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Liverpool

Liverpool have found next Sadio Mané as Jürgen Klopp star is ‘Neymar with work rate’

Liverpool needed to replace the goals that Sadio Mané provided for Jürgen Klopp as part of the next phase of their evolution. One transfer deal has done just that.

Replacing a player like Sadio Mané was never going to be easy, but Liverpool are reaping the rewards from finding a star early who was in line to take the baton from the Senegal international at some point. Jürgen Klopp couldn’t have been 100 per cent sure of whether that would have been this summer after Bayern Munich came calling — but the Reds already look to be in good hands.luis díaz

Luis Díaz has been a revelation since joining the club, and it looks as though a half-season during the 2021/22 campaign was all he needed to settle in to Klopp’s side. Four goals in 13 Premier League matches last season provided a foundation for the Colombian winger to build on, and he has done just that this season, having already scored three from four matches.

Díaz has, arguably, been Liverpool’s best performer from the opening games. It was his wondergoal against Crystal Palace that rescued a draw after Darwin Núñez was dismissed, and the 25-year-old had the opening say as the Reds scored the first of nine against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. At his current rate, the former FC Porto star could soon establish himself as the best left-winger in the league — a title Sadio Mané had often made a case for.

It’s a testament to Liverpool’s recruitment team that they were able to find yet another player who has been able and make an instant impact, but also to Díáz, who has embraced life on Merseyside. He is dispelling myths of whether statistics can translate between leagues, with many somewhat dismissive of his 14 goals in 18 games in Portugal’s top flight.

And it’s clear why Klopp was keen to make a move for him. Away from the promising goal return and technical quality, Díaz’s work rate has set him apart from the typical skilful South American winger. He adds the flair without the low defensive contribution — a factor that Neymar, among others, has been criticised for in the past, but something that Liverpool always look for — and exemplified by Mohamed Salah.

Díaz is Liverpool’s top scorer in the Premier League after the opening four matches, but his transformation from a tricky winger who forced Real Madrid to double up on him in the Champions League final to a proven goalscorer at the highest level is most impressive.

For many players, finding the lethal touch inside the box is the final ingredient required to evolve. While he may not necessarily find himself matching the 22 league goals that Salah and Mané scored in the 2018/19 season, it’s clear that progress has been made in that area of his game.

Of course, Mané is a loss to the side — but it could have been much worse had Liverpool been hesitant in the transfer market. There is no need to panic buy when there is a ready-made replacement, and it also emphasises the significance of developing players in favour spending — an element of Klopp’s management style that is unrivalled.

As Liverpool prepare to welcome back Diogo Jota after his injury, it seems unlikely that Díaz will be edged away from starting minutes without being rested. But with Liverpool able to rotate between him and the Portugal international, it is difficult to find a better example of strength-in-depth — highlighting how the left-flank has been secured for the remainder of Klopp’s tenure with a £37m masterstroke.

The silky South American could teach Neymar and others plenty — and that’s exactly why Liverpool beat Tottenham and others to his signing.

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Liverpool

NBA coach Steve Kerr on his Cairo homecoming and his love for Mohamed Salah

CAIRO, Egypt — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has made a long-awaited return to Cairo, where he spent three years in his teens, to coach campers at the NBA and FIBA’s Africa Basketball without Borders programme.

Kerr, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, spent time in Egypt as a child because of his father’s academic career in Middle Eastern studies, and had not been back to Cairo since 1985 until this past weekend.

Kerr made it a family affair, he told us at a media event on Sunday. “I wanted to come to Cairo [for BWB], I haven’t been back here since 1985,” he said.

“I brought my family — I brought my wife, my daughter, her husband — it’s great to be visiting Egypt again, and doing so while coaching and being a part of BWB made it a perfect trip.”

Kerr, 56, attended Cairo American College (CAC) for three years in his teens while his late father was a visiting professor at the American University of Cairo. His father, Malcolm Hooper Kerr, was killed in a terror attack in Beirut in 1984.

