Reports suggest that Serie A side AS Roma will look to sign Chris Smalling on a permanent deal from Manchester United soon, and that they have lined up a €15million bid to fund the transfer.
According to The Guardian, Chris Smalling’s outstanding start to the season for Roma, after joining them from the Red Devils on a loan move this summer, has impressed the club’s representatives.
The 29-year-old’s loan term will end on 2020 August, but the English news agency reports that he is likely to extend his stay with them, but signing a permanent deal.
Smalling is a regular name in Paulo Fonseca’s starting XI at the Stadio Olimpico, and on Wednesday, he also scored his first goal for them in a 4-0 win against Udinese.
The centre-back’s fine form is a big blow for Manchester United, who initially offloaded him with the intention of starting afresh and also make new signings that could take the club to greater heights. However, their plans seem to have backfired at the moment, with the Red Devils currently sitting at seventh place in the Premier League table, having accumulated just 13 points from the 10 games they played so far.
Roma, meanwhile, are fourth in the Serie A table, with 19 points from the 10 matches they played till date.
That fee is already looking like a bargain and it should not be long before Weghorst is a household name all over Europe.
In his first Bundesliga campaign, the Dutchman netted 17 goals to be the third-highest scorer in the competition and also notched the first hat-trick of his professional career in a 5-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf back in March.
He has continued his free-scoring ways in 2019/20 and has already found the back of the net five times in eight outings to be the league’s highest scorer in the calendar year apart from Bayern Munich’s deadly Lewandowski.
Remarkably, Weghorst was actually still playing district-level football even at the age of 17, although he always retained belief that he would make the grade.
The Wolves were runners-up in the Bundesliga as recently as the 2014/15 season but recently looked a club in decline, having only avoided relegation via the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns between 2016 to 2018.
The arrival of Weghorst coincided with a revival in their fortunes as they finished 6th last term to qualify for the Europa League.
This season, Wolfsburg remain the only unbeaten side left in the Bundesliga and are currently jointly leading the table with Borussia Monchengladbach on 16 points.
“I think we’re really strong as a team [and] we really act as a team.
“I think we have a clear mind as to how we want to play this season… we changed a little bit with the new trainer [Oliver Glasner] – this year it’s more direct to the goals we have as a team, also the way we want to achieve those goals.
“That turns out really good, there’s a good atmosphere and that’s our big strength, I think.”
Just last weekend, Wolfsburg faced their first real test of the campaign and came away with a creditable 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig, and it is only going to get trickier with games against Borussia Dortmund and Bayern coming up in the next month.
But with Weghorst guaranteeing goals, it remains to be seen just how long the Wolves’ unbeaten streak can continue for.
On Thursday, Manchester United conducted a commemoration ceremony in Belgrade to honour those whose lives were lost in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster.
Take a look at some of the photos from the ceremony, right below:
Speaking at the ceremony, Manchester United’s vice-chairman Ed Woodward said:
“It was incredibly important to come here and mark the occasion. As soon as the draw happened, our attention turned to wanting to remember those who lost their lives in 1958.”
“This was the last place, on this very ground, against Red Star Belgrade, when they played as a team together before they got on that fateful plane to stop over in Munich and tragedy struck. So for us as a club, there is a game tonight but for us, the trip is also important for remembering those who lost their lives and paying respects, which we have just done by laying the wreath.”
“You can feel the emotion. When you have been at the club for as long as we have, you get that history and you have met a lot of the families who have lost people in the Munich Air Disaster,” Bryan Robson, who was also present at the ceremony, said.
“I have even heard Bobby Charlton talk about the game when they were over here in 1958. It was supposed to be a great performance by the team and you can sense that when you come into the stadium,” he concluded.
They may both hail from Japan but that is about where the similarities end for the Eintracht Frankfurt pair of Makoto Hasebe and Daichi Kamada.
That and the fact that they are both shaping as key players in Eintracht’s quest to improve on last season, where they finished 7th in the Bundesliga and also reached the semi-finals of the Europa League.
German football’s top flight has long been synonymous with imports from the Land of the Rising Sun and – with their current duo – boasts a celebrated veteran and a rising star.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Japanese Eagles: Makoto Hasebe & Daichi “The New Kagawa” Kamada
First, there is Hasebe, into his 12th season in the Bundesliga now and a former champion with Wolfsburg, who also captained Japan at three consecutive FIFA World Cups and retired from international football with 114 caps to his name.
