Hoffenheim manager Nagelsmann downplays Arsenal & Chelsea rumours

Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann has dismissed rumours he is being discussed for Premier League jobs that will come open this summer.

The 30-year-old Nagelsmann has been talked about as a future manager at a big club before, with speculation earlier in the season linking him with Bayern Munich before that job that went to Eintracht Frankfurt boss Niko Kovac.

Nagelsmann has also been mentioned as a possibility for Borussia Dortmund and, with the announced departure of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and the rumoured exit of Antonio Conte at Chelsea, he has been discussed as an option for one of the Premier League giants as well.

However, Nagelsmann doubts the validity of those reports, dismissing them as rumours.

“I do not think so, no. As they say, there are rumors,” Nagelsmann told Sky on demand, when asked if he thought the reports were true.

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However, despite not believing the rumours, the Hoffenheim boss says he is not bothered by them, as he keeps his focus squarely on his club and the task before him.

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“I’m not annoyed by the discussions,” Nagelsmann added. “I focus on myself and my team and want to make a good game here today, the focus is on nothing else.”

Nagelsmann and Hoffenheim came away with an important 5-3 away victory against RB Leipzig on Saturday, which vaulted them into fifth place in the Bundesliga.

They now sit two points back of fourth place and a Champions League spot, and are two points above Eintracht Frankfurt in seventh for a place in the Europa League.


Have La Liga confirmed Andres Iniesta’s Barcelona exit?

With rumours swirling that Andres Iniesta is on his way out of Barcelona at the end of the season, with a deal in China reportedly on the cards for the 33-year-old, La Liga may well have confirmed the end of his time with the Catalans. 

Barcelona claimed the Copa del Rey on Saturday with a 5-0 win over Sevilla in the final, Iniesta scoring a goal in what may well be his last final in a glittering career for the Blaugrana. 

Iniesta himself was in no mood to make his future clear, telling reporters: “This week I will talk about the decision I will make, we still need to win La Liga and there is time to enjoy.

“Nothing has changed.”

However, after the match La Liga posted and image of the midfielder on social media with “thank you” captioned in several languages, along with a tweet that reads, in part: “THE Final of Iniesta”.  

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?ANDRÉS INIESTA ? GRACIAS ? THANK YOU ? MERCI ? GRÀCIES ? OBRIGADO ? ????? ? ?? • #Iniesta #Barça #CopdelRey #LaLiga

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu also confirmed that Iniesta has received an offer to leave the club, though did not go so far as to confirm that the Spaniard would leave the club. 

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“I know that Iniesta has an offer, but Barca is the club of his life and he has a lifetime contract,” Bartomeu is quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo .

“We have the best in the world who is [Lionel] Messi, but Iniesta marks a time in the history of Barca and football.”

Iniesta has won 31 major trophies in his time with Barcelona, including eight La Liga, six Copa del Rey and four Champions League titles. 


Modric could follow Ibrahimovic to MLS

Luka Modric is hopeful Zlatan Ibrahimovic keeps playing football and admits he could envision himself playing in MLS one day.

Ibrahimovic left Manchester United in March to sign on with the LA Galaxy, a decision which has paid immediate dividends for the big Swede and his new team.

He has already scored three goals in three games, two of which proved to be game-winners for the Galaxy, as Ibrahimovic has shrugged off fitness woes to make a fast start to life in MLS.

And Real Madrid’s Modric wants Ibrahimovic to keep his career going, in order to keep producing the “magic” that so many have enjoyed over the years.

“You know he was such a big player in Europe last 10-20 years,” Modric told SVT Sport. “One of the best strikers and it’s his decision. Hopefully he will enjoy [Los Angeles].

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“I would like him to play football a bit longer, to watch him, to see his magic like he did past years and we’ll see. But I wish him all the best.”

Unfortunately for Modric, he admitted the time zone situation – the Galaxy play on the west coast of the United States which is nine hours behind Spain – may make it difficult for him to watch Ibrahimovic’s MLS exploits.

“It’s difficult [to watch the games],” Modric said. “Sometimes I watch the games when they are early in Europe.

“But you know, it would be very difficult because we have our schedule that is huge. A lot of things, training, and we have to sleep early.”

