TRANSFER speculation is intensifying ahead of a massive summer window.
Erling Haaland is the man on most clubs’ lips but there’s also interesting news from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Barcelona.
Meanwhile Arsenal are weighing up who to try and sign on the wing, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Wilfried Zaha potential targets.
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Stay up to date with all the latest football news in our rolling blog…
Instagram have shockingly ruled a social media post calling an England Women’s star a n**** does NOT flout their guidelines.
Liverpool and Lioness winger Rinsola Babajide revealed she had been abused by someone on Instagram in a post which left her feeling sick.
The 22-year-old was stunned to see someone post a reply on her timeline from an account in the name of azliz1 which said: “Football is only for men you n****”.
But after other users reported what they thought was clear racist abuse, they were stunned when Instagram replied: “We’ve reviewed azliz1’s account and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Guidelines.”
The social media giant, owned by Facebook, told SunSport discrimination had no place on its platforms and claimed they “want to hold people who share it accountable”.
After we made them aware of the alarming review on Babajide’s abuse, they vowed to investigate.
NO FERGIE TIME
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he could no longer dish out his infamous “hairdryer” blasts in the modern-day game because snowflake footballers have been known to cry.
The ex-Manchester United boss became renowned for his many close-up screaming and spitting outbursts.
But Fergie now bemoans the fact that current football managers are restricted from using his fearsome motivational weapon because society has changed and players have become too sensitive.
Speaking to The Athletic, he said: “Jim Smith told me one of his players started crying when he got criticised.
“I thought, ‘What is the game like now? Where are we going?’
“Obviously you have to be tactful nowadays about the criticism you give them.”
Ralph Hasenhuttl says he is certain Theo Walcott will be a Southampton player next season – even though a deal still has to be thrashed out with the former England star.
Hasenhuttl believes Walcott’s loan move from Everton has been a big success despite a recent injury and claims he needs professionals like him at the club.
Walcott, 32, is a free agent in the summer and the Saints boss said: “We are in negotiations with his agent and with him and I’m sure not only this player but we will have next season a very balanced and mentally strong side for sure.
“It’s no secret that I was very happy with him, because I think he did a fantastic job. We missed him definitely when he was injured.
“I like a lot of things of this player, not only his workload but also his mentality, his attitude, his professionalism. This is something every team needs to have. It’s a player, every manager likes to work with.
“He is positive, always very open minded for new things and in the end, never wanted never stop getting better.”
Arsenal are reportedly planning a takeover bid for Belgian top-flight club Royal Excel Mouscron.
The Pro League strugglers have recently failed to pay their players on time due to financial concerns.
Mouscron officials have been seeking outside investment amid fears the Belgian FA will strip away the club’s licence to operate.
Reports in Brussels now claim Arsenal aim to take a sizeable stake in the southern outfit in order to use them as a nursery club.
According to La Derniere Heure, the Gunners would employ their former defender Pascal Cygan, 46, to manage Mouscron.
Arsenal will make a ‘firm offer’ to sign Achraf Hakimi, according to reports.
Mikel Arteta is keen to sign a new defender with Hector Bellerin’s Gunners future up in the air.
And AS in Spain report that the Gunners are preparing an offer for Inter Milan’s 22-year-old Hakimi.
Hakimi was linked with a move to North London last summer, but he opted to join the Serie A side from Real Madrid following his hugely-successful loan spell at Borussia Dortmund.
But Arteta’s men have retained their interest in the Morocco international, with club scouts still recommending they bring him to England.
Sergio Aguero, Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba.
How many of these will be on the move this summer?
FIT FOR A KING
Eddie Howe wants Josh King to snub the Premier League and become one of his first Celtic signings.
The incoming Hoops boss has identified the Norwegian hitman as a replacement for wantaway striker Odsonne Edouard.
King has struggled to impress at Everton after joining on a short-term deal from Bournemouth, but several English clubs are still keen on him.
Howe will have to talk his former Cherries striker into taking a wage cut if they are to be reunited in Glasgow.
King, 29 – understood to be earning £45,000 a week at Goodison – enjoyed the most prolific spell of his career when he worked under Howe.
Manchester United’s 12-year record unbeaten run in the Champions League remains intact after Paris Saint-Germain beat Bayern Munich.
The Red Devils went 25 games without loss between September 2007 and May 2009.
They beat Chelsea in the 2008 final for their third European crown and the following year finally lost to Barcelona at the same stage.
It was a stretch that included 15 wins and ten draws, including the one in Moscow as John Terry slipped in the shootout.
Bayern Munich were closing in on matching – and breaking – that 25-match tally.
But after brushing aside Lazio in the last 16 4-1 away and 2-1 at home, Hans-Dieter Flick’s side, missing the injured Robert Lewandowski, were eventually toppled in the Bavaria snow -ending their run at 19 games.
UP DE ANTE
Kevin De Bruyne became the Premier League’s best-paid player when signing a £385,000-a-week contract extension with Manchester City.
The record-breaking deal, which runs to 2025, is all the more remarkable as he negotiated with his club on his own.
Here is the rest of the top ten biggest earners in the Premier League:
MAN OF THE MO-MOUNT
A little appreciation for Mason Mount’s first Champions League goal last night.
Read more about what helped him finish that chance off by reading our piece here.
Dan Walker has announced his departure as presenter of Football Focus.
Here are the odds for who will replace him:
Football Focus next presenter odds – Ladbrokes
- Jermaine Jenas – 2/1
- Alex Scott – 3/1
- Kelly Somers – 7/2
- Mark Chapman – 4/1
- Simon Thomas – 5/1
- Spencer Owen – 6/1
- Charlotte Jackson – 7/1
- Gabby Logan – 8/1
- Jimmy Bullard – 10/1
- Peter Crouch – 12/1
- Laura Woods – 12/1
- Piers Morgan – 500/1
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And this is sure to get people talking…
Arsenal cult hero Emmanuel Frimpong has revealed that he wants to ‘star in porn’ with Russian ‘Tatar babes’.