Once a midfield general, the 35-year-old has evolved into the lynchpin of Frankfurt’s three-man defence and is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.
Then, there is Kamada, who is back at the Commerzbank-Arena following a loan spell with Sint-Truiden which saw him net 15 goals in the Belgian First Division A, and has already emerged as a main creative outlet supplying chances for the likes of Goncalo Paciencia, Andre Silva and Bas Dost.
They both hail from the same proud Asian footballing nation and are currently fighting for the same cause, but their personalities could hardly be more different.
With the self-assuredness of a man who has been around for a long time now, Hasebe is vocal and confident on the pitch, and was teased by his younger compatriot for his proclivity to square up to officials and opponents alike with his shoulders spread open.
In return, he teased the more-unassuming Kamada for the lack of emotion shown, with his default celebration a simple pump of this fist – if he even scores that is.
“He [Kamada] is welcome to start scoring a few more goals,” Hasebe said in jest. “That’s one thing I’d like to see.
“He comes across as very laidback [but] at the same time he has a good measure of himself and his surroundings. Daichi’s definitely a player of huge potential.
“[He’s] really settled into the team and he’s combining well already with a lot of the other guys out on the pitch. He’s still young and, if he plays to his potential, he’ll keep making steady progress.”
For all the banter they share, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Kamada views Hasebe as a role model.
“I can only say good things about him,” said the Ehime native. “Makoto’s a great guy and a great player, one that you can really look up to.
“I have massive respect for the way he performs in the Bundesliga and how he conducts himself in general.
“I admire him as a team-mate and a person.”
Kamada, who last Thursday scored his first international goal in Japan’s 6-0 win over Mongolia, also revealed that Hasebe has been helping him with the local lingo but – with the praise out of the way – it was soon back to the friendly jibes.
“I understand very little German so Hasebe helps me out a lot with that,” added Kamada. “In exchange, I teach him modern Japanese.
“He doesn’t get the abbreviation for ‘birthday present’ for example – that’s the modern Japan so I’m teaching him the way he’s teaching me German.
And what did Hasebe have to say in return?
“That’s not true,” replied the former Samurai Blue stalwart. “I maybe just don’t understand all the latest Japanese trends – the odd word here and there.
“The kind of Japanese I can do without,” he ended, with a wry grin.
Off the field, they are expectedly different but on it, both are gifted individuals fully committed to the Eintracht cause.
And with the old master holding court in the heart of defence, and the young upstart looking to wreak havoc up the other end, the Eagles could just have another season to remember in the Bundesliga and the Europa League.
On Thursday, Manchester United struggled badly against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League group stage, and the match ended in a goalless draw. Alkmaar outclassed the Red Devils across all major areas, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were not able to produce even a single shot on target.
Meanwhile, it is also worth considering that the above-mentioned stat was not the only one registered by Manchester United after the game.
Their 0-0 draw against Alkmaar means that United are now 10 matches without a win, in matches away from home. Their most recent away-game win was in March, when they staged an upsetting victory over Paris Saint Germain in the 2018-19 Champions League round-of-16.
If that’s not enough, Manchester United now have just five wins in the previous 22 matches in all competitions.
And now, another piece of stat data reveals that the Red Devils have scored fewer goals since Solskjaer’s appointment as permanent manager, than arch-rivals Manchester City in their last five matches.
Difficult to believe? Too hard to be true? Let’s take a look:
The Norwegian was appointed United’s permanent manager on 28th March, 2019.
The following list of matches shows how they have performed since then:
United 2 – 1 Watford
United 1 – 2 Wolves
United 0 – 1 Barcelona (Champions League)
United 2 – 1 West Ham
United 0 – 3 Barcelona (Champions League)
United 0 – 4 Everton
United 0 – 2 City
United 1 – 1 Chelsea
United 1 – 1 Huddersfield
United 0 – 2 Crystal Palace
United 4 – 0 Chelsea
United 1 – 1 Wolves
United 1 – 2 Crystal Palace
United 1 – 1 Southampton
United 1 – 0 Leicester
United 1 – 0 Astana (Europa League)
United 0 – 2 West Ham
United 1 – 1 Rochdale (EFL Cup)
United 1 – 1 Arsenal
United 0 – 0 Alkmaar
In the twenty matches since Solskjaer became permanent boss, United have scored 18 goals.
