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Manchester United: Champions League Improvement Demanded Ahead Of Barcelona Clash

Amuda Segun

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Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has called on his teammates to step up their game ahead of the second Champions League meeting with Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona next week.

Lindelof was not happy with how the first meeting between the two teams panned out after he ended up on the losing side.

Manchester United were beaten 1-0 at home courtesy an own goal from Red Devils defender Luke Shaw.

Barcelona started the first 15 minutes on the front foot and they were rightly rewarded when Sergio Busquets found Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi with a fantastic pass before the Argentina national team skipper produced a pinpoint cross for Luis Suarez to head home the only goal of the game via Luke Shaw in the 12th minute.

The Catalan giants were able to restrict the hosts to few chances as Manchester United didn’t record any shot on target during the game.

In a chat with Sky Sports, Swedish international Lindelof rallied his teammates for the battle scheduled for Tuesday night as he demanded a remarkable game against the Catalans.

Victor Lindelof played for the 90 minutes in the first leg as he partnered Chris Smalling in the Manchester United defence.

The loss to Barcelona meant that the Red Devils have now lost four of their five games in all competitions.

I am Segun Amuda , Journalist at Thewistle.com. You can also find my articles here on topics related to Football. Outside Blogging, I have a keen interest in watching English Premier League Games. For any queries or issues related to articles on our website, kindly get in touch.

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This youngster might be heading to Man United as Barcelona confirms exit

Timothy Aiyeku

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Spanish La Liga outfit Barcelona have confirmed that Marc Jurado would be leaving the club with a number of suitors already looking at the option of snapping him up.

Marc Jurado already confirmed this report when he bid farewell to his Barcelona friends on his Twitter handle. It is claimed, according to MEN Sports that the Catalans made an effort to extend the contract of the 16-year-old but he turned down the opportunity with the hope of having a new challenge elsewhere.

Man United are believed to be leading in the chase of the youngster with every indication pointing to their direction as Marc Jurado’s destination.

While Marc Jurado’s move to the Old Trafford is yet to be confirmed, it is not expected that he joins the first team. He is likely to join the United Academy and continue his development until he is ripe for a first-team challenge.

However, he would be monitored by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who is believed to be a fan of the young lad. Marc Jurado will now join former Sunderland striker Joe Hugill in the move.

Marc Jurado noted that the decision to leave the Spanish giants was a difficult one to make but he is left with no choice than to make the decision.

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Fati: This Man United transfer rumour is false

Timothy Aiyeku

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Reports emerging from the Catalan press about Man United’s interest and link to Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati have been refuted by his father, Bori Fati.

The 17-year-old sensation has been fantastic for his age which has attracted interest from a number of clubs including Man United as alleged. The reports claim that he could be snapped up from the Spanish giants in this summer transfer window.

His father has now come out to state his son has no intention of leaving the Nou Camp for any other club, claiming that he is happy to be in Barcelona.

According to Bori Fati, while speaking to Cadena Ser, a number of players rush to leave Barcelona and always want to return and do not want that situation for his son. He is aware of the fact that his son cannot be a starter in Barcelona at the moment but he is willing to wait and develop until he is able to fight for a starting role.

Bori Fati insists he does not know anything about Man United and not interested in a try anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the 17-year-old is one of the best players amongst his ranks at the Barcelona youth team and has been tipped to make a great player in the future.

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Top Three Potential Swap Deals This Summer

Amuda Segun

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paul pogba

Swap deals and free transfers are likely to be very popular during the upcoming transfer market due to reduced income amongst the clubs. Coronavirus has hit the world hard and football has not been spared on the financial front.

Football was suspended in March because of the COVID19 virus though some leagues have resumed, while some others are planning to resume. Others like the Dutch Eredivisie and the French Ligue 1 have already moved on from the current football season.

For now, the leagues returning to the football field will play behind closed doors thus impacting on finances for both the small and big clubs. To this effect, these clubs are not expected to spend big on players in the transfer market this summer with emphasis now mostly on free transfers and swap deals. Let’s take a look at the top three potential swap deals this summer:

1. Paul Pogba-Aaron Ramsey: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is likely to leave the club this summer with his contract running out and former club Juventus are one of the sides interested in him, while Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey has not really settled into life at the club he joined on a free transfer last summer. A possible swap deal has been discussed in the media.

