Laurent Blanc is interested in the managerial role at Manchester United if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaves, according to a report in France.
The France legend has been unemployed in football since he left Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, where he departed by mutual consent having won three Ligue 1 titles on the bounce.
The Frenchman spent two years at Old Trafford before retiring in 2003, and recently claimed that he held talks over replacing David Moyes at United in 2014.
Blanc has around a decade of managerial experience, taking charge of Bordeaux and France before being handed the reins at the Parc des Princes.
And now Foot Mercato (via Sport Witness) claims that he ‘closely follows’ the goings on in the Premier League, ‘especially’ at Manchester United.
The report hints that he would be interested in the role should it become available with Solskjaer under pressure.
United have picked up just nine points from their opening eight games in the Premier League and find themselves 12th in the table, 15 points behind leaders Liverpool.
The report added that Blanc was close to taking over at Lyon but disagreements about staff ruled him out.
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Holders Liverpool have been drawn to play Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in Group E of the 2019 UEFA Champions League.
The draw, made in Monaco, has pitted Jurgen Klopp’s side against the Italian club in the group stages for the second successive year
Manchester City will face Ukraine’s Shaktar Donetsk, Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb and Italian side Atalanta in Group C.
Tottenham will play five-time winners Bayern Munich, Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade in Group B.
Chelsea, drawn in Group H, will play last season’s beaten semi-finalists Ajax, Valencia and French club Lille.
Real Madrid, winners four times in the last six years, will face French giants Paris St Germain in Group A, which also includes Brugge and Turkish club Galatasaray.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have been drawn in a daunting-looking pool, with Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague the other teams in Group F.
Italian champions Juventus will take on Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group D and Group G is made up of Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg, Lyon and RB Leipzig.
Here’s the draw in full…
The official result of the 2019/20 #UCLdraw!
3⃣ toughest groups are __ __ & __ pic.twitter.com/c7Xdro1vhn
— #UCLdraw (@ChampionsLeague) August 29, 2019
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The vast majority of them – no. Clubs must register new signings with the FA by 12noon on the day before a match to be eligible to play in that match.
So it the clock ticks past noon on deadline day and your club still hasn’t announced their signing, you’re likely going to have to wait until August 17 to see them play.
What about players signed after the transfer deadline passes?
Anyone to have seen a transfer deadline day knows full well that a huge amount of deals get done after the window ‘slams shut’.
That is because something called the ‘deal sheet’ exists, which allows for more time to complete a deal that has passed a certain point in the process. The Premier League explains:
“Clubs sometimes conclude deals at the last minute and it is not always easy for them to get everything completed and sent over by the deadline.
“The deal sheet allows a club to confirm that a deal has been reached in order to allow for additional time to submit the remaining documentation.
“For a deadline of 17:00 BST, the deal sheet cannot be used before 15:00 and needs to arrive fully completed before the transfer window closes.
“Once the sheet arrives, clubs have got until 19:00 in which to submit the full paperwork.”
One point of note here is that international transfers working under ‘deal sheet’ principles have until midnight to complete.
Can we expect many deals on transfer deadline day?
Probably not as many as in years gone by, in truth. It’s fair to say that the top clubs have figured out transfer windows much better in recent years and generally avoid the last-minute frenzy now.
Last summer, spending dropped by £100m on deadline day to £110m.
Indeed, should a deadline day frenzy not materialise, we will probably be looking at a record low number of total Premier League summer deals since the transfer window was introduced in 2002.
Can we expect the big clubs to be active on transfer deadline day?
It’s probably unlikely. The bigger the club the more transfer-savvy they seem to be this year and they get deals done earlier and on their terms.
They have all splashed the cash already, with Manchester United spending £130million on Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester City paying Atletico Madrid £62.8million for Rodri, and Tottenham capturing Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for £55million.
Man Utd may still be in the market for more and Liverpool may have a little look, but I’d not expect too many signings for the bigger clubs. Traditionally, they have focused more on offloading unwanted contracts on deadline day.
Chelsea certainly won’t be signing anyone, as they are currently under a transfer ban.
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Tottenham have finally agreed a fee with Real Betis for Giovani Lo Celso with the midfielder agreeing a five-year deal, according to reports.
The Argentine midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Tottenham over the last month as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his squad to mount a more credible title challenge this season.
The 23-year-old moved Betis from PSG on loan last summer with the La Liga side making the move permanent in April.
