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El futbolista del Real Madrid que más se enfado tras la venta de Özil al Arsenal


Sin duda fue una de las ventas del mercado en aquel verano de 2013. El Real Madrid se desprendía de uno de sus mejores jugadores de la plantilla contra todo pronóstico. El conjunto blanco aceptaba la oferta del Arsenal y Özil ponía camino a Londres.

El futbolista alemán era uno de los mejores centrocampistas del mundo en su momento, la calidad de Özil parecía estar fuera de toda duda, y más cuando esa temporada había sido el máximo asistente en Liga. Su marcha pilló a todo el mundo desprevenido, afición, vestuario e incluso a algunos directivos del club merengue.


El Arsenal pagaría 45 millones para hacerse con los servicios del jugador blanco, como bien cuenta Özil a un medio inglés debido a que no contaba con el apoyo del comando técnico ni de la directiva. Ese mismo verano se había ido Mourinho, principal valedor del alemán y había llegado Ancelotti.

El centrocampista alemán comenta cinco años después de su salida del Madrid: “Durante el fin de semana estaba seguro de que me quedaría en el Real Madrid, pero luego me di cuenta de que no tenía la fe del entrenador (Ancelotti) ni de la directiva”.

El jugador tras lo sucedido también cuenta la buena relación que tenía con sus compañeros de equipo, una de esas buenas relaciones fue con Sergio Ramos, en su día uno de los capitanes del equipo blanco, también la buena sintonía que tenía con Cristiano Ronaldo, el portugués y él se entendían a la perfección en el campo y Özil cuenta ahora qué dijo el portugués al enterarse de su marcha: “La venta de Ozil es una mala noticia para mí. Fue el jugador que mejor conoció mis movimientos de cara al gol. Estoy enojado por la marcha de Ozil”.

La marcha de Özil fue dura para todos en el Madrid, pero el comienzo de un nuevo proyecto a manos de Ancelotti junto con nuevos fichajes como Isco y Bale, hicieron al Madrid ganar la tan ansiada Décima Copa de Europa. 

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Tottenham Monitoring Progress of Various Players as Mauricio Pochettino Narrows Down Key Targets


We’re quickly approaching the midway point in the season and are getting a clearer idea of exactly which positions clubs may be tempted to invest in during the upcoming January transfer window.

One Premier League club, in fact the only club, who opted not to add to their squad during the summer transfer window was Tottenham, and it looks as though it wasn’t a terrible judgement call from Mauricio Pochettino.

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Spurs have started the season well having won nine of their opening 12 Premier League games so far and currently sit in fourth place – one point behind Chelsea in third and just five points behind the league leaders Manchester City.

Whilst they’ve coped just fine without any summer signings, Sky Sports suggest Tottenham will in fact be investing in their squad during January with a number of potential targets emerging. One of which is Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, who has shone on the south coast since his permanent move from Chelsea in 2017.

He is now a regular Dutch international and with Spurs’ defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld both out of contracts in the summer, Pochettino may well be tempted to add some defensive reinforcements in January to cover for the potential departures.

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Ake isn’t the only member of the Cherries who has been linked with a move to north London, with young midfielder Lewis Cook also attracting interest from Spurs. The 21-year-old has already had a taste of success in his young career having captained England’s Under-20s side to a World Cup triumph in 2017, and Tottenham are reportedly keen on bringing him to the club.

There is also some reported interest in talent from abroad for Spurs, with Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele being linked with a move after his fine start to the season. He’s bagged himself four assists in 12 Ligue 1 appearances so far and was part of the team which beat Manchester City in the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium.

Other names such as Amadou Haidara – currently with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg – and Watford’s highly-rated midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure are reportedly on Tottenham’s radar, however we’ll have to wait and see what areas Pochettino will be looking to strengthen ahead of the second half of the season.

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Inter Plot Move for Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen as Defender’s Contract Winds Down


Serie A giants Internazionale are hopeful of signing Tottenham Hotspur star Jan Vertonghen on a free transfer, according to reports in Italy.

