Julian Draxler Responds to Tottenham Hotspur Transfer Rumours Surrounding PSG Midfielder

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler has responded to rumours that ?he is in talks with Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur over a potential transfer.

Reports claimed that the Germany international has been offered to the London club for £35m this summer.

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Despite scoring five goals and providing his teammates with 12 assists in 46 games in all competitions last season, the French champions are reportedly looking to offload the 25-year-old this summer

But when Draxler was asked directly about an impending move away from PSG the midfielder, who joined the French champions from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg in 2017, made it clear that he had no intentions of moving.

He said, as reported by the Metro: “I cannot say anything about that, because I have no intention of leaving the club. 

“I also heard nothing from a club side. I have not talked to anyone, I know nothing.”

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Draxler would have been a potential replacement for Christian Eriksen, should the Dane depart Spurs this summer. Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has also been touted as a signing, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side have had a £53m bid rejected by the Spanish side. Los Verdiblancos are reportedly holding out for a fee nearing £88m.


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?Tottenham are looking to make their first signing since January 2018, when they signed Lucas Moura from PSG, with Draxler and Lo Celso being targeted to reinvigorate Spurs’ midfield. 

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Benfica President Admits Joao Felix Will Leave This Summer Amid Interest From Manchester Clubs

Benfica president Luis Felipe Vieira has given a disarmingly frank assessment of the situation surrounding 19-year-old star Joao Felix this summer, admitting that he is almost certain to leave the club due to the financial pull of Europe’s heavyweights.

Breaking into the Benfica first team just this season, the forward has scored 20 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions, earning himself seemingly concrete interest from both Manchester clubs, while Liverpool, Juventus and Barcelona have also been mentioned in connection to the Portugal star. 

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Such is his rise in stock that Benfica moved to double his €60m release clause in a bid to stave off interest. His meteoric improvement, however, means even that doesn’t look as if it will stop him moving on, with Vieira admitting that their only chance of keeping hold of him for another season is if any potential new club is open to loaning him back to Portugal.

“We sit down with players and they say ‘president, I can earn five million euros, president, do not make me stay here,'” Vieira said, as quoted by the ?Mirror.

“Joao Felix had a release clause of 60m and we realised after two or three games that we must increase it to €120m.

“But it is Joao Felix and his family who will decide if he stays. If someone bids €120m, it is not worth dreaming that he will stay.

“We are trying everything to ensure he stays. But the only way is if we sell him and keep him another year. If not, Joao leaves. There is no room to negotiate further. He doesn’t want to.

“How will Benfica negotiate with someone after he is given a proposal of €6m after tax?”

Felix himself has been tight-lipped on his potential departure, however, ?insisting last month that ‘time will tell’ where his future lies. 

“I think that time will tell,” he said.

“I am fine here, I am very happy. I love the club, I love the fans, I want to take advantage of the moment, play, to have fun doing what I like, and then over time things happen naturally. I’m very happy at Benfica.”

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Thibaut Courtois Tips Eden Hazard to ‘Make the Difference’ at Real Madrid Next Season

Thibaut Courtois has revealed he believes Eden Hazard can help Real Madrid win trophies next season after the Belgian forward’s transfer from Chelsea to the Spanish giants was confirmed.

Hazard realised a lifelong dream on Friday when he signed a five-year deal with Real for £88.5m, rising to £130m with add-ons.

The move sees the mercurial Belgian end his seven-year stay at Chelsea where he helped guide his side to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and two Europa League wins – the most recent of which coming less than two weeks ago, when his brace helped the Blues overcome Arsenal in Hazard’s final game for the club.

Speaking with website AS following Belgium’s 3-0 win in their Euro 2020 qualifying fixture against Kazakhstan on Saturday, Courtois said: “If he speaks a little Spanish, it will be even better. 

“It’s very nice that we’re going to be together. He’s my friend, I get along very well with him and his family.

“For Madrid it’s going to be fantastic. I think [Hazard] is going to make the difference and I hope we can win many titles next season.”

Eden Hazard,Thibaut Courtois

Hazard is Real Madrid’s fourth signing of the summer, alongside Éder Militao, Luka Jovic, and Rodrygo Goes. There have also been linked with Christian Eriksen and Paul Pogba, so Hazard could be set to play alongside a new wave of Madrid ‘Galacticos’.

Madrid are coming off the back of one of their worst league campaigns in recent memory, finishing 19 points behind La Liga champions and bitter rivals Barcelona.

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Switzerland 0-0 England: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Three Lions Claim Third on Penalties

England needed penalties to get past Switzerland to seal third place in the UEFA Nations League, after a tough 0-0 draw which proved exactly why most fans don’t want a third-place playoff.?

England almost took the lead after just a minute, only for Harry Kane’s fantastic lob to cannon back off the crossbar. Gareth Southgate’s men remained on top throughout the first half, with both Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli coming close to finding that elusive opening goal. The Swiss were dangerous on the counter, but neither side could make a breakthrough before half-time.

England’s pressure continued after the break and almost forced an own goal from Fabian Schar, who was lucky to see his deflection saved onto the post by Yann Sommer. England thought they had grabbed a late winner through Callum Wilson, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for a foul earlier in the move. The referee brought an end to regular time soon after, and we headed to extra-time.

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Clearly keen to avoid penalties, England came out with a renewed sense of adventure, as both Alli and Sterling came close to finding the back of the net on a number of occasions. Sterling saw a free-kick thunder against the crossbar, but England simply could not find a way through, and the two sides needed penalties to separate themselves.

