Premier League Trio Enter Race for Ajax Ace De Ligt After Making Contact With Defender’s Agent

?The Premier League trio of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United have joined a long list of suitors in the race to sign Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt as contact has reportedly been made with his representatives. 

The highly-rated 18-year-old has attracted interest from Europe’s elite after being tipped to become one of the leading central defenders in world football, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich joining the English clubs in making contact with the defender’s agent, Barry Hulshoff.


According to Spanish outlet ?Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are leading the race to land the 18-year-old due to the club’s close relationship with Ajax, with the Spanish outfit understood to be eager to secure a deal for a summer move.

However, the report claims they are not alone in their interest and would therefore need to part with a substantial fee as De Ligt also remains under contract with Ajax until 2021. 

The Netherlands international, tipped for stardom, will only part ways with Ajax if he is offered regular first-team football, something Barcelona may struggle with having Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti in the heart of their defence.

Similarly, both City and United have a host of centre-backs to choose from unlike Arsenal whose ageing back-line could be buoyed by the arrival of De Ligt. 

Yet, with experience beyond his years clubs across Europe will undoubtedly do everything they can to land the 18-year-old, where deadwood could be shifted in a bid to ensure De Ligt is the backbone of a club’s defence for the foreseeable future.  

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Coveted Gremio Star Arthur Reveals a Deal With Barcelona Is Getting Closer After Positive Talks

?Gremio youngster Arthur has revealed that a move to take him to the Nou Camp is in the offing, but he will focus on winning as much as possible with his current club.

As reported by Catalan paper ?Mundo Deportivo, sporting director Robert Fernandez has been in Brazil for the past few days to negotiate with the player and his team, and those discussions ended positively, with the player declaring: “The matter went well. It is close to an agreement.

There are some issues to finish talking. Until next week we could wait for something positive to be achieved.”


Globo Esporte actually reported a few days ago that ?Barca had reached a €40m agreement with the player, and there is every expectation now that the player will be Catalonia-bound this summer. That said, no medical or other formalities have yet to be completed.

Supposedly 60% of that fee will be made payable to Gremio, and 40% to be split evenly between the player’s parents and his representative Celso Rigo.

Barcelona SC v Gremio - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2017

It will be a huge coup for Barca if they can get Arthur in as expected – he has been tracked by a number of big clubs in Europe such as Manchester United and Chelsea.

The midfielder hasn’t actually turned out for Gremio in 2018 yet due to injury, but is in line to return very soon after resuming training.

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Real Madrid & Barcelona Among Clubs Questioned as Spanish Youth Football Match Fixing Scandal Erupts

?Twenty people have been arrested as police have launched an investigation into reportedly widespread match fixing scandal in the third and fourth division of Spanish domestic football.

As reported by Spanish outlet Marca, via the ?Sun, 51 matches between 2015-2017 are being investigated, which include games in which Barcelona B and Real Madrid’s Castilla side were in action. However, no players from either side has been implicated in any investigations thus far, and both side’s were only involved in one match that has been looked into further.

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

With the riches available to both clubs and players at the lower level of the game being minimal in comparison to the top tier, the temptation for corruption can often prove alluring. With online gambling now a huge industry, players could technically earn themselves money from something as innocuous as conceding a corner, or – more seriously – deliberately losing a game.

The European governing body UEFA are reportedly aware of the ongoing investigations, and are assisting the Spanish police and La Liga in their efforts to get to the bottom of the issue. Non-proft organisation Federbet – a company who work to tackle illegal gambling – are believed to have brought the suspicious activity to the attention of La Liga.

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In other news, Real Madrid are believed to be prepared to go head-to-head with Bayern Munich in the summer transfer window, ?as both club’s look to prize scoring sensation Mohamed Salah away from Premier League side Liverpool. The Egyptian dynamo has scored 30 goals already for the Reds this season, and Real could look to test Liverpool’s resolve with a huge transfer offer.

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5 Players Who Need a Strong End to the Season to Secure Their Future at Barcelona

There can be few sweeter pleasures available for any footballer than the opportunity to pull on the famous colours of Barcelona. There’s also, undoubtedly, few more demanding exercises in existence. 

Despite the Blaugrana recently setting the novel precedent of lifelong contract extensions, the bar for that particular privilege is no less than the inimitable Andres Iniesta. For the other mere mortals at the club, any morsel of security is to be cherished as though it were the Ballon d’Or itself.

