‘There has been contact’ – Van Bommel in touch with Robben over PSV reunion

PSV head coach Mark van Bommel has made contact with Arjen Robben over bringing the Bayern Munich winger back to the Philips Stadion next season.

Robben, 34, has confirmed this campaign will be the last of his highly successful spell at Bayern, whom he joined from Real Madrid in 2009.

The ex-Netherlands international is yet to announce his next destination, but hometown team Groningen are believed to be interested in engineering a move.

PSV, where Robben spent two seasons over a decade ago, are set to enter the race after the club’s general manager Toon Gerbrands revealed Van Bommel has been in touch with his former team-mate.

“There has been contact. Mark, who played with Arjen, sent him a message,” Gerbrands told Omroep Brabant.

“It is, of course, up to Arjen to make the decision.”

The seven-time Bundesliga winner first linked up with Van Bommel when he moved from Groningen to PSV as a teenager.

The pair were later reunited at Bayern and spent several years together in the Netherlands national team.

Robben has appeared 15 times in all competitions this term, scoring five goals.

He is one of a number of senior Bayern players that is set to move on in the new year, with board members at the club indicating that the playing squad is to be freshened up in the near future.

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The German champions are currently languishing in third place in the Bundesliga table, nine points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Niko Kovac, who was appointed as manager of the Bavarians last summer, has endured a difficult start to his time as Bayern boss, but CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness have insisted that the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach retains their full support as it stands.

It’s been suggested that Franck Ribery, Rafinha and Jerome Boateng are among those that could also be shown the exit door at Bayern in 2019.


Pogba will be pushing for a move to Real Madrid, says ex-Man Utd winger

Paul Pogba will aim to force a move to Real Madrid and is not suited to the Premier League, says former Manchester United star Andrei Kanchelskis.

The midfielder has had a very public argument with United manager Jose Mourinho which saw him stripped of the vice-captaincy after he criticised the Portuguese’s tactics.

Pogba moved back to United for a club record fee of £89.3 million ($112.9m) in 2016 but, although he started his career with the Red Devils, he has struggled to perform in England.

The midfielder’s fluctuating form has led him to be linked with a move back to Juventus, and Kanchelskis believes Pogba will look for a move to Spain.

Speaking to Bwin, the former winger said: “I think Paul Pogba will be seeking a move to Real Madrid this summer. I don’t think his style of play is suited for the Premier League, and we will see his brilliance in the Italian or Spanish league. He may not suit the Barcelona style of play, but he’s perfect for Real Madrid. He’ll be able to express himself more freely on the field for them.

“Pogba has failed to show consistency with his performances since joining United and it’s time for a change. If Pogba wants to go down as a great, he needs to find a team that suits his play. Maradona never found his feet properly at Barcelona but turned in to a world beater at Napoli and I think this could be the same for Pogba.”

Andrei Kanchelskis- United vs City

Mourinho was unhappy with his club’s failure to sign a centre-back in the summer as United failed with attempts to sign a number of defenders such as Harry Maguire and Jerome Boateng.

The Red Devils did sign Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Camp, but Kanchelskis said it has been hard to form an opinion on the performances of those new additions. 

“It’s hard to judge players like Fred with the current situation at United,” the former Russia international continued. “The players that have been brought in are surrounded by negativity, which means they’re under the microscope every game and don’t have much time to settle in.”

Brazilian star Fred arrived on a five-year deal from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee potentially worth £61.2 million ($77.3m) but has so far been unable to hold down a regular spot in the starting XI.

He is one of a number of established players signed since the departure of Alex Ferguson, but Kanchelskis would like to see the Reds bring in footballers who are more hungry to play for the club.

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“Man Utd have bought Lukaku for £90 million, but have failed to buy players that will get the best out of him,” he continued. “Man Utd need to bring one or two top wingers into the club who will work the opposition’s full-backs and get balls into the box for Lukaku to attack.

“Man Utd need to stop focusing on bringing in a big name and start signing players that want to play for the club. This is a massive few months and they can’t go rushing into a signing that doesn’t pay off.”

The Red Devils face top of the table Liverpool on Sunday in a crucial game as they aim to regain a place in the Premier League’s top four.


‘I would like to see him in Valladolid’ – Ronaldo wants to lure Vinicius away from Madrid

Real Valladolid’s majority owner Ronaldo has revealed that he spoke to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez about the possibility of signing Vinicius Junior.

The former Brazil international brought a 51 per cent stake in the Liga club back in September and has already tried to use his contacts at Santiago Bernabeu to his advantage.

Ronaldo played for Los Blancos between 2002 and 2007, winning two La Liga titles and contributing 97 goals in 164 appearances.

