Roma Agree Loan Deal for Gonzalo Higuain as Juventus Give Argentine Number 21 to Keep #9 Free

?Roma are believed to have agreed a deal to take Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain on loan next season, but the Argentine is yet to accept an exit from the Allianz Stadium this summer.

The 31-year-old returned to Turin after a disappointing loan spell with Chelsea but likely to leave the club in the near future, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Moise Kean ahead of him in the pecking order.

Gonzalo Higuain

One potential destination for ?Higuain, according to ?Corriere dello Sport, is Roma, who are said to have agreed to pay €9m to take the striker on loan next season with a view to a €27m permanent deal.

Sporting director Gianluca Petrachi is infatuated with Higuain, so much so that he is yet to really consider any alternatives this summer. Unfortunately the Argentine does not feel the same, and he is yet to accept a move to Rome.

For the deal to go through, ?Juventus would need to agree a new contract with Higuain, given Roma would not be prepared to pay his current salary. I Bianconeri want to half his €9m-a-year wages but give him an additional two years on his current deal, so he would not miss out on any money.

Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri, who was desperate to reunite with Higuain at ?Chelsea last season, is even thought to have told the striker that a move to Roma would be best for his career, adding that manager Paulo Fonseca would treat him ‘like a king’.

The Serie A champions even confirmed on their ?official website that, should he remain with the club, he will be given the number 21 shirt – with his preferred number nine remaining vacant.

Higuain’s brother and agent, Nicolas, is in close contact with the club, with everyone involved eager to come to a mutual agreement in the near future.

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The striker is thought to have a number of options this summer. The likes of ?West Ham, ?Borussia Dortmund and ?Atletico Madrid are all thought to be keen, but it is believed that Higuain would prefer to remain with Juventus.

Corriere dello Sport add that this saga is far from over, insisting that a decision will only be made in August, after Juventus have returned from their pre-season tour of Asia.

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Liverpool vs Sevilla Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

It’s a pre-season of consistency and continuity for Liverpool as they have flown out to America this week to begin their preparation for the coming season. 

?For Sevilla, their squad has been ripped up and rebuilt by the returning sporting director Monchi, as Los Rojiblancos look to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign.?

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?The Spanish side have bought en masse this summer, and new manager Julen Lopetegui has his work cut out in helping his new group of acquisitions to settle in and gel with the rest of his squad. 

Check out 90min’s preview for Sunday’s game below.


Where to Watch

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?When Is Kick Off? Sunday 21 July ?
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?23:00 BST
?Where Is it Played? ?Fenway Park 
?Channel/Live Stream? ?LFC TV 
?Referee? ?TBC

Team News

Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker are on extended holidays, after their international commitments in the Africa Nations Cup and the Copa América, whilst Sadio Mané will play in the AFCON final with Senegal on Thursday evening. 

Liverpool face Borussia Dortmund before their match against Sevilla, so it’s expected that Jurgen Klopp will ring the changes against the Spanish side. 

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Sevilla welcome over £100m of newly recruited talent into their side, as they aim to rejuvenate last season’s floundering set of players. Exciting talents Jules Koundé and Munas Dabbur may feature against the Reds this Sunday. 


Predicted Lineups

Liverpool ?Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Gomez, Larouci; Milner, Lallana, Oxlaide-Chamberlain; Wilson, Kent, Brewster
Sevilla Rico; Corchia, Diego Carlos, Koundé; Banega, De Jong, Joan Jordán, Escudero; Munir, Dabbur, Ocampos?

Head to Head Record

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When Liverpool and Sevilla meet, it generally means one thing: goals. 

In the last three meetings between the two sides, there have been at least four goals in each match, including a thrilling 3-3 ?draw in November 2017. Prior to that, the teams met at Anfield in a 2-2 draw, competing against one another in the Champions League group stages.

Pablo Sarabia,Alberto Moreno

Sevilla gained a famous 3-1 victory over the Reds in the Europa League final in 2016, but since that day the fortunes of the two clubs have differed considerably. 


Recent Form

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Liverpool’s form has been immaculate over recent months, winning their last nine Premier League matches, and claiming the Champions League title at the expense of Tottenham. 

Their pre-season has started as their previous campaign ended, with comfortable wins against Tranmere and Bradford City. As the Reds approach their American tour, Klopp will be hoping to maintain this rich vein of form.

Curtis Jones,Anthony O'Connor

Sevilla, by contrast, had a torrid end to their La Liga campaign. Disappointing defeats against Leganes, GIrona and Getafe were softened by a spirited draw against Atletico and a win on the final day of the season against Athletic.

Los Rojiblancos will be hoping to kick off their pre-season with a change of fortunes, and a positive display against a rampant Liverpool side. 

