Koeman unhappy with 'horrible' Moriba contract stand-off: Money can't be the most important thing

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Ronald Koeman says the situation with Ilaix Moriba at Barcelona is "horrible", claiming the teenager and his advisors are prioritising money over his career.

Moriba broke into the Barca first team in 2020-21, making 14 appearances in LaLiga and scoring his first goal as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Osasuna in March.

Barca have been in talks with the midfielder over a new contract, with his deal expiring next year, but little progress has been made in recent weeks.

Moriba was effectively sidelined for pre-season as the impasse continued and clubs began to be linked with offers, with Premier League sides including Manchester City and Liverpool said to be interested.

According to Sport, RB Leizpig have made an approach worth €8million, although Barca want closer to €15m if they are to sell.

The stand-off has left head coach Koeman deeply unimpressed as he believes Moriba should be a key part of the future of the first team.

"I talked with Ilaix two or three weeks ago. His situation, for me, is horrible," the Dutchman said on Friday.

"He's young. He's 18, he had the opportunity to play for Barca and he's the future of the club. And he doesn't play, he's not with us.

"At 18, the most important thing is to play, not money. But Ilaix and his people think differently. I'm disappointed with that because I believe more in football than in contracts.

"Money at 18 cannot be the most important thing."

 

Barca's spiralling levels of debt have made sales essential if Koeman wishes to add any further players to his squad.

Martin Braithwaite and Philippe Coutinho have both been tipped to leave but Koeman would prefer to keep them as he seeks ways to soften the blow left by the departure of Lionel Messi.

Clement Lenglet is also expected to stay, but Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic could be moved on.

"We're in a situation at the club where we listen to offers in a lot of cases, but Martin's doing well with us. I believe he has to stay," he said of Braithwaite.

"He's important for us. I like working with him a lot because he's disciplined and he accepts his role. He plays in different positions in attack and the other day we saw that he can score goals. We'll see."

On the defenders, he said: "I'm really happy to have five or six centre-backs. It's an important position for which there's a lot of competition, and we need them.

"Umtiti has fewer possibilities than the others. Lenglet is our only left-footer. He has a place and he'll have games. After the break, the matches start every three days and we need all the players.

"Pjanic and Umtiti will find it difficult to have minutes. The final decision is the player's, but they have a complicated situation, yes."

He added on Coutinho: "Philippe is out because I think he needs one more week of training and to be with the group before being added to the squad. And yes, I count on him because for me he's a great player.

"He can be important because he has effectiveness in his play. He can play in different positions. We need people like him.

"With Messi, we've lost a lot of goals and we have to look for goals in other players."

Koeman also revealed Pedri will play against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday but will then be given a two-week holiday following his exploits at Euro 2020 and then the Olympics with Spain.

"We've had time to think about what the best thing is for Pedri. We've decided that he'll play tomorrow, and then afterwards he'll have two weeks of holiday so he doesn't get to November or December overloaded," he said.

"I've spoken with [Spain coach] Luis Enrique. We'll give him two weeks of holiday because he needs it. It's impossible to endure what he's endured and he deserves a holiday of at least two weeks."

Related items

  • 'Bunny' Shaw scores twice in Manchester's City 6-0 rout of Tomiris-Turan in Women's Champions League 'Bunny' Shaw scores twice in Manchester's City 6-0 rout of Tomiris-Turan in Women's Champions League

    Two first-half goals from Khadijah Shaw helped Manchester City trounce Tomiris Turan 6-0 Thursday to set up a Women’s Champions League rematch on Sunday against Real Madrid.

  • David 'Wagga' Hunt Foundation classic clash between Kingston College and Calabar resumes after two-year break David 'Wagga' Hunt Foundation classic clash between Kingston College and Calabar resumes after two-year break

    The 12th Annual David “Wagga” Hunt Football Classic kicks off on Saturday, August 20, at 4:00 pm with a clash between defending Manning Cup and Olivier Shield Champions Kingston College and Calabar High School at Calabar High School on Red Hills Road in Kingston.

    The goodwill game is the David “Wagga” Hunt Scholarship Foundation’s way of reintroducing the Classic following the two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Classic was established in 2009 in honour of the late David “Wagga” Hunt, a KC alum, who was a football coach and is also credited with reviving the sport at Calabar.

    In 2005, Hunt coached Calabar to their first ever Manning Cup title in 28 years. Calabar also won the coveted Olivier Shield title that year.

    The Classic is seen as a unifying force, emblematic of the generosity of spirit and community that Hunt embodied.

    Hunt’s dedication to working with youth is the driving force behind the preservation of his legacy since his death in 2007. His mantra for the long-running rivalry between the schools was, “We can be rivals, not enemies.”

    Since his passing, the foundation created in his memory offers scholarships to deserving students of both schools.

