Barcelona and Lazio Set for Summer Transfer Battle Over Alessio Romagnoli

?Barcelona’s search to strengthen the centre of their defence has seen them linked with AC Milan’s captain Alessio Romagnoli. 

The Italian could be set for a tug of war between the Spanish giants and Italian side Lazio, who are also interested in the defender. 

Alessio Romagnoli,Giorgios Kyriakopoulos

However, Sport report that Barcelona could face a couple of problems bringing Romagnoli to Camp Nou. ?AC Milan are reluctant to sell one of their best players, and a mixture of Barcelona’s (relatively) tight financial constraints and their desire to buy a big-name forward mean they are not able to spend a large amount on the centre-back, with a potential transfer costing around 50m.

Added to that, Romagnoli’s agent is Mino Raiola – who is known for his tough negotiations, and willingness to play hardball with both buying and selling clubs when it comes to transfers and contract renewals. 

Stefano Pioli,Alessio Romagnoli

As well as looking around at potential new destinations, Raiola will be attempting to secure his client a new deal worth more than his current €3.5m a season. 

However, ?Barcelona are desperate to find a new left-sided centre-back and have been following Romagnoli for a while, with Samuel Umtiti tipped to depart this summer after a litany of injury issues. 

Moreover, midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha may be offloaded in order to raise funds for a summer rebuild. 

Alessio Romagnoli

Already a natural leader as captain of AC Milan, the former Roma defender is seen as someone who could have a crack at filling the void left by the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci in the heart of the Italian national team’s defence when they retire. 

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7 of the Best Players to Have Become Terrible Managers

Football is a sport where certain fads and trends suddenly appear in the public consciousness before fading out of the spotlight for the next vapour rub or nose strips to come along. 

The last few seasons have seen clubs, often when scrambling around for a replacement on short notice, turn to former ‘legends’ of the game as their new manager. 

However, unlike snoods, this idea that former greats will be able to replicate their success on the field from the technical area has been going on for decades, but recently a slew of clubs have turned to those who ‘know the club’ in quick succession. 

Yet, it’s by no means a foregone conclusion that these brilliant players become successful managers, in fact, often it’s quite the opposite. So, let’s take a look at some the game’s greats who haven’t quite made the transition smoothly.


Pippo Inzaghi

Filippo Inzaghi

Inzaghi may have lacked some of the technical qualities most professionals take for granted, but the Italian striker had an innate ability to score goals. Whether they flew in off his knee while he was looking the other way or cannoned in off his backside, Inzaghi, more often than not, found the back of the net. 

Unfortunately, that goalscoring touch didn’t exactly translate to his last managerial stint in ?Serie A

After 21 games of the 2018/19 season Bologna parted ways with Inzaghi as the club sat in the relegation zone. They had scored just 16 goals and picked up 14 points. The incoming Siniša Mihajlovi? saved them from the drop as they netted 32 in their final 17 games. 

It would be unfair to brand Inzaghi a terrible manager solely for his performance at Bologna and while he has had success with clubs in the lower leagues, it seems that his six months in Emilia-Romagna prove you can’t teach a player to be in the right place at the right time. Or, at least, Inzaghi couldn’t. 


Jürgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann

As a World Cup and European Championship winner, not to mention runner-up in the 1995 Ballon d’Or, Jürgen Klinsmann’s status as a great player isn’t in doubt. 

How he’ll be remembered as a manager is less clear cut. 

Admittedly, he led Germany to a third-placed finish at the 2006 World Cup but the influence of his assistant Joachim Löw (who would win the trophy eight years later as the main man) in that run casts some doubt over Klinsmann’s importance. 

He didn’t last a full season at ?Bayern Munich as the club finished third in 2009, with captain Philip Lahm brandishing Klinsmann’s time in Bavaria a ‘failure’ and revealing the players had to have additional tactical meetings in the coach’s absence. 

Then, after ten games (which brought three wins) in charge of Hertha BSC in 2019/20, Klinsmann spent almost £70m in the January transfer window before surprising everyone (including the club’s board) by resigning via Facebook Live. Quite the managerial CV. 


