Lionel Messi – Pep Guardiola reunion; Donnarumma to Chelsea


    Today’s Premier League transfer news includes the latest on a Lionel Messi – Pep Guardiola reunion at Man City, a potential Messi replacement in the form of Sadio Mane, and Chelsea linked with another hugely expensive goalkeeper to replace their world-record signing at goalkeeper…

    On today’s edition of Where in the World Will Lionel Messi Play Next Season?, we have the reported contents of a conversation which took place between the undisputed greatest player of all time and Pep Guardiola, his former Barcelona manager and current Manchester City manager: “I want to win the next two Ballon d’Or awards, and I can only do that with you.” Elsewhere, Messi’s father reportedly told PSG thanks but no thanks, as his son only wishes to move to Man City.

    Sadio Mane is reportedly open to the idea of leaving Liverpool for Barcelona, where he would be reunited with former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman. The pair worked together for two seasons on the south coast, and Barca would undoubtedly require a high-profile replacement should Messi ultimately depart. No bid has been made, though interest is almost certainly mutual.

    On today’s edition of Who’s in Goal for Chelsea Next Season?, Donnarumma is the latest goalkeeper linked with a move to west London as the Blues desperately search to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga just two years after making him the most expensive goalkeeper signing of all time. With just a year left on his current contract at AC Milan — and little to no progress on a new deal — Donnarumma could come slightly cheaper than the $90 million Chelsea paid for Kepa.

    Matt Doherty has just one final step to take — a medical examination reportedly scheduled for Saturday — before completing his $16-million transfer from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Tottenham Hotspur. Doherty is expected to replace Serge Aurier, who will then likely leave the club, as Jose Mourinho’s starting right back.

    With the 2020-21 Premier League season set to kick off on Sept. 12, here’s a look at Saturday’s Premier League preseason results as PL sides continue their preparations for the new campaign just 13 days away.

    Timo Werner bagged his first Chelsea goal after just four minutes, and the Blues drew 1-1 with fellow PL side Brighton at the Amex Stadium. It was a beautifully worked goal by Chelsea, beginning with a sensational ball over the top from Hakim Ziyech, another of Frank Lampar’s summer arrivals, and a difficult knock-down header by Callum Hudson-Odoi. Werner had the easiest part of them all, to put his foot through the top of the ball and slide it under Mat Ryan.

    Excellent movement, link-up play and of course got his goal. Sky is the limit for his 2020/21 season.

    Steven Bergwijn scored the 89th-minute winner for Spurs against Championship side Birmingham. The Dutchman got on the ball atop the Blues’ penalty area and masterfully created a yard or two of space for himself before unleashing a laser low and toward the far post. Bergwijn impressed after arriving in January and looks set to build upon that strong start in his first full season in north London.

    Newcastle got goals from Andy Carroll and Jacob Murphy to maintain the Magpies’ 100-percent record this preseason. Carroll’s left-footed finish came midway through the first half, not long before Championship side Barnsley drew level. Newcastle were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute, and it was Murphy, who won the spot kick, who smashed it home for 2-1.

    ? Strong running to win the penalty? Composure from the [email protected] scored our winner against Barnsley this afternoon. #NUFC

    Liverpool got a double from Rhian Brewster against Jesse Marsch’s Salzburg, while ex-Reds forward Andy Carroll scored a sensational goal for hometown club Newcastle.

    Andy Carroll, Christian Atsu, and Federico Fernandez all scored for the Magpies in a comfortable win on Tuesday.

    Carroll was in his office for a beautiful bit of soccer, chesting and then flicking himself into position to turn and rip into the goal.

    It was a bit too easy for the Gunners, who took advantage of so many chances on Wednesday.

    Eddie Nketiah, Mark McGuinness, and Reiss Nelson all scored in the win, but the marker of the day goes to Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

    The stakes weren’t as high as the last meeting of the minds between Jurgen Klopp and American manager (TM) Jesse Marsch, but there were still plenty of goals.

    Liverpool’s markers came from Rhian Brewster, one set up by some silky work from James Milner.

    Both of Salzburg’s goals came from Patson Daka. The 21-year-old Zambian is the latest in a long line of Salzburg forward talents and he blossomed once Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino left for new homes last winter.

    Leicester got one pretty goal and produced another through intense pressure as the Foxes scored a two-goal win at their Championship hosts.

    There weren’t a ton of familiar faces in the Foxes’ Starting XI, though Caglar Soyuncu, Youri Tielemans, and Harvey Barnes all started the day.

    Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall scored a nice goal in his bid to build on a loan at Blackpool, while Marc Albrighton blocked a goalkeeper clearance into the Birmingham goal for the second goal.

    Chris Wilder’s Blades only got a half of play in Scotland, where Billy Sharp missed a penalty won by Sander Berge but also slapped in a rebound from the Norwegian midfielder.

    A deluge of rain was too much for the players to safely play the second half, and the match was called.

    Arsenal – Liverpool saw the Gunners knock off the Reds in the FA Community Shield on Saturday, officially kicking off the 2020-21 campaign in England.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged the game’s opening goal early on, but Takumi Minamino pulled the Reds back level with fewer than 20 minutes to go in the game. Neither side could muster another goal before full-time, sending the Reds and Gunners to a penalty shootout, where Rhian Brewster blasted his spot kick over the bar, Alisson was unable to make a save of his own and Aubameyang clinched the first trophy of the season.

