Alexis Sanchez has agreed to a three-year deal with Inter Milan, strengthening the possibility of a move away from Man Utd.

According to Italian newspaper Gazzeta dello Sport (via SportWitness), the Chilean international has signed a ‘substantial agreement’ with Inter which would see him stay at the club until 2023.

The proposed deal must now be agreed with Man Utd and Ed Woodward, who are keen to offload Sanchez and his huge wage packet.


FEATURE: The prestigious Football365 end-of-season awards


Sanchez is on loan at Inter until the end of the season. The Italian club are reportedly paying £100,000 of his massive £400,000-a-week wages.

They are keen to keep him in Milan after a relatively successful first season in Serie A. He’s scored four and assisted nine in 20 games, a far more successful return than during his time at Old Trafford.

He’s also linked up with former United player Romelu Lukaku, whose scored 29 goals in all competitions this season.

Inter are expected to spread Sanchez’s €15 million a year wages over the next three years, saving both clubs money in the process.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unlikely to need the Chilean next term, with forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford having been in good form this season. Plus, Sanchez only managed to score three goals in 32 games for the Red Devils before being loaned to Italy.

Woodward initially wanted £20 million for the former Arsenal and Barcelona forward. This has now been lowered to £15 million as they try to get Sanchez’s wages off their books.

Receiving a sum for Sanchez would also help United in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, with Dortmund currently holding out for a huge fee.

Inter know they are in the driving seat and will do all they can to avoid paying an outright sum for Sanchez. One possibility is that they hold off until closer to his contract expiration in 2022 to sign him for a reduced fee.

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Well that sure was a Premier League season that included Jurgen Klopp and happened across the years 2019 and 2020. Too much so, in fact. On both counts.

We started with two Premier League-winning managers in the dugout and ended with four; Pep Guardiola was the only constant.

We started with fans in stadiums only beginning to learn not to celebrate goals until the ball was back in the centre circle and ended with no supporters whatsoever.

We started with a clean shaven Mike Dean and ended with one against whom the weans have been turned.

It was a season from which there were undeniable winners and unquestionable losers. And, for those of us who can’t be arsed to read loads of words, video formats that combine the two.

So join host Mark Smith and deputy editor Matt Stead as they remember the campaign that was and kept on being for ages until it finally stopped and let us all breathe and see our loved ones again.

Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are easy enough winners by literal definition. Will next year be their year once more?

Or can veritable losers Manchester City and Guardiola close that gap? Matt doesn’t think they’re as far behind as the final table would suggest. If only they had some money to spend.

Chris Wilder takes his place in the winners section for being bloody brilliant, and he will presumably talk the ear off Bruno Fernandes and Derby bottler Frank Lampard while he is there. Jack Grealish and Aston Villa can come along, too, while Roy Keane watches furiously.

Alongside City in the losers is the abstract concept of Eddie Howe and Watford. The in-depth discussion on the latter is a particular treat.

But enough rambling to hit a word count and please the SEO overlords. If you would be so kind, please watch the latest F365 Show, like, share, subscribe and leave a comment about wanting Winty back.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Villa start the day in 17th place. They’ll be hoping they finish it there after their huge contest with West Ham today.

Follow all the action LIVE via our score centre here.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the short break between Premier League seasons will be good news for his in-form Southampton side.

Saints have lost just once in eight games since the season resumed and can finish 11th in the table by bettering Everton’s result on the final day of the campaign.

“I must say that it was a very long season,” Hasenhuttl said ahead of Sunday’s game against Sheffield United at St Mary’s. “It was quite an interesting season with some strange moments and unbelievable turnarounds.


FEATURE: Laters, yeah? One per club who would not be missed


“It was like a rollercoaster but a short break is not so bad for us. We will take time off to recover and then the short pre-season is something that should suit us because we are a fit team and we don’t need long to be prepared for the fights.

“We showed after lockdown that we can be very quick on a very high level. If we keep this level and build on it then we must have a better start than last season.

“We had some really special and good games, whether that was the away win against Chelsea in the winter or the home win against Man City. But also the first half against Liverpool was maybe the best we have played, although we lost the game 4-0.

“I don’t really remember a lot of bad games, there were some, but it was much more consistent in the second half of the season. This must be the key for the future; more consistent, more wins at home and taking points consistently.

“The home record was not the best one, but I don’t want to separate home and away. I see the whole season and the moments where we were competitive and moments where we struggled, especially in September and October when it was a very tough time.

“It was a time where we learnt a lot about us, our commitment and we made the right decisions to turn it around.”

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed he will meet with the Everton bosses next week to discuss transfers that will lead to the “evolution” of the club.

The Toffees spent over £100million last summer, and will likely need a similar injection to add some much needed quality to their squad.

With the Premier League announcing the new season will kick-off on September 12, clubs may be forced to move more quickly than usual to secre targets before the 2020/21 season gets underway.


FEATURE: Big Weekend: Leicester v Man United, Sky Sports Golf, Kane, Mullins


And Ancelotti says the club will start planning for the future in a meeting set for next week.

He said: “We decided to go to the end of the season and after that, as I’ve said a lot of times, we have time to prepare and to think about the new season and squad.

“We are going to meet next week and we are going to make a plan for the future.”

Ancelotti was asked whether he believes the coming window will represent an evolution or revolution for the club.

“It will be for sure and evolution of the club,” the Italian added.

“Everyone want to go to the next step, which is to improve. For sure next season we have to go up, there is no other way, with an evolution of the team.

“Better quality, better ambition, better motivation and more passion.”

 

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Former Liverpool striker Ian Rush believes Sadio Mane deserves to be crowned player of the year after the Reds beat Chelsea 5-3 on Wednesday.

The Senegal international has scored 21 times this season, which is two behind team-mate Mohamed Salah.

Captain Jordan Henderson, however, appears to be the front-runner to contest the title with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne when it is announced on Friday.


FEATURE: Liverpool top Premier League winners and losers


Rush, Liverpool’s record goalscorer, believes Mane should be in the conversation.

“It’s been very difficult. I am biased as I like strikers and I think Mane has been fantastic,” he told the PA news agency.

“Jordan Henderson has been incredible and Virgil Van Dijk is Van Dijk but I think Mane has been fantastic this season.

“People say Salah hasn’t been as good as he has been and we all know that but he’s still our top goalscorer.

“It just shows how good he was when he scored those 43 goals (in his maiden campaign at the club three years ago).

“People are judging him on that and that was an incredible season and you are not going to get that again.

“He is still doing a great job but Mane seems to have upped his game this season.”

 

Despite winning the Premier League – their first title in 30 years – at a canter, there has been questions asked about the depth of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

Back-up forwards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – although he has also mainly been deployed in midfield, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and January signing Takumi Minamino have contributed just 13 goals between them.

Klopp was interested in RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner but withdrew when the price became too high and he signed for Chelsea.

The Reds boss has sought to manage expectations for the summer transfer window after the impact and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rush, however, is backing the manager and his recruitment team and believes there are a number of youngsters who have had first-team experience this season who could be given a chance.

“Werner is a great player and people said they should have got him but there is a reason they didn’t get him,” he added.

“I am sure he would have loved to come to Liverpool but I think Klopp is right in what he is doing. They should want to come not for the money but because of Liverpool Football Club.

“Liverpool have their principles and everyone wants to play for them but at the end of the day they have to be the right player.

“Look at the front three. Is someone going to come to play second-fiddle to them because I’d be surprised if anyone would get in front of those three?

“If you look at the defence the two full-backs are fantastic and you have (Joe) Gomez and Van Dijk. The midfield is fantastic.

“The young players at Liverpool are doing a great job. Neco Williams coming in, Curtis Jones, Rhian Brewster on loan at Swansea, I think they are relying on the academy for players to come through.

“When they beat Everton in the FA Cup there were some quality players so maybe they don’t need to sign young ones any more, maybe it’s just signing an experienced one.

“But it’s difficult because if you’re going to play £80million for someone you expect to start the season with them.”

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Former Red Neil Mellor has urged Liverpool to dream big in the transfer market if they want to defend their Premier League crown.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will lift the Premier League trophy on Wednesday night after cruising to their first title in 30 years.

And Mellor has urged Klopp and Liverpool not to rest on their laurels and target big names in the summer, although he admits it is unlikely given the club’s transfer policy.

“If it were possible, I’d like to say Robert Lewandowski, I think he’s the best striker in world football at the moment,” Mellor told GentingBet.

“And I think [Kylian] Mbappe is going to be world class footballer in years to come.


FEATURE: Five proven ways Liverpool can replace their front three


“When I look at Liverpool, they have a really settled team unit at the moment and they don’t want to unsettle it by bringing in certain personalities and I think Liverpool have to be careful.

