Unai Emery

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Transfer rumor roundup: New homes for Koscielny, Gundogan

1 Comment

The transfer rumor mill is veteran heavy heading into the weekend.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Borussia Dortmund doesn’t want to fizzle out again next season, and is hoping to lure a few special players to Germany this season.

Juve forward Mario Mandzukic, Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny are all on BVB’s radar as the club looks to improve on the side that pushed Bayern Munich for much of last season.

Gundogan wants more playing time but City is said to be ready to let him leave on a free at the end of the 2019-20 season. Koscielny could be a victim of Unai Emery‘s need to flip his defensive script. Could both end up in Dortmund? Bild (subscription required) says so, and Koscielny could cost $13 million while Gundogan’s fee is unknown.


Bayern Munich hero Lothar Matthaus says James Rodriguez is going to find his way to a Juventus side which could become the favorite to win the UEFA Champions League.

Matthaus tells Spanish web site AS that James remains close with Cristiano Ronaldo, and that he’s ready for a reunion with good pal. Additionally, Real would benefit from the deal, as James was just on loan with Bayern and his rights remain at the Bernabeu.


Rumorinhos:

Antonio Valencia is being linked with a Premier League stay, as Sheffield United may want to bring the Ecuador captain aboard the good ship Blades.

— Would Jesper Cillessen leave Barcelona to stay a backup… at Everton? We doubt it, but maybe that says something more about the controversial season of Jordan Pickford than the status of Cillessen?

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Cancelo to Man City, Arsenal after Sampdoria pair, and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a second successive season without the regular services of Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City has reportedly found a new fullback to increase the club’s depth in that position.

According to reports out of Italy, Manchester City is set to make a $56 million offer to Juventus for Portuguese defender Joao Cancelo. Cancelo has spent the last two seasons in Italy, first playing with Inter Milan and this past season with Juventus, and he’s also broken into the Portugal National Team as a regular, marauding right back.

[READ: Report: Chelsea, Real Madrid agree to Hazard transfer]

He’s certainly known for his attacking prowess down the wings, and even though he’s a right back, he could play left back in a pinch if needed. This past season he recorded eight assists in 34 games for Juventus, and he’ll have plenty of targets to aim for if he joins Man City.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around the Premier League:


Arsenal target Sampdoria’s Anderson, Praet

Arsenal’s offseason is underway, and the club is now taking a bigger step to addressing its many needs on the field.

Per reports out of Sampdoria, Arsenal is looking to make a double signing from Sampdoria FC to sign Joachim Andersen and Dennis Praet. The report states that Arsenal has made an offer of around $47 for the pair, but the club won’t accept anything less than $10 million more than that amount.

If confirmed, it would be Arsenal and Unai Emery‘s second-straight year with a signing from Sampdoria, after bringing Lucas Torreira in last July.

Praet started 33 games last season in Serie A for Sampdoria, helping form a strong midfield unit that helped lead Samp to ninth place in the table, while Andersen was a rock in central defense. Both would certainly add depth and be able to step into the starting lineup for Arsenal should they join.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Europa League fallout for Arsenal, Chelsea

Getty Images
2 Comments

With the Europa League final complete and Chelsea reigning supreme, there is plenty of fallout to come with the Blues back in the Champions League and Arsenal failing to seal the deal.

For Arsenal, the blow could be heavy. The club is strapped for cash now headed for its third straight season in the Europa League, and they allowed 28-year-old Aaron Ramsey to depart this summer for free, a financial failure that could have serious consequences.

According to a report by The Mirror, manager Unai Emery is hoping to overhaul the squad this summer, but his job will be difficult given the financial constraints of failing to reach the Champions League. He could be forced to sell assets to generate cash, and while Arsenal fans may be happy to see the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil on the list of players who could depart this summer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could reportedly also be sacrificed in the process. The report states that the wage bill may actually be a bigger obstacle to the club’s acquisition power than transfer funds, yet still there may only be around $50 million for Emery to play with this summer.

Players like Ozil and Mustafi could generate a decent cash flow, but they have underperformed the last few seasons, and Ozil especially has wages that could limit the club’s ability to shop him. The report states that Inter Milan could be a possible destination with possible new manager Antonio Conte hoping to boost the attack.


For Chelsea, their summer is also in question, despite securing Champions League play. The Blues have a potential transfer ban hanging over their heads, and the impending decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have an enormous impact on their proceedings over the next few months.

Regardless of the decision, however, it looks as if Eden Hazard has played his final game in Chelsea blue, and the rumors continue to churn of his departure for Real Madrid. English tabloids have stated that Hazard is off to Real Madrid for an enormous $145 million fee, although that seems unlikely as reports consistently stated over the last few weeks that Los Blancos were holding firm to their $125 million ceiling and that Chelsea would likely concede to that amount due to Hazard’s contract situation.

