Antoine Griezmann Reveals Decision to Leave Atletico Madrid After ‘Five Incredible Years’

?Antoine Griezmann has officially announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, with his long predicted move to Barcelona now imminent.

The World Cup winner has been linked with Barça for over a year and was expected to sign for the Spanish champions last summer, before the transfer saga culminated in a remarkable U-turn, with the player announcing his decision to stay at Atletico in the now infamous televised documentary ‘La Decisión’.

However, one year on and it looks like ?Barcelona have finally got their man, with ?Marca revealing on Tuesday that Griezmann had informed the club and his teammates of his decision to leave, before the player himself released a video statement posted on Atleti’s website and social media channels thanking the club for ‘five incredible years’.


In the short statement, Griezmann confirmed the details of Marca’s report that he had met with club president Miguel Angel Gil Martin and manager Diego Simeone, before reflecting on the success of his time in Madrid, but stopped short of referencing Barcelona.

It seems the payment of the contractual buyout clause of €200m (dropping to €120m on 1 July) is now all that stands between Barcelona sealing the deal, with an official announcement expected soon.

La Blaugrana had supposedly cooled their interest in Griezmann after being snubbed rather embarrassingly last year, but ?an apology from the striker and the all-important need to revamp the squad after another humiliating Champions League this season looks likely to trump all previous concerns over the transfer.

Antoine Griezmann

After last year’s saga, Griezmann signed a bumper new contract with Atleti (containing the release clause) while previous reports suggest he will even take a pay cut to join Barcelona, with the? terms of his potential deal reported last week.

As much as Barcelona want to refresh their squad this summer, ?Atletico Madrid look set for an enforced spree in the transfer market with first team stars Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and now Griezmann all leaving. Big question marks also remain over the futures of Manchester City-linked Rodri and veteran striker Diego Costa.

Let’

Angel Gomes ‘Open to Man Utd Exit’ After Clash With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as PSG Ready Bid

?Manchester United midfielder Angel Gomes is said to be considering his future at Old Trafford after growing frustrated with his lack of game time, with Paris Saint-Germain keen on signing him.

The 18-year-old made just two appearances for United this season, the longest of which was a 16-minute cameo on the final day of the season against Cardiff City.

Angel Gomes

He is highly rated by many at the club, but Portuguese source ?A Bola claim that Gomes feels as though he should have featured in more games this season, especially with ?United’s first-team stars struggling.

While it might seem strange that a Portuguese news outlet has the inside track on an England youth international, Gomes is of Angolan-Portuguese heritage and the report claims to have spoken to a source close to the player.

The source supposedly confirmed that the youngster feels as though he will not have the chances to ‘evolve’ at United if he is made to spend another season with their Under-23 setup, and instead wants to test himself at a high level.

They also claim that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer upset Gomes with comments made after his cameo against ?Cardiff, with the Norwegian declaring that it was a shame that the 18-year-old was so small and physically weak.

This has apparently made Gomes more open to the idea of leaving the club.

Angel Gomes,Oliver Skipp

PSG have already expressed their interest in Gomes, whilst sides from ?La Liga are also said to be keen on securing a deal for the midfielder if he is made available for transfer.

Since making his debut in May 2017, Gomes has made four appearances for the Red Devils, but his outing against Cardiff was his longest showing. He remains the youngster player to ever feature for United in the ?Premier League, but has struggled to find a consistent place in the first team.

Let’

Liverpool Among Clubs in the Race for Teenage Dutch Star on Trial at Chelsea

?Liverpool are among the clubs keen on a deal for MVV Maastricht youngster Xavier Mbuyamba, who is currently on trial with Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The little known 17-year-old has been offered a trial with a view to a permanent deal at Stamford Bridge after impressing in the Netherlands.

According to ?Voetbal International?Liverpool are among those also interested in the young centre back, while the Mirror – who claim that Mbuyamba is ‘touted as the next Virgil van Dijk’ but provide zero sourcing for that comparison – suggest that the Reds could look to take advantage of ?Chelsea‘s looming transfer ban by swooping in and completing a deal.

