Rumour Has It: Chelsea handed Monday Kounde ultimatum, Man Utd's Trippier move on hold

By Sports Desk August 30, 2021

Chelsea have been linked with Sevilla's French defender Jules Kounde throughout the off-season.

The 22-year-old centre-back did not play for Sevilla at the weekend and reportedly wants to exit the club.

Kounde would be Chelsea's second major signing behind Romelu Lukaku, as the transfer window closure approaches.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA FACING MONDAY ULTIMATUM ON KOUNDE

Chelsea's drawn-out pursuit of Sevilla's Jules Kounde has hit another speed bump with the Spanish club issuing the Blues an ultimatum, according to AS.

Sevilla have told Chelsea if they do not submit a suitable offer on Monday, then they have to meet Kounde's €80 million (£68m) release clause.

Chelsea have not tabled a firm bid for Kounde beyond €50m, while the LaLiga outfit had reportedly previously wanted €60-70m.

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports that Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival at Manchester United will force Dan James out, with Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United and Crystal Palace all in the running for the Welsh winger.

- Manchester United are unlikely to move for Atletico Madrid full-back and long-term target Kieran Trippier reports the Manchester Evening News. United's capture of Ronaldo means their transfer business is over.

- Sport reports that Juventus are ready to make one final effort to sign Miralem Pjanic back from Barcelona. Juve are willing to take Pjanic on loan, with the midfielder out of favour at Barca.

- Aston Villa are set to table a £15m bid for Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones according to the Express. The Villans are eager to strengthen having missed out on Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe.

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    Jurgen Klopp does not understand why anybody would focus only on Trent Alexander-Arnold's defending when he has "world-class talent" on the ball.

    Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold has been the subject of much debate this week after being left out of England's matchday squad to face Germany on Monday.

    Reece James started the match and Kyle Walker came off the bench, while Kieran Trippier was among the substitutes.

    James appears to be Gareth Southgate's preferred option in that position, but Walker has made 50 appearances under the Three Lions manager. Trippier has turned out 37 times for Southgate, starting in both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final.

    That leaves Alexander-Arnold – often outstanding for Liverpool – as fourth-choice and looking highly unlikely to feature at the World Cup, even if selected in the 26-man squad.

    Southgate handed Alexander-Arnold his international debut in 2018, but he has since earned just 17 caps for his country.

    While the 23-year-old's creative abilities are unquestioned – he leads the England quartet in chances created (2.4) and expected assists (0.32) per 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2022 – there are doubts around his defending.

    Klopp has accepted Alexander-Arnold has room for improvement, but ahead of Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion, he also suggested "nobody mentions" when the Liverpool man defends well.

    "It's like you have a list, bad defending and good defending, and bad defending [is] massive, and the good defending [list] is like you can't even see," he said.

    "That's what I see, because I'm not dumb."

    Klopp was also keen to point out some of Alexander-Arnold's shortcomings are due to Liverpool's approach, as they are "extremely brave" in their pressing and "the pitch is too big to be everywhere".

    Yet even when Alexander-Arnold is directly at fault, his club manager believes there is too much focus on those shortcomings.

    "There are other situations where he was not aware of the situation, where they pass the ball through him, where it was a challenge he should've won – true," Klopp said. "Every player in the league has these challenges.

    "With him, you pick it out, analyse so easy. All the experts sitting there, 'in this situation, you see it's a weakness'.

    "Honestly, I just don't get it, I just don't get that part of it – that we just accept that a world-class talent gets judged by the one thing he's not as world-class as in other things."

    And Klopp added: "If he would not be a good defender, he wouldn't play."

  • Suarez wants answers from Koeman over Barca exit Suarez wants answers from Koeman over Barca exit

    Luis Suarez wants Ronald Koeman to tell him to his face why he showed him the door at Barcelona just over two years ago.

    Suarez joined LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid on a free transfer in September 2020 after being deemed surplus to requirements by Koeman.

    The Uruguay striker, now playing for his boyhood club Nacional, scored 198 goals in a trophy-laden six-year spell with Barca.

    Suarez hopes Koeman, who was sacked by the Blaugrana in October 2021 after just 14 months as head coach, will explain why he decided to get rid of him.

    He told Marca: "Time goes by, and yes, out of politeness and respect, I would greet him.

    "If I met him, I hope that Ronald would have the greatness, which he had as a player at the club, to tell me the truth to my face about why I left and that I didn't leave for footballing or technical reasons."

    Xavi replaced Koeman and has been given significant backing in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

    Suarez feels Barca legend Xavi has everything in place to be a success.

    Asked if Xavi will produce the style of football fans of the Catalan giants expect, he said: "I think so. He is showing it, without being perfect. He is a coach who grew up there and knows what the club and the fans need.

    "I see many conditions for him to go far as a coach, and, in addition, they gave him good tools for it, they gave him the players that he needed and wanted. It's up to him to prove it."

    Suarez believes Barca have a good blend of youth and experience as they strive to dethrone LaLiga champions and fierce rivals Real Madrid.

    Quizzed how he thinks his former club will do, he replied: "Very well. They made good signings and the young players have two more years of experience: Pedri, Gavi, Ansu [Fati], who is coming back, plus the experience of Jordi [Alba], Busi [Sergio Busquets], [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen... It's a team that can compete for everything."

  • 'Incredibly humble' Jesus vowed to improve after Brazil omission 'Incredibly humble' Jesus vowed to improve after Brazil omission

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    Arsenal are top of the Premier League ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, but none of their three senior Brazilian stars were called up by the Selecao last month.

    Gabriel, Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus had all been part of Tite's squad during the previous international window in June.

    Yet they now face a race against time to prove themselves before Qatar 2022, which kicks off next month.

    Jesus was a particularly surprising omission, having scored four goals and assisted another three in seven league appearances since joining Arsenal in July.

    But Arteta revealed a determined response from his number nine, telling reporters of Jesus: "He's incredibly humble.

    "He accepted the decision and the way he trained, it was just: 'Okay, I need to improve. I need to get better. I need to do more. I really want to be there [at the World Cup], it's a big aspiration for me, it's an incredible opportunity. And I'm in the right place to do that.'

    "So, I think we will see that on the pitch again."

    At international level, Jesus appears to be in direct competition with Spurs striker Richarlison, who has hit form at the right time with seven goals in his past six outings for Brazil.

    Jesus is set to come up against him this weekend, but Arteta says his striker cannot be concerned by how others fare.

    "He can only control what he can do. He cannot control what other players do," the Arsenal manager said. "And he's only focusing on that.

    "So, he has ambition. We know that he plays with incredible commitment. And [on Saturday] he will play that way."

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