Nitish, Author at Sportzwiki

Nitish

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Bayern Munich keen to sign Arsenal star, as a replacement for club legend

It seems that Bayern Munich are now monitoring the progress of Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, who is being considered a long-term replacement for their skipper Philipp Lahm, as per a recent report by Sport1.

The 32-year-old former defensive superstar retired from international football in 2014, as he looked to prolong his club career, though the German giants know that his days on the pitch are now limited.

Quite a few players have already been considered as a potential replacement for him and the 21-year-old Gunners’ star is one of them as well. Bayern are on the verge of yet another league title win, after winning it in the past three seasons consecutively.

Despite that, manager Pep Guardiola will be leaving the Allianz Arena in the summer and will  be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti. Due to this, it seems that the former Barcelona man could be one of the primary targets for the Italian boss.

Keeping all these speculations in mind, the Spaniard had recently admitted in an interview with Goal that he has quite content with his growth at the Emirates and had no regrets in leaving Spain.

He had stated, “I left Barca without looking back. I left focused on London and Arsenal and I am really happy there. I signed a new deal last year and there’s still a lot in front of me. It’s a club that’s forming a great team, with players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.”

“My future is there and I am happy where I am. A lot of things can happen in football, but I am at Arsenal, giving my all for the club. I am not thinking of going anywhere else.”

Further, Bellerin was also being linked with a return to the Nou Camp recently, as Barca themselves were looking for a long-term replacement for their Brazilian full back Dani Alves. It will surely be quite an intense battle for his signature in the future.

Breaking: Manchester United’s defensive target all set to agree terms

It has now been confirmed by recent claims that Premier League giants Manchester United’s attempts to complete a move for Kalidou Koulibaly will now suffer a blow as his agent stated that the 24-year-old centre-back is all set to extend his contract with Italian outfit Napoli. The news was confirmed by the Express, which stated that the defender could be playing in the Serie A next season, as they confirmed that talks were being held at the moment.

The Senegal international was also wanted by the Red Devils’ league rivals Everton, though the Naples-based side did not want their prized possession to leave the club, in the near future. In a recent interview with Radio station Crc, when asked about the future of his client, his agent, Bruno Satin stated that the player is in talks with the club’s sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli, in order to sort out terms of a new contract.

He stated, “I am still in contact with sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli.”

“If I understood things, he’s thinking about reinforcing the team with several big players.”

“A renewal? We’re working on it, but it’s going to take longer than two days.”

The former Genk man has been superb for his club this season, who are keen to put an end to Juventus’ amazing title run, with the Turin-based side winning it three consecutive times. Napoli at present are three points behind league leaders Juve and have a total of eight games still left to overtake them before the current campaign draws to a close.

The French-born centre-back has made a total of 35 appearances in all competitions for his team in the current season till now and could be a huge bonus at Old Trafford, adding some much-needed quality at the back. However, whether the move gets completed or not, still remains to be seen.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp pushes to sign young USA international star

It has now been stated by Merseyside outfit Liverpool are now planning to make a move for USA international Bobby Wood,  as manager Jurgen Klopp has ordered scouts from the Premier League outfit to monitor his development, reports coming from the Berlin Kurier have suggested. The 23-year-old superstar is at present playing in the second division of German football with Union Berlin.

His performances in the current campaign have attracted a lot of interest from various clubs across the European continent and the Reds’ boss is an admirer of the forward as well, it would seem now. The Red’s scouts will monitor his play in the match against Guatemala on Saturday.

The former Borussia Dortmund man is keen to make several changes to the side at the end of the current season, in order to secure a top-four finish next term if not more.

Also, in a recent interview Wood’s teammate, Damir Kreilach, praised him though he admitted the fact that it was not a surprise that a number of top clubs were keeping tabs on him. He said, “When you’re playing well and making many goals then other teams notice and you get offers.”

“He has not been here very long but he has done a lot for the club and shown what he can do when he is in top form and feels comfortable.”

“He is actually a top-flight player – he’s quick, a goal threat, has good sense and is strong in dribbling.”

“He is a great guy and he is certainly on the way up.”

With already a total of 26 appearances in all competitions for his team in the current season so far and a tally of 14 goals to his name along with a couple of assists, Wood could be a star for the future, if Liverpool does indeed manage to get the deal done soon.

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European giants offer three stars in exchange for Mesut Ozil, Will Arsenal accept the offer?

It seems that the champions of Spain and Europe, Barcelona will now look to make full use of the transfer embargo on their fierce rivals Real Madrid, as they will make a move for their former star and current Arsenal man Mesut Ozil, as stated by reports coming from Spanish newspaper AS. 

When the German World Cup winning superstar made the move to the Emirates in 2013, an ‘anti-panic’ clause had been inserted in his contract by Los Blancos that allowed them first refusal within 48 hours, in case the player had any plans of returning to Spain.

Despite that, FIFA’s current restrictions will prevent the La Liga giants from signing any new players from next summer, which could create a lot of complications in any sort of potential deals.
Further, the 27 year old player-maker has been in superb form this term due to which he has been linked with a move to the Nou Camp.
The Catalan club could now possibly make a huge offer to bring him in, as they claim that Ozil is quite keen to play along with players of the calibre of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
In order to get the deal done, there are also rumours stating that the trio of Arda Turan, Sandro and young forward Munir in part exchange could be offered to manager Arsene Wenger, would surely be reluctant to sell one of his most expensive buys that easily.
It will be interesting to see what happens and how the French manager reacts, in case such an offer is made after what seems to be yet another trophyless season for Wenger now.
There is a need for more quality reinforcements for the squad in the summer transfer window and Arsenal could possibly look to cash in on the man, who has the highest number of assists for them this season if they fail to win the Premier League once again.
Jose Mourinho signs pre-contract with Manchester United
Jose Mourinho signs pre-contract with Manchester United

Jose Mourinho signs pre-contract with Manchester United

It is now being speculated by various media outlets that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has signed a pre-contract in February, which will see him take over the Manchester United job from Dutchman Louis van Gaal at the end of the current campaign. The rumours have gone around for quite some time now and have been stated this time by Spanish newspaper El Pais in their Sunday edition and sources close to the Portuguese manager have confirmed it now.

Prior to his spell with the Blues, Mourinho had been at top European clubs Real Madrid and Inter Milan and has been linked constantly with the job at Old Trafford, since his departure from Stamford Bridge earlier in December.

The report also states the terms of the agreement, confirming that United will look to pay Mourinho £5m ($7.24m) if they do not offer him a full contract by the 1st of May and an additional £10m if they failed to give him the job by the 1st of June.

Van Gaal had earlier signed a three-year deal in May 2014 though he might be sacked at the end of the current term with fans unhappy and expressing themselves. The style of play that the Dutchman has employed has once again seen play out a trophyless season and the club are at present in sixth place struggling to make it into the top four once again.

The report has confirmed details coming from a reliable source, who has links to the company which is run by Mourinho’s current agent Jorge Mendes. The reason for so much doubt in the United hierarchy and this flexible deal is because of a difference of opinion amongst the members of the Old Trafford board, who are still not certain whether the 53-year-old is the right man for the job or not once Van Gaal does indeed depart.

Jurgen Klopp talks about Liverpool’s 3-2 loss to Southampton

Liverpool made the trip to the St. Marys’ on Sunday afternoon, as they faced off against Southampton in the Premier League. The Reds went into the game after knocking out their fierce domestic rivals Manchester United from the Europa League. Both teams were keen on taking all three points from the game and it was the visitors who started the game off more positively. Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead in the 17th minute when Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring. Daniel Sturridge made it 2-0 five minutes later. There were no more goals in the half though their chances and the Merseyside outfit looked in control at the break.

However, after the restart things did not go as per plan as a slight bit of madness turned things around completely. Sadio Mane made it 2-1 in the 64th minute to give the Saints a bit
of hope. Further, it was Graziano Pelle who made equalized for his side in the 83rd minute, while Mane scored the winner three minutes later. A dramatic comeback, which hurt Liverpool’s ambitions of securing a place in the top four as they dropped down to 9th place with that loss, seven points behind 4th place City.

Here is what Klopp had to say after this shocking loss for his side:

“I saw a lot of good things from my side; I saw a very good first half.”

“We could have scored more. Southampton were not bad in the first half but our goals changed the game, we played really well and could have scored more.”

“In the second half, it is like it is – we had this situation twice in the season with the Norwich and Crystal Palace games, with late goals.”

“In the second half, Southampton for sure deserved it. But of course, we were responsible for the first half and the second half, so we could have done better, but that’s how it is in football. You have to use your chances.”

“In the second half, the first moment which was not too good – we were 2-0 in the lead and they had a counter-attack, that doesn’t make much sense.”

“We lost formation in the second half and we couldn’t avoid these long balls to Pelle anymore, who is always fighting for second balls. If you are then not compact you have the problem that they are better in the game.”

“In the moment when they scored their first goal, it was clear that something would happen in the game. If we could have played better then 3-1 was possible, I don’t think we had the chances for this, so it is like it is. In the second half, Southampton deserved the three points.”

Klopp did not really feel that his side were impacted by playing in Europe in midweek and added, “Usually after a European game very often you have problems in the first half.”

“I’ve seen it a lot of times, but in the first half, we had absolutely no problems.”

“We could have done better and there were a few situations where we had to, but it’s a football problem and nothing else.”

“We can learn from it, of course, and we will – but today it’s too late because we lost.”

“There are still 27 points for us to get from nine games? If we can get all of them, there’s a chance, if not it’s difficult.”

“It is difficult and we don’t have to dream of things like this – we have to play football and win games. If we play like we did in the first half, we can win games.”

“If we play like we did in the second half, it’s a little bit more difficult.”

Stan Collymore confirms Remi Garde’s potential exit from Aston Villa on social media

It has now been confirmed by multi award winning radio and television broadcaster and former England international Stan Collymore, that the time for Aston Villa manager Remi Garde is nearly up. The Frenchman signed for the Premier League outfit in November last year replacing former boss Tim Sherwood, when the team were struggling and at the bottom of the points table and was expected to turn things around for them. His main job at that point of time was probably to avoid relegation, as the club were in a huge mess back then.

However, despite his best efforts it seems now that things have not really improved at Villa Park, as the club are still struggling at the bottom and it seems will be heading out of England’s top flight of football next term. Villa have at present played a total of 31 games with a tally of just 16 points, with 3 wins, 7 draws and 21 losses to their name so far this season in the league.

Garde has failed to deliver and their chances of survival are all but gone now. The fans and owners are not happy and Collymore confirmed this news via his Twitter account. In a recently made Tweet, he confirmed that the 49 year old former Lyon boss would be leaving the club by mid-week and that Kevin MacDonald/Gordon Cowans and co would take charge of the club till May.

If this news is true, more tough times for Villa are set to follow after a really poor season this time around. It will be interesting to see how things develop and whether they can get back to their best form in the near future. Here is the Tweet made by Collymore that confirms this claim:

Match report: Everton 0-2 Arsenal

It was a clash at Goodison Park between Everton and Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, as both sides look to take back all three points from the first game of the weekend. The two teams were not in the best of form in recent weeks and were keen on impressing in this one. It was the Gunners who looked quite positive, as they dominated possession and created some good chances.

The hosts also got into the game and Seamus Coleman had an early chance to score, as he beat Welbeck to Tom Cleverley’s corner from the right side but missed. Danny Welbeck hit the woodwork after that, as he came in down the left wing but eventually the England international managed to open the scoring for the visitors, after a well constructed passing move on the 7th minute. There were plenty of attempts at goal till the end of the half and Arsene Wenger’s side managed to add yet another goal with a good long ball counter-attack, when Alex Iwobi scored in the 42nd minute with a composed finish on his full debut. The two teams went into the break, with the away side leading 2-0.