However, Voetbal International’s report puts a dampener on the Mirror’s suggestion by noting that Chelsea may be able to find a way around their ban to sign Mbuyamba, given he is still a youth player without a professional contract and the ban ?does not apply to such players.

Regardless, the two ?Premier League rivals are not the only interested parties, with the likes of Celtic, ?Bayern Munich and Porto all said to be keen. There is also interest from the Eredivisie, with Groningen and Heracles both eager to keep Mbuyamba in the Netherlands.

Standing at 6ft 4in, Mbuyamba has always stood out amongst his own age group, so much so that he was accelerated to the MVV first team at just 16 years old. He made his debut in November 2018, and has gone on to make ten more appearances for the club.

Virgil van Dijk

However, talks over a professional deal with MVV stalled, allowing the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool to enter the fray.

Whilst a move to Chelsea’s impressive academy could be appealing, the chance to work alongside fellow Dutchman Van Dijk would surely present an interesting option for Mbuyamba. 

The development of another Liverpool youngster, Ki-Jana Hoever, could also sway Mbuyamba’s decision. The former Ajax wonderkid moved to Anfield in the summer of 2018, but managed to make his first-team debut in an FA Cup meeting with ?Wolverhampton Wanderers in January, despite being just 16 years old.

Let’

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2018/19 Review: End of Season Report Card for Wolves

?Wolverhampton Wanderers have enjoyed a dream first season back in the top flight, finishing in seventh and possibly qualifying for next season’s Europa League, in what has been one of the best ever seasons for a newly promoted club in the Premier League.

They invested heavily in the summer and many of their signings have proven to be very shrewd acquisitions. 

Manager Nuno Espírito Santo has shown that he is one of the top coaches in the Premier League with his tactical knowledge and man-management providing an excellent platform for his players.

In what has been one of the best campaigns in the club’s history, here is Wolves’ report card for the 2018/19 season.


League Performance

Diogo Jota

After spending £100m in the summer, expectations would have been raised at ?Wolves but not many would have foreseen them finishing seventh. 

Finishing just nine points behind ?Manchester United, Wolves finished as the ‘best of the rest’, ahead of established (and similarly big spending) Premier League sides such as ?Everton, ?Watford, ?West Ham and ?Leicester City.

Their solid defence and counter-attacking ability has troubled some of the best in the country and they haven taken some big scalps this season. The West Midlands side have enjoyed home victories over ?Arsenal, ?Chelsea and Manchester United and a famous win at Wembley over ?Tottenham. They also managed to get creditable draws at the Emirates, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.

Frustratingly for Nuno, Wolves have struggled against sides lower down in the table, with defeats to bottom of the table ?Huddersfield Town an example of this. They have found a formula which has helped them take many points off the top sides but will hope to improve their form against teams who they would expect to beat. 


Cup Performance

Ruben Neves

Wolves had an excellent FA Cup run and just like they did in the league, they beat some big sides on their way to the semi-final. 

They knocked out ?Liverpool in the third round with a brilliant Ruben Neves strike and beat Manchester United in the quarter-final at home with goals from Raúl Jiménez and Diogo Jota.

However, they would have been disappointed with the manner of their semi-final defeat to Watford, as they threw away a two goal lead to lose 3-2 in extra-time.

The Wanderers were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round, losing on penalties at home to Leicester City.


Best Player

Raul Jimenez

Raúl Jiménez, who joined the in July 2018 on a season-long loan from Benfica, has been the standout player for Wolves this season.

He has proved to have been an inspired acquisition, scoring 17 goals and providing seven assists in 44 appearances in all competitions. 

His finishing ability, hold-up play and link-up with Diogo Jota have made him integral to this Wanderers side and he has built up an excellent rapport with the Wolves fans who have often adopted Mexican wrestling masks and flown Mexico flags at games in homage to the striker.

