Tag Archives: Breaking News

Moroccan Right Back Achraf Hakimi Signs for Inter Milan

Italian giants Inter Milan have secured the signature of highly rated 21-year old defender Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid.

Hakimi, who made 17 appearances for Los Blancos after rising through their youth ranks, has penned a five year deal with Antonio Conte’s side, who currently sit third in Serie A.

Dani Carvajal currently occupies the right-back spot at Los Blancos so Hakimi was unwilling to take a back seat after an impressive loan spell in the Bundesliga. This caused the Real Madrid youth product to request a move away from the Bernabeu.

Subsequently, Inter paid €40 million (£36 million) with €5 million add ons for the CAF Young Player of the Year winner. He was pictured in Milan for his medical on Tuesday, and confirmed the move on his official Instagram account this evening.

Real Madrid also released a statement on the departure of Hakimi saying:

“The club want to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he arrived at our academy in 2006 and wish him luck in this new stage of his career.”

Hakimi has spent the past two seasons on loan in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, where he played 70 games, scoring 12 goals and striking up a potent partnership with Jadon Sancho on the right flank.

He put in some particularly impressive performances in the Champions League, providing a hat-trick of assists against Atletico Madrid last season, before scoring braces against both Slavia Prague and his new employers Inter in this year’s group stages.

Lucian Favre tended to use Hakimi as a right wing-back in a 3-4-2-1 formation, given his ability to attack at pace and deliver pin-point crosses. He is also defensively, very sound, adept at playing long balls which open up opposition defences.

It is likely Conte will utilising the Moroccan in a similar role, given his reputation for setting teams up to play with a three at the back and having creative wing-backs as attacking outlets.

Hakimi is equally capable of playing as a winger, having featured there during his days in Real Madrid’s academy, whilst he can also slot in at left back.

At just 21 years of age and with over 100 senior appearances to his name, Hakimi is certainly a very exciting signing for Inter as they look to challenge Juventus.

The Nerazzurri have not won the league title since 2010 and acquiring a new superstar in Hakimi will certainly make them a formidable opponent in Serie A next season.

Written by Lauren McCann and Jonathan Abraham

Chelsea look set to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig

Although Liverpool are within touching distance of lifting the Premiership, they appear to have lost out in signing the highly rated striker Timo Werner.

Chelsea look to have beaten the Merseyside club to the race to sign the RB Leipzig star player. The 24-year-year-old has agreed in principal to sign for the London side after Chelsea agreed to activate Werner’s £49 million release clause.

Jurgen Klopp has been a long-time admirer of the forward and had a conversation with him back in April, in which he expressed the financial implications of coronavirus rendered it hard for the club to lay out any huge outlays.

With his clause running out on the 15thJune, it was inevitable that the Bundesliga side would lose their key player to one of the Premiership giants.

Sources in Germany have indicated that Werner’s salary will be around £16 million a year, with the German looking to earn around £200,000 a week. Werner, who has netted 32 times this season is guaranteed plenty of minutes at Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard rebuilding the club, he appears to be the ideal fit for the London outfit.

Werner, who became VFB Stuttgart’s youngest player ever to represent the club and the clubs youngest ever goalscorer, had originally indicated his preference to move to Premier League leaders Liverpool, but they were unwilling to pay the release clause.

On paper Werner has made the right decision to join Lampard’s outfit, as he will be guaranteed plenty of games at Chelsea. At Liverpool, you would feel it would be difficult for him to get regular minutes under Klopp, unless either one of Salah, Mane or Firmino got injured or were rested.

The Premier League will certainly welcome the addition of this wonderful talent. The only small doubt remains, can he make the big step up from the Bundesliga to the Premiership. Certainly, Chelsea think so.

Article written by Peter Moore

Manchester City Women appoint Gareth Taylor as Head Coach

Manchester City’s Women’s side have announced Gareth Taylor as the new Head Coach of the Women Super League side.

Taylor is set to succeed Nick Cushing who moved to New York City FC to take up the role of Men’s Assistant Coach in February this year.

The 47- year-old has previously been coaching the citizens’ under-18 side for the past few seasons winning successive Premier League Under-18 cup titles. Taylor has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the club.

Alan Mahon, who took temporary charge of the WSL side, will aid the former Wales international striker as Assistant Coach.

The former City and Burnley striker, Taylor told the club official website:

“I’m absolutely relishing my new role within City Football Group and I’ll be giving everything I have to continue Manchester City’s success and growth in the women’s game.”

Following the appointment the Club’s head of women’s football, Gavin Makel said:

“I am looking forward to working with Gareth as we enter this new era for the women’s team in which I am confident that we can continue to build upon the successes that we have had over the last six year.”

Taylor’s role will start with immediate affect and he will certainly have the pleasure of working with some talented players. Before the 2019/20 campaign was brought to a conclusion earlier this week the team were top of the league by a point from nearest rivals, Chelsea.

Star names such as England Captain Steph Houghton, Keira Walsh and Caroline Weir have also committed their long-term futures to the club by signing new deals.

Indeed, it certainly bodes well for City to be following the pattern that has worked for them previously, as Cushing himself was an Academy Coach before taking charge of the women’s side for six successful years.

Taylor, however, will have to wait to go into action with his new team as the Football Association have ended the WSL season earlier this week, while the FA have also yet to make a decision on what will happen to the FA Women’s Cup where City made it to the quarter-finals before football was suspended.

Hull City reveal two positive COVID-19 tests after first round of testing in Championship

Sky Bet Championship outfit Hull City have confirmed they are the club who have returned two positive results during their coronavirus testing on Friday.

