Mourinho: Pogba is the Eiffel Tower & Chelsea can’t have him

The manager is a long-term admirer of the Juventus midfielder but claims he has faith in his Premier League title-winning squad

Mourinho: Pogba is the Eiffel Tower & Chelsea can't have him

Jose Mourinho has compared Paul Pogba to the Eiffel Tower and suggested the Juventus midfielder is a footballing landmark that Chelsea are unlikely to get their hands on.

The Portuguese manager has been a long-term admirer of the midfielder, pinpointing the France international as a key target for Chelsea over a year ago, but faces competition for his signature from a number of Europe’s top sides.

Mourinho, who has added just loanee Radamel Falcao and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to his squad so far this summer, feels Pogba would boost any team, but remains confident in the collective strength of his squad.

“Pogba is not to put pressure on people,” Mourinho says. “Pogba is one of the top players in the world. Pogba goes to any team and improves that team automatically. If he stays at Juventus, Juventus will be very strong again. If he goes somewhere else he will improve immediately a team. This is not our case.

“We are changing [Petr] Cech for Begovic, we are changing Didier [Drogba] for Falcao and we are changing kids by other kids. I think everybody has an interest in Pogba. But there are things you can do and things you cannot do. I love the Eiffel Tower but I can’t have the Eiffel Tower in my garden. I can’t even have the Eiffel Tower of Las Vegas.”

Falcao was viewed as a surprise addition by some following the striker’s poor form for Manchester United last term, but Mourinho feels the Colombian’s fitness woes are behind him heading into the new season.

“When a player is injured or has bad consequences of a big injury there is sometimes nothing you can do. We made ourselves sure that was not the case with Falcao because if that was the case he would not be with us.

“He didn’t perform [at United] for many reasons. Some players don’t perform with me, some players don’t perform with Chelsea, they go to other clubs and they perform. This can happen. So we know that Falcao is in good conditions related to the surgery he had before he went to Man United.

“We believe that he can with us and to replace a big player like Didier we wanted to go with another big player with experience, ready, so these three strikers for us – Falcao, Rémy and Diego. We are very happy.”

Despite Manchester United spending over £80 million on the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay and Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling for £49m, Mourinho feels his title-winners are still the team to beat.

“I told the players that we are the same team and the others are not the same team. I cannot stop opponents to make an assault to the banks and spend millions and millions. I cannot stop that. I cannot stop [that] the others have a feeling that we are playing against the champions.

“The others are spending. The others are buying a lot to try to be better than us and the fact that we are the same – we are changing a goalkeeper for another one, a striker for another one.

“It’s a big challenge. To be better with the same people, the players have to be better individually than they were last year. So when they think: ‘Oh last season I did great’ this season it is not enough.’

“John Terry – great season. This season it is not enough. Must be better. Fabregas – I don’t know how many assists last year. Fantastic. It’s not enough. Because the others are going to improve with the players they are bringing and we have to improve by ourselves with our work.”

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Liga defenders more interested in selfies with Messi than stopping him – Godin

The Uruguayan centre-half believes the Barcelona superstar faces much stiffer opposition with his national team than he does in the Primera Division

Liga defenders more interested in selfies with Messi than stopping him – Godin

Atletico Madrid and Uruguay defender Diego Godin says Lionel Messi is shown too much respect by his Liga opponents who are more interested in taking selfies with the Barcelona ace than tackling him.

The two clashed in last month’s Copa America, as Argentina saw off Uruguay 1-0 in the group stage before eventually going down on penalties to Chile in the final.

Messi struggled to replicate his sparkling club form in Chile and Godin says that Messi was simply facing better defenders than he’s used to coming across in the Primera Division.

“It’s different in South America. There they mark him a lot more,” Godin told Uruguay television Teledoce.

“Sometimes we mess around, among teammates, and we say: In Spain before playing the games they take a photo with him, a little joke, but it’s the truth.

“People compete a lot more [in South America] and they mark him a lot tighter as well.”

The Atleti stopper went on to explain that he believes a differing styles of Barca and Argentina is the most likely reason for the difference in Messi’s play for club and country.

“[With Argentina] he has to come deeper and he has to break through two lines of players instead of just one, so it is more complicated for him,” Godin said.

“The pitches are different, too. It’s an accumulation of things that mean Messi’s numbers with Barca don’t translate to the national team.”

Source: Goal.com

Arsenal happy to play Benzema waiting game

Real Madrid do not want to let the France international leave, but the Gunners will be ready to pounce if he falls out of favour as Rafa Benitez’s reign gets under way

Arsenal happy to play Benzema waiting game


Arsenal are prepared to bide their time and wait until the end of the transfer window for a potential deal to sign Karim Benzema from Real Madrid.

Arsene Wenger has identified his fellow Frenchman as his top target to improve the Gunners’ attack this summer and still believes the striker could end up in north London.

Real Madrid have said that Benzema is not for sale and the 27-year-old is happy in the Spanish capital, but Arsenal are closely monitoring his situation.