“I’m sure the fans will they want their own individual superstar but Klopp hasn’t been able to get the superstar – he has turned players into superstars Mane and Salah, so we may see another player like this.

“Liverpool will be linked with a lot of players but it will be up to Jurgen Klopp and the personality he wants to come to the club.

“Liverpool aren’t desperate for any player in any position and they are really strong within their squad. They may need some numbers with a couple of players leaving but it’d be interesting to see which type of player Klopp chooses.

“The good thing for Liverpool is now that they are World Champions, Premier League Champions and still European champions, as things stand, they can attract pretty much any player.

“That is the big difference from when Jurgen Klopp came in a few years ago, Liverpool can now attract the top players so if there are players that Jurgen is going to want to go and get, the club will back him.”

 

 

The post Liverpool urged to sign dream duo in summer transfer splurge appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Gary Neville is not concerned that Liverpool will create a dynasty because he believes they do not have the resources.

The Reds have won the title after a 30-year wait but Neville says they need to win more trophies before they can be considered a ‘truly great side’.

He believes that Liverpool will not be able to match the exploits of truly great teams because they spend relatively modest amounts of money compared to their rivals.

“I’m not concerned. I’d be concerned about Liverpool for a long period if they were bought out by super rich owners that invested at the level of Manchester City and Manchester United.

“Liverpool are still quite modest with their transfer business compared to the other clubs. Their owners don’t have the money of a Manchester City, the spending power of Manchester United or Chelsea,” he told Sky Sports.


READ MORE: Only shame is that Liverpool brilliance will escape history books


“But that makes Jurgen Klopp’s achievement all the greater. You’ve got to hand it to him, and the people behind the scenes who have done the recruitment over the last few years, it’s been absolutely brilliant.

“In the last four years, Liverpool winning the league wasn’t a sure-fire win by any stretch of the imagination, they hadn’t won it for 30 years and they have always been a club that have invested at a level below Chelsea, City, United and even Arsenal.

“Liverpool are a massive club, one of the most successful in the country, but it’s so much more difficult without the money to spend that the other clubs are.

“At this moment in time Klopp and his players are overachieving. He’s turned £30m players into £130m players. Some clubs turn £130m players into £30m players, that’s the problem.”

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

In March the UK went into lockdown and football was stopped. The coronavirus pandemic had spent the early months of 2020 crawling its way around the world, and as terraces fell silent, there was a very real fear that the country could be overrun by the virus.

Months on, we have all lived the same collective trauma of not being able to see loved ones, and of roll calls of the dead being announced on the nightly news. Through most of this, our lifeblood – football – has not been there to comfort us.

To find out what effect coronavirus was having on young footballers who are still years away from making their debuts, I spoke to Nick Cox, Head of Academy at Manchester United.

“We don’t know what the ripple effect of coronavirus in academy football will be,” he told me. “At the moment it’s crisis management, not trying to guess what will happen in the long term.

“There is a greater level of mental health and wellbeing support for young people at football clubs than there is in any other sport, and I suspect most schools. Obviously, all this depends on what club you’re at, and I acknowledge that at Manchester United we have more resources than most.”

As a category one academy, Manchester United provide first-class coaches who act as the first line of mental health first aid. Beyond that, they have a head of education; player care and wellbeing staff; sports psychologists, and doctors, all available to their academy players.

However, they have had their stability pulled out from under them during the most uncertain time in football’s living memory. If young players are not supported, the consequences could be dire.

“We educate some of our players full time, and those we don’t, we still see four or five times a week,” said Cox. “For us to just lose contact with them because we can’t be in the same building as them would be catastrophic. We have a duty to support our players, and their families, through this challenging time.”

I wondered, learning that the Manchester United academy educate players in the classroom as well as on the pitch, what their approach has been to long-distance learning.

“Some clubs are focusing on the football, keeping their skills developing and their fitness sharp. But we’ve taken the opposite approach.

“Their football development is important, but we can deal with that when they’re back on the training ground with us. For us, it’s about staying connected, being a support, and managing their wellbeing and mental health at this point.”

As an academy coach myself, my colleagues and I have experienced the challenges of trying to maintain positive contact with our players during lockdown. This has included recording skills sessions on the local park and sharing the videos via WhatsApp, organising quizzes, and much more. But we’re coaching in the Scottish Lowland League, and we’re all volunteers. The footballing stakes are much lower, even if the personal stakes are just as high. That’s why I wanted to know what Cox and his team have been doing to keep their players engaged during this time.