Thierry Henry


As a player, Thierry Henry charmed England with his elegance on the pitch, gliding across the grass with ease as he went some way to defining the modern forward. 

However, his time has a manager has been anything but easy. During his three months at Monaco, Henry oversaw just four victories in 20 games, with two of those coming in cup competitions they subsequently exited. 

But his managerial spell in the principality will be remembered most for the scolding he gave Benoît Badiashile when the 17-year-old forgot to tuck in his chair. 

From the toast of the ?Premier League who could actually pull off a catchphrase as laughable as ‘va va voom’ to the role of a pernickety teacher, this is what management can do to the game’s greats.


Gary Neville

Gary Neville

While Gary Neville himself will be the first to admit he perhaps wasn’t the nation’s most technically gifted player in his prime, eight Premier League trophies, three FA Cups and two Champions Leagues are nothing to be sniffed at. 

After four successful years as a TV pundit Neville swapped the studio for the dugout when he joined his brother Phil to become manager of Valencia in December 2015. 

This surreal move soon turned into a nightmare and after four months at the Mestalla, Neville parted ways with Valencia before returning to punditry. 

The former England international managed three wins in 16 league games and while the Copa del Rey had acted as some light relief, Barcelona soon made sure Valencia’s cup run was swiftly ended with a 7-0 rout in the stadium Neville had completed the 1999 treble with ?Manchester United. 


Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Tony Adams was one of the greatest captains ?Arsenal have ever had and the skipper who led England to the semi-final of the 1996 Euros, the furthest the country has ever gone at any major tournament since 1966. 

Adams couldn’t replicate the leadership he possessed wearing the captain’s armband from the touchline. His year at Wycombe Wanderers saw them relegated to the fourth tier, but was arguably his most successful managerial spell. 

He won four of 22 matches at Portsmouth and despite taking them over in seventh place, he was sacked with the club a single point above the drop. 

His final managerial spell came at the helm of Granada, when Adams took over the ?La Liga side on the brink of relegation with seven games to go. He lost all seven by an aggregate margin of 17-3 and against Real Madrid, Isco was caught likening the Premier League winner to a waiter whilst chuckling on the bench. 


Bobby Charlton

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One of the greatest players to have turned out for Manchester United or England, Bobby Charlton defined his era as one of the game’s greatest goalscoring midfielders (fittingly his first two goals for United came against Charlton Athletic). 

After two decades at Old Trafford ?Charlton left to become manager of Preston North End in the second tier. His single season at the helm saw the club relegated, the same year Manchester United would drop a division and his brother Jack would get promoted as manager of Middlesbrough. 


Diego Maradona

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There is perhaps no greater example of a someone doing the best to ruin their extraordinary legacy as player with their managerial career. 

Arguably the ?greatest the game has ever seen, Maradona’s itinerant career after football has taken him from Mexico to Saudi Arabia, although he seemed to have found his ideal position as chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest. 

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His time as Argentina’s national manager saw them qualify for the 2010 World Cup (just) with an unbelievable squad including the likes of a 22-year-old ?Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero. 

Yet, they flattered to deceive and, after training had been moved to midday to accommodate Maradona’s nightlife, crashed out of the quarter-finals following a 4-0 battering from Germany. 

A recent stint at Argentinian club side Gimnasia de La Plata saw them assigned to relegation and when football eventually returns, the Maradona roadshow will undoubtedly take the former great to another corner of the globe.


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UEFA Dismiss Reports of Deadline to Complete Champions League by August

?UEFA have stressed that reports of a deadline to complete all Champions League matches this season by 3 August are not true, reiterating that the main priority is still ‘to preserve public health’.

There has been numerous reports published which have stated the Champions League will be cancelled if it can not be completed before 3 August, with these new outlets even writing that UEFA have confirmed that themselves.

But European football’s governing body have released a statement to assure fans that is not the case.

It has been reported that UEFA President, Aleksander ?eferin told ZDF in Germany that the UEFA Champions League must finish by 3 August. This is not true,” UEFA’s statement read.

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“The President was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season.

“UEFA is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on 17 March. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health.

“Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed, depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities.”

Major leagues across Europe have been put on hold until more is known about the coronavirus outbreak, with the authorities refusing to provide an exact date for when it is safe to host football matches against – either behind closed doors or with fans in the stadium.


Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League have become trailblazers for those demanding the season is cancelled, with their league leaders Club Brugge crowned as the champions, while Gent will be given their other Champions League qualification place.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Barcelona Could Loan Out Ansu Fati Next Season With First Team Prospects Limited

?Barcelona could loan out wonderkid Ansu Fati next season, as the youngster’s minutes are likely to be restricted at Camp Nou owing to a number of factors.

The 17-year-old has been one of the shining lights in Barcelona’s season, becoming the youngest debutant for the Catalan side since the Second World War. 

Fati made his Barcelona bow in August, aged just 16 years and 298 days. He has gone on to make 24 appearances this season, capitalising on the injuries to Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé.

Anssumane Fati

However, according to Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo, ?Barcelona do not expect Fati to play the same amount of minutes next season, and could loan him out to ensure his development continues.

The club will have Suárez and Dembélé fully fit and available once more and likely a new striker in addition to the array of attacking talents already at their disposal.

Suárez and Dembélé will be jostling for a starting spot in Barcelona’s front three alongside ?Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, plus the emergency February signing of Martin Braithwaite – although he has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou in the summer, with the likes of ?Everton and West Ham circulating.


Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao will also be in the mix. The 20-year-old will join Barcelona in the summer, having agreed a €31m switch from Braga in January.

La Liga’s current leaders are poised to continue strengthening their forward line in the summer, with a ?r?eunion with former striker Neymar rumoured for some time, and a move for Inter forward Lautaro Martínez also in the pipeline.

With such a wealth of attacking options, winger Fati could find himself down the Nou Camp pecking order, despite enjoying such an impressive debut campaign.

Anssumane Fati,Jordi Alba

Barcelona would likely have plenty of suitors for the youngster, who has found the net five times this season. 

His goal against Osasuna in August made him Barcelona’s youngest ever La Liga goal scorer, and the third youngest in the league’s history.

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PSG ‘Open’ to Neymar Transfer Talks With Barcelona Amid Interest in Antoine Griezmann Exchange

Paris Saint-Germain would be ‘open’ to negotiations with Barcelona over the sale of Neymar, with the French club keen to receive Antoine Griezmann in exchange.

The Brazilian forward is currently in his third season in Paris after departing Camp Nou in 2017 to try and step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow. 

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PSG paid a mind-boggling €222m (£195.5m) for the Brazilian’s services and hoped that his arrival would help them win their first ever ?Champions League title. However, the Parisians have struggled in the competition since breaking the all-time transfer record, being eliminated in the round of 16 in both 2017 and 2018.

Neymar has also failed to settle in the French capital with his own fans even ?jeering him last season, after his attempts to force a move away from the club faltered.

He was frequently touted for a return to Catalonia last summer and Barcelona remain keen to sign him. Despite reports yesterday to the contrary, ?SPORT are now reporting that PSG would be ‘open to negotiating with Barcelona for the first time since the Brazilian superstar landed in the French capital’. 

Key in the talks is Griezmann. The Parisians are eager to add a stronger French contingent to their squad and the former ?Atlético Madrid forward fits the bill as a marquee French name. Barcelona would likely be open to a player-plus-cash agreement as well, as Griezmann has struggled to fit in alongside Messi and Luis Suarez this season. 

Neymar,Antoine Griezmann

In other Neymar news – it never stops to be honest – a report by Mundo Deportivo claims the Blaugrana staved off Real Madrid’s interest in Neymar last summer by promising to orchestrate his return to the club in 2020.

Barca were prevented from completing the deal last year due to financial restraints and in order to stop Real capitalising on their failure, they promised to resume negotiations at the end of the current season. 


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

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