Now take a look at City’s goal record in their last five games:
City 3 – 0 Shakhtar (Champions League)
City 8 – 0 Watford
City 3 – 0 Preston (EFL Cup)
City 3 – 1 Everton
City 2 – 0 Dinamo Zagreb(Champions League)
19 goals – eight of them were scored in a single game.
Looks like the Norwegian manager is under real pressure now. Luckily for him, the Red Devils will take on minnows Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend.
Manchester United star Harry Maguire had a message for fans after their goalless draw in the Europa League against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday – however, he had to delete the tweet later it as it did not go down well.
Alkmaar dominated Manchester United in several ways during the above-mentioned game – they had four shots on target as opposed to United’s 0. They also enjoyed more ball possession and took as many as ten corner kicks, which show how defensive the Red Devils had to be during the match.
Maguire remained on the bench throughout the game, as Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to rely on a central defensive partnership of Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof.
And after the game, he posted the following tweet:
However, the tweet failed to draw support from fans as they probably reviewed it as an overly positive reaction to a disappointing result.
Maguire ultimately deleted the post, and it is no longer visible on his Twitter account.
Solskjaer himself was desperate to highlight the positives after the drawn game, as he said: “It’s a good point away from home against difficult opponents on a difficult surface.”
“They beat Feyenoord 3-0 away from home, we made many changes and so I’m very pleased.”
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed that the artificial pitch for tonight’s Europa League clash against AZ Alkmaar is one of the worst that he has ever seen. He also said that he could not afford to risk Paul Pogba’s injury by forcing him to play on such a poor surface.
“I’m surprised they have chosen to play on this pitch when I look at it,” Solskjaer said, in the pre-match press conference.
“I am used to astroturf pitches from back in Norway and this is not the best I have seen.”
“It is, in fact, one of the worst ones I have seen for a long while. We have all got standards back home in Norway and they are all modern and new.”
“But this one here, is not the newest and it seems like it has been used a lot,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Paul Pogba is estimated to remain sidelined for a duration of three-and-a-half weeks, after picking up an injury during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday.
He is currently in doubt for United’s upcoming trip to face Newcastle United in the league, but Solskjaer wants to give him every chance of making it, which is why he did not travel for the Europa League away clash against Alkmaar.
“After discussions with specialists, Paul [Pogba] needs further treatment and rest on his ankle,” the Norwegian added, before concluding:
“But I probably wouldn’t have risked him on the astroturf, even if he was available.”
On his debut in the opening game of the 2012/13 season, he headed home on close-range in the last minute to hand the Wolves a 1-0 win at Stuttgart.
In his previous 85 games in the top flight of German football, all his 36 goals came inside the area with 31 of those being first-time finishes, illustrating just how much of a predator he is.
His finest hour in a Wolfsburg jersey arguably game in February 2016 when he notched four goals in a 5-4 victory away to Bayer Leverkusen, and he remains the only Dutchman to have done that amongst other illustrious names like Roy Makaay and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Dost’s time at the Volkswagen Arena was not without success as they won the DFB-Pokal in 2015, with the towering 1.96-metre striker finding the back of the net in a 3-1 triumph over Borussia Dortmund.
With Eintracht looking to improve on last term’s 7th-place finish in the Bundesliga and once again go far in the Europa League, the capture of Dost could just prove be one of the signings of the season.
Manchester United star Sergio Romero has fond memories of winning the UEFA Europa League three years ago, but he still remains unsure as to whether the Red Devils can repeat their title-winning success this season.
“In this competition, it’s always uncertain because of the short and long journeys to different places. It will be a challenge to try to repeat the victory again in this competition. This club always needs to do well, wherever we play,” he was quoted as saying, by Manchester United’s official website.
“My experience tells me that, in these competitions, there are no easy teams and also that nobody is going to give you anything for free. It is a competition where, to reach the final, it is going to be very difficult, but we will give our best.”
“I do not have any team, in particular, I would like to play against. When you play in Europe, every team is going to be a difficult one. There are no easy teams in European competitions. Every team who participates in this competition wants to do well and wants to win,” the Argentine goalkeeper further added, before concluding:
“The team, the players, everyone wants to play in European competition and, of course, wants to win it.”