Should Chelsea be able to replace Hazard this summer and the ban is lifted or delayed, the Blues could look to a former Premier League star to take over. Philippe Coutinho has had a horrible first year at Barcelona, and it seems the club is shopping him to various interested parties. Chelsea could be a perfect landing spot for Coutinho and they could secure him far below market value after his disastrous season at the Camp Nou. Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claims that Chelsea would be in pole position to secure Coutinho should the CAS allow the club to sign players this summer, and while Manchester United is interested, their lack of Champions League play this season sees them at a serious disadvantage.

Chelsea could also secure the permanent signatures of current loanees Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain whether the club is banned from transfer acquisitions or not, as they are both already registered with the club. Kovacic, a Real Madrid player out on loan, could likely be secured on a permanent deal separate from the Hazard negotiation. Higuain, meanwhile, may wait to see if Maurizio Sarri is confirmed as the Chelsea manager next season before he commits his future to Stamford Bridge.


According to Mundo Deportivo in a report that corroborates earlier reporting in the English tabloids, Manchester United is seriously considering a massive offer to free agent midfielder Adrien Rabiot. The Red Devils are reportedly set to offer Rabiot an $12.5 million signing bonus and wages of around $220,000 a week or about $11.5 million a season, which would match the demands he’s stuck to in negotiations over the past few months.

The report states that with other top clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus unwilling to meet his high financial demands, Rabiot could find United’s offer intriguing. Rabiot, a 24-year-old French midfielder, has had major character issues in the past at both the club and country levels, but his play on the field as a top box-to-box midfielder is helping offset the questions about his personality. Should Manchester United bring Rabiot on, he could directly challenge Paul Pogba for a spot in the team, or even serve as a Pogba replacement should he depart this summer as rumors have suggested over the past few months.


24-year-old Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe is a wanted man this summer, and while he has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks, Liverpool has also entered the fray, according to Sunday Times reporter Duncan Castles on the Team Talk podcast. Castles said that Liverpool “has been in contact” with Lille still waiting on anything official to come through. Castles says that Lille has been quite public about an asking price in the range of $89 million for the Ivory Coast international who just appears to be entering his prime.

Pepe scored 22 Ligue 1 goals this season which put him second on the campaign behind PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe. He helped Lille finish a stunning second in the league table, qualifying the club for Champions League play for the first time since 2012. Manchester United is in desperate need of reinforcements all over the pitch, but could miss out if Champions League play is a priority to Pepe who has never played in the competition. Still, Liverpool may pass on any players that cost such a hefty amount, as their squad is already one of the strongest in Europe and may not require such a massive cost to add missing pieces.

LIVE – Europa League final: Arsenal v. Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The first of two European finals consisting of Premier League clubs begins as Chelsea take on Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League final.

Both teams will have to battle some rustiness, with Chelsea and Arsenal both having not played (official) matches since May 12. Chelsea played the New England Revolution two weeks ago in a match for charity in the U.S.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Europa League final ]

Despite picking up a knee injury in training and being given a 50/50 chance to play, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has gone with N'Golo Kante in his midfield, alongside Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho. Olivier Giroud starts up top instead of Gonzalo Higuain, and Pedro takes the spot of Willian.

[READ: Europa League Final Preview: Arsenal v. Chelsea]

Interestingly, per Opta, Chelsea is the first team to not have a player from the club’s home nation in its starting lineup for a European final since Jose Mourinho and Inter Milan faced Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final.

For Arsenal, manager Unai Emery has allowed Petr Cech to have a chance to go out a winner, starting him in the final game of the season. Emery also included Mesut Ozil in the squad, and he’ll likely combine with fellow attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in an imposing Arsenal attack. Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka start in midfield as well.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
Bench: Caballero, Alonso, Cahill, Zappacosta, Barkley, William, Higuain, Cumming, Ampadu, McEachran, Gallagher.

Arsenal: Cech; Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Bench: Leno, Lichsteiner, Mustafi, Jenkinson, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Iliev, Iwoke, Nketiah, Welbeck

Emery: We can achieve ‘two objectives’ in Europa League final

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to Unai Emery, the Arsenal squad agreed upon two targets at the start of the 2018-2019 season. Qualify for the UEFA Champions League, preferably through finishing in the top four of the Premier League, and winning the Europa League.

On Wednesday, Arsenal has the chance to accomplish both.

[READ: Drama at Chelsea as Sarri storms out of practice]

“We can win one title and also play with the opportunity to go to the Champions League,” Emery said. “Above all we want to enjoy and play with all our good spirit and also I think this competition is improving a lot and over the last years big teams have played in the final. I hope that in the future Chelsea and Arsenal could be a final in the Champions League! We have a lot of very good players and some of the best players in the world, so it’s a very good moment for football in the world.”

Arsenal hasn’t won a European title since winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1994.

One of the big subplots heading into the match is whether Emery will stick with the retiring Petr Cech, who has been the goalkeeper for nearly the entire Europa League run so far, or regular No. 1 Bernd Leno. Emery wouldn’t reveal whether Cech would start, but did say he had something planned for him one way or another.

“I can speak about Petr Cech a lot, but above all he is a great man, a great professional, amazing in his behavior with us and it will be last match tomorrow because he decided to retire,” Emery said. “I want to do something important with him in the last moment of his career – and this has been my conversation with him, playing or not playing. We want to win for us.”