Ryan Giggs says Alexis Sanchez is a ready-made “superstar” who can give Manchester United a lift as they bid to chase down Premier League rivals Manchester City. Sanchez on Monday sealed a move to United from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, saying he was “thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world”.
The 29-year-old Chile striker, who came close to joining Manchester City last summer, has signed what is believed to be a four-and-a-half-year contract that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League. It has been widely reported that Sanchez will earn a pre-tax salary of £500,000 ($697,000, 569,000 euros) a week at Old Trafford.
“Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez is similar to Robin van Persie in the sense that they’re getting a ready-made superstar and you’re seeing the contribution already with Anthony Martial upping his performances,” new Wales manager Giggs said.
“That can happen when top players come in, those around them lift their levels, and there will be some difficult selection decisions for Jose Mourinho. However, Sanchez can also play on the right, as he did at Barcelona, so if Martial is flying then he may have to play in a different position, but those sort of decisions are positive for a manager to have to make.”
PSG sign ex-Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra
Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra has signed for Paris Saint-Germain. The 32-year-old, who has signed a deal until June 2019, has been brought in as cover for Thiago Motta, who is 35 and has recently struggled with injury. Diarra, who has won 34 caps for France, was released by United Arab Emirates club Al Jazira at the end of December.
Phil Neville appointed England women’s coach
Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville was appointed permanent head coach of the England women’s team yesterday, replacing Mark Sampson, the Football Association announced on its website.
Sampson was sacked in September for “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in a previous job and the FA made a public apology to internationals Eniola Aluko and Drew Spence the following month for discriminatory comments made to them by the former manager.
Neville, who also played for England and Everton and was previously first-team coach at Manchester United and assistant coach at Spanish club Valencia, takes over from Mo Marley, who was put in charge of the team on an interim basis following Sampson’s exit.
Burnley manager Dyche signs new deal
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has signed a new contract that will keep him at Turf Moor for a further four-and-a-half years, the Premier League club announced. The 46-year-old, in charge of the northwest side since October 2012, is widely regarded as one of the best of the current crop of young English managers along with Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe.
Earlier this season, Dyche was linked with the vacancy at Everton after the Toffees sacked Ronald Koeman before veteran former England manager Sam Allardyce took charge at Goodison Park.Burnley are currently an impressive eighth in the Premier League, six points and a place above Everton.
Mascherano to leave Barca after eight years
Barcelona confirmed that defender Javier Mascherano will leave the club this month, with Spanish media reporting the Argentinian is heading to Hebei China Fortune. The Catalan giants said the 33-year-old would be given an official farewell today and say goodbye to fans at tomorrow’s Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Espanyol.
The five-time European champions did not specify where Mascherano was going. In December, reports said that Hebei had reached a deal to sign the Argentina international from Barca for 10mn euros ($12.2mn).
Mascherano arrived from Liverpool in August 2010 and won four La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey, two Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups and only scored a single goal from 334 appearances, when his teammates pushed him to take a penalty during a 7-1 rout of Osasuna in April 2017. Only two non-Spaniards, Lionel Messi and Dani Alves, have played more games for Barcelona.
Robinho signs for Sivasspor despite rape conviction
Brazