EPL

Rumour Has It: Juventus line up Pogba return, United linked with Barcelona star

By Sports Desk May 12, 2022

Paul Pogba's departure from Manchester United at the end of this season has been long assumed.

The French midfielder's 2016 arrival for a second spell at Old Trafford came in a world-record breaking deal, but he has not delivered on the expectations that accompanied the £89million price tag.

As a result, the World Cup winner could well make a return to Juventus, the club where he first came to serious prominence.


TOP STORY – JUVENTUS LINE UP POGBA RETURN

Juventus have made a contract offer they believe puts them in the box seat to sign Paul Pogba, according to the Mirror.

Pogba is set to leave Manchester United when his contract expires at the end of this season, and Juve have reportedly offered an £8million annual salary.

With Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini's impending departures freeing up salary room, the Pogba offer is also said to include a substantial signing-on fee and bonus package to complement the base deal.

The 29-year-old Pogba has missed the Red Devils' past four Premier League games due to calf trouble, and he was absent for two months earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain would want to trim their playing squad before considering any more for United's Pogba, RMC Sport is reporting.

- United will seek to replace Pogba by signing cash-strapped Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.

- According to the Telegraph, Tottenham are interested in Everton's RicharlisonAnthony Gordon and Ben Godfrey.

- In order to compensate for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger's departures, Calciomercato reports Chelsea will look to sign Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

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  • Europa League final: Glasner and Eintracht prepared for 'mixture of Barcelona and West Ham' in Rangers tussle Europa League final: Glasner and Eintracht prepared for 'mixture of Barcelona and West Ham' in Rangers tussle

    Oliver Glasner has prepared Eintracht Frankfurt to face "a mixture of Barcelona and West Ham" when they go up against Rangers in Wednesday's Europa League final.

    Eintracht and Rangers both hope to end lengthy European trophy droughts when they tussle at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville on Wednesday.

    The Germans last enjoyed such a success in 1980 when they won the UEFA Cup, while Rangers' most recent continental triumph came eight years earlier in the European Cup Winners' Cup.

    Neither side was expected to reach the showpiece, with Eintracht impressively seeing off Barcelona before knocking out West Ham, while Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were among the teams dispatched by Rangers.

    Of course, both BVB and Leipzig enjoyed significantly superior seasons domestically than Eintracht, who ultimately finished 16 points behind the latter in fourth.

    But he dismissed the importance of Rangers already beating two teams who are supposedly better than Die Adler.

    "You can't do these calculations. If you win versus second and fourth in the Bundesliga then you are favourite because we were 11th in the Bundesliga? It doesn't matter. Both teams deserve to play this final," Glasner told reporters.

    The Eintracht coach also seemingly believes the previous assignments against Barca and the Hammers will have put Eintracht in a good position to get to grips with what Rangers can offer.

    "We've analysed Rangers – they're a mixture of West Ham and Barcelona," he added. "You can see the Dutch influence [of coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst] with the passing triangles, but [they have] a British mentality.

    "We have to be in top form tomorrow. We are in great shape so we will be playing with lots of enthusiasm. The whole of Europe is looking forward to this match."

    Asked to elaborate on what defines a "British mentality", Glasner said: "Rangers are a team that play lots of duels, and they are very robust in those duels.

    "They have great desire to run back after losing ball, and not just the full-backs. [James] Tavernier is top scorer in Europa League, which shows he runs a lot; the defensive midfielders want to work hard there as well, they're always ready with this readiness to defend but also to go forward.

    "That is combined with a very good [style of] football. They play fast with few contacts [direct], so this is how they scored their goals.

    "They can cross early, against [Sporting] Braga and Leipzig they scored like this. This is the British mentality."

    Sebastian Rode is a key man for Eintracht, with his experience and leadership on the pitch important commodities for Glasner.

    While Rode has enjoyed a distinguished career, representing Dortmund and Bayern Much in the past, even he recognises Wednesday's final will be the pinnacle for him.

    "This is the highlight of my career, it's one game and it'll be gigantic tomorrow," he said.

    "We of course in the last few weeks have seen the euphoria. If you go shopping everyone talks about [their route to the final] and that everyone wants us to win.

    "We get goosebumps thinking about that. Both fans will create a crazy atmosphere."

  • Real Madrid and miracle man Benzema amaze UEFA chief with great escapes in Champions League run Real Madrid and miracle man Benzema amaze UEFA chief with great escapes in Champions League run

    Real Madrid have been likened to a cat with nine lives by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin after their dramatic run to the Champions League final.

    The Spanish LaLiga winners came from 2-0 behind on aggregate with a stunning comeback against Paris Saint-Germain at the last-16 stage, then resisted a Chelsea fightback in the quarter-finals.

