Barcelona are reportedly looking at ways to secure the services of Joao Cancelo on a permanent deal in the summer, with Manchester City demanding £44m for the full-back....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Barcelona are reportedly determined to sign Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo on a permanent deal following the conclusion of the 2023-24 campaign.
The right-back is spending this season with Xavi’s side after securing a loan switch from Pep Guardiola’s Citizens on the final day of the summer transfer window.
Cancelo has been a regular figure for Barca so far as they challenge Real Madrid and surprise package Girona for the La Liga title, starting nine league matches.
The 29-year-old is also a key cog for his national side, playing 87 minutes in each of Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Iceland and minnows Liechtenstein during the November international break.
According to Football Espana, Barcelona are set to launch a bid in the hope of securing Cancelo’s services on a permanent deal in the summer transfer window.
The report claims that Barca legend and head coach Xavi has been impressed with the Portuguese’s performances so far and would like to make the full-back part of his long-term plans.
It is understood that the Catalonians are willing to pay an initial £22m, with further installments being sent to Man City over a three-year period.
Guardiola’s treble-winning Citizens are supposedly seeking £44m for a player who has helped them to two Premier League titles and two EFL Cups since moving from Juventus in August 2019.
Cancelo spent the second half of the 2022-23 term on loan at German giants Bayern Munich, and it was widely reported that the Bavarians were in the race for the right-back’s signature in the summer.
It is believed that Thomas Tuchel’s side had a £61.6m fee for the former Valencia man agreed with Man City, however the Bundesliga champions later decided to scrap a potential move for the player.
A separate report from Spanish outlet SPORT suggested that Barcelona would actually prefer another loan deal for Cancelo in the 2024-25 campaign, however Manchester City would only accept such an agreement such certain conditions be met.
It is understood that the Citizens would demand a obligation-to-buy clause valuing £30m in any temporary switch to Camp Nou for the full-back next season.
Since leaving Turin for Manchester over four years ago, Cancelo has appeared on 154 occasions for Guardiola’s side in a multitude of positions across the backline, scoring nine goals.
Barca and Cancelo will be aiming to close the four-point gap to first-placed Girona on Saturday afternoon when they travel to face Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.
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Mikel Arteta praises ‘really consistent’ Martin Odegaard
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on captain Martin Odegaard amid his impressive form following the November international break.
The Norway international was sidelined with a hip problem last month and it was followed by another absence due to a head collision in training.
Odegaard made his comeback after the internationals. He had a quiet evening at Brentford last weekend, but was on the scoresheet against Lens on Wednesday.
He carried over the good form into the Wolves game, scoring the vital winning goal in the end.
Aside from his strike, the 24-year-old created three big chances for his teammates and was unlucky to not register an assist or two due to poor finishing.
Speaking after the 2-1 victory over Wolves, Arteta said that Odegaard has had two ‘very very good’ games and he is a ‘really consistent’ player.
The Gunners head coach added that the playmaker tends to fare best against high-pressing sides such as Wolves and he was ‘really good’ today.
He told Arsenal.com: “I thought he had two very, very good games and he’s a really consistent player, he gives a lot especially against teams like that, they didn’t want to defend very close to their own box and I think he was really good today.”
Odegaard has not played with the same creative freedom as last season, but he has still netted seven goals and provided two assists from 18 games.
The Norwegian appears to be picking up his form at the right time and he will be crucial to the Gunners’ chances of challenging for the league title again.
Today’s win has taken the Gunners to 33 points from 14 games. They are four points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com & Sofascore.co
Martin Odegaard was back to his best vs Wolves
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard was back to his best during the 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Gunners made it three league wins on the bounce after beating Wolves at the Emirates Stadium. Bukayo Saka opened the scoring in the sixth minute.
A wonderful bit of team play contributed to Odegaard doubling the lead in the 13th minute.
Arsenal should have been out of sight with the chances in the final third, but they had a nervy finish in the end after Matheus Cunha scored, four minutes from time.
A defensive mishap from Oleksandr Zinchenko paved the way for the goal, but the Gunners managed to hang on for a well-deserved victory over Gary O’Neil’s side.
In our view, Odegaard was clearly the man of the match with one of his best performances of the season.
The Norwegian was inconsistent with his form earlier this campaign, but he appears to be finding his feet at the right time for the Gunners in their title pursuit.
Against Wolves, he had 97 touches with 77 passes at an accuracy of 89 per cent. He had no defensive work to do, but was brilliant with his attacking display.
Odegaard managed six key passes and created three big chances for Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard and Eddie Nketiah respectively, but they failed to extend the lead.
The Gunners should have been out of sight with at least a five-goal margin, but they were made to work hard for the victory after a late consolation strike from Cunha.
The win over Wolves has seen the club extend their lead at the top of the table to four points.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com & Sofascore.com
Serbia’s Hamad Medjedovic crowned Next Gen ATP Finals champion
Twenty-year-old Serbian sixth seed Hamad Medjedovic is crowned the Next Gen ATP Finals champion with a captivating victory over Arthur Fils in Sunday’s final.
Twenty-year-old Serbian sixth seed Hamad Medjedovic was crowned the Next Gen ATP Finals champion with a captivating victory over Arthur Fils in Sunday’s final.
Emulating the feats of his compatriot Novak Djokovic in November’s ATP Finals, Medjedovic brought home another trophy to Serbia with a 3–4, 4–1, 4–2, 3–4 , 4–1 victory in just after two hours.
Medjedovic’s success caps off a stellar breakthrough year for the 2003-born protege, who reached the first round of Wimbledon and the French Open for the first time in 2023 and came close to breaking into the top 100, getting as high as world number 102 in October....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
“I can’t believe I have won this title, but it’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024. Arthur is an amazing player; he’s Top 40 for a reason, so I’m really happy,” Medjedovic said on the court.
“It was tough after the first set. I changed my clothes and recovered and started to play good again. I didn’t play good when I had match points in the fourth set. I wasn’t relaxed, I was very stiff. Thank God I recovered and I was just trying to stay relaxed as much as I could and I managed to do it in the end.”
2023 ATP Finals Champion: Novak Djokovic 🇷🇸2023 Next Gen ATP Finals Champion: Hamad Medjedovic 🇷🇸Learning from the best 👀 pic.twitter.com/ie284rcZ3M— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) December 2, 2023
Making a name for himself throughout the tournament with his blistering serves, the Serbian fired 19 aces past Fils throughout the contest and won 88% of points behind his first serve in total.
Medjedovic also kept his mistakes to a minimum, only producing nine unforced errors and 32 winners, as well as saving all four break points he faced against his French foe.
The 20-year-old recovered from a couple of early unforced errors in the fourth-set tie-breaker to bring up two match points, although he failed to take either of them as Fils took the contest to the distance.
However, an inopportune unforced error from Fils on break point allowed Medjedovic to establish an early two-game lead in the fifth set, and the Serbian quintessentially confirmed his champion status with an ace on match point.
Alongside his Next Gen supremacy, Medjedovic also took home three Challenger level titles in the 2023 season, as well as getting to the semi-finals of the Astana Open and Swiss Open on the ATP Tour.
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