Jese Rodriguez: Stoke sign PSG forward on loan

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 with No Comments
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Jese Rodriguez

Jese Rodriguez has played just 14 times for Paris St-Germain

Stoke have signed ex-Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez on a season-long loan from Paris St-Germain.

The 24-year-old joined Real at the age of 14 and was part of their Champions League-winning squads in 2014 and 2016.

He joined PSG last August for £21m on a five-year deal, but scored just twice in 14 appearances before he was loaned to Spanish club Las Palmas in January for the rest of the season.

“His pedigree speaks for itself,” said Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes.

  • Stoke sell Joselu to Newcastle for £5m

“He hasn’t had the happiest of periods in his career in Paris but he’s still only a young man and is hungry to make a big impression in the Premier League.

“He will most certainly add to the firepower at our disposal.”

Jese is Stoke’s sixth signing of the transfer window.

Defender Bruno Martins Indi joined on Friday, while the Potters have also signed defender Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea, while midfielder Darren Fletcher, defender Josh Tymon and winger Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting all joined on free transfers.

Jese, who was linked with a loan move to Middlesbrough in January, played 63 times for Real, scoring 13 goals.

Stoke scoff at ‘ambitious’ Arnautovic

Stoke announced the signing of Jese in a video posted on social media that also criticised former player Marko Arnautovic, who left to join West Ham for £20m this summer.

The 28-year-old forward subsequently said he wanted to join West Ham because they are “a bigger, more ambitious club” than Stoke.

In the video, Stoke referenced Arnautovic’s comments before listing Jese’s previous clubs and trophies, including one La Liga, one Copa del Rey and two Champions League titles.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Analysis: ‘Levy has a humane side, and holds key to Spurs’ future’

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 with No Comments
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Match of the Day

This is such a crucial time for Tottenham’s future and the direction they want to go in after taking such huge strides over the past couple of seasons.

Their fans, and undoubtedly their players too, just want to feel like they are still moving forwards after finishing third, then second in the Premier League.

The danger is not that they risk standing still – more that they could fall behind if they don’t strengthen properly now or, even worse, keep this group of players together.


Gylfi Sigurdsson: Everton agree £45m deal for Swansea midfielder

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 16, 2017 with No Comments
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Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson has also played for Tottenham, Reading, Shrewsbury and Crewe in England

Everton are set to announce the signing of Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson for a fee believed to be about £45m.

The 27-year old passed a medical at the club earlier on Wednesday, manager Ronald Koeman told a news conference.

The Iceland international scored nine goals and made 13 assists last season to help the Swans avoid relegation.

Sigurdsson will be a record signing for Everton, who paid £31.8m to Chelsea for striker Romelu Lukaku in 2014.

Swansea set an asking price of £50m for Sigurdsson in July after rejecting an offer worth about £40m from Leicester.

The Welsh club then turned down a similar bid from the Toffees, who had been interested in signing the Iceland playmaker for more than a year.

Spurs will reportedly benefit from a 10% sell-on clause, having sold Sigurdsson to Swansea in the deal which took Wales full-back Ben Davies and goalkeeper Michel Vorm to White Hart Lane.

  • Sigurdsson irreplaceable for Swansea – Walsh

Sigurdsson in numbers


Southampton: Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao completes takeover

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 15, 2017 with No Comments
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Jisheng Gao and his family are understood to have bought about 80% of Southampton

Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao and his family have completed a deal to buy 80% of Southampton.

In January, Gao’s company Lander Sports Development said a deal was agreed, but the takeover is now a personal investment.

“Today is the start of a new and exciting chapter for our club,” said Katharina Liebherr, who inherited Saints from her late father, Markus, in 2010 when they were in League One.

She will retain a 20% share.

Liebherr said the Gao family share Southampton’s “values and ambitions”, adding: “As a team, we will strive to build upon the strong foundation that is in place towards sustainable long-term success.”

She said both parties have “full trust” in the Premier League club’s chairman Ralph Krueger and his management team and support plans to follow the “Southampton way”.

“I am honoured and humbled to become a partner of Southampton Football Club alongside Katharina Liebherr, who, together with her father, has been such a great steward of the club, its growth and success,” said Gao.

“Together, we have the passion and motivation to build on Southampton’s excellent progress in recent years as we look forward to an exciting next chapter for the club.”

A spokesman for the Premier League said: “As with any change of control at a Premier League club, we have checked the sources and sufficiency of funding in place to acquire the shares, and been provided with a detailed business plan showing the new owners can sustain the club going forward.

“We have also conducted the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, which includes detailed background checks on any individual proposing to acquire more than 30% of shares in a club, or to be a director on the club’s board.”

English clubs Aston Villa, Birmingham, Wolves, Reading and West Brom already have Chinese investors, as do Italian side AC Milan, who were bought for £628m earlier this year.

In 2015, Manchester City also sold a 13% stake of the club worth £265m to a consortium of Chinese investors.

Analysis – ‘Saints’ next chapter will be fascinating’

BBC Radio Solent sports editor Adam Blackmore

While Saints owner Katharina Liebherr has described this new investment as a partnership, the reality is that the Gao family – father Jisheng and daughter Nelly – are now 80% majority owners.

Day to day this investment is not set to create upheaval at the club; the current board and management at Southampton will continue to run the club and I do not expect Saints to veer far from the path they have been on.

The Gao investment will of course have been discussed at length by Katharina Liebherr, who will have done all she can to protect the club and to make sure the Gao family have the club’s long-term interests at heart, like she and her father Markus have had.

But she has brought this investment in to strengthen the club financially and to take it further than she feels she is able to on her own. She has done this to keep the club moving forward, albeit I suspect in a measured way, not with a sudden splashing of cash.

Her legacy as sole owner is easy to see – two promotions saw her finish what her father started in 2009, the revival of Southampton FC from near extinction.

But she has done more than that. She has led a club in a dignified way without once feeling the need to justify herself publicly, she has led a business that has thrived on bettering players, and she has turned Saints into a consistent top-half Premier League club.

The Gao family have an incredible platform from which to build. The next chapter for Saints, Chinese ownership, will be fascinating to see.

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Ronaldo banned for five matches after pushing referee

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo put Real Madrid 2-1 up before he was sent off at the Nou Camp

Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for five games after he was sent off in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup first leg on Sunday.

He was given a one-match ban for being shown two yellow cards and a further four for pushing the referee in the back after he had been sent off.

The bookings at the Nou Camp were for taking off his shirt to celebrate his goal to make it 2-1 and for a dive.

He will miss Wednesday’s second leg.

Ronaldo, 32, will have 10 days to appeal.

The Portugal international will be able to play in the Champions League but will not return to domestic action until 20 September against Real Betis.

Madrid had already signalled their intent to appeal against Ronaldo’s second yellow card shown for diving eight minutes from time when he went down inside the area under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

“Ronaldo’s sending-off annoys me because even if it is not a penalty, the card is harsh,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after the game. “We will see if we can do something so that he is available on Wednesday.”

Ronaldo was only on the field for 24 minutes as he was introduced as a second-half substitute and fired into the top corner 10 minutes from time to give Madrid a 2-1 lead.

It was Ronaldo’s 10th red card of his career and the two yellow cards on Sunday came within two minutes.

“Once shown the red card, said player (Ronaldo) pushed me lightly as a sign of his disapproval,” the referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea wrote in his post-match report.


Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher

The message they’ve got to send out is it’s unacceptable to push a match official.

If I’m walking down the high street in my town I can’t go pushing a policeman.

There is nothing to excuse what Ronaldo did.

We cannot accept this at any cost.

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Diego Costa: Chelsea forward’s behaviour is disgraceful, says Ian Wright

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 15, 2017 with No Comments
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Antonio Conte and Diego Costa

Diego Costa scored 20 goals in 35 Premier League games for champions Chelsea last season

Chelsea forward Diego Costa’s refusal to return to training is “disgraceful”, says former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

The 28-year-old, who is currently in his native Brazil, said he has been treated like a “criminal” and wants to join former club Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte texted Costa in June to say he was not in his plans, but Costa says he has been told to return and train with the reserves.

“I don’t understand how players can get away with that behaviour,” said Wright.

