Eredivisie

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No Champions League could lead Lacazette from Arsenal

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Alexandre Lacazette could leave Arsenal if the Gunners fail to win a place in the UEFA Champions League.

So says a report out of The London Evening Standard, which notes that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid would be interested in bringing the Frenchman to La Liga.

[ MORE: Kompany finds new/old club ]

Arsenal will participate in next season’s Europa League unless it beats Chelsea in this season UEL Final on May 29 in Baku.

Lacazette, 27, has 19 goals and 13 assists for Arsenal this season and struck up a tremendous partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has not played in the Champions League since 2016-17.

Arsenal is being linked with a big attacking target, too, and is said to be intrigued with Ajax boss Marc Overmars comments that Hakim Ziyech will be allowed to leave if his $28 million release clause is met. From The Evening Standard:

“He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League. Many big clubs are buzzing around him, We promised Hakim that we would agree if there is a good transfer,” Overmars told the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper.
Ziyech has played his entire career in the Dutch Eredivisie between Heerenveen, Twente, and Ajax. He has 12 goals in 23 caps for Morocco and scored five times for Ajax in the Champions League to go with 16 league goals.

Rumor roundup: De Ligt talks with Liverpool

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Our top rumors for Sunday reside on Merseyside.

[ MORE: Kompany signed, hired by Anderlecht ]

Liverpool has “been talking” with Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt in a bid to set up their back line for a long while.

De Ligt’s been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United amongst others, but Guillem Balague says Liverpool has approached the 19-year-old about its project to bring a first Premier League era title to Anfield.

He has almost 10,000 first team minutes for Ajax despite not turning 20 until August. De Ligt has 15 caps for the Netherlands national team, scoring once, and pairing with Virgil Van Dijk could not only help his continued growth but would also give Liverpool one of the best center back pairings in the world.

Ajax will be rubbing its hands together in anticipation of a proper bidding war as the fight for De Ligt may last for some time.


Jordan Pickford is still Everton’s No. 1, but the Toffees will have insurance should the England keeper dip in form or go adventuring again.

That’s thanks to Huddersfield Town’s release of Jonas Lossl, who was outstanding in 2017-18 and just a bit less so this season as the Terriers were unable to keep their Premier League status.

The 30-year-old would take the place of former Fulham backstop Maarten Stekelenburg, who Sky Sports says is expected to leave the Goodison Park set this summer.

Live, Champions League semifinal: Ajax v. Tottenham

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Over to you, Tottenham Hotspur…

After Liverpool’s heroic comeback against Barcelona last night, all eyes are now on Mauricio Pochettino‘s Spurs to see if they can overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg against Ajax to reach the UEFA Champions League final.

[ LIVE: Ajax v. Tottenham ]

Ajax’s young stars have stunned European giants throughout this season, and an injury-hit Spurs side are limping over the line in the Premier League as another top four finish seems all but secured.

Whenever people write Spurs off they always have a shock up their sleeve.

With Heung-Min Son back and the likes of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli ready to deliver, this is a now or never moment for this Tottenham squad. How many more chances will they get to play in a UCL semifinal and reach a final?

The pressure will be on Ajax’s youngsters to deliver in front of their home fans, and that hasn’t fazed them at all so far as they’ve dumped Real Madrid and Juventus out in the knockout stages.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis on the huge game right here at Pro Soccer Talk.

Tagliafico announces stay at Ajax for another year

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There may be an exodus of young talent from Dutch side Ajax this coming summer as the club continues its stunning run through the Champions League, but they are doing their best to convince as many players as possible to stick around.

The club announced Friday that Argentinian international Nicolas Tagliafico would not be leaving this summer, and while there was no contract extension to go along with the announcement, it was a short and sweet statement from the defender to help ease fans before the impending sales to come.

The 26-year-old left-back, who was a consistent starter for Argentina at the 2018 World Cup and has since worn the captain’s armband for a few post-World Cup friendlies in Lionel Messi’s absence, joined Ajax last summer from Argentinian club Independente and signed a four-year deal through the summer of 2022.

The announcement marks a slight change in heart for the Argentinian, who just a month ago admitted he could leave the Dutch side soon. “I think in the summer it could be a natural time to take the step,” Tagliafico said in early April. “But I try not to think about taking that step just yet because we have many important games to focus on. Yes, it [the transfer speculation] is flattering because I think it’s the most competitive league. When you are a child, the target is to come to Europe and play in a top league like the Premier League. I came to Ajax because of the philosophy, the style of football and the club.”

Tagliafico’s announcement comes just a month after goalkeeper Andre Onana committed his long-term future to the club with a contract extension signed in late March. “I like to play and here I have the opportunity to play and that’s why I extend my contract,” the 23-year-old goalkeeper said to the club’s official website after signing his extension through 2022. “Ajax did so many things for me and that’s why I extend my contract. For me it’s important to give something back. It was a difficult decision but when you’re a young player, it’s important to choose game time, not only going to a big club when you’re not going to play.”

Onana joined Ajax from Barcelona’s youth academy in 2015, having made his way to Spain through Samuel Eto'o‘s academy in Cameroon. His previous deal was set to expire in 2021, meaning this summer would have been the two-year mark, a popular selling time for a club that wishes to cash in on a player before his value diminishes. He had been linked with a number of top sides including Manchester United and a return to Barcelona, but the extension will give Ajax firm control over anyone who wishes to come make an offer.

Midfielder Frenkie de Jong has already been officially sold to Barcelona, while fellow young Dutch stars such as Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt have been highly touted and are widely speculated to be leaving the club this summer, along with Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech. Ajax will no doubt profit greatly from their departure, but will want to learn from the mistakes Monaco made after allowing a wealth of young talent like Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, and Tiemoue Bakayoko all leave the club in one summer, leaving the club in a dire position this season battling relegation.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who now serves as the club’s CEO, addressed the potential departures, admitting that is the way the club stays afloat and continues the pipeline, but cautioned against selling too much.

“We know that’s a fact. That’s the history of Ajax all along. It has been in the 70s, 80s and 90s, so we know that,” he said to BT Sport before the Champions League first-leg match against Tottenham earlier in the week. “That also gives space for the younger players, guys who are 19 or 20. In two years time, they will be playing at this kind of level. We’re not going to sell seven players. We need to make sure we can stay competitive. We like this stage of the competition and we like the recognition, so we’re not going to break up the complete team. Of course that’s Ajax development, giving young players a chance.”

The presence of Tagliafico alongside veterans Daley Blind, Lasse Schone, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, plus Onana’s stay will give the club a solid base to flow more young talent through the ranks.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Messi Is Magic

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The Champions League is back, and so are the 2 Robbies.

The guys break down a magical night for Barcelona and Lionel Messi. They also discuss what Liverpool (17:00) and Spurs (28:00) can both do to get back into their respective ties.

The Robbies end with a look ahead to the last two matches in the thrilling race for the title (51:00).

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]