Dayot Upamecano Refuses New RB Leipzig Deal With Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Circling

?Dayot Upamecano has refused to sign a new deal at RB Leipzig with host of top European clubs eyeing up a summer move for the defender.

The 21-year-old has made 24 appearances for Julian Nagelsmann’s side this season and his stoic performances at centre-back have been crucial to Leipzig’s surprise title challenge. 

Dayot Upamecano

Upamecano has long been the subject of interest from across the continent with 90min revealing back in November that ?Manchester City were considering a ?January bid for the defender. As well as the Cityzens, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Barcelona were all said to be tracking the player.

No such move materialised last month, however the Frenchman looks likely to depart Leipzig in the summer. According to ?BILD, Upamecano has refused to extend his contract which expires in June 2021. If negotiations continue to falter, the Frenchman would be available for a fixed price of €60m in the summer.

Leipzig have not yet given up hope that their star men will renew terms, with sporting director Markus Krösche explaining the club’s position.

“Dayot is a very important player on our team and showed on Sunday [against Bayern Munich] what a fantastic defender he is,” Krösche said. 

Dayot Upamecano

“I also think that we know what we have to each other – time will tell how things will go in the medium term.” 

?Barcelona are thought to be the club most heavily interested in signing Upamecano. They have struggled defensively this season and Quique Setien is keen to bolster his ranks. The club made the centre-back their ‘?ultimate‘ target last month. 

?Arsenal have also been porous defensively for about a decade, and view the stopper as the man to make them more sturdy at the back. The report in Bild states that the starlet’s preferred move would be to a club in the ?Premier League.

The Gunners’ north London rivals, ?Tottenham, take on Leipzig next Wednesday in the Champions League – though Upamecano will not be playing due to suspension.  


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Every Injury That Ousmane Dembele Has Suffered During His Barcelona Career

?When Neymar left Barcelona for PSG in 2017 for a world record €222m fee, many wondered who would be capable of filling his rather large Camp Nou shoes.

The world wouldn’t have to wait long to find out, as Barça forked out an initial €105m – with €40m in add-ons to follow – fee to snare Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, making him, at the time, the second most expensive player in history.


With prices at an all-time high and market inflation continuing to soar, Dembele’s arrival was viewed as an expensive but necessary outlay. After all, he could prove to be the successor to Lionel Messi, who as great he is, won’t go on forever.

Sadly, for ?Dembele and ?Barcelona though, it hasn’t quite worked out. Injuries, injuries and more injuries have ruined his time in Catalonia, leaving the Frenchman’s once promising career hanging in the balance.

Don’t believe it’s been that bad? Well, take a look at this, as 90min spins you through every injury he’s suffered since arriving in Spain.


Hamstring Injury (17/09/17)

Ousmane Dembele

?Days Injured: 106

Games Missed: 20

Dembele’s first – and sadly not last – hamstring injury, unbelievably, occurred on his first La Liga start for Barça, away at Getafe.

The injury would leave him on the sidelines for three months, leaving Dembele to watch on as the first Clasico of the season passed him by.


Hamstring Injury (15/01/18)

UEFA Champions League"FC Barcelona v PSV"

Days Injured: 26

Games Missed: 7

Tragedy struck again for Dembele as he suffered another hamstring problem just four games into his return.

He missed both legs of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia, and was moved away from the first team as Ernesto Valverde switched to a 4-4-2 formation.


Ankle Injury (21/01/19)

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH64-FRA-CRO

Days Injured: 18

Games Missed: 5

It would be another year before Dembele’s injury curse would strike again, and during that period he had a pretty good time of it, winning La Liga with Barcelona and the World Cup with France.

But then an ankle injury struck ruled the Frenchman out of yet another Copa del Rey semi-final, this time against ?Real Madrid. He did return for the second leg, though, assisting twice as Barça beat their fiercest rivals 3-0.?


