Everton eyeing namesake Brazilian striker in summer transfer window

Everton are tracking a Brazilian striker who is also called Everton.

Reports in South Africa claim that Goodison boss Carlo Ancelotti is using the current coronavirus lockdown to step up his efforts to bring Everton Sousa Soares to the Premier League.

Soares, who plays for Porto Alegre-based Gremio, was targeted by Ancelotti in January.

He is also being tracked by German giants Borussia Dortmund.

The 24-year-old Brazil international is under contract until 2023 and there is a buy-out clause in the deal which will see Gremio bank £106milion if he moves abroad.

But the belief in Brazil is that Gremio will have to listen to offers below that price to ride the financial hit that is coming their way after the covid-19 pandemic.

Gremio are one of the richest clubs in Brazil, but president Romildo Bolzan Junior has already warned that they may have to sell players.

Meanwhile Everton continues to be linked with a switch for Real Madrid star James Rodriguez.

The Colombian played under Carlo Ancelotti for one season at the Bernabeu before the Italian was sacked.

Ancelotti was hopeful of reuniting with Rodriguez at Napoli but failed with a bid for him last summer.

Madrid are now looking to offload the midfielder this summer before his contract expires in 2021.

And Rodriguez is believed to be open to teaming up with his former boss again at Goodison Park.

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Premier League chief Richard Masters warns coronavirus pandemic may cost at least £1billion

The coronavirus pandemic could cost the Premier League “at least £1billion”, the competition’s chief executive Richard Masters has warned.

Masters said the cost could be considerably higher than that if the impact of the pandemic extends further into the future.

His comments on the state of top-flight football’s finances were laid out in a letter to Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

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Knight had called for a windfall tax to be imposed on Premier League clubs if they utilised the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme to furlough non-playing staff without negotiating a pay cut or deferral for players. Premier League clubs are in talks with players to take up to a 30 per cent cut made up of conditional reductions and deferral of salary.

Masters said: “We face a £1billion loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019-20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.”

Professional football in England is suspended indefinitely, with a return date being kept under constant review.

Masters argued it was the right of Premier League clubs, such as Tottenham, Newcastle and Bournemouth, to utilise furloughing in the circumstances. Liverpool reversed their decision to furlough staff on Monday night after widespread criticism of the move.

Masters added: “The furlough scheme announced by Government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent.

“Not only is our industry facing losses now, but to be realistic, we must also base our plans on full recovery being some distance away.

“Ultimately, the very heavy losses that we face will have to be dealt with or else clubs or other enterprises who depend on football for income will go out of business.”

Knight said the idea that Premier League clubs should need to make use of the Government scheme was “frankly laughable”.

“It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible,” he said.

“They should be working out a way to carry on paying the wages of club staff without resorting to taking money from the government scheme.”

The DCMS committee announced on Tuesday that a new inquiry would look into the impact of the pandemic on a variety of industries, including sport, with evidence sessions to be held from late April to early May.

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Arsenal warned off Odsonne Edouard transfer amid Aubameyang uncertainty

Arsenal have been warned Celtic's Odsonne Edouard would not be an ideal replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if the Gunners captain were to leave this summer.

Edouard has been banging in goals in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic on course to once again defend their title successfully.

The Gunners face a difficult scenario with Aubameyang, whose contract is up next summer, and Edouard has been tipped as a good alternative.

But former Arsenal midfielder and Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas feels it's too early to consider Edouard for a key role at the Emirates.

"He could certainly play at Arsenal because the way they play, his style would be more than suitable for it," Nicolas told Sky Sports. "The problem is getting the judgement right over whether he's ready right now, playing every week for Arsenal compared to who is there already.

"He certainly would not come to England straightaway and score 20 to 25 goals in a season unless Arsenal find a renewed belief and they get the whole team right."

Nicolas drew on similarities in the styles of play between Edouard and Alexandre Lacazette, and suggested the Hoops striker boasts different qualities to Aubameyang which would not make him a suitable like-for-like replacement.

Edouard has been impressing in Scotland, with the 22-year-old netting 22 goals and providing seven assists in the league this season.

