Tag Archives: Barcelona

Champions League last 16 draw – mixed results for English sides

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The Champions League draw for the knockout phase has been made, and will see some of the five English teams come up against some of the favourites for the title.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have arguably the hardest draws, facing Barcelona and Juventus respectively.

The three remaining English teams have, on paper, less tricky ties. Liverpool will play Portugese side Porto, Manchester United have drawn Sevilla, and Manchester City come up against Basel of Switzerland.

Of the other ties, the most eye-catching sees two of the tournament favourites face off as Real Madrid take on Paris St-Germain.

The draw in full – dates ties will be played in brackets:

• Juventus v Tottenham (13 February and 7 March)
• Basel v Manchester City (13 February and 7 March)
• Porto v Liverpool (14 February and 6 March)
• Sevilla v Manchester United (21 February and 13 March)
• Real Madrid v PSG (14 February and 6 March)
• Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma (21 February and 13 March)
• Chelsea v Barcelona (20 February and 14 March)
• Bayern Munich v Besiktas (20 February and 14 March)

Barcelona target Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen in potential January transfer swoop

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Spanish giants Barcelona are said to have made Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen their number one transfer target in the upcoming January transfer window.

Danish international Eriksen has emerged as a top target as Barca seek to strengthen their squad, according to Spanish news outlet Don Balon.

Barcelona are also said to be still interested in signing Liverpool’s Phillippe Coutinho and Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.

Unnamed sources have said that Barca’s management have been tracking Eriksen for some time, and have been impressed with his performances for Spurs this season.

A move for Eriksen may be popular, as Liverpool’s asking price for Coutinho has been a deterring factor for the Catalan club and Ozil used to play for bitter rivals Real Madrid, which could mean that fans would struggle to take to him.

Eriksen has been a star for Spurs for several seasons. In 2016/17 he scored 8 goals and provided assists for 15 more. So far this season, This season, Eriksen has scored 3 goals and made 2 assists in 13 PL matches. He has also made 75 appearances for Denmark, scoring 21 goals.

But Eriksen would not come cheap. He is contracted to Spurs until 2020 and club chairman Daniel Levy is notorious for driving a hard bargain – he would be loathe to see one of the clubs stars leave when the club are still in the Champions League and in contention for a top-four spot in the PL.

In today’s inflated transfer market, Levy would doubtless be looking for at least £100 million for the 25-year-old who could still have his best years ahead of him.

Eriksen himself has previously expressed an admiration for the Catalan side. Last summer he said: ““Barcelona are a great club. I don’t think there are many who say no to Barcelona.”

Lionel Messi signs new Barcelona contract with ridiculous buy-out clause

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Lionel Messi has signed a new contract that will keep him at the Camp Nou until the end of the 2020/21 season and it has a buy-out clause of €700 million (£626 million).

The deal means that, at the end of the deal, Messi will have been at Barcelona for more than 20 years. Messi, 30, joined the club as a 13-year-old.

In his time at Barcelona Messi has made 602 appearances and scored 523 goals. He has helped Barca to win 8 La Liga titles and 4 Champions Leagues.

Messi has also won 4 European Golden Shoe awards – the most recent coming on November 24, in recognition of his 37 goals in the Spanish league last season.

Barca officials had initially announced Messi had signed a new deal in July, but it quickly emerged that wasn’t the case and led to speculation that he could leave. However, this new deal – and massive buy-out clause – should put those rumours to bed.

A statement from the club said Messi’s signing would be “music to the ears of all Barca fans.”

Liverpool considering January loan move for PSG star

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Liverpool are planning to make a move to sign German international midfielder Julian Draxler on loan in January from Paris St-Germain, according to reports.

The Reds have already made contact with PSG about the possibility of a move for a player that Jurgen Klopp has rated for some time, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

Draxler only joined PSG in January of this year, but has been shunted down the pecking order by the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, and has not often been used in his favoured attacking midfield positions this season.

However, a move is by no means a certainty. If Draxler were to become available, there would be no shortage of clubs wanting to sign him, including Arsenal, who also have a long-standing interest in him and are looking for a marquee signing to replace the probably-departing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

But perhaps most importantly it is thought that Draxler is currently unwilling to leave PSG and wants to fight for his place in the side.

Quite where Draxler would fit into the Anfield side is a question too – with the front three of Philippe Coutinho, Mohammad Salah and Roberto Firmino in fine form this season. Unless, of course, this is Klopp planning for the departure of Coutinho – Barcelona are said to be preparing another bid for him in January, having been repeatedly rebuffed by Liverpool in the summer.

Arsenal line up £60 million Nabil Fekir transfer

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Arsenal are said to be in discussions to sign Lyon’s French international playmaker Nabil Fekir for £60 million in January.

The Gooners are apparently lining up 24-year-old Fekir as a replacement for either Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez – both of whom are in the final months of their deals at the Emirates and look likely to leave the club, either for a cut-price in January or for nothing in the summer, according to the Daily Star.

A move would also see Fekir, who can play as a striker or in the whole, reunited with erstwhile teammate Alexandre Lacazette. He has scored 11 goals in 11 games for Lyon – currently 3rd in Ligue Un – so far this season.

However, talk of Arsenal concluding a deal in January may be premature, as Lyon will be reluctant to sell one of their star players mid-season as they are still competing for honours domestically and in Europe. He would also be cup-tied in Europe if he moved to Arsenal.

Not only this, but other clubs are known to be coveting Fekir, not least Spanish giants Barcelona, who could see him as an alternative, should Liverpool continue to refuse any overtures from them for Philippe Coutinho.