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January 26, 2021
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Barca presidential candidate Laporta wants Bellerin

 

Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and around the world

Updated

Hector Bellerin Arsenal 2020-21

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Barca presidential candidate Laporta wants Bellerin

41 minutes ago

Arsenal star touted for Camp Nou switch

Barca presidential candidate Joan Laporta wants to sign Hector Bellerin from Arsenal – according to The Sunday Mirror.

If the 58-year-old is re-elected at Camp Nou in January he will greenlight a £22 million ($30m) bid for the Spanish full-back, who began his career in the La Masia academy before joining the Gunners in 2011.

Bellerin, whose current deal at Arsenal does not expire until 2023, has featured in 12 Premier League games for the club this season.

 

Hector Bellerin Arsenal 2020-21

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Chelsea planning to keep hold of Giroud

58 minutes ago
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Chelsea are planning to keep hold of French striker Olivier Giroud – according to Calcio Mercato.

The 34-year-old was heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge last month after falling down the squad pecking order, with Inter and Juventus among those thought to be keeping an eye on his situation.

However, Giroud has forced his way back into Frank Lampard’s team in recent weeks, and Chelsea are now eager for the forward to remain in west London until at least next summer.

Giroud Chelsea 2020

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Inter Miami eyeing Man Utd’s Romero

1 hour ago

 

Inter Miami are eyeing a swoop for Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero – according to The Athletic.

The MLS franchise, who are co-owned by Red Devils legend David Beckham, have made an initial approach over the Argentine’s availability.

However, Inter Miami will likely miss out on a deal for Romero because the salary cap in the United States would prevent them from meeting the shot-stopper’s £100,000 per-week wages.

Sergio Romero Man Utd 2019-20

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Celtic in pole position to land QPR’s Osayi-Samuel

1 hour ago

 

Celtic are in pole position to land Queens Park Rangers winger Bright Osayi-Samuel, according to Football Insider.

The Hoops are planning to beat off competition from any other potential suitors by making an early January approach for the 22-year-old.

Osayi-Samuel will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with Celtic in the winter transfer window due to the fact his current deal at QPR is set to expire next summer.

Leverkusen join race for Man Utd’s Williams

2 hours ago

 

Bayer Leverkusen have joined the race to sign Manchester United full-back Brandon Williams – according to The Telegraph.

Southampton and Newcastle have also been linked with the 20-year-old, who looks set to leave Old Trafford on loan in January.

Leverkusen have thrown their hat in the ring for Williams as Peter Bosz bids to bolster his defensive ranks for the second half of the season.

Brandon Williams Man Utd

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Man Utd close in on Caicedo

2 hours ago

 

Manchester United are closing in on the signing of Independiente del Valle midfielder Moises Caicedo – according to the Daily Record.

Red Devils executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has already opened talks with the 19-year-old’s representatives over a potential transfer.

Independiente are prepared to sanction Caicedo’s departure for around £5 million, but they will also seek to include a 20 per cent sell-on fee in any final deal.

Moises Caicedo Ecuador 2020

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Leicester ready to offload Gray

3 hours ago

 

Leicester City are ready to offload Demarai Gray -according to 90min.

Tottenham, Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace have all been credited with interest in the 24-year-old, who has fallen down the squad pecking order the King Power Stadium in recent months.

Leicester will embrace any offers for Gray in January, and have already identified Celtic‘s Ryan Christie and Reading star Michael Olise as potential replacements.

West Brom & Palace interested in Junker

3 hours ago

 

Bodo-Glimt striker Kasper Junker is the subject of interest from West Brom and Crystal Palace – according to TeamTalk.

The two Premier League clubs are weighing up moves for the 26-year-old after seeing him fire his current club to the Norwegian league title by scoring 27 goals in 25 games.

Junker’s current contract is not due to expire until 2022, but Bodo-Glimt may be ready to listen to offers for a prized asset in January.

Mourinho: Really, Really bad six months for Gedson

4 hours ago

 

Jose Mourinho believes better days are ahead for Gedson Fernandes even if his spell with Tottenham is cut short in January.

Portugal international Fernandes joined on an 18-month loan deal from Benfica at the start of 2020.

The 21-year-old has only made 13 appearances for Spurs since then and was left out of the club’s Europa League squad this season.

Read the full story on Goal.

Juve ask Napoli to lower Milik asking price

4 hours ago

 

Juventus have asked Napoli to lower their asking price for Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik – according to Tuttosport.

The Partenopei are planning to hold out for an €18 million (£16m/$22m) fee for the 26-year-old in January, but the reigning Serie A champions are hoping to negotiate a cut-price deal.

Napoli will end up losing Milik for nothing unless they can broker a transfer in the new year, with his current contract set to expire next summer.

 

Inter target Damsgaard

5 hours ago

 

Inter have identified Genoa winger Mikkel Damsgaard as a transfer target – according to Calcio Mercato.

The Nerazzurri have already opened enquiries over the 20-year-old’s availability after tracking his progress at the start of the season.

Inter could launch a January bid for Damsgaard, who has scored twice in 12 Serie A appearances for Genoa this season.

Moyes keen to extend West Ham contract

5 hours ago

 

West Ham boss David Moyes is keen to extend his stay at the club.

“We’ll look at things going in to the new year some time but there’s no great rush,” he told reporters.

“I think because of our great start we want to make sure we’re focused and we keep going.”

Struggling Koeman given vote of confidence by Tusquets

6 hours ago

 

Interim Barcelona president Carles Tusquets insists that he still backs Ronald Koeman despite dropping more points against Valencia.

“I won’t be sacking anybody,” Tusquets told Deportes Cuatro (per Marca).

“Koeman is doing a good job, showing fine judgement. He has my support.”

Mariners sign Jankovic

7 hours ago

 

Arteta on the brink after yet another Arsenal horror show

8 hours ago

 

The Gunners slumped to yet another defeat, this time to Everton, with their manager now needing a festive miracle to avoid losing his job.

 

Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2020-21

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James wanted on loan by Brighton

9 hours ago

 

Brighton are lining up a loan move for out of favour Manchester United player Daniel James, reports the Sun.

The winger has barely featured in 2020-21 and was the subject of an enquiry from the Seagulls last summer.

Arteta ‘understands’ questions over his future

10 hours ago

 

Mikel Arteta has admitted he understands questions about his position at Arsenal following the team’s latest setback, but is focused on turning their fortunes around.

The Gunnes fell to a 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, to extend their winless run in the Premier League to seven games.

With Fulham securing a 1-1 draw at Newcastle later on Saturday, Arsenal are now only four points above the relegation places.

Read the full story here on Goal!

Rice a transfer priority for Lampard

11 hours ago

 

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has made Declan Rice his prime transfer target, reports the Telegraph.

Rice, who was released by Chelsea as a teenager, has emerged as one of the Premier League’s top midfielders at West Ham.

PSG & Man City convinced Messi will move in 2021

13 hours ago

Both sides will go all-out for summer transfer

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are certain that 2020-21 will be Lionel Messi’s last season at Barcelona, reports 90 Min.

The Argentine tried to leave in the summer, and while Barca hold out hope of retaining their star both their European rivals will leave no stone unturned in their hopes of landing him when the current campaign comes to a close.

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21

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FC Dallas close on two new signings

13 hours ago

 

FC Dallas are set to announce two new signings, according to MLSSoccer.

Colombian midfielder Jader Obrian, who plays for Aguilas, and Eibar centre-back Jose Antonio Martinez are both close to moving to the United States.

Jones set for Man Utd exit

13 hours ago

 

Manchester United defender Phil Jones is set to leave the club in January, reports the Daily Star.

West Brom and Derby are interested in taking the 28-year-old on a loan deal.

Barca presidential candidate makes Bellerin top target

13 hours ago

Arsenal full-back began his career in Catalunya

Joan Laporta has made Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin his top transfer priority should he once more become Barcelona president, claims the Mirror.

The ex-Blaugrana chief is prepared to pay up to £22 million to repatriate the right-back, who left Barca for Arsenal aged 16.

Dallas pick up Martinez from Eibar

13 hours ago

 

Jose Antonio Martínez is on his way to FC Dallas from Eibar.

The La Liga side confirmed the two clubs had struck a deal for the defender to head to the MLS club.

‘Man Utd had never seen anything like it’ – The night Bielsa stunned Old Trafford

Marcelo Bielsa Old Trafford
The Leeds manager returns to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday for the first time since his Athletic Club side outplayed the Red Devils in 2012

It was rare during Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27-year tenure as manager for his Manchester United team to feel underprepared, particularly for a home match.

The Scots’ unparalleled success was built on turning the Theatre of Dreams into a fortress, with almost every side who visited M16 doing so with some level of fear and trepidation.

That was, however, until Marcelo Bielsa arrived with his Athletic Club side in 2012.

Bielsa returns to Old Trafford on Sunday as manager of Leeds United for the rivals’ first league meeting since 2004, with the Argentine hopeful of repeating one of the most remarkable away performances the stadium has ever seen.

Athletic went into the Europa League last-16 tie as huge underdogs against the continental colossus that was Ferguson’s United, but put in a first-leg display that saw the Red Devils beaten 3-2 and thankful to David de Gea for keeping the scoreline respectable.

“It’s a very solid memory,” Bielsa said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Leeds’ trip across the Pennines. “The memories are many.

“Initially, the players who produced the performance, and for the 8,000 Basque fans who attended the game. The image of them to the right side of me, I have it installed in my memory.”

Though United were not at full-strength for the encounter, Ferguson was still able to field a team that included De Gea, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, with Michael Carrick and Nani both introduced off the bench in the second half.

Wayne Rooney Manchester United GFX

But after Rooney opened the scoring they were literally blown away by a team that Bielsa had only taken charge of six months previously.

The former Argentina manager had quickly got to work in instilling a philosophy that focused on increased work rate, intense pressing and fluidity of players operating across a variety of different positions.

Ferguson had no answers.

“It was an outstanding performance by them, not only in their ability, but their energy was unbelievable,” Ferguson commented post-match. “The highest stats of any team that has played at Old Trafford in the last 10 years, in terms of the distance run. That is great credit to the desire of the team.

“They are very determined and organised, with a great belief in themselves. That is the hallmark of their coach. He has instilled these qualities in his team.”

When reliving the match for Sky Sports recently, ex-United defender Gary Neville concurred with his former boss, saying: “I remember speaking to (club analyst) Tony Strudwick a few days after that game. and I think he said he had to look at the stats three times to believe them.

“He said they were off the scale in terms of running stats, he’d never seen anything like that at Old Trafford.”

Athletic Club Neville quote GFX

To solely put the victory down to running statistics, though, would be doing Bielsa and Athletic a disservice.

Tactically they were superb, with the visitors’ non-stop pressing matched by their willingness to switch positions while full-backs Andoni Iraola and Jon Aurtenetxe ran riot down the flanks.

The Bilbao outfit were rewarded for their endeavour with goals from Fernando Llorente, Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain, before a last-minute Rooney penalty gave United hope ahead of the second leg in Spain.

“I think maybe Manchester United took the game a little bit lightly and they were a little bit overconfident,” Spanish journalist Alvaro Romeo, who attended the game in Manchester eight years ago, tells Goal. “The most remarkable thing was how they were completely outplayed by Athletic.

“Their victory was all down to Bielsa’s tactics. The brilliance of some players – they worked over six positions – was something that unsettled Manchester United very badly. I think Marcelo Bielsa was the catalyst of that victory and also their season.”

A 2-1 win for Athletic at San Mames in the second leg was enough to send them into the quarter-finals, with the Basque outfit eventually reaching the final before losing 3-0 to Atletico Madrid.

They would also go onto lose the Copa del Rey final to Barcelona, with Bielsa’s team one of a number of his sides to suffer from burnout in the final weeks of the campaign as the relentless nature of their training began to take its toll.

Regardless, the 65-year-old still holds the praise he received from Ferguson dear after his first and only visit to Old Trafford.

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds Premier League 2020-21

“I have noted that being in the presence of Ferguson is like receiving a medal, but in relation to the game we played, he gave praise I never forgot,” he explained on Friday. “He said he wasn’t surprised Athletic had won, that it was within what was possible and he also wasn’t surprised how much the team had run to be on equal terms with them.

“What did surprise him was on the day of the game, in the morning, my team had trained an hour-and-a-half on the morning of that game. I never forgot that comment from him.”

If Ferguson was surprised by Bielsa back in 2012, then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should at least be well prepared having been able to observe the eye-catching manor in which Leeds have taken to life in the Premier League following promotion from the Championship.

There will also be the element of the rivalry between the two clubs to deal with, and the Norwegian is keen to pit his wits against one of the most lauded coaches in world football.

“I can’t wait. It’s been too long, of course (since Leeds were in the Premier League). I know how much it means for our supporters and our club,” Solskjaer said.

“It’s a different type of Leeds coming up with the coach that has really done a great job with them and will test us to the limit.”

United fans remember all too well about how Bielsa last tested them to the limit. Being underprepared cannot be an excuse this time around.

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