Roma defender Kostas Manolas has been on the brink of completing a £30million move to Zenit St. Petersburg for a couple of days now but, alas, the move has hit a stumbling block.
The Greek international centre-half has a five-year contract offer on the table and was due to undergo a medical in Rome on Wednesday, only to pull a no-show at the Villa Stuart clinic.
This was due to a dispute over how Zenit intend to pay Manolas as and when he formally makes the jump to Russia.
According to Sky Sports, the 26-year-old has demanded to be paid his wages in euros rather than rubles, due to the relative unpredictability of the Russian currency.
Zenit have apparently assured Manolas that he will receive the same amount per week regardless of the exchange rate, but his concerns over the potential volatility of the ruble have spurred him to take contractual precautions.
The transfer is still expected to go through in the next few days, but only after the two parties strike some form of agreement.
Fair play to Manolos for thinking ahead. It’s not often that fiscal prudence rears its ugly head when footballers are concerned.
Benfica are currently in the midst of an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption at the Lisbon club.
Among many things, Benfica have been accused of ‘spying’ on the phone of Fernando Gomes, the president of the Portuguese Football Federation.
The accusations were levelled by Porto’s communications director, Francisco Marques, who, according to Record, claimed to have seen an email exchange sent between Benfica executive Pedro Guerra and Carlos Deus Pereira, the former president of the LPFP (basically, the Portuguese equivalent of the Premier League board) during which the latter provided the former with ‘content’ from Gomes’ text messages.
Marques also divulged an altogether more interesting email sent by Guerra “with the endorsement” of Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira to a Dr Armando Nhaga of the National Police Commission of Guinea-Bissau which appears to reveal that the Eagles spent an awful lot of money procuring what can only be described as ‘witchcraft’.
Guerra reportedly contracted Dr Nhaga to work his magic ahead of Benfica’s big Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund back in February.
As per DN‘s report into the matter, Dr Nhaga’s price list was as follows:
€5,000 – Victory in the Super Cup
€100,000 – Victory in the Championship
€10,000 – Victory in every match of the Champions League group stage
€30,000 – Win every game to eliminate the Champions League
€1,000 – Victory in each match of the Portuguese Cup or League Cup
€5,000 – Victory in the Portuguese Cup final or League Cup final
However, a few days later Benfica got spanked 4-0 by Dortmund, prompting President Vieira to send another email to Dr Nhaga to ask what had gone wrong.
After mustering just nine goals in a sullen second season at Manchester United, word had been rife this week that Anthony Martial was preparing to up sticks in search of a fresh start elsewhere.
The Express, among others, reported that Martial was putting out the feelers over a return to France after becoming weary of working under Jose Mourinho, and that United wouldn’t block his exit should a transfer materialise.
This came just days after the Daily Mail ran with news that Arsenal had identified the “unsettled” 21-year-old as a potential summer acquisition.
Unsurprisingly, it swiftly transpired that the aforementioned tittle-tattle was exactly that, with Martial himself comprehensively confirming that everything you’ve just read is complete baseless tripe…
Everton have sealed a deal to sign prodigious 19-year-old forward Henry Onyekuru from Belgian side KAS Eupen.
Not so very long ago it was reported that Arsenal were within a whisker of getting him on board, but Onyekuru has today posted a photo of himself standing in front of Everton livery on his official Instagram account.
The Toffees are yet to officially confirm the transfer, but it’s being widely reported that the £7million deal will see Onyekuru return to Belgium on loan next season, specifically with Anderlecht.
Eupen’s Nigerian wunderkind finished as joint-top scorer in the Jupiler League last season, notching 22 goals in a team that only managed to score 40 goals overall.
Another one for Arsene’s ever-lengthening list of ‘nearlies’.
A post shared by DanialvesD2 My Twitter (@danialves23) on
Here, allow us to translate that for you:
I would like to thank all the Tifosi de la Juventus for the I just lived, to my team-mates who welcomed me like the professionals they are, for a club that wins and reaches finals.
I think that my respect for this club and its supporters was my dedication, my passion and all my effort to make the club bigger every single day.
I apologise to the fans if in some moments they thought I did something to offend them, I never had that intention, I just have a way of doing things spontaneously that few people understand.
Although it seems I am not perfect, my heart is pure.
Today is the end of our professional relationship but I will take with me all of those who truly make Juve a great club.
As you know, I always try to say what I think and what I feel – I feel I must say thanks to Mr (chief executive Beppe) Marotta for the opportunity I gave you to have a great professional and someone who loves his profession as much anybody else.
I don’t play football for money, I play football because I love this profession and respect those who are part of it.
I leave it up to you to judge what I have done and worked for. I LOVE FOOTBALL and money will never take me to any other place.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
How lovely, and even nicer to see that Alves has hand-written the message himself rather than cadging a generic template from his PR bods.
Spain have undoubtedly been the stand-out side in this summer’s European U21 Championship, and in Tuesday’s semi-final clash with Italy, Atletico Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez netting a sweet hat-trick.
All the goals came in the second-half, with Níguez opening the scoring on 53 minutes, via a smart finish after a trademark passing move.
Italy were dealt a blow just before the hour-mark when Roberto Gagliardini was sent off for a second yellow after kicking out at Dani Ceballos.
On 74 minutes, the Atletico star completed his hat-trick, firing home from Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio’s centre.
With the likes of Níguez, Asensio and Hector Bellerin, Spain’s side is full of top-class performers and this incredibly gifted bunch of players will surely now be confident of beating Germany in the final on Friday.
Maximilian Arnold netted the first penalty for Germany before Lewis Baker made it 1-1.
Everton’s new-signing Jordan Pickford then did well to keep out Yannick Gerhardt’s effort. However, scorer of England’s second goal in normal time, Abraham, then saw his weak effort saved by Julian Pollersbeck.
Ben Chilwell stepped up and sent Pollersbeck the wrong way, only for Max Meyer to produce a clinical spot-kick finish and make it 3-2 to the Germans.
Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse then blasted his penalty into the roof of the net, before sub Nadiem Amiri made it 4-3 to the German youngsters.
The pressure was now on Ward-Prowse’s Southampton team-mate, Nathan Redmond, only for the winger to see his decisive effort saved by a diving Pollersbeck.
So Germany progress to the final while an English side once again lose on penalties to their old foe.
However, Boothroyd and his charges can be proud of a very good showing which bodes well for the future of English football.
Despite the game being aired for free on a terrestrial channel, Sky Sports felt the need to provide concurrent coverage that mercifully spared viewers from actually having to watch the tripe being produced in Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium.
Steve McClaren was invited into the studio to add his expert two-penneth and, inevitably, ended up making himself look like a right dilbert in front of everybody.
All together now: “The only thing they’ve got is the big boy up front, Sigurdsson, who really… Sigthorsson… Oh…”
Iceland – full-blooded, resolute and coached by a part-time dentist – cantered to a 2-1 victory.
England, and feel free to stop us if you’ve heard this one before, choked and fell ashamedly flaccid amid a stagnant miasma of mediocrity and hubris.
Here are the full highlights of the game, should you wish to submit yourself to some self-flagellation of the sporting variety…
A mass brawl between supporters put paid to a legends game out in California in an incident that seriously stretched the meaning of the word “friendly”.
In a contest designed to raise awareness, support and a little cash for the United Soccer Talents Foundation, heavyweight Mexican teams Club America and Pumas staged an exhibition match that soon descended into something Vince McMahon and his oily boys would be proud of.
Already stoked by years of intense rivalry, the California sun and (we’re guessing) no small share of alcohol, up to 50 supporters from both sides cascaded onto the pitch after the first half and forced the game to be abandoned with Club America holding a 2-1 lead…
The game featured several well known South American footballers including former Mexico internationals Luis Roberto ‘Zague’ Alves and Alberto Garcia Aspe, alongside Paraguay’s Salvador Cabanas (of ‘bullet in the head‘ fame), Chile’s Fabian Estay and Colombia’s Andres Chitiva – all of whom were forced to flee from the pitch.
When the police did eventually arrive on the scene, five supporters were arrested while one was found unconscious on the ground.