Category: AFP

Solskjaer targets more signings in search for fast start

Singapore (AFP) – Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Friday the club is working on one or two more signings as he hopes to hit the ground running in the new campaign after stuttering badly towards the end of last season. Solskjaer enjoyed a stellar start after replacing Jose Mourinho in December, winning 10 and drawing two of his first 12 Premier League fixtures.  But a stunning slump in form saw the side finish sixth in the standings, 32 points behind champions Manchester City. Aware that his imbalanced squad needed a major overhaul, Solskjaer has already recruited midfielder Daniel ... Read more

Algerian football fans touch off national identity debate in France

Paris (AFP) – Thousands of extra French police are set to be on duty later Friday in Paris and other major cities following clashes involving Algerian football fans that have touched off a debate about national identity. Algeria play Senegal in the final of the African Cup of Nations on Friday evening with excitement high in France which is home to a huge Algerian-origin population due to the country’s colonial history. Thousands of people partied in the streets when Algeria won its quarter-final on July 11 and then again for the semi-final on July 14, but the celebrations were later ... Read more

Salomon Rondon leaves West Brom for China’s Dalian Yifang

London (AFP) – Salomon Rondon has completed a move to Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang from West Brom for an undisclosed fee, the English Championship club announced on Friday. The striker spent last season on loan at Newcastle and links up again with manager Rafael Benitez, who left St James’s Park for China last month. Rondon joined West Brom in 2015, making 120 appearances for the club and scoring 28 goals before their relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2017/18 campaign. The Venezuela international made 33 appearances for Newcastle last season, scoring 12 goals. Rondon ... Read more

‘They are talking’: Guardiola unamused by Bayern’s Sane pursuit

Shanghai (AFP) – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola took a swipe Friday at Bayern Munich over their pursuit of Leroy Sane and said there had been no contact from them about the winger. Former Bayern star Lothar Matthaus was quoted as saying that the German can become the “new face” of the Bundesliga champions. But Guardiola has made clear his determination to keep Sane, who has been offered a new contract at City but found himself out the Premier League champions’ side at times last season. “For a long time they are talking about their interest in Leroy Sane,” said an ... Read more

Bruce hits out at ‘nonsense’ in bullish Newcastle debut

Shanghai (AFP) – Steve Bruce made a defiant first appearance as head coach of Newcastle United on Friday, hitting out at the “nonsense” surrounding his appointment and asked for time to prove himself. The 58-year-old was installed as Rafael Benitez’s replacement on Wednesday, as angry fans vented their displeasure at owner Mike Ashley’s running of the club. In his first press conference, in Shanghai, Bruce made a staunch defence of his managerial record, while admitting on several occasions that he was “not everyone’s cup of tea”. Bruce, whose appointment has gone down badly with Newcastle fans, partly because he was ... Read more

European defeat fires up Tottenham’s Pochettino for next season

Singapore (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said Friday that last month’s Champions League final defeat has made him more determined to succeed at the club, after the conclusion of another solid campaign. Pochettino said he was keen to continue with the five-year “project” that has seen Tottenham establish themselves in the Premier League top four and finally move into their new stadium after a series of delays. “After the final the feeling wasn’t great, to finish like this. I am not a person who wants to avoid the problem. I love a big challenge,” the 47-year-old Argentine told ... Read more

Klopp committed to Liverpool as US tour kicks off

Chicago (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Thursday he expects to remain at Anfield for at least three more years as the Premier League giants prepare to kick off their pre-season tour to North America. Klopp, who successfully guided Liverpool to a sixth Champions League crown last month, was taken aback when asked to comment on reports suggesting he may leave the club when his current contract expires in 2022. “Wow! I don’t think a lot of people get asked that question three years before the contract is expiring,” Klopp said. “We will see. Why should we think about ... Read more

Algeria face long qualifying route to 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Cairo (AFP) – Algeria, who meet Senegal on Friday in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Cairo, must travel virtually the length of the continent three times during the 2021 qualifying campaign.  The Desert Foxes were placed in Group H with three southern African states, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, when the draw was made in Cairo on Thursday.  There are no direct air links between Algiers and Lusaka, Harare and Gaborone, which will add to the travel time of a squad currently captained by Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez. It is a good draw for Algeria though, as Zimbabwe ... Read more