Torn Muscle Bundle (14/03/19)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-LEVANTE

Days Injured: 26

Games Missed: 4?

Dembele’s next bout of inactivity stemmed from more ‘muscle’ problems, ruling him out of action for just under a month.

More worryingly, Barça didn’t appear to miss him during this period, averaging three goals per game in their four outings.


Hamstring Injury (05/05/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 42

Games Missed: 4

Ahhhh, back to the hamstring trail – with an injury that would end Dembele’s 2018/19 season, just six minutes into Barcelona’s clash with Celta Vigo.

On the positive, his absence allowed him to enjoy watching a brief – rather than a participating one – as Barça collapsed against Liverpool in their Champions League semi finals second leg tie.


Hamstring Injury (19/08/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 34

Games Missed: 5

Yep, you guessed it, another hamstring injury for Dembele – and again, another shocking start to a season.

Another month on the sidelines followed, with five games and 34 days required to get over this latest problem.


Muscle Injury (27/09/19)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-LEGANES-BARCELONA

Days Injured: 3

Games Missed: 1?

Just five days after returning to action, Dembele was ruled out once more – with another unspecified muscle problem ruling him out of Barça’s game with Getafe.

Unfortunately, the worst was still to come.


Hamstring Injury (28/11/19)

Ousmane Dembele

Days Injured: 67

Games Missed: 15

At this point we can only assume Dembele would have been doing his best Brenda from Bristol impersonation and saying: “What, another one?!”

A fifth hamstring injury in just over two years was one of Dembele’s worst to date – ruling him out of the Spanish Super Cup, another Clasico, as well as Barça’s crunch Champions League clash with ?Inter.

Still, could only get better, right?


Hamstring Tendon Tear (04/02/20)

Expected Days Injured: 182

Minimum Games Missed: 19

Sadly, things have deteriorated further, with a torn tendon in Dembele’s right hamstring – picked up during his rehabilitation – requiring surgery, ruling him out for six months.

Not only will be on the sidelines for the longest period of his career, he will now miss France’s Euro 2020 campaign – and question marks will be surely be raised among Barça’s hierarchy over his ability to recover from such a debilitating, ongoing injury.

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Why We Are Finally Starting to See the Best of Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona

When Frenkie De Jong joined Barcelona last summer, he became the 20th Dutchman to play for the Catalan giants, following in the footsteps of some of the game’s greats from Ronald Koeman and Edgar Davids to Johan Cruyff. 

However, De Jong’s first six months in Spain have seen the 22-year-old endure a mixed start to La Liga life. 

Critics have highlighted his tendency to hang onto the ball too long, gift possession too easily and generally fail to perfectly replicate his stunning performances which saw Ajax get within one 96th-minute winner of the Champions League final last season. 

UEFA Champions League"Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur FC"

Many non-footballing factors could have contributed to the adjustment period De Jong has gone through since the summer. Namely, he’s a 22-year-old kid who’s moved to a new country, with a different language, culture and climate.

On the pitch, things have proven different for De Jong as well. 

In the superb Ajax team of last season De Jong, in the ?Champions League, was fielded as one of two holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1, alongside the Denmark international Lasse Schöne. From here, the Dutchman would drop deep to pick up the ball from his back-line and drive forward, exploiting his speed and agility to become one of the most press-resistant midfielders in Europe. 

Barcelona have played with a single holding midfielder for decades and unfortunately for De Jong, he was deemed good enough for La Blaugrana to buy him, but not good enough to oust Sergio Busquets from that role. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-TRAINING

For almost the entirety of the season so far, De Jong has been fielded in one of the more advanced roles in ?Barcelona’s midfield three, ahead of Busquets. This positional change has seen De Jong’s defensive contribution drop off a cliff compared to his peak at Ajax.

The apparent emphasis on attacking implied by this move upfield has drawn ?criticism from many, including his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag. 

Ten Hag argues that De Jong is not a goalscorer but the person who provides the ball before the goal, or the ball before the assist.