Here’s how each team performed in their last five fixtures:

Liverpool? Sevilla ?
?Bradford 1-3 Liverpool (14/7)  ?Sevilla 2-1 Reading (13/7)
?Tranmere 0-6 Liverpool (11/7) ?Simba 4-5 Sevilla (23/5)
Tottenham 0-2 ?Liverpool (1/6)  Sevilla 2-0 Athletic Bilbao (18/5)
?Liverpool 2-0 Wolves (12/5)  ?Atletico Madrid 1-1 Sevilla (12/5)
?Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (7/5) ?Sevilla 0-3 Leganes (3/5)

?Prediction

Both sides will be looking to kick off their tour of America on a positive note, but it’s difficult to look past Liverpool’s incredible form ahead of this one. 

Adam Lewis,Daniel Devine,Anthony O'Conner

Although the Reds will be missing key players, they are still favourites to continue their winning streak at the expense over a Sevilla side who are still trying to find their feet under new management, and possessing a whole host of new players. 

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Sevilla

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Atletico Madrid Submit Complaints to La Liga & RFEF Over Barcelona’s Griezmann Move

?Atletico Madrid are seemingly refusing to back down over claims they are owed another €80m for the sale of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, on top of the €120m already paid, after raising the issue at a La Liga meeting and also complaining to the Spanish federation (RFEF).

Atleti maintain that Griezmann and Barcelona reached an agreement before the player’s much talked about buyout clause dropped from €200m to €120m in July.


Their argument is that Barcelona should have paid €200m. But the Catalans only paid €120m to break Griezmann from his contract in Madrid as that was what was stipulated after 1 July.

According to SPORT, FIFA cannot intervene because the dispute is between two clubs from the same country, which left Atletico to raise the issue of their missing €80m at a committee meeting between a handful of La Liga clubs on Thursday.

The report notes that the unsavoury situation was also then on the agenda of an RFEF meeting later the same day, although Spain’s governing body is yet to reach any conclusion.

If RFEF is to intervene, SPORT explain that the matter can either be addressed by the federation’s own board of directors – of which both Barcelona and Atletico presidents are members – or by referring the matter to a separate committee within the governing body to resolve the matter.

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In a statement issued after Barcelona announced the transfer earlier this month, Atletico condemned their La Liga rivals and ex-player for behaviour denounced as disgusting.

“The amount deposited is insufficient to pay his release clause because it is obvious that the agreement between the club and Barcelona was done before his fee dropped from €200 to €120 million,” the statement read.

“Atletico Madrid understand that the contract was broken before the end of last season, on the basis of the facts, actions and statements of the player and the club has therefore started the proceedings it considers appropriate to defend its legitimate rights and interests.”

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“Atleti are disgusted by the behaviour of Barcelona and the player and particularly Barcelona, for inducing a player to break their contractual relationship with Atletico Madrid at a time in the season when the club was playing, not just a Champions League tie against Juventus, but also the league title against Barcelona itself.”

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Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid on Sunday in the International Champions Cup in Houston, Texas, with both sides looking to get off the mark in the tournament.

The match will showcase new signings for both sides, with Real boasting the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo, and Ferland Mendy. Bayern will be hoping to give fans a glimpse of World Cup hero Benjamin Pavard.

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Take a look at 90min’s preview of the clash below.


Where to Watch

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?When Is Kick Off?                                                Sunday 21 July                                            
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?01:00 (BST)
?Where Is it Played? ?NRG Stadium, Houston
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?ESPN
?Referee? ?TBC

Team News

?The only player missing from the Munich squad is £72m signing Lucas Hernandez who is recovering from a knee operation back in Germany. Niko Kovac will be looking to give the club’s young talents some invaluable first team experience.

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As for Zinedine Zidane, he will be missing former Manchester City prospect Brahim Diaz due to a bicep injury. A summer with a heavy international schedule will also mean late returns from those involved in the Copa America, the Gold Cup, and the European Under-21 Championships. 


Predicted Lineups

?Bayern 
Munich 
 
Neuer; Pavard, Alaba, Sule, Kimmich; Gnabry, Tolisso, Thiago, Coman, Singh; Lewandowski.
?Real Madrid ?Courtois; Varane, Vallejo, Odriozola, Mendy; Valverde, Modric, Kroos; Rodygo, Hazard, Jovic.

Head to Head Record

Excluding friendlies, the two giants have met 26 times?. Los Blancos have the edge over Die Bayern with 12 victories compared to the German’s 11. 

Robert Lewandowski,Raphael Varane

The most recent meeting between the two came in the 2017/18 Champions League semi-finals when it was Zidane’s side who progressed, eventually going on to win the competition for the third season in a row.

