Xavi wants Dembele to stay at Barcelona amid Newcastle United rumours

By Sports Desk November 26, 2021

Xavi wants Ousmane Dembele to stay at Barcelona amid rumours of interest from Newcastle United.

The Premier League side, bankrolled after their takeover by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium, are expected to spend heavily during the January transfer window.

Barca winger Dembele is said to be a target, with a report in Sport on Friday suggesting the player's agent, Moussa Sissoko, is prepared to listen to offers as he is not happy with the Catalans' new contract offer.

The France international, a €105million signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, has made only two Champions League appearances this season due to injury problems but is in the squad for Saturday's LaLiga game at Villarreal.

Dembele's time in Spain has been blighted by fitness problems, but he remains a dangerous player when available. Since his arrival, Dembele has managed 30 goals and 20 assists in 120 games, a total bettered by only four players, while his average of 1.9 chances created per 90 minutes is second only to Lionel Messi in that time among players to make more than 14 appearances.

Head coach Xavi has made it clear that Dembele is firmly in his plans.

 

"I had an individual chat with him," Xavi said on Friday. "I made it clear to him how important he was for not only me this season, but for the future.

"It depends on him. Hopefully, he can renew because he's a player capable of making a difference in the next few years."

Xavi added on rumours suggesting Barca could also cash in on some midfield players: "We need them. They're players who are playing and none of them is for sale at all."

Barca beat Espanyol 1-0 in Xavi's first match in charge before a goalless draw with Benfica in the Champions League this week.

Their first away game under the former midfielder pits them against a side who have failed to win any of their previous 24 league matches with the Blaugrana.

Xavi has been impressed with his players' application but admits taking their chances is a concern, Barca having posted figures of 1.56 and 1.39 expected goals against Espanyol and Benfica without scoring from open play.

"I'm really happy with the team's reaction. We win a lot of duels, we're pressing well. I think in attack we have to be more daring," he said.

"We have players who are very young on the inside and have to dare more. I went through it at that age. There's a goal – I can see it in training.

"In general I'm quite satisfied with what I see on the pitch. We want to subdue the opposition and I think we're succeeding, but we have to score to win games."

Related items

  • New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise' New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise'

    Nick Cushing is looking forward to New York City FC's next home game against San Jose Earthquakes on Friday and asks the fans to "build an atmosphere".

    NYCFC are on a four-match winning run and beat derby rivals New York Red Bulls 2-1 in their most recent outing at Citi Field.

    That run means they sit in third in the Eastern Conference and are eight points behind leaders Inter Miami.

    NYCFC have the opportunity to close the gap to second place with Cincinnati not in action this weekend, and Cushing is hopeful the fans can give the team an added boost as they try to maintain their recent winning streak.

    "I love playing in front of our fans," Cushing said.

    "I love playing at home. It is the last game before we get a bye week and an international break, and it's Friday night under the lights.

    "The Red Bull game was amazing because of the atmosphere, the crowd, the amount of fans we got in, and the way that we played.

    "We just want to make sure that we deliver a performance every game that makes people want to come to the stadium. A performance that makes people excited and makes them want to make a noise and build an atmosphere.

    "We encourage fans to be super noisy for us because it helps us. We want to keep adding wins. I'm excited, and I want to make sure that we start the game in a way that makes us really work together – ourselves and the fans – and then go and get another win."

    San Jose, meanwhile, sit second from bottom of the Western Conference, eight points off a playoff spot.

    They have not won any of their last three outings, though their last win did come on the road when they beat Colorado Rapids 3-2 on May 12.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    NYCFC – Tayvon Gray

    Gray has recorded the assist on the winning goal in each of NYCFC's last two matches.

    It is the first time in his career that he has recorded an assist in consecutive MLS matches as he had recorded just one assist in his previous 33 games dating back to September 2022.

    San Jose Earthquakes – Cristian Espinoza

    Espinoza recorded his eighth assist of the season in San Jose's draw with Austin on Saturday, setting up a goal for Jeremy Ebobisse.

    Ebobisse is the seventh different player Espinoza has recorded an assist for this season – the only player he has set up twice is Amahl Pellegrino.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK CITY FC WIN

    New York City have won five of their six all-time meetings with the Earthquakes (D1), including the last four in a row. NYCFC has scored multiple goals in all five wins, including scoring 10 times in their home matches against the 'Quakes (all wins).

    Indeed, NYCFC have won seven of their last eight matches (L1), including the last four in a row, and could equal the longest regular-season winning streak in club history (five straight in 2019).

    Meanwhile, San Jose have won only two of their last 48 regular-season road matches against Eastern Conference opposition (D11 L35) dating back to May 2012. The Earthquakes have managed to draw each of their last three road matches against Eastern teams, including a 1-1 draw at Nashville in April.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    NYCFC – 59.5%

    Draw – 21.2%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 19.3%

  • Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America

    Edinson Cavani has announced his retirement from international football, meaning he will not represent Uruguay at the Copa America.

    The 37-year-old is Uruguay’s second-most capped player with 136 appearances, and their second-highest scorer (58) behind only Luis Suarez.

    Cavani made his debut in a friendly draw with Colombia in February 2008 and was part of the team that won the 2011 Copa America title.

    However, the striker has not made an appearance for his national team since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when they were knocked out in the group stages.

    In a post on social media, Cavani said: "My beloved Celeste, I just want to thank you for every lesson you gave me under your process.

    "I won't take long. Today my words are few but profound. Thanks to every single person who was a part of this road over the years. I was and always will be blessed to have worn this jersey representing what I love most in this world, my country.

    "They were without doubt so many wonderful years. I have a thousand things to say, tell and remember, but I want to dedicate today to this new stage of my career and give everything I've got to where I'm supposed to be now.

    "I have decided to step aside but with my heart still beating, as it was when it was my turn to take to the pitch wearing this beautiful jersey. Sending a strong embrace to all of my fans."

    Uruguay will begin their Copa America campaign against Panama on June 23.

  • Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa

    Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes Unai Emery has done a "remarkable job" and hopes they can maintain the new level they have reached.

    Emery joined Villa in November 2022 when the club was in a relegation fight, and led them to a seventh-place finish, securing qualification to the Europa Conference League.

    In his first full season in charge, the Spaniard oversaw another impressive campaign as the Villans finished fourth in the Premier League, ensuring Champions League football for the first time since 1982-83.

    Villa also reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League after seeing off Ajax and Lille in the knockout stages, but were knocked out by eventual champions, Olympiacos.

    On Monday, Villa confirmed that Emery had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2029.

    Yorke, who spent nine years at Villa between 1989 and 1998, says the club have finally found the right balance.

    "They've got good backers, good owners, invest heavily in their team and that shows what they want, but they've got also you need a correct manager and I think Unai Emery has come into that category," Yorke told Stats Perform.

    "Villa is a tremendous football club. Emery has done a remarkable job to get Villa in the Champions League, a bit like Newcastle last season in many respects.

    "Now the expectation is can he now really show what kind of manager he is? Now the [board] and the chairman will back him, bringing new players, bringing players to enhance that team, and they are going to try and maintain that [status as a top club].

    "If he does that next year and qualifies for the Champions League again, plus probably win a cup, I think he then shows what really a true fantastic manager he is for Villa.

    "To achieve their goal this season, I think the chairman, the fans, everybody will be thrilled that Villa is in the Champions League next year."

    Despite their strong season, Yorke admits that Villa will need to think about adding to their squad to cope with the demands of playing in the Champions League.

    "You have got to say to the owners, listen I need another three, four, five players to come in because now you're playing with the big boys, you're going from Champions League to the Premier League to the Champions League with the big boys," he added.

    "You need a squad to be going into these games. The players will find it totally different because they're not used to that.

    "They have got get used to that very quickly, but you've got an experienced manager in that type of way of playing [in Europe as well as domestically]. It will be new for Villa.

    "It will be interesting to see how they handle that type of story going forward, how they handle the Champions League.

    "It takes a really unique manager to then get a team advancing out of that group, then into the latter stage from the round of 16.

    "[If Emery does that], now you're showing your true colours, but I think they've got to add maybe three or four new players to the squad that will help them to make sure that they can maintain [a challenge] on both fronts."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.