suggesting the Dutchman spoke to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about his future immediately after the Barclays Premier League contest at the weekend. Within that, there were some claims Van Gaal offered his resignation on Saturday. But that talk was dismissed by a club source on Tuesday morning as the 64-year-old returned to work.
Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after it was confirmed he sustained knee ligament damage in his side’s comeback victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Vertonghen, an ever-present for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season, fell awkwardly following a challenge by Connor Wickham and was later substituted. The defender left Selhurst Park on crutches and, after undergoing a scan, has now been ruled out for the foreseeable future. “Further assessment & scans have confirmed thatJan_Vertonghen sustained damage to his medial collateral ligament in his knee at Palace,” Tottenham tweeted. “Our medical staff will continue to monitor his progress during his rehabilitation to determine when he will be ready to return to training.” Wickham, who appeared to catch Vertonghen in the face with his elbow, was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for the incident which was missed by referee Martin Atkinson. Vertonghen’s injury will come as a blow to Tottenham who are chasing their first league title since 1961.
Naples prosecutors have announced a sweeping investigation into allegations of falsifying player transactions to avoid as much as €12million (£9 million) in taxes involving as many as 35 Serie A and Serie B teams. Italian financial police are executing search warrants against about 60 suspects working in professional football, including team managers, players and agents. They are also exercising seizures of cash, property and financial holdings equal to the amount of tax allegedly evaded. Agents are searching offices at AC Milan’s headquarters, news agency ANSA reported.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says striker Diego Costa will continue his goalscoring run after recapturing his form in recent weeks. Costa has been struggling to match a debut season which saw him score 20 goals in 26 appearances in the Londoners’ title-winning campaign. But the 27-year-old appears to have rediscovered his scoring touch since manager Guus Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho in December, netting six goals in as many appearances, including the only goal of the game in Sunday’s win over Arsenal. “We knew that when he scored a few goals again he would go on and score more, and I think he has confidence,” Courtois told the club’s official website. “He’s a top striker and he will score more goals for us, this was a big one.”
Novak Djokovic sealed a swift win over Kei Nishikori to set up a semi-final against Roger Federer at the Australian Open. The defending champion completed a ruthless 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over the Japanese player to secure his first meeting with long-term rival Federer this year. Djokovic dropped two sets before battling past Gilles Simon in the previous round, but his progress was far more comfortable in the quarter-finals and the Serb swept a backhand across court to convert match point. The world No 1 admitted he rested instead of practicing for the Nishikori match and is relishing his 45th encounter with Federer. “I didn’t hit a tennis ball and sometimes it’s actually good to rest your mind and rest your body,” said Djokovic. “Less is more sometimes.”
Crystal Palace were today set to complete the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor. The 31-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Tottenham last September and Alan Pardew has turned to the striker in the hope that he will cure Palace’s lack of goals. The Togo international is determined to reignite his career and could make his Palace debut against Stoke in the FA Cup on Saturday. Adebayor left Tottenham when his deal was terminated by mutual agreement but they have still been paying his £100,000-a-week wages. Adebayor has not appeared in the Premier League since May and, while he has been keeping fit with the help of a personal trainer, it remains to be seen how quickly he will be able to make an impact. Pardew needs him to get up to speed quickly as Palace look to revive their push for a European spot. Adebayor has scored 96 times in 230 League games in England, leaving him eight shy of the mark set by former Chelsea and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba. He has his sights set on becoming the Premier League’s leading African goalscorer.
Sunderland have offered £10m and striker Fabio Borini for Swansea City forward Andre Ayew, Sky reports. The Black Cats have been pursuing Ayew for several weeks and are understood to have made an initial approach for the player 10 days ago. The Ghana international has been one of the better performers in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Swansea, scoring eight Premier League goals.
