Rumour Has It: Arsenal to target Barcelona's Ferran Torres in January

By Sports Desk September 12, 2022

After making a terrific start to the season, Arsenal are reportedly looking to bolster their squad further in the January transfer window as they weigh up a move for Barcelona winger Ferran Torres.

Torres, 22, was acquired by the Spanish giants this January after emerging at Manchester City as one of Spain's top young talents, costing €55million.

With his playing time inconsistent, and the numerous questions about Barcelona's finances and their need to sell players, it appears Torres is someone the club feels comfortable parting ways with less than 12 months after his arrival.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL WANT TO BRING TORRES BACK TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Torres has failed to establish himself as a regular starter, and with plenty of forward depth after the expensive additions of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha – along with Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati already being on the books – Barcelona are said to be looking to recoup their spending.

Fichajes is reporting Barcelona will be setting their asking price at the full amount they paid City, but for a young player who already has 13 international goals in 28 caps for Spain, it is not an unreasonable figure.

Meanwhile, 90min claims Barcelona are still looking to cash in on Frenkie de Jong after a lengthy transfer saga with Manchester United ended with no deal, indicating they may need to sell at least one player to keep balancing their books.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato are reporting Chelsea remain interested in United's Marcus Rashford, along with Atletico Madrid, if he does not receive a contract extension.

– According to The Sun, Wolves and Liverpool will both attempt to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, just months after he arrived from River Plate on a bargain €8million deal.

Bayern Munich 's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has denied enquiring with Tottenham about the availability of Harry Kane, per Sport1.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Rafael Leao's contract demands with Milan have boosted his chances of leaving the club, with Chelsea named as the primary interested party. 

Newcastle United's hunt for a goalkeeper did not end with their signing of free agent Loris Karius, with Portuguese publication JN reporting they are considering activating the £51m release clause for 22-year-old Porto goalie Diogo Costa.

Related items

  • Pep's helping hand – NBA Finals-winning Celtics coach Mazzulla reveals Guardiola's advice Pep's helping hand – NBA Finals-winning Celtics coach Mazzulla reveals Guardiola's advice

    Pep Guardiola's advice helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Finals, so says Joe Mazzulla.

    The Celtics clinched the NBA title with a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Monday.

    That sealed a 4-1 series win for Boston, who won their 18th Championship, and first since 2008.

    And head coach Mazzulla revealed that Manchester City manager Guardiola, who was in attendance for Game 1 of the Finals, played a part in his team's success.

    "Dallas has one of the smartest defenses," Mazzulla said.

    "We had to be creative to counter them."

    "Pep helped me in transitions and how to move guys."

    Perhaps when he does eventually leave City, Guardiola might just try his hand in the NBA?

  • The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024 The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024

    England know that the last 16 of Euro 2024 is within touching distance as they head into a reunion with Denmark.

    The Three Lions beat the Danes in the semi-finals at Euro 2020, coming from behind to win 2-1 after extra time.

    Harry Kane was England's hero as he converted a penalty winner, though spot-kicks would of course go on to prove to be their downfall in the final against Italy.

    There is less on the line when England face Denmark again on Thursday, though Gareth Southgate's team will progress to the knockout stage should they win.

    Here, we use Opta data to preview the Group C clash.

    What's expected?

    England are forecasted to win this one, with the Opta supercomputer handing them a 54.5 per cent chance of getting the job done in Frankfurt.

    Denmark are sure to be no pushovers, though, and have a 20.6 per cent win likelihood, with the draw threat at 25 per cent.

    This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and England at a major tournament. Three of those will have come at the Euros, and one at the 2002 World Cup.

     

    Denmark won none of the previous three meetings (D1 L2), scoring only one goal in the process, Mikkel Damsgaard's free-kick in the semi-final of Euro 2020.

    There have only been five goals scored in the last four meetings between Denmark (two) and England (three) in all competitions.

    Meanwhile, the Three Lions only had 12 touches in Serbia's box in their 1-0 win on MD1, their lowest total of touches in the opposition box in a European Championship game since 2012 against Ukraine (also 12).

    Indeed, the England v Serbia match saw only 11 shots (five for England, six for Serbia) – that tally is the lowest on record in a European Championship match, fewer than every one of the other 322 matches in the competition since 1980.

    England have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group-stage matches at the European Championship finals, the longest such run in the competition's history.

    So, this game is probably not one to expect too many goals in.

    Bellingham a safe bet but can Foden and Kane flourish?

    Jude Bellingham came into Euro 2024 with the pressure and hype ramped right up. He is the face of this England squad, and there is an onus on him to deliver.

    Well, he started on the right foot, scoring in the 13th minute on Sunday to seal that 1-0 victory over Serbia.

    Bellingham displayed the kind of chance-sniffing instinct he has demonstrated so brilliantly during his first season at Real Madrid, getting on the end of Bukayo Saka's deflected cross and powering home with his head.

    Having become the first player to play at two European Championship tournaments before the age of 21, he is also the second England player to score at two major tournaments before turning 21 (also scored vs Iran at the 2022 World Cup), along with Michael Owen, who scored at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    Bellingham was crucial in every aspect against Serbia. He led England for touches (93), while only Declan Rice (81) and Kyle Walker (77) attempted more passes than the 20-year-old, who also competed in a team-leading 16 duels, winning 10 of them, and was successful with two of his three tackles.

    Southgate's system seems designed to allow Bellingham to flourish, though has that come at the expense of Phil Foden?

    The Manchester City star struggled when he did find space against Serbia, though there is perhaps a case that the Premier League Player of the Year is being shoehorned in out of position, too.

    Kane, meanwhile, had just two touches in the opening 45 minutes, before finishing with 24 – exactly half that of Jordan Pickford and the lowest of any England outfielder who started the match. The Bayern Munich striker did have a header tipped onto the crossbar, but that was his only chance of the game. Southgate needs to get him more service.

     

    England average 1.9 goals per game under Southgate at major tournaments, the best ratio of any Three Lions boss, but there could be so much more to come from this star-studded attack.

    Christian the Great (Dane)

    Christian Eriksen scored his maiden goal at the European Championship in Denmark's 1-1 draw with Slovenia.

    At 32 years and 123 days old, he became the oldest Dane to score at the Euros and oldest at a major tournament since 33-year-old Jon Dahl Tomasson at the 2010 World Cup.

    It was a clever run and deft finish from the Manchester United playmaker, who created seven chances from set-pieces in the match, the most by a player in a European Championship fixture since Gary McAllister in 1992 for Scotland against Germany (eight).

     

    Getting Eriksen into dangerous positions has to be the gameplan for Kasper Hjulmand's team, who completed 583 passes and enjoyed an 89 per cent passing accuracy against Slovenia, both record highs for the Danes that Opta has on record (since 1980) at the European Championship.

    Despite their run to the last four three years ago, Denmark have won just one of their last six group stage games at the Euros (D1 L4), beating Russia 4-1 at Euro 2020 to ensure qualification to the round of 16.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Denmark - Rasmus Hojlund 

    Eriksen will be the one England have to stop influencing the match in midfield, but John Stones and Marc Guehi – should they start – will have to be on high alert to keep Man United's Hojlund under wraps, too.

    He only had one shot against Slovenia, which he did get on target, but he is a quality finisher and can certainly do some damage.

    England - Phil Foden

    Foden created just one chance in a subdued performance against Serbia, but there can be no doubting his quality.

    Get him more involved, and in fairness, Foden has to sharpen up when he does get on the ball, and England will surely have far too much for Denmark's defence.

     

  • Premier League opening weekend: Who has the toughest start? Premier League opening weekend: Who has the toughest start?

    The Premier League fixtures were announced on Tuesday, with the new season now just under two months away.

    Holders Manchester City, chasing a fifth consecutive Premier League title, have a tough opener against Chelsea, now managed by Enzo Maresca, at Stamford Bridge on August 18.

    City have won their opening fixture in 12 of the last 13 seasons, though the only exception was a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham in 2021-22.

    Meanwhile, Chelsea will begin a top-flight season against the reigning champions for the first time in 53 years, losing to Arsenal in their last such fixture in 1971 (3-0).

    Manchester United and Fulham will kick off the season at Old Trafford on August 16, with the Red Devils becoming the first Premier League side in history to start eight consecutive seasons on home soil.

    Brentford and West Ham are tipped to have the toughest starts, with their opponents' average rating at 89.6 on Opta's team rating scale – both sides face Pep Guardiola's side in their opening five matches.

    Arsenal and Ipswich Town sit joint-third behind them, with their first five fixtures averaging at 88.7.

    After narrowly missing out to City in the title race in the last two seasons, Arsenal begin their campaign at home to Wolves but face tricky tests against Aston Villa, Tottenham and the Citizens in the following weeks.

    Ipswich begin their first Premier League campaign for 22 years against the side they ended their last one against. They will travel to Anfield for Arne Slot's first match in charge of Liverpool, before hosting the reigning champions a week later.

    The Reds show as having the easiest opening of the 20 sides, with an average opponent rating of 83.7, with a trip to Old Trafford against rivals United the most notable match in their first five fixtures.

    Southampton's return to the top-flight comes at St. James' Park, but among teams to have played in 10 or more Premier League seasons, the Saints have the lowest win ratio (8 per cent), having won just two of their 24 games (D10 L12).

    Everton will kick off their final season at Goodison Park at home against Brighton – the Toffees have started the last two campaigns with defeats on home soil against Chelsea and Fulham, and have not lost three in a row since a run of four between 2008-09 and 2011-12.

    The opening weekend will be rounded off by Tottenham's trip to the other promoted side, Leicester City, who will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run when starting a league campaign at home (they have won six and drawn three of the previous nine).

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.