Atlanta’s Eales: No formal offers for Premier League target Almiron

Miguel Almiron has been widely linked with a move to the Premier League in January, but Atlanta United president Darren Eales says the club has not yet received any offers for the Paraguayan star.

Almiron helped lead Atlanta United to an MLS Cup title on Saturday in a match that solidified his legacy with the club while also proving that he’s more than ready to make the jump to Europe.

The midfielder fired 12 goals and provided 14 more assists in 2018 while also setting up the second goal of Atlanta’s 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

Eales previously stated that the club was unwilling to sell Almiron for “chump change” amid links to Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle.

“Clearly there’s been a lot of interest, not only in the Premier League but from top clubs around Europe,” Eales said following the club’s MLS Cup parade, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

 “I’d expect that because he he’s had a wonderful season. The reality is, and forgive me for repeating myself, he’s got three more years under contract with Atlanta United.

“He’s one of our top players. We’re MLS Cup champions. We have an owner in Arthur Blank who wants to win. If the right offer comes in that’s right for Miggy, right for the club and right for the league then we will consider it.”

Atlanta has been widely linked with another South American playmaker in the wake of the Almiron reports, as River Plate’s Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martinez is expected to be signed as the Paraguayan’s replacement.

Martinez scored the third and final goal of River’s Copa Libertadores final win over Boca Juniors over the weekend.

Following the win, he said he will be moving to Atlanta following the Club World Cup, but Eales says nothing is official just yet.

“I saw that, people keep talking about this Pity Martinez, and he mentioned it himself,” Eales said.

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“We’ve certainly got some irons in the fire and we are always looking to improve the squad.

“When there’s something official we will announce it.”

Martinez would be unable to join the squad until the January window while the club would also need to move one of its Designated Players, Almiron, Josef Martinez or Ezequiel Barco, to make room for the Argentinian playmaker. 

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Fekir talks ended after Liverpool ‘change of heart’ says OL president Aulas

Nabil Fekir’s failed transfer to Liverpool did not fall apart as a result of a medical issue, according to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who insisted he ended negotiations after a “change of heart” by the Anfield outfit. 

Fekir was expected to join Liverpool prior to the World Cup but the move fell apart at the last moments with reports of a knee problem during the medical potentially scuppering the deal.

The playmaker went on to win a World Cup with France in Russia and then returned to Lyon, where he has scored four goals and added four assists across Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season.

Aulas has delivered his own take on the events of the summer, suggesting that the tight deadline of the World Cup affected the talks between the two clubs and Fekir.

However, Aulas claimed it was Lyon that ultimately ended talks after a Liverpool “change of heart”, and that Fekir was fine with that decision.

“At the final moment, the three parties did not find an agreement, but not just Liverpool and Lyon, who had had an agreement,” Aulas told RMC Sport’s Breaking Sport.

“There was a change of heart from Liverpool’s point of view, as we were in a tight situation in that Nabil was about to go to the World Cup, we decided to finish [talks].

“Nabil at the time was OK with all of that.”

Aulas also downplayed any talk of injury concerns ruining the deal, suggesting it was an excuse rather than the actual cause.

“I think it was one of the arguments that was used on the Liverpool side, but personally I do not think it was the real reason.”

Fekir’s current contract with Lyon expires in 2020, leaving the club in an increasingly difficult position if they want to keep his services long-term.

The midfielder has reportedly drawn interest from numerous sides in Europe, with his international team-mate Kingsley Coman hoping Fekir will make a move to Bayern Munich in the future.

Aulas however, is talking about an extension for Fekir, and claims a January exit is unlikely, especially if Lyon secure a result against Shakhtar Donetsk and advance to the Champions League knockout round.

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“An extension of contract in Fekir? Yes it is underway, it is on my desk and we will ensure that it can be seen soon,” Aulas said. “A departure this winter for Fekir? I do not think he wants to do it.

“So from the moment that OL can qualify in the Champions League, I do not imagine that Nabil can leave.

“If he wishes, we will meet others again, but I do not imagine he will be leaving this winter.”

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‘I’ve always liked Real Madrid!’ – Hazard hints at Chelsea exit

Eden Hazard insists Zinedine Zidane’s departure from Real Madrid has not affected his admiration of the club and claims he will dictate any decisions on his future.

The Belgian winger has long been linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu and his contract at Chelsea expires in 2020.

Zidane left the Spanish giants at the end of last season and was replaced by Julen Lopetegui, whose reign lasted only until October. Former youth team manager Santiago Solari is now in charge of Real and Hazard insists the managerial change has not put him off.