Yet, under Valverde, it seems as though De Jong wasn’t instructed to get forward, or break up play, or much else apart from passing. Over the course of the Dutchman’s first 19 league appearances for Barcelona, he took a grand total of two shots (admittedly he scored from one but two shots in almost 1,500 minutes is woeful for an advanced midfielder).

The nadir of De Jong’s opening salvo in Barcelona colours coincided with Valverde’s final game at the club as the 22-year-old conceded the free kick against Espanyol which resulted in their cross-city foes taking the lead, before later being sent off and paving the way for Wu Lei’s 88th-minute equaliser. 

Frenkie de Jong,Gerard Pique

Valverde’s successor Quique Setién has seemed to have granted De Jong more freedom in the very small time the two have worked together. 

In the ?three La Liga games under Setién, the Dutchman has remained in this advanced role but, crucially, taken as many shots as he did during his five-month spell with Valverde at the helm. 

Saturday saw the second of those efforts nestle in Real Betis’ net as De Jong volleyed home after linking up with Lionel Messi to finish a move that had begun with the Dutchman collecting the ball from Barcelona’s back-line. 

De Jong himself ?refused to say that this was his best performance in a Barça shirt but he excelled throughout as his side twice came from behind to record only their fifth victory in 12 league games on the road this season. 

Whilst one good performance should not banish all memories of his first six months, many of the criticisms levelled as De Jong can be somewhat explained by the sub-par performances of his teammates.  

While it may look like De Jong is in his own little world with the ball at his feet and three opposition players charging at him from all sides, he often is forced to hold possession due to the lack of forward movement ahead of him. Couple this with the fact that he’s dispossessed only once per match and his time in Catalonia is cast a more favourable light. 

De Jong often found himself as Barcelona’s most advanced player against Betis and while this is certainly a different role to the one he flourished in at Ajax, he has the technical and tactical fluency to thrive almost anywhere you put him, given enough time and support to adapt. 

After a rocky start to life during a rocky period in Barcelona’s history, he’s starting to put out performances which reflect his other-worldly talent in a position he’s still learning. And at just 22 years old, he has plenty of time to get it right.

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Barça to Sign €35m Striker Outside of Transfer Window After Ousmane Dembele Ruled Out for 6 Months

?Barcelona have apparently reached an agreement to sign Willian Jose from Real Sociedad, following the news that Ousmane Dembélé will ruled out for up to six months after undergoing hamstring surgery in Finland.

The France international has made just nine appearances this season due to a constant battle with injury problems and his latest setback came after a 2-1 win over CD Leganés earlier this season.

Barcelona have now confirmed that Dembélé will not be available for selection for another six months, ruling his out for France at Euro 2020 and at least until the start of the 2020/21 season for the club.

Ousmane Dembele

In a statement on their official website, Barcelona said: “The first team player Ousmane Dembélé has successfully undergone surgery in Turku, Finland where he was operated on by Dr. Lasse Lempainen for a ruptured tendon in his proximal hamstring in his right thigh. 

“The Frenchman will be out for around 6 months.

“The striker was continuing his recovery from the hamstring injury when he was forced to retire from a training session at the Ciutat Esportiva last week. Subsequent tests confirmed a complete rupture to the tendon in the proximal hamstring of his right leg.”

Although Dembélé’s six-month injury lay off will come as a blow for Barcelona, they could be about to be given special permission from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to make a new signing outside of the transfer window.

According to RTVE (via Sport), Barcelona expects to be given the green light by the RFEF and they’ve apparently even reached an agreement with Real Sociedad ahead of a move for striker Willian Jose.

The 28-year-old was targeted by the club during the January transfer window but they ultimately rejected a move due to his €70m release clause.

Willian Jose

At this moment in time it’s not known exactly why Real Sociedad would let Jose leave San Sebastián for half of his release clause, especially during a time of the season where they can’t sign a direct replacement.

Although Jose has lost his first-team place this season, 20-year-old Alexander Isak is the only other recognised centre forward available for the club.


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5 of the Best Moments of Luis Suarez’s Career

Luis Suarez is number 34 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series


Luis Suarez, arguably the greatest Spanish player of the 20th century, won a lot of things. He played a lot of football – some 500-and-several club games, plus a chunk for the national team. 

He played for Barcelona. He played for Inter. He played for Spain and he played, a little, for Deportivo La Coruña and Sampdoria to book-end his career. 

We’re going to focus a little on the middle three here, because…well, you hit your best moments in your prime, don’t you?


Atletico Madrid 1-1 Barcelona (12/04/59)?

Luis Suarez

Starting a list of the five greatest moments of one of the best footballers of all time…with a 1-1 draw away to Atleti. What of it? Don’t like it? Write your own list. 

Anyway, it’s not just any 1-1 draw away at Atleti. It is, thanks to Athletic Club’s José María Maguregui-inspired 4-1 smashing of Real Madrid on the same weekend, the 1-1 draw away at Atleti that won Suarez his first league title after coming second, third and third respectively in the previous three seasons. 

Barça’s task was made harder when stalwart goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets went off midway through the first half, but a second-half goal from Joan Segarra settled Catalan nerves – and Vavá’s late equaliser mattered little in the end. 

Not only way it Suarez’s first La Liga title, but it was the first for Barça since their move to Camp Nou. They followed it up with another the next season, because Barcelona. 


1960 Ballon d’Or

Alright, winning the Ballon d’Or didn’t necessarily mean you were the best player in the world until 2007 (not the 1995 George Weah thing! You still had to be playing at a European club there!) but it was still a pretty big deal. 

Coming off back-to-back La Liga titles and a win in the 1958-60 Fairs Cup (that’s not a typo, it was played over the course of two full seasons, weird), Suarez became the first player in four years to break Real Madrid’s hold on the shiny globe. Nice one. 


Inter 6-0 Genoa (10/03/63)

San Siro At Night

While Suarez was reasonably prolific in Spain, he found goalscoring a little more difficult in Italy – although it may be fairer to say that goalscoring was less necessary at Inter, playing in a deeper-lying role in a team built around structure, with counter-attacks and flying full-backs.

In his first title-winning season at San Siro, late in the season, having scored four goals in his 21 other appearances in Serie A that season, he went on the rampage against the Genoese – striking three times in the second half to become the first Spaniard to record a hat-trick in the Italian top flight.

That mark stood for 53 years, until Suso romped all over Frosinone in 2016. The team he scored it for? Genoa, of course. 


1964 European Cup Final?

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Losing a European Cup final sucks. Even if your team is great, if you’re a cracking player, you might only get one shot. Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Roberto Mancini – all great players with fantastic careers, but each of them lost their only European Cup final appearance. 

Fabio Cannavaro? Roberto Baggio? ACTUAL RONALDO? Never even made the European Cup final. 

Luis Suarez’s Barcelona team lost to Bela Guttmann’s Benfica in the 1961 final, and he left the club almost instantly for a new adventure in Italy. He didn’t win anything in his first season, won Serie A in the second and made it to the European Cup final in his third. 

Against old rivals Real Madrid, he shone – as ever – in a 3-1 win. Noice. 


1964 European Championship Final

Jose Villalonga

The Euros used to have four teams. Weird. In the 1964 edition, Sanchez first came up against a Hungary team without many of the best Hungarian players of the era (see: the Hungarian revolution and associated political and social mess). 

Former teammates and rivals Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskas were toward the end of their careers, but still would’ve been…y’know, helpful. Spain won that game in extra time to set up a final against the Soviet Union (we miss you, 1960s football). 

Spain won. In case you hadn’t guessed. 2-1, thanks to a Marcelino goal in the dying minutes. A European Cup and a European Championship in the same summer. Handy. 


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