International News - Issue 218



Lampard Joins City On Loan
Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will be part of Manchester City's Premier League squad for the new season on a six-month loan from MLS expansion team New York City FC. City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed the deal Saturday after the club's International Challenge Cup defeat on penalties against Olympiakos at the University of Minnesota. "From next week, on Wednesday, he'll start working with our team," Pellegrini said. "At the moment, he will start working with our squad because he is a member of the squad. He will be in the fight for a position. We have a very good team. He is one player more. We have a lot of competition, especially in the Champions League, so he is very important to our team." Lampard signed a two-year contact with the New York club - owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees - last month. The MLS team is scheduled to begin play next year. The 36-year-old Lampard is Chelsea's all-time top scorer.

Chelsea’s Oriol Romeu will spend a second season away from Stamford Bridge after the Blues confirmed a loan move to Stuttgart. The Spanish midfielder, who joined Chelsea in 2011, spent last term with Valencia. And the 22-year-old has again been farmed out by boss Jose Mourinho to continue his development, this time with German side Stuttgart. Romeu last month put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the west London outfit, leading Chelsea fans to believe he would form part of Mourinho’s plans for the coming campaign, possibly at the expense of John Obi Mikel. But Mourinho’s plans for the young midfielder appear to be more long-term.

Liverpool and Manchester United’s hopes of signing Marco Reus have been dealt a blow after Borussia Dortmund insisted the midfielder will not be leaving the Bundesliga club this summer. Reus has been linked with a move to the Premier League duo in recent weeks, with German giants Bayern Munich also said to be keen on his signature. But Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said the club are working to tie the 25-year-old down to a long-term contract.

Arsenal are believed to have made an enquiry over the availability of Manchester United target Mats Hummels. According to the Mirror, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is ready to challenge United for the centre-half, with Thomas Vermaelen’s departure from the Emirates on the cards. Borussia Dortmund have repeatedly stated this summer that Hummels is not for sale, but Arsenal believe a £30m bid could test their resolve. Wenger is looking to bolster his defence with club captain Vermaelen expected to leave before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Man United have been linked with the Belgian international, but Spanish giants Barcelona are also keen and are expected to make a £10m move imminently. Should United miss out on Vermaelen and then see the Gunners pip them to Hummels, boss Louis van Gaal will have to quickly identify further targets if he is to replace Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic this summer.

Liverpool fans flocked to social networks to voice their frustrations with Glen Johnson after the 3-1 International Champions Cup defeat to Manchester United. The Reds took the lead courtesy of a Steven Gerrard penalty when Phil Jones hauled down Raheem Sterling in the box, but Wayne Rooney levelled before Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard sealed the contest for Louis van Gaal’s men.  However, despite it being a pre-season warm-up, Liverpool fans were vociferous in their panning of the out-of-sorts Johnson, and didn’t hold back with their comments on Twitter about the England right-back.

Sunderland are in negotiations with Manchester City to sign midfielder Jack Rodwell. The 23-year-old England international is on Wearside for talks and to have a medical. Reports suggest he will join Sunderland for a fee in the region of £10m. Rodwell joined City from Everton for £12m in 2012 but has made only 25 appearances, after struggling with a hamstring injury and falling behind other midfielders in the pecking order. Rodwell would be the second high-profile Englishman to leave Etihad Stadium this summer after Gareth Barry signed for Everton. Having failed Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules last season, City must name at least five home-grown players in their 21-man Champions League squad this season.

Footballers often get a bad press at times, but a gesture from Everton’s Steven Naismith deserves as much, if not more, publicity than the misdemeanours of those splashed across the front pages. The Scottish international, who is heavily involved in charity work, has decided to give something back to fans across Merseyside by sending match tickets to unemployed supporters. The 27-year-old said: “I come from Ayrshire in the West of Scotland and spent a lot of my life in Glasgow – a city that, at times, has suffered from high unemployment. Liverpool has a similar history and I am aware that, through no fault of their own, there are many unemployed in Liverpool trying hard to find a job and may not be able to afford a ticket. I thought this might be a small gesture to help those in that situation to enjoy a day out at one of our league matches. Hopefully it can bring some joy to many people. I have asked the Jobcentre Plus if they could give the tickets to different job centres across the city each week and select people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, are trying hard to find employment and who would enjoy watching a Premier League football match. Every day I feel very fortunate for the opportunities and lifestyle my job as a footballer has afforded my family and me and also to be in the position where I can help the community in some small way.”

Southampton striker Pablo Osvaldo will finalise a loan move to Inter Milan this week – and could start training with the Serie A side as early as Thursday. The forward arrived in Milan to negotiate terms of the transfer on Monday and, according to Italian publication Gazetta dello Sport, the 28-year-old will undergo a medical which should be completed before Thursday. Osvaldo’s future at Southampton has been in doubt ever since he was involved in a training ground altercation with teammate Jose Fonte last season, which resulted in The Saints’ record-signing spending the rest of the campaign on loan at Serie A champions Juventus. Osvaldo will now be loaned out to Inter for the 2014/15 season, after which time, the Italian giants will be able to make the move permanent for about £5.5m next year.

Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero insists he is not ready for retirement just yet as he looks to prolong his decorated career. Italy’s second all-time league top goal-scorer spent 19 glittering years with the Old Lady, winning six Scudetto titles, the Italian Cup as well as the Champions League, before spending the last two years turning out for Australian League side Sydney FC. Despite being 39 years old, and his contract in Australia running to an end, the veteran striker says he wishes to continue playing, as he prepares to captain an Australian All Stars team against his former club Juventus this Saturday.

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will miss the start of the Premier League this season, coach Louis van Gaal has revealed. The star frontman only returns to training this week at his club after a busy spell with the Netherlands as he helped his nation to a third-place finish at this year’s Fifa World Cup in Brazil. Yet the Red Devils coach said the Dutchman will not be available in next week’s friendly against Emirates Cup winners Valencia – van Gaal’s first match in charge at Old Trafford – nor for the start of the upcoming league campaign. "He won't play in the Premier League either. When a player has been on holiday for three weeks they have to train. I'm sorry but players have to train and Robin needs a full training regime behind him before he can play again.” Van Gaal said that despite the criticism, he knows how to handle his players. "People can criticise me for my decision but I know what to do with players who have had three weeks' holiday," he said.

French winger Samir Nasri has hinted at an imminent decision which could see the 27-year-old retire from international football. Nasri, who missed selection for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup – with current coach France Didier Deschamps claiming he does not play the same for his country as at club level – is widely expected to hang up his boots for France after revealing he has made a decision over his international future, which he will announce soon.

Real Madrid have signed Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Levante on a six-year deal. Navas was a standout performer at the 2014 World Cup as Costa Rica reached the quarter-finals.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has raised questions regarding Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard’s loan move to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. Wenger feels the English player’s move to City is a means for the club to adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Manuel Pellegrini’s side were punished last season by UEFA for over-spending, and were dealt with a £49 million (R878 million) fine, and will only be allowed to select a 21-man squad (instead of the normal 25-man team) for Champions Leagues games this campaign, with eight of the squad members having to be home-grown players. "Is it a way to get around the fair play? I don't know," Wenger told the press. "At the moment the players they sign cannot play until next year so they will register them in the other clubs and can get out on loan.” The English champions are part-owners of Lampard’s new Club, New York City FC, and own Australian club Melbourne City FC as well, and Wenger feels this is a ploy to capture players back on loan from their various clubs across the globe. "It looks like all of these 'City' clubs will feed the main club Manchester City - I heard they want to buy five clubs all over the world,” said the Gunners coach. Wenger said his team will not repeat their rival’s antics, and will remain focused on running their own club in London. "We are happy to dedicate the money to just run our club - there is not a lot of surplus to run other clubs," he said.

Patrice Beaumelle resigned as Zambia coach on Sunday, leaving the country’s national side just two months before they begin their African Nations Cup qualifying campaign. Beaumelle had taken over in October from fellow Frenchman Herve Renard, and is now expected to rejoin him as assistant after Renard was named as the new coach of the Ivory Coast on Thursday. The 36-year-old Beaumelle had no previous managerial experience when he replaced Renard. He took charge of 10 matches over the last nine months with three wins, three draws and four defeats. Zambia must now find a replacement in time for their opening Group F qualifier against Mozambique at home on Sept. 5 as they begin their bid to qualify for the finals in Morocco.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has been appointed as one of the assistant coaches to manager Guus Hiddink in charge of the Netherlands. “Guus Hiddink (67), Danny Blind (52) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (37) forms the technical staff of the Dutch team,” read a statement on the Dutch FA’s official website. Van Nistelrooy, who scored 35 goals in 70 internationals for the Oranje, will work alongside Blind as Hiddink’s right-hand men, with Blind taking over the head coach role after the 2018 World Cup in Russia as part of a predetermined succession plan.

Barcelona forward Neymar expects to be back to full fitness for his Spanish club ahead of the start of the upcoming La Liga season. The Selecao star was stretched off the field in Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final encounter against Colombia after fracturing his vertebra in a tackle with opposition defender Camilo Zuniga. Having undergone meticulous treatment since his injury on 4 July, Neymar feels he will be back to his best as his club continues their preparations for the upcoming campaign. “I am recovering from the injury day by day,” the 22-year-old said while participating in various promotional events in Japan. “I’ll be coming back to Barcelona 100% fit." Neymar is set to rejoin his Barca team mates in preseason training on 5 August, and is expected to be fit for the annual Joan Gamper Trophy match – a traditional preseason friendly played by Barcelona in honour of their former president – which is scheduled for Monday, 18 August against Mexican club Leon FC. Neymar was recently criticised by new Brazilian coach Dunga for focussing too much on his off-the-field image rather than matters on the pitch.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has revealed that interest from Italian club Inter Milan pleases him, yet has refused to speculate whether or not he will leave Old Trafford before the end of the transfer window. ‘Chicharito’ made just 24 League appearances last season, mostly from the substitute’s bench, and has long-since been linked with a move away from Manchester, with many believing the talented Mexican is in search of more regular game-time. Hernandez was included in United’s squad which is currently on tour of the USA, yet has made just two brief substitute appearances for the Red Devils thus far in their preseason friendlies. Serie A club Inter Milan are the latest side showing interest in the 26-year-old, who is happy to have been noticed by the Milan club, yet refused to reveal whether a switch to Milan is on the cards. “I know there is much interest in me from the Italian club and I thank them for this,” Hernandez told Corriere dello Sport. “There are also other teams and everything obviously is pleasing, but right now I belong to Manchester United and it would be disrespectful to mention other teams even though I do not know what will happen once the tour of the US concludes.”

Everton have signed Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku for a club record £28m. The 21-year-old Belgian World Cup forward, who scored 16 goals on loan at Everton last season, has signed a five-year contract at Goodison Park. Everton boss Roberto Martinez said: "This signing is not just important for this season. It is a significant day in the history of this football club." Lukaku joined Chelsea from Anderlecht for £18m in August 2011 but played only 15 games for the club. After signing his contract at Goodison, Lukaku said: "I'm 21, I need to be playing in a good team. I needed to be in a place that felt right. I decided very quickly I wanted to come back. This is the place I belong." Lukaku's transfer breaks the previous record of £15m for Marouane Fellaini when he joined Everton from Standard Liege in 2008. It was originally thought Everton would pay £23.7m for Lukaku before the club revealed the £28m fee. Chelsea believe the transfer puts them in a strong position to comply with Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who has now brought in £68m after the sale of Lukaku and defender David Luiz, said: "He wanted to play for Chelsea but wanted to be the first-choice striker. That's very difficult to promise. Everton made an important offer and financial fair play is something that is always behind the thoughts of the board. This leaves Chelsea in a great position."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed that he had told former team mate Luis Suarez that he was “too good” to sign for Premier League rivals Arsenal. Suarez, who signed for Spanish giants Barcelona earlier this month, had been linked with a move to the Gunners, and his former skipper was pleased the striker did not end up with their London-based opponents. “I would have been really sad and disappointed to see Luis go to Arsenal,” Gerrard told the Daily Telegraph. “With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal. I said if you score 30 goals for us and win the PFA player of the year, the press player of the year – I knew he was going to win them – I told him Real or Barcelona will come for you.” Gerrard said he doesn’t blame Suarez for joining Barca – a club he had always spoken of joining – and was glad the forward had heeded his warning of not joining Arsene Wenger’s side. “His [Su├írez’s] wife is from Barcelona and I don’t think you can begrudge a player like that, who has worked so hard for his dream,” the English midfielder revealed. “You can’t go against him when he says he is leaving for Barcelona. His dream from the first day he came was to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. “Last summer when he was out in the cold and training on his own that’s the conversation I had with him. I said: ‘Don’t go to Arsenal’.

Mali midfielder Seydou Keita has labelled Real Madrid defender Pepe as “worthless” after a recent spat in a club friendly, which brought up a racial-abuse incident from the past. Keita, who recently joined Serie A outfit Roma, refused to shake the defender’s hand when the Giallorossi and Los Blancos lined up for a friendly fixture on Tuesday night. Immediately after the pre-game traditional handshakes, Keita threw a water bottle at his opponent, sparking a heated exchange between the two sides. Following the incident, the midfielder, who had faced Pepe on numerous occasions during his four-year stint at Barcelona, took to Twitter to explain himself. “1. He called me a monkey during Madrid-Barca, 2. I did not shake his hand, 3. He spat on me, and after I threw the bottle, sorry for my attitude,” Keita wrote on his official twitter account.”


Liverpool have announced the signing of Belgium striker Divock Origi for £10 million from Lille. The 19-year-old will be loaned back to the French Ligue 1 club for the coming season and link up with the Reds for the 2015/16 season. Origi impressed at the 2014 World Cup and was also courted by Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid. Liverpool have also signed Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren during this pre-season at a combined cost of £94 million.