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James Maddison: Arsenal interested in signing Leicester midfielder but also monitoring Martin Odegaard situation

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Arsenal interested in James Maddison but deal would require bid in excess of £70m with Leicester having no intention to sell; Arsenal also “keeping an eye” on Martin Odegaard’s situation at Real Madrid; Aaron Ramsdale talks continue; Ben White move imminent

Arsenal are interested in signing James Maddison from Leicester City but are still monitoring Martin Odegaard’s situation at Real Madrid, as they look to sign an attacking midfielder this summer.

Leicester do not want to sell Maddison and it is understood it would take a bid in excess of £70m for them to even consider selling the 24-year-old.

The Foxes are under no pressure to sell as Maddison is under contract until 2024.

Arsenal are also “keeping an eye” on Odegaard’s situation at Real Madrid.

The Norway midfielder spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates but has since returned to Real to fight for his first-team place.

Odegaard appeared to rule out a return to Arsenal in an Instagram post earlier this month, but there are growing reports in Spain suggesting Real could allow him to leave with his contract due to expire in 2023.

Permanent moves for either player would require hefty transfer fees and it is understood that Arsenal may need player sales to help fund moves in the market.

Sky Sports News reported earlier this week that there is an interest in Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, with Arsenal preferring a loan move.

Meanwhile, Ben White’s £50m move from Brighton has entered the final stages and should be completed in the coming days.

Xhaka exit dragging on; Bellerin in Inter talks

Granit Xhaka’s potential move to Roma is still dragging on as a gap in valuation still exists between Arsenal and the Serie A side. All parties remain hopeful a transfer can be agreed this summer.

Hector Bellerin’s agent was in Milan last week negotiating a move to Serie A champions Inter Milan.

Inter want to sign the Arsenal right-back on loan but Arsenal want a sale, or at least a loan with an obligation to buy.

Bellerin’s contract is up in 2023 and there are no plans from Arsenal or Bellerin to extend his stay at Emirates Stadium. The club believe this window represents the optimum time to maximise a transfer fee.

Newcastle United are still working on a deal to sign Joe Willock after his successful loan spell on Tyneside last season. Arsenal are open to letting him go despite manager Mikel Arteta publicly saying he was part of his plans.

The Gunners are also open to allowing strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah to leave the club this summer with both having entered the final year of their contracts.

Moves for either striker would free up squad space for a new signing, with Chelsea’s Abraham a potential option.

Arsenal would also consider selling Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson if the right offers came in. Both academy products are currently contracted until 2023.

Journalist and science writer for NewsAfrica24, the Atlantic, New Scientist, Aeon, Men’s Health, and many others. Author of The Intelligence Mafias, published by Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA) and translated into six languages.

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Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked

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The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.

The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.

The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.

Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.

The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.

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Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis

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Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.

Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.

The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.

“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”

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Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona

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Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan

Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.

Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).

Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.

Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.

Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.

AP AIMGE
Image:Saul Niguez joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline Day

The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.

However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.

The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).

Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.

Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.

A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.

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