Accordingly, here are five players within the current squad who will need to perform exceptionally for the rest of the season to ensure they will be lining up at the Camp Nou next season.

5. Denis Suarez

The former Manchester City youth prospect was initially signed by Barcelona in 2013, before a series of loan spells culminated in his departure to Villarreal in 2015. 

However, after a stoic year with the Yellow Submarine, in which he collected five goals and 13 assists, the Spaniard returned to the Catalan side the following summer.

While the versatile forward has impressed sporadically for the Blaugrana, and has already matched his goals total this year from last campaign (with one more assist), he is yet to make himself indispensable, and his presence has been intermittent. 

He will certainly need to prove his worth at the sharp end of the season if he is to secure his future with La Liga leaders. 

4. Andre Gomes

An everpresent in rumour mills throughout the year, the 24-year-old Barca flop has seemingly been shopped around with as much success as a garage-bound and rusting car without an MOT.

However, for whatever reason (most likely because its clearly a tough sell) the Portuguese international remains with the Spanish giants.

If he wishes for it to stay that way, it is imperative he buck’s up his ideas, and strings together some performances worthy of the £31.5m that was paid for him in 2016.

Adding to his tally of one assist and zero goals this season would be a start…

3. Paco Alcacer

In keeping with a strangely incongrous similarity, being 24 years of age, Alcacer is also – to use a Carlos Carvalhal analogy – wrestling to stay afloat in the tempestuous and unforgiving sea that is FC Barcelona.

In another, perhaps not so incidental – and certainly more damning of the club’s recent transfer business – connection, the Spaniard is the third member of this list who was acquired in the fateful summer of 2016. 

Since his arrival, Alcacer has accrued just 13 goals and seven assists, and is yet to fully establish himself within the club. Failure to rectify this situation in the coming months may lead to his imminent departure.

2. Aleix Vidal

Bucking both the aforementioned trends is 28-year-old Aleix Vidal, who was signed in 2015 from Sevilla. 

Unfortunately, since then there have been far more pictures akin to the one included above than there have been celebratory ones.

Vidal’s one saving grace is the questionable state of Ousmane Dembele, who Barcelona are wisely taking no unnecessary chances with following his return from injury. The winger must capitalise on the Frenchmen’s current disposition if he is to convince the club of his value. 

1. Luis Suarez

Perhaps a somewhat incendiary choice, but not without its reasons. Notwithstanding his admittedly extraordinary purple patch since November – in which time he has scored an astonishing 17 goals – his early season sluggishness will no doubt be cause for concern.

As will his goal drought in the Champions League; at the time of writing the Uruguyuan has gone 881 minutes in Europe’s premier competition without scoring. At 31, he is the oldest member of this undignified list, and despite his incremental improvement in fitness since the start of the campaign, clearly his most explosive days are behind.

Add these characteristics to the underlying narrative that the Catalan club are in possession of an ageing side, and are thus operating with more than one eye on the future, and Suarez’s security suddenly seems far less assured. 

While his class (as is proverbially customary) is undoubtedly permanent, it may ultimately be sacrificed for some fresher, fleeter and Frencherlegs sooner than you think. 


Luis Suarez Reveals How Lionel Messi Altered His Position to Help Earn Barcelona’s Draw With Chelsea

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has revealed that Lionel Messi made an intelligent positional change to equalise against Chelsea in the 1-1 draw in the Champions League at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.

Chelsea attacker Willian fired the home side in front just after the hour mark, before ?Messi struck level to break his duck and score his first goal against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Former Liverpool striker Suarez admitted afterwards that Messi was growing frustrated as he struggled to make the impact that he wanted, so decided to drop into a deep position to pull the strings.

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

“In these kind of games you have to be smart,” said the Uruguayan (via the ?Mirror). “Leo could not create many situations of danger being close to me so he threw himself backwards to look for these type of situations.”

This tactical change by the Argentine came off as he drew Barça level after 75 minutes, giving the Catalonian side a vital away goal going into the second leg at the Nou Camp.

Suarez felt that before the goal he should have been awarded a penalty, saying:  

“As soon as the ball arrived at me, I was knocked off my balance by Rudiger. I tried to stay on my feet but the impact knocked me over…but the referee did not make the decision, so I tried to press and win back the ball.”

Suarez is confident that Blaugrana can finish the job off in the return leg in front of the Barca fans, especially after having the advantage of the away goal.

He said: “The result is good, they have to go there to score a goal. It will not be easy, but we can benefit from that. We are stronger at home. They will be forced to score and we will have more space.”

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