Following in Ibrahimovic’s footsteps to MLS is something Modric could see himself doing in the future when his contract with Real Madrid is finished. However, that would be more of a fallback option for the Croatia international, as his dream is to finish out his career with the capital club.

“You never know what can happen,” Modric said. “I still have two more years on my contract with Real Madrid.

“I’m happy. I always said that I would like to finish my career in Madrid if it’s possible. But if not, maybe I can see myself also [in America].”

But while he looks to the future, Modric also considered what could have been in the past.

Ibrahimovic was eligible to play international football for Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia before eventually choosing Sweden to represent on the international level.

A different choice would have seen Ibrahimovic and Modric as team-mates internationally, and Modric does admit he would have preferred the striker have picked Croatia instead.

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“Of course, who wouldn’t like to have this kind of player?” Modric said. “Zlatan is one of the best players in modern generation and it is a shame that he didn’t pick Croatia.

“But you know, it is how it is, we have another great strikers in our team, but he would be amazing for us. That’s for sure.”

SVT Sport will have the full Modric interview on Sunday.


ISL: ATK rope in Sheikh Faiaz; in talks with Malsawmzuala

Two-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions ATK have managed to secure the signature of Sheikh Faiaz for the 2018/19 season, Goal can confirm.

The 23-year-old winger was an integral part of Mohun Bagan’s run in the recently concluded Super Cup, where the Mariners were ousted by eventual champions Bengaluru FC in the semi-final.

Formerly of Mohammedan SC, Faiaz joined the Green and Maroons earlier this season and managed to establish himself in the Calcutta Football League (CFL), where they ended runners-up.

The winger can play on either flank and made an appearance in all 21 games for Mohun Bagan this season, starting in 11 of them, scoring three goals.

It is also reliably learnt that the Sourav Ganguly co-owned outfit are in advanced talks with Mizoram-born Malsawmzuala.

The Bengaluru FC midfielder did not get a single minute of playing time in the 2017/18 ISL despite being named on the bench six times as his side ended runners-up to Chennaiyin FC.

Malsawmzuala Bengaluru FC training session

Fondly known as ‘Sawmtea’, he has however started in all 7 AFC Cup games for the Blues, where Albert Roca has mostly named second-string sides. 

The former Delhi Dynamos man made only a single appearance in the Super Cup, coming on in injury time in the semi-final when Bengaluru were already leading 4-1 against Mohun Bagan.

After a disappointing campaign where the Kolkata side ended ninth in the league, the management have made quick moves to strengthen the team for the upcoming season.

Faiaz will join his Mohun Bagan teammate Ricky Lallawmawma at ATK. The likes of Kalu Uche and John Johnson have already been signed while negotiations with Arnab Mondal and Cavin Lobo are ongoing.


Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Barca eye Salah in Dembele swap deal

Barca eye Salah in Dembele swap deal

Barcelona are plotting a swap deal involving Ousmane Dembele that they hope will convince Mohamed Salah to swap Anfield for Camp Nou, according to Diario Gol.

The report suggests that such a proposal pleases Lionel Messi, who would prefer not to see Antoine Griezmann join the Catalan side as he feels they would overlap too often on the pitch.

The acquisition of Salah would mean Barcelona have a player at the peak of his powers rather than having to wait for Dembele to fully develop, and also means Coutinho could concentrate more on replacing Andres Iniesta in midfield rather than operate on the flank.

Pep wants Lewandowski

Pep Guardiola has asked Man City to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, Don Balon claims.

Real Madrid had been tipped as favourites to lure the striker away from Bavaria, but the Spanish outlet suggests Pep’s relationship with the Pole means a deal could be possible.

Should Lewandowski make the move, Sergio Aguero would likely leave the Etihad.

Luis Enrique hopes for Messi at Arsenal

Luis Enrique would like to bring Lionel Messi to the Premier League if he is appointed as Arsenal manager, according to the Express .

The Spanish coach has an excellent working relationship with the Argentine superstar from their time together at Barcelona, and is hopeful that this will help put the Gunners at the top of the pile if Messi decides to leave Camp Nou.

CSL club confident over Iniesta deal

CSL club Chongqing Lifan are confident of completing a deal for Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, if their main sponsor is to be believed.

Gong Daxing, the chairman of club sponsor SWM, has revealed he is “positive on introducing Iniesta”, with the Barca star having been linked with various clubs in China, including Chongqing Lifan.