Although Kerr’s main connection to the Middle East is gone, he has not forgotten his roots and even took time to visit his old school.

He said: “I had a chance to visit the [CAC] campus a couple of days ago and go talk to the school teams, boys’ and girls’ teams, visit some of the coaches and the teachers, so it was a great experience.”

Kerr is also famously a soccer fan and supports Liverpool, a connection that also relates to his time in Egypt: Pharaohs star Mohamed Salah.

But while Kerr loves Salah’s work on the field, he’s also a big fan of his humanitarian work off it: “I started following the Premier League maybe five or six years ago and I had seen Mohamed Salah play and read about him.

“I was just so impressed by his character and what he had done in his hometown, helping to build a school.

“I knew how beloved he was in Egypt, so I said: ‘That’s my guy!’ I wanted to cheer for Mohamed Salah and when I found out he played for Liverpool, I said: ‘OK, that’s my team!’ So, I’ve been a Liverpool fan ever since.”

Kerr, who won five NBA championships as a player (three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs), is used to being admired, but even he was starstruck when he met Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

“I’ve gotten to meet some of the coaches. I met with Jürgen Klopp the other day in Liverpool, which was a great thrill. Watching the game, it’s very similar in terms of concepts,” he said.

“Even though there’s 11 players in soccer and only five in basketball, it’s still very much a game about three people — whoever has the ball and whoever is closest to that player — and being able to pass and move in small triangles across the court or the pitch; trying to beat your man and beat the defender with cutting and spacing, it’s all very similar.

“I’m still trying to learn more about soccer — I’m not an expert — but I enjoy watching it, and I feel like I’m always learning something.”

Despite downplaying his knowledge of the sport, Kerr did not hesitate when asked who he expected to win the UEFA Champions League this season.

“Liverpool,” he said with a smile.

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Liverpool

Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth: Record-equalling Reds ‘could have scored 14’

Harsh words were directed Liverpool‘s way after the defeat at Manchester United on Monday.

Former vice-captain Jamie Carragher called it “embarrassing” as they started the Premier League season in sluggish manner with two draws and the loss at Old Trafford.

It came just a couple of months on from last season’s exploits, when they came agonisingly close to football immortality, winning the Carabao Cup and FA Cup but then finishing runners-up in the Premier League by a point and losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has set high standards during his time at Anfield and his side failed to meet them so far this term, but promoted Bournemouth’s arrival on Merseyside gave the Reds a chance to remind their rivals of their credentials.

Liverpool’s performance did that and more. The Reds produced a display of relentless, attacking football that resulted in a 9-0 victory that equalled the biggest victory in Premier League history… and left fans chanting for 10.

When asked how the result ranked personally, Klopp pointed to the performance of his team.

“Nine-nil is a strange result, it will not happen often,” said the German.

“It just feels a very important result. It is not that we worked less in the last eight weeks, we were all in a really good mood, liked what we saw most of the time – but you don’t get it in the stadium.

“You have to turn a few other screws, and that is our job. When it turns out like today it is fantastic.”

‘A perfect football afternoon for us’

There was optimism around Liverpool when, inspired by new signing Darwin Nunez, they defeated champions Manchester City in the Community Shield, but the Reds lacked their usual spark in draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

They were outrun by Erik ten Hag’s United at the start of the week and there were suggestions Klopp’s side might be suffering a hangover from last season’s ultimate disappointments.

The loss at Old Trafford was their first in the league of 2022 and they responded on Saturday by taking apart newly promoted Bournemouth with a ruthless showing in front of their own supporters.

Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott set them on the way with goals in the opening five minutes and Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s thunderbolt, Roberto Firmino‘s close-range finish and Virgil van Dijk‘s header made it 5-0 at the break.

The hosts scored four more times in the second half courtesy of Chris Mepham’s own goal, Fabio Carvalho’s first for the club then Diaz and Firmino both adding to their tallies.

“We had to prove a point for us,” said Klopp. “I loved the start so much, we didn’t hold anything back – putting them under pressure. We got early goals and kept going with the same purpose.

“It was important we kept going. If you let them score one you have a bitter taste in a wonderful afternoon. At 6-0 we could bring on the kids – it was a perfect football afternoon for us.

“We all know we needed something like that. We had bigger chances in other games and did not use them.”

England defender Alexander-Arnold said: “We had a point to prove after three disappointing games but the main thing was to come out and win and we did it in fantastic fashion.”

Teenager Elliott, who scored his first Premier League goal with a sublime curling effort, said: “It is a massive relief for us and our fans to put in a performance and show people who doubted us. We’re buzzing.”

‘It could have been 12, 13, 14’

Before the game, a 9-0 result had only been achieved three times in the Premier League era – twice by Manchester United against Ipswich and Southampton, as well as Leicester thrashing the Saints.

Brazil forward Firmino reminded people of his ability as he ended a barren run of 20 games without scoring in the league for Liverpool.

With two goals and three assists, the 30-year-old had a hand in five goals, becoming just the third Reds player after Mohamed Salah and Luis Suarez to achieve the feat in the same game.

“Firmino has not got the best stats in terms of goalscoring, but players love playing alongside him because he is such a great team player,” ex-Chelsea winger Pat Nevin said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “People thought he was on the way out with Darwin Nunez coming in, but what a great answer.

“You sometimes take the brilliance for granted, it was sheer torture for Bournemouth. Carvalho would walk into any position in the forward line and look at home. He is that good.

“Nine goals and it could have been 12, 13 14, that is not an exaggeration. Everything went perfectly and Bournemouth will hope they never have another day like this.”

Toughest and painful day – Parker

Bournemouth enjoyed a victory against Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the campaign but were torn apart by Liverpool.

After four games, the Cherries have conceded the most goals (16) in the top-flight so far, while the result was the joint-heaviest defeat in their entire league history.

In their previous two games, Bournemouth were beaten 4-0 by champions Manchester City and 3-0 at home against Arsenal.

Their downcast manager Scott Parker said afterwards: “This is the toughest and most painful day I have experienced for sure. The touchline today was painful and I could sense it was for the players too. They need some help and in some moments the levels were too great.

“It was a really humbling experience, shell-shocking. The levels we are playing against and the quality they have is far greater than what we have at our disposal at this moment in time. I feel sorry for the fans and for the players.

“Tonight will be a long, sleepless night reflecting and a difficult one to process. We are learning really harsh lessons which at times are unfair.

“We don’t just talk about Liverpool or the two previous fixtures, this division is ruthless. It can leave some scars, the experiences they are facing. Painful, absolutely painful and Liverpool were ruthless.”

Asked if this will be the lowest point in their season, manager Parker said: “At this moment in time, where we currently are, I can see some more to be honest with you.”

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Manchester United

Marcus Rashford WAS offside for his Man Utd winner vs Liverpool but new Premier League rules mean goal was given


Marcus Rashford‘s decisive goal against Liverpool WAS offside – but there’s an excellent reason why it was still given.

Erik ten Hag’s side were 1-0 up through a Jadon Sancho strike when Anthony Martial played a through ball into the path of a sprinting Rashford.

The 24-year-old slotted the ball past Alisson to score and after a VAR check for offside the goal was given.

However he was only deemed onside because of a change in the tolerance level which was adjusted last summer.

Because of the flaw in VAR of never knowing exactly when the ball was played and the manual plotting of lines coming off the body, a new system was proposed to benefit attacking sides.

The aim is to get rid of the so called ‘toenail’ or ‘pixel’ offsides.

If the two lines – one off the attacker and one off the defender – are touching then it is ruled too close to call.

As a result, the benefit of the doubt is handed to the goal scoring team and there should be a green line drawn off the defender to show it was one of those decisions.

In the still provided by VAR there is a green line off Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez meaning Rashford was actually just offside – but a benefit of the doubt choice was made to award the goal.

Back in the 2020/21 season the goal would not have been chalked off.

Man Utd won’t care now though as they secured a 2-1 win and a vital three points to firmly put the Brentford humiliation behind them and put Liverpool in trouble.

Last season’s Champions League finalist have taken just two points in their opening three games meaning they are five behind Manchester City and seven off Arsenal already.

However a supercomputer still thinks Liverpool will finish in 2nd and United to finish in 6th.

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Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘will splash out on buying a new golf clubhouse at his £17m mansion in Portugal – only to DEMOLISH it because it ruins the view from his property’


Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly wants to further splash the cash on his dream home in Portugal by buying and demolishing a local golf course clubhouse because it ruins the view from his under-construction mansion.

Ronaldo’s new £17million home will boast luxury features such as an automatic underground garage with elevators that allow him to select one of his supercars from his vast collection.

But the 37-year-old is now looking at ways to improve the surrounding areas of his stunning Quinta da Marinha property and is unhappy with the proximity of the neighbouring Oitavos Golf Club, according to The Sun.

As a solution to his problem, Ronaldo wants to purchase the clubhouse and car park, demolish both, and relocate them to a different area in an attempt to provide more privacy for his family.

The Portugal captain has reportedly instructed his lawyers to open negotiations with the golf course as he attempts to thrash out a deal before his new home, which he plans to move into with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and his five children, is completed.

The 12,000 square foot property is due to be finished early next year and boasts an array of features that you would expect from someone with Ronaldo’s £500,000-per-week earnings.

His stunning coastal property will feature expansive luxury bedrooms that provide views of the Atlantic Ocean, swimming pools, cinema, games room, and more.

Ronaldo’s future is up in the air as the forward wants to leave Manchester United.

The Champions League’s all-time record goalscorer is keen to join a side competing in Europe’s top club competition after a dismal campaign consigned United to the Europa League.

Ronaldo has never competed in the Europa League and is keen to avoid doing so as he enters the twilight years of his career, with his agent Jorge Mendes trying to secure his client an exit all summer.

Marseille are the latest club to be linked with a move for the global icon – which has been endorsed by former Liverpool legend Djibril Cisse, who has told Ronaldo he will ‘look after him’ if he moves to France.

Ronaldo is set to stay at the club owing to a lack of offers for his services. He was left on the bench by Erik ten Hag for their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday night, before coming on as a substitute in the 85th minute.

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Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo is close to return to Sporting Lisbon


Cristiano Ronaldo to Sporting Lisbon is reportedly ’99 percent’ done…

Manchester United have issued a response amid emerging reports on Thursday evening suggesting Cristiano Ronaldo was closing in on a fairytale return to Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford remains up in the air entering the final week of the summer transfer window.

According to Caught Offside, the 37-year-old is on the verge of signing for Sporting Lisbon ahead of the September 1 deadline. It’s claimed that the transfer is so advanced that the Portuguese giants will begin preparing his presentation on Friday.

The report adds that the deal is 99 per cent done after Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, worked around the clock to find a route into the Champions League for his client. Sporting manager Ruben Amorim and his squad have been preparing for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s glorious return ‘for weeks’.

However, the Mail report that United have downplayed the chances of Ronaldo returning to the team he left for England 19 years ago this summer. The Red Devils have strongly maintained their stance throughout Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window as manager – Ronaldo is not for sale.

United missed out on Champions League football with their measly sixth-place finish last season, despite the Portuguese icon’s barrel of goals throughout his return campaign. He has a record-breaking legacy in Europe’s elite competition to maintain and improve on in the final years of his career, sparking his desire to leave M16 after just one campaign.

However, the value on the pitch, in the dressing room, and commercially he offers United have made the club reluctant to let him depart. And a lack of concrete interest in his signature hasn’t helped his efforts, with Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea among European heavyweights to distance themselves.

Sporting could stand alone as Ronaldo’s final opportunity to leave United and maintain his Champions League status this season. And the Primeira Liga club will be confident of challenging to progress into the knockouts after being drawn in Group D alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille.

But with seven days left until the clock strikes 11pm on September 1, the lack of movement and decreasing time period for United to identify a worthy replacement makes Ronaldo’s exit improbable. The number seven could start back-to-back Premier League games on the bench when Ten Hag’s side visit Southampton on Saturday.

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Manchester United

Real Madrid star Casemiro ‘has changed mind on Man Utd transfer’ as John Murtough works

Real Madrid star Casemiro has emerged as a Manchester United transfer target late in the summer window.

Real Madrid star Casemiro initially didn’t want to ‘know anything’ about joining Manchester United but has now changed his mind, according to reports. John Murtough is working to deliver new signings for Erik ten Hag before the end of the month. And the Brazil international is now on the Red Devils’ radar at a time where Frenkie de Jong looks set to stay at Barcelona.

Manchester United want a new midfielder to arrive before the transfer window shuts on September 1.

Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic have left Old Trafford, while the likes of Scott McTominay, Fred, Donny van de Beek and James Garner don’t appear good enough to play at the highest level.

United have failed in bids to sign Rabiot and De Jong, with the duo looking set to stay at Juventus and Barcelona respectively.

And they’re now eyeing Casemiro as a result.

According to Mundo Deportivo, the Brazil international initially didn’t want to know anything about a move to United.

He’s happy at Real Madrid, having won five Champions League crowns during his glittering spell at the Bernabeu.

But he’s now reportedly changed his mind and is interested to see what offer United are willing to put on his table.

Casemiro no longer believes it’s a given he’ll stay at Real Madrid, despite being a regular under Carlo Ancelotti as they won the【】La Liga and Champions League double last term.

And United are ready to tempt him with a huge salary, with the Red Devils prepared to pay the veteran a huge £15million a year.

They’re also ready to offer the Samba star a five-year contract, too, and are hoping he’ll become their fourth signing of the summer after previous deals for the likes of Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen.

If Casemiro does join, he’ll become the fourth best-paid player in the Premier League.

His wages would dwarf the majority of players’ wages in the top flight and put him only behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah in the pay table.

At the moment, the Red Devils are yet to launch a bid to Real Madrid.

But the reigning champions of Spain and Europe are expecting one to arrive ‘at any moment’.

Casemiro would also become the latest player to move between United and Madrid since the turn of the millennium, too.

In the 2000s, David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze and Cristiano Ronaldo all left Manchester for Madrid.

United landed Angel Di Maria from the La Liga titans back in the summer transfer window of 2014, shortly after the appointment of Louis van Gaal as manager.

Javier Hernandez left Old Trafford for the Bernabeu on loan in 2014, having been seemed surplus to requirements by Van Gaal.

And Raphael Varane was the latest star to move between the two giants, with the France international joining last year.

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Liverpool

Mohamed Salah makes generous donation to Egyptian church after fire kills 41 people

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has reportedly donated a large amount of his own money to help rebuild a church destroyed by a deadly fire in his native Egypt.

At least 41 people died in Giza, which is across the Nile from the capital Cairo, after a fire broke out on the weekend. The tragedy struck as an estimated 1,000 Coptic Christian worshippers gathered for Mass at the Abu Sifin church on Sunday. The fire, which officials believed was started by an electrical fault in an air conditioning unit, blocked an exit and caused a stampede. CNN reported that at least 18 children were among the dead.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered his “sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims that have passed on to be with their Lord in one of his houses of worship”. He ordered the armed forces to rebuild the church – a process that will now be aided by Salah.

According to Egyptian outlet OnTime Sports, Salah has donated three million Egyptian dollars, which equates to around £129,706, to the cause. The Liverpool forward, who was born in Nagrig, in the north of Egypt, is no stranger to helping out charitable causes, both in England and his home country.

The Sunday Times ’ 2022 charitable list rates him as the eighth most generous person in the UK. The newspaper estimates that he has recently given away some £2.5million – equivalent to six per cent of his estimated £41m wealth.

One of his most notable donations came in 2019, when he gave away £2.4m to the National Cancer Institute in Cairo after it was severely damaged by a car bomb. Salah has also helped build a hospital, school, youth centre and ambulance unit in Nagrig, as well as providing five acres of land for a waste treatment plant, allowing residents to have a safe source of clean water.

Salah is estimated to have donated more than £400,000 to help his hometown. Maher Shetia, the mayor of Nagrig, paid tribute to Salah’s generosity back in 2017. “Salah highlighted his small village on the international map,” said Shetia. “He also built a charity and will build a school that costs millions. This is in addition to his donations to Basioun hospital with a complete ventilation room, incubations and an ambulance unit.”

“Salah comes to the village when possible and walks among the people and takes photos with them so modestly,” said Salah’s cousin Abadah Saeed Ghali in 2017. “All Egyptians, not only those of Nagrig or Gharbiya province, are proud of him.”

The 30-year-old’s donations don’t stop there, either. He is also reported to have bought gym equipment, paid for couples to get married and presented youth football trophies in Nagrig.

Salah also donated £26,612 to the Association of Veteran Egyptian Players to help former footballers who have fallen on hard times after retiring from the game.

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Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel’s fiery comments following Chelsea’s draw with Tottenham are being investigated by the FA

Thomas Tuchel could find himself in hot water with the Football Association over his comments regarding referee Anthony Taylor following Chelsea‘s 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

The two clubs played out a fiery and thrilling clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which eventually saw Tuchel and Spurs boss Antonio Conte sent off after the final whistle. Both managers clashed on the touchline during the game before becoming embroiled in another heated row after shaking hands at full-time.

Spurs had been somewhat fortunate to escape with a point having clawed themselves back level twice through two controversial goals. Tuchel was adamant after the game that neither equaliser should have stood, with ref Taylor copping the flack.

Chelsea were furious that a foul on Kai Havertz in the lead-up to Spurs’ first goal went unpunished, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg slammed home a long-range strike to cancel out Kalidou Koulibaly‘s stunning opener. Cristian Romero was then seen to pull Chelsea’s new signing Marc Cucurella to the ground by his hair inside the box – right in the view of Taylor – before Harry Kane nodded home a late leveller.

VAR official Mike Dean opted against a red card for Romero, leaving Tuchel incensed after the game. Asked if it was best if Taylor shouldn’t referee Chelsea again, Tuchel replied: “Maybe it would be better.

“But honestly, we also have VAR to help make the right decisions. Since when can players be pulled at their hair? Since when is that? And if he does not see it, I don’t blame him.

“I didn’t see it, but we have people at VAR who check this and then you see it and then how can this not be a free-kick and how can it not be a red card? How?”

The German coach then suggested Taylor was working against his side, adding: ““I don’t think that just some of the fans think that: I can assure you that the whole dressing room of us, every person thinks that.

“You know the players, they know what’s going on when they are on the pitch. They know it.” Quizzed whether Chelsea’s players had concerns over Taylor officiating them, Tuchel replied: “Yeah, of course.”

As reported by the Mail, the FA are now going to investigate Tuchel’s claims once they have analysed Taylor’s report from the match at Stamford Bridge. Tuchel could already be facing trouble over his row with Conte after refusing to let go of his adversary’s hand after the game.

Tuchel is expected to be handed a touchline ban for Chelsea’s next clash with Leeds, to which Tuchel declared: “So good! I cannot coach but the referee can whistle the next game.”

Thousands of fans have now signed a petition calling for Taylor to be banned from officiating Chelsea fixtures. The 43-year-old has history with the Blues after sending Mateo Kovacic off in the 2019/20 FA Cup final as well as dismissing Reece James in the Premier League fixture vs Liverpool at Anfield last season.

The page description reads: “Anthony Taylor has continued to make big decisions against Chelsea over the years in big matches. Taylor has an agenda against Chelsea and should not be allowed to referee a game involving the club again.”

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Manchester United

Manchester United close in on signing £42million Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid

Manchester United‘s start to the season has reinforced the need for new signings, and Matheus Cunha is the latest player to find himself linked with the club.

Two defeats from two have seen Erik ten Hag’s side fall to the bottom of the Premier League table, with the 4-0 defeat at Brentford prompting crisis talks. The former Ajax manager has added three players to his squad since taking over at Old Trafford, but none since the July move for Lisandro Martinez.

United have not signed a forward this summer, but Cristiano Ronaldo‘s uncertain future and Anthony Martial‘s injury have illuminated the lack of depth in the area. One solution could be a move for Cunha, who could be allowed to leave Atletico Madrid after just one season.

According to reports, United are “on the verge” of signing Cunha from Atletico. The reported fee would be €50m for a player who cost the Spanish side around €30m just one year ago.

Who is Matheus Cunha

Born in the north-east of Brazil, Matheus Cunha is a 23-year-old forward with seven senior caps for his country. He has spent his entire professional club career in Europe, joining Swiss side Sion as a teenager and spending time in Germany before moving to his current club.

He scored 10 goals in his first season in the Swiss top flight, earning a move to RB Leipzig. It was there that he scored the Bundesliga goal of the month in April 2019, thanks to a roulette turn followed by a deft chip in a victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Notably for United fans, it was Ralf Rangnick who brought a young Cunha to Germany. The Austria coach, who spent part of last season in the dugout at Old Trafford, was manager of Die Roten Bullen during the 2018-19 season.

Career so far

Despite that fantastic goal for Leipzig against Leverkusen, he scored just twice for the German side in 18 months with the club. He delivered more in Europe, with Celtic fans possibly remembering his contribution in a Europa League win for Rangnick’s team at Red Bull Arena.

Cunha moved to Hertha Berlin midway through the 2019-20 campaign, helping them secure a mid-table finish. Things were tougher the following season, with Hertha only narrowly staying up, but his seven goals – after five the previous season – made him their joint-top scorer.

The 23-year old is yet to score a senior goal for Brazil, but his record at under-23 level is enviable. His 21 goals include four at the 2019 Toulon Tournament and three at the Tokyo Olympics, including the opener in the gold medal match as Brazil retained their title.

What’s been said about him

“Matheus Cunha is a really intriguing player for us,” Rangnick said upon bringing the player to Germany. “His pace and attacking threat for his age is impressive and he will fit our philosophy well.”

However, Bruno Labbadia – one of his coaches at Hertha – hinted at attitude issues. “He’s still a young person at 21, but something has to change immediately,” the German said after taking Cunha off follow an “abysmal” first half against Freiburg.

“It’s unacceptable. He let himself and his team down with his performance. It’s very rare that I do something like this, but I’ll say it honestly: I’m totally offended.”

Cunha himself, meanwhile, has suggested his game has improved of late. He scored six goals in La Liga last term, but believes other aspects of his game have benefited from his time in Spain.

“I’ve become an even-more complete player,” he told Globo Esporte (via Into the Calderon ) earlier this month. “The intensity level in-game and in training is very high. We always work and train to the limit. It’s made me evolve.”

According to The Mail, Cunha would be open to a move. This is despite him having only joined Atleti last season, with injuries impacting his first season at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The links come as United frontman Ronaldo continues to be linked with a move to the Spanish club himself. However, the same reports suggests a swap deal is not expected to be on the cards.

Reports from around the time of Cunha’s Atletico Madrid move suggested Hertha have a 10% sell-on clause, potentially impacting the eventual fee. United’s need for firepower is clear, though, with Ten Hag’s side scoring just once across their opening two games.