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Wenger says Arsenal can win title; fans should follow Spurs example

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“Don’t stop believing!”

[ MORE: Why Klopp deserves time

Arsene Wenger has obviously dusted off his “Journey: Greatest Hits” album this week as he looks for inspiration following two defeats on the spin in the Premier League.

The Gunners lost 3-1 at Chelsea last weekend to fall 12 points behind the current PL leaders (that defeat came hot on the heels of their shock home defeat to Watford) and their title hopes appear all but over for another season. After admitting at the weekend that he’s been offered a new two-year contract extension, Wenger didn’t give any update on how he’s feeling about his future.

Speaking to the media ahead of their clash against Hull City on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Wenger isn’t giving up just yet.

“It is never over. Even if you [the media] think it is, I don’t – we can’t think like that,” Wenger said. “We’re in a pack that is very tight and the fight for every position will be massive, maybe more this season than before. If it is over for us, it is over for everyone else as we are all in the pack.”

The Frenchman reiterated his point that Chelsea is in a very strong position as they do not have European action to contend with in the second half of the season, keeping their players fresher than their title rivals, but he’s obviously not giving up hope of securing a first PL title in 13 years.

Still, after plenty of late-season collapses in recent years, Arsenal’s fans won’t be holding their breath.

Speaking of fans, Arsene told the Arsenal supporters to look across north London to their rivals for how they should support a team…

“Of course, our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation, as I have as well,” Wenger said. “But I don’t feel it is absolutely clear. You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday and not be a fan anymore and not be behind the team this Saturday. It doesn’t make sense. All the other clubs, everywhere we fight with – Man United, Man City, Liverpool… they have big expectations as well and big histories.

“We are in a fight there, we absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it. You have Tottenham, everyone is in the fight and everyone is behind their team. We have to do exactly the same, even if we had two disappointing results.”

That will go down well with the fanbase, Arsene…


In other news Wenger also completely rubbished transfer reports stating he would make a move for Manchester City’s Joe Hart this summer.

Hart, 29, is currently on a season-loan with Serie A side Torino but reports stated Arsenal were interested in England’s No.1 goalkeeper. Wenger said he already has three world class goalkeepers, so he’s good.

With Petr Cech at 34 years old, plus David Ospina around, the rumor regarding Hart joining Arsenal seemed a little off the mark to begin with. With no place for him at Man City, his search for a new permanent home will continue as Liverpool and West Ham continue to be linked with a summer move.

And when it comes to Jack Wilshere, it doesn’t seem like he will be on the move this summer according to Wenger who also said there have been no talks about the Arsenal academy product, currently on loan at Bournemouth, joining the Cherries permanently.

“We have, at the moment, had no move from Bournemouth for Jack Wilshere,” Wenger confirmed.

Wilshere said himself on Thursday that he’s focused on digging Bournemouth out of a relegation battle they currently look like being sucked in to and any decision about a new deal at Arsenal or a move away from the Emirates Stadium will be contemplated in the summer.

The England international continues to grab assists and look tidy in midfield as he gets back to full fitness and back to his best. Arsenal could certainly do with his bite back in midfield next season but if Wenger can’t guarantee him regular minutes then Wilshere may well look elsewhere.

LIVE, UCL – Chelsea vs. Barcelona; Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas

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Two can’t-miss matchups are on display as the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first legs continue on Tuesday afternoon.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Chelsea and Barcelona continue its terrific recently rivalry over the past two decades with Ernesto Valverde’s side traveling to Stamford Bridge to face Antonio Conte and co. At the same time, Bayern Munich hosts Turkish giant Besiktas at the Allianz Arena.

Lionel Messi, who has yet to score against Chelsea in eight games, will be looking to break his own five-game goal drought while also keep Barcelona’s Champions League hopes alive against one of his club’s toughest opponents. Messi will be playing up top alongside Luis Suarez, with both Paulinho and Sergio Busquets sitting deep behind them to keep Chelsea from posing too much of a threat on the counter attack.

For Chelsea, the Champions League remains the last trophy the club can theoretically win, and Conte has named a strong side, though without a recognizable No. 9, with Eden Hazard playing as a false nine.

Bayern Munich is looking to reach the Champions League semifinals for the seventh time in the last nine years, and they’re facing a side who’s in the knockout stage for the first time. Vagner Love leads the line for Besiktas with Ricardo Quaresma and Anderson Talisca looking to create behind. Former Real Madrid centerback Pepe starts on the backline, and will look to stop Robert Lewandowski.

Click on the link above to follow live commentary of the two UCL last 16 games, while we will have you covered for analysis and reaction from both games right here at Pro Soccer Talk.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 schedule

Chelsea vs. Barcelona – 2:45 p.m. ET
Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas – 2:45 p.m. ET

Report: Tottenham prepare $70 million summer bid for Zaha

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In a statement of intent, Tottenham is reportedly preparing to bring in one of the Premier League’s most electrifying wingers.

The Times in London reports that Spurs are set to offer Crystal Palace a $70 million transfer fee to sign Wilfried Zaha, bringing the Ivory Coast international back to a big six club for the first time since 2014. Zaha famously was the last signing of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but by the time the now-25-year-old arrived, David Moyes was the manager and Zaha never found a place in the Man United first team.

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Since returning, Zaha has found his form and this season has four goals and an assist for Crystal Palace in 20 Premier League matches as the club is now treading water above the relegation zone. Last season, Zaha scored seven goals and dished out nine assists in 34 starts in the league.

Zaha’s potential signing likely means either a change in formation or the departure of either or both Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela, both who play on Zaha’s preferred left side regularly.

The report states that the signing could be a way to galvanize some of the supporters for next season in which the club will play in the re-built White Hart Lane.

Sargent signs first professional contract on his 18th birthday

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Josh Sargent’s 18th birthday is one he’ll never forget.

The young American phenom was finally able to sign his first professional contract on Tuesday after turning 18-years old, passing the FIFA threshold for when a foreigner can sign a pro contract. Sargent has been training with Werder Bremen’s youth teams for the last few months and has even trained with the first team and featured for the Werder Bremen U23s.

“We’ve gone over all the formalities and Josh signed his professional contract with us earlier,” Bremen sporting director Frank Baumann said on Tuesday afternoon. “Again, we’re delighted he decided to join us. He’s settled in brilliantly since the turn of the year.”

[READ: UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas]

Sargent will continue to train with the youth teams and reserves, and will be eligible to feature for the Werder Bremen first team for the 2018-2019 season.

Orlando City sign defender Sane from Werder Bremen

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After making a number of moves to improve its attack this offseason, Orlando City SC is now splashing the cash to improve its backline.

The club announced on Tuesday the signing of veteran centerback Lamine Sane from Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on a permanent deal. It appears that with less than six months left on his contract and Sane not in Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt’s plans, he was allowed to leave on a free transfer.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

“Lamine will significantly strengthen our back line,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “He brings tremendous experience at the highest levels of European football and we believe he will fit right in with what we’re trying to build in Orlando.”

Sane started 27 times for Werder Bremen during a struggling 2016-2017 season, but had made just 11 appearances this season for the Bundesliga side. He’s also made 25 caps for Senegal, but the French-born defender hasn’t appeared for them since 2015. Perhaps a good start to the season in MLS could get him a surprise spot in the World Cup squad.

The 30-year-old joins a rebuilt starting lineup featuring other veterans as Orlando City looks to win in the near term, after three straight seasons of missing the playoffs.

While the team lost Cyle Larin and Kaka in the offseason, Jason Kreis and co. brought in Dom Dwyer late in the 2017 season, Justin Meram, Josue Colman, Uri Rosell and Sacha Kljestan in the offseason.  Along with a couple of new outside backs, Sane is the first signing to shore up the leaky middle of the park for Orlando, one that the club’s fans hope will lead Orlando City to a top-six finish in the Eastern Conference in the least in 2018.