    “I am very proud of the work the DWH Foundation has done since inception and I am eagerly looking forward to our abbreviated Classic, which will be our 12th staging,” said Christopher Hunt, David’s younger, who is also co-chair of the Washington, DC, based foundation.

    He disclosed that for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, the foundation 24 will benefit from scholarships valued at USD$17,000 (J$2.4 million).

    “I am very proud and appreciative that we are able to continue to keep David’s memory alive while impacting our boys from both schools,” Christopher said.

    Since 2009 the scholarship initiative has disbursed approximately US$5,000 (J$700,000) per selected student, from grades 8 to 13, to defray costs of tuition, books, lunch, technology assistance, and other school-related expenses.

    To date, 35 scholarships exceeding US$115,000 (J$16 million) have been awarded to recipients, who are selected based on academic performance and attitude, involvement in extracurricular activities and need.

    Through the years, corporate donors based in Jamaica have supported the foundation’s work. They include VM Group, Supreme Ventures Limited, Proven Wealth and the Gibson McCook Relays.

    Overseas sponsors GraceKennedy Foods (USA), Steuart Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Spencer Financial, and McIntosh & Associates complete the complement of corporate donors.

    All fund the scholarships on an ongoing basis. 

    “I wish to express heartfelt gratitude to our corporate and individual sponsors for sticking with us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic despite the constraints,” said Arnold “Dullo” McDonald, co-chair of the foundation’s Jamaica chapter.

    “We thank our supporters and spectators of the annual football classic as well.  The goodwill game is being presented as a show of appreciation. We hope they enjoy this in-person event.”

  • Is Casemiro the midfielder Man Utd need? Is Casemiro the midfielder Man Utd need?

    It is easy to imagine how Manchester United landed on Casemiro's name in the week that followed their shambolic 4-0 defeat at Brentford.

    United were preyed upon by the Brentford press, giving up three chances and two goals from high turnovers as Christian Eriksen – a false nine in their previous match – ended up as the deepest midfielder and struggled badly.

    Through two games, no Premier League side have allowed more shots following high turnovers than United (eight).

    At the very least, Casemiro – a five-time Champions League winner anchoring one of the great modern midfields at Real Madrid – should make United harder to play against.

    Yet the 30-year-old, whose arrival at Old Trafford appears imminent, possesses a vastly different profile to the previous two midfielders United very publicly pursued – ultimately unsuccessfully.

    The progression from Frenkie de Jong to Adrien Rabiot to Casemiro was not a particularly obvious one, but have the Red Devils now ended up with the right man?

    No more 'McFred'

    Few United fans who have seen their 'McFred' midfield repeatedly overrun in recent seasons would complain about the club recruiting an upgrade on Fred.

    The numbers would suggest that is what they are buying in Casemiro, who is comparable to his Brazil team-mate by several metrics.

    Only two LaLiga midfielders made more recoveries than Casemiro (230) last season, yet his 8.0 per 90 were topped by Fred's 8.7. Fred matched Casemiro for tackles per 90 (both 2.8) and edged him in terms of interceptions (1.4 to 1.3).

    However, Casemiro's physical presence ensured he won 59.7 per cent of his duels, far outperforming Fred's 47.8 per cent.

    And the Madrid man, crucially, is more effective with the ball once he has won it.

    Carlo Ancelotti's side attempted 43 shots at the end of sequences that started with Casemiro recovering possession, seeing the midfielder lead LaLiga in this regard and trail only Marcelo Brozovic (44) across Europe's top five leagues.

    Although just 27.6 per cent of Casemiro's passes were played forward – versus Fred's 30.4 per cent – he was at the heart of so many Madrid attacks.

    Casemiro played 34 passes to players who immediately created chances for team-mates, which compared very favourably with Rabiot (12), Scott McTominay (18), Fred (19) and, indeed, De Jong (22).

    Carrying United's hopes

    There was an obvious appeal to the attempted signing of De Jong, who would have offered something different to the United midfield.

    Highly skilled with the ball at his feet, De Jong's carries progressed the play 113.6 metres upfield per 90 last season. United's five midfielders (Fred, McTominay, Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek) have progressed the ball only 384m combined so far this season – or 192m per 90.

    Casemiro clearly cannot offer this dynamism either, given he carried the ball just 54.3m upfield per 90 last term.

    And United could seemingly still benefit from a player of De Jong's talents, as Casemiro is used to being able to rely on others in midfield to fulfil this role; he was by far Madrid's least progressive midfield carrier in 2021-22, behind Toni Kroos (80.6m), Luka Modric (85.7m), Eduardo Camavinga (91.1m) and Federico Valverde (133.3m).

    But considering the difficulties in getting that deal done with Barcelona, United's scattergun approach has at least – via Rabiot – picked out a player capable of helping them both with and without the ball.

    No Premier League team has conceded more goals at this early stage than United, while they have only netted themselves courtesy of an own goal.

    One man alone may not be able to get United's season back on track, but Casemiro is primed to give it a good go.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.