Sporting Lisbon have told Arsenal that they will have to pay somewhere in the region of $20 million for the services of their goalkeeper Rui Patricio, according to The Express.
One of Arsenal’s weakest areas this season has been in goal, with Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski both failing to convince Arsene Wenger that they are the long-term solution between the sticks.
While their main rivals in the Premier League have ‘keepers like Joe Hart, Pepe Reina, Petr Cech, Hugo Lloris and David De Gea, Szczesny and Fabianski simply aren’t on their level, and they have struggled to fill the void left by Jens Lehmann since the ‘Invincibles’ era of the mid 00s.
Patricio is arguably Portugal’s first-choice ‘keeper right now, and the 25-year-old is regarded as one of the most talented young players in his position in European soccer.
Portuguese newspaper A Bola claims the fee that Lisbon have slapped on Patricio is $20m/£13m, and only then will the club listen to offers for their player.
Another ‘keeper who has been linked with a move to The Emirates is the Hamburger SV and Germany international Rene Adler, who is thought to be available at a much cheaper price than the Portuguese star. Despite this, Wenger has set his sights on Patricio as his future number one, seeing it as a key area to improve as they look to make a title push next season.
Patricio has spent his entire career at Sporting Lisbon, playing 242 games thus far between his debut in 2006 and the present day.
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
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Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.