Alexis Sanchez

Getty Images

Transfer news: Kane to Real Madrid, Alexis Sanchez to West Ham

Leave a comment

The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

According to Sport, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has his sights set on signing Tottenham striker Harry Kane this summer.

With Luka Jovic failing to impress at the Santiago Bernabeu, Los Blancos are set to make some moves to consolidate the presence up top. Kane, 26, and Wolves striker Raul Jimenez are some of the few names to have been mentioned thus far.

Kane, who has a running contract with Spurs until 2024, recently mentioned that he wouldn’t rule out a move out of north London, if Tottenham were unable to capitalize on winning silverware.

“I’m an ambitious player, I want to improve, I want to get better, I want to become one of the top, top players,” Kane said earlier this month. “It all depends on what happens as a team and how we progress as a team. So it’s not a definite I’m going to stay there forever – but it’s not a no either.”

As far as transfers go, nothing gets bigger and more “ambitious” than a summer blockbuster move to Real Madrid. Kane has a promising project spearheaded by Jose Mourinho himself at his boyhood club, but the opportunity to represent Real Madrid – at such a prime age, with an astronomical amount of hype – may only come around once.

Alexis Sanchez’s time at Inter Milan is coming to a close, and his next destination may be a Premier League team not named Manchester United, according to FC Inter News.

The 31-year-old Chilean’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, has reportedly been inquired by West Ham, who are considering placing a bid to lure the winger out of Old Trafford.

Sanchez arrived at Inter last summer on loan but has failed to impress when healthy, recording a mere goal and three assist in 15 appearances this season. With the possibilities of Sanchez remaining at Manchester United past the summer getting slimmer by the day, the Hammers are hoping to land the South American at a reduced price.

Sanchez, one of United’s highest earners, is reportedly also gathering interest from other unnamed Premier League and Bundesliga sides.

Man United’s Sanchez won’t serve time on 16-month prison sentence

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s a good thing that Alexis Sanchez got a big pay raise at Manchester United, because he is going to have to pay up to the Spanish government.

Sanchez was given a 16-month prison sentence after accepting that he avoided paying around $1.2 million in taxes on his image rights, after his representatives laundered the money in a shell company in Malta. The crime occurred in 2012-2013, while the Chilean was still playing with FC Barcelona.

[READ: Patrice Evra headed to West Ham?]

Sanchez and his representatives agreed to pay back the money plus interest to the Office of the Attorney General. In Spain, only sentences longer than 24 months are met with actual jail time, though Sanchez could find himself in prison if he commits the same crime again.

The 29-year-old is the latest in a string of high-profile soccer players and managers to have been caught defrauding the Spanish government on taxes for their image rights. Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho have all been prosecuted by the government.

Similarly to Romelu Lukaku‘s legal issues stemming from a noise violation last summer in California, Sanchez is probably glad to have this matter behind him, and now he can focus on keeping Manchester United in second place in the Premier League table, and pushing for a UEFA Champions League title.

Wenger: Failing to sell Sanchez could cost Arsenal nearly $183 million

Getty Images

The failure to sell Alexis Sanchez with one year left on his contract could cost Arsenal more than $91 million in the short term and $91 million in the long term.

That’s according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who said that the club missed out on recouping funds for Sanchez while admitting it would cost another $91 million to sign a significant player as a replacement. Sanchez can leave Arsenal on a free transfer next summer should the Gunners not sell him at a likely discounted rate in January.

“You take a Sánchez into the final year of his contract, you sacrifice 60-70million income and at the end of the season you will have to buy somebody for that amount of money,” Wenger said, via beIN Sports. “It has a huge price so at some stage you have to make a decision, you have to sacrifice one or two.”

Sanchez is coming off a rough week, having not been able to complete a proposed move to Manchester City compounded by two straight defeats with the Chilean National Team, suffering criticism from the Chilean fans and press. And just before the international break, Sanchez’s first appearance this season for Arsenal came in its 4-0 mauling from Liverpool.

In a post on his Instagram page, Sanchez hit out at the team’s critics.

“You get tired of being criticized with reason and without reason, you get tired of wanting to be defeated, you get tired of saying to yourself “I’ll get up again” after crying after a defeat, and you get tired of telling the world and people who are with you, that everything is going well,” Sanchez wrote. “And the worst, that no one ever realizes how that makes you feel … I have the back of Chile and it is a huge responsibility, that’s why I’m sorry that journalists and bad people criticize without understanding.”