    They topped those victories, however, with their recovery against Manchester City in the semi-finals, with Ceferin admitting he thought the Spanish giants' hopes were finally dead and buried.

    An all-English final in Paris was looming when City led 5-3 on aggregate going into the 90th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu on May 4, only for a Rodrygo double and Benzema's penalty in extra time to sensationally turn the tie around.

    The May 28 showpiece will now feature Madrid against Liverpool, both long-time titans of the competition, with Ceferin describing that match-up as "insanely interesting".

    "Already in the semi-finals I doubted that Real could eliminate Manchester City," Ceferin said, "especially after the defeat in the first game."

    City won 4-3 in Manchester and led 1-0 in Madrid through Riyad Mahrez's goal, before the late flurry from the hosts.

    "They obviously have nine lives like cats," Ceferin said, in an interview with Slovenian news website 24ur.com.

    The UEFA boss noted the experience in the Madrid ranks, yet he questioned the strength of Carlo Ancelotti's defence, describing it as "weak".

    "But they have the miraculous Karim Benzema, for whom I have said many times that in my opinion he is one of the most underrated players in the history of football," Ceferin added.

    "Luka Modric, the older he is, the better he is."

     

    Benzema has scored a competition-high 15 goals for Madrid in the Champions League this season, in just 11 games. Those goals have come at a rate of one every 67.7 minutes. He is an obvious threat to Liverpool's hopes of winning a third cup competition this season, having already won the FA Cup and EFL Cup.

    Ceferin believes both sides have their merits, with Madrid's experience punching against the relative youth of Liverpool.

    "I wouldn't dare to predict the winner, as a rule I misjudge. It's impossible to predict," he said. "This will be an insanely interesting final."

    Off the field, Ceferin says he has had no recent contact with Madrid senior officials, after the club were key players behind the failed push for a European Super League.

    "The time will come when these things will be cleared up, but they will certainly not be on the pitch," Ceferin said.

  • Europa League final: Van Bronckhorst unconcerned by lack of 'Ibrox factor' as Roofe return boosts Rangers Europa League final: Van Bronckhorst unconcerned by lack of 'Ibrox factor' as Roofe return boosts Rangers

    Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is not worried about the lack of a so-called "Ibrox factor" in Wednesday's Europa League final, adamant Gers fans will more than contribute to the atmosphere in Seville.

    Eintracht Frankfurt stand between Rangers and a first European trophy since 1972, when the Scottish giants won the European Cup Winners' Cup.

    Van Bronckhorst's side have already exceeded expectations by reaching the showpiece, which will take place at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, home of six-time UEFA Cup/Europa League winners Sevilla.

    Rangers' home form has been vital en route to the final, particularly in the context of their results on the road.

    Gers have won only one Europa League game away from home this season, the 4-2 thriller at Borussia Dortmund in February, while their three European trips since then have all ended in defeat.

    Yet Rangers have been spurred on by a raucous home crowd at Ibrox, particularly in the knockout phase – they have won each of their past three Europa League matches as hosts, scoring three in all of them.

    Spanish police are expecting roughly 150,000 Rangers and Eintracht fans to be in Seville for Wednesday's game. As such, Van Bronckhorst is not worried about a lack of backing.

    Asked how crucial the support will be, Van Bronckhorst told reporters: "It will be a factor because our fans are supporting us really well.

    "Of course, Ibrox is a huge factor and in the ties we played this season in Europe we knew to get a good result away from home to take back to Ibrox [because] we are capable of winning against any team [at home].

    "Of course, a final is different because it's only one game you play, not at Ibrox but in Seville, I think we'll both [Rangers and Eintracht] feel that.

    "It's different, but still I think you will hear them a lot tomorrow, our fans, and I think our performances can be good as well, so I think we are ready and we'll play the way we always do and give everything we have to win this game."

    The presence of Kemar Roofe certainly will not hurt Rangers' chances of success on Wednesday, with the striker back in contention following an injury.

    Roofe hurt his knee last month as Rangers beat Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, and even as recently as last week Van Bronckhorst acknowledged the forward's participation in Seville was doubtful.

    But the Dutchman confirmed Roofe is available to face Eintracht, with his involvement now just a selection matter.

    "Kemar is available. He trained for the first time with us yesterday [Monday]," Van Bronckhorst added. "He did individual training before that, and he will be training with us [on Tuesday].

    "He will be in the squad and I want to use him, he is available."

    Roofe has scored 16 times for Rangers across all competitions this season despite not being a guaranteed starter – 16 of his 35 appearances have come from the bench.

    The return of Roofe is made all the more important by Alfredo Morelos' absence through a long-term injury.

    "Of course, it's a boost for us," Van Bronckhorst said. "He got injured a couple weeks ago when he was in a good spell.

    "He's very important for team. I'm happy he's back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game.

    "He didn't make it so we just extended [the season] for him with the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part."

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