In an interview, he said: “Oh yeah! I still want to come to Ufa and star in porn with 20 Tatar babes!”
And asked if he had any suggestions for the films, he replied: “Yes, many suggestions!
“They write to me and ask to come. The problem is I don’t have the money for the ticket, haha. But I really like Tatar women!”
HAVE SOME OF STAT
Kevin De Bruyne proved it was a numbers game by arming himself with stats to land his bumper new Manchester City deal.
The Belgian maestro, 29, negotiated a two-year extension at the Etihad on Wednesday reportedly worth an eye-watering £385,000 a week to make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.
De Bruyne is said to have talked his way up from his current £300k wages after using data to show just how vital he is to Pep Guardiola’s team.
Reports state De Bruyne commissioned a team of data analysts to study every facet of his contribution to the side and relate it to the team’s chances of success going forward.
The midfielder is thought to have wanted information on his own performances and his impact on the team but also the squad’s ability to continue to win trophies.
HERE’S DE BRUY
The biggest transfer story of yesterday came from the Etihad where Kevin de Bruyne signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2025.
SunSport reported on March 10 that an agreement was edging closer after KdB knocked back the first offer – and they shook hands on the agreement earlier this week.
If the Belgian sees out his contract, it means he will have spent a decade with the Sky Blues.
He was previously on around £300,000 a week at City and is believed to have agreed a small increase.
But crucially the former Chelsea man was given the assurances on the football side that the club’s ambitions matched his own.
De Bruyne is on the brink of a third Premier League title but is desperate to win the Champions League – the one club trophy missing from his CV.
Arsenal welcome Czech opponents Slavia Prague to the Emirates Stadium for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie tonight.
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BBC presenter Dan Walker has announced his departure from Football Focus.
The programme has been a Saturday lunchtime staple since its launch as part of Grandstand in 1974, with Walker the host for the past 12 years.
On Thursday, 44-year-old Walker confirmed the move.
He said: “This is going to be my last season presenting Football Focus. It has been an amazing 12 years and I can honestly say I have loved every single second of it.
“I am so proud of the job we’ve done, the changes we’ve made and issues we’ve looked at a time when the football landscape has changed immeasurably.
“But, having said all that, after 12 years it’s time for someone else to take the reins.”
DYNAMIC DUO IN BLUE?
Here is how Chelsea could line up with Sergio Aguero and Erling Haaland.
Which one would you like to sign if you could, Blues fans?
THE HERR AND NOW
Manchester City will be keeping a keen eye on Granada’s clash with their neighbours on Thursday, to watch Yangel Herrera.
The LaLiga side face Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals with the Venezuelan set to line up in midfield.
Herrera, 23, is coming to the end of a two-year loan spell at Granada and could attempt a breakthrough into the City team upon his return.
Pep Guardiola’s side are considering giving him a run with Fernandinho set to vacate the position in the summer.
The Brazilian is out of contract and reportedly set to follow Sergio Aguero out the Etihad exit door.
RAM IT HOME
Bit of Championship news from yesterday. Takeover completed at Derby County, subject to EFL approval.
Good news for boss Wayne Rooney?
GED HIM IN
Tottenham flop Gedson Fernandes has reportedly been chosen by Marseille as a replacement for Oliver Ntcham.
Celtic star Ntcham has been on loan at the French side since January but is set to return to Scotland this summer after a controversial stint which saw ex-boss Andre Villas Boas reveal he didn’t want the player.
And reports now state Benfica’s Fernandes, currently on loan at Galatasary, is the target identified to replace him in Jorge Sampaoli’s squad.
The storm surrounding Ntcham’s arrival saw ex-Spurs and Chelsea manager Villas-Boas resign in a press conference before he was then sacked by the club following the bust-up with the board who sanctioned the move without his blessing.
But Ntcham has fared little better under former Argentina boss Sampaoli, making just one appearance.
French reports suggest the ace will head back to the Hoops when his temporary move comes to an end at the close of the season.
A reminder of one of the biggest stories of the day.
Arsenal have reignited their interest in Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, according to reports.
The Gunners were linked with a £40million transfer in 2019 before bringing in his Ivory Coast team-mate Nicolas Pepe instead.
But it is now thought that the North Londoners are plotting a fresh bid.
However, in order to finance a swoop, Arsenal would need to sell – and the report adds Alexandre Lacazette could be axed to raise funds.
READY TO BOUNCE BACK?
Can Arsenal hit back after their dismal 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on the weekend? Europe is their last chance to salvage something from this season.
BOATENG TO BID FAREWELL
Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has revealed defender Jerome Boateng will be let go at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old German’s contract expires in the summer and it has now been confirmed the Bundesliga champions will not be renewing his deal.
“Jerome’s contract expires in the summer. It will not be extended,” Salihamidzic told Sky Germany before the match last night.
“That was a joint decision of the club management and the coach was also involved. I explained that to Jerome and he was very understanding. He leaves through a big door – hopefully with titles.”
What do we reckon about tonight’s action then? Two wins for the English sides?
Granada v Manchester United
Arsenal v Slavia Prague
Gareth Bale has revealed his own personal E.T. moment when he saw a UFO – firming up his belief that aliens ‘100 per cent’ exist.
“There’s a lot of conspiracy theories and there’s footage of UFOs out there that’s been released by the US Government,” he said in a chat with Spurs teammate and fellow Welshman Joe Rodon.
He later added: “There is definitely, 100 per cent aliens. 100 per cent. There’s been video footage released.”
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk