Luiz Adriano

Report: Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano interesting Liverpool, Arsenal

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According to reports from Talksport radio in the UK, Liverpool and Arsenal are battling for a Brazilian striker.

He goes by the name of Luiz Adriano, as the Shakhtar Donetsk man has spoken about his desire to make a move from the Ukrainian giants in 2015.

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Adriano, 27, scored nine times in seven UEFA Champions League appearances this season and has alerted several Premier League teams as he is out of contract in December 2015 and will be free to negotiate a move to a non-Ukrainian team as early as this June.

The Brazilian international forward will be in action for the Selecao against France in Paris on Thursday, as his sharp-shooting has caught the eye of national team coach Dunga. Adriano is quoted as saying he will leave Shakhtar in December when his contract runs out.

“My plan is to respect the contract, which has not been renewed and will expire in December 2015,” Adriano said. “I am in a good moment of my career and we’ll do what will be best for me and for the club. With my contract set to expire and many good performances, it will be difficult to stay in Ukraine.”

So, who needs him most?

Arsenal certainly have an abundance of attacking options with Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Yaya Sanogo, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott on the books, so a move for Adriano seems a little unnecessary unless Wenger wants to move one of those players on. When it comes to Liverpool, the move makes more sense. With Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert the only recognized strikers at the club, the likes of Borini and Lambert may be offloaded this summer with Divock Origi due to arrive from Lille. Could Brendan Rodgers add Adriano with Origi to bolster the Reds’ offensive stable? At times Liverpool have looked short of goals and options up front this campaign, and the pace of Adriando may well compliment Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.

Adriano has scored 122 goals in 253 games for Shakhtar (making him their all-time top goal scorer) since making his debut in the 2006-07 season. After moving from Internacional nine years ago, the Brazilian forward has been a formidable force in the Ukrainian Premier League. His form in the UCL this season, which included eight goals in two group games against BATE Borisov, suggests he could cut it in the PL and as he continues to get chances for the Brazilian national team his stock will keep rising.

Report: Roma stalling on Salah could allow others to pounce

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Despite Mohamed Salah getting one more run-out in Chelsea’s eventual shock loss to Bradford City in the FA Cup, it appeared he was all but out the door, with Roma calling for his services.

Unfortunately, just before the papers were signed, Roma director of football Walter Sabatini has had a change of heart, and while he hasn’t killed the deal, he is pondering his options, according to David Amoyal of Gianluca di Marzio.

According to the report, Roma is now looking to sign Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano. Because of Serie A rules about signing non-EU players, Roma is only able to sign either the Brazilian Adriano or the Egyptian Salah, not both. So while Sabatini talks to Shakhtar and makes up his mind, the Salah deal sits on his desk unsigned.

Because of his indecision, Chelsea has begun to discuss things with other clubs, including Fiorentina, who have expressed interest in building a deal around Juan Cuadrado and involving Salah as well. Chelsea have coveted the Colombian midfielder, and have worked to bring him to Stamford Bridge this winter. While things have proven unfruitful between Chelsea and Fiorentina so far, there could be a starting point with Salah.

Another interested party, according to Amoyal, is Atletico Madrid who reportedly tried to sign the Egyptian before his move to Chelsea a year ago.

Unless one of these clubs makes a serious play, it appears the onus is on Sabatini to make his decision one which player the club wants to heavily pursue and eventually close.

The deal for Luiz Adriano probably makes more sense from a squad standpoint. Francesco Totti, at 38 years old, can’t play like a legend forever, Marco Borriello is 32 and hasn’t done a thing this year, and Mattia Destro has reportedly worn out his welcome at Roma and has plenty of suitors ready to snatch up his contract. Meanwhile, the squad is stacked with wingers, with the likes of Gervinho, Juan Iturbe, Adam Ljajic, and Alessandro Florenzi all blocking Salah’s path to more playing time.

‘Unacceptable’ goal costs Shakhtar’s Luiz Adriano one Champions League match

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Last week, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Luiz Adriano screwed up. In UEFA Champions League action, the Brazilian striker took a ball played back to Danish champions Nordsjaelland and scored a goal. He sprinted past a pair of unresponsive central defenders, won a race to the ball that only he was contesting, and dribbled around a bewildered goalkeeper before finishing into an open net.

Today, UEFA has suspended Adriano one match and ordered him to perform one hour of community service for “violation of the principles of conduct” (pasted, below). Shakhtar Donetsk’s owner, Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov, has already said the club will abide by the punishment, calling the behavior “unacceptable.”

The controversy was born from a play we see almost every game. For whatever reason (usually, suspected injury) a ball is played out of bounds or the lead official has stopped play. Be it by throw in or a return ball from a drop kick, the team that had possession is allowed to re-gain it. The event is so common that players rarely have to discuss what’s happening before normal play resumes.

Last week in Copenhagen, somebody should have stopped and talked to Luiz Adriano, because he never stopped playing. Though he conceded after the game that what he thought was a good goal shouldn’t have happened, it’s difficult to believe the thought never occurred to him in real time. Again, this is a play that happens so often that he couldn’t have been caught by surprise. When his team needlessly punted the ball toward Nordsjaelland’s keeper (and nobody on the field reacted), he should have figured it out.

His team certainly did. At least, most of them did. Coach Mircea Lucescu immediately ordered his team to give up a return goal only to see a defender interfere with the concession. The game went on, with Shakhtar winning in Copenhagen, 5-2.

Here’s the goal:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10Rj79yTNo0]

Now Adriano is set to miss next week’s Champions League game against Juventus. Shakhtar, having already secured a place in the knockout round, needs at least a draw to secure first place in Group E (and a much easier route in the knockout round), with a loss giving the packet to Juventus.

That means Chelsea have been hit with some collateral damage from this whole affair. The Blues need to beat Nordsjaelland and have Shakhtar win in order to advance to Champions League’s Round of 16.

In case you’re curious, here are UEFA’s Principles of Conduct — Article 5 of the governing body’s disciplinary regulations:

Article 5 Principles of conduct
1
Member associations, clubs, as well as their players, officials and members, shall
conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and
sportsmanship.
2
For example, a breach of these principles is committed by anyone:
a) who engages in or attempts to engage in active or passive bribery and/or
corruption;
b) whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent
conduct;
c) who uses sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature;
d) whose conduct brings the sport of football, and UEFA in particular, into
disrepute;
e) who does not abide by decisions and directives of the Organs for the
Administration of Justice;
f) who does not comply with instructions given by the match officials;
g) who culpably reports for a match late or not at all;
h) who culpably causes a match to be interrupted or abandoned or who is
responsible for its interruption or abandonment;
i) who inscribes on the match sheet a player who is not eligible to play;
j) who acts in a way that is likely to exert an influence on the progress and/or
the result of a match by means of behaviour in breach of the statutory
objectives of UEFA with a view to gaining an undue advantage for himself or
a third party.
k) who commits an act of assault;
l) who participates directly or indirectly in betting or similar activities relating to
UEFA competition matches, or who has a direct or indirect financial interest
in such activities.

Offshore drilling, UEFA Champions League: at Juventus 1, Shakhtar Donetsk 1

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Man of the Match: There weren’t very many candidates from a match where everybody played well but few stood out (in a good or bad way). The biggest difference-maker may have been Shakhtar Donetsk’s Alex Teixeira, who got a surprise start ahead of countryman Ilsinho. Coach Mirsea Lucescu seemed to want the faster player to match up against Juventus’s defense, and it worked. Teixeira helped the Ukrainain outfit control the match’s first stanza, eventually scoring the game’s first goal.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Most eyes may have been cast on Cluj, Copenhagen and Lisbon, but Turin hosted Tuesday’s best match: The Italian champions versus an uncommonly strong offering from Ukraine.
  • Shakhtar was dominant at the start, Juventus able to bring few solutions to bear on an attack that saw success playing outside to wingers Willian and Alex Teixiera before cutting back toward goal.
  • That advantage may have been a product of the formation matchup we talked about in the preview. Shakhtar was able to find space behind and around the Juventus wingbacks, stretching out the Juve midfield as they played the ball horizontally. It took Juventus a while to adjust.
  • Teixiera was a surprise starter, but he proved to be a prescient inclusion. Going forward, he proved more dangerous coming in from his right wing position. Tracking back, he was able to bolster the Shakhtar midfield, often getting back as Claudio Marchisio was coming forward for Juventus.
  • In the 23rd minute, Teixiera’s inclusion really paid off. His defending created a turnover that sprung Shakhtar on the counter, and with Juventus’s midfield slow getting back, the Ukranians were able to set up their attack before Juve got back. That allowed Shakhtar to move the ball from the right, to Razvan Rat and Tomad Hübschman on the opposite flank, and eventually in to forward Luiz Adriano. Donetsk’s number nine laid it off for Willian who found Teixiera to the right of goal for an easy opener.
  • It didn’t take Juventus long to respond, and in typical fashion, it took only the slightest opening. Nice play from Mirko Vucinic (good take on a long ball, nice pass into the right of Shakhtar’s area) created a corner. On the restart, Andrea Pirlo rolled a ball to 15 yards out, where Leonardo Bonucci had curled back away from the defensive line for an open one-timer. The Juve defender rocketed a ball into the upper-right corner, evening the score.
  • For the next 30 minutes, the match was even. The game starter to luck like a typical Juventus affair, one which they would eventually snatch in the second half. That’s how it usually works with Juve: Once they’ve figured out what you’re trying to do, they can get busy implementing a plan to beat you.
  • Things changed as the match neared the hour mark. The intensity went up a notch, and the match became more open.
  • The changes left Shakhtar controlling much of the possession but Juventus generating the better chances.
  • In the 80th minute, that almost changed. Fernandinho picked up a loose ball in his half and started a break through Willian. Luiz Adriano eventually laid a ball off to Henrikh Mkhitarayan, who had the ball poked away from him by Giorgio Chiellini. Willian ran onto the ball and fired a 20-yard shot just to the right of Gianluigi Buffon’s goal.
  • And what about Mkhitarayan, who came into this match with 15 goals this season? Aside from an early chance, he was quiet going forward, though he put in good work pressing Juventus’s back line. He also was seen tracking Pirlo occasionally, though Shakhtar declined to give the Juventus regista the same attention Oscar provided two weeks ago.
  • As time ticked away, the match was screaming for one team to make a big adjustment. But that never happened. Juventus swapped out their forwards in like-for-like moves. Lucescu brought on Ilsinho, his own like-for-like. Neither coach was willing to risk a big change and get burnt.
  • As a result, Shakhtar got a valuable road point while demurring on their chance to really shake up the group. Juventus saved face while dropping points. Only two rounds into the stage, both teams may have made the right choice. Their fans, however, should wonder what could have been.
  • With the win, Shakhtar is even on points at the top of the group. Juventus sits two back. Set to close the group with matches versus Chelsea and at Shakhtar, Juventus needs to take full advantage of their impending back-to-back with Nordsjaelland.