Report: Manchester City defender Danilo wants Inter Milan move


Report: Manchester City defender Danilo wants Inter Milan move – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Danilo joined Manchester City from Real Madrid two years back for a reported fee of £26.5 million, but he has hardly been able to establish himself as a regular starter under Pep Guardiola.
The versatile Brazilian can play on both flanks – something Guardiola has always admired – but his lack of regular game time could be key to his decision to leave the club.
Having only made nine Premier League starts this season, the 27-year-old has been feeling that he should move elsewhere to seek new challenges. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Inter Milan are looking to take this opportunity to lure him away from Etihad, with the player keen to pack his bags and move to the San Siro.
Danilo has reportedly told the Inter officials that he would be interested in kick-starting his career in Italy. Inter have responded by making an initial bid of £13 million plus bonuses, but City are biding time to decide on his future (possibly they would do so after the end of the season, which makes a lot of sense).
While a move to Inter would guarantee him regular games, he may have to accept a substantial pay cut. Inter can offer him a wage package of £60,000 a week in Serie A (some way short of his £75,000 a week at City) but moolah can take a back seat, especially at this stage of his career – right Danilo?
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Report: Manchester United join Liverpool to sign Nicolas Pepe


Report: Manchester United join Liverpool to sign Nicolas Pepe – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Premier League title contender Liverpool have been in the hunt for Lille’s highly rated Nicolas Pepe, but the Reds could be challenged by archrivals Manchester United.
According to reports from the Express, the Red Devils have joined the race to sign the prolific attacker from the Ligue 1 high flyers, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is apparently making preparations for Romelu Lukaku’s departure.
The report adds that United are likely to face competition from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who are willing to make an official offer for the player valued at £60 million.
Pepe – more of a wide attacker than a natural centre-forward – fits the fluid attacking system at Liverpool, but United might have other plans for him.
Manchester United have sent scouts to watch him in action and they have been heavily impressed with his performances. And why wouldn’t they be? The 23-year-old has netted 20 goals in 36 games for Christoph Galtier’s side, and played an instrumental role for the second-placed Ligue 1 side who narrowly escaped relegation last season.
He has emerged as one of the highly sought after attacking talents in the world, and Lille can expect a firm offer for him this summer. There are suggestions that Pepe could replace Lukaku at Old Trafford with the Belgian striker angling a move in the direction of Italy’s biggest clubs – Juventus and Inter Milan.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Report: West Ham eye move for Guillermo Maripan


Report: West Ham eye move for Guillermo Maripan – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Along with bolstering the attacking department, peppering the cracks at the back should be another priority for Manuel Pellegrini when he draws out his summer transfer plan.
The Hammers boss has been reportedly vying to sign fellow compatriot Guillermo Maripan from Deportivo Alaves, with the club having already made an unsuccessful bid of £8.5 million to lure him away earlier this year.
It comes as a no surprise that the Hammers would be hammering the door of Alaves to sign the Chilean international once again, and this time they may get their wish. According to reports from Football London, West Ham have firmed up their interest in the 24-year-old who apparently is available for a bargain £10 million – quite a drop from his £23 million release clause.
Maripan did well for the ambitious Alaves and has fairly impressed in La Liga since moving to the club in 2017. He has made 23 appearances for the side, and played an important part in the quest for a Europa League place. It does not come as a coincidence that Alaves have failed to win any of the six games the highly rated defender has missed through injury since March.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Opinion: Appointing Rio Ferdinand as director of football is another sentimental decision that could backfire


Opinion: Appointing Rio Ferdinand as director of football is another sentimental decision that could backfire – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Manchester United will most likely be playing in the Europa League next season after managing to win just two of their last seven Premier League games.
With two more games left in the 2018-19 campaign, the Red Devils are five points behind third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and a point behind Arsenal, and their chances of beating any of the three to the remaining two Champions League spot are as slim as they come.
United weren’t even in the top-four picture when Jose Mourinho left in December, though, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves accolades for leading the side to 10 league wins and just two draws in his first 12 top-flight games in charge.
However, the recent struggles of the Old Trafford side have got many believing that appointing the Norwegian and former club striker on a permanent basis was a sentimental move by the club.
It is too early to start judging Solskjaer, but it seems United are ready to make another sentimental appointment again in their search for a sporting director.
As reported by Sportmail, the side’s former centre-back Rio Ferdinand has already met with vice-chairman Ed Woodward and is in the frame for the job.
United owners the Glazer family are also keen on having the legendary defender back at the club, and while his history with the Red Devils, his business experience managing his clothing company and restaurant and punditry skills should all come handy, his lack of experience in dealing with transfers could make appointing him backfire spectacularly.
Going for a candidate that knows how transfers and the transfer market work seems a more logical idea.
United have spent a lot of money in the transfer markets since Sir Alex Ferguson left but have struggled to challenge for the major trophies, and they can’t afford to keep getting it wrong on that front going forward.
Ferdinand could come in and hit the ground running, though, but there is no guarantee that he will be a success in the longterm as United’s sporting director, and it makes more sense to get someone that already knows how things work than getting someone who still has a lot to learn.
Another sentimental appointment in such a crucial role won’t do United any good.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Manchester United Transfers: 3 positions Solskjaer must strengthen


Manchester United Transfers: 3 positions Solskjaer must strengthen – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Manchester United have had a season to forget this year. The Red Devils find themselves sixth in the Premier League standings with two games to go.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men need a massive slice of luck to qualify for Champions League football for the next season.
With the prospect of Europa League looming large, United should use this summer to fix their key weaknesses and rebuild their ageing squad.
Here at Sportslens, we look at the three key positions that need strengthening in the summer.
Centre back
 

Manchester United are in desperate need of a commanding centre back.
The likes of City, Liverpool and Spurs have outstanding defenders at their disposal and Solskjaer must find an upgrade on Jones/Smalling.
Lindelof has done well this season and Bailly has the potential to develop into a reliable defender. However, Manchester United must bring in a proven centre back to organize their defence now.
Someone like Koulibaly or Alderweireld would be ideal for the Red Devils.
Centre midfield

Manchester United have a world class player in Paul Pogba, but they have failed to get the best out of him.
The Frenchman plays his best football when he is playing with freedom. A reliable defensive/box-to-box midfielder would help get the best out of Pogba. He has excelled for France and Juventus in similar roles.
At United, he is often shackled and he has a lot of defensive responsibilities.
Solskjaer must look to bring in a quality midfielder this summer. Not only would it help Pogba shine, but it would also improve United at the back as well.
The likes of Matic and Fred are simply not good enough for a side wanting to play in the Champions League.
Someone like Milinkovic-Savic or Tanguy Ndombele would be ideal.
Winger

All of the top Premier League clubs have elite wingers at their disposal. Sterling, Sane, Salah, Mane, Son, Hazard have all improved their teams significantly.
Manchester United need to find a player of similar calibre this summer.
The likes of Sanchez and Lingard are simply not good enough and Martial is not suited to that role at all.
Rashford and Lukaku are good strikers who have been tasked with a lot of creative responsibilities this season.
A quality winger would share the creative burden and allow them to shine in their natural role.
Players like Sancho, Pepe and Bergwijn should be targets for the Old Trafford outfit this summer.
 
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Barcelona vs Liverpool Preview, Team News, Stats & Prediction


Barcelona vs Liverpool Preview, Team News, Stats & Prediction – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Barcelona vs Liverpool
UEFA Champions League 2018/19
1st May, 20:00 pm BST
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Barcelona host Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals this week and they will be looking pick up a home win in the first leg.
The Catalan giants will be full of confidence after sealing their La Liga crown earlier this month.
They managed to get past Manchester United with ease in the earlier round and they will fancy their chances against another English side here.
As for Liverpool, the Reds have had a good season so far and they will look to grind out a good away result at Camp Nou.
Klopp’s men are formidable at Anfield and they will look to make it to the finals of the Champions League once again.
Liverpool failed to win the final last year and they will want to go all the way this time.

Barcelona vs Liverpool Team News
Barcelona will be without midfielder Rafinha for this game.
Liverpool could be without Adam Lallana for the trip to Spain. The likes of Fabinho and Firmino are expected to return.
Predicted Barcelona starting lineup: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suarez, Dembele
Predicted Liverpool starting lineup: Alisson; Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah

Barcelona vs Liverpool Key Stats
Barcelona are undefeated in their last 10 matches in the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool have won their last 3 matches in the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches in the UEFA Champions League.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Liverpool.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Double swoop for Manchester City as Sterling and Parris are named FWA Footballers of the Year


Double swoop for Manchester City as Sterling and Parris are named FWA Footballers of the Year – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Manchester City have completed a double swoop in the Football Writers’ Association awards with Raheem Sterling and Nikita Parris being named Footballers of the Year. Sterling won 62% of the vote, beating Virgil van Dijk by more than 100 votes, while Parris narrowly edged out Vivianne Miedema by a single vote in the second stage.
Newly-elected FWA Chair Carrie Brown said: “Raheem Sterling is a player of style and a man of substance. More than 70 years ago Charles Buchan, one of the founding fathers of the Footballer Writers’ Association, suggested there be an award presented to the player who by “precept and example” is considered the Footballer of the Year.
“Raheem Sterling is an exemplar of the talent and values our founding fathers sought to reward when they established the FWA in 1947. To have been voted the 2019 Footballer of the Year by our members, and with such an overwhelming majority, clearly acknowledges the contribution from a player over one season, but it also recognises the huge impact of Raheem’s courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism, which will leave a legacy not just for future generations in football but society as a whole.”
Sterling has scored 17 goals and made 10 assists in 32 Premier League appearances for Man City men this season. He’s comfortably in the top-10 for goals and assists and drew widespread praise for handing in-game racial abuse. Parris has scored 19 goals in 19 WSL 1 appearances for Man City women, has won the Continental Cup and could win the Women’s FA Cup in May.
Parris is the FAWSL’s all-time record goalscorer and impressed for England when the Lionesses won the She Believes Cup triumph earlier in the year. The Man City forward has also been exemplary off the pitch, helping the City of Liverpool College set up the NP17 Football Academy which provides sports qualification to students.
Harry Kane (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Bernardo Silva and David Silva (Manchester City) were the other men to receive votes while Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Danielle van de Donk (Arsenal), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Magdalena Ericsson (Chelsea), Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea), Karen Carney (Chelsea), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Lucy Bronze (Lyon) and Toni Duggan (Barcelona) were the other women.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Matthews: How ‘The Wizard’ defied the South African government


Matthews: How ‘The Wizard’ defied the South African government – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Widely considered to be one the greatest players of all-time, Sir Stanley Matthews’ achievements on a football pitch are firmly etched into the game’s folklore.
When you think of Matthews many memories come to mind – his ability on the ball that earned him the nickname ‘The Wizard’, his performance for Blackpool in the 1953 FA Cup Final against Bolton Wanderers and his superb efforts in an England shirt.
However, his contribution off the pitch was perhaps even more important, particularly in respect of his work to develop the game in South Africa back in the 1970s.
A stunning feature documentary simply entitled ‘Matthews’ brings together previously unseen archive footage, photographs and interviews to tell the incredible true story of one of football’s most legendary personalities.
It charts the story of how Matthews used his status to defy the apartheid government in South Africa to teach football in the all-black townships of Johannesburg, transforming the lives of the young players who became known as ‘Stan’s Men’.
His work undoubtedly inspired many African youngsters to take up the game and opened the door for many top stars from the continent to make their mark on the world stage.
Featuring contributions by Gary Lineker, Sir Michael Parkinson, Patrick Barclay, Jimmy Armfield and many more, ‘Matthews’ is a wonderfully produced, emotional tale, about a man who helped others simply because he could, not because he had to.
His decision to take some African boys to Brazil in 1975 was truly ground-breaking and this humanitarian act of kindness is central to the film’s storyline.
His impact on the youngsters was such that Matthews had a throne built for him, yet his humility shines like a beacon throughout the documentary.
Matthews’ interest in growing the game in Africa was sparked over 60 years ago when he travelled to Ghana to play a series of exhibition matches to celebrate the country’s independence.
His presence there would have been akin to the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo heading to a war zone to take part in a football game.
More than 80,000 spectators turned up to watch his first three matches against Kotoko, Sekondi Hasaacas and Kumasi Cornerstone, with Matthews mobbed by fans at each one.
Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, was inspired by Matthews visit to use sport to bring the nation together, and it was this ethos that fed into the footballer’s visit to South Africa in the 1970s.
His desire to break down barriers saw Matthews make Stan’s Men the first black football team to tour outside South Africa.
They watched matches at the Maracana Stadium, trained with the Brazilian national side which included players like Zico and provided hope to others that racial issues could eventually be overcome.
Lovingly pieced together by director, Ryan Scott Warren, with support from executive producers Stanley Matthews Jr and Joseph Pierce, ‘Matthews’ is a truly inspiring story about how one man put his neck on the line to make a difference to the lives of others.
The documentary is available on iTunes and Amazon.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Liverpool Transfers: 3 positions Klopp must strengthen in summer


Liverpool Transfers: 3 positions Klopp must strengthen in summer – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Liverpool are currently sitting on top of the Premier League with two games to go.
The Reds have amassed 91 points from their 36 games but Manchester City remain in the driving seat. Guardiola’s men are two points behind having played one less game.
Liverpool have done exceptionally well to match up to a side of Manchester City’s calibre but it is evident that they are still missing the strength in depth to truly overcome Guardiola’s juggernaut.
Jurgen Klopp should look to address some of the weaknesses in his side this summer and here at Sportslens we look at three key areas that need strengthening at the end of this season.
Backup full back

Liverpool’s style of play is hugely dependent on the likes of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. However, they do not have quality backups for either player.
Alberto Moreno is simply not good enough defensively and Joe Gomez/James Milner have been used as makeshift right backs in the absence of Alexander-Arnold.
Klopp needs to invest in a quality young full back like Lloyd Kelly or Ryan Sessegnon. Although, the Fulham ace likes to play more advanced.
 
Creative midfielder

Liverpool have two very good midfielders in Naby Keita and Fabinho. The Brazilian has had an exceptional debut season and Keita is starting to show his quality in the recent weeks.
However, the Reds need a creative box-to-box midfielder who can score goals and link up with the attackers.
Someone like Ilkay Gundogan or Bruno Fernandes would be ideal for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Both players are very efficient as the advanced midfielders and their style of play will help them adapt to Klopp’s system.
The likes of Henderson and Wijnaldum are great squad players but they do not offer a lot going forward.
 
Forward

Liverpool are in desperate need of a versatile forward who can come in to replace the likes of Mane, Salah or Firmino when needed.
All three players are versatile and can play across the front three. Klopp needs to find another player of similar style of complete a fearsome quartet.
The likes of Origi and Sturridge are simply not good enough for a side wishing to challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League.
Someone like Timo Werner or Lorenzo Insigne would be ideal for Liverpool and he would give Klopp some tactical flexibility as well.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog


Championship promotion race: Norwich City and Sheffield United looking good as Leeds United implode


Championship promotion race: Norwich City and Sheffield United looking good as Leeds United implode – originally posted on Sportslens.com

With just two games to play there are still a trio of teams hoping to secure automatic promotion from the Championship this season.
Norwich City have a three point lead over Sheffield United, while Leeds United are a further three points adrift in third place.
All three sides are at home this weekend, with Leeds facing the most difficult task as they go head-to-head with Aston Villa at Elland Road.
Read on as we look at whether there could be a late twist in the promotion race.
Norwich not certain of title just yet
With a six point gap to third-placed Leeds the Canaries be promoted automatically, but they are far from certain to go up as champions.
Norwich face in-form Blackburn Rovers (H) and Villa (A) in their last two matches needing four points to guarantee themselves the title.
Rovers have won four on the spin, while Villa have reeled off 10 victories in a row, highlighting the size of the task Norwich face.
They should claim top spot from this position, but it would be no surprise if both Rovers and Villa took points from their respective matches.
Blades could pinch the title
United’s 1-0 victory over Leeds at Elland Road back in March was undoubtedly the game that proved Chris Wilder’s side were genuine promotion contenders.
They were excellent over the Easter weekend, winning 2-0 at home to Nottingham Forest and 3-0 at Hull City.
The Blades host already-relegated Ipswich Town this weekend, before travelling to face Stoke City on the final day.
With a slightly better goal difference than Norwich, the South Yorkshire side could still sneak in and pinch the title.
Leeds’ wobble costs them dearly
Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked certainties for automatic promotion prior to Christmas, but just 10 wins in 19 matches since December 29 has derailed their challenge.
Defeats in their last two matches against Wigan Athletic and Brentford appear to be the final nail in the coffin, particularly with the Blades looking a good bet to beat Ipswich this weekend.
Leeds face Villa at Elland Road on Sunday lunchtime and their fate could virtually be sealed by kick-off time.
A final day visit to Ipswich should be easy enough, but it would be a brave move to back Leeds to win promotion via the play-offs given their recent form.
From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog