He’s quickly become a forgotten figure amid the fascism fuss surrounding Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as his successor at the Stadium of Light.
But like a lot of people, Martin O’Neill has questioned Sunderland’s decision to hand the Italian the role. O’Neill’s reasoning? Nothing to do with politics, everything to do with respect he felt he’d earned.
“With the experience I have had over the years … also coming into the football club at a time when the club was pretty well on its knees. I believed I saved it from relegation last year and I thought that opportunity should still have been afforded to me,” the 61-year-old told the BBC.
O’Neill was fired after last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United, which left the Black Cats only a point clear of the Barclays Premier League drop zone. He took the reins in December, 2011, and guided a struggling side to a respectable 13th-place finish in his first season.
“I’m still disappointed and frustrated but life goes on,” he added.
Given all the experience he alluded to, with impressive spells at Leicester City, Aston Villa and Celtic, it’s surprising he appears so taken aback by chairman Ellis Short’s ruthlessness. Surely O’Neill should know what happens to managers at clubs who spend big, decline from the previous year and go on a run of eight games without a win?
Transfer news: Werner to Chelsea; Sanchez to Inter
First up, a juicy report from Bild says that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is trying to convince his Germany teammate and close friend Timo Werner to join hm at Stamford Bridge.
Werner, 24, has dazzled at RB Leipzig this season (31 goals in 40 games in all competitions) and is widely expected to leave with Liverpool, Man United and many others clubs across Europe chasing his signature. Per the report, Chelsea have Rudiger working hard to convince his friend and former Stuttgart teammate that west London is the place for him.
The release clause on Werner’s current contract is said to be $60 million and Chelsea are one of the few clubs who have a healthy transfer budget as they had a transfer ban for a whole year and Frank Lampard has just spent $44 million on one new signing so far, bringing in Hakim Ziyech who will not arrive until later this summer.
Werner is exactly what Chelsea need. They have created so many golden goalscoring opportunities and although Tammy Abraham was putting them away at the start of the season, his form and fitness was a concern in the last few months before the suspension.
Olivier Giroud is their only other forward option and Werner would be perfect to finish off the chances this attack-minded Chelsea team create. Even better for him, he would actually play at Chelsea which may not be the case at Liverpool and Man United given their stacked attacking lineups.
Heading to Manchester, it appears Alexis Sanchez may not be going back to his parent club next season.
Sanchez, 31, is on loan at Inter Milan for the 2019-20 season and the Daily Express claim that he could stay at Inter rather than heading back to Old Trafford despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously saying he was open to the idea. Per the report, Man United are keen to loan Sanchez out to Inter once again on a similar arrangement and the Serie A side are willing to see how Sanchez does when the season restarts in a few weeks. With Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and others around at Man United, he may struggle for minutes at Man United.
Would another loan be a good move for Inter?
Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been their main strikers this season under Antonio Conte, with Sanchez out injured for large chunks of the campaign and then doing okay when he did play. However, with Martinez chased by Barcelona, if they do sell the Argentine forward for over $115 million, having Sanchez around on loan would soften the blow.
The main problem with Sanchez is that over the last three years he has picked up consistent injury problems. If he can shake those issues off, we all know he is capable of scoring goals and creating havoc. Given this recent track record though, that’s a big if, as he’s scored just one goal and added three assists in 15 outings for Inter this season.
Following the latest batch of tests on players and club staff the Premier League have revealed that zero out of 1130 COVID-19 tests taken on Thursday and Friday have come back positive.
The fourth round of testing is the first time that no positive tests have come back, as a total of 3,882 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out with 12 positive results.
All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, as full contact training is now up and running and a restart date of June 17 has been set.
Here is the statement from the Premier League in full:
The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive.
The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.
Previous test results
Round 1: 17-18 May – 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs. Round 2: 19-22 May – 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs. Round 3: 25-26 May – 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two clubs.
Bayern Munich are waltzing their way to an eight-straight Bundesliga title as they battered Fortuna Dusseldorf 5-0 on Saturday at the Allianz Arena to record an eight-straight win in the German top-flight.
An own goal, two from Robert Lewandowsk and a goal each from Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies did the damage to Fortuna as Bayern Munich are now just three wins away from securing the title, as they have five games left in the season.
Hansi Flick has now won 22 of his 25 games in charge of Bayern Munich after he took charge in November with the German giants struggling under Niko Kovac. Now, they are rampant and are one of the favorites to win the UEFA Champions League.
The Bavarian giants dominated early on as USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales made an important clearance but Mathias Jorgensen was so lucky a few moments later.
Weston McKennie released the following statement after wearing the armband at the weekend to honor George Floyd:
“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!! We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard! #justiceforgeorgefloyd#saynotoracism
Here is a photo of McKennie wearing the armband which he put on before the game kicked off and wore on his left arm.