The 32-year-old went on to describe how much winning the Europa League in the 2016-17 season meant to him.
“The victory, for me, was a massive relief because I wasn’t playing a lot in the Premier League and other competitions. I only played in the cup and thanks to the confidence the manager [Jose Mourinho] deposited in me, it was a very positive thing for me,” he explained.
“This is another year, another season where we start from zero and we have to be at our best. Manchester United, because of its history, deserves to win always. We, as a team, have to work very hard, help each other and go the extra mile,” he signed off.
FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan believes the Bundesliga could soon have another Asian star in the form of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Daichi Kamada.
A promising but previously unheard-of Japanese prospect rising to prominence in the Bundesliga.
Now where have we heard that one before?
Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako… these are just some of the names that have showed the way in recent times but, considering their similar positions and styles of play, it is perhaps Shinji Kagawa’s footsteps that Daichi Kamada – Eintracht Frankfurt’s rising star – is likeliest to follow.
Highlights – Eintracht Frankfurt vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
As the 2019/20 Bundesliga season got underway last weekend, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding Eintracht and how they would replace Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller, who combined for 46 goals in all competition last term but have since left for Real Madrid and West Ham respectively.
In a real show of faith by manager Adi Hutter in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Hoffenheim, Kamada was named in the starting XI alongside Mijat Gacinovic as one of the two deeper-lying forwards behind Ante Rebic, ahead of highly-rated duo Dejan Joveljic and Goncalo Pacencia.
It took Kamada about 30 seconds to play a role in his side opening the scoring by taking a quick short corner to Filip Kostic, whose excellent cross was volleyed home by Martin Hinteregger.
Two minutes later, the lanky attacker was confident enough to take a shot on after cutting inside from the edge of the box and stung the hands of Oliver Baumann, and he again forced the Hoffenheim goalkeeper into a smart save down low in the 48th minute following a mazy dribble.
48′ SO CLOSE! Kamada dribbles his way into the area and gets his shot off, but Baumann is down quickly and makes a fine save. 😫#SGETSG | 1-0
Throughout the match, Kamada was also in charge of most of Eintracht’s set-pieces barring a handful that were dispatched by Kostic when the situation favoured a left-footed delivery, until he was replaced by Pacencia in the 71st minute following a steady if unspectacular contribution.
It was not have been his first taste of Bundesliga action having made three appearances in the 2017/18 campaign following his move from Sagan Tosu.
But having been deemed in need of more development and game time, Kamada spent last season on loan at Sint-Truiden and it proved to be a fruitful spell with 15 goals in the Belgian First Division A.
With a full season of top-flight European football under his belt, he has now returned to the Commerzbank-Arena in a far stronger position to win a regular first-team berth under Hutter.
Like Kagawa, Kamada offers plenty of energy in the attacking third while also being blessed with excellent technical ability and vision.
Of course, his display against Hoffenheim was not without its blemishes, as he gave possession away on a couple of occasions and was also physically overpowered at times, but he will gain more consistency with matches as he gains more familiarity with the system and the players around him.
At 23, the Ehime native is at the age to really kick on in his career and – if he really does go on to fulfil his potential – who knows that the future holds for him?
Perhaps even a Bundesliga title like current team-mate Hasebe achieved with Wolfsburg, or two-time winner Kagawa did with Dortmund.
For now, however, fans of Asian football can look forward to a full year ahead where – once again – a bright Japanese talent is promising to announce his arrival in the Bundesliga.
Real Madrid’s big-money summer signing Luka Jovic has revealed that he will always be grateful to former employers Eintracht Frankfurt.
Back in June, Jovic completed his move to Real for a reported €60million after two successful years at Eintracht, where he took no time at all to establish himself as one of the deadliest forwards in the Bundesliga.
He was part of the side that stunned Bayern Munich to win the DFB-Pokal in 2018, before notching an impressive 25 goals in 40 appearances in all competition this past campaign.
While Jovic now has new challenges ahead of him at the Santiago Bernabeu, he credits Eintracht for helping him rediscover his passion for the game when he initially joined on loan from Benfica.
“I really started to enjoy my football again when I moved here.
“When we won the German Cup in 2018, the whole atmosphere in the stadium and the city was electric. It felt a lot like [Jovic’s first club] Red Star [Belgrade], and I made a lot of friends in Frankfurt that I will keep forever.
