Month: March 2017

Dortmund beats Premier League clubs to sign Mahmoud Dahoud

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that Syria-born player Mahmoud Dahoud will join the club in the summer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

This comes into Thomas Tuchel’s side continued efforts to recruit some of Europe’s most promising young players, after beating Real Madrid to the Swedish teenager Alexander Isak and recruiting Ousmane Dembele from the French club Rennes and the Turkey winger Emre Mor from FC Nordsjaelland within the past 12 months.

Premier League clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City had previously shown interest in signing the midfielder, who impressed for Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Monchengladbach this season despite their struggles in the German top flight.

The 20-year-old had refused to sign a new contract with his current club, and his representatives also made it clear that he was interesting in leaving at the end of the season with only one year remaining on his deal.

Dortmund were always confident that he would choose them having held negotiations since the turn of the year. Their sporting director, Michael Zorc, confirmed yesterday that Dahoud will move to the Westfalenstadion on a five-year deal.

“Mo Dahoud is a highly talented and exciting player for the central midfield, who we have been watching intensively for several years,” he said. “He has already demonstrated that he can play at the top level.”

The fee for Dahoud, who was born in Syria, is understood to be in the region of €12m, with Gladbach also confirming the news on their website.

“It was a very tough decision for Mo. It’s a shame that we’re losing a talent like him, but we have always managed to compensate for departures in the past,” said Gladbach sporting director, Max Eberl.

“It was important for the player and the club that a decision was reached. Now it’s off our minds and we can move on.”

Mahmoud Dahoud was only 10 months old when his family fled the largely Kurdish town of Amuda on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, but he had been given consideration as a potential member of Joachim Low’s Euro 2016 squad and has represented Germany at various youth levels.

Chelsea could make summer move for Alexis Sanchez

Chelsea could make a for Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean looks increasing poised for a move away from the Gunners.

The Blues, in the midst of extending coach Antonio Conte’s contract, has a list of players he would like to sign submitted to them by the Italian manager, with the signing of Sanchez taking top priority.

Sanchez, 28, looked increasingly prepared for a departure from the Emirates after 3 years with the club.

The precedent for his departure comes from a glaring lack of trophy in his time at Arsenal, and he cuts an increasingly frustrated figure in recent weeks as the Gunners suffered a number of shocking defeats and fell off the campaign trail of almost all their tournaments this season.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said recently that contract talks with Sanchez were on hold until the end of the season, but an incident at the start of this month when he stormed out of an Arsenal training session and was involved in a dressing-room row with some of his team-mates was a clear sign that there was no keeping him.

However, there will be considerable resistance to Chelsea’s acquisition for Sanchez. While the player is demanding a wage rise from £130,000 a week to £250,000 and has made clear to Arsenal this is non-negotiable, Arsenal would prefer not to sell him to a domestic rival (especially a derby rival)  if they cannot persuade the Chilean to stay.

Nonetheless, there has been no bid thus far from the Premier League table leaders, and as Arsene Wenger has stated, Arsenal are unlikely to make a decision on Sanchez’s future until after the season ends.

Marco Verratti: future at PSG remains in doubt

Marco Verratti is happy with life at Paris Saint-Germain, but does not place resistance against the idea of a switch back to his homeland.

Verratti, 24, has often been linked with a move away from the PSG after becoming a key player in their midfield since his arrival from Pescara in 2012.

The Italian international — who featured for his country in their World Cup qualifying victory over Albania last Friday — has reiterated his intention to remain at PSG for the foreseeable future, although he acknowledged he would not be against a return to Serie A further down the line.

“My team-mates have always been close to me, I feel at home there and will always be fond of the Paris Saint-Germain fans,” Verratti said. “I’m fine in Paris, I will speak with the club and we will see the better choice, (but) Serie A is a great league, just like in Spain or England, so if one day if I were to leave Paris, I’d evaluate and see what to do.”

“I think Juve are right now one of the best four sides in the world and will get stronger over the next three or four years. If I was to leave Paris one day, I’d have no problem going to Serie A.”

Italy and Juventus legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made a landmark 1,000th official career appearance during the win over Albania and although Verratti idolises the Juve veteran, he says the 39-year-old has not attempted to talk him into a switch to Turin.

“Buffon is a fantastic person, he knows when to find the right words at the right time. He’s the kind of player and man we’ll have trouble finding again,” Verratti said.

“Gigi didn’t talk to me about Juventus. He knows what I want, which is to stay in Paris.”