    Arsenal – Liverpool started rather slowly with very little action around either goal in the opening 10 minutes, until Aubameyang fired the Gunners ahead in the 12th. Aubameyang, who’s yet to put pen to paper on a new contract but is still expected to do so, cut in front the left and hit a delightful curler from the edge of the box to beat Alisson.

    Eddie Nketiah had Arsenal’s best chance to go 2-0 up in the first half, but the 21-year-old forward couldn’t quite place his first-time effort far enough to Alisson’s left. Bukayo Saka set Nketiah up with a long run down the right wing before cutting the ball back to the top of the penalty area.

    Not long after halftime, Roberto Firmino very nearly replicated Aubameyang’s goal with a right-footed curler toward the same post, but fortunately for Emiliano Martinez, Firmino’s effort sailed inches wide. It would, however, signal a significant shift in momentum with Liverpool more frequently able to assert their will.

    A “typical” Liverpool chance came just just minutes later when Sadio Mane snuck between two Arsenal defenders and latched onto an aggressive through ball from Andrew Robertson. Mane couldn’t get the ball out from underneath himself, though, and barely got a shot off with Martinez rushing out to touch the ball away.

    The pressure paid off in the 73rd minute, when Minamino suddenly found himself on the ball at the top of the six-yard box. It pin-balled around Arsenal’s penalty area before falling to the Japanese international who tucked it away for his first Liverpool goal.

    Up next, Liverpool will start their Premier League campaign at home against Leeds United on Saturday, Sept. 12. Arsenal will be away to Fulham on the same day.

    Lionel Messi transfer update: MADRID (AP) Barcelona is unwavering in its intention to keep Messi, who told the club earlier this week that he wanted to leave.

    Spanish media say Messi has contacted the club to try to resolve the situation, but Barcelona confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday that it will not negotiate to allow the Argentina great to depart before his contract ends next year.

    Earlier this week, Messi said he wanted to invoke a contract clause that allowed him to leave at the end of last season, but the club said the clause had already expired.

    A lengthy legal battle may ensue as the 33-year-old forward is expected to say the clause was valid until the end of the season, which was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Barcelona is not willing to give up on the player, especially not for free. Messi’s contract, which ends in June 2021, has a buyout clause of $831 million. He has been with the club for nearly two decades, leading it to more than three-dozen titles and holding most of its individual records.

    Spanish media said Messi and his team contacted the club late this week to try to discuss his situation. He had announced his intention to leave by sending the club a burofax, a certified document similar to a telegram.

    Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu reportedly tried to meet with the player after his decision to leave was announced. He later said he was willing to resign if that was what it took to get Messi to stay, and if the six-time Ballon D’Or winner admitted the president’s presence at the club was the reason he wanted to leave.

    Liverpool – Arsenal is set to open England’s domestic campaign with the two sides face off in the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (start time, 11:30am ET), with the Reds acting as defending Premier League champions, and the Gunners the current FA Cup holders.

    2020-21 will bee the second straight season in which Liverpool appear in the annual curtain-raising fixture, while Arsenal are making their fourth appearance in seven seasons. Both clubs are 15-time winners of the Community Shield, though they each trail runaway leaders Manchester United (21).

    Liverpool have warmed up for Saturday’s showdown with preseason friendlies against Stuttgart (3-0) and RB Salzburg (2-2). Superstar defender Virgil van Dijk suffered an injury from a blow to the face, but is expected to be recovered and available to face Arsenal. Trent Alexander-Arnold is also expected to be available after missing the preseason trip to Austria with a minor injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will, however, not feature after suffering another knee injury.

    As for Arsenal, just the one preseason friendly against MK Dons (4-1) will have to suffice, though the Community Shield has often been used a “friendly” tune-up itself ahead of the PL season. William Saliba is expected to make his Arsenal debut after signing for the club last summer and remaining at Saint-Etienne on loan, but Mikel Arteta’s defense still has plenty of injury issues. Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring), Pablo Mari (ankle) and Calum Chambers (knee) are all expected to be out for Saturday.

    Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool – Arsenal, including how to watch on TV in the USA and how to follow all of the action live.

    Jurgen Klopp, on additional signings: “There are a lot of interesting players out there but if someone is interesting for us I can’t say right now. Due to COVID-19 you have to think five times about what you can and what you can’t do. We always have to pay attention to the financial aspect. We don’t know how much money will come in. Nobody knows but it seems like some other teams have a more positive outlook on the future, if you look at Chelsea, for example. But I am very happy with my team right now. If something transfer-related will happen, we have to see.”

    Mikel Arteta, on finishing last season strong and Arsenal’s aspirations: “You’re right, I think it gave us a big platform of confidence and belief that we could challenge and play against the top teams at that level as well, and beat them. And you know, always finding a way to win a game, after we did it with Man City and we did it with Chelsea, but I agree that that moment probably was a moment where the team clicked a little bit and went into more of a belief mode.”

    Liverpool are pretty heavy favorites at -148, which means Arsenal (+375) represent solid value if you believe in your heart of hearts that they can win. A 90-minute draw, followed by penalty shootout, is also a sizable underdog at +310.

    While Saturday’s fixture is merely a glorified exhibition with a “trophy” on the line, it’s tough to look past a Liverpool team that proved so much last season and appears to have yet another level to which they can reach. Of course, it’ll ultimately come down to who does and doesn’t play. With that said, Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal.




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