Rumour Has It: Messi set for Monday PSG medical, Inter eye Man Utd's Martial

By Sports Desk August 09, 2021

Lionel Messi has officially left Barcelona following Sunday's press conference and farewell.

Paris Saint-Germain have been widely linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The Argentina international admitted that a move to PSG was a possibility but said nothing was confirmed.

TOP STORY - MONDAY PSG MEDICAL FOR MESSI

Messi is scheduled to have a medical with PSG on Monday before he completes his free transfer move from Barcelona, according to L'Equipe.

The Argentina international bid farewell to Barcelona on Sunday and the Parisians appear the frontrunners to sign him.

The report says PSG and Messi have almost agreed to all the final details of the contract, with ESPN claiming he will be unveiled at a special ceremony at the Eiffel Tower this week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter are targeting Anthony Martial as they look to replace Romelu Lukaku, who is expected to join Chelsea, reports The Sun. Manchester United are believed to be ready to sell him for £50million. Inter want Martial initially on a season-long loan.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Jose Mourinho's Roma are plotting a move to sign French striker Alexandre Lacazette from Arsenal. The stumbling block may be that Lacazette wants to play Champions League football, which Roma cannot offer this season.

- Arsenal are lining up a move for Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic if they cannot land Tammy Abraham from Chelsea, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. The Serbian scored 21 league goals for Fiorentina last term.

- Arsenal and Newcastle have agreed to a fee of £25m for English midfielder Joe Willock, claims Sky Sports. Willock spent the second half of last season on loan with the Magpies.

- The Sun claims that Southampton are trying to lure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back to the club on loan from Liverpool.

 

Related items

  • Rangnick outlines transfer strategy as Man Utd boss warns against unrealistic expectations Rangnick outlines transfer strategy as Man Utd boss warns against unrealistic expectations

    Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United should focus on signing younger players as the interim Red Devils manager outlined his transfer strategy.

    Rangnick will take charge of his first match when United welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford in Premier League action on Sunday.

    The 63-year-old has been appointed until the end of the season, with former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick set to move into a consultancy role until 204.

    Rangnick has earned a reputation for identifying young talent during his work with Red Bull-owned clubs Leipzig and Salzburg and as the January window approaches, he provided an insight into how he operates.

    "One does not exclude the other. The team has, with Mason [Greenwood] and Marcus [Rashford], two players who are homegrown and have come from the youth ranks," said Rangnick after United signing 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and 28-year-old Raphael Varane ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, having also lured Jadon Sancho, 21, to Manchester.

    "It's about recruitment but also at a club like Man United, with a top academy, we should make sure that every year we have one or two players who are good enough to make it into the first team.

    "On the other hand, with signing players for transfer fees, it's a question of what you want. If you pay big money for a 30-year-old and he's still good enough to make you successful, I don't mind that.

    "But you have to be aware the money you invest is only being invested in the potential success over the next two or three years, you won't get any return.

    "This is where I always think it always makes more sense to sign a player at 21 or 22 and if you then have to pay a big fee, at least you have the chance to develop him into a player who is worth even more."

    At Leipzig, after spells with the likes of Hoffenheim, Hannover and Schalke, Rangnick – known for his high pressing – took charge of the team in two different spells, having initially joined parent company Red Bull as director of football in 2012.

    Under Rangnick's leadership, Leipzig had gone from the regional league to Champions League qualification by 2017.

    Rangnick – who will become only the sixth German to manage in the Premier League – was promoted to the head of sport and development for Red Bull in 2019, before eventually joining Lokomotiv Moscow earlier this year.

    Rangnick has never managed outside of his native Germany, taking charge of five different teams in the German Bundesliga in his career. The last side he managed was Leipzig, winning promotion with them from 2.Bundesliga in 2015-16 before returning to the club for the 2018-19 top-flight season and leading them to third place.

    Across 294 Bundesliga matches, Rangnick has a winning percentage of 41. He first took charge in the top flight in May 1999 at Stuttgart, losing 2-0 to Bayern Munich, while his last game in charge in the competition came 20 years later in May 2019 at Leipzig, a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen.

    His best top-flight finish as a coach is second, achieved in 2004-05 with Schalke, a side he took over mid-season and led to a runners-up position and also to the final of that season's DFB-Pokal, ultimately losing 2-1 to Bayern.

    Compared to countryman and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp due to their high-octane brand of football, Rangnick addressed the comparisons.

    "Well my football is definitely not a slow waltz!," said Rangnick, whose United have already been linked with Leipzig pair Christopher Nkunku and Amadou Haidara. "I am not that far apart from Jurgen in terms of our ideas about a style of football. That’s no secret.

    "But you have to be aware of what kind of players you have and where they stand. I cannot ask things of them that they can’t deliver right now.

