Arsenal keeper Ospina eyes South America return as Napoli switch turns sour

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina has said a move back to South America is “a possibility” after Alex Meret’s return to fitness left him frozen out at Napoli, where he arrived on loan at the start of the season.

The Colombia international has made 10 Serie A appearances for the Partenopei since joining on a season-long deal that gave Napoli the option to sign him permanently.

Ospina made the switch to Stadio San Paolo when Meret broke his arm just six days after signing from Udinese for €22 million (£19m/$25m), but a clause in the loan deal means that Napoli will be obliged to sign him permanently if he continues to play.

“I knew this might happen,” Ospina told Radio Blu.

“My current situation is that I am on loan for this season and there’s a clause based on the number of games, so if I play regularly, it’ll become an automatic purchase.

“When the situation doesn’t depend on me, all I can do is wait for the decisions to be made by Napoli. The club had just spent a lot of money on Meret, a young goalkeeper with a great future ahead of him, so I knew that when he came back from injury, this might happen.

“He’s a great keeper, a lovely guy and he’ll make a real name for himself in future.”

Ospina is third in the pecking order at Arsenal, where Bernd Leno has established himself as the Gunners’ first choice ahead of Petr Cech.

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At the age of 30, Ospina indicated he is open to a move that will bring him regular first-team football and expressed an interest in a return to his home continent.

He added: “I want to continue playing in Europe, although a return to South American football is always a possibility.

“I am open for a move closer to home.”

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Man Utd-linked Koulibaly ‘pleased’ with transfer interest

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is pleased to be attracting reported interest from the likes of Manchester United and says he is aiming to prove he is one of the top defenders in the game.

Koulibaly, 27, has consistently been linked with a move away from Napoli, where he arrived from Genk in 2014. 

United are among a host of clubs to have been credited with an interest in the defender, as the centre-back continues to impress in Serie A.  

And while the Senegal international said he appreciated the interest from other clubs, he claims to still have a high level of motivation to prove himself at Napoli. 

“My future? I don’t know if I’m one of the strongest defenders. I always try to give my best,” Koulibaly told Rai Sport.

“Since I’m here, I always try to grow with Napoli. I have a lot of motivation to go on and I want to keep doing this.

“I am pleased that many teams follow me, but I want to demonstrate on the field that I am at the level of the greatest and I want to show it in the future.”  

Koulibaly has made 30 appearances in all competitions for Napoli this season, with the club currently sitting second in the league table.  

Friday’s win for Juventus leaves Carlo Ancelotti’s side 14 points back of the league leaders, though they can close that gap when they take on Torino on Sunday.  

The club are also alive and well in the Europa League, where they claimed a 3-1 win over Zurich in the first leg of their round-of-32 clash on Thursday.  

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Napoli will be hoping to hold onto their star centre-back, especially with the club having recently sold long-time hero Marek Hamsik to Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang.

It’s unclear what United’s transfer plans will be in the summer, given the uncertainty over who will be their long-term manager, although the signing of a centre-back would appear to be a priority.

Prior to Jose Mourinho’s sacking, the Red Devils were seemingly keen on a deal for Harry Maguire, while there were also reports of interest in the likes of Diego Godin and Newcastle centre-back Jamaal Lascelles.

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Allegri: Icardi’s a goalscorer but I leave transfers to Juventus!

Massimiliano Allegri refused to be drawn on links between Juventus and Mauro Icardi, insisting that he leaves other club officials in charge of transfer matters.

The Argentine was stripped of the Nerazzurri captaincy ahead of the Europa League tie with Rapid Vienna on Thursday, with the role instead handed to Samir Handanovic. 

The decision was described as “painful” by both coach Luciano Spalletti and sporting director Piero Ausilio.  

Icardi then pulled out of the squad for the Europa League clash and appeared to hint at an injury on social media – with Spalletti claiming it was the striker’s decision. 

Following a 1-0 Inter away win, Lautaro Martinez’s penalty having been enough to win it for the Italian side, Icardi again took to Instagram with a cryptic message in which he refused to speak on recent developments.  

Quoting the famed American writer Mark Twain, Icardi wrote: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” 

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Confúndelos con tu silencio, Sorpréndelos con tus acciones. ?? #MI9 . . #lion @arturholykoi #tattoo #ink ?

A post shared by Mauro Icardi – MI9 (@mauroicardi) on

He followed up that post with another on Friday reading: “Confuse them with your silence, surprise them with your actions.” 

The tumultuous week has left rumours swirling about the forward’s future, but Juve boss Allegri was not interested in talking about the transfer market or Icardi ahead of a crucial stretch of the season for his club.  

