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Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista is on the verge of joining Valencia in a reported €12 million deal.

Gabriel arrived in Valencia on Thursday, and Superdeporte reported that the 26-year-old will sign a five-year contract.

He moved to Arsenal from Villarreal for £15m in 2014 but struggled to earn a regular place in Arsene Wenger’s side.

Gabriel will be reunited with his former Villarreal coach Marcelino and told reporters: “I’m very happy and delighted.

“I’ve spoken to Marcelino on several occasions and I know his method of work.”

Gabriel will become Valencia’s third summer arrival following the signings of Serbia international midfielder Nemanja Maksimovic from Astana and Brazilian goalkeeper Norberto Neto from Juventus.

Superdeporte also reported that Valencia are closing in on Inter Milan pair Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeison Murillo.

Kondogbia’s agent will be at the Mestalla on Friday to complete the deal after the two clubs reached agreement on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

Marcelino wants reinforcements to arrive as soon as possible and said ahead of his team’s La Liga opener against Las Palmas on Friday: “I’m confident we will have a competitive team before Aug. 31. I’m convinced we will have a minimum of four new players.”

Trent Alexander Arnold was told that he had to take Jurgen Klopp free kick.

 Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold

SINSHEIM, Germany — Jurgen Klopp says he forced Trent Alexander-Arnold to be on free kick-taking duty as the youngster scored his first goal for Liverpool in the 2-1 win over Hoffenheim on Tuesday night.

Alexander-Arnold, 18, broke the deadlock in the first leg of the Champions League playoff with a long-range free-kick in the first half.

James Milner added the second goal before Mark Uth netted late on to keep the tie alive, although Hoffenheim need to score at least two goals at Anfield in a week’s time.

“He is an incredible young player,” Klopp told a news conference. “I told him he had to take it — he can shoot free kicks better than I ever could. But I don’t want the credit for it!

“I have to say for an 18-year-old, who has the balls to take a free kick like that, it is rather more exciting and interesting for me than a little mistake he makes.

“I told him to take it because I watched him many times for the Under-23s last season. He took the free kicks then and, by the way, the goal is the same size.

“There is a big challenge after training between him and Ben Woodburn. They are both good and both improving.

“It was a bit lucky as the wall didn’t jump but it was a very good free kick and very important for us.

“It was an intense game for Trent. He still has some things to learn. He thought their goal was offside but it was unfortunately not offside. Trent is a great player and I have to say I’d rather win 2-1 than 1-0.”

Alexander-Arnold, who grew up a short distance from Liverpool’s Melwood training ground, says his goal was the stuff of dreams.

“Obviously it’s a thing of dreams to make your European debut for your boyhood club, and to mark it with a goal as well is very special,” he told BT Sport.

“But most importantly we got the win. We’re disappointed to concede the goal, but it’s nice to take a lead back to Anfield.”

On his free-kick, the teenager added: “I kind of got egged on to do it, to be honest. I never put my hand up at first, but I had the confidence to finally take it and it paid off!”

Meanwhile, Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann believes his side were unfortunate to be on the losing side at the Rhein-Nekar-Arena.

“I feel that we played a really good match, especially in the first half,” he said at his postmatch news conference. “I think we had the better chances, the clearer chances.

“In general, I would say we weren’t the worst team today, but the less lucky team.”

The 30-year-old coach also said he has no concerns about playing the second leg at Anfield despite its reputation as a fortress on European nights.

He continued: “I don’t really make a difference between home or away matches, so I don’t really care.

“The only difference is the rule with away goals. I’m not really interested in that right now. There’s no difference concerning the fans’ songs — no one goes on and translates that.

“I can assure you that our commitment will be the same at Anfield. I know that we made a good match here and I can promise you that we will make a good match over there.”

Neymar’s chance to run Ballon d’Or in Baghdad and Barcelona is the same.

Neymar

Neymar

Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain will not change the striker’s chances of winning a Ballon d’Or, Brazil coach Tite said while unveiling his squad on Thursday.

Reports in the lead up to Neymar’s record deal suggested he was looking to move in part to get out of the shadow of Lionel Messi, though the player had nothing but kind words about his former teammate.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the past nine Ballon d’Or awards as the world’s top player, and Tite, who previously praised the PSG move, suggested Neymar would claim the award in the future no matter where he plays.