    "I have to take them and accept where they currently are. They are experienced and smart enough to know that. I cannot turn the players we have into the pressing monsters I want them to be within two, three or four weeks.

    "The same happened to Jurgen when he came in the middle of the season and they finished eighth or ninth. Liverpool had a lot of injuries in that time - muscle injuries - because they were not used to that kind of training. So we have to be smart."

    United are seventh in the Premier League standings and 14 points adrift of leaders and defending champions Manchester City.

    The Red Devils have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest ever such run, after a 21-game streak ending in March 1959.

    Rangnick added: "I am more than optimistic, but I also have to be realistic. Five weeks ago, our team lost 5-0 against Liverpool - and it could have been a lot more if we are honest.

    "Against City it was 2-0 - but it could also have been more. It was important to win the point at Chelsea but the performance? I don't know. They had 24 shots on goal and we had three.

    "So right now, to say I will challenge the top Premier League managers in the next few weeks or months, is not realistic. Right now my focus is on Crystal Palace and then on Young Boys, then Norwich, then Brighton and Hove Albion and then Brentford.

    "The games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City will be in March and April - and that’s when I will answer the question about challenging them."

  • Der Klassiker referee Zwayer explains controversial moments in Bayern's Dortmund win Der Klassiker referee Zwayer explains controversial moments in Bayern's Dortmund win

    Der Klassiker referee Felix Zwayer explained the controversial moments in Bayern Munich's 3-2 win over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.

    Dortmund succumbed to defeat at home to defending champions and leaders Bayern, with the second half seeing controversial decisions go in favour of Die Roten.

    Firstly, Marco Reus' protests were ignored when the Dortmund man was tripped in the Bayern box by Lucas Hernandez, before the visitors got their winner in similarly contentious fashion.

    Mats Hummels threw himself between two players in an attempt to reach a corner delivery, but he appeared to start stumbling and ultimately fell into the ball with his arm first.

    While replays showed Hummels was not looking at the ball, seemingly rendering it accidental, Zwayer pointed to the spot following a VAR check and Robert Lewandowski subsequently scored what proved to be the winning goal.

    Zwayer offered an insight into his decisions, telling Sky Germany: "It was contact in the upper body area, which is allowed to happen even at high speed.

    "The situation is not black and white, I decided against the penalty kick because of my line [of sight]. It was not necessary for me because I had a clear view.

    "Again, in the situation with the handball on Hummels I had a factual perception. In the other situation I had a complete view, if the video assistant had a second shot - like an arm that was out - he would have given me that on the ear."

    On the Hummels incident, Zwayer added: "The situation was a standard, corner kick. I see in the running game that it's about a touch by Hummels. In the game it was not clear whether the arm went to the ball.

    "I checked it after Cologne, then the arm position was checked. In the end, he clearly deflected the ball with his elbow. I came to the decision in the end that it was a penalty."

    It comes after Dortmund star Jude Bellingham questioned the integrity of Zwayer in a remarkable post-match rant.

    Bellingham suggested it was the standard of refereeing to be expected from someone who had "match-fixed" before, alluding to controversy earlier in Zwayer's career.

    However, Zwayer has never been found to have fixed a game.

    In 2005, Zwayer was caught up in a scandal that centred around fellow referee Robert Hoyzer, who was found to have fixed 2.Bundesliga matches.

    In one match, Zwayer was Hoyzer's assistant and was accused of taking a €300 bribe before he and three others turned Hoyzer in.

    Zwayer faced a German FA (DFB) disciplinary over the matter in 2006. In December 2014, German newspaper Die Zeit published documents that showed Zwayer was banned for six months, information that did not emerge at the time.

    Dortmund head coach Marco Rose was sent off after BVB conceded a penalty to Bayern on Saturday.

    Having lost their last four matches at home to Bayern – their joint longest losing streak at home to a team, Dortmund are second and four points off the pace through 14 matches.

    "The first one [penalty], I still see it the same way. It would be a shame if we talk too much about refereeing decisions here now," Rose told reporters. "I saw both situations again, and now I can be accused, rightly of course, of wearing black and yellow glasses. But, for me, the situation with Marco Reus is different. Because Marco is clearly in front of the ball, the opponent not only pushes him from behind as the referee said and perceived, but he also runs him over.

    "And there is also frustration. You can see that in the way he falls. And so, for me, it is a clear penalty. And I have seen the second situation several times. It starts with Thomas Muller's hand on Mats Hummels' shoulder. Mats tries to protect himself a bit, which is natural, which is very natural, stumbles, doesn't see the ball anymore, dives somewhere and then the ball falls on his hand. In the first situation there was no video evidence.

    "The referee even said that he had received confirmation from Cologne that his perception was correct. This statement is incredible and not very comprehensible to me. And then, in the second situation, you look at yourself accordingly just with pity and bitterness. We have to talk about it very, very much. And of course, it also makes you emotional, that's clear."

  • Premier League data dive: Chelsea run dealt Hammer blow, Reds' late shows and Newcastle finally win Premier League data dive: Chelsea run dealt Hammer blow, Reds' late shows and Newcastle finally win

    After a grand total of one day without Premier League football, the action returned on Saturday and there was a change at the top of the Premier League.

    That's right, Chelsea slipped up again and handed the initiative to Manchester City and Liverpool, both of whom were victorious later in the day.

    There was also a change at the bottom as Newcastle United left the foot of the table – at least until Sunday – meaning there are three sides all on 10 points in the relegation places.

    Without any further ado, let's look at the best of the day's action with a pick of Opta's post-match facts…

    West Ham 3-2 Chelsea: Blues dealt Hammer blow

    Chelsea are off the Premier League summit as a result of their defeat at London rivals West Ham, who continue to confound doubters under David Moyes.

    They found themselves behind at the break but came on stronger in the second half, becoming the first team to beat Chelsea after the Blues had been leading at half-time since Wolves in December 2018 – that was a run of 48 games unbeaten when ahead at the halfway mark of a game.

    Further to that, it was only the third time in Thomas Tuchel's 53 games in charge that Chelsea have conceded more than one goal in a game.

    One of West Ham's goalscorers surely felt confident – after all, Manuel Lanzini's goal was his 11th in London derbies, or 48 per cent of his Premier League total (23), the highest ratio of any player in the competition's history with at least 20 goals scored.

    There was also a first to celebrate. Arthur Masuaku opened his West Ham account in his 96th match, with the left-back's momentous goal also proving to be the winner.

    The win moved West Ham to within six points of their visitors, with the Hammers fourth.

    Watford 1-3 Manchester City: Hornets are cannon fodder

    Even if Pep Guardiola's City did not arrive in fine form, few would have given Watford a chance here – and the match went just as most were expecting.

    Watford's record against City was woeful at best already – now they've conceded 41 goals in 13 meetings with them in the Premier League, the most they have let in against any single side in the competition.

    Similarly, the 3.2 goals per game they concede on average in this fixture is the most by one side against another among all Premier League fixtures played at least 10 times.

    That one-sided nature also reflects on Guardiola, who has won all 10 of his managerial games against Watford in all competitions by an aggregate score of 42-4, his best 100 per cent winning record over any side.

    City are now unbeaten across their past 19 meetings with Watford (W17 D2, all competitions), netting 62 goals in this run – they've only ever had a longer unbeaten run once before against a specific team (22 games against Norwich from 1965-1981).

    Wolves 0-1 Liverpool: Origi comes up trumps as Reds steal it at the death… again

    It wasn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but Liverpool got the job done to move above Chelsea and stay just a point behind new leaders City.

    Only just, though.

    Divock Origi spared Jurgen Klopp's blushes with a stoppage-time winner, the Belgian continuing his habit of being a decisive and useful option off the bench.

    That was his 10th goal as a substitute in the Premier League for the Reds, a club record.

    Liverpool have now scored the winning goal after the 90th minute on 39 occasions in the Premier League, at least 13 more than any other team.

    There was also good news for Mohamed Salah – he didn't score, but his assist for Origi's winner ensured he's been involved in a goal in each of his last 13 top-flight appearances, a record only Jamie Vardy (15) has ever surpassed.

    Newcastle United 1-0 Burnley: Howe's about that?

    At long last, every team in this season's Premier League now has at least a one in the wins column – Newcastle defeated Burnley at St James' Park to finally get off the mark.

    Newcastle had not won any of their previous 15 matches in all competitions, losing seven and drawing the other eight.

    Additionally, it was only their second clean sheet of the season, the other also coincidentally coming against Burnley in the EFL Cup back in August.

    Of course it was also Eddie Howe's first win since being appointed by the club, with Callum Wilson – who also played under the manager at Bournemouth – delivering the goods.

    It was Wilson's 43rd Premier League goal for Howe, a record only Joshua King (48) has bettered for him.

    While it remains to be see if Howe is able to keep Newcastle up, there's no doubt he's got them playing on the front foot more, as they are averaging 15 shots (five on target) each game compared to 11 (three) prior to his arrival in 2021-22.

    Southampton 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Saints give it up

    Just when Southampton thought they had the points in the bag, Brighton pulled it back.

    Brighton were down to 10 men, having had Leandro Trossard taken off injured after using all their substitutes, but Neal Maupay struck deep into stoppage time to seal a draw.

    That was Brighton's fourth (of eight) away Premier League goal to have been scored in the 89th minute or later this term, and the third netted by Maupay.

    Brighton remain winless in 10 league games, their longest top-flight run since 1983, but they celebrated it like a win – for Southampton, it felt like a defeat.

    Saints have now dropped 71 points from winning positions in the league under Ralph Hasenhuttl, 15 more than any other team since his December 2018 appointment.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.