The 31-year-old centre back is out of contract in the summer and will be available to talk to clubs outside of the Premier League over a Bosman move as early as January.

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Club and international teammate Toby Alderweireld is also entering the final few months of his contract in north London, but while Premier League rivals Manchester United appear to be closest to his signature, Inter are keeping tabs on Vertonghen.

Football Italia cite journalist Gianluca Di Marzio’s claims that Inter will look to complete a similar deal for Vertonghen which saw Stefan de Vrij move to San Siro earlier this year from SS Lazio.

It has also been suggested that Inter could offer a significantly reduced fee during the January transfer window to test Tottenham’s resolve before the end of the season.

If Vertonghen stays put until the summer, he would have been with Tottenham for a total of seven years. So far, the Belgium international has racked up 260 appearances across all competitions for the club – surpassing his 220 run outs with former side Ajax.

The Nerazzurri are currently also trying to fight off competition for their star defender Milan Škriniar. The Slovakian has caught the eye of Europe’s biggest clubs, but the latest word is that he is in talks to extend his contract at San Siro.

Škriniar is quickly becoming one of the hottest defensive prospects in Europe, but Inter would make a real statement of intent by tying him down to a long-term deal alongside the likes of Mauro IcardiIvan Perišić and Radja Nainggolan.

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Steven Gerrard Stands By Decision to Reject Chelsea & Says Infamous Slip Drives Him On


Steven Gerrard still believes that he made the right decision by rejecting Chelsea and stay at Liverpool in 2005.

Gerrard nearly left his boyhood club for Stamford Bridge just months after winning the Champions League in Istanbul, causing some Liverpool fans to burn his shirt and label him a traitor, but a last minute U-turn saw him stay at Anfield.

Gerrard only won two more major trophies with Liverpool – the FA Cup in 2006 and the League Cup in 2012 – but he maintains that it was the right call.

“The most important thing is the final decision was the right one,” the 38-year-old told the Guardian. “Nine out of 10 people might argue I would have made more money, won more trophies, blah, blah.

“But them people are not me. They’re not in my city and they don’t have that connection with my club. That’s why I’m the one in 10.”

Gerrard came closest to winning the Premier League title in the 2013/14 season, but his infamous slip against Chelsea proved costly in the final run-in.

Now in his first managerial position in charge of Rangers, Gerrard says that the pain of that moment and his hunger to correct it continues to drive him on.

“I don’t know whether it’s every day but I think about it a lot,” said Gerrard. “I don’t think it will ever go away. But I wouldn’t be the player I was or have the hunger to be a manager if I didn’t care.”

Gerrard’s Rangers are just two points behind league leaders and rivals Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

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‘VARy Nice’: Why the Introduction of VAR Can Only Be a Good Thing for the Premier League


The Premier League announced on Thursday that a deal has been agreed in principle between all 20 English clubs for VAR to be introduced into the league for the 2019/20 season onwards. All that’s left now is for the formalities of the request to be hashed out between the International Football Association Board and FIFA.

Well, it’s been a long time coming, eh? Regardless of your viewpoint on the Video Assistant Refereeing technology – of which one is mandatory if you want to be considered a worthwhile fan – you can’t be surprised to hear that it is finally being brought to our shores. 

After ample incubation in Italy, Spain, Germany as well as at the World Cup in Russia, it was only a matter of time before the straws told on the English executives’ backs. Whether that final straw was Charlie Austin’s wonderful rant following Southampton’s draw with Watford, we’ll never know. 

What we do know, however, is that if this is simply an attempt by the other 19 clubs to stop Mark Hughes’ incessant whinging, it will be in vain. Because, as many of you will think/know/reject (depending on your aforementioned “viewpoint”) VAR will not end refereeing controversy. 

If you are a member of that third camp, I’m sorry, because if anything, it will increase it. But that’s precisely why it can only be beneficial for the Premier League at large. 

Despite all that trialling, the system is still very much in its infancy. Indeed, even when it becomes a fully-fledged adult, the mistakes will not cease. The personal judgement calls made in the heat of the battle will never appease everybody.