The 27-year-old told RMC, as quoted by Get French Football News: “I have always liked Real Madrid as a club, with or without Zidane. At the end of this year I have 1 year left on my Chelsea contract. We will see, it’ll be up to me to make the decision.”

Hazard received plaudits after starring in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Manchester City on Saturday. Despite impressing in a more central role in that game, the forward said City are still the best team in the league.

The result brought Chelsea within seven points of the champions, although they still sit fourth – two points behind Tottenham and eight back from table-toppers Liverpool.

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Hazard has been frequently linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge and is tipped to fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes in Madrid. The winger has not shied away from the speculation, saying two months ago that it has been his dream to play for the Blancos since he was a child.

After a poor run at the start of the campaign saw Lopetegui lose his job, Madrid have struggled to recover under Solari and now sit fourth in La Liga. They travel to CSKA Moscow next for their final Champions League group game on Wednesday.

Chelsea meanwhile head to Hungarian side Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday before facing Brighton next weekend in the Premier League. 

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Manchester City star Foden signs new five-and-a-half-year contract extension

Manchester City teenager Phil Foden has agreed to a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2024, the Premier League champions have announced.

The 18-year-old playmaker’s contract was set to expire in 2020, while his potential had reportedly attracted interest from clubs across Europe, though he was eager to remain with City.

Goal previously reported in November Foden was set to agree a deal, with sources close to the player saying the new terms represented a considerable increase from his current £15,000-per-week deal.

Man City have suffered difficult losses among their youth ranks in recent years, as England international Jadon Sancho departed the club to receive an opportunity at Borussia Dortmund and youngster Brahim Diaz looks set to leave for Real Madrid in the summer.

Sancho has starred for Dortmund this season, with five goals and six assists this season in the Bundesliga, the latter number good for third in the German top-flight.

But Man City have now avoided a similar fate with Foden, who has been part of the club’s set up since he was eight years old, having locked him down for the next five and a half seasons.

“We are delighted to have secured Phil for the next five and a half years,” Man City Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said in a statement.

“He is an outstanding talent and he is Manchester City born and bred so this is where he wants to play his football.

“Under Pep [Guardiola] and with the players we have here around him, he is in the best place possible to develop as a player.”

Foden came up through the Man City youth ranks and made his debut for the senior side in November 2017 against Feyenoord in the Champions League. He earned his first start in the same competiton a month later.

This season, Foden has made eight Premier League appearances off the bench for the club, up from five all of last season, while receiving a pair of starts in the Carabao Cup.

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It was in one of those cup starts the teenager bagged his only first-team goal for Man City, in their 3-0 victory over Oxford in September.

Guardiola has spoken previously of his admiration of the Stockport-born teenager and his desire to aid Foden as he looked to make the step up into the club’s first team.

Foden also marks the club retaining another highly-regarded player, as Raheem Sterling signed through 2023 in November.

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Phil Foden signs new contract with Manchester City through 2024

Manchester City teenager Phil Foden has agreed to a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2024, the Premier League champions have announced.

The 18-year-old playmaker’s contract was set to expire in 2020, while his potential had reportedly attracted interest from clubs across Europe, though he was eager to remain with City.

Goal previously reported in November Foden was set to agree a deal, with sources close to the player saying the new terms represented a considerable increase from his current £15,000-per-week deal.

Man City have suffered difficult losses among their youth ranks in recent years, as England international Jadon Sancho departed the club to receive an opportunity at Borussia Dortmund and youngster Brahim Diaz looks set to leave for Real Madrid in the summer.

Sancho has starred for Dortmund this season, with five goals and six assists this season in the Bundesliga, the latter number good for third in the German top-flight.

But Man City have now avoided a similar fate with Foden, who has been part of the club’s set up since he was eight years old, having locked him down for the next five and a half seasons.

“We are delighted to have secured Phil for the next five and a half years,” Man City Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said in a statement.

“He is an outstanding talent and he is Manchester City born and bred so this is where he wants to play his football.

“Under Pep [Guardiola] and with the players we have here around him, he is in the best place possible to develop as a player.”

Foden came up through the Man City youth ranks and made his debut for the senior side in November 2017 against Feyenoord in the Champions League. He earned his first start in the same competiton a month later.

This season, Foden has made eight Premier League appearances off the bench for the club, up from five all of last season, while receiving a pair of starts in the Carabao Cup.

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It was in one of those cup starts the teenager bagged his only first-team goal for Man City, in their 3-0 victory over Oxford in September.

Guardiola has spoken previously of his admiration of the Stockport-born teenager and his desire to aid Foden as he looked to make the step up into the club’s first team.

Foden also marks the club retaining another highly-regarded player, as Raheem Sterling signed through 2023 in November.

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