Even when Manchester United aren’t playing, their bad luck still manages to continue. First came the news that transfer talks between United and Southampton’s teenage phenom, Luke Shaw, had stalled. Now, Dutch star Arjen Robben says he won’t be joining the Red Devils.
As soon as the links between Louis van Gaal and Manchester United began, so too came the speculation on who the new manager would bring into the side. The last club he managed was Bayern Munich, so many believed he’d be raiding the Bundesliga to pick up talented, affordable players. Add to that the fact that van Gaal was currently in charge of the Netherlands national team, and it was no surprise when reports began to surface that Dutch players would be making their way to Old Trafford.
And what do you get when you combine Bundesliga players with Dutch nationality? Why, Arjen Robben, of course. At Bayern since 2009, he’d previously played under van Gaal, and is currently tipped to be heading to Brazil with the oranje.
There’s no indication that Manchester United made a formal approach for the winger, but Robben went ahead and squashed the rumor anyway. He told Holland’s biggest newspaper, De Telegraaf, that leaving his current club was not an option:
I cannot imagine why Bayern would want to lose me. I just renewed my contract and we are happy with each other. It’s very different when you’re not completely happy. I had a fantastic time with Van Gaal at FC Bayern and know what I have with him. Van Gaal and Guardiola are the best trainers I have worked with. I feel good so will stay where I am. The chance is zero that I make the switch.
So it’s back to the drawing board for United, but worry not, fans. At least you won’t have to defend Robben’s alleged dives and constant appeals to the referee.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.