Because, aside from all the obvious advantages that the enhanced observation of key decisions will bring – less offside goals, less dangerous tackles and, most importantly, less moaning about a lack of VAR – the game we love will still retain all of the controversy and complaining we love. 

And if you think you don’t love it, I can assure you that you do, deep down inside. It’s one of the principle reasons you follow the sport. Referees don’t dominate the headlines in other sports anywhere near as much as they do in our beautiful one. And that’s because it’s our favourite topic, even when we pretend to hate it.

It will even add a new dimension to our favourite pass-time, a new character in this never ending love story. Just think of the joy we’ll have. Picture the scene – you lose because a tight offside call didn’t go your way, or you were on the wrong end of a soft red card/penalty.

The release of all that pent up righteous indignation will still retain it’s cathartic glory. Except now we’ll have one more entity to gracelessy vent at! And, what’s even better, is that this entity is supposed to stop all the dissension, making that dissension even more satisfying when it’s required! Amazing. 

Remember how fun the World Cup was? VAR. Noticed the increased TV deals for Serie A and La Liga? VAR. Loving the action in Liga MX recently? V-A-R.

So, raise your glasses to VAR – a new and improved way to berate the officials and opponents you despise, in the fashion you inescapably love. Coming to a stadium near you in 2019. 

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West Ham Striker Edging Closer to Injury Return After Two Months on the Sidelines


West Ham Under-23s striker Xande Silva is nearing a return to full fitness, and he could be back in action by the end of the month. The 21-year-old has been recovering from a hamstring injury and may have an outside chance of forcing himself into the first team picture before the transfer window opens in January. 

Silva joined the club from Vitória Guimarães in the summer, and settled in quickly by scoring a four minute hat-trick against Tottenham on his Premier League 2 debut. The youngster has also represented Portugal at every youth level from Under-15s to Under-20s. 

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has shown that he’s not afraid of blooding youth into his first team squad; the highly rated Declan Rice has featured 12 times for the Hammers this season, whilst youngster Grady Diangana has tasted first team action on seven occasions. 

The forward area has been an area West Ham have been looking to strengthen. Marko Arnautovic has shouldered most of the goal scoring responsibility with five goals so far this campaign, whilst the likes of Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez have struggled to chip in. Andy Carroll remains a constant injury headache, and is currently a long term absentee for Pellegrini’s side. 

If Silva can perform when he eventually returns to full fitness, the conditions might be right for him to force himself into the first team and establish himself in the Premier League. If West Ham get a favourable draw in the FA Cup in January, then Silva might just find himself playing some minutes this season. 

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Newcastle Loanee Dwight Gayle Claims He Would Consider Making West Brom Move Permanent Next Summer


Newcastle loanee Dwight Gayle has revealed he would consider permanently joining West Bromwich at the end of the season, after admitting he is enjoying his time at the Hawthorns.

Gayle was sent out on loan to the Championship side in the summer and has scored nine times in the league for the promotion hopefuls.

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With his loan deal at the Baggies expiring at the end of this campaign, Gayle has admitted he would be open to extending his stay with Darren Moore’s side instead of returning to Newcastle

He said (as quoted by the Chronicle): “Of course it’s crossed my mind. It’s something that will be on the cards but I suppose I’ve just got to get this season out of the way and let others get on with what they’ve got to do and we’ll see how things go.

“I’m very happy playing my football here and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”

Having fired West Brom into the play-off spots in the Championship, Gayle acknowledged that his future at either club is dependent on where the Baggies finish this season.

He added: “Anything could happen at the end of the season, we’ve just got to wait and see.”

The striker’s nine goals in the league this season is only bettered by Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp and Brentford frontman Neal Maupay who have struck 10 and 12 times respectively.

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Gayle and his West Brom side will return to Championship action when they take on Paul Lambert’s Ipswich side at Portman Road next Friday.

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Southampton Youngster Michael Obafemi ‘100% Committed’ to Ireland Despite England Eligibility


Southampton youngster Michael Obafemi is ‘100% committed’ to playing for the Republic of Ireland, despite his eligibility for England and Nigeria, according to a statement released by the player’s representatives.