2. Miralem Pjanic-Arthur: Barcelona and Juventus are reportedly in talks over a swap deal involving their midfielders Arthur and Miralem Pjanic respectively. The swap deal was close to being completed until Barcelona requested for a cash-plus-player deal rather than a straight swap deal. Despite this setback, the transfer could still go ahead with Juventus keen to sell Pjanic this summer.

Alexandre Lacazette-Thomas Partey: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a big fan of top target Thomas Partey and he might need to sacrifice striker Alexandre Lacazette in his quest to sign the Ghanaian player.

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Barcelona: Top Three Transfer Targets This Summer

Amuda Segun

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Spanish champions Barcelona have fallen short of their Champions League expectations over the last five years since their last triumph in 2015. Since then, Barcelona have imploded twice against the likes of AS Roma (2018/19 season) and Liverpool (2019/20 season).

Ernesto Valverde masterminded the two implosions and he paid dearly with his job at the start of this year. Barcelona are desperate to win the Champions League title once again especially after arch rivals Real Madrid won three successive titles between 2016 and 2018.

The club is ready to back Quique Setien in the transfer market this summer to make that Champions League dream come true once again after the ex-Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano boss replaced Ernesto Valverde some months ago. Quique Setien and Barcelona can still win the Champions League this season before the transfer market this summer.

Barcelona have a last 16 tie to navigate against Italian Serie A club Napoli. The two teams played a one-all draw in the first leg in Italy before the dreaded Coronavirus menace stopped the second leg scheduled for the home of Barcelona, Nou Camp. The competition will resume in August as per the info from UEFA.

With the Barcelona hierarchy willing to back Quique Setien in the upcoming transfer window, here are the top three targets for the Blaugrana:

1. Lautaro Martinez – The Inter Milan player is the number one target for Barcelona who are trying to sign the Argentine international as the long-term heir to the lone striker role currently held by the ageing Luis Suarez. He has scored 16 goals in all competitions for his team this season.

2. Miralem Pjanic – The Juventus midfielder is a target for Barcelona with a possible swap deal being discussed between the two clubs. Barcelona midfielder Arthur will move in the other direction if the clubs can agree on the transfer.

3. Neymar – The Paris Saint Germain (PSG) attacker might not return to Barcelona this summer mainly due to financial constraints from the effects of Coronavirus but he remains a top target. He spent four years at the Nou Camp between 2013 and 2017.

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Top Three Clubs For Barcelona Outcast Coutinho This Summer

Amuda Segun

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Philippe Coutinho

Five-time European champions Barcelona are expected to get rid of deadwoods or the non-performing players in their squad and Philippe Coutinho is expected to be on that list.

Few would have predicted this in January 2018 when Brazilian international Coutinho became the third most expensive player in the world after compatriot Neymar and his PSG colleague Kylian Mbappe. Philippe Coutinho was a key player for Liverpool at that time and was having the best moment of his career before he forced a move to the Nou Camp.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reluctantly sanctioned the £142m transfer to Barcelona for Philippe Coutinho and that decision to leave Anfield for Spain has been the biggest stumbling block in his career. Coutinho has not been able to recover his sparkling Liverpool form since he left.

The former Inter Milan playmaker was a shadow of himself during his 18 months at Barcelona before the club decided that it was time to send him on loan. He was loaned out to German champions Bayern Munich for this season but has failed to find that form though it must be pointed out that his performances in Germany has improved in comparison to the ones at the Nou Camp.

Despite his improved form, Bayern Munich won’t take up the option of signing him meaning that Barcelona will have to cut their losses and sell him permanently this summer. Barcelona will have a hard time offloading the player since there are only a handful of clubs capable of paying his transfer fee plus huge weekly wages.

Let’s take a look at the top three clubs for him ahead of next season:

1. Chelsea – The West London giants could be a perfect place for Coutinho to rekindle his form. Chelsea have been linked with the player and he could be the man to replace Eden Hazard.

2. PSG – Coutinho has a very good relationship/understanding with Brazilian national team colleague Neymar and they could re-enact the same for French giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG) who are keen to sign star player Neymar to a new deal.

3. Liverpool – A return to former hunting ground Anfield would appeal to a lot of football romantics. Coutinho has been constantly linked with a return to Liverpool since failing to find top form at Barcelona.

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Top Five In-demand Players Ahead Of Summer Transfer Window

Amuda Segun

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Jadon Sancho

For a lot of football fans, the transfer market period is the most interesting period of the calendar year. There are primarily two transfer markets in a year namely the summer transfer market and the winter market.

