Rumour Has It: Barcelona coach prioritises Haaland signing, Arsenal linked with Tottenham conqueror

By Sports Desk March 26, 2021

Barcelona have reportedly joined the queue chasing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Dortmund.

The Norway international could be among a number of new recruits at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is leading the club's recruitment this off-season and has identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a key target, according to Diario AS.

Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool.

Koeman is also reportedly eyeing City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon captain Memphis Depay and soon-to-be Liverpool free agent Georginio Wijnaldum.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh from netting a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal by The Sun, which claims the Gunners are looking at the Croatian attacker as an off-season signing.

- Marca claims Arsenal will not be able to sign on-loan Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal as parent club Real Madrid see him as part of their long-term future plans.

Roma want either Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri to be their next coach to replace Paulo Fonseca, according to Messaggero.

- Calciomercato says rumoured Premier League target Franck Kessie has rejected Milan's latest contract extension offer.

- Schalke's California-born 20-year-old Matthew Hoppe is hot property and Valencia are the latest club to join the chase, alongside TottenhamBarcelona, Ajax and PSV, according to AS.

- The Sun reports in-form Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho will sign a new deal with the club.

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    The 92-cap Germany international, who won the World Cup with his country in 2014, also represented Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir during his 17-year career.

    Ozil was under contract with Turkish side Basaksehir until the end of the season, but he has called time on his playing career due to a number of injury issues.

    "After thoughtful consideration, I'm announcing my immediate retirement from professional football," he wrote in a statement on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday.

    "I've had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

    "But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it's become more and more clear that it's time to leave the big stage of football."

    Ozil started his career with Schalke before moving to fellow Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, where his impressive form across three seasons led to a move to Madrid.

    In three campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, the German playmaker won a LaLiga title, a Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana.

    He joined Arsenal in a big-money deal in September 2013 and was arguably the best number 10 in world football for a period.

    Indeed, the 146 chances Ozil created in 2015-16 remains the most ever in a single Premier League campaign.

    After seven and a half years in north London, during which time he won four FA Cups, Ozil joined Fenerbahce on a free transfer after his Arsenal contract was terminated.

    Ozil spent two largely unsuccessful seasons with Fener before making the switch to Basaksehir, where he had been restricted to just four league appearances this season.

    "It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions," Ozil added in his statement.

    "I want to thank my clubs – Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates who have become friends.

    "Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support, through the good times and the bad.

    "Thank you to all my fans who have shown me so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club I was representing.

    "Now I'm looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters, Eda and Ela – but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels. See you soon, Mesut!"

    At international level, Ozil started all seven of Germany's matches in their triumphant World Cup 2014 campaign.

    He scored 23 goals in 92 appearances, the most recent of those caps coming against South Korea at the 2018 World Cup.

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    Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34.

    The former Germany international, who earned 92 caps for his country, also represented Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir during his 17-year career.

    Ozil was under contract with Turkish side Basaksehir until the end of the season, but he has called time on his playing career due to a number of injury issues.

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    He said: "My future? For the moment there is no news, but we will definitely talk soon, because in about two months the season will be over and we will try to discuss [it], but I'm calm.

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    "I feel good in Turin, I do a good job at the club and there is a good relationship with the management, my team-mates and the coach, who has also helped me.

    "I believe all of this is important to feel good and therefore make the right choice for my future."

    Rabiot might well have left Juve last year, when he reportedly came close to joining Manchester United, though a move to Old Trafford fell through.

    After a difficult start to the season, Juve had thrust themselves into the Serie A title race. However, their chances were ended by a 15-point deduction due to financial irregularities.

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    Rabiot added: "Without the 15 points [deduction] we would be able to qualify for the Champions League.

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    "We are focussed on all fronts and clearly the Europa League is something we will try and win.

    "There are still many good teams left, but we want to achieve something important. I'm confident we can win both the Europa League and the Coppa.

    "We are having a complicated season for all the reasons that are known, but I believe that despite this, we are able to win.

    "In fact, to be honest, I can also say that succeeding would give us even greater satisfaction."

    Juve's second game after the international break is the first leg of their Coppa semi-final against Inter, with the Bianconeri having beaten Simone Inzaghi's side at the San Siro in Serie A to round off their pre-break fixtures.

    "The lads in the team have a lot of desire to win, also because it is the historical spirit of Juventus," Rabiot said.

    "The DNA of the club is clear, and we all want to pass it on to those who arrive.

    "If I have to tell the truth, the impression I got on Sunday is, Inter is a team less strong than the one we faced in Turin.

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    Rabiot's initial focus is on France, with Les Bleus facing the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2024 qualifiers over the coming days.

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