After letting him leave as a teenager, Manchester United are set to step up their chase for French international midfielder Paul Pogba. The 20-year-old Juventus star has been attracting a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester City, as they aim to bring him back to England. Pogba came through United’s academy and was destined for big things. However he left for Juve in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since after becoming a regular and being hugely successful in their Serie A title win last season. An industrious midfielder who has drawn comparisons with French legend Patrick Vieria, could Pogba leave Italy to return to England?
Another 20-year-old midfielder on Arsenal’s radar — as if they need another quality playmaker — is German international Julian Draxler. Chelsea have been long-term admirers of the Schalke star but it could be the Gunners who make a move for the highly-rated attacking midfielder. January may be too soon to pry him away from the Bundesliga but by next summer, many expect him to be playing in the Premier League. Draxler has admitted Arsenal interest him and a move after the World Cup could happen.
Newcastle could add a ninth Frenchman to their first-team squad, as Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabate may join the Magpies growing of French stars in England’s North East. The gangly 25-year-old has been scouted by West Ham and Arsenal, but Newcastle are set to offer $7.5 million for the big target man in the January window. With Papiss Demba Cisse struggling for form and only Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi as other options up front, Alan Pardew could do with another forward. Is Diabate the man?
Bacary Sagna could be on the move from Arsenal in Janaury, as Champions League rivals Napoli look to snap up the French international right back. This move is a bit of a strange one as Sagna has impressed, especially going forward, for the Gunners this season. But reports in Italy suggest Sagna could link up with Rafael Benitez as Arsene Wenger may prefer to go with 21-year-old right back Carl Jenkinson instead.
Nigerian international Eddy Onazi looks set to snub Everton in favor of Merseyside rivals Liverpool. The 20-year-old midfielder has been impressing at Italian side Lazio and talked about his admiration for the Reds. Onazi would add some extra trickery and depth to Brendan Rodgers attacking core and a move in January ahead of the World Cup could be in the cards.
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.
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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.
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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.