“We want to keep them active, but that includes their mind as well as their feet,” he said. “We’ve been looking at how we connect with over 200 young people on a regular basis without being stifling. We want to inspire and motivate them, and that’s hard. The one bit of their learning that connects them all, that the all love, their football – that’s gone for now.

“What’s coming to the forefront throughout this pandemic is that our young people are developing incredibly positive attitudes to their life outside of football. They’re reporting back to us on how they’re getting better at cooking, how they’ve taken on family caring responsibilities, and much more.”

Manchester is a diverse part of the UK, with extraordinary riches huddled against areas of high deprivation. As such, the talent that fills the Manchester United academy comes from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Historically working-class areas like Huyton, near Liverpool, which bred the likes of Peter Reid – and Oldham, near Manchester, where David Platt hails from – have been hotbeds of footballing talent. But with the nation instructed to stay home, I wondered whether lockdown would disadvantage academy players who may not have access to garden space at home.

“Some of the young people come from homes where they have gardens, freedoms, and resources to help with their education,” Nick says. “But others, their parents are key workers, or their parents have lost their jobs, they’ve no garden, no outlet for themselves. We didn’t want to be driven by a homework style set of activities, that’s why we’ve brought in challenges like poetry writing and writing letters to key workers to thank them for their work during the pandemic.

“These activities have allowed the young people to demonstrate their creative skills, to lead their own learning, and it’s something that any of them can do regardless of access to a football pitch.

“On top of all this, the young people are also facing the very real fear that someone they love will get ill.”

It’s easy to forget, that behind the mega-structure that is a Premier League football academy, are youngsters, with fears, who – despite living through a national collective trauma – are still fighting on to give themselves a future that many of us can only dream of.

“This time away from the players has really reminded the staff at the academy that we are working with over 200 unique and brilliant individuals who have so much to offer besides their skills on the pitch.

“We didn’t want to be too regimented with the activities we are giving young people. All of their parents will be home schooling for the first time, and we wanted to care for their wellbeing also – so we didn’t want to overload them.”

Speaking to Cox it is clear that he and the club are investing in their youth team players as valued individuals, not future commodities. This approach is wise as it has proved fruitful before: in December 2019, Manchester United reached their 4,000th game in a row with a former member of their academy in the squad.

In fact, this commitment to youth is something so engrained in the club that previous academy graduates are taking time out of their lockdown to mentor those who are working hard for the chance to one day replace them in the first team.

“As well as our coaches’ regular catch-ups on the phone or on a video call, we’ve also run online Q&A sessions with Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and others. The whole club is really taking responsibility for helping our young people during this time.”

From a mental health perspective, Cox and his team seem to have a firm grasp on how they can best support players’ development. But there is so much more at play than education and learning for those who thought 2020 could be the year they began their top-flight career.

Cox explained to me why he felt positive for the older players in the academy who were reaching the end of their time there. He said coronavirus could eventually have a positive impact on their careers: “There will be short term missed opportunities because at the end of the season, youngsters usually get a shot at stepping up.

“I feel confident we will recover from that though. I don’t have concerns here at Manchester United, because we’ve got a good record of promoting youngsters.

“I do worry for others, though. There’ll be groups of boys who are out of contract across the country and not able to take part in trials for other clubs. That’s why we’ve taken the decision to keep every youngster on until this is all over.”

Nick believes that for some young players, the impact of coronavirus may well push them out of football altogether. Surprisingly though, he also makes the same prediction for older players in the lower leagues.

“For those released though, it may be the end of their career. However, what may happen is that clubs in the lower leagues, who are working to smaller budgets, will start to recruit more and more young English players because they’re cheaper. I could see the average age of lower league clubs reduce dramatically.”

Nothing in life is certain, but we know coronavirus is inflicting huge stresses on players in football academies. The loss of some young talent now seems inevitable but having spoken to Cox, I do feel more optimistic that some of their dreams will still come true.

Dominic Stevenson – follow him on Twitter

Dominic Stevenson is an author and football writer. His first book, Get Your Head In The Game, examines the intersection between football and mental health and is published in the UK and US in December 2020 with Watkins Publishing. Buy it here.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Liverpool are being heavily linked with a move for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara but they’ve had mixed success with their imports from Germany over the years.

Thiago is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world, and he has entered the final 12 months of his contract with the German side.

We’ve taken a look at the nine players Liverpool have signed from the Bundesliga since 2000 to see how their imports from Germany have generally fared.

Read the full article here.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League