Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka had the press conference of the day in the Premier League.
Karanka admitted that he’s hoping to convince former Real Madrid attacker and current PSG man Jese Rodriguez to join Boro on loan.
[ REPORT: Celtic reject Chelsea bid ]
He also revealed that Gaston Ramirez handed in a transfer request, and that Boro has rejected a bid from Leicester City for the Uruguayan.
Then he proceeded with the hot takes, from The Express:
“It’s more than difficult, it’s frustrating because he was calling us to play here last season. He played his best last season, he went back to the national team again playing with us and to have this situation is frustrating as a coach and as a person.”
Karanka says Boro will not sell Ramirez if an acceptable bid doesn’t materialize, and that he has no hesitation to play the player.
Ramirez has been a combustible figure, once reportedly ripping up his Southampton contract in a desire to leave the club. We’re with Karanka here.
Thierry Henry’s first game in charge of the Montreal Impact started well but ended in a dramatic collapse. The legendary Frenchman probably has CCL fever right about now.
[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
Montreal drew 2-2 at Deportivo Saprissa in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League last 16 game on Wednesday as Orji Okwonkwo and Romell Quioto put them 2-0 up inside the first 22 minutes but Saprissa struck twice in the final 10 minutes to draw level. Both of Montreal’s goalscorers went off injured and after a tough preseason a late collapse
Johan Venegas pulled one back for the Costa Rican side in the 80th minute and Ariel Rodriguez equalized in the 90th minute to set up an intriguing second leg at the Olympic Stadium next Wednesday as the winner will face the Seattle Sounders or C.D. Olimpia in the quarterfinals.
Henry’s first official game in charge of the Major League Soccer franchise will have taught him a lot about his team and in truth they were pretty lucky to grab a draw as Saprissa outshot them 22-7 and had 72 percent of the possession.
Via MLSsoccer.com, the Arsenal and France legend was happy with the spirit his young side showed after a tough offseason which saw them lose four of their five preseason games amid plenty of turnover in the squad.
“We tried to compete, it was always going to be a difficult second half, but overall, I cannot say anything to my team,” Henry said. “Obviously there are some things that we need to work on, on how we conceded the goals, but you could see how it was difficult at times to cover each other. But at the end of the day, as a coach, when you see your team fighting like that up until the end you can only be proud. Obviously there’s some stuff that we can work on, don’t get it twisted, but I have to be proud about how they played. Especially how we arrived there in the situation that we are in.”
Going away to Costa Rica to play an experience team like Saprissa was never going to be easy and Henry’s side are at least level for the return game but Montreal’s squad is looking pretty young and replacing the creativity and goals of Ignacio Piatti is going to be tough.
Check out the highlights of the dramatic Saprissa comeback in the video above.
Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings are here and there are some familiar faces sticking around the upper echelons.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Stars from Premier League giants Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham dominate our power rankings after some impressive performances and there are plenty of new entries and plenty of players from the same teams as these rankings are based on the seven games played over the last seven days due to the second half of the Premier League’s winter break kicking in.
[ MORE: Club Power Rankings ]
Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!
Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.
1. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 2
2. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Up 2
3. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Up 2
4. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) – New entry
5. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – New entry
6. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
7. Richarlison (Everton) – Up 8
8. Harry Maguire (Man United) – New entry
9. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – New entry
10. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
11. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – New entry
12. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – Down 11
13. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry
14. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Down 3
15. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) – Down 7
16. Bruno Fernandes (Man United) – New entry
17. Nick Pope (Burnley) – Even
18. Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham) – Down 5
19. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – New entry
20. Pepe Reina (Aston Villa) – New entry
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has signed Denmark forward Martin Braithwaite to help fill its injury-depleted attack.
Barcelona said on Thursday it agreed to pay the 18 million euros ($19.4 million) buyout clause in Braithwaite’s contract with Spanish league rival Leganes.
Barcelona was granted permission to sign a Spanish league player after it was left without Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for long periods due to injuries to both attacking players.
Braithwaite will sign for the rest of this season plus four more, according the club.
He will not be eligible to play in the Champions League this season, just la Liga.
The 28-year-old Braithwaite has played for the last year at Leganes, where he arrived in mid-season of 2018-19 and helped the modest club avoid relegation.
He has eight goals in 27 appearances for Leganes this season.
His prior clubs included Middlesbrough, Girondins, and Toulouse. He played in the 2018 World Cup for Denmark.
Barcelona highlighted his ability to play “on both sides of the attack, his work ethic and commitment” and added he is a “headache for rivals.”
More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Timo Werner ripped Tottenham apart in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and the RB Leipzig striker was immediately asked about a possible Premier League transfer amid reported interest from Liverpool.
It’s safe to say that Werner is keen on a move to the reigning European and World champs as multiple reports have linked the German national team forward with a summer move to Liverpool.
After he scored the winner in Leipzig’s 1-0 win at Spurs, Werner told Norwegian TV channel Viasport Football that he is flattered to be linked with Liverpool.
“I know that Liverpool is the best team at the moment in the world,” Werner said. “When you’re linked with that team it makes me very proud. It’s a pleasure but I know that Liverpool have a lot of good players and I have to improve myself, to learn much more things to get on this level to play there.”
If that isn’t a good old fashioned ‘come and get me plea’ then I don’t know what is.
Werner, 23, has long been linked with a move to Bayern Munich but that deal doesn’t seem likely and the predatory forward was also said to be interesting Chelsea in January. Werner did sign a new four-year contract at Leipzig last summer but it reportedly lowered his release clause to $35 million and that will certainly interest his countryman Jurgen Klopp. Werner has Leipzig in third place in the Bundesliga and with one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with his 26 goals in 32 games in all competitions pivotal to the success of Julian Nagelsmann’s upstarts.
Werner has scored 86 goals in 145 appearances for Leipzig in all competitions and his pace and energy combined with clinical finishing is very Jamie Vardy esque. Werner also has 11 goals in 29 appearances for Germany and it seems like he has been around for a long, long time because, well, he has. He became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 200 games and his incredible consistency is clear for all to see.
Would he fit in at Liverpool? He could well slot into the Roberto Firmino role in linking everything together but he would obviously have to spend a bit of time on the bench if he was to move to Anfield this summer. A better move for him would probably be Chelsea as he would play right away and they badly need a clinical striker to finish off all of the chances their talented midfielders create. If Liverpool sign him then one of Firmino, Salah and Mane would have to make way and that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon .
Werner will be a wanted man this summer and it seems clear he wants to move to the Premier League.