Court To Determine Chelsea Transfer Ban Fate Soon, Says Lampard

 

Frank Lampard expects to find out “very soon” whether Chelsea will be free to make any January signings, with the club waiting to learn the outcome of their FIFA transfer ban appeal.

Chelsea’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was heard last month, with the Blues contesting FIFA’s two-window ban relating to the recruitment of minors.

When asked when he expects to discover the result of that appeal, Lampard replied: “Very soon I believe. Days, I think.

“I haven’t heard any more, so I would wait and reserve judgement (on Chelsea’s plans for January) until we get the judgement and see where we want to go from there.”

Fourth-placed Chelsea will give Tammy Abraham “every possible chance” to face Aston Villa on Wednesday as the England striker recovers from a hip injury.

Lampard admitted the 22-year-old, who has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, is still battling pain from the problem he picked up in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia.

“We’re giving him every possible chance to be fit,” said the Chelsea boss, whose side have lost their past two league matches after a fine run.

“He’s still got some pain in the area of the injury. (We will) make a judgement tomorrow. It’s painful for him, so it’s a pain threshold and whether it affects his movements. So I wouldn’t want to commit today.”

Olivier Giroud, who led the line in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham, and Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi are continuing to press their claims up front, while US forward Christian Pulisic could operate as a false nine in Abraham’s absence.

Admitting the challenge of keeping his other strikers focused and happy given Abraham’s form, Lampard said: “Yes, in the modern day every manager wants to have that situation.”

“They are training well, supporting the group with a smile on their face and they are happy when we win,” he added. “They are determined to help if we don’t, whether they are starting or not.

“Those are the rules of modern football. Of course, it is a challenge and everyone is a human and they want to play every week. So I have to be aware of that at the same time.”

AFP

Cardiff To Appeal FIFA Ruling Over Sala’s Transfer Payment

Nantes’ Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais (Stade Resnais FC) and Nantes (FC Nantes) at The Roazhon Park in Rennes.

 

Cardiff said on Wednesday they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against FIFA’s decision to make them pay Nantes the first instalment of the transfer fee for Emiliano Sala.

The world governing body this week ordered Cardiff to pay French club Nantes an initial six million euros ($6.5 million) in their dispute over the payment of the transfer fee for Sala, who died in a plane crash.

“There remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering it null and void,” Cardiff said in a statement.

“We shall be appealing to CAS in order to seek a decision which considers all of the relevant contractual information and provides clarity on the full legal situation between our two clubs.”

AFP

FIFA Orders Cardiff To Pay Nantes $6.5m For Sala’s Transfer

This file photo taken on November 25, 2017, shows Nantes’ Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais (Stade Resnais FC) and Nantes (FC Nantes) at The Roazhon Park in Rennes.

 

Cardiff City must pay French club Nantes six million euros ($6.5 million) to settle a dispute over the payment of the transfer fee for Emiliano Sala, FIFA said on Monday.

The amount corresponds to the first instalment of the 17 million-euro fee Cardiff had agreed to pay Nantes before Sala died in a plane crash on January 21 while travelling to join his new club.

Cardiff had previously resolved not to pay any of the money even though the transfer had been completed before the accident.

The announcement from world football’s governing body followed a meeting by its Players’ Status Committee.

In a statement, FIFA said it had “never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake.”

Both clubs can appeal the decision to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nantes had previously appealed in February over Cardiff’s failure to pay the 17 million euros they said was owed.

The plane Sala was travelling on came down in the English Channel on January 21 during a night-time flight.

His body was recovered, but that of the pilot, David Ibbotson, has never been found.

A report by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch in August said that Sala and the pilot were likely exposed to “potentially fatal” levels of carbon monoxide on the plane.

AFP

Monaco Sign Onyekuru From Everton

Henry Onyekuru                                                                                         Photo: Henry Onyekuru/Twitter

 

Monaco have signed Nigeria international Henry Onyekuru on a five-year-deal from Everton, the French club announced on Monday.

“I’m very happy to join a great club like AS Monaco. I will give everything to improve and help the club to have a great season. I look forward to meeting my teammates,” the 22-year-old told Monaco’s website.

Onyekuru, who has made 11 appearances for the Super Eagles, originally joined the Premier League side in 2017 but has spent the two past campaigns on-loan with Anderlecht and Galatasaray.

The winger scored 14 league goals in Turkey last season and reportedly joins the Ligue 1 outfit for 17 million euros ($19 million).

Leonardo Jardim’s options in front of goal could be strengthened further with Sevilla’s France forward Wissam Ben Yedder being linked with a move to Stade Louis II.

However former club captain Radamel Falcao and Portugal wide-man Rony Lopes have been linked with moves away from the Principality.

 

Man United Sign Monaco Wonderkid Hannibal Mejbri

Hannibal Mejbri will complete his switch to United when he turns 17 in January

 

Manchester United have won the race to sign Monaco’s highly-rated teenager Hannibal Mejbri, the Premier League club announced on Sunday.

Mejbri’s future has been a hot topic since United, Manchestsign Monaco teenager Mejbrier City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Lyon were reported to be competing for the 16-year-old’s signature.

United revealed they had “reached an agreement with Monaco for Hannibal Mejbri to join the club subject to FIFA approval”.

Reports claim the deal is worth up to £9.3 million ($11.1 million), with the Ligue 1 club receiving half up front and the rest in potential add-ons.

France youth international Mejbri will complete the switch to United when he turns 17 in January.

He was reported to have visited United’s training ground with his parents, meeting the club’s French stars Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, who encouraged him to move to Old Trafford.

Mejbri only joined Monaco in a £1 million deal in August last year having had spells in the academies at Paris FC and AC Boulogne-Billancourt.

United have confirmed three other under-18 players have received the required clearances.

Dillon Hoogewerf has arrived from Ajax and Mateo Mejia from Real Zaragoza, while goalkeeper Johan Guadagno has joined from IF Brommapojkarna.

AFP

Guardiola Insists Man City Can Cope Without Transfer

Manchester City’s Spanish coach Josep Guardiola/ AFP

 

Pep Guardiola is confident Manchester City have a strong enough squad to cope if the club are banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows.

City face a FIFA ban after breaking rules related to the protection of youth players and third-party ownership, according to a report in the Sun newspaper.

Guardiola’s club are already being investigated by the Football Association and Premier League over allegations related to youth transfers and financial fair play rules.

READ ALSO: Champions League: Klopp Warns Liverpool To Respect Porto

European football’s governing body UEFA is also looking into potential breaches of financial fair play, an investigation that could result in City being banned from the Champions League.

A transfer ban for the Premier League champions would come less than a month after Chelsea were hit with the same sanction for 29 breaches of article 19 of FIFA’s regulations on the transfer and status of players.

The west London club have already lodged an appeal against that punishment but were told by world governing body FIFA last week that the sanction would not be frozen while the case is being reviewed, as Chelsea had hoped.

FIFA has been investigating City’s international transfers for several years, although the club were cleared of breaking the rules when they signed Benjamin Garre from Velez Sarsfield in 2016 just after the Argentine midfielder’s 16th birthday.

According to the Sun report, FIFA believes City have crossed the line, though, in regards to their relationship with FC Nordsjaelland and the Right To Dream football academy in Ghana that is also owned by the Danish side’s president, Tom Vernon.

Undue influence 

Last year, two players from the academy, Sierra Leone’s George Davies and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they signed for City and played in youth matches before they turned 18.

Both have since left City — Davies now plays in Latvia and Oduro in the United States — but FIFA has been investigating their time with the English club.

And that investigation was broadened later in 2018 when a second Danish newspaper, Politiken, published a story that said City had a secret deal with Vernon to have first refusal on the best prospects from Right to Dream.

If true, that would be a breach of the rules preventing the third-party ownership of players, as City could be argued to have undue influence over another club’s players.

City manager Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on the report at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“I said what I said last week. I was clear on my opinion. I don’t have any more comments,” Guardiola said.

“I understand your job, I answered five questions last week, I cannot be the right guy. The club deal with the process.

“They don’t call me and explain what they are doing. I’m concerned with my job, what will happen, will happen.”

Asked if his squad could withstand a transfer ban, he added: “The squad is really good.”

City have welcomed the UEFA investigation into allegations that the club tried to circumvent financial fair play regulations.

As well as Chelsea, Spanish trio Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid have all been punished for signing under-age players from abroad in the past.

Real were able to get their ban reduced on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an avenue Chelsea will also explore.

AFP

Arsenal Could Recruit Before Transfer Deadline, Says Emery

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery/ AFP

 

Unai Emery said Arsenal could recruit up to two players before Thursday’s transfer deadline, with Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic linked with a move to the Emirates.

The Arsenal manager’s preference is for loan deals and Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez is also rumoured to be on the Premier League club’s radar.

“This transfer (window) is not easy and the message is the club is working on different players and the possibility, if it can be, is good for us,” Emery told reporters on Monday, refusing to be drawn on specific names.

“We are looking at two different players and the possibility they can come. If they aren’t coming to help us like we want, I prefer they don’t come.”

Emery hinted at his reluctance to recruit defensive reinforcements, despite injuries to Sokratis Papastathopoulos (ankle) and Laurent Koscielny (jaw).

“We have enough players, center-backs in the squad. Only we’re having a lot of injuries and a lot in this position,” the Spaniard said.

“If we can bring another player and when all the players want to play, we can have a lot of trouble in the future.”

READ ALSO: Solskjaer Has Made United ‘Very Dangerous’ – Arsenal’s Emery

Sokratis and Koscielny were injured in Friday’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United.

Sokratis is expected to be out for “maybe two or three weeks,” Emery said, while Koscielny’s jaw is bruised, but not broken.

The Frenchman will miss Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Cardiff but could be back for Sunday’s trip to champions Manchester City.

Fifth-placed Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 in their most recent Premier League match, a result that will count for little if the Gunners fail to beat relegation-threatened Cardiff.

The match at the Emirates will be emotionally charged after the disappearance last week of a plane carrying new Cardiff signing Emiliano Sala.

“If you win against Chelsea and you don’t win tomorrow, you are losing three very important points,” Emery said.

“Tomorrow we need to impose and to adapt. I think they’re going to play with a big motivation, also and finding a lot of duels against us.

“We need tomorrow to be concentrated for the three points like we were against Chelsea.”

AFP

Middlesbrough Unveil Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi   

Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi at his unveiling by Middlesbrough. Credit: @Boro

 

English Championship side, Middlesbrough have unveiled Nigeria International, Mikel Obi as their latest addition.

Mikel becomes Boro’s second addition of the January transfer window, following the arrival of Rajiv van La Parra on loan from Huddersfield earlier in the month.

The Super Eagles Captain rose to prominence in an 11-year stint with Chelsea, making nearly 400 appearances for The Blues and winning a host of honours including two Premier League titles and the Champions League.

He becomes the fifth Nigerian to play for Boro, after Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Bart Ogbeche, Karl Ikeme and Kenneth Omeruo.

Prior to his latest move, Obi, 31, tore up his contract at Chinese Super League (CSL) side, Tianjin TEDA, after escaping relegation.

READ ALSO: Solskjaer Hopeful Over New United Contract For Martial

The Nigerian captain has battled injuries since the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and has put in an effort to get back in top shape.

He was also linked with a move to Turkey Super Lig side, Fenerbahce.

However, Middlesbrough have snapped him up on a six-month deal.

Boro are currently in the battle to gain promotion to the Premier League from the Championship.

Barcelona To Sign PSG’s Rabiot, Deny Breaking Transfer Rules

PSG’s Adrien Rabio. Credit: @IndyFootball.

 

Spanish champions Barcelona confirmed their interest in signing Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot in a statement on Sunday but have denied any transfer irregularities.

“In response to information published in France, FC Barcelona affirm that they have not broken any rule concerning the transfers of players from PSG,” said the statement published only on the French language section of their website.

“The only contact took place last August and a week ago. These two contacts took place with the sporting officials of PSG to indicate Barca’s interest in the player Adrien Rabiot.”

PSG said earlier in December that they will allow the 23-year-old, whose contract expires in the summer, to join another club at the end of the season due to his reluctance to sign a new deal.

His agent Veronique Rabiot, who is also his mother, said the following day that the situation between the French champions and her son had completely deteriorated.

Barcelona, who were banned from signing players for a year in 2014 for breaking rules over the international transfer of players aged under 18, have been at pains to point out that they have not signed any deal prior to the transfer window opening on January 1.

“Barcelona have always wanted to work with transparency with PSG and any other club,” said the statement.

“Barcelona deny the existence of an agreement with PSG player Adrien Rabiot.”

Rabiot, who has made more than 150 top-flight appearances, has been agitating for a transfer for some time. He also rejected a chance to be on standby for France’s World Cup-winning squad.

AFP

Brazil’s Paqueta Arrives At AC Milan Ahead Of Record Transfer

Lucas Paqueta

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta has arrived in Italy ahead of completing a record transfer move to AC Milan, Italian media reported on Sunday.

“I’m very happy to be here, I chose Milan because of their history,” Paqueta told journalists at the airport.

The Serie A giants are reported to have agreed a 35 million euro ($40.4 million) deal with Flamengo – the club Paqueta joined as a ten-year-old – in what would be the most expensive signing of a Brazilian by an Italian club.

Paqueta scored 10 goals to help Flamengo finish second in the Brazilian championship which has just ended and bid a tearful farewell after his last game at the Maracana Stadium.

“I will be eternally grateful to this club,” said the 21-year-old, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Brazilian stars Kaka and Leonardo who made their names at AC Milan.

Leonardo — now AC Milan’s sporting director — pushed through the move with Flamengo receiving 70 percent of the 35 million euros transfer fee and the remainder to be divided between the player and the Brazilian federation.

Paqueta, who has two caps for Brazil and can play both midfield and as a forward, is reported to have agreed a five-year deal worth 1.5 million euro ($1.7 million) per season.

He will be in the stands for Sunday evening’s Serie A game against Torino in the San Siro and will undergo a medical early next week.

Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan are fourth in Serie A and can pull within a point of third-placed city rivals Inter Milan with a win against Torino.

AFP

Everton Complete Mina Move

Yerry Mina

 

Everton secured the services of Colombian World Cup star Yerry Mina from Barcelona on an unusually quiet deadline day in the Premier League as Manchester United failed to satisfy manager Jose Mourinho’s desire to sign a centre-back.

For the first time the Premier League deadline was moved forward to the day before the season kicks off when United host Leicester City on Friday.

Unlike in England, the window for the rest of Europe’s leading leagues doesn’t close until later in August, meaning Premier League clubs have faced even more inflated prices when buying from the continent.

Yet, an expected deluge of deadline day deals failed to materialise with Everton the most active after also sealing a season-long loan deal for midfielder Andre Gomes from Barcelona and the capture of Brazilian winger Bernard on a free transfer.

Mina scored three times in three games at the World Cup in Russia, including against Everton‘s England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford with a dramatic stoppage time header to send their last 16 tie to extra-time.

Yet Mina failed to impress in making just six appearances for Barca after joining from Palmeiras in January and the Catalan giants were keen to cash in on the 23-year-old, who cost just 11.8 million euros seven months ago.

After Chelsea shattered the world record fee for a goalkeeper with an 80-million euro (£71.6 million, $92 million) swoop for Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, there was little late movement from the top six clubs with Mourinho in particular frustrated at missing out on a host of targets to bolster his defence.

Harry Maguire, who could face United for Leicester on Friday, Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham and Mina were all linked with United, while Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin emerged as a late target on Thursday.

But Mourinho accepted early on Thursday he was unlikely to get his wish.

Liverpool steal a march 

Liverpool look like the big winners of the window as they have emerged as second favourites for the title behind champions Manchester City after doing their business early in splashing over £170 million on Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielders Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Despite slashing a club record £60 million on signing Riyad Mahrez, City have enjoyed a quiet window.

Australian teenager Daniel Arzani joined the English champions from sister club Melbourne City on Thursday will be sent out on loan to Celtic.

Tottenham Hotspur became the first Premier League side since the summer window was introduced in 2003 to not make a single signing.

But manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted he is happy with his squad after tying down the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min to new contracts.

“We have a very good squad, with very good players and it is very difficult to add players to that,” he said.

Leicester arguably enjoyed the best deadline day as on top of resisting United’s interest in Maguire and tying down Jamie Vardy to a new four-year deal, they snapped up defenders Filip Benkovic and Caglar Soyuncu.

Wolves’ impressive summer of dealing on their return to the top flight continued by signing versatile Belgian international Leander Dendoncker from Anderlecht.

West Ham signed Spanish striker Lucas Perez from Arsenal and Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez to complete a near £100 million summer spend.

Fulham secured season-long loan deals for Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico, Atletico Madrid striker Luciano Vietto and Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

The promoted west Londoners also sealed a permanent deal for Bristol City defender Joe Bryan.

Ghana striker Jordan Ayew has joined Crystal Palace from Swansea on a season-long loan, while Huddersfield brought in Montpellier’s Belgium Under-21 winger Isaac Mbenza on a season-long loan.

Southampton made a late bid to sign Liverpool striker Danny Ings with a deal sheet submitted to the Premier League, giving Saints an extra couple of hours to get a loan move finalised

AFP

Fulham Sign Chambers From Arsenal On Season-Long Loan

Brighton’s English striker Glenn Murray (2nd R) heads home their second goal as Arsenal’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi (L) and Arsenal’s English defender Calum Chambers (R) try to defend during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on March 4, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Newly-promoted Premier League side Fulham have signed Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on a season-long loan, the west London club announced on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old, who signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal last month, joins Fulham just four days before their Premier League season-opener against Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage.

“I’m really excited. I watched a lot of Fulham last season, I really like the way they play football, there’s a good manager, it’s a great club, so I’m really excited for the season ahead,” said Chambers.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s men were promoted with a 1-0 playoff victory over Aston Villa in May, after a late-season charge just failed to secure a top-two finish in the Championship.

Chambers, who has won three caps for England and can play either at right-back, centre-back or in midfield, previously spent a spell on loan with Middlesbrough during the 2016-17 season.

“Everyone can see that Fulham’s a club that likes to play football, play football from the back, through the lines,” he added. “That’s the style of football I like as well, so I think it fits me and suits the way I play.”

Chambers had stated his ambition to fight for a first-team place at the Emirates Stadium under new Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

But with Laurent Koscielny, new signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and youngster Dinos Mavropanos all providing healthy competition, the former Southampton player has had to make the short trip to Fulham in search of regular playing time.

He is likely to resume his former England Under-21 partnership with Alfie Mawson in the heart of the defence, after the 24-year-old signed from Swansea last week.

Serbia striker Aleksdandr Mitrovic, goalkeeper Fabri, German World Cup-winner Andre Schurrle and former Nice midfielder Jean-Michael Seri have all also joined Fulham in the close season.

AFP