Jenas: Poor piece of business with Nicolas Pepe

Former Tottenham Hotspur star Jermaine Jenas has said that Arsenal made a poor piece of business with Nicolas Pepe after he failed to justify his price tag. The Ivory Coast international made the surprise switch to the Gunners during last summer’s transfer window after the club spent a club-record fee of £72m for his signature.

However, his performances have been pretty average over the course of the campaign and he has registered only eight goals and nine assists across all competitions. While some would feel that he has needed the time to adapt, Jenas believes the Ivorian can be considered as a flop alongside Newcastle United’s Joelinton. Continue reading “Jenas: Poor piece of business with Nicolas Pepe”

RB Leipzig deny rumours of Werner’s release

Managing Director of RB Leipzig Oliver Mintzlaff has said that they have not agreed on any deals with Chelsea and their current focus is on completing the campaign. They are currently standing at the third position as the top four will be qualifying for the Champions League.

There have been reports that Chelsea has put forward a deal that agrees upon Leipzig’s clause on Werner. A deal of £54 million was forwarded by Chelsea and they have beaten Liverpool and Manchester United on the race to sign Timo Werner. According to Mintzlaff, they have not yet been approached by Blues formally and the main focus will be on the league keeping apart the transfer.

Mintzlaff told Sky Sports Deutschland that they have not yet been approached by any club. Werner is a player of Leipzig and still remains to be. He is been busy with the transfer window which has been notified and till now nothing has been confirmed. Continue reading “RB Leipzig deny rumours of Werner’s release”

SPURS LINKED WITH MADRID PLAYMAKER

Tottenham Hotspur are ready to return for Real Madrid playmaker, Isco, the Lilywhites made an approach for the player in the summer, but they were unable to reach a conclusion for the mercurial playmaker. According to an inside source from the club, the North London club will return for the player at the end of the season.

The Spain international’s future was up for debate, since the return of Zinidin Zidane, Isco has not enjoyed consistency with the French coach since he took over, and the second time coming of Zidane promoted rumour about the player’s exit. Continue reading “SPURS LINKED WITH MADRID PLAYMAKER”

KALOU: CHELSEA KEEP IT TOGETHER

Diego Costa reckons that because Antonio Conte has been like a mate with the players and not like a coach, it has eased everything in the Blues change room and the team has started giving its best which it couldn’t do while defending its title during the 2015-16 Season.

Costa discloses that Conte always shares funny stuff and stories and makes sure everybody’s mood remains lifted. When the head of the camp has such a light nature, it rubs off all around and it generates positivity because nobody thinks too much about unnecessary stuff like criticism and public perception.

Salomon Kalou is also impressed by the Italian coach, with his former team-mates informing him on a regular basis about how the tactician keeps them on their toes. He has previously invited players such as John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic to come out and see him play (fans can click here) and he remains a Blue at heart.

In Costa’s view, Conte has come across as a type of person whom everyone has developed a bonding with and everyone knows that he will be there for their help every time they are in a tough situation.

A lot of Chelsea players were frustrated last summer and Costa was no different as he was keen to switch clubs and get back to the Spanish capital which is also his home, not his motherland, but, home in the sense that his family is based there.

That thought would not have been in his mind anymore though as he is finding the net at will in the English top flight at the moment and is the highest goal-scorer.

However, Costa denies that his desire for a transfer was, at any point, driven by the disastrous failure that Chelsea had or by the lack of enjoyment at Chelsea. The striker stresses that it was only the home factor which was behind it and no other factor.

Costa asks who doesn’t want to pursue his career with his whole family around? As per him, family is family and it’s special for everyone. So, that’s the reason he was open to the Atletico transfer, but, he was absolutely fine and satisfied at Stamford Bridge too.

KALOU ABSENT AS HERTHA DRAW

Salomon Kalou was notably absent in Borussia Dortmund’s draw at home to Hertha Berlin on Friday last week. A goal from Pierre-EmerickAubameyang in the 80th minute was enough to ensure that Dortmund levelled the scores and came away with a draw.

This came on the heels of a previously missed penalty by Aubameyang. On the other hand, Hertha Berlin’s Valentin Stocker made sure to silence the home crowd after slotting in a sensational back heeled pass sent to his direction from Vedad Ibisevic at close range.

Valentin Stocker was later sent off at the final minutes of the game after a dangerous tackle. The same also happened to Dortmund as Emre Mor was also dismissed for having pushed an opponent.

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who played host to Hertha Berlin, were not able to get a win against their opponents. Dortmund have been recently plagued with injuries which saw almost a dozen of their players absent due to injury related issues.

Notable amongst them is Andre Schurrle who celebrated Aubameyang’s goal on Instagram. This draw means Dortmund have so far gone two consecutive games without a win. Their last game with Bayer Leverkusen ended in a loss just before the start of the international break.

A cut back by Ousmane Dembele came on time to reach the Gabon international who slid at the far post to ensure that the ball found its way well into the back of the net.

“We struggled for a long time against a disciplined and tough defending opponent,” said Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, who due to injuries plaguing his team, had no other choice than to field a starting 11 with an average age of under 23.
“The equalizer was in the air for some time. It feels as if we should have deserved to win,” he said.

DROGBA: SCORING IS NOT LUCK

Saloman Kalou’s old team-mate at Chelsea Didier Drogba insists it is not just luck that he keeps on to plague the Gunners, after finding the net against the Premier League giants for the MLS All-Stars in the friendly match in July.

The Ex-Chelsea forward, Drogba netted on the stroke of half-time to bring back the All Stars to 1-1 draw level but it was not enough as Chuba Akpom made it 2-1 late in the game to seal an Arsenal victory on Thursday 29th of July.

That happened to be Drogba’s 16th goal in as many appearances against Arsenal, having tormented Arsene Wenger’s men throughout his time at Stamford Bridge, London. If you’re going to have a bet on football, Drogba scoring against Arsenal seems to be a pretty safe one!

When he was questioned if he feels fortunate to constantly find the net against Arsenal, Drogba responded: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I want to say that I’m lucky but when you score 16 goals against a team I don’t think it is luck anymore.”
Meanwhile, the Ivory Coast international was left in disappointment due to the 2-1 loss despite it being only a friendly fixture.

“I want to help my team to win games. And I always say that the goal that I score and then we lose, for me that doesn’t count,” the Montreal Impact striker said. For me it’s for fun because I scored against [former Chelsea, now Arsenal goalkeeper] Petr [Cech], but the result matters more than my goal or my own performance. It’s a bit disappointing to have lost this game in the last minute.

The 38-year old tested former Chelsea team-mate Cech early on, and had another shot blocked before he eventually found the net in the opening period at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

“He has always harmed us, and he continues. He’s a winner and I think that he’ll be like that until the end of his life,”

Wenger said about the striker. “At half-time, I was thinking ‘He’s still haunting us, even in the United States!’ Drogba is a typical poacher of a goal. He can do that in the box. When I see him in the box and fighting with young defenders I always think that now there is danger there because you know he will get the upper hand and score you a goal and that’s what he did.”

TROUBLING TIMES FOR SALOMON KALOU

Former Chelsea player Salomon Kalou is undergoing a lot of troubling times as he is reported to have lost two family members within a fortnight, local media say.

The 31-year old Hertha Berlin player would be travelling to meet his family in light of the losses. This means the Ivory Coast international would not be in action when his country plays Sierra Leone in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in September.

Kalou lost his father, Antoine as he suffered from heart attack. While he was nursing this pain, his aunt died two weeks later. The player would be required to plan for the burial of the dead.

“I’m travelling home to support my family. Of course I am unbelievably sad and feel empty. Football is a therapy for me at the moment. It will take a while to get over this,” Kalou told German news outlet Bild.

His brother, who is also a professional footballer Bonaventure Kalou, is also expected to join family members during these trying times. Kalou has two brothers and eight sisters from the same mother. The mother is the parent to the children now, though other family members are on ground as they bury the dead.

Ivory Coast have enough hands to prosecute the game against Sierra Leone, particularly as they require just a point to against their opponents to qualify for the 2017 finals set to be hosted by Gabon. They are the current holders of the title after their win in 2015. Nigerian won the 2013 edition but were couldn’t qualify for the 2015 edition. Going into the next edition, Ivory Coast remains the favourites to retain the title. Kalou would surely be missed, as he is enjoying a decent form. He was the highest goal scorer last term for Hertha with 14 goals in 32 games in the league.

CHELSEA STRUGGLE

Chelsea might have broken the ice with a victory over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, but, to make sure they become the English Champions again, they have improvements to make in a lot of areas.

The Blues saw themselves getting off to a horror beginning in the ongoing Premiership as they were limited to a draw by the minnows Swansea City and then, beaten by the arch rivals Manchester City, and it didn’t get much better from there on in!

Prior to that, they had tasted defeat at the hands of the Gunners as well, that is in the Community Shield game.

In short, they have played poor Football all the time they have featured on the pitch. There is huge pressure to turn the tables around somehow, which is made even tougher now that Kalou is no longer at the club.

They did manage to walk out of the Hawthorns with a favourable result, but, their manager did not have an overly happy look on his face and he had every reason to be that way. There was no way that the game should have been that close if Chelsea had played to their ability.

The passing was awful again and finishing was not a lot better either if compared to the three games that they had played earlier, but, what would be concerning Chelsea the most at the moment is their defence which is looking alarmingly out of sorts.

Some might say there was a similar case the previous season too as they had conceded quite a few goals early on, but, tightened up as they moved ahead. Chelsea won the title last year, but at one point you could have stuck a live bet with contemporary odds at as much as 8/1 on them to win. They are at similar odds this season.

But, the thing this season is that the defenders are looking short on confidence and that’s never a good sign – and one of the main reason Chelsea are suddenly shipping goals.

Mourinho knows he has his work cut out and that’s why, he did not seem to be brimming when he addressed the press after the win, but, he would have breathed a sigh of relief with these 3 points, that’s for sure.

LILLE FIGHT ON

Lille is fighting for the French league title along with PSG, Monaco and Saint- Etienne as they are the clubs located at the top spots of Ligue 1 and the coach of the club Girard Rene made 1 signing during the entire January transfer window.

Sebastien Corchia from Sochaux was the signing that Lille made as they heard the news regarding the defender Franck Beria who is out injured and the French side acted responded by signing the 23 years old Sebastien Corchia.

Signing Corchia from Sochaux was a harder task to accomplish then initially expected for Lille as they had offers rejected and the player was a target of Arsenal as well. Wenger considered Corchia to be a long-term replacement for Bacary Sagna.

While it certainly is a good decision for Lille to make, it makes you wonder why would Sochaux, a club that is struggling just to survive in the league and avoid the bottom relegation zone, why would they sell one of their assets. Corchia’s performances and abilities have even attracted the interest of Arsenal and Juventus.

Arsenal failed on signing a target they had from Lille which was Salomon Kalu, the Premier League club tried on making a loan deal for the former Chelsea player but it was rejected by Lille but Arsene Wenger is still keeping close tabs on another performer of the French club.

The 23 years old defender Pape Souare is on the radar of Arsenal but they have a tough task ahead of them as the player has a contract with Lille that runs up until 2017.

KALOU WANTS PREM RETURN

Salomon Kalou has said that he can play for a Barclays Premier League side in the upcoming years.

Kalou had the opportunity to return to England this summer too as he was approached by West Ham United. But, the 28 years old Ivorian striker decided to continue playing for Lille.

When asked if there is any chance of him going back to Premier League, Kalou said, “Yes, I might go there in future. You never know. I could have moved there this summer as well, but, I rejected West Ham’s offer as I thought that staying at Lille is better for me at this point of time.”

“I am just 28 years of age at the moment. In a year or so, I will be at my peak and then, I will move on.”

“My time here at Lille has been really good. I didn’t have a great start when I had come here last year, but, slowly, I adapted to the conditions and ended up having a successful debut season.”

Kalou has already played in the top flight of English football. He was a part of the Chelsea squad for more than 6 years i.e. from May 2006 to July 2012. He had a fantastic time at Stamford Bridge. He lifted the Premier League as well as the Champions League trophy there.

After being released by Chelsea at the end of the last season, Kalou joined Lille and proved his worth for the French club in his very first season there. He featured for Lille in 28 Ligue 1 games last season and netted 14 times.

Kalou has made a decent start to this season as well. He has made 4 Ligue 1 appearances for his club so far this season and has scored 1 goal.