The summer transfer market is the busiest of the two aforementioned markets, and it is usually an interesting period for football fans who wait with bated breath for new signings. The 2020 summer transfer market won’t be any different though it will definitely feel the effect of the dreaded Coronavirus financially.

Coronavirus has stopped football in its track for the past two months but that has not stopped transfer reports involving several of the best players in the world. Here are five most in-demand players ahead of the transfer market this summer:

1. Jadon Sancho – The Borussia Dortmund star is a man in demand especially amongst the Premier League clubs. The favourite for his signature is Manchester United but Liverpool and Chelsea are not far behind.

2. Kylian Mbappe – The French international is widely regarded as the best young player in world football. His club, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), wants to offer him a new lucrative deal to ward off the serious interest of Spanish giants Real Madrid.

3. Timo Werner – RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner has been in sensational form for his German club this season and he has set his sights on a summer move to Liverpool though other big teams like Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

4. Lautaro Martinez – The Inter Milan striker has a release clause of €110m in his contract with the San Siro outfit amidst the interest from Spanish champions Barcelona. The Argentine international is seen as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez who’s in the twilight of his career.

5. Neymar – Spanish La Liga side Barcelona want Neymar to return to the club this summer and whether they will be able to pull it off is a different question.

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Player Ratings: Philippe Coutinho To Chelsea

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Philippe Coutinho

Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho could be heading back to the Premier League after close to three years away from the competition if the media reports emanating from Spain are anything to go by. According to popular Catalan newspaper Sport, Barcelona will finally be able to get rid of the player with Coutinho closing in on a summer move to Premier League giants Chelsea.

Coutinho was doing very well at Liverpool before the Barcelona loanee arguably made the biggest error of his football career by forcing a big money move to Spain in January 2018 despite the best efforts of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp who didn’t want him to leave the club. The Brazilian playmaker became the third most expensive player via that transfer as Barcelona paid £142m for his signing.

His transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona became a big blessing of some sort for the Reds as the money gotten from the deal was ploughed back into the playing squad at Anfield thereby making it a better one without Coutinho. With the money, Liverpool were able to bolster their defence with the  £75m signing of Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018 and £66m transfer of goalkeeper Alisson Becker in the summer of 2018.

While Philippe Coutinho has been struggling at Barcelona, Liverpool have won the Champions League title and it would only be a matter of time before a much coveted Premier League title is added with the Reds needing two wins from the remaining nine games in the present league season when football gets back from the hiatus forced by Coronavirus.

After a largely frustrating 18 months at Barcelona, Coutinho joined German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on loan last summer and has shown flashes of brilliance at the club but that is not enough for the Bavarian giants to sign him permanently. Barcelona want to sell him finally this summer to raise money for their potential signings and Chelsea appear to be the club at the forefront of the queue for him in a reporter £70m deal.

Transfer Ratings for Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea: 6/10.

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Transfer Ratings: Neymar To Barcelona

Amuda Segun

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The most expensive player could be on the move this summer with former club Barcelona on his trail. Brazilian national team talisman Neymar became the costliest footballer ever three years ago when French giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG) paid £200m to sign him from Spanish champions Barcelona who were reluctant to let him leave for France.

Barcelona had no choice but to let the player join PSG after the French capital club activated the release clause in his contract at the Nou Camp as at then. Neymar signed a five-year contract upon his transfer to PSG and he was barely halfway into that contract before expressing interest to go back to his former hunting ground.

Neymar escaped the shadows of Lionel Messi at Barcelona to become his own man at PSG but that has not gone to plan due to several injury problems plus controversies here and there. Barcelona talisman and skipper Messi former a potent front trio with Neymar and Luis Suarez before the Brazilian left for Parc des Princes in 2017 but that has not stopped their relationship off the field with Messi the spearhead for Neymar to return to the club.

Barcelona tried very hard to sign Neymar last summer but they were not able to fund the expensive move. The Spaniards made just one bid for the player and it was outrightly rejected by PSG.

The situation favours Barcelona more this summer as Neymar has two years to run on his current PSG deal. Barcelona can be able to sign him for £150m which is around £50m lesser than what they would have spent last summer.

PSG are still trying to persuade Neymar to sign a new deal plus the fact that he might need to take a pay cut to secure a return to the Nou Camp. In addition, Barcelona are finding it hard to raise funds for new signings this summer unless they can move some of their fringe players on to other clubs.

Transfer Ratings for Neymar to Barcelona: 4/10.

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