Every single morning for the last few months, gossip columns around the world have been speculating a mammoth exodus from Southampton Football Club.
On Friday the Premier League side finally spoke out about the transfer rumblings, as Southampton’s Chief Executive Les Reed addressed rumors about the future of Saints’ manager Mauricio Pochettino and many of their stars players, including the likes of England internationals Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Luke Shaw.
“Reports that some of our players are negotiating transfers are misinformed,” Reed said. “As we stand, there have been no inquiries or offers for any of our players. That is the truth. There is not going to be a fire-sale, we want to keep all of our best players at the club and build for the future.”
That is superb news for Southampton fans, as their team currently sit in eighth spot with three games to go in the season and are close to capturing their record points tally in the Premier League era. Reed also admitted the South Coast club aren’t just content to stay where they are after a rapid ascent from English third-tier to the top 10 of the PL.
Plans are already in place to add to their talented squad, as Saints aim to keep improving under the hugely influential Pochettino.
“No club has been given permission to talk to any of our players,” Reed added. “We have had a great season and we want to improve on it. We want retain the players we’ve got. They are all contracted and we intend to honor those contracts. Any inquiries we get will probably be met with a ‘no, not for sale’. Our intention is to keep this very good team together and build on it by bringing in players to improve on that. We have our targets and these are things we talk about on a daily basis.”
In the past Southampton have had to sell their best players, see Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, due to financial reasons but now they are bankrolled by the Swiss Billionaire Liebherr family who are happy to pump money into the club as they continue to churn out exceptional English talent and become one of the most attractive sides to watch in the PL.
The future is bright for the red and white’s.
The Jose Mourinho-Bastian Schweinsteiger relationship is a very puzzling situation for Manchester United, and most outsiders appear to be taking the German’s side.
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Former teammate Lukas Podolski has chimed in on the matter, pointing out Schweinsteiger’s decorated career for both club and country.
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Since the arrival of Mourinho this summer, the Portuguese manager has made it clear that the 32-year-old isn’t his plans, including dropping Schweinsteiger to United’s reserves.
Podolski recently spoke to Bild about the situation:
“When you look at the career Bastian has had, I can only say that what is happening there is simply not right for a player of his stature,” Podolski said.
“I do not know what Mourinho has discussed with Bastian. But is clear that it is not okay to drop someone like Basti to the reserves.
“A coach should always keep his door open to all players, and especially to players like Schweini.”
While Schweinsteiger’s contract doesn’t run out until 2018, the volatile relationship between the Red Devils midfielder and Mourinho certainly looks to be one that won’t last much longer.
The game was essentially over for Vitesse Arnhem, but Lewis Baker gave his fans something to cheer about in second-half stoppage time.
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The on-loan Chelsea midfielder hit a lovely blast from over 30 yards out during Vitesse’s 2-1 loss against FC Twente on Sunday, as the ball dipped into the top corner and past goalkeeper Nick Marsman (Click on the video above).
Baker, 21, now has three finishes on the season in the Dutch Eredivisie after netting five during the 2015/16 campaign.
Perhaps this is a good sign of things to come for Chelsea fans.
West Ham is in a massive slump, and with questions being asked around the whole squad, captain Mark Noble has said things are at an all-time low.
“If I’m honest, it could have been six in the end had Adrian not pulled off some good saves. On the bright side I don’t think it can get any worse.” Noble claimed after the 3-0 home loss to Southampton. The London club has the worst defensive record in the Premier League, having given up 16 goals in six matches this season, with the most recent games especially bad.
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“We’ve conceded 11 in three games and it’s laughable and not good enough. We know that,” Noble conceded. “To be honest I think we could have kept playing until tonight and I don’t think we would have scored. It doesn’t seem to be going in for us at the minute.”
But he also preached togetherness if the team is to lift itself out of the relegation zone.
“We’ve got to stick together and not blame each other,” Noble said. “We have to do this as a team, because it’s not good enough. You’ve got to work hard for each other. You can’t start talking in your little circles and blaming each other because we’ve got to look at ourselves. Luckily enough it’s early in the season and we’ve got a chance to turn it around.”
Schalke has spent 24 seasons in the German top flight, and made regular appearances near the top of the Bundesliga table in the past eight years.
This season is not looking true to that form. Schalke has yet to pick up a single point through five matches, with another loss today on the road at 9th-placed Hoffenheim 2-1. The visitors went ahead just four minutes in thanks to Eric Choupo-Moting, but they coughed up the lead, making way to goals from Lukas Rupp and former Leicester City midfielder Andrej Kramaric.
Schalke manager Markus Weinzierl only took charge this summer, and that has him already under pressure as the only team without a point in the German top flight, the club’s worst ever start to a Bundesliga season. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, picked up their first win, moving them to the top half of the table on seven points. The club had four draws in four matches up to this point.
Elsewhere, Red Bull Leipzig picked up a road point at FC Koln with a 1-1 draw. Both goal came early in the match, as 19-year-old Scotsman Oliver Burke scored just five minutes into his Bundesliga debut for Leipzig, and Koln answered on 25 minutes through Yuya Osako.
In that match, 20-year-old Leipzig striker Timo Werner became the youngest player to ever reach 100 appearances in Bundesliga play. Leipzig moves up to eight points with the draw, while Koln has 10 points moving them up to a surprising third, still without a loss.