The World Cup winner spoke to Perez to inquire about the availability of Vinicius, who is currently in the middle of his first season with Madrid’s senior team.

Ronaldo told Sports Breakfast Europa Press about discussing a loan deal for the youngster: “I’ve asked Florentino Perez if we can have him, but I think it might be difficult!

“We do not have the money for a permanent deal, but of course I would like to see Vinicius in Valladolid.”

Vinicius has eight appearances under his belt across all competitions so far this term and started the team’s latest Champions League fixture against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

Madrid lost the match at home 3-0 but had already booked their spot in their knockout phase previously, which gave Santiago Solari the chance to blood some of the younger members of his squad.

The teenage attacker was the home side’s brightest spark during a shocking first-half of action, showing off his pace, agility and superb dribbling skills while also coming close to grabbing a goal.

The Blancos have endured a difficult first half the 2018-19 campaign and are already five points behind arch-rivals Barcelona in the Liga table.

Meanwhile, Valladolid are down in 12th, comfortably clear of the relegation places and still harbouring hopes of an unlikely European spot come May.

Ronaldo went on to approve the Spanish Football Association’s plans to stage a league fixture in the United States, just days after Barcelona pulled out of negotiations.

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“Playing abroad is aligned with our project. You need to be known both at home and abroad. I’m in favour, but our fan base will decide in the end,” he said.

“It is an interesting proposition for our club and our brand.”


Jimenez not ready to commit to £30m Wolves move

Raul Jimenez has refused to commit to a £30 million ($38m) permanent Wolves move, despite impressing during his loan spell from Benfica.

The 27-year-old has racked up four goals and four assists in 16 Premier League appearances for the newly promoted side, including an effort against Chelsea which helped Wolves to seal a dramatic 2-1 win.

Wanderers are aiming to secure his services with a long-term deal, but the Mexican is coy over his future with the West Midlands club. 

Speaking to the Mirror, Jimenez ruled out a move in January, saying: “It’s too early.

“I have to do the things I’m doing, help the team to get good results. At the end of the season we’ll see what happens.”

Wolves enjoyed an impressive start to the season, picking up points against Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in addition to the Chelsea win. 

Only one loss in their first eight league fixtures saw Nuno Espirito Santo’s side race to eighth in the table, although they have since fallen back to 10th.

Jimenez has been happy with that start and the regular role he has had in the team.

“I’m enjoying it, this is what I love. I try to play well and help the team, it’s going well for me and also the team. It’s exciting for me, I’m doing things well and that’s the reason I’m an important part of the team. I’ll try and keep doing the same things to help us keep winning.”

“We’re in good form, we have to keep it going.”

Wolves face Bournemouth and Liverpool at Molineux Stadium next up as they look to cement their strong league position and move further away from the drop.

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The Cherries are currently in eighth place, two places higher than Wolves, while Liverpool moved top last weekend due to City slipping up against Chelsea with a 2-0 defeat. 

“It’s important to have these two winning matches because we have two home games and we have to take advantage of that,” Jimenez continued.

“We know we have to keep working to achieve this type of result.”


Why would Loftus-Cheek go to Palace? Chelsea star urged by Wise to stay put

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has no need to leave Chelsea, says Dennis Wise, with a loan switch no longer making sense for a man who has played his way into favour under Maurizio Sarri.

Early in the season, as the 22-year-old struggled for game time, it was expected that a move would be made in January.

Various landing spots were mooted for the England international, with a second stint at Crystal Palace considered to be one possibility.

Wise has, however, questioned why Loftus-Cheek would want such a switch, with a run of form since late October having delivered outings in the Premier League, Europa League and six goals.

Quizzed by the Evening Standard on whether the highly-rated midfielder should look for a loan, a Blues legend said: “No, I don’t think he should. 

“He [Sarri] has played him a number of times. He’s got competition for places but why would Loftus-Cheek want to go on loan? 

“I’ll pick Crystal Palace just because he went there on loan. Why would you want to go there on loan, to a team where you’ll play a lot of games but you’ll be in a battle down the bottom when you can play in a team full of top international players, fighting to win trophies and trying to get in the Champions League? 

“I think he’s improved so much. This is a process for him and I think it’s important he stays at Chelsea and he fights.

“He’s very close to being one of the players who could take one of those shirts and stay in there and he has to carry that on until the end of the season. 

“He’s got the opportunity to do it now that he’s thought of in a different way than when he went out on loan.

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“Maurizio said it: he won’t go out on loan. He’s stepped up to another level. He will be the one fighting for that offensive spot.”

Loftus-Cheek has made 11 appearances for Chelsea this season, but only one of those has come as a starter in Premier League competition.

He may get another opportunity to impress on Thursday when Sarri’s side wrap up their Europa League Group L campaign with a trip to Hungary to take on Vidi.