“I will always love and appreciate Eintracht, because this is not a club that is about money of expensive players. Instead it is about chemistry and an incredible feeling of togetherness with the supporters.”
The combination of Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic saw Eintracht boast one of the most fearsome attacks in the Bundesliga.
Their success translated to the continental stage too as the Eagles reached last season’s Europa League semi-final before losing in heartbreaking fashion to Chelsea on penalties, which remains the only blemish on Jovic’s time at the Commerzbank-Arena.
“My only regret is the Europa League semi-final against Chelsea,” added the Serb, who finished the campaign as the tournament’s second top scorer with ten goals.
“This is probably one of the only times in my career I cried tears of sadness, and it wasn’t even right after we lost the penalties.
“It was when we were walking off the pitch and I saw the Eintracht supporters in the front row singing our anthem with tears in their eyes, even though we had lost.
“It was a different experience for me, playing for fans who support you even when you lose. That is rare in the world of football, and I am sad to be leaving Frankfurt, because the club changed my career.”
Tottenham Hotspur star Christian Eriksen is unlikely to move to Real Madrid after the La Liga giants and the Premier League club failed to arrive at a deal for the midfielder. As a result, English club Manchester United and Italian champions Juventus remain his only options for a transfer this summer.
Eriksen was widely tipped for a switch to Real Madrid ahead of the next season, but his recent performance in the Champions League final forced Los Blancos to think twice about his transfer before they reconsidered on the deal. The Danish midfielder was one of the worst performers for Tottenham in the UCL final as they eventually lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, already conducted a lot of transfer business during the summer, signing the likes of Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes. It is also being reported that Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is interested in a midfield signing, but that he has snubbed Christian Eriksen in favour of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.
That, in turn, forces the 27-year-old to move to the Red Devils or Juventus in the summer, with both teams looking to rebuild their respective squads with specific goals in mind, according to the Mirror.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his team to challenge for the Premier League title and also regain a Champions League berth, while the Serie A champions want to extend their domination to Europe after years of only domestic success.
Currently valued at over €100million, Eriksen is more or less sure of leaving Spurs, though his destination remains unknown.
“I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, nor will it be negative. But I have also said that I would like to try something new. I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That’s the plan.” he was quoted as saying during an interview in May.
Young defender Doan Van Hau could be in line to become the most expensive player in Vietnamese football history after reportedly striking a deal with FK Austria Wien for next season.
Vietnamese media are citing source at the 20-year-old Vietnam international’s club Hanoi FC to report that he will move to Austrian top division side next season on a one-year loan deal with a buyout clause.
Austria Wien is expected to pay € 100,000 (US$ 113,000) for Van Hau while they will offer US$ 774,000 to Hanoi to buy the left-back on a permanent basis if he impresses during the next campaign. However, Vietnam Net are reporting that the V.League club is holding for US$ 1 million.
Austria Wien are one of the giants of Austrian Bundesliga having won 24 league titles and 27 domestic cups in their country. They will play in the Europa League next season after finishing fourth in the league during the 2018-19 season.
A parody account of La Liga club Real Madrid released a fake tweet on Friday to announce the “official” signing of Ashley Young from Manchester United, only for Twitter users to erupt in unison.
The tweet went viral as well and surprisingly, a few users even believed the news.
The tweet was posted by Twitter user @RealMadridCFi and to their credit, it was a well-executed photoshop job that looks quite similar to Real Madrid’s recent, actually-official announcements of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and so on.
The tweet had garnered over 28,900 likes and 14,000 retweets by Saturday morning, with the numbers still expected to increase steadily over the day.
Upon close observation, one might be able to infer that it is, in fact, the two words “comunicado oficial” which followed the photo that actually led to fans initially believing that Real Madrid had actually gone ahead with the deal.
The above-mentioned phrase translates to “official statement” in English, and always precedes any new announcement made by the club, including change of personnel, new transfers, contract updates, and so on.
Some fans were easily deceived by the Spanish phrase and got so carried away that they even forgot to check the Twitter handle that posted the photo.
Soon enough, however, they released their folly and the Twitterverse was a laugh riot.
Replies to the original tweet included wholesome memes, trolls directed at Real Madrid, Manchester United, Ashley Young and the fans in general. There was also the occasional angry reaction from fans who still believed that the news was authentic.
Take a look at some of the best reactions down below: