Klopp pleased with the quality of players in Liverpool squad


Jurgen Klopp insists the Liverpool squad is now his and not the team he inherited from Brendan Rodgers – admitting he can have no excuses for failure this season.

“This is my squad now,” Klopp said. “After all the transfers…this time it is my team. There are probably no players here anymore I don’t want. There are no signings I didn’t want, we have not sold anyone I didn’t want to.

“And if you have seen them in training, there is a special quality that we did not have last year. Naijabet

“Above all, you can see we have created a special atmosphere, not only in our team but with our fans.”

Klopp is not making any predictions ahead of the new season but he says there will be “no excuses” that he needs more time to build a squad capable of challenging for silverware.

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Atletico Madrid sign Gameiro from Se villa

French striker Kevin Gameiro has joined Atletico Madrid on a four-year deal from fellow La Liga side Sevilla, the Champions League finalists said on Saturday.

The 29-year-old scored 67 goals in three years at Sevilla and though no financial details of the transfer were released, media reports suggested Atletico signed the France international for an initial fee of €32 million.

“Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Kevin Gameiro to our club. The striker, who will sign for four seasons, will travel to Madrid this evening,” Atletico said in a statement.

“The transfer is contingent to the French player successfully undergoing a medical examination.” Naijabet

Gameiro’s arrival was also likely put an end to Atletico’s hopes of re-signing striker Diego Costa from Chelsea, according to media reports.

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Ranieri sets survival target with hard work

With a first Premier League title under their belts and a place secured among Europe’s footballing elite, Leicester City could be forgiven for expecting the silverware to just keep coming.

But the Foxes’ Italian boss Claudio Ranieri is keeping his players’ feet firmly on the ground, insisting the goal for 2016-17 remains the same as 12 months earlier – avoiding relegation.

“It’s the same this season at the start – to achieve 40 points, at the beginning, to be solid and to believe in yourself,” the 64-year-old Italian said. Naijabet.com

Leicester, 5 000/1 outsiders in pre-season, were crowned champions for the first time in their 132-year history in May, handing Ranieri his first domestic title as a manager.

They are due to lock horns in the pre-season International Champions Cup in Los Angeles Saturday with French title winners, Paris Saint-Germain.

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Wenger keen to sign a forward before close of transfer window

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he wants to add one more attacking player to bolster his ranks before the new Premier League season.

Arsenal’s efforts to recruit attacking reinforcements have been thwarted with French club Olympique Lyonnais saying this week that they had rejected a £29 million bid for striker Alexandre Lacazette. Naijabet

Wenger’s hopes of landing Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy earlier in the transfer window were also frustrated when the striker decided to extend his stay at the King Power stadium after being pursued by the North London club.

Forward Gonzalo Higuain was also heavily linked by British media with a move to Arsenal before he joined Juventus, while Wenger’s only forward signing in the current transfer window has been 21-year-old Japan international Takuma Asano.

“At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players,” Wenger told reporters following a pre-season 2-1 win over the Major League Soccer All-Stars team.

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Zlatan delighted to make Man United debut

Veteran Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he is delighted his compatriots will get to see the moment ‘everyone has been waiting for’, namely his debut for new club Manchester United in his homeland on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic will lead United’s frontline in the pre-season friendly with Turkish side Galatasaray in Gothenburg, Sweden, after missing the club’s trip to China.

Ibrahimovic, who has had to wait till the end of his career to play in the Premier League having won titles in Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, said it pleased him his compatriots would be the ones to see him don the United shirt for the first time since arriving on a free transfer from French champions Paris Saint Germain.

“Everybody has been waiting for that moment,” a typically immodest Ibrahimovic told the club’s television station MUTV referring to his first appearance. Naija and Bet

“There has been a lot of talk and to make my debut in my country will feel great.

“I think the fans are waiting for me to come back and they are waiting to enjoy not only me, but the team as well.

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Ronaldo out of La Liga and Super Cup match opener

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t play in the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla on Aug. 9, and could miss the league opener against Real Sociedad 12 days later.