It will be interesting to see whether Sanchez’s anger and disappointment affect his play, or whether he can put it behind him and lead Arsenal back up the Premier League table.

Robbie Mustoe: Arsene Wenger has reached the end of his time at Arsenal

Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Image
Leave a comment

With long-time manager Arsene Wenger‘s status at Arsenal in the spotlight, ProSoccerTalk spoke with Robbie Mustoe about what has happened to Wenger at Arsenal.

Q: Arsenal fans’ protests against Wenger seem louder than ever before. Why do you think this season is different even though Arsenal have been getting similar results as the past few years?

Robbie Mustoe: I think, as you said, the results are similar and in some ways the performances have been similar, some really good ones, particularly the first half of the season when there was a feeling that Arsenal was somewhat different, but I was never fully convinced of this. Although I did like Alexis Sanchez playing as a striker and [Granit] Xhaka was different in midfield, so there was a few differences going into this season, but I still was never convinced about the mentality of the team. Now going back to how it’s different, I think it’s different because it looks to me over the past few weeks that the players have lost respect for the manager.

We can criticize Wenger for some tactical things, some mentality things, some selection things, stuff that always stops him from winning the league title and in the first half of the season that was the same story. It’s changed because I think some of the players now are disbelieving like a lot of other people, the fans you’re seeing now more and more are realizing that it’s time for him to go, ex-players and loyal former guys that worked and played for Arsene Wenger are starting to say it’s definitely time to go. I just think the players have lost respect. Alexis Sanchez on the bench the other day with the smirking, it’s hard to be definitive if he was laughing there, it’s just when you watch them play it looks like they are empty. I’ve said that with Robbie Earle on our radio show, they look empty, they look like there is nothing inside left, that his words are not getting through. I suppose to summarize I think over the last few weeks the players have thrown the towel in a little bit and I’ve not seen that before. That is another massive indication that Wenger has reached the end of his time at Arsenal in my opinion.

Q: What is your takeaway from Wenger’s handling of the Alexis Sanchez situation in both the decision to bench him and his explanation afterward?

RM: The explanation to start with, it’s disappointing because people in the game know that there was nothing tactically different from Arsenal with a direct approach. There’s no way, assuming there’s not been a bust-up which is what Wenger is hinting here, that the joint-top scorer with an incredibly hard mentality, a winning mindset, a great work ethic, tremendous quality, there’s no way he doesn’t get into any team in the Premier League no matter what style you’re playing. The explanation of it was disappointing because it’s just not true.

[ MORE: Wenger to listen to protests ]

Leaving him out, if there is ill-discipline within the squad and if Alexis Sanchez was disrespectful to the manager, to his teammates, then of course as a manager you have the right to leave a player benched for whatever reason. My response to that would be find a way to patch up the disagreement, find a way to get the player back on board again and if you can’t you leave him out of the squad. Don’t put him on the bench and have people like, ‘what’s going on,’ leave him out and be open. Be open about it, if it’s a disagreement for whatever reason there’s various ways that you can go at it. The preferred way in my opinion would be, sit down and try to figure it out because you’re all in this together you need your best players. Without letting the player win, you got to get him back on board whichever way that you do that with man management. Wenger’s got every right if he feels that certain players are undermining him or the squad than absolutely he has every right to drop a player, but don’t leave him on the bench and tell us that it’s a tactical reason. That’s disappointing from a guy that’s so classy and has been around so long and he’s so good generally with the media. This, in my opinion, was incorrect.

Q: Do you think his decision to do this was some sort of last-ditch effort, feeling that he may have lost the respect of his players and trying to do something drastic to shake it up?

RM: Yeah, it is, it was. That’s what I thought. We are having to surmise this. Wenger said there was no bust-up and it’s a normal relationship so this is you know this s what we are suggesting, speculating if you like. That goes back to my last answer, if there is something that the players are revolting against in some way than you leaving your star player on the bench I guess sends a message out, but it just doesn’t feel right. We’ve seen this before with different players and it feels the right thing to do. Again it’s so difficult to speculate, I mean Dimitri Payet at West Ham United there was a big bust-up there. He said he didn’t want to play for the club again. The manager meets with him, meets with him again and just confirms to him that he is going to tell the press what the disagreement is and he did. That felt transparent, clean and open. This just doesn’t.

[ MORE: Arsenal release statement on Wenger ]

We are speculating, whether that’s right or wrong, I still think it’s the last resort to have a bust-up with a star player and leave him on the bench. A bigger message maybe is to leave him out of the squad and be transparent. It just hasn’t been handled very well from Arsene Wenger and I don’t think we’ve seen this before. If our speculation is correct and there has been a bust-up I can’t remember a time when Wenger has had to do this before or left a star player out because of issues not involved with how he’s playing. He’s been the best player for Arsenal and arguably the best player in the league. It has nothing to do with his performance level. It must have been something that was said behind the scenes and hasn’t been handled very well.

Q: Looking at where Arsenal are in the table and the fact that they are still in contention in the FA Cup is there a way this season can still be a success for Wenger and Arsenal?

RM: Yes, they can win the FA Cup and they can finish in the top four. Champions League qualification and winning a trophy has to be a success. Some Arsenal fans would say we’ve seen this before, we want progression, we’ve spent money, we are a little bit stronger, we should be winning the title, but you win an FA Cup and finish in the top four this year that’s a decent season, I don’t care what anybody says. It’s just that you’re concerned with the way that it feels different now. The atmosphere around not only the supporters, but it sounds like within the dressing room, within the playing staff is that this really has come to an end.

We can speculate about stuff happening off the pitch, but I can give you my opinion of what I see from the team. I’ve been watching Arsene Wenger and his team for years and years and years and I’m seeing over the last few weeks with some bad results almost a team that’s saying wow we can’t turn up against the big teams, we can’t get the right results. It seems to me that that FA Cup fixture and the top four finish is going to be extremely hard. Success is possible, some degree of success, but there’s so much that has gone on in these last few weeks. It’s not right at the club and Arsene Wenger himself must realize that. I just don’t know how stubborn he is, I don’t know if he’s just going to say, ‘I don’t care, I have a contract, I’m going to crack on, we’re going to get this right, we’re going to sign some players in the summer.’ That’s one line of thinking, but the other line that would make more sense is, ‘My time has come to an end here. I’m going to let my owner and my board of directors know that this is my last season.’ I’d like that transparency. I’d like that honesty and it could be known to everybody that that’s the intention and I think then the remainder of the season is not so horrible. I think there will be respect and appreciation between now and the end of the season for what he’s done. I just really don’t know what’s going to happen with that. It seems that everybody around the club: pundits, supporters, maybe players now and former players really believe that this is time for him to leave.

For more on Arsene Wenger’s future, listen to the latest 2 Robbies podcast.

PSG 1-1 Arsenal: Ospina, Sanchez help Gunners rip draw from Paris

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Alexis Sanchez’ 78th minute equalizer gave visiting Arsenal a point from its UEFA Champions League opener against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

David Ospina‘s sensational second half is perhaps the only reason there wasn’t a massive number under the hosts’ name.

Olivier Giroud was very good as a sub, right until he picked up straight red in stoppage time. Marco Verratti of PSG was dismissed as well.

[ VIDEO: Lightning postpones City-Gladbach ]

Paris Saint-Germain used a very early goal from Edinson Cavani to take the lead, but watched as Arsenal’s backstop thwarted many chances to insure the lead in both teams’ UEFA Champions League openers.

Arsenal next hosts Basel two weeks from Wednesday, while PSG is off to Bulgaria to face Ludogorets on the same day.

[ MORE: Champions League standings

Arsenal went behind in less than a minute, as Cavani turned Serge Aurier’s cross into the goal with his noggin. PSG led 1-0 early, and Cavani missed two other golden chances in the first half to keep Arsenal in it.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Arsenal started the second half with plenty of control and possession, but PSG came closest to scoring.

Angel Di Maria should’ve doubled PSG’s lead in the second half, but took a heavy touch on a ball played over Hector Bellerin‘s head.

David Ospina was the hero when he came sliding out to stop an Aurier break down the right. Moments later, Ospina stopped Cavani 1v1 to keep Arsenal’s hopes alive.

Those hopes were turned into reality when Alphonse Aréola parried Alex Iwobi‘s shot into the path of Alexis Sanchez, who made it 1-1 in the 78th minute.

Aréola would later deny Iwobi with a low lunging parry after Sanchez tried to return the favor with 8 minutes to play.