The second half did not produce any goals, though once again there were chances and eventually despite their best efforts Roberto Martínez’s side failed to deliver on the night.
The win pushed the visitors close to league leaders Leicester City, though it put in a dent in Everton’s hopes of finishing in the top half of the points table.

Post match presser: Arsene Wenger talks Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Everton

Arsenal travelled away to Goodison Park to face off against Roberto Martínez’s side, as they looked to keep their challenge for the Premier League title alive with a win. The north London outfit were not having the best of times recently, after being eliminated from the FA Cup and the Champions League in their last two games and wanted to get back to winning ways in this one. The Gunners held off some early attacks and took the lead in the 7th minute of the match, as striker Danny Welbeck opened the scoring for the away side. Arsene Wenger’s team looked good from there on and took control, as they added a second from a quick counter attack. It was Alex Iwobi who scored on his first full debut match in the 42nd minute to double his side’s advantage. Arsenal lead 2-0 at the break, with the Toffees looking to recover and get something out of the game.

After the restart there were no more goals scored by either side, as they both looked to push for a goal. The home side looked to make good use of the crowd’s support behind their back,
as they wanted to avoid yet another defeat in the current league campaign. However, despite all the efforts that they put they were unable to salvage something out of the tie and it ended in a two goal win for the Londoners, who got back some of their lost confidence in this game.

Here is what Wenger had to say about his side’s impressive performance in his press conference after the win:

Talking about Iwobi, he said, “I like him. He is an intelligent and humble boy. He has developed well.”

Further about Elneny’s contribution, he added, ” Elneny has given us a very good balance in the way we want to play football.”

About the title race, “It is still mathematically possible. If we don’t believe, who will? We will need good performances.”

Predicted Arsenal lineup to face Everton, Mertesacker, Coquelin back

The Gunners make the trip to Goodison Park to face off against Everton in the Premier League, as they look to keep their title race alive. Arsene Wenger’s side have been knocked out of the FA Cup and the Champions League, after defeats to Watford and Barcelona respectively in their last couple of games. Arsenal need to recover soon if they wish to catch up to Premier League leaders Leicester City, who still lead them by 11 points though the Londoners have a game in hand.

The French manager will have to pick a strong side for this clash at the Merseyside though some of his players will surely be tired after a hectic week of football. With eight players still out injured, here is how Wenger might line up his starting eleven for this one.

arsenal

Predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper:

In Petr Cech’s absence, David Ospina was superb in the game against Barca and produced a couple of great saves to keep his team in the tie, as long as he could. He was not to be blamed for the goals that were conceded and looked really solid in front of goal. He will once again start in front of goal in the game against Everton and can hopefully show some of that confidence once again.

Defence:

The back-line will once again feature a four-man defence, with Per Mertesacker being picked in the team this time. Though Gabriel did not do too much wrong in the game against Barcelona, the pairing of Koscielny and Mertesacker looks more solid, as they compliment each other well. The Frenchman had a horrible last game on his return from injury, but might be starting once again alongside the German.

Midfield:

Protecting the defensive line will be the pairing of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny. The Frenchman came on to replace his compatriot Mathieu Flamini just before half-time in the last game and played alongside the Egyptian international. The former Basel man scored a stunning goal though it was not enough to help his side go through.

In front of them, should feature the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and an under-used Joel Campbell, who has not been given the chance to play in the important games recently, though he was in good form. It will be interesting to see whether the trio can produce some early goal scoring chances or not to trouble the opposition defence.

Attack:

Danny Welbeck’s inclusion in the starting eleven against Barca ahead of Olivier Giroud proved to be the right decision, as the Arsenal attack looked far more lively in the second leg. The England international should be once again picked over the Frenchman though both players have been doing a good job for their team and are quite talented.

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