Rumour Has It: Real Madrid plan for Mbappe

By Sports Desk January 12, 2021

Despite the coronavirus situation, Real Madrid are still looking to make a splash in the transfer market.

Madrid have long been linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

And if reports are to be believed, the LaLiga champions are planning for the Frenchman.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WORKING ON MBAPPE MOVE

Real Madrid are working on a plan to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, according to Tuesday's frontpage of Diario AS.

Mbappe – also linked to Liverpool – has been tipped to join Madrid, though Ligue 1 holders PSG remain committed to trying to re-sign the Frenchman.

Despite the economic fallout caused by coronavirus, Madrid are still looking to prise Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to player sales and revenue generated by the return of fans.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich have identified RB Leipzig star and centre-back Dayot Upamecano as the player to replace David Alaba, reports Sport 1. Alaba is out of contract at season's end and the Bayern star has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City. With Alaba heading for an exit, in-demand Upamecano is wanted in Munich. It comes as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Barca vie for his signature.

- According to Esporte Interativo, Neymar wants to stay at PSG as the French giants prepare a new contract. Neymar has been linked with a return to Barca.

- Fabrizio Romano says an agreement has been reached between United and Bayer Leverkusen for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to join the Bundesliga side.

Milan are eyeing a move for Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori, reports Sky Sports. Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan remains the primary target for the Rossoneri. It comes as Fiorentina close in on Milan full-back Andrea Conti.

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    Many-time Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions Portmore United have added United Sports Group (USG) and Garwin Tulloch to its ownership group, as the club continues to chart a course towards reclaiming its glory days at the pinnacle of the nation’s top-flight league.

    USG is a consortium comprising Tina Matalon, Ryan Reid, Khary Robinson, Duncan Stewart and Jackie Lechler, all prominent and successful Jamaican business leaders across various sectors, while Tulloch is a director of Kemtek Development & Construction Company Limited.

    Kemtek, a family business, and one of Jamaica’s leading home construction companies, boasts major investments in the development of commercial and residential properties across various Jamaican communities including the sprawling metropolitan Portmore community.

    For Portmore United, the addition of these new investors will strengthen the operational and financial capacity of the club, which is one of Jamaica’s marquee clubs and the most successful in the JPL, having won seven titles –the first two as Hazard United in 1993 and 2003.

    The JPL has increased in popularity over the years and even more so in the post pandemic period, under the Chris Williams-led Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL).  During this time, the PFJL has seen tremendous growth in the League’s commercial viability and the economic prospects of the Clubs.

    This expansion of an increasingly sophisticated investor pool facilitates the collective vision of the PFJL and the JPL clubs, which is to enhance the financial and operational capacity of the Clubs. The path to achieve that includes leveraging existing revenue streams like sponsorships, player sales, broadcasting, digital media, merchandizing and increased gate receipts, through additional investments in infrastructure, something that USG’s Khary Robinson is pleased to be a part of.

    “United Sports Group believes that this strategic investment will further empower Portmore United Football Club to achieve even greater football success and become a catalyst for positive community development. Our leadership group is committed to delivering the time, strategic support and capital to enable the PUFC brand to maximize its potential in the sporting industry commercial space,” Robinson said.

    Tulloch echoed similar sentiments.

    “Football has remained one of my great passions and the desire to give back to the community through the sport has always been a driving force for me personally. My association with the JPL through Kemtek sponsorship of the League, led me to an association with the principals of Portmore United Football Club,” Tulloch shared.

    “From the onset I was impressed with the vision and professionalism across the organization and the decision to invest was a no brainer for me. It is an association that I’m confident will yield great benefits to the various stakeholders of the Club,” he added.

    Consequent on the additional ownership compliment, Portmore United’s new Board of Directors, will see Tulloch serving as chairman, with Garfield Sinclair, Peter Baker, Khary Robinson, Clinton Brooks and Garth Pearce, the memebers.

  • Switzerland v Germany: Nagelsmann sets sight on top spot in Group A Switzerland v Germany: Nagelsmann sets sight on top spot in Group A

    Julian Nagelsmann wants his Germany team to stay perfect as they aim to top Group A at Euro 2024.

    The hosts secured qualification for the last 16 by dispatching Hungary 2-0 last time out, following on from their 5-1 demolition of Scotland.

    Their final group match sees them take on Switzerland, who are two points behind in second place, meaning a defeat for Germany on Sunday would see the Swiss top the group.

    That is a scenario that Nagelsmann is desperate to avoid, as he confirmed there will be few changes to his line-up, despite Germany's progress having been assured.

    "Top spot is important. We want to win all our matches," Nagelsmann said.

    "I do think it is important to have as many players from the starting 11 on the pitch so that we stay in the rhythm.

    "Do not expect to have seven changes to the team. I can rule that out now."

    Germany's match with the Swiss will take place in Frankfurt, where England and Denmark played on Thursday, with both sides struggling with how the pitch chopped up.

    Deniz Undav, however, says teams simply have to adapt to the surfaces.

    "There a still a few days left, so maybe the pitch will improve until then," said the forward.

    "But you have to be able to adapt to the conditions. We want to win on Sunday. So, whether we play on grass or stones, we have to win."

    Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, meanwhile, knows his team must expect the sternest of challenges.

    "We know we are now up against a team that is of a different calibre with their super attack and the euphoria [as hosts]," he said.

    "But we are going into the game with confidence and look forward to it. Obviously, we want to trouble the Germans."

    Opta's supercomputer makes Germany favourites to win the group, with a 77% likelihood the hosts finish top.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Switzerland - Xherdan Shaqiri

    Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in more major international tournaments than Switzerland forward Shaqiri, who has now netted at each of the last six such tournaments since and including the 2014 World Cup.

    In fact, Shaqiri is the only European player to have scored at the last six major tournaments.

    Germany - Jamal Musiala

    Musiala is aiming to become the first Germany player to score in each of his nation's opening three games at a major tournament since Miroslav Klose at the 2002 World Cup, and the first ever to do so at the European Championship.

    Aged 21 years and 118 days when this game is played, he would be the second-youngest player ever to do so for any nation, behind only Peru's Teofilo Cubillas (21y 94d) at the 1970 World Cup.  

    MATCH PREDICTION: GERMANY WIN

    This will be Switzerland and Germany's first encounter at a major tournament since the 1966 World Cup; West Germany beat Switzerland 5-0 in the group stages. They also met in the 1938 and 1962 World Cups.

    Germany have won each of their last three games at major international tournaments by 2+ goals (4-2 v Costa Rica, 5-1 v Scotland, 2-0 v Hungary) with the Netherlands at the 1974 World Cup the last nation to record four such victories in a row.

    They are aiming to become the third host nation to win all three of their group stage games at a single edition of the European Championship after the Netherlands in 2000 and France in 1984.

    Meanwhile, they would be the first host team to do so at a major international tournament since the Germans themselves at the 2006 World Cup (Excluding Euro 2020 - 11 host nations).

    However, Switzerland are unbeaten in their last three matches against Germany (W1 D2), with those three matches producing 16 goals, an average of 5.3 per game. The Swiss had lost 16 of their previous 18 matches against the Germans (D2), so they should certainly not be discounted.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Switzerland - 23.5%

    Germany - 52.3%

    Draw - 24.2%

  • D.C. United v Houston Dynamo: Lesesne demands more in possession D.C. United v Houston Dynamo: Lesesne demands more in possession

    Troy Lesesne knows his D.C. United team must improve in possession if they are to end their miserable run of form when the Houston Dynamo visit Audi Field on Saturday.

    D.C. have slipped to 11th in the Eastern Conference standings by failing to win any of their last seven matches, their last victory coming against Atlanta United on May 12.

    They were beaten 1-0 in a rematch with the Five Stripes in midweek, leading Lesesne to lament their failings with the ball.

    "It's a tough position to be in right now," Lesesne said. 

    "Everyone's frustrated — that's clear to see — but at the same time we're not doing enough to earn ourselves points, and that's the truth. We have to demand more.

    "When you're playing at home you can't allow a team to come into a game. There are periods in the games where we just don't do enough and that's disappointing.

    "We defend quite well and press quite well, but with the ball right now we need to be better, we need to be more composed in certain areas of the game."

    Houston, meanwhile, are eighth in the Western Conference after registering three successive 2-2 draws, the latest seeing them blow a 2-0 lead against the Seattle Sounders.

    Head coach Ben Olsen was infuriated by the way they failed to make a positive performance count in that match, saying: "It was a poor result and it's happened too many times where we've done so much good, then shot ourselves in the foot.

    "We don't score the extra goal and then we let them back into the game through complacency, it's a recurring thing."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    D.C. United – Christian Benteke 

    Benteke won 10 of 12 aerial duels for D.C. United last time out, his 11th match this season with at least 10 aerial duel wins. All other MLS players combined have four such games.

    Houston Dynamo – Latif Blessing 

    Blessing scored both of the Dynamo's goals in their draw with Seattle on Wednesday and has now scored five goals in his last five games. 

    He had managed just three goals in his previous 110 regular-season appearances dating back to the start of the 2020 season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: HOUSTON DYNAMO WIN

    Houston could become just the second team in MLS history to play out four draws in a row while scoring more than once in every game, but they will be hopeful of going one better with a win.

    D.C. have lost five of their last seven matches (two draws), including their last two in a row.

    They had only lost five of their previous 20 (six wins, nine draws) in a run dating back to the beginning of September 2023. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    D.C. United – 33.8%

    Houston Dynamo – 40.5%

    Draw – 25.7%

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