Rumour Has It: Lewandowski set on Barcelona move

By Sports Desk March 28, 2022

Barcelona's rebuild under Xavi has shown positive signs, but a new striker appears to be a priority going forward.

Following Sergio Aguero's retirement in December, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived during the January transfer window and quickly excelled under Xavi, but his position may yet come under threat.

Memphis Depay remains the club's top scorer this season, netting 10 times in all competitions, yet one potential signing guarantees goals.

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI SETTLES ON BARCELONA MOVE

Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement with Robert Lewandowski.

Sport claims the Poland striker wants to leave Bayern Munich for the Catalan giants, but they will have to convince Bayern to sell him.

The 33-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season and he is yet to agree to an extension in Bavaria.

Lewandowski has scored 45 goals in all competitions this term, and Barca are reportedly willing to pay as much as €60million to bring him to Camp Nou for next season.

ROUND-UP

– Tottenham are leading the race to sign Memphis Depay, per reports in Mundo Deportivo.

– Napoli have set a price tag of €100million for striker Victor Osimhen, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– The Mirror is reporting Ainsley Maitland-Niles is expected not to be retained by Roma, on loan from Arsenal.

 Inter show continued interest in Torino's Gleison Bremer, with talks in progress with a defender also linked to Milan, per Fabrizio Romano.

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  • Ryan Sessegnon backed to bounce back from hamstring injury nightmare Ryan Sessegnon backed to bounce back from hamstring injury nightmare

    Tottenham defender Ryan Sessegnon has been backed to bounce back from his latest hamstring surgery by a medical expert.

    Sessegnon had an operation on his right hamstring on Monday after the 23-year-old suffered a muscle injury in action for Spurs’ Under-21s on February 17.

    It was the second time Sessegnon has been operated on during the past 12 months, but significantly the previous surgery in July was on his left hamstring.

    The ex-Fulham player has struggled with muscle injuries over recent seasons, although Sessegnon did state in an Instagram post that his left hamstring now feels “strong” and his hope that this operation on his right hamstring would end previous reoccurring issues.

    Sports scientist Dr Rajpal Brar told the PA news agency: “He still has plenty of time right? It is just one of those things with injury cycles or muscular injuries where it can be really tough to get out of, even for more developed players.

    “There has certainly been cases where other players have got into it (injury cycles) and got out of it. It is not by any means a death knell for his career or anything.

    “He has plenty of time and the key will be some methodical rehab, then some good fortune so you have to hope for the best.

    “He has more time to build back and there is also not as much pressure to get back than say a 29- or 30-year-old who is angling to get back to play and get a new contract or whatever it is, whereas it is different for a younger player.”

    Sessegnon has not started for Tottenham since last January after he missed the second half of the 2022-23 campaign with a hamstring injury.

    It was eventually decided to operate on Sessegnon’s left hamstring in July, which sidelined the one-time England Under-21 international for a number of months.

    A cameo against Burnley in the FA Cup last month represented Sessegnon’s first appearance under boss Ange Postecoglou before he was dealt another injury blow when he broke down in a Premier League 2 fixture with West Ham.

    Surgery on Sessegnon’s right hamstring was deemed the best course of action and the full-back has been tipped to return for pre-season by Los Angeles-based Dr Brar, who runs the 3cb Performance rehab centre.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Ryan Sessegnon (@ryansess)

     

    Dr Brar added: “You look at elite footballers, the most common injured muscle is the hamstring and (surgery) is just one of those things where you try to reduce the risk.

    “Surgery is never a guarantee of no re-injury but it is one of those things where you think it might give them a better chance of reducing the re-injury risk.

    “Once you have surgery, you are looking at a 10 to 12-plus weeks timeline depending on all the specifics.

    “The hope is that he can come back for pre-season, get some matches to rebuild that match fitness and match rhythm, then go from there to try to have him ready for the start of next season.”

  • Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag demands apology from Fulham over Bruno Fernandes post Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag demands apology from Fulham over Bruno Fernandes post

    Erik ten Hag has called on Fulham to apologise for appearing to mock Bruno Fernandes.

    Manchester United boss Ten Hag hit out at criticism implying his captain feigned injury after Wednesday’s FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest.

    Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, Ten Hag was asked about a TikTok post from Fulham showing Fernandes going down during last Saturday’s Premier League contest and accompanied by the caption: “So glad he’s ok…”

    The Dutchman reacted angrily, saying: “I didn’t know this, but if they did it I would say it is not right. It is absolutely not right that a club makes such a statement, because it is totally out of order and they were wrong so they should apologise for this.”

    Ten Hag believes Forest were targeting Fernandes and he added: “He is a very passionate football player and he’s a very creative one, he has created the most chances in the Premier League.

    “You see opponents are targeting him and especially after Saturday when he had the knock and they see it, and then I feel the referee should protect him there. They had to change at the start of the game because it was so obvious they were looking for him.”

    Ten Hag expects Fernandes and Raphael Varane, who was also a doubt for Wednesday, to be fit for the derby, but the likes of Harry Maguire and Rasmus Hojlund are likely to stay on United’s lengthy injury list.

    United go into the clash 15 points behind their neighbours and are currently eight adrift of a Champions League qualifying spot.

    City have not lost since early December, winning 16 of their last 18 games, while Ten Hag has been beaten in three of his four games against Pep Guardiola’s men.

    Last season’s trip to the Etihad ended in a 6-3 defeat for United, but Ten Hag believes his team can take confidence from their form, saying: “We are also in a good run and the spirit is very good, we are united, we have the togetherness to make a good game plan.

    “We have done it before against City, lately also against Liverpool. The players are ready for it, the players are looking forward to it, I can smell it when I am around here, when I speak with the players. We’re excited.

    “They have a good team but there are more good teams. They have won in the last season everything so we know that that’s the challenge, but also Liverpool have a very good team and there are more. We like such challenges.”

    New investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe stated his aim last week for United to knock City and Liverpool off their perch within three years.

    “You always want to play against the best so most of the times we feel and you can also see it that the opposition get their best outputs against Manchester United, and maybe this game is the other way around,” said Ten Hag.

    “We know we have to give everything and show really a team performance if you want to get a result. If you do it, it is possible.

    “From all the games we look back, we had the opportunity to win and we won one time but you need a great day. That is also what we know so the players have to give the best performances.”

  • Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal could rely on goal difference to win Premier League Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal could rely on goal difference to win Premier League

    Mikel Arteta knows his free-scoring Arsenal side could rely on goal difference if they are to win the Premier League this season.

    Despite heading into the weekend two points off the top of the table in third, the Gunners now boast the best goal difference in the league.

    Arteta’s side have doled out 6-0, 5-0 and 4-1 wins in their last three league games and have an aggregate of 25-3 since the turn of the year.

    That sees them ahead of title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and, with a three-way title race that could go down to the wire, Arteta believes everything will count.

    “Yes, for sure,” he replied when asked if the goalscoring record will be important by the end of the season.

    “First of all you have to earn the right to win the games and then we want to be ruthless and efficient in front of goal. Lately I think we’ve been really good.

    “In the last 15 or 20 minutes against Newcastle we could maybe have done a bit more, and we have to continue to do that especially when you bring the subs in because they can re-energise the team and continue at a really high level. It’s something that we want to continue to do.”

    Arteta will back his side to continue a good run in front of goal as they face bottom club Sheffield United on Monday night, with the Blades having shipped a league-high 66 goals this season.

    “With every team we look at the weaknesses and the strengths, and we look to take the game where we want,””Arteta said of facing Chris Wilder’s side.

    “I’m saying this because I know that team very well. I analysed it many years ago and I learnt from Chris’ teams and I’m telling you it’s going to be a really tough match.


     
    “They are a really difficult team to beat. I’ve watched their last four or five games now. With the City game, against Villa the game took a different route, but they are extremely well-coached.

     

    “I know Chris Wilder really well and I admire a lot of what he does with his teams. It will be Monday night football and it’s gonna be a tough night.”

    Arsenal could welcome back Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko for the game after the pair both recovered from injury.

    Jurrien Timber will not travel, but is closing in on a comeback from a serious knee injury suffered on his Premier League debut in August.

    Jorginho will be hoping to keep his place in the side, too, with Arsenal planning on to open contract negotiations with the Italy midfielder following a string of standout performances.

    The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, but the PA news agency understands that a one-year deal with the option of a further year is planned as an opening point for talks.

    Jorginho joined Arsenal from London rivals Chelsea last January and has so far made 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring once and put in a man-of-the-match display against Newcastle last weekend.

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