“I don’t know anything about the market. I prefer to go to the beach in the summer! The club takes care of the players and makes them available,” he said. 

“Icardi is a forward who can score goals, but I leave the assessments to [Inter boss Luciano] Spalletti, who coaches him and knows him better.” 

Wanda Nara, his wife and agent, has so far failed to agree on a new deal, keeping speculation around the forward active.  

She is reported to have angered some at Inter by suggesting Icardi is not getting enough protection from the negative views of him in the media. 

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Despite that, Ausilio insists the club are not interested in offloading the Argentina international.  

Icardi has netted nine times in Serie A so far this season, adding two assists.  

Inter sit third in the league table, nine points back of second-placed Napoli and 23 points behind Allegri’s Juventus.

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Koulibaly ‘pleased’ with mounting transfer interest but wants to prove his value with Napoli

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is pleased to be attracting interest from elsewhere, but says he is happy to continue his growth with the Serie A club. 

Koulibaly, 27, is consistently linked with a move away from Napoli, where he arrived from Genk in 2014. 

Manchester United are among a host of clubs to have been linked with the defender in recent weeks as the centre-back continues to impress in Serie A.  

And while the Senegal international said he appreciated the interest from other clubs, he claims to still have a high level of motivation to prove himself at Napoli. 

“My future? I don’t know if I’m one of the strongest defenders. I always try to give my best,” Koulibaly told Rai Sport on Friday. 

“Since I’m here, I always try to grow with Napoli. I have a lot of motivation to go on and I want to keep doing this.” 

While the defender says he’s happy to go on at Napoli, he may have also offered a hint at wanting something bigger in the future.  

“I am pleased that many teams follow me, but I want to demonstrate on the field that I am at the level of the greatest and I want to show it in the future,” he said.  

Koulibaly has made 30 appearances in all competitions for Napoli this season, with the club currently sitting second in the league table.  

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Friday’s win for Juventus leaves Napoli 14 points back of the league leaders, though they can close that gap when they take on Torino on Sunday.  

The club are also alive and well in the Europa League, where they claimed a 3-1 win over Zurich in the first leg of their round of 32 clash on Thursday.  

Napoli will be hoping to hold onto their star centre-back, especially with the club having recently lost long-time hero Marek Hamsik to Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang.

Let’

Juventus boss Allegri refuses to be drawn in on Icardi speculation

/en/news/8/main/2019/02/15/51627042/icardi-posts-cryptic-message-following-inter-captaincy-snubMassimiliano Allegri refused to be drawn in on links between Juventus and Mauro Icardi.  

The Argentine was stripped of the Nerazzurri captaincy ahead of the Europa League tie with Rapid Vienna on Thursday, with the role instead handed to Samir Handanovic. 

The decision was described as “painful” by both coach Luciano Spalletti and sporting director Piero Ausilio.  

Icardi then pulled out of the squad for the Europa League clash and appeared to hint at an injury on social media – with Spalletti claiming it was the striker’s decision. 

Following a 1-0 Inter away win, Lautaro Martinez’s penalty having been enough to win it for the Italian side, Icardi again took to Instagram with a cryptic message in which he refused to speak on recent developments.  

Quoting the famed American writer Mark Twain, Icardi wrote: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” 

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Confúndelos con tu silencio, Sorpréndelos con tus acciones. ?? #MI9 . . #lion @arturholykoi #tattoo #ink ?

A post shared by Mauro Icardi – MI9 (@mauroicardi) on

He followed up that post with another on Friday reading: “Confuse them with your silence, surprise them with your actions.” 

The tumultuous week has left rumours swirling about the forward’s future, but Juve boss Allegri was not interested in talking about the transfer market or Icardi ahead of a crucial stretch of the season for his club.  

“I don’t know anything about the market. I prefer to go to the beach in the summer! The club takes care of the players and makes them available,” he said. 

“Icardi is a forward who can score goals, but I leave the assessments to [Inter boss Luciano] Spalletti, who coaches him and knows him better.” 

Wanda Nara, his wife and agent, has so far failed to agree on a new deal, keeping speculation around the forward active.  

She is reported to have angered some at Inter by suggesting Icardi is not getting enough protection from the negative views of him in the media. 

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Despite that, Ausilio insists the club are not interested in offloading the Argentina international.  

Icardi has netted nine times in Serie A so far this season, adding two assists.  

Inter sit third in the league table, nine points back of second-placed Napoli and 23 points back of Allegri’s Juventus outfit.

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