Spain striker Costa was given extra time off by Chelsea last month, but now claims he is being fined for his absence and is considering legal action or seeing out the remaining year of his contract unpaid in Brazil.

The Blues expect Costa to return immediately, resume training, get himself match fit and put himself in contention for selection, because he is still contracted to the club.

“It’s disgraceful the way he is behaving,” Wright told BBC Radio 5 live’s The Monday Night Club.

“Surely he’s got to come back here, so if the manager changes his mind he’s there. He’s earning a fortune at Chelsea. Can Atletico Madrid even afford him?”

Costa, who last played for Chelsea in the FA Cup final in May, joined the Blues from Atletico Madrid in 2014 and has won two Premier League titles and the League Cup with the London club.

In January, he was left out of the side for an away match at Leicester after he was involved in a dispute with a fitness coach.

It followed reports of an offer from China that would have been worth £30m a year in salary.

“Why won’t they let me go if they don’t want me?” he told the Daily Mail on Monday.

“In January, things happened with the coach. I was on the brink of renewing my contract and they put the brakes on it. I suspect the manager was behind it. He asked for that to happen.

“His ideas are very fixed and clear. I have seen the sort of person he is. He has his own opinion and that will not change.”

‘Show us the text’


Two-goal Huddersfield debutant ‘will take picture of Premier League table’

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 13, 2017 with No Comments
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Steve Mounie

Steve Mounie scored with his first two shots on target in English football

Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie says he will “take a picture of the Premier League table” after his two debut goals helped the Terriers to a historic opening day win at Crystal Palace.

Huddersfield were playing in their first top-flight game since 1972 after winning promotion from the Championship via the play-offs last season.

A Joel Ward own goal put them ahead before Mounie struck twice.

“A start like this is amazing,” said the Benin international.

“We worked all day during pre-season, we worked hard and the coach gave a us a lot of advice. The consequences of our work has shown.

“It is crazy, I will take a picture of the table.”


Guardiola relieved as Man City survive ‘complicated’ Brighton test

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Sergio Aguero has now scored against 30 of his 31 Premier League opponents

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was relieved to see his side overcome promoted Brighton after their Premier League rivals slipped up earlier in the day.

Title favourites City had to wait to break down the Seagulls before two late goals gave them victory on the south coast.

But they never looked in serious danger of suffering an opening weekend upset in the manner of Chelsea, who lost at home to Burnley, or Liverpool, who were held by Watford.

“The first game is always complicated, in my experience, even with Barcelona – especially against a promoted side when they have the passion and are under no pressure at all,” said the former Barca and Bayern Munich boss.

“We saw what happened to Liverpool and Chelsea and we spoke about it. It was unexpected but this is the Premier League – I learned this last season.

“Here every game is a battle, but we controlled the game and it was always in our hands.”

The Seagulls, back in the top flight after a 34-year absence, had showed impressive organisation and resolve to keep City at bay until David Silva played in Sergio Aguero to fire home after 70 minutes.

Lewis Dunk headed Fernandinho’s cross into his own net five minutes later to make sure of the points for Guardiola’s new-look side.

Brighton, who had 22% possession, spent most of the game defending in their own half but had chances with the score at 0-0.

Shane Duffy had a shot deflected just wide and, after City’s new £35m goalkeeper Ederson flapped at the resulting corner, Dunk had two shots blocked in quick succession.

But that was the only time City’s defence was under pressure and the day was more of a test of whether Guardiola’s rebooted team could break down a massed defence.

They did not do it enough in his first season at City but at the Amex Stadium, eventually, they found a way through.

  • Reaction analysis to Manchester City’s victory over Brighton

City not making most of new width


Conte not worried by lack of signings despite Burnley shock

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 13, 2017 with No Comments
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Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte’s side won the Premier League by seven points last season

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he is “not worried” by the club’s relative lack of signings this summer.

The Blues have signed four players for a combined £129m, but have seen a greater number leave, including John Terry and Nemanja Matic.

Their Premier League title defence began with a shock 3-2 home defeat by Burnley on Saturday, during which Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were sent off.

“The club are trying to do their best,” said the Italian.

“I am not worried, I am ready to fight with these players.