Ronaldo injured his knee early in Portugal’s Euro 2016 final victory against France back on July 10, and after being given some time off has been busy rehabbing the injury.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday’s game against Chelsea in the International Champions Cup, Zidane gave an update on the status of Ronaldo, as well as others.

“Basically it looks like [Ronaldo’s] injury requires a month of rehab, and we also have to make sure he’s prepared,” Zidane said through a translator on Friday. “We can’t just put him in after not playing for a month. From the Super Cup to the start of the season there’s 12 days, so we’re not sure, but he’ll be with us. But I don’t think he’ll play at least for the first [league] match.” Naijabet.com

The news was better about forward Karim Benzema, who has been dealing with a hip injury. While Benzema will miss Saturday’s match, Zidane is hopeful that he’ll play in the Super Cup.

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Marseille sign Bafetimbi for Swansea


Marseille have completed the signing of French striker Bafetimbi Gomis from Swansea City on a season-long loan, the Ligue 1 side announced on Friday.

Gomis scored in each of Swansea’s first four Premier League games last season, but the 30-year-old then added just two more goals the rest of the campaign.

He spent the past two years in Wales, scoring 13 goals in 64 appearances after joining Swansea from Lyon on a free transfer in 2014. Naijabet

Gomis struck twice on his France debut in a 2-0 victory over Ecuador in 2008 and was part of his country’s squad at that year’s European Championship but last played for Les Bleus in June 2013.

Marseille finished a lowly 13th in the French top flight last season, the club’s worst campaign since 2000-01, and sold leading scorer Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea earlier this month for a reported 40 million euros ($44.4 million).

I can’t wait to work with Higuain – Massimiliano Allegri


Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri says he can’t wait to start working with his 90 million euro man Gonzalo Higuain but warned the striker not to come to Turin expecting his place in the side is assured.

“It will not be easy for us to win the championship again,” said Allegri, who’s team are going for a sixth straight Serie A title.

“Of course I am looking forward to having Gonzalo Higuain as part of the squad. He is an important signing but he is one of a number of them who will all be fighting for positions.” Naijabet.com

It’s been a frantic week for the Serie A champions with a young squad touring on one side of the world, while serious business deals are going on in the other.

With Higuain coming in as a club record signing, the word on the street has been that Juve’s much in-demand Paul Pogba is on his way out – to Manchester United for an estimated 100 million euros.

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Jean-Michel Aulas: Arsenal won’t make another Lacazette bit


Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas does not expect Arsenal to return with an improved bid to buy Alexandre Lacazette amid reports that Paris Saint-Germain could also make a move for the striker.

Earlier this week, Lyon confirmed that they had rejected Arsenal’s offer of €35 million for Lacazette, 25, who scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 last season. Aulas recently said that the academy

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Schweinsteiger retires from Germany


Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has announced his retirement from international football.

Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger, who was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning side, said after Euro 2016 that he would make a decision on his future with the national side.

The 31-year-old former Bayern Munich star confirmed on social media on Friday that he has told coach Joachim Low that he has decided to call time on an international career in which he won 120 caps.

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Accepting Argentina job would be irresponsible – Sampaoli


The 56-year-old admits it would be a “dream” job but says it is the wrong time as he has just taken over at Sevilla and will not be replacing Gerardo Martino

orge Sampaoli has ruled out leaving Sevilla to become the new coach of Argentina, saying such a decision would be “irresponsible”.

The beaten Copa America Centenario finalists are still searching for a successor to Gerardo Martino, who stepped down after the tournament in the United States. naijabet.com

Institutional chaos and allegations of financial misappropriation have blighted the Argentine Football Association (AFA) recently and made the hunt for a new coach a difficult task, and the prospect of a club boss taking on the role on a part-time basis has been mooted.

Sampaoli has admitted he was sounded out by the AFA – even though Sevilla sporting director Monchi said the club had not been contacted – but says he could not consider taking the job after just a month in charge of the Europa League holders.

“It’s true that the AFA called me, which made me proud, but dreams do not always come at the right moment,” he said, speaking after Sevilla’s 1-0 friendly win over Mainz.

“My dream right now is to win with Sevilla. I’d love to take charge of Argentina, I’ve always said that, but now it would be irresponsible on my part to leave Sevilla.”

Sampaoli, who was born in Santa Fe, guided Chile to a win over his home nation in the final of the 2015 Copa America.

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked with the head coach role

Man City beat Dortmund on penalties

Pep Guardiola got his first taste of victory as Manchester City’s manager on Thursday night after beating Borussia Dortmund on penalties in a friendly, but expressed concern about the looming English Premier League season.

“Football today is tough,” said Guardiola, whose side beat their German opposition in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

“Today you don’t have time to rest. I don’t know if we are going to kill our players but the schedule is the schedule. We start in two weeks. But I saw what I wanted to see [tonight] – we are aggressive and we want the ball.”

City won – and finally got the workout Guardiola had craved – thanks to a 6-5 penalty shootout win over Dortmund, after the game ended one apiece. Naijabet

Guardiola admitted City were still a work in progress with just two pre-season games completed so far, and two to come before the EPL action kicks off.

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Chelsea to retain aggressive style of playing – Conte


New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has urged his players to retain the aggressiveness they have shown during the pre-season, saying that the combative nature of the game was essential to the style of play he is looking to impose at the club.

Six players were booked, while midfielder Cesc Fabregas was shown a red card, in Chelsea’s feisty 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Thursday after Gary Cahill’s early header condemned the Merseyside club to their first pre-season defeat.

Fabregas will now be suspended for Chelsea’s friendly clash against Champions League winners Real Madrid on Saturday but Conte was not ready to criticise the Spaniard.

“I like my teams to be aggressive and I like if my team plays with great aggression and high intensity. We train to prepare for that because I want that my team has an identity,” Conte said. Naijabet.com

“I always gave an identity to my teams. I am searching to transfer this to my players. I am pleased because I see a great attitude. I want to continue in this way because this is the only way to come back very soon for the title.

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Arsenal are in need of Experience striker – Wenger


The Gunners coach is already on the lookout for a new defender after Per Mertesacker’s injury but admits he also hopes to add further depth to his attacking options

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is on the hunt for another attacking option before the transfer window closes after admitting his side lacks experienced forwards.

The Gunners were 2-1 victors over an MLS All-Star side in San Jose on Thursday, with 20-year-old Chuba Akpom – who spent last season on loan at Hull City – grabbing an 87th-minute winner. naijabet.com

Wenger has already earmarked bringing in a defender before the end of August after Per Mertesacker sustained a long-term knee injury and Valencia centre-back Shkodran Mustafi is thought to be the top target.

But the Frenchman is also keen on bolstering his front line with the club having already had a bid for Alexandre Lacazette rejected by Lyon this month.

“At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players,” Wenger said.

“But let’s not forget we still have a few players at home.

“There are also a few players who did not play against the MLS All-Star team, like Santi Cazorla and of course Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are at home. Olivier Giroud is also not here.

“So we have options but we will still look outside to find one more.”

With Laurent Koscielny still recuperating from playing for France at Euro 2016 and Gabriel Paulista not travelling to America due to illness, England Under-21 international Rob Holding – signed from Bolton Wanderers this month – was given a chance to impress in the Arsenal defence against the All-Star side.

And Wenger was impressed with the 20-year-old’s mature performance.

“He’s adapted surprisingly well – he reads the game well and understands what’s going on,” Wenger added.


Aubameyang want to stay and win titles with BVB


Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is targeting titles next season with Borussia Dortmund, who have spent 117 million euros ($128.5m) in making eight new signings, to break Bayern Munich’s stranglehold in Germany.

Aubameyang, 27, has been linked to a bumper move to Pep Guardiola-led Manchester City, but poured more cold water on any speculation by saying he wants to win titles with Dortmund, where he has a contract until 2020.

Bayern have won the Bundesliga title for the last four seasons in succession and face Dortmund for the German Super Cup title on August 14. Naija and Bet

Borussia, who finished second in Germany’s top flight last season, have sold defender Mats Hummels to rivals Bayern Munich, while Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have joined Manchester City and United respectively.