In addition to his quality on the ball, Jiménez provides this Wolves with tireless running and pressing, showing the intensity and aggression that manager Nuno requires of his players.

It was no surprise when Wolves announced in April that they had exercised an option in the loan deal to sign Jiménez on a permanent basis, for a club record fee of £30m.


Worst Player

Adama Traore

Adama Traore has found opportunities hard to come by since joining from ?Middlesbrough in the summer, starting just eight league games.

He has been criticised in the past for lacking end product to match his searing pace and great physicality and manager Nuno seems to view the 23-year-old as strictly an impact substitute.

Although Traore could point to a lack of opportunities for his poor season, when he has been brought off the bench to change games he has not done enough to warrant regular inclusion.

Only one goal and one assist in all competitions is a poor return for a player who should be able to punish tiring defences with the attributes he possesses. With Jota and Jiménez established as the first-choice forward pairing at Wolves, Traore may need to seek a move away to fulfil his potential.


The Manager

Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno Espírito Santo was rewarded for his fantastic season with a ?nomination for the ?Premier League Manager of the Season award.

He has shown his tactical acumen when facing top six sides, setting up his team to be very well-drilled and compact defensively whilst being potent on the counter-attack. He has got the best out of some players who were not considered to be Premier League quality and has integrated Wolves’ new signings superbly alongside those who were already at the club.

His man-management has also been excellent as despite sticking to largely the same team for the majority of the campaign, there have been little complaints amongst those who have seldom played. 

However, he will need to find tactical solutions in games where teams sit deep and attempt to frustrate his side as currently Wolves can seem to run out of ideas when facing opposition that set up like this.


Overall Grade

Matt Doherty,Diogo Jota

Wolves have surpassed all expectations in their first season back in the Premier League. Whilst they did spend £100m in the summer, buying several players and attempting to integrate them into the side at one time can be difficult, as has been proven at Fulham.

They have found the perfect balance and their recruitment has been superb. The Midlands club have managed to sign players with ?Champions League experience which has helped raise the quality of their squad and has made them an attractive proposition for top players.

They have also recruited an excellent young manager who has a clear tactical system and plan to which his players adhere. 

Wolves have been one of the best run clubs in the Premier League this season and with continued investment and backing, Nuno could guide them into the top six next season.

They could qualify for next season’s Europa League if Watford fail to win the FA Cup and this would be a great reward for Wolves after having one of the best seasons in their history.

Overall Grade: B+

Let’

Barcelona Hope to Confirm Matthijs de Ligt Signing Once Ajax Win Eredivisie

?Barcelona are thought to be close to officially sealing a deal for Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt with an announcement possible in ‘the coming days’.

De Ligt has been a near certainty for a big money to move to one of Europe’s top teams this summer, after thoroughly impressing for Ajax. 

His stock has risen astronomically during the current campaign as he played an integral role in the Dutch side’s surprise run to the Champions League semi-finals.

FBL-EUR-C1-AJAX-TOTTENHAM

?Goal claim that ?Barcelona, who have long been considered the frontrunners to land the 19-year-old, are now very close to securing a deal to bring him over to Camp Nou.

Nothing is concrete yet as Goal put it, but the wheels appear to be firmly in motion, with ?Catalunya Radio also suggesting that an announcement is likely to come when Ajax are inevitably crowned as the winners of the Eredivisie this week.

De Ligt’s current side lead the Dutch league by three points with one game to play. Their nearest challengers PSV also have a far inferior goal difference, meaning Ajax should lift the title even if they are defeated on Wednesday.

FBL-EUR-C1-AJAX-TRAINING

That report from Catalunya Radio also claims that financial terms over the deal were agreed between De Ligt’s agent, Mino Raiola and a Barcelona delegation back in April.

If, as expected, Barcelona are successful in their pursuit of De Ligt, then the young defender would follow Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong across to Spain. The midfielder has already agreed to join the Blaugrana this summer in a deal said to be in the region of 75m.

Let’