30 March, 2017
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BRAMALL JOINS ARSENAL
Arsenal have completed the signing of 20-year-old left-back Cohen Bramall from from non-league team Hednesford Town FC for an undisclosed fee. Bramall’s signing was confirmed on Arsenal’s website on Tuesday. Bramall, who was on trial with Arsenal before putting pen to paper, will join up with Arsenal’s U-23 team. He becomes Arsenal’s first signing in the January transfer window. “We have signed young left-back Cohen Bramall from Hednesford Town in the Northern League Premier Division,” Arsenal confirmed. “The 20-year-old, who impressed on a recent trial, will join up with Steve Gatting and our under-23s squad. “Cohen has come through non-league football and played with Market Drayton last season. “We’d like to welcome Cohen to the club.”
10 January, 2017
Wenger: Welbeck was desperate during injury layoff
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed Danny Welbeck for his patience during his injury setbacks and hopes the striker comes back a stronger player for the club during the second half of the season.
The England international, who signed for the North London club from Manchester United in 2014, was sidelined with a knee-cartilage damage last May only three months after returning from another long-term knee injury.
Welbeck, who also missed the Euro 2016 due to the injury, made his first appearance of the season as a late substitute in Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Preston North End in FA Cup third round on Saturday.
"I think he went through certainly desperation because the setback he had was absolutely atrocious," Wenger told the British media.
"The patience you need when you're that age - and to miss the European Championship on top of that, after missing the start of the season - it was terrible.
"But he worked hard and certainly it will make him stronger, what happened to him."
Wenger also said the 26-year-old was allowed to spend some time away from the club during his rehabilitation.
"We let him go outside as well and mixed his time," he added. "At the end of the day, when something like that happens to you, you have to deal with it on your own, but of course we spoke with him a lot and tried to support him."
9 January, 2017
Conte cannot imagine life without football
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte understands Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola's recent comments about early retirement from management but the Italian says he cannot imagine life without football.
Guardiola told the media last week that he is "arriving at the end" of his coaching career before clarifying that he will not be quitting management anytime soon.
"...I have great respect for Pep and I think that when you have a method, when you have a philosophy of football, an idea you want to bring in every team you manage, you spend a lot of energy," Conte said.
"And sometimes it can happen that you are a bit tired, more tired, in some periods.
"I'm sure that Pep wants to continue for a long time. I think his work is fantastic."
The Italian boss cannot imagine his own life without football as he targets another 20 years as a manager.
"Twenty more years? Now I'm 47. I prefer that my wife doesn't listen to this! This is our life.
"Football is our life and it's right to continue to live in football. In the moment that football is not in our life, I think probably we die," Conte said.
Chelsea are currently top of the table in Conte's first season at the club and he is hoping to build a lasting legacy at the club, citing former Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as examples.
"Sir Alex Ferguson is a good example for me. When I see him, but also when I see Arsene, they are a big example for me.
"I hope to have not completely their career, but 10 years, yes. It's enough for me."
9 January, 2017
Boufal adds to Morocco injury list
Southampton's record signing Sofiane Boufal has been sent home from Morocco's African Nations Cup training camp after injury ruled the midfielder out of the tournament.
"Sofiane Boufal has left the camp after examination of his injury showed he would not be capable of playing at the Nations Cup," the Morocco Football Federation said in a statement.
It gave no details about the injury and there was no immediate comment from his Premier League club.
Morocco, who are training in the United Arab Emirates, play Finland in a friendly on Tuesday before heading to the tournament, which starts in Gabon on Saturday.
The Moroccans kick off their campaign against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Oyem on Jan. 16 but their chances of success have been hit by a lengthening injury list that includes midfielder Younes Belhanda, sidelined with a broken toe.
Oussame Tannane is also out due to a thigh injury and Watford winger Nordin Amrabat with an ankle problem.
Boufal's return to England could be a boost for Southampton, who faced losing the player for five weeks if Morocco reached the Nations Cup final, but the injury will also be a concern for a side currently 10th in the English top flight.
Southampton have had a crowded fixture schedule, including Europa League group matches before their exit last month, and have looked jaded lately with a run of three straight league defeats in which they have conceded nine goals and scored twice.
They host Liverpool in a League Cup semi-final, first leg on Wednesday, then travel to Burnley in the league on Saturday before hosting second-tier Norwich City in an FA Cup third round replay the following Wednesday.
Having to lose key players to the African Nations Cup has long been a bone of contention for Premier League managers, with the tournament coming at a stage of the season when clubs are chasing trophies or are locked in a battle to stay up.
Southampton have been luckier than some of their rivals, with Boufal their only player called up for the tournament.
Stoke City and relegation-threatened Sunderland have both had to relinquish three players.
9 January, 2017
Maradona backs Infantino's 48-team World Cup plan
Diego Maradona is delighted by plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams and Argentina's former captain said on Monday that it would rekindle interest in the tournament.
The FIFA Council is expected to approve a proposal to expand the finals from 32 to 48 teams, starting in 2026, when it meets on Tuesday.
Maradona, one of the greatest players to grace the game, has been a long-time critic of FIFA but the two sides buried the hatchet last year after Gianni Infantino was elected president of the global soccer body to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter.
"I'm delighted by Gianni's initiative because it gives chances to teams that otherwise would start the qualifiers knowing they had no chance of getting to the World Cup," Maradona told reporters after a veterans' match at FIFA headquarters.
"It gives each country the dream and it renews the passion for football, it appears to me to be a fantastic idea," added Maradona, who captained Argentina to World Cup success in 1986.
He said it was important for the sport that FIFA's image improved after it was battered by a corruption scandal that has seen 40 individuals and two sports marketing companies indicted in the United States.
"We want a FIFA that is clean so people come back to the stadiums, with so much corruption people have got tired of always seeing the same thing," said the 56-year-old.
Maradona was a frequent critic of Infantino's predecessor Sepp Blatter and claimed there was "a mafia" inside FIFA.
He had also previously criticised Infantino, saying it was "very wrong to go from drawing the lots to running for FIFA president."
The remark was a reference to Infantino's previous role as general secretary of European soccer governing body UEFA, where his duties included supervising draws for European competitions.
9 January, 2017
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