But Dortmund has signed Germany attacking midfielders Andre Schuerrle from Wolfsburg and Mario Goetze, who is back after three years with Bayern, as part of eight new additions.

“I want to win titles this season with Goetze and Schuerrle in the team,” Aubameyang said.
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Barcelona unveil new signing Andre Gomes


Barcelona paraded Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes at the Camp Nou on Wednesday after his €55-million capture from Valencia on a five-year deal.

The 22-year-old, part of Portugal’s European Championship-winning side, has a release clause of €100 million and will cost an initial €35 million, with €20 million in add-ons.

Gomes, who agreed the move last week, said he chose the Spanish champions because he felt it gave him the best chance to progress as a player. Naijabet

“Every club has its own personality. The one that suits me the best is Barcelona,” the player said, adding that he had rebuffed other offers to move to other clubs.

Gomes made 77 appearances for Valencia in two seasons after joining from Portuguese side Benfica.

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Spending big money is against Arsenal purchasing policy


Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis says the club can’t compete with their Premier League rivals over transfer fees because they “can’t afford to make huge mistakes”.

The Gunners had a £29.3m offer for striker Alexander Lacazette rejected by Lyon earlier in the summer, while Gonzalo Higuain, with whom they have been linked for several transfer windows, moved from Napoli to Juventus for £75.3m last week.

Arsenal have bought three new players this summer – midfielder Granit Xhaka, forward Tasumo Asano and centre-back Rob Holding – but they have been criticised for their lack of transfer activity, specifically in adding attacking options to their forward line.

Gazidis has defended the club’s purchasing policy, and says the club will continue to be prudent as they plan for the future. Naijabet.com

“We can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money. We have to be very careful, very selective,” he said.

“We would not be successful if we simply went out into the transfer market and tried to outgun our competitors.

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Chelsea edge past Liverpool in pre season game


Liverpool suffered their first loss of preseason as they were beaten 1-0 by 10-man Chelsea at the Rose Bowl in the International Champions Cup.

Jurgen Klopp’s side came into the game having won their previous four friendlies this summer, but Gary Cahill’s goal early in the first half condemned the Reds to a disappointing result in Pasadena, despite the Blues having Cesc Fabregas sent off.

Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke did not travel to Southern California and stayed at the team’s hub in Palo Alto, so Klopp continued with the front three of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, as well as handing Ragnar Klavan a debut in the heart of the defence.

Chelsea, meanwhile, fielded a strong side, with Fabregas, Willian, Nemanja Matic and Cesar Azpilicueta among the starters. Naijabet

The game started slowly. Both teams were very organised and disciplined in their shape and it was no surprise that the opening goal came from a set piece. Cahill rose highest from Victor Moses’ corner as Liverpool conceded their first goal of the preseason.

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Emenike nets twice to sink Monaco in UCL qualifier

Super Eagle striker, Emmanuel Emenike, was the match hero for Fenerbahce as they beat French side, AS Monaco, 2-1 in the third qualifying round of the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday.

Emenike, who spent the latter part of last season with English Premiership side, West Ham United, was in imperious form for the Turkish side as he opened scoring in the 39th minute of the game to put his team ahead.

Monaco, who were without Elderson Echiejile equalised in the 43rd minute when Falcao slotted the ball into the Fenerbahce net after a goalmouth scramble. Naija and Bet

Emenike got his brace in the 61st minute of the game to put Fenerbahce back in the lead which turned out to be the match-winner.

In another encounter in the Uefa Champions League, the Nigerian quartet of Christopher Udeh, Rabiu Ibrahim, Samuel Kalu and Aliko Bala who play for Slovakian side AS Trencin lost 1-0 at home to Polish side Legia Warsaw.

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Arnautovic signs new contract extension at Stoke

Marko Arnautovic has signed a new four-year contract with Stoke City, scotching rumours the Austria international was set for a move to Premier League rivals Everton.