“There are three players fighting for that position: Cristiano, Messi and Neymar,” Tite said. “Cristiano and Messi are from a different generation, and Neymar will get there. That will depend on his performances, not on whether he plays with Messi.

“The essence is that he likes to play football. The important thing is that he is well and adapted in his new club. Values ​​and money do not change anything. He went to another club, as he said, to seek new perspectives.”

He added: “The tactical formation used by Paris is very similar to that of Barcelona, ​​it’s 4-3-3. PSG use two forwards with a pivot, so it has the same design. It only changes the characteristics of the players who will play next to Neymar.”Tite named a much-changed Brazil squad for Neymar to lead in the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Colombia.

Five players were dropped from the group that in March secured the team’s spot in Russia 2018.

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is one of the new names to be tested, while new Juventus winger Douglas Costa was one of the players dropped.

Brazil lead the CONMEBOL table with 33 points after 14 games. They will play sixth-placed Ecuador on Aug. 31 in Porto Alegre and second-placed Colombia away on Sept. 5.

Arsene’s Arsene Wenger: Sead Kolasinac is ideal for Premier League

Arsene Wenger
LONDON — Arsene Wenger hailed an “outstanding” Sead Kolasinac after the signing scored in Sunday’s Community Shield victory, and said the defender’s physicality will make him a perfect fit for the Premier League.

Kolasinac met a free kick from Granit Xhaka to head in Arsenal’s equaliser in the second half at Wembley, before the Gunners won a penalty shootout 4-1 to lift the preseason trophy for the third time in four years.

It was Kolasinac’s first goal for the Gunners after joining on a free transfer this summer, and came despite playing in a back three after he replaced the injured Per Mertesacker in the first half.

Wenger said he was hesitant to start Kolasinac at Wembley so soon in his Arsenal career, but predicted that the Bosnia-Hercegovina international will fit right into English football.

“I think he was outstanding today,” Wenger said. “He is physically very strong, naturally. You have players who were pumped up in the gym and players who were born strong. And he’s the second part. … In the Premiership power plays a part. But it’s not only that, I bought him as well for his attitude.

“I believe the modern game doesn’t tolerate as many weaknesses anymore as it did 20 years ago. And it’s always a combination of talent and attitude. He looks to me that he has good talent but as well a very strong and determined attitude, supported by a strong body.”

Mertesacker had to come off after taking an elbow to the head that opened up a deep gash in his forehead, but Wenger said he should be fine for next Friday’s Premier League opener against Leicester.

However, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are both doubts for that game after sitting out Sunday’s match.

“Mesut got a kick on his ankle and is swollen. He couldn’t play, he couldn’t practice yesterday. Overall, we’ll see, he has a little chance to play on Friday night,” Wenger said. “Ramsey has a chance to play, but I think he will be short as well with a little calf problem.”

Arsenal went 1-0 behind when Victor Moses scored shortly after the re-start but equalised just after Pedro Rodriguez had been sent off for raking his studs across Mohamed Elneny’s calf.

The shootout victory then handed them a ninth straight victory at Wembley since 2014, and Wenger’s seventh Community Shield win. It also avenged a 3-0 preseason loss to Chelsea in Beijing last month and handed Wenger’s team a bit of momentum heading into the new campaign.

“I’m very happy because we won a trophy that we wanted to win, and because I believe the quality of the game was very good, two teams who gave absolutely everything,” Wenger said. “And overall the game was of great intensity and quality.

“And even when we were 1-0 down we didn’t panic, and kept control of the game and came back. So overall the performance is a continuation of what we did at the end of last season. … We had some bad starts recently in the last four years in the first game of the Premiership. But we had the intensity in the games in our preparation that is needed to be ready.

“So let’s go into the Premiership now with the same discipline, the same spirit and see where we can go.”

Wenger also confirmed that he expects several players to leave the club before the end of the transfer window, with a squad of 33 listed on the back of Sunday’s match programme.

“To be honest, the number is too high. We’ll let some players go,” he said. “Because too much competition for places is detrimental. Not enough competition for places is detrimental as well. But I agree with you that 33 is too high.”

Nicolas Otamendi and Gabriel Jesus were all in the ruptured eye socket

LOS ANGELES — Nicolas Otamendi says Manchester City teammate Gabriel Jesus has forgiven him after the Brazilian was left with a broken eye socket when they faced each other in a national team friendly in June.

Gabriel was taken off the field on a stretcher late in a friendly between Argentina and Brazil in June after being caught by a stray elbow during an aerial challenge with Otamendi.

Gabriel Jesus was stretchered off the field in Brazil's friendly against Argentina in June.

 
The Brazilian has recovered in time to join up with the City first team on their preseason tour to the United States and Otamendi says the striker understands it was an accident.

“It’s all good with Gabriel. We had a great game and I actually spoke to him in the locker room after the game,” Otamendi, speaking at the launch of City Football Group’s joint venture with Goals in the United States and Canada, told reporters.

“We’re all good as teammates — we’re used to being able to compete tough on the field and obviously it didn’t work out for him. But it’s good.”

Otamendi will be part of a new-look defence when City kick off the Premier League season next month. Manager Pep Guardiola has already added three new full-backs and a goalkeeper Ederson to his squad with potentially a new centre-back set to arrive before the transfer window closes.

The 29-year-old is excited by the new signings even if it adds even more competition for a starting place.

“It’s always positive when there’s this much competition,” he added. “It doesn’t allow for any of the players to relax, you always have to give 100 percent.

“It makes it complicated to choose the starting XI but that’s why we need to have a strong preseason.

“This season, obviously we’ve got good quality players and that’s always a great thing to have. The ultimate goal is to get titles. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that last season so that’s a big goal for us.”

There is no Manchester City deal Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, Alexis Sanchez

Pep Guardiola admits that Real Madrid defender Danilo is one of a number of players that Manchester City are interested in, but denied that an agreement has been reached.

The City boss wants to add at least three new full-backs to the club and has already signed England international Kyle Walker in a deal that could reach £50 million.

Reports from Italy claim that a £26.5m transfer fee for Danilo has been agreed, but Guardiola denied that a deal is in place for the 26-year-old.

 

Danilo is one of a number of players Manchester City are looking at, says Pep Guardiola.
“I said he’s a player for Real Madrid, so we are talking with three or four players who have not joined us, we need that to refresh the players and rebuild a little bit more the club,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City’s International Champions Cup game with Manchester United in Houston on Wednesday.

City missed out on Dani Alves, who opted to move to Paris Saint-Germain instead after leaving Juventus on a free transfer, and Guardiola wants a second right-back after Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna left the club for free this summer.

Danilo is currently in Los Angeles with Real ahead ahead of their International Champions Cup match with Manchester United on Sunday. Real will then play City on July 26.

Chelsea have also been linked a move for the Brazil international, who joined Real from Porto in a €31.5m deal from FC Porto two years ago.

City are also chasing Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy, with sources saying that a deal with the Ligue 1 champions is close to being reached.

Guardiola said: “It’s like the case of Danilo, we have targets and we are going to see what happens. He’s a Monaco player so I have to try and be quiet.”

Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez is another player that City have been heavily linked with this summer. The Chilean international is entering the final year of his contract but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger insists he is not for sale.

Guardiola refused to deny the speculation but said that UEFA should consider shutting the transfer window before the seson starts.

“Alexis is a player from Arsenal. Arsene said that, it’s because he knows more than me. Unfortunately the market finishes the 31st, I think that’s a huge mistake from UEFA,” Guardiola said.

“I think the market should finish when we start the season, it’s too long, too large. We are playing here with guys who maybe will not continue, or with players who are coming but are not here.

“We are playing in a situation where we don’t know exactly what is going to happen for the rest of the season, so we miss time.

“For all the managers. Hopefully in the future UEFA can think about that and the deadline will be the day we start the competition. And for the players I’ve said the players are of other teams so I cannot say too much. I don’t like when the other team’s managers talk about our players so for us it’s the same.”

Guardiola appeared to rule out a move for Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina and insisted Claudio Bravo will remain despite an error-prone first season.

Star turn Sergio Aguero is another staying at the Etihad Stadium, with Premier League champions Chelsea reported to be keen to bring in the Argentina striker.

“You know my opinion on Sergio,” Guardiola said.