Despite the fact he has only been in Spain permanently for a matter of months, Pochettino has seen enough to convince him that the playmaker is worth bringing to north London – though the Spurs boss was giving little away when questioned about the player earlier in the week.
“Sell, buy players, sign contract, not sign contract – I think it is not in my hands, it’s in the club’s hands and (chairman) Daniel Levy,” Pochettino commented.
“The club need to change my title and description. Of course I am the boss deciding the strategic play, but in another area I don’t know. Today, I feel like I am the coach.”
However, Spanish newspaper El Transistor claims Spurs have finally settled on a fee of €60m (£54.6m) with Real Betis for the Argentinian – a deal which would make the midfielder their second costliest signing of all time behind Tanguy Ndombele, who arrived from Lyon earlier this summer.
Carlos Hidalgo: 'El Tottenham ofrece cerca de 68 millones de euros por Lo Celso, de los que el @RealBetis sacaría 42 millones (por los derechos de traspaso de otros equipos)'https://t.co/o1BALPnhAP pic.twitter.com/COfl3EotCQ
— El Transistor (@ElTransistorOC) July 19, 2019
And La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira has shed further light on the deal that will take Lo Celso to Tottenham, with the player thought to have agreed a five-year deal to the summer of 2024.
Furthermore, it’s claimed Lo Celso will €4m a year, which equates to £70,000 a week – a figure that will no doubt delight chairman Daniel Levy.
Assuming all goes to plan, Lo Celso will become a Tottenham player before the end of the weekend and will be their third new arrival of the summer after Ndombele and Leeds’ Jack Clarke.
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Johnny chooses someone or something in football that deserves celebrating for what they’ve done this week…
Who’s this week’s hero, Johnny?
This week’s hero is a footballer who has played for her country 158 times scoring 50 goals. Among many honours, she’s won a league and cup double with Lyon and the small matter of two World Cups. In 2019’s tournament she won the Golden Ball, Golden Boot and World Cup Final Player of the Match.
Although 34 years old she is still a restlessly dynamic, attacking midfielder for her country and Reign FC in Seattle.
An eloquent campaigner for equal pay and LGBT rights, the mere mention of her name makes the heart glow in many and the bile rise in some.
She has taken a knee and taken a lot of stick for that. She didn’t sing the National Anthem at the World Cup either. She’s a leading voice for the USWNT’s fight for gender equality.
A cursory glance at some of her online critics reveals she’s a real lightning rod for some serious hate, not least in her hometown, and yet incredibly she seems very resolute and wears her iconic status lightly with a playful self-possession which, of course, just winds up her intolerant critics even more. The fact her partner is Sue Bird, a basketball star, makes their sporting celebrity couple status more high profile and thus a big target for the haters.
Did a cheeky, very revealing Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition photoshoot, which displayed a remarkably sculpted body and made a lot of people very dry-mouthed indeed.
Basically annoys the living jobbies out of bigots by being sodding good at football, enjoying her life as a lesbian, fighting for decency and fairness and sticking it right up all and sundry with wit, good humour and a fiercely coherent, articulated political passion.
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe is the first openly gay woman to pose for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue pic.twitter.com/0wVL4Qm9tK
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 8, 2019
What have they done to deserve this then?
As co-captain, she lifted the World Cup last Sunday after scoring a typically nerveless penalty, her sixth goal of the tournament.
It was a tournament that her and the team had gone into with the pressure of being the holders, of being in the middle of suing the United States Soccer Federation, accusing it of gender discrimination. (listen to Hope Solo talk eloquently about this on this wonderful podcast) And the team also has an ongoing equal pay complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2016. On top of all that, they had to contend with the, shall we say, bad vibes emanating out of the White House. And still, with all of that going on in the background, they were victorious. It was a remarkable win, made even more so by the crowd chanting “equal pay” at the end of the game. That is a great example of using football to make a positive difference. The game needs so much more of this.
As she’d played fewer minutes than Alex Morgan, who had also scored six, and had more assists than the fantastic Ellen White, she was awarded the Golden Boot, as well as Player of the Match and the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, the latter was a little controversial as there were certainly others who could’ve had a good claim for that title. But her victory here had greater reverberations and was somehow instantly iconic of the transformation of the women’s game into the mainstream.
For many it was their first exposure to Megan. Here was a fully-formed star on our TV in prime time, complete with iconic goal celebration, surely crafted to the used as symbolic. Here was someone almost larger than life, an irrepressible force of nature who is a manifestation of how far the game had come and that’s before we even think about the wider political issues.