Manchester United have also expressed an interest in the France international should he become available towards the end of the transfer window.

Arsenal believe they can clinch a deal for Benzema in a similar manner to the £42.5 million (€60m) signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on the final day of the transfer window in 2013.

There has been speculation in Spain that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have both been pencilled in to play in more central positions by new Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez.

Benzema is known as a favourite of Madrid president Florentino Perez but could look to move if he finds himself out of the side in the early part of the season.

Wenger wants to add a top quality forward to his squad and has allowed alternatives to join other clubs this summer in the hope that Benzema will become available in August.

Arsenal are prepared to spend around £35m (€50m) on Benzema as they look to make the former Lyon man their marquee summer signing following the arrivals of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the last two years.

Wenger has told confidants that, if he cannot land Benzema, he is prepared to continue with Olivier Giroud as the club’s main striker next season, with Sanchez and Theo Walcott also able to play as central strikers.

Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain, but Wenger has made it clear that he believes Benzema is the player that can fire Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 2004.

Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009 and has won one La Liga title and the Champions League since his arrival. Last season, he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Source: Goal.com

Nastasic: Pellegrini never gave me a chance at Man City

The Serbian moved to Schalke in January 2015 having fallen out of favour under the Chilean, bringing an end a two-and-a-half-year stay in the Premier League

Nastasic: Pellegrini never gave me a chance at Man City

Matija Nastasic does not believe Manuel Pellegrini gave him a fair chance to break back into the first team at Manchester City.

Nastasic was signed from Fiorentina by Roberto Mancini in 2012 and became a first-team regular under the Italian.

However, following the Italian’s sacking, the centre-back made just 13 Premier League appearances with new boss Pellegrini in charge as City reclaimed the title.

Nastasic did not feature at all for City before making the move to Schalke in January during the 2014-15 season.

“City always have a good team with 25 top players, but the coach is only able to let 11 of them play,” he told Goal. “That’s not easy.

“In my first year, I played a lot of games. In the first half of my second season, it was also good. Then I got injured and missed over three months. Then I returned and didn’t play anymore.

“I spoke to Manuel Pellegrini, we’ve talked two or three times. He said he’d give me a chance, but I didn’t feel so. It was a hard time.

“Six months before I came to Schalke, I didn’t play a single game for City. I only played for the national team. I am happier to be here now.”

Nastasic made the move away from City to Germany, but believes the Premier League will be a more attractive prospect to players than ever before following the new television rights deal.

“Every club in the Premier League has an unbelievable amount of money,” he said. “Now they signed a new TV deal. They have totally different possibilities and almost every player can be paid.

“They just ask: ‘How much?’ and then they pay the money.”

Nastasic was signed at Schalke by Roberto Di Matteo but does not fear for his future after the former Chelsea boss was replaced by Andre Breitenreiter.

“It was a pleasure to play under Di Matteo,” he said. “That he left, isn’t a problem. It’s football’s business that coaches change.

“A new coach with new ideas can also be an advantage for the players. Especially because Andre Breitenreiter is good new coach.”

He added: “Andre is a great person. I can see the enthusiasm in his eyes and also feel it, when he speaks to us. He is passionate and likes to communicate, that’s important for me and the team.

“I like his style. Together we can archieve a lot.”

Source:Goal.com

Official: Manchester City sign Sterling for £49m

After two previous bids were rejected, the winger finally leaves Liverpool for the Etihad Stadium to become the most expensive English footballer of all time

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Manchester City have confirmed the signing of
Raheem Sterling from
Liverpool for a deal worth up to £49 million .
The news brings to an end a long-running and highly public transfer saga, with the England international even threatening to go on strike before twice calling in sick to training in a bid to force a move away from the club, having told Brendan Rodgers of his desire to leave .
Sterling was included in the club’s pre-season tour squad, despite informing his manager that he did not wish to travel, but his move to City edged closer on Sunday after he was withdrawn from selection .
City twice attempted to buy Sterling earlier this summer, but saw both of their overtures snubbed before a third and final offer, totalling £44m up front plus a further £5m in add-ons, was accepted at the weekend.
Liverpool subsequently issued a statement, wishing Sterling well, while Manuel Pellegrini has hailed the acquisition of the forward.

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“Raheem Sterling is one of the best attacking players in world football, and I am very much looking forward to him joining our squad out in Australia later this week,” he told the club’s website.
“He is a young player with outstanding ability, and I am sure the Manchester City fans will be very excited about seeing him in action for the team.”
Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, claimed earlier this week that there had been a “breakdown in trust” between Sterling and Rodgers , suggesting that his client no longer wanted to play under the Reds manager.
However, the 20-year-old now has his move and becomes City’s record signing, eclipsing the £38.1m deal that saw Sergio Aguero join the club in 2011, and the most expensive English footballer of all time.
QPR are also due a windfall, with Sterling’s former club retaining 20 per cent sell-on fee thanks to a clause in the forward’s contract when he moved to Anfield for an initial £400,000 in 2010 now totalling around £9m.
Sterling will wear the No.7 shirt at City.