Arnautovic, 27, was Stoke’s top-scorer last season and has become a popular figure with Potters’ fans since joining the Midlands club from Germany’s Werder Bremen in 2013.

Austria’s group-stage exit at Euro 2016 would not have harmed Stoke’s hopes of keeping hold of Arnautovic, who had one year left on his previous contract. Naijabet

Writing on his Instagram page on Wednesday, Arnautovic – who also posted a photograph of his contract signing – said: “I am proud and thrilled to finally let you know I am going to remain a Potter and will continue playing with my team and for my fantastic fans.

“I suppose sometimes it takes a bit longer to make the right decision and this one comes from my heart. My family and I could not be happier. Can’t wait for the season to begin!”

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FA Cup to allow fourth substitution in extra time

England’s Football Association plans to let teams make an additional, fourth, substitution in extra-time from the quarterfinals onwards of next season’s FA Cup, the governing body said Wednesday.

The rule change, which still requires approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s global law-makers, will see teams who have made all three changes during the regulation 90 minutes of a quarter-final, semi-final or final tie permitted one more substitute during the 30 minutes of extra-time.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said on www.thefa.com: “With the Cup now adopting a straight knock-out format from the quarter-finals onwards (there will be no replays in any matches from the stage), the introduction of a fourth substitute in extra-time will bring extra intrigue and interest.”

The additional substitute scheme is the latest planned change to the FA Cup, the world’s oldest senior knockout football competition, after officials decided to banish replays from the last eight onwards in a bid to reduce fixture congestion. Naijabet.com

This year’s Copa America final also featured an extra substitute, although neither Chile nor Argentina took advantage of the rule change.

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Arsenal defender Mertesacker out for a ‘few months’


Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will be “out a few months” with the knee injury that prevented him from joining the Gunners’ North American tour, manager Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday.

In a press conference looking ahead to Thursday’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game in San Jose, where Arsenal will take on a collection of the North American league’s top players in its’ annual mid-season showcase, Wenger indicated he’d be looking for a way to compensate for the absence of the German World Cup winner, who picked up the injury in last Friday’s friendly at Lens.

“We should look for an option, of course, to get a bit more experience,” Wenger said.

He indicated some of his young centre backs would see time on Thursday, but he would also be looking to bolster the squad.

“With Per being out, we are a bit short on experience and we are looking to bring somebody from the transfer market,” he said. Naijabet.com

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Rodriguez staying, Pogba still a target for Real Madrid


Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has ended speculation regarding the future of Colombian international James Rodriguez by confirming the 25-year-old winger will remain at the club.

Reports in England and Spain linked Rodriguez, who joined Real from Monaco shortly after the 2014 World Cup, with a move to the Premier League this summer, with Manchester United among the clubs keen to acquire his services.

Speaking ahead of his team’s opening pre-season game against Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus, United States, Zidane said: “James is a Real Madrid player.

“We have a very good squad, we have won with this team and James is just one more in the team. He will remain at Real Madrid.” Naijabet

Rodriguez impressed in his debut season at Real, scoring 17 goals and setting up 17 more in 46 appearances, but lost his place in the starting line-up and made just 21 starts in the 2015-16 campaign.

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Juventus completes the signing Higuain from Napoli

Gonzalo Higuain completed a sensational move to Juventus after the Italian champions agreed to pay a 90 million euros ($98.8m) fee, the third highest in history, to wrest the Argentine striker from Napoli on Tuesday.

In what is the biggest ever transfer fee recorded between two Serie A clubs, Higuain’s move to Turin on a five-year deal was confirmed by Juventus two hours after being published by Serie A league bosses on their official website.

In a statement, the Turin giants said: “Juventus Football Club announces the definitive purchase of Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain for the sum of 90m euros, payable over two equal instalments in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.

“Higuain will sign a five-year deal with the club.” Naija and Bet

Napoli had slapped a 94.7m euros ($104m) buyout clause on Higuain’s contract after he hit a record 36 goals in the league last season when he broke Gunnar Nordahl’s 66-year record of 35 goals in a single season for AC Milan (1950).

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