“I didn’t know women played football this good,” was a comment I overheard in a local pub from a middle-aged man as he watched the World Cup Final, mouth somewhat agape. And I’m sure he was not the only person to say that in the last month.
Her coach Jill Ellis: “Megan was built for this, built for these moments, built to be a spokesperson. She’s eloquent. She speaks well and from the heart. I never had any worries about Megan speaking out. The bigger the spotlight the more she shines.”
Anyone grumpy about it?
The usual suspects. The Commander in Cheetos, obviously and his glove puppet Piers Morgan and people who don’t like loud ‘n’ proud women in general. Then there’s the people on Twitter who think they’re being bullied by snowflakes into liking women’s football which isn’t really any good and I’m just virtue signalling and a ‘woke’ idiot. Yeah, well, as the great woman herself might say, wah wah wah.
God she’s unbearable…. https://t.co/TjKU24g5TS
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 10, 2019
What was the media response?
The day after the World Cup win she uniquely made both the front and back pages of most of the serious newspapers. Despite all the other great USA players, hers was very much the face of France 2019.
All the big channels in USA ran live coverage of their parade and she’s been an ever-present on all the big talk shows since returning home. The media right now, is hanging on her every word.
Radio 4’s ‘Profile’ show this week was all about her, interviewing her father and highlighting how Redding’s more conservative residents rather dislike her stance on pretty much everything, so much so that her own dad, a building contractor, felt he had to remove a picture of her from his office wall so ‘the picture of that bitch’ didn’t anger them up. That is disgraceful on so many levels.
Some newspapers have spoken to her brother Brian, who has had his substance abuse struggles apparently, and she’s referred to him in interviews as being the person who got her into football as a kid.
As I experienced most of the World up on 5live, using their broadcasts for commentaries while watching the games, everyone concerned had nothing but praise for her play and for overall attitude. When asked about that awful confected non-story about Alex Morgan’s tea-drinking celebration, Megan gave a typically amused and forthright response.
Her goalscoring pose has been grafted into a million memes, so much so that it is already an image which represents all the issues that she carries with her. A particularly good one is of her atop the Statue of Liberty.
There were a lot of speeches and interviews in the days after the World Cup win. This is just one example of many but serves well to illustrate her fizz, brio and easy appeal.
Oh and here she just looks and talks like a 1970s rock star. She could’ve been in Jefferson Starship in 1975 and in case you don’t know, believe me, that would have been very cool.
What the people say
She played so well, impressed so many with her skill and temperament and gives off much-needed positivity in these days of darkness, as well as just looking so damn cool, so it didn’t surprise me that I got so many great comments and very little of the achingly cliched snark that used to be so common.
As a philosophical sidebar, I really do believe that by inviting positive comments and by sharing our collective celebration of someone’s talent and worth, we dilute the pool of hatred with our love and in doing that we help deconstruct the psychic scaffolding that holds up the house of hate. All the comments you are about to read will be read by thousands and thousands of people and in this way we can help change the fabric upon which our lives are painted. Shut up Johnny, you’ve gone all hippie on us. And you’re referring to yourself in the third person again.
We start, as ever, with a Haiku from 4_4_Haiku
With a flick of hair or boot
Sharp of tongue and mind
— 4_4_haiku (@4_4_haiku) July 11, 2019
I wasn’t particularly bothered about the USA winning the World Cup but I sure as hell wanted her to win it just to rile the thin skinned balloon of self important narcissism.
She’s amazing. Great footballer, great advocate. They just did a poll over here in the US and in a presidential election she beats Trump by a point. Hahaha!
She annoys my Dad, which is all anyone needs to know about how fresh and progressive she is.
— a good joe (@fatboyfidget) July 11, 2019
The epitome of rock n roll football
A hugely impressive individual.
A fine footballer who clearly inspires her team-mates and is not afraid to speak out about issues she believes in. More power to her.
Talented, smart, funny and unafraid. It can’t be overstated how important she is in current climate. Hope she doesn’t become overburdened by the role she’s taken on and continues to wear it well.
Anyone who upsets the snowflake that is Piers Morgan is a hero every week
— Phil Annets (@PhilAnnets) July 11, 2019
How can you not love someone who takes the responsibility of being a figurehead for a sport and a societal change with such gleeful relish.
Excellent speech from her yesterday. She’d make a fine politician. Love the way she stands up to Trump and the US conservatives. Hard to judge her as a footballer as that is only part of who she is. A great icon for the lgbt community.
Thrives on pressure. Love her.
In a moment in time where we have people protesting in the hope of denying to children we exist, for the icon of the female game to be out, loud and proud is elixir for the soul
I despair sometimes when a woman like Megan Rapinoe gets flak for standing up and saying something and then gets flak because she may have not said enough
Excellent player and a proper role-model for kids. Confident, articulate, and candid. And she’s reached the peak of her chosen sport and will leave it better than she found it. There’s not many — men or women — who can say that.
"WIN something before you TALK" writes the most powerful person in the world, in seldom before seen attack on captain of his own national team. Rapinoe: wins golden boot, wins world cup, scores in the final. She's almost like a 21st century Mohamed Ali
— Thomas Karolin (@thomaskarolin) July 11, 2019
A Star, with an opinion
An icon of the US #Opposition , a rainbow coalition rebel pressing Trump’s buttons.
Great footballer. Progressive equality activist. But saddens me a little that there is a chance the #FIFAWWC could be remembered for her political stances/comments rather than her exceptional ability and the overall entertainment the #FIFAWWC brought.
Outspoken hero who doesn’t shy away from any big talk, and seemingly isn’t intimidated by those trying to put her down. And she plays with a smile on her face
She’s upset Trump and Piers Morgan. That’s enough humanitarian work for a lifetime
— David W Poole (@DavidWPoole73) July 11, 2019
She is magnificent in every way, she is a player that transcends the sport, we are all massive fans in my house.
The only people who don’t like her are the people worth not being liked by.
Not much of a team player, very much all about herself. Which is not uncommon in very good players. Craves being the centre of attention, in the same way C. Ronaldo does.
She will become (if she isn't already) the lightning rod for a front on the culture wars on both sides of The Atlantic – so her, "shoot from the hip" way of speaking, so attractive in the bland world of brand ambassadors, may get her into trouble. Good luck to her though.
— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) July 11, 2019
One of the most fascinating, engaging people involved in football anywhere in the world and is now using her newly found platform/fame in an intelligent and meaningful way. A fabulous statesperson for the sport. (Her Randy Orton impression does need work though!)
She was the first white athlete to kneel during the national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick / against racial injustice
As a footballer she’s reminiscent of the Barry Davies line “Samways uses Lineker by not using him”. Capable of beating opponents on her own or creating space for teammates to do the damage just by being on the field.
World Cup Champion example of a footballer not ruled by corporate sports sponsorships. Half of a sports power couple! Celebrates scoring & winning joyously & unabashedly and plays football the same way. Speaks frankly. Love her. There’s no professional athlete pantomime with her
She is an absolute baller. Iconic moments in two winning world cups for the US but her ball to pick out Wambach to save the day v Brazil in the 2011 WC QF really was her coming out party as a creative force to be reckoned with. To borrow a basketball term: An ally-oop of a cross.
— JJ Devaney (@JJDevaney) July 11, 2019
The old lady I was stood behind in the bus stop turned to me for no apparent reason and said: “Megan Rapinoe? You’ve got to admire the way she stands up against institutionalized gender discrimination.”
A shame that there is no-one in the men’s game prepared to use the platform and profile they have earned through talent to be a voice for change the way she has.
Her swagger and belief is a big part of her game. It’s an advantage on the pitch as well as off it. And that makes you think about how swagger is seen as a negative by much of the British football press. Do our teams suffer from having to be humble?
What does the future hold?
Seems keen to do the Olympics next year; after that she’ll be mid-30s and the competition for places in the USWNT is so strong that it seems likely retirement will be her choice at that point. Then what? Politics seems far from unlikely in some capacity. We always need compassionate, inspiring, articulate people with a brain to run things and not blowhard psychotic idiots, though disappointingly, this isn’t a universal view of the electorate. But the American political system seems to require anyone running for office to be far beyond the normal level of wealth and there is an argument that she can inspire and drive change more effectively without getting elected to office.
Clearly, history will judge her as a pivotal figure in the development and advancement of women’s football and of women’s rights too for what she has done so far, but my sense is that this is all really just the start for her. She wants, and possibly also feels a responsibility, to be a difference maker, even though the road she is choosing to walk will guarantee she will not have a quiet nor smooth life. But then, she didn’t get to where she is today by giving an inch or backing down.
At the homecoming parade through Broadway, New York she said: “This is my charge to everyone: We have to be better, we have to love more and hate less. Listen more and talk less. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place.”
What a woman.
The post Hero of the week: The extraordinary Megan Rapinoe appeared first on Football365.
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