“I said many times last season and I don’t change absolutely any words about what I said.

“He’s our player, he will remain here.”

One striker that is heading for the exit door is Kelechi Iheanacho, staying in the UK as a move to Leicester edges ever closer.

Wilfried Bony, who spent last season at Stoke, also looks to be on his way out, but Guardiola insists the only reason he is absent from City’s American tour is due to injury.

“It was/is an honour to work with him because it was not easy for him because I did not give him a little opportunities,” the City boss said of Iheanacho. “His behaviour, I’ve never saw a guy like him (before).

“He is close to making a deal, a transfer and he decided to stay in Manchester. Maybe next week or the next 10 days he is going to finish.

“We have an option to have the opportunity in a few years to bring him back.

“But he’s a young player and we believe he deserves to play. He needs to play at that age and that’s why him, the club and everybody, we decide what’s best for him.

“Bony is injured. If he wasn’t injured, he would be here but he had a little problem. It’s nothing important and serious, but he is recovering in Manchester.”

In the PSG interest report, Barcelona’s Neymar self-confidence is still very happy

Barcelona are confident that Neymar remains happy at the Camp Nou amid reports that Paris Saint-Germain are triggering the Brazilian’s release clause.

Spanish outlet AS reported on Monday that PSG are ready to pay €222 million — double the world-record transfer — to sign Neymar, if the player would agree to move to France.

Reports say PSG are circling around Neymar, but Barcelona remain sure the Brazilian will ignore the chance to leave.

 
Meanwhile, Diario Sport reported that Neymar was growing “uncomfortable” at getting second billing behind Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

But club spokesperson Josep Vives said the club were unworried when asked if there any concerns Neymar would opt to leave Barcelona this summer.

“The only thing we care is he keeps being happy here,” Vives said at a news conference for Barcelona’s financial report. “He played a magnificent season and he is still one of the best in the world.

“He is happy in the club and the club is happy with him. He verbalises it and he shows it with his attitude. We are relaxed about that and we only hope next season is better than the last one.

“Neymar’s departure is not in club’s imagination; the club just thinks of keeping the best players like him, one of our main symbols.”

Earlier on Monday, Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez rejected the possibility that any team would be willing to pay the clause to trigger Neymar’s release.

“That’s not going to happen,” he said when asked if he could imagine Barca without Neymar. “We have not had any offers for any player in our squad and no club will pay the release clause.”

At the club’s financial meeting, Barcelona announced record revenues of €708m for the 2016-17 financial year, up €13m beyond projections and €29m from the previous year.

Barcelona reported an after-tax profit of €18m while reducing debt by €24.5m to €247m.

Sergio Romero signed a new agreement to let him in Manchester United until 2021

Sergio Romero has signed a new long-term deal at Manchester United.

The Argentina international goalkeeper was set to be out of contract next summer, but will now stay until at least 2021. He helped United win the Europa League last season, starting both legs of the semifinal against Celta Vigo and the final against Ajax in Stockholm.

He is set to compete with David De Gea and youngster Joel Pereira next season.

De Gea has again been linked with a move to Real Madrid, two years after his proposed move to the Bernabeu collapsed at the last minute.

Romero said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. Who wouldn’t want to be at the biggest club in the world?

“We have great goalkeepers here and we are always learning from each other. Of course, it was a very proud moment for me and my family to be part of the Europa League final, and I am looking forward to helping the team build on last season’s success in 2017-18.”

Mourinho added: “Sergio is a great goalkeeper and professional. He had a good season and outstanding performances, especially in our Europa League success. Sergio deserves his contract, and for Manchester United to have Sergio and David is amazing in such an important role.”

Romero will get his first action of preseason against Real Salt Lake on Monday evening in Utah.

Argentina’s No. 1 was reduced to a watching brief as United’s preseason tour kicked off with a 5-2 win at the Los Angeles Galaxy but has been promised a half in their second match.

“In the second match, David does not play,” Mourinho said earlier in the week.

“We play the kid [Joel Pereira] for 45 and Romero for 45. The third match against Man City, we don’t play Joel. We will play David for 45 and Romero for 45.”

Jose Mourinho signed this summer for Manchester United

LOS ANGELES — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed he wants two more signings this summer.