Born in Ireland but raised in London to Nigerian parents, Obafemi finds himself in the peculiar circumstance of being clearly eligible for three different nations.

According to the statement released on the matter (as quoted by Sky) however, he never even considered the option of switching from Ireland, who he has represented at youth level.

“Due to current speculation surrounding Michael Obafemi and as Michael’s representatives, we would like to go on record to say that we are not in talks with either Nigeria or England, nor is it something we have ever pursued,” the statement from Playerworks CSM, the player’s representatives, read.

“Since Mark O’Toole spotted Michael early on, he, along with the other staff at Ireland, have given Michael a great opportunity, which he has enjoyed immensely.

“Michael was born in Ireland, so this is the country he naturally wants to play for.

“Martin O’Neill has shown great faith in Michael and he wants to repay that faith by helping the team achieve success. Michael is 100 per cent committed to Ireland and is looking forward to an exciting future with the national team.”

The Southampton teenager signed from Leyton Orient in 2016 and made his senior debut in January with a sub appearance against Tottenham.

After being included in the most recent Ireland squad, he could make his international debut as early as next week, as boss Martin O’Neill refused to rule out the possibility of giving him his first cap.

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“I don’t think I could rule that out,” he said. 

“He obviously has decisions to make for his future. That’s something he would obviously want to discuss with his family. There’ll be no real pressure on him to make that decision in the next couple of days.”

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Gareth Southgate Reveals Bizarre Tribute England Players Paid to Injured Danny Welbeck


Gareth Southgate has praised the togetherness of his players after they paid a slightly strange tribute to injured striker Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck was named in Southgate’s squad last Thursday but suffered a serious injury later that day, breaking his ankle in Arsenal’s Europa League stalemate against Sporting CP.

Southgate revealed that Welbeck was in his players’ thoughts as they prepared for Thursday’s friendly against the United States at Wembley.

“Last night they were watching the TV with a photo of Danny Welbeck by the side of it. That’s the bond that this group have,” said Southgate, quoted by the Evening Standard.

Wayne Rooney’s farewell appearance has dominated headlines this week, but he will start on the bench on Thursday. Southgate admits that he is undecided on when Rooney will be introduced.

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“I don’t want to pin an exact time on it because we don’t know how the exact flow of the game is going to go… but I can see in training it won’t change the quality of what we are doing,” he said.

When Fabian Delph, England’s captain on the night, was asked if he would give the captaincy to Rooney, he joked: “I probably won’t get the armband again so probably not!” before adding: “As soon as he comes on tomorrow, I’ll be giving him that armband back.”

Southgate said that there will be ‘some debuts’ on Thursday. There are four uncapped players in the England squad including Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Brighton defender Lewis Dunk.

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Ed Woodward Hints at Spending on ‘Top Players’ as Man Utd Show Continued ‘Financial Strength’


Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has hinted that the club plans to continue investing in the squad as a result of the ‘financial strength’ they possess that makes it possible.

Woodward has also preached the importance of investing in the club’s academy facilities as part of returning United to the on-field ‘success’ that the club and fans ‘expect’.

It comes as United announced total revenue of £135m for the first quarter of the 2018/19 season for the three months ending 30th September 2018.

Offering comment alongside the release, Woodward said, “Our financial strength enables us to continue to attract and retain top players and to invest in our academy, as we look to drive the success on the pitch that the club and our fans expect.

“We remain on track to deliver our record full-year revenue guidance, underpinning our long-term, strategic plan to create sustainable growth across all areas of the club.”

After a disappointing summer transfer window saw just three signings, only one of whom was expected to play regular first team games, United fans will expect the club to dip into the market when the January window opens in just six weeks’ time.

However, that appears unlikely to be the case as things stand. Just this week it has been rumoured that United are not currently preparing themselves to do any January business, suggesting it will be summer before supporters see some changes.

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Meanwhile, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling have emerged as reported January targets for Roma, Wolves and Everton respectively. United are also yetl to agree new contracts with duo Juan Mata and Ander Herrera, both of whom could leave as free agents in June.

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