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Sissoko close to Tottenham return

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Moussa Sissoko is closing in on a return for Tottenham and my how Jose Mourinho has missed the Frenchman.

Sissoko, 30, went down with a knee injury in the defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day and has since had surgery but is going to return quicker than expected.

Speaking to Tottenham’s website, Moussa Sissoko gave the following update on his recovery.

“I’m fine, my knee’s okay. I’ve been training with the team for nearly two weeks now and everything is okay. I’m trying to build up my fitness and trying to be ready for when we’re allowed to play again,” Sissoko said.

Tottenham are one of the teams who look set to benefit most from the current suspension of the Premier League season until at least April 30. Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Steven Bergwijn and Sissoko have all suffered serious injuries in recent months but Mourinho could have them fit and available for their final nine games of the season as they focus solely on the final nine games of the Premier League season.

Having Sissoko back would be a huge help to Mourinho as Tottenham have often been overpowered in central midfield with Harry Winks out of form and Eric Dier preferred at center back in recent weeks. Sissoko’s ability to run with the ball, win it back and link midfield and attack has been badly missed.

Sissoko, born in France, has also issued a message to everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic as he is in constant contact with his family in France.

“It’s a very sad situation, all the world is affected,” Moussa Sissoko added. “We need to be sensible and try to follow protocols. Hopefully in a few weeks or a few months everything will be okay and everyone can go back to normal life and try to enjoy life. Everyone needs to be careful and like I said, follow the protocols, stay at home and try to be safe, take care of your family. At the same time, it’s a good opportunity to spend time with your family and have some love together because as I said, at the moment the world is sad and we don’t like to see this kind of thing, but we need to stick together and hopefully, in a few weeks or few months, we’ll have a better world.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd chase Van de Beek, Spurs eye Kondogbia

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The transfer rumor mill is proving rather impervious to coronavirus, even as COVID-19 grinds the world close to a halt.

A report claims that Barcelona is willing to meet Lautaro Martinez’s release clause, and a pair of Premier League sides are linked with big additions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Marca claims that Manchester United is hoping to hijack Real Madrid’s long-held plans to buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax.

Van de Beek turns 23 next month. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

The report says Van de Beek has been waiting on Madrid, who couldn’t free up the money to sign him in the summer and asked him to wait a year.

United would want Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Bruno Fernandes, and his move to Old Trafford would be yet another arrow to the exit door for Paul Pogba.


Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is hoping that a drop in the pecking order for Geoffrey Kondogbia at Valencia will open the door to a North London move.

Marca again is the source, saying Kondogbia may be available due to the emergence of ex-Arsenal man Frances Coquelin at the Mestalla.

Kondogbia’s now been well above average at Monaco, Inter Milan, and Valencia, having been linked to a number of Premier League clubs over the years.

And Mourinho is still trying to find his Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellaini at Spurs, though Eric Dier has clearly become a well-liked option in the midfield. Tanguy Ndombele theoretically has all the tools to do the job, but Mourinho is less-than-pleased with the Frenchman.

Kondogbia turns 27 next month and is unlikely to slip. Spurs sure could do worse if Valencia makes him available, though Ndombele remains an intriguing prospect who’s very much in-house and carries transfer record status.

Burnley, Spurs split spoils at Turf Moor

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur recap and video highlights
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images
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Chris Wood and Dele Alli scored as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur split the points at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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Burnley is now unbeaten in seven Premier League outings and sits 10th on 39 points.

Spurs are two points clear of Burnley, but will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top four.

Tottenham gets its first result in five outings with the draw.


Three things we learned

1. Lo Celso changes the game: Tottenham was absolutely dreadful in the first half, and Burnley’s lead was well-earned. Jose Mourinho took out a pair of center midfielders and introduced Giovani Lo Celso, who was very good from Moment No. 1 and drove the play that led to Spurs’ penalty.

2. Burnley bolsters UEL hopes: The Clarets have a point or better in seven-straight league matches. While they failed in a bid to leapfrog Spurs, Sean Dyche‘s men are three points back of the top seven. Could tiny Burnley really make two European runs in three seasons?

3. Lucky Dele: Jose Mourinho again deployed Dele Alli as a center forward, and the player struggled in the first 45 minutes. Dele’s pass completion rate was barely above 50 percent and he lost all of his nine duels. His penalty finish was cool, though, and may jumpstart his stagnant month ahead of Bayern Munich.

Man of the Match: Burnley’s Dwight McNeil was consistent and thrilling on the wing, producing the match’s lone assist.


Chris Wood rocketed a 17-yard shot over the bar early to send a warning to Hugo Lloris and Co.

A Jay Rodriguez header off from the back post led to an unholy scramble in the box minutes later, but Spurs again cleared the danger.

It was all foreshadowing; Burnley went ahead when Dwight McNeil got two chances to send in a cross that bounded to Rodriguez. His laser was saved by Lloris but Wood pounced on the rebound for 1-0.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs got a chance to level the score as Lo Celso paid immediate dividends. The Spanish midfielder stole the ball and played a wonderful ball to Lamela, who was cut down by Ben Mee inside the edge of the box.

Dele Alli strode to the spot and stroked the ball past Nick Pope for his 50th Premier League goal.

Burnley had a strong chance when Matej Vydra was slid into the box, but Eric Dier intervened to push the ball away from danger.

Lo Celso then led a 60-yard charge upfield that fell apart when Dele couldn’t get the ball through traffic.

Wood then thumped a shot to Lloris, who was wise to the bounce. Vydra then knocked down a ball for Wood that the Kiwi hit to Lloris in the 81st.

Lo Celso came close to bending a shot inside the far corner a minute later.

A funny bounce forced Lloris to make a prime save of Vydra after the latter’s shot took a turn off the bottom of Toby Alderweireld‘s boot.

Southgate: Smalling could be recalled for Euro 2020

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Chris Smalling has been a revelation for AS Roma this season, and the England National Team manager has taken notice.

With Smalling back to playing some of the best soccer of his career, Gareth Southgate said in an interview with The Guardian that Smalling could be in contention for a return to the England National Team. Smalling was unceremoniously dropped from the Three Lions in 2017 in the middle of World Cup 2018 qualification, but he’s had a renaissance since moving to Italy from Manchester United last summer.

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“I think he’s done well in Italy,” Southgate said. “He’s playing at another big club. He was obviously playing at a big club before. We’re watching everybody because we’ve got to make sure we make the right decision. I’ve never ruled anybody out. I think that would be wrong.”

Playing in a slower, yet more tactical and techncal league, has helped the quick centerback stand out. What’s also helped him, Smalling revealed in previous interviews since coming to Roma, was his ease at maintaining a vegan diet, which has given him new life, and perhaps another England National Team call-up. Smalling has made 21 starts this season in Serie A, recording six clean sheets and two goals.

Smalling’s success this season comes at a great time for him personally, in terms of the national team. Southgate has a crisis on his hands in central defense. John Stones is hardly playing (12 Premier League appearances so far), while Harry Maguire hasn’t had the same kind of impact at Manchester United that he appeared to have while at Leicester City.

Of most recent call-ups, only Fikayo Timori (hasn’t played in the Premier League since the turn of the year) and Tyrone Mings, he of two total caps, fit that position. And if Eric Dier is facing a suspension from the FA, that could keep him out of the Three Lions for Euro 2020. Suddenly, Southgate must look at former players he once cast out for options.

In addition to Smalling, if Joe Gomez would be fit, he’d be a decent option to pair with Maguire, but you’d like to Smalling either starting or at least in the squad to provide some insurance.

Mourinho reacts to Dier’s confrontation with fan

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Tottenham’s night went from bad to worse on Wednesday, as defender Eric Dier was pictured running into the stands at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to confront a fan.

Following Tottenham’s FA Cup fourth round defeat to Norwich City on penalty kicks, Dier reportedly jumped over the advertising hoardings and climbed into the stands, away from where his teammates were heading back into the tunnel. Multiple supporters in the stands posted videos of stewards holding Dier back, as he reportedly shouted at a fan who may have been verbally abusing members of his family.

After the match, Jose Mourinho said he felt going into the stands was the wrong action to take, but also backed Dier for what he and his family may have experienced.

“I cannot run away from the question and I think Eric Dier did something that we professionals cannot but, in these circumstances, something that every one of us would do,” Mourinho told our partners Sky Sports after the match. “When someone insults you and your family is there, and your family gets involved with the person that is insulting you, in this case your younger brother, I think Eric did what we professionals cannot but, I repeat, probably every one of us would do. I am with the player and understand the player.”

In the video below, posted by a Tottenham supporter, Dier can be heard shouting “That’s my brother.” Whatever the abuse was, whether to his actual brother or to one of his teammates, Dier could clearly hear it from the field and had had enough.

In the video below, we see how Dier entered the stands after the match. It remains to be seen what Dier’s punishment will be, but there will no doubt be a fine and suspension coming his way from the FA. This could have a potential big impact on Tottenham for the rest of the season, if a suspension overlaps with the Premier League.