Atletico Madrid have lodged an appeal against a two-window FIFA-imposed transfer ban over their dealing in under-age players. The ban, which has also been handed to Madrid rivals Real, is set to commence in July before being lifted at the end of the January transfer window in 2017. Atletico were fined 900,000 Swiss francs (£623,464) and Real 360,000 (£249,385). However, both clubs are still allowed to sign players until the end of this month. In a statement released on Monday, Atletico announced they had “lodged an appeal against the decision by FIFA’s disciplinary commission”. World football’s governing body said the alarm was raised over the two clubs’ dealings by FIFA’s Transfer Matching System, with its disciplinary committee completing the inquiry. Under international football rules, players under 18 cannot be transferred to another country, except in limited circumstances. All transfers need the approval of a special FIFA committee.
Real Madrid have a buy-back clause in their transfer agreement with Arsenal for Mesut Ozil, leaked transfer documents have claimed. A contract on the Football Leaks website claims the Gunners must notify Real if they ever intend to sell the World Cup winner to another Spanish club. The financial terms of the offer received for the Germany international would have be disclosed to Real, who would have 48 hours to decide whether to match the offer, or until noon, London time, on the final day of the relevant transfer window, whichever comes first. Should a rival Spanish club sign Ozil for more than €50m, Real would be entitled to 33 per cent of the profit. The contract, which is unverified, shows Arsenal paid an initial fee of €44m when they signed Ozil in September 2013, with the fee rising to a maximum of €50m. Six separate €1m payments, up to a maximum of €6m, are contingent on Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League group stages in any season from July 2014 onwards. Each payment must be settled within 30 days of qualification being secured, the contract states. Arsenal has declined to comment.
Chelsea have confirmed forward Christian Atsu has joined Malaga on loan until the end of the season. Malaga beat off competition from Levante and Rayo Vallencano and their success is believed to be down to the amount of first-team football they are offering the 24-year-old. Atsu spent the first half of the season on loan with Bournemouth, but he failed to make a single league appearance and was restricted to only two starts in the Capital One Cup. The winger joined Chelsea in the summer of 2013, but is yet to make a first-team appearance and spent a year apiece on loan with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem and Everton, where he made five Premier League appearance in the 2014-15 season. Atsu replaces Nordin Amrabat in the Malaga squad following the Moroccan forward’s switch to Watford earlier in the transfer window. Atsu represented Ghana at the 2014 world cup in Brazil.
The home based Super Eagles currently participating in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament in Rwanda will today play their Guinea counterparts in their last group game. The match will start by 3pm Nigerian time and will be played at the Rubavu Stadium, Rubavu. The center referee will be Noureddine el-Jaafari, a Moroccan. El-Jaafari will be assisted by Theogene Ndagijimana from Rwanda and Mark Ssonko from Uganda. Nigeria need at least a draw to qualify for the quarterfinals. Good luck to the Super Eagles and more goals to Chisom Chikatara who has scored four goals so far in the tournament.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he was hurt after Yaya Toure said it was indecent to give the Gabon forward the African Player of the Year award. In a vote of coaches and technical directors of Caf nations, Aubameyang got 143 points, with Toure on 136 and Swansea midfielder Ayew on 112. Manchester City midfielder Toure said the decision had brought “shame” on the continent, while Swansea’s Andre Ayew also questioned the move. Ivory Coast’s Toure and Ghana’s Ayew reached the African Cup of Nations final, and Gabon went out early. “I was hurt by what was said,” Borussia Dortmund striker Aubameyang said. “It’s a shame.” “The award is based on the whole year and not just the African Cup of Nations,” added Aubameyang, who is currently the leading scorer in the Bundesliga with 18 goals.
I still cannot understand how this CAF award works especially when someone like the legendary Jay Jay Okocha failed to win it after making the last three contenders list for three times and having wonderful seasons at those periods. Another one was when Samuel Eto’o failed to win it in a season he won treble (La Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League) with Barcelona. What do you guys think?
Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova for the 18th time in a row to reach the Australian Open semi-finals. The American defending champion, seeded number one and chasing a 22nd Grand Slam title, saw off fifth seed Sharapova 6-4 6-1 at Melbourne Park. It is 12 years since Williams lost to the Russian, and the world number one moves on to face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the last four. In the men’s draw, Roger Federer beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4. The Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion will play top seed Novak Djokovic or seventh seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals on Thursday.