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Shevchenko's 'objective' is to move to the Premier League or Serie A

Andriy Shevchenko’s ‘objective’ is to move to the Premier League or Serie A after finishing as Ukraine head coach, says team’s video match analyst

  • Andriy Shevchenko scored 48 goals for Ukraine during his international career 
  • The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker became Ukraine head coach in 2016 
  • But his video analyst Andrea Maldera says he now wants to manage a club
  • Shevchenko has been linked with a return to Milan in a managerial capacity 

Andriy Shevchenko is hoping for a coaching job in either England or Italy when he decides to leave his current post as Ukraine manager. 

Shevchenko scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for Ukraine, before becoming their head coach four years ago following their group-stage exit at Euro 2016. 

The former Chelsea and AC Milan striker has been linked with a return to the Serie A side in a coaching capacity.

Andriy Shevchenko wants to manage a club in England or Italy, according to Ukraine’s analyst

Shevchenko scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for Ukraine as a player over a 17-year period

And Andrea Maldera – who currently works as a video match analyst for Shevchenko – told Tuttosport that English or Italian club football is the 43-year-old’s preferred next step.

‘After the experience as a national team coach, his objective will be coaching a club,’ Maldera said.

‘Whether it’s in Serie A or the Premier League, it doesn’t make a difference to him. He’s a hard worker and impressed me from the start. 

‘He wanted me and (ex-Milan assistant manager) Mauro Tassotti in his staff four years ago and likes to listen, accepting a different vision of the situation.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker then became Ukraine head coach after Euro 2016

But video analyst Andrea Maldera says he wants a move to the Premier League or Serie A 

Maldera also stated that former Milan bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Massimiliano Allegri have had a huge influence on Shevchenko’s coaching career so far.

‘Shevchenko learned a lot from the coaches he worked with and Carlo Ancelotti was a real mentor,’ Maldera continued.

‘He is meticulous in the attention to detail when preparing games and tracking player progress.

‘What he shares with Massimiliano Allegri is the ability to read the game, pre-empt what is about to happen, when it’s time to hunker down and defend or go all-out attack. 

‘Sheva is a credible figure and the players really trust him, which is fundamental in the modern game.’

Shevchenko has been linked with the managerial post at his former Serie A side Milan

Maldera said that Shevchenko had learnt a lot from former manager Carlo Ancelotti 


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Bayern Munich stars return to training despite fears over coronavirus

Bayern Munich stars have returned to training despite fears over coronavirus.

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Coronavirus: PFA chief says Premier League players ‘have agreed to play their part’

Professional Footballers’ Association boss Gordon Taylor says Premier League players have “agreed to play their part” during the coronavirus pandemic while other sporting events have been postponed on Tuesday.

Premier League clubs have proposed wage cuts of around 30 per cent for their players, but negotiations with the PFA have hit a stumbling block. Members are concerned that the money made by their financial sacrifice will not be going to the right places, namely the NHS and public services.

The stalemate has seen the players receive widespread criticism, with health secretary Matt Hancock calling for them to take a cut.

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“They’ve all agreed to play their part,” PFA chief executive Taylor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding that players are “responsible enough” to know wages are a factor in any club’s expenditure. “We’ve been consistent with what we’ve said from the beginning and the fact is the players feel quite aggrieved that the secretary of state for health should put them in a corner without looking.

“They’re not self-employed, they make massive contributions to the Treasury and they’ve also quite logically felt that if they don’t get that money, if a third is deferred or a third is cut, then the Treasury is £200m a year worse off and that could be going towards the national health and will be needed.”

Two more MotoGP events have been postponed because of the pandemic. The Italian Grand Prix on 29-31 May and Catalan Grand Prix on 5-7 June have both been called off.

A statement from organisers read: “As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these grands prix, as well as the recently-postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events.”

The Mercedes F1 team will start delivery of up to 10,000 new breathing devices to the NHS this week – part of Formula 1’s Project Pitlane scheme to help fight coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were developed by engineers at Mercedes, University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL Hospital.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty will take part in a virtual bike race on Wednesday to raise money for the NHS. The 2016 gold medallist will race the 100km ride along with Commonwealth Games boxer Callum Johnson at 10am via virtual racing platform Go Swift.

Peaty tweeted: “I’ve decided to join the 100km ride to raise money for the NHS Charities tomorrow 10am on GoZwift. It’s a public and open event and would be great to have you ride with us!”

The 25-year-old was preparing to defend his 100m breaststroke crown won at Rio four years ago before the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed.


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Radomir Antic death: Former Real Madrid, Atletico and Barcelona manager dies, aged 71

Former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid boss Radomir Antic has died at the age of 71.

It’s understood that the Serbian passed away after suffering from complications with pancreatitis.

He enjoyed most of his success at the latter, guiding Atleti to the LaLiga and Copa del Rey double during the 1995-96 season.

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Antic had three separate spells in charge at Los Rojiblancos and became only one of two people to coach El Clasico rivals Real and Barca during their career – after Enrique Fernandez Viola.

A statement from Atletico’s official Twitter account read: “The Atletico de Madrid family is mourning the passing of Radomir Antic, one of our legendary coaches. You will forever live in our hearts. Rest in peace.”

Antic, who had one cap for Yugoslavia, spent the final four years of his playing career at Luton before moving into coaching, which was mainly in Spain.

Luton tweeted: “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Town legend Radomir Antic, at the age of 71. A true Hatters hero, for promotion and preventing relegation. The thoughts of all at Kenilworth Road are with his family and friends at this terribly sad time. Rest in peace, Raddy”.

He started his managerial career at Real Zaragoza and also has two spells as Real Oviedo boss and a short stint at Celta Vigo.

Sporting deaths in 2020

1/8 David Stern, 77

2/8 Kobe Bryant, 41

3/8 Harry Gregg, 87

4/8 Mickey Wright, 85

5/8 Matthew Watkins, 41

6/8 Roger Mayweather, 58

7/8 Peter Whittingham, 35

8/8 Radomir Antic, 71

1/8 David Stern, 77

2/8 Kobe Bryant, 41

3/8 Harry Gregg, 87

4/8 Mickey Wright, 85

5/8 Matthew Watkins, 41

6/8 Roger Mayweather, 58

7/8 Peter Whittingham, 35

8/8 Radomir Antic, 71

Antic was in charge of the Serbia national team between 2008 and 2010 before finishing his career in China.


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Bayern Munich's Muller agrees two-year contract extension at club

Thomas Muller signs a new three-year contract at Bayern Munich… but crucially keeps his social distance for some VERY unusual announcement photos!

  • Thomas Muller has signed new deal at Bayern Munich to end talk of a move away
  • Muller has been at Bundesliga giants since 2008 and will remain there until 2023
  • The 30-year-old had considered future before Niko Kovac was sacked last year

Thomas Muller has signed a new three-year contract at Bayern Munich to end talk of a move away.

Muller has been at the Bundesliga giants since 2008 and has put pen to paper on a new deal until June 2023.

The 30-year-old crucially kept his social distance for some very unusual announcement photos on Tuesday.  

Thomas Muller has signed a three-year contract at Bayern Munich to end talk of a move away

Muller, seen alongside Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic (L) and executive board member Oliver Khan (R), signed a new deal on Tuesday 

The trio crucially kept their social distance for some very unusual announcement photos

Muller posed with a Bayern Munich shirt alongside the club’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and executive board member Oliver Khan. The trio kept their distance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The forward had considered his future before Niko Kovac was sacked in November.

Muller played a bit-part role under the former Bayern boss and was on the verge of entering the final year of his deal.

Muller has been at the Bundesliga giants since 2008 and has signed new deal until June 2023

However he has been a key figure under boss Hansi Flick and has now been rewarded with a two-year contract extension. 

‘Both sides signed with an absolutely good feeling. I am sure that if the ball rolls again, we will continue to be very successful,’ Muller told the club’s official website.

‘That spurs me on. For me it was number one priority to extend at Bayern – and the club saw it the same way. 

‘I’m already at FC Bayern for a good two thirds of my life, so you can’t say that I accompany the club or he accompanies me – we fight for each other. 

The 30-year-old forward has been a key figure under boss Hansi Flick during 2019-20 season

‘For me, this association is not just any employer. It is my passion. I am happy that I will be here two years longer and will give my all on the pitch and next to it.’ 

Muller has won the Bundesliga title on eight occasions, the German Cup five times as well as the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern.

Salihamidzic added: ‘I am happy that we were able to agree with Thomas. For us, Thomas is a special player, an identification figure for the club and our fans, a leader who leads the field and has achieved a lot with Bayern. 

‘We know what we have in him. However, Thomas also knows what he has at Bayern. It just fits, we didn’t have to have long talks and we’re all happy that things will continue like this until 2023.’

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Sagna defends Arsenal's Lacazette despite just nine goals

‘He is getting kicked for his team-mates… he is amazing’: Bacary Sagna defends Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette despite forward scoring just nine goals

  • Alexandre Lacazette has fallen down the pecking order under boss Mikel Arteta 
  • Arteta had opted for Eddie Nketiah in attack before the suspension of football
  • Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has praised the work of striker Lacazette

Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has defended Alexandre Lacazette despite the forward scoring just nine goals this season.

Lacazette, who has been on the receiving end of some criticism, had been dropped from the starting XI by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta in the weeks prior to the suspension of football.

Arteta had opted for 20-year-old forward Eddie Nketiah in attack, but Sagna has hailed the work of Lacazette.

Alexandre Lacazette has fallen down the pecking order under Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has defended striker Lacazette despite a lack of goals

‘Laca is vital. He is the type of player who gives everything for the team,’ he told Goal

‘The way he holds the ball, the way he fights for the ball, the way he presses the defence. This is invisible work that not everyone will see. But for Arsenal’s system and the way they want to play, he is amazing.

‘He is getting kicked for his team-mates and this is why, for me, he is vital to the Arsenal system.’ 

In Arsenal’s last match before the postponement of the season due to the coronavirus, Lacazette scored the winning goal against West Ham after coming on as a substitute.

In 26 appearances during the 2019-20 campaign the France international has netted nine goals and supplied three assists.

In Arsenal’s last match before the postponement of the season Lacazette scored the winner

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Premier League fat cats slammed by Gillingham chief over £125m advance

‘The Premier League fat cats are just looking after themselves’: Gillingham’s chairman SLAMS top-flight plans to advance a £125m payment to the EFL and says football has its ‘head in the sand’ with a financial crisis imminent

  • At a recent Premier League summit, they agreed to advance the EFL £125m
  • But Paul Scally has pointed out that is just money they were due in the future
  • Gillingham chairman has said issue will not ‘blow over’ amid coronavirus crisis 

The Premier League ‘fat cats’ have been accused of abandoning EFL clubs by Gillingham chairman Paul Scally. 

At the recent summit of the 20 top flight clubs, it was agreed that they would pay an advance of £125million from future money owed to the EFL to bail them out amid the coronavirus crisis.

But Scally has told the Premier League that it is not a significant enough sum to save clubs at risk.

The Premier League ‘fat cats’ have been accused of abandoning EFL clubs by Paul Scally

The top flight will advance EFL clubs £125m but Scally has suggested that will not be enough

He told the Mirror: ‘All the Premier League has done is forward us our own money and, alright, that helps the cash flow for now. 

‘But I’m still not sure on what the conditions are yet because these things are never quite what they seem.

‘The proposals don’t mean anything because all the Premier League is doing is advancing the money. I think football should look after football. The fat cats are just looking after themselves.

‘Talk is cheap and let’s see what the detail. But all it is an advance – what happens next year when we don’t get it? I’m not being ungrateful but it doesn’t seem like we’re making much progress.

‘No-one is talking about pay cuts – they talk about deferrals but that’s no good for us in League One and League Two. Deferrals does nothing for us. It just moves the problem further down the road.

‘A lot of people in football are putting their heads in the sand. This isn’t going to just blow over. 

While it helps cash flow for now, Scally is worried about what the money means in the future

‘I’m on a WhatsApp group with League One and League Two and I watch what they all say and there’s a lot of clubs with a lot of problems. There’s some desperate people out there.’ 

Scally clarified that only around 12 per cent of the funds go to League One sides and eight per cent to League Two – with each team receiving around £500,00.

He suggested that figure might not be enough to keep teams going amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Gillingham have not played since a 2-2 draw with Sunderland in League One on March 7. They were 11th in the third tier ahead of the campaign being suspended. 

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