Harry Maguire began proceedings by slamming his effort into the top corner, and the two sides continued perfectly until England had a 6-5 lead. After scoring his own penalty, Jordan Pickford made himself the hero by saving Josip Drmic’s effort to ensure the Three Lions finished third in the Nations League.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


SWITZERLAND

Key Talking Point?

The spirited Switzerland side who fought to keep ?Cristiano Ronaldo quiet on Wednesday were out on full show once more against England. With a clear game plan of trying to force mistakes out of Gareth Southgate’s side, the strikers pressed high, but that simply did not work.

Once England’s defence had advanced the ball, it often seemed like Switzerland did not know what to do, so they dropped deep and suffocated the space. It kept England at bay for large parts of the game, even if it did make for difficult watching at times.

Scoring goals has not always come easily for Switzerland, and that was incredibly clear here. They fought to frustrate England, in the hope that they could steal the win with a solitary moment of brilliance. However, such a moment never arrived, so the Swiss need to think of a new strategy in future.


Player Ratings

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Starting XI: Sommer (7); Schar (6), Akanji (6), Elvedi (6); Mbabu (7*), Xhaka (6), Fernandes (6), Freuler (5), Rodriguez (5); Shaqiri (4), Seferovic (5).

Substitutes: Zakaria (5), Zuber (6), Drmic (5), Okafor (6).


STAR MAN – With Switzerland dropping deep, counter-attacking was often their main plan of attack, and right back Kevin Mbabu was at the heart of most of that.

Spending a lot of the game almost as a winger, Mbabu used his speed and power to fly up and down the pitch, and England’s narrow lineup often gifted him plenty of space near the sideline. The former ?Newcastle man tried his best to showcase his passing skills and often threatened to cause problems for England’s defence.

Mbabu’s end product was lacking, although it was clear to see why Wolfsburg fought to sign him this summer. At 24 years old, he has plenty of years to improve, and there is a real belief in Switzerland that the sky could be the limit for Mbabu.


ENGLAND

Key Talking Point

Much of the talk heading into this game was about whether England would continue trying to play out of defence, after they shot themselves in the foot in their semi final loss to the Netherlands. Within minutes, we had our answer – yes, they would.

The Three Lions did not shy away from passing the ball around at the back. Maguire enjoyed plenty of possession and Eric Dier regularly dropped deep to give his centre backs an option, which was something England sorely missed against the Netherlands. Unfortunately, with the defending fairly impressive, it was going forward which left a lot to be desired.

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The creative midfielders simply did not step up, and they struggled to find a way through a stubborn Swiss defence. They had nothing in their locker to find a goal. It almost seems like when one area of the midfield plays well, the other does not. There is clearly something missing here.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ?Pickford (6); Alexander-Arnold (8), Gomez (6), Maguire (8*), Rose (6); Delph (4), Dier (6), Alli (5); Sterling (5), Kane (5), Lingard (4).

Substitutes: Walker (6), Wilson (6), Sancho (6), Barkley (6).


STAR MAN – With England’s forward line proving to be utterly ineffective, England’s defence took the spotlight, with both Harry Maguire and ?Trent Alexander-Arnold putting in excellent performance. Both deserve a huge amount of credit, although Maguire’s ability to cope with the pressure was especially impressive.

Always available for his teammates, Maguire was composed throughout, even with the Swiss’ high press. Whether it was making an early pass or dropping his shoulder to fly past an opponent, he simply knew what he needed to do to keep his side ticking.

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Maguire could even be seen bursting into midfield on occasion, carrying the ball forward before looking to unleash players who, on paper, are supposed to be more creative than him. 

Southgate probably thought about playing him in midfield, or even in an attack, as he looked like one of the few players who was capable of winning this.


Looking Ahead

The end of this game signalled the start of a well-deserved summer break for both sides, as players will not get the chance to enjoy several weeks of rest in preparation for the new season.?

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Jose Mourinho Would ‘Seriously Consider’ Replacing Rafa Benitez at Newcastle if Takeover Happens

The Toon Army are agonisingly waiting for updates regarding the potential sale of Newcastle United, as well as Rafa Benitez’s contract situation, but will be somewhat blindsided by the recent rumours surrounding Jose Mourinho’s future.

There haven’t been many updates since Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan announced plans to take over the Magpies a few weeks ago – which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it – but there are some rumblings suggesting ?Sheikh Khaled has his eye on a few managerial targets, should Benitez end his association with the Toon prior to a successful takeover.

One of those names is former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Yes, The Mirror claim Mourinho is ‘aware’ of the Sheikh Khaled’s apparent interest in his services, and would ‘seriously consider’ the opportunity to take the reins at St James’ Park.

Mourinho’s connection with ?Newcastle has long been documented, with the Portuguese often citing his time working with mentor and Toon legend Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting CP, Porto and Barcelona.

Mourinho said last summer: “I like to go there. I like the feeling of going to Mr Robson’s home. I like that feeling. I like the stadium. I like the atmosphere. They are a good, enthusiastic crowd. I like the Geordies.”

Whether the Geordies would like the idea of Mourinho as boss, however, remains to be seen. 

Jose Mourinho,Rafael Benitez

He would obviously bring a track history of success to the role, having won multiple trophies in Portugal, Spain, Italy and England – not to mention in European competition – but was sacked by Manchester United in December after clashing with several players and executives at the club.

There’s no doubt Newcastle fans would prefer to see Benitez re-sign at the club, but the idea of  a proven winner in Mourinho at the helm is an intriguing one – if a sale of the Magpies ever materialises, that is.

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