In fact, Bayern haven’t managed to beat the side from the Spanish capital since 2012, a record Kovac will want to put an end to.


Recent Form

There is no doubt that Bayern will be hoping to pick up where they left off in last season’s incredibly strong run-in that saw the squad win the DFB Pokal and pip Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga title.

However, their performances in this summer’s friendlies so far have been a mixed bag, losing to Arsenal in their International Champions Cup opener.?

Thiago Alcantara,Mesut Oezil

Sunday’s match in Houston will be Real’s first since they limped home with a 2-0 defeat to Real Betis at the Bernabeu on the last day of the 2018/19 La Liga season. They will be looking to put last year behind them and continue where Zidane left them two seasons ago.

Here’s how each side has fared in their last five results:

?Bayern Munich Real Madrid?
?Arsenal 2-1 Bayern Munich (18/7) ?Real Madrid 0-2 Real Betis (19/5)
?Lindau 2-4 Bayern Munich (29/5) ?Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Madrid (12/5)       
?Kaiserslautern 1-1 Bayern Munich (27/5) ?Real Madrid 3-2 Villarreal (5/5)
?RB Leipzig 0-3 Bayern Munich (25/5) ?Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Real Madrid (28/4)
?Bayern Munich 5-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (18/5)   ?Getafe 0-0 Real Madrid (25/4)

Prediction

Both managers will be looking more at the performances rather than the result. However, there is no harm in winning matches in preparation for the new season. 

?Real Madrid have lots of work to do after last season’s shambolic performances. They may also still be a little rough around the edges with much of the squad yet to play together.

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?Bayern Munich will perhaps be a little more prepared but not by much. Their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal shows the importance of having these games, highlighting any major problems before the start of the season. 

The Germans should come out on top.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Real Madrid

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Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Blues Suffer Shock Pre-Season Defeat

Chelsea continued their pre-season preparations with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale. 

The Blues came into the game having already played two matches in pre-season. The first was a lackadaisical draw against Bohemians in Frank Lampard’s first game in charge, before they ran out 4-0 winners in their second game against St Patrick’s Athletic. 

Kenedy

Lampard’s side began the game in sloppy fashion, conceding early chances to Kawasaki Frontale and although they regained control of possession, they did little to break down the J-League champions.

Lampard opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with Jorginho and ?Mateo Kovacic operating slightly deeper than the adventurous Mason Mount. The midfield three worked hard in the first half, though opportunities were given to Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater in the second half.

They lacked a cutting edge though, despite Christian Pulisic’s introduction – and were punished a few minutes from time when Leandro Damiao nodded in at the back post to condemn the Blues to defeat.

Here’s 90min’s review of the action.


Chelsea

Key Talking Point

Lampard will have a lot to discuss with his coaching staff and his players after this performance. Admittedly, Kawasaki are in the middle of their season and this was evident by their fitness and the nature of their play. However, there were a number of individual mistakes that provided opportunities to the Japanese outfit. 

The choice of formation will be the key talking point for Chelsea fans, with Jorginho appearing to enjoy himself in a more advanced role alongside Kovacic. At the tip of the three, Mount was influential – and provided the frontline with many opportunities. 

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The link-up play between Michy Batshuayi and Mount was of particular significance, with an early understanding there for all to see. Kenedy was also given an opportunity to impress, but he was disappointing in the final third despite drifting in from the wing and taking up good positions.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Caballero (7); Azpilicueta (6), Zouma (4), David Luiz (6), Alonso (5); Jorginho (6), Kova?i? (6), Mount (7); Kenedy (6), Batshuayi (7), Pedro (6)

Substitutes: Zappacosta (6), Christensen (5), Emerson (6), Drinkwater (6), Barkley (8*), Pulisic (6), Palmer (5), Bakayoko (5), Giroud (6)


STAR MAN

There is still much to work on for Lampard’s side, but the new head coach can be excited by certain performers. 

Most notably, Ross Barkley was outstanding in the second half. The Englishman came on with a point to prove, and he did exactly that – playing two wonderful eye of the needle passes for Kenedy, who unfortunately would spurn the chances.

The Brazilian started off sluggishly in the opening 20 minutes, but warmed to the game with constant movement and direct running. 

Another notable performance was that of young midfielder Mount. The Englishman operated higher up the field and was picking up nice pockets of space. He and Batshuayi combined well and the Belgian was able to use these intricate passes to carve out some opportunities for himself. 


Looking Ahead

Chelsea will look to improve upon this performance when they face Barcelona in four days time. The Blues have already played three games, and have four more before they commence the 2019/20 Premier League season against bitter rivals Manchester United.

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