“I repeat: It is important for us to concentrate on our work, to be focused every day in training and to try to work in our best way. No excuses.”

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Chelsea lost their heads too easily – Conte

As well as defender Terry and midfielder Matic, Chelsea have sold Asmir Begovic to Bournemouth, while last season’s top scorer Diego Costa has been told he is free to leave.

The recruitment of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma and former Manchester City keeper Willy Caballero fills the gaps vacated by this quartet.

But Conte has made no secret of his desire to recruit more players to strengthen his first team for a season that sees the addition of Champions League matches to their fixture list.

Having also sold Nathan Ake to Bournemouth and loaned fellow defender Kurt Zouma to Stoke, the suspension of Cahill will further deplete Conte’s resources.

Equally, Fabregas’ ban deprives him of another midfielder, with Bakayoko, Hazard and Pedro all out injured.

Conte felt Cahill’s dismissal was pivotal to the outcome of Saturday’s game against Burnley, with Chelsea 3-0 down at the break following two goals from Sam Vokes and a Stephen Ward strike.

A debut goal from substitute Morata and a late David Luiz finish gave them hope, but Burnley held on for the win.

“The red card [for Cahill] was the key moment,” Conte told BBC Sport. “We started well with good intensity and were dominating the game. Then the game changed. We lost our heads too easily and we need to reflect on this situation.

“If we are able to stay in the game, then anything can happen in the second half, but instead we conceded three goals. In the second half, my players showed great will to try to change the result.”

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Pochettino ‘sure’ Spurs will add players in next few weeks

Posted by Warren Fyfe on August 10, 2017 with No Comments
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Mauricio Pochettino and Harry Kane

Pochettino led Spurs to second place behind Chelsea in the Premier League last season

Tottenham have been slow to make summer signings because their “circumstances are different to other clubs”, says manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Amid concerns over a lack of transfer activity, the Argentine said Spurs are “working hard to deliver our plan”.

Full-back Danny Rose has questioned why the squad has not been strengthened.

But Pochettino told BBC Radio 5 live: “It’s not easy to find the right profile but I’m sure we’ll add some players in the next few weeks.”

In an interview with the Sun on Thursday, Rose, who joined from Leeds in 2007, said he would “love to see two or three well-known players” arrive, adding: “And not players you have to Google and say ‘Who’s that?”

He also said he would consider moving “back up north” but specified: “I’m not saying I want out, but if something came to me that was concrete, I’d have no qualms about voicing my opinions to anyone at the club.”

  • When will Spurs make their move?
  • Transfer spending unsustainable – Levy
  • Conte questions Spurs’ ambitions

‘We need one player in each line’

Kyle Walker’s £45m departure to Manchester City aside, Spurs have retained the same squad that finished second to Chelsea in the league last season.

In late July, chairman Daniel Levy defended the club’s lack of signings and railed against “unsustainable” spending in the Premier League.

He described the £750m redevelopment of White Hart Lane as “a challenge” but said: “I can honestly say it is not impacting our transfer activity because we are yet to find a player who we want to buy but cannot afford.”

When asked about Levy’s comments, Pochettino said: “My knowledge of business is very low, and of course I respect his opinion. For me he is one of the most important businessmen in this country, I am sure he has many reasons to say that.

“It is true maybe our circumstances are maybe a bit different to other clubs but you need to wait and be sure you get that right, get the right player to help you.

“We want to strengthen in different areas, in all areas. Maybe three or four players, in offensive and defensive positions. We need one in each line.”

Tottenham leaving it late?

BBC Sport’s Alex Bysouth

The pattern of recent seasons suggests it may be a while before Levy makes his move, with the majority of Spurs’ incoming deals finalised in August.

Last August, they paid Newcastle £30m for midfielder Moussa Sissoko in the final few hours of the window, having signed £9m winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and loan goalkeeper Pau Lopez earlier in the day.

Prior to that, forward Son Heung-min (£22m), midfielder Erik Lamela (£25.7m), goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (£11.8m) and forward Clint Dempsey (£6m) all joined the club in the closing days and hours of transfer windows.

What’s it like doing business with Daniel Levy? And do Spurs need to break their wage structure?

Read more here.

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