United have splashed more than £100 million to bring defender Victor Lindelof and striker Romelu Lukaku to Old Trafford.

But Mourinho admitted during his first news conference of the summer at the club’s UCLA training base that he wants two more players.

He has been linked with moves for Ivan Perisic, Eric Dier and Nemanja Matic as he searches for a new winger and a holding midfielder.

Mourinho was reluctant to comment on Matic, despite sources saying the Serbian midfielder was left out of the Chelsea squad for their preseason tour of the Far East.

Manchester United are not closing the door on a move for Nemanja Matic.
“I can’t say any word about another player,” Mourinho said. “[Matic] is a Chelsea player. It’s difficult and a little bit same with [Real Madrid's Alvaro] Morata.

“Matic is a Chelsea player and I have to respect the player, the club and the club owner. We don’t have our door closed.

Manchester United are not closing the door on a move for Nemanja Matic.
“We’re not happy with just Lukaku and Lindelof. We need more. We wanted four, so 50 percent of the job done.

“Everything is so difficult. I would not like to be in Ed Woodward’s position in negotiations because it’s really difficult. Maybe we don’t get two, maybe we get one. We would like two more but at least one.”

So far, Inter Milan have refused to budge on their €55 million valuation of Perisic, while Tottenham are in a strong position to keep hold of Dier after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City for £50 million.

Matic’s future is up in the air with Chelsea on the verge of signing Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

 
They are set to pay more than £39 million for the Frenchman, which would increase competition for Matic, who has also been linked with Juventus.

Mourinho knows Matic well from their time together at Stamford Bridge, something the Portuguese coach hinted had encouraged him to chase Lukaku.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also lifted the lid on United’s pursuit of Morata. Negotiations with Real Madrid for the Spanish striker were stopped immediately after Ed Woodward reached an agreement with Everton for Lukaku.

And Mourinho has suggested the La Liga side priced Morata out of a move to Old Trafford.

“I don’t like to speak about players who aren’t ours, because Morata is not our player,” he said. “I am nobody to speak about players from Real Madrid.

“Yes, we have had interest, that is obvious and it’s public. We have not come to an economic agreement, that is obvious as well.

“But it’s Real Madrid’s right to ask for their players the amount of money that they want. We do not determine what the price is of a player of Real Madrid, Real Madrid do that. And we didn’t arrive at an agreement with Real Madrid.

“I do not criticise Madrid and I am not going to criticise my board because my board has made the offer, and they have tried to reach an agreement during a time, and they didn’t come to an agreement. It’s simple.”

Barcelona deals with Benjamin’s right-winger Nelson Semedo

Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo, the club confirmed on Thursday.

Nelson Semedo had previously agreed to personal terms with Barcelona.
Sporting director Robert Fernandez and board member Javier Bordas were among a delegation which flew to Portugal on Thursday to finalise a transfer which sources told ESPN FC could reach €35 million with variables.

Semedo, 23, had already reached an agreement with Barca over personal terms and will undergo a medical in the Catalan city on Friday.

Having chosen not to replace Dani Alves when he left for Juventus last year, sticking with Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal, Barca had targeted Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin earlier this summer.

Bellerin himself admitted Barca’s interest made him happy, but he will not be re-joining his former club due to Arsenal’s reluctance to sell.

In addition, those in charge of the club’s transfer activity — Fernandez, Bordas, Ernesto Valverde, Pep Segura and Raul Sanllehi — were not in complete agreement over a move for the Spain international.

Instead, they pushed on with their interest in Portuguese international Semedo, who joined Benfica from Sintrense in 2012 but has only established himself as a regular in Rui Vitoria’s side during the last 18 months.

In that time he has made his debut for Portugal and was part of the squad which came third at this summer’s Confederation’s Cup in Russia.

Semedo, who is represented by Jorge Mendes’ agency Gestifute, becomes Barca’s third signing of the summer, following the decision to sign Marlon Santos on a permanent basis and promote him to the first team and the return of Gerard Deulofeu from Everton in a €12 million deal.

Speaking on Thursday, president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that the club were still looking to make “two or three signings” from elsewhere.

With the right-back position sorted, Barca’s priority is now finding a new central midfielder, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti, Guangzhou Evergrande’s Paulinho and Santos’ Lucas Lima all targets.