In the summer of 2012, Paul Pogba moved from Manchester United to Juventus. The Italian side snapped up the young midfielder for mere pennies after United allowed his contract to run out. Now, the talented Frenchman is worth over €40m, and the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea are willing to pay high prices to woo Pogba back to England, should Juventus no longer be able to keep him.
Despite United putting forth the resources to lure Pogba from Le Havre into their academy, and despite great displays in both the youth and reserve sides, the youngster barely got a look-in at the senior level, recording just two Premier League appearances off the bench, as well as a substitute in the Europa League. The Red Devils allowed his contract to expire and Juve stepped in. Now, with United sitting in 9th in the league and displaying, shall we say, certain weaknesses in the midfield, many supporters look at Pogba’s performances in Italy and question why he was allowed to leave.
Now, Juventus have warned Manchester United to be careful to not make the same mistake twice. 18 year old Adnan Januzaj, who marked his senior debut with United by scoring a brace to seal a comeback and all three points against Sunderland, will see his contract run out next summer. With United’s rough start to the season, Januzaj may prove to be one of the few bright spots in these gloomy months. Those who’ve watched him progress with the club know that the pair of goals wasn’t just a fluke. He’ll need to be given time and patience to mature, but United would be wise to extend his contract sooner rather than later.
If they don’t, the Old Lady have made it known that they are ready to swoop in. And it’s unlikely they’ll be the only ones set to grab Januzaj at a bargain price.
After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.
[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]
If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.
There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.
Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.
MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.
Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.
Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.
The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.
Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.
Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.
Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.
Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.
[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]
The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:
“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.
“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.
“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”
With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.
The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:
Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.
The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.
There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.