Click here to read the full story on Goal!

Wenger set for PSG?

After announcing his decision to stand down as Arsenal manager in the summer, Arsene Wenger’s next destination could be PSG, according to L’Equipe .

The French champions reportedly see the veteran boss as a perfect general manager as they seek to win a first Champions League.

Arsenal to battle Chelsea for Allegri

Arsenal are targeting Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri as a replacement for Arsene Wenger, according to the Daily Star .

However, the Gunners face competition with Chelsea, who feel confident the Juventus boss will replace Antonio Conte this summer.

Should Allegri fail, Arsenal would turn to young Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann.

Milan weighing up Mandzukic move

AC Milan are weighing up a summer big for Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic, according to Calciomercato .

Massimiliano Mirabelli is working to add experience to Gennaro Gattuso’s side and sees the 31-year-old as an ideal signing. 

Ronaldo wants PSG’s Guedes at Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo has instructed Florentino Perez to target PSG midfielder Goncalo Guedes, reports Don Balon .

The Portugal international spent the past season with Valencia, on loan from the Ligue 1 giants, and could be bought for €40 million.

Ronaldo thinks Guedes can help him achieve his goal of surpassing Lionel Messi’s scoring records, making him a better fit than Harry Kane or Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern chasing Paulinho

Bayern Munich are impressed enough with Vasco’s Paulinho to make an offer for the Brazilian, reports Globosport .

While values have not yet been put on the table, the Bundesliga champions are hoping to secure his signature when he turns 18.

In addition to Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen are also heavily interested in the teenager.

Why Barca want Sevilla star Lenglet

Clement Lenglet is a man in demand. The 22-year-old centre-back signed for Sevilla in January 2017 and has already established himself as a fans’ favourite at the Sanchez Pizjuan. So much so, in fact, that many of Europe’s elite clubs are watching with interest.

One of those teams is Barcelona. The Blaugrana are on the lookout for a new defender this summer and possibly two. Lenglet, who will face the Catalans in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final in Madrid, fits the bill.

Goal’s Ben Hayward breaks down why the Barca may be keen right here 

Benzema rejects West Ham

Karim Benzema was the subject of a €60m offer from a London club, but it wasn’t Arsenal, reports Don Balon .

Instead, West Ham went in for the French striker but were knocked back after Benzema determined it would be a step down.

However, Real Madrid remain hopeful that they can unload Benzema this summer as they look to free up funds to make changes to the squad.

Wenger does not plan on retiring

Arsene Wenger will not be retiring and hopes for an immediate return to football despite announcing his Arsenal exit plans,  Goal correspondent Chris Wheatley reports.

Despite the Gunners boss deciding to leave the club after 22-years in charge, Wenger does not yet want to call an end to his career and is looking for an opportunity with potentially a national team or in a sporting director role.

Wenger is also not expected to have any say in who his successor at Arsenal will be.

Read the full story on Goal!

Podolski thinks Gunners should hire German coach

Former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski believes the Gunners should consider a German manager as a replacement for outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.

Podolski thinks the club has already been relying on “German know-how” for several years, and appointed Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment in November.

Should Arsenal opt for experience, though, Podolski thinks ex-Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti would be a good choice.

Read the full story on Goal!

Pogba wants to play with Ronaldo at Real Madrid

Manchester United star Paul Pogba wants to move to Real Madrid in the summer, according to Diario Gol.

With the France midfielder’s relationship with Jose Mourinho at breaking point, the Red Devils are willing to offload him but Barcelona have already closed the door on a deal as Lionel Messi is not keen.

Pogba, meanwhile, has allegedly said that he wants to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, although Madrid have not made up their minds on the player.

Man Utd set £140m Pogba asking price

Manchester United will demand £140m in any summer deal involving Paul Pogba, reports the Daily Mail .

The France international continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid among those reported to be keen.

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United, though, will only part with their £89m record signing if their hefty price tag is met.

Real closing on €175m Kane

Real Madrid are preparing to step up their efforts to land Tottenham striker Harry Kane in a €175m deal, claims Don Balon .

The prolific England international has been mooted as a Blancos target for some time and Florentino Perez is ready to make a move and land a proven goalscorer.