The EFL released a statement on Sunday lunchtime, to reveal that 1014 players and staff had been tested at 24 clubs, with only two individuals testing positive for the virus.

The Tigers, who have said they won’t reveal the identity of the individuals keeping in with medical confidentiality, released a statement on Sunday afternoon to say both of those were returned during the testing programme held at the clubs training ground on Friday.

Both players, whom are not to be identified, will now spend seven days self-isolating in line with EFL guidelines.

A statement released by the club this afternoon read:

“Hull City can confirm that two people have tested positive for Covid-19 following the first round of testing at the training ground.

“Medical confidentiality means the names will not be disclosed, and the Club asks for this to be respected.

“The duo, who are both asymptomatic and feeling no ill effects, will now self-isolate for seven days – in line with the protocols set out in EFL guidelines – before being tested again at a later date.

“The Club will continue to liaise closely with the affected personnel and will make no further comment.”

The Tigers vice-chairman Ehab Allam did write to the league and the other 23 clubs voicing his concerns about returning to action in the last week.

There were an initial letter which outlined “serious concerns” and calls to void the season, while another email was sent out on Friday reiterating their stance.

Allam wrote:

“I continue to strongly believe that Championship clubs are being exposed to entirely unnecessary legal and financial risks (and forced to overlook the health and safety concerns that exist) as a result of the inappropriate haste with which clubs are being encouraged to return to training by the EFL,

“I also retain serious concerns about the integrity of the competition (which in my opinion is more than simply upholding promotion and relegation at all costs) should some, but not all, of the remaining games of the 2019/20 season be played.”

WSL Update: Storm Ciara forces all Women Super League matches to be postponed…

 The Women Super League matches this past weekend were postponed due to the adverse weather caused by Storm Ciara. 

 The main cause of concern was “crowd safety” that could not be guaranteed because of the extreme weather conditions.

Roughly 20,000 were expected to attend the WSL Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park however due to the high winds on Merseyside, this made travelling to and from the match extremely dangerous.

Details of the rearranged fixtures will be released in the next few weeks. 

Mid-Week Preview

Fortunately the WSL clubs will not have to wait long until they are back in action with a full round of fixtures due to take place on Wednesday 12th February and Thursday 13thFebruary.

February 12th

Chelsea vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 7pm)

These two sides could not have more contrasting form coming into this one.  Chelsea have enjoyed seven wins in a row in all competitions, while Birmingham have lost their last four league games.

The Blues however did win at Sheffield United in the FA Cup and their last league win also came away from home against Bristol City.

The Midlands club will have to keep one of the league’s in form strikers, Beth England has managed six goals in her past seven games including two in her last game in the 8-0 win over West Ham United.

Prediction Chelsea 5-0 win

Predicting another convincing win for the only unbeaten side in the WSL.

Manchester City vs Bristol City (7pm)

This is another game where one of the league’s title contenders meets a team who is struggling near the bottom of the table.

The Robins’ performances have improved in recent weeks and they did spring a surprise last time they visited Manchester where they beat Manchester United 1-0.

In order to cause another upset they will almost certainly have to keep the prolific striker Pauline Bremer quiet.  The German has managed ten goals in the WSL so far this season.

Prediction City 4-1 win

City’s home form is very good so we can’t see them slipping up here. 

Reading vs West Ham United (7:30pm)

There are just five points and two places separating these two teams.

Both these teams have also enjoyed a mixed run of results and have secured two wins in their last five matches. There are certainly more question marks over the Hammers however as they are coming off the back of an 8-0 hammering against Chelsea.

The Royals meanwhile currently sit sixth and managed to secure a draw against Manchester United in their last game.  Lastly, West Ham has managed to come away with the three points in both of their previous league visits to Reading.

Prediction Reading 2-0 win

We fancy Reading to secure their first home win over the Hammers.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton (7:30pm)

Spurs are certainly fairing pretty well in their first season in the Super League, while Everton are still flying high in fifth and if results go their way could find themselves in the top four.

The North London side have been strong at home in recent weeks winning four of their last five games, with their only defeat coming against the league leaders Manchester City.

Following a strong start to the campaign the Toffees are starting to struggle and have lost three of their last four Super League matches, including a 1-0 defeat to strugglers Brighton.

The Merseyside club will be looking to their star striker Chloe Kelly who recently scored a hat trick in their 3-1 win over Reading.  Kelly has managed eight goals in the WSL this season.

Prediction: Draw 2-2

We are going for a score draw in this one.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Manchester United (7:45pm)

Hope Powell will certainly be far happier with her sides’ displays in recent weeks.  The Seagulls have particularly enjoyed some strong showings in front of their home fans recently having won three of their past five matches.

Manchester United meanwhile are going through a tricky spell in their season, having been knocked out of two competitions in a space of a few days against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

Casey Stoney’s side are also still awaiting their first away win of 2020.

Prediction: Brighton 2-1 win

We think that Hope Powell’s side have what it takes to spring another surprise and take another step towards safety. 

February 13th

Liverpool vs Arsenal (7pm)

At the start of the year Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool looked the clear favourites to be relegated from the WSL.

Since securing a surprise 1-1 draw with Chelsea the reds have managed two wins in their last three, including a crucial 1-0 win over relegation rivals Bristol City.

Arsenal however are now certainly up against it if they want to retain their WSL title having lost to their rivals Manchester City last time out.  Joe Montemurro’s team cannot afford any more slip-ups if want to maintain their faint title hopes.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 win

It was a surprisingly close game between these two sides back in November with the Gunners winning 1-0, so we are anticipating another tight match with Arsenal just coming away with the three points.