Rumour Has It: Dest turns down Bayern for Barca, Spurs making Skriniar move

By Sports Desk September 24, 2020

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

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  • Talking Point: How does crazy Premier League start compare to other 'big five' divisions? Talking Point: How does crazy Premier League start compare to other 'big five' divisions?

    A pause for October's international break did nothing to check the riotous start to the Premier League season.

    From the action-packed and controversy-laden 2-2 draw between table-topping Everton and champions Liverpool at Goodison Park to West Ham's late comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Tottenham, last weekend was another to baffle and excite.

    England's top flight has long trumpeted a reputation for being the most exciting league in the world.

    Right now, it seems difficult to argue against that viewpoint, but how does the Premier League compare to its other major counterparts in Europe at this unusual time for elite football?

    Goals, goals, goals

    As you might expect from a season that has already seen the champions beaten 7-2 by a team that only escaped relegation on the final day last term and their expected main challengers lose 5-2 at home, the Premier League stands above the other "big five" leagues in terms of goals per game.

    There have been 172 goals in 48 Premier League matches so far, an average of 3.6 every 90 minutes.

    That outstrips the returns so far from LaLiga (2.2), the Bundesliga (3.1) and Ligue 1 (2.8) fairly comfortably, although Serie A runs its English counterpart close with 136 goals in 39 matches for 3.5 per game. We'll take a closer look at Italy's great entertainers later.

    The Premier League is averaging almost a goal more per game than over the entirety of last season, when 1,034 in 380 matches amounted to 2.7 per ninety minutes.

    That edged slightly ahead of Ligue 1 and LaLiga (both 2.5), with Serie A (3.0) and the Bundesliga (3.2) weighing in with more goals, pound for pound.

    Paying the penalty

    One notable feature over the opening weeks of the season has been VAR-emboldened referees pointing at the penalty spot as if it's going out of fashion. Leicester City won and converted three in their 5-2 rout of Manchester City.

    The 29 spot-kicks awarded amounts to 0.6 per game and leads the way among the big five leagues, as does the average of 0.5 penalty goals after 25 found the back of the net.

    Last season, there were only 92 awarded and 72 scored in the Premier League – each an average 0.2 per game.

    Should the current trend continue, the division will far outstrip those numbers and might end up somewhere close to Serie A in 2019-20, where 187 awards and 152 goals amounted to 0.5 and 0.4 per game respectively.

    Errors are fun!

    Of course, the Gunfight at the O.K Corral nature of some Premier League games this season has left a handful of purists bemoaning a lack of quality sometimes underpinning the soaring entertainment.

    There have been more errors leading to shots per game (0.8) in the Premier League than any of the other major divisions this season. However, it's not just defenders getting things wrong. Those mistakes have only yielded 0.3 goals from errors per match – the same as Ligue 1.

    But hang on, before you start to dismiss the Premier League's finest as uncultured, gaffe-prone oafs, consider Opta's numbers on build-up attacks.

    Build-up attacks are open play sequences that contain 10 or more passes and either end in a shot or a touch in the opposition box.

    There have been 208 of these in the Premier League so far this season, averaging 4.3 every 90 minutes. All the other divisions are below four.

    This adeptness when it comes to crafting patiently built attacks also comes with a risk. Teams doing so will generally play out from the back, where any errors have more chance of hitting those shots and goals against numbers.

    Serie A? The defensive masters? Not really

    That's right, the land of Catenaccio is completely giddy on Golazos. Atalanta scored four, four and five in their opening three wins, before shipping four at Napoli. They've netted 14 times overall and sit third.

    Second-placed Sassuolo are only one goal behind Gian Piero Gasperini's freewheelers with 13 goals.

    In terms of shots (25.7), shots on target (9.2), big chances (4.6), big chances scored (2.1) and errors leading to goals (0.4) per game, Serie A comes out on top of the pile in the early days of this raucous, surreal season.

  • Rumour Has It: Griezmann set for new contract at Barcelona Rumour Has It: Griezmann set for new contract at Barcelona

    Antoine Griezmann could be set to renew his contract at Barcelona.

    The France international has faced criticism for failing to live up to expectations since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid last year.

    However, Griezmann may join the list of players renewing with the LaLiga giants.

     

    TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN SET FOR BARCELONA RENEWAL

    Griezmann could be among the next group of players to renew at Barcelona, according to EFE.

    It claims Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto may also re-sign, amid reports players are reducing their wages at the club.

    It comes after Barcelona announced the re-signings of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet on Tuesday.

    Griezmann scored 15 goals in 48 games for Barca last season, while he is yet to net in four appearances in 2020-21.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - A former Barcelona head coach could be set for a new job. Marca reports Palmeiras have made a move for Quique Setien after the departure of Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

    - Despite signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in the close season, Manchester City are reportedly look for another defender. Fabrizio Romano suggested the Premier League giants are monitoring Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

    - Christian Eriksen's Inter future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Inter turned down a loan bid from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, but the Serie A club could be open to the midfielder leaving in January.

    - After Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury, Liverpool are linked with defenders. The Sun says Brighton and Hove Albion would demand at least £50million for Ben White if the Premier League champions make a move for the centre-back in January.

  • Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann

    Real Madrid great Guti said he would sign Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Los Blancos, while mocking Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann.

    LaLiga champions Madrid have been heavily linked with a blockbuster move for PSG star Mbappe, who is out of contract in Paris at the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Neymar, who swapped Barcelona for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017, has previously been linked with Madrid.

    As Madrid prepare for Saturday's Clasico against bitter rivals Barca at Camp Nou, Guti talked up Neymar and Mbappe while poking fun at Griezmann, who has struggled to establish himself since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2019.

    "I'd sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Real Madrid and for Barcelona I wouldn't sign anyone, just for Griezmann to stay," Guti, 43, said as he laughed while discussing the Clasico.

    "There are many great players in this game, but I'm going for the youngsters.

    "Surely it'll be Ansu Fati at Barcelona and Vinicius [Junior] at Real Madrid [who can make an impact]. They're very talented players who are going to bring a lot to LaLiga."

    Both Madrid and Barca will enter the Clasico on the back of LaLiga defeats, while the former were also stunned by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

    Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to newly promoted Cadiz at the weekend and Lionel Messi's Barca succumbed to Getafe by the same scoreline.

    Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are a point adrift of Real Sociedad with a game in hand, while Barca are ninth and four points off the pace, having played a game less.

    "It won't determine who'll win LaLiga, but it is an important match," said Guti, who won five LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. "Mentally, if a player does well or a team wins, then it can do you good for what is still to come in LaLiga.

    "It's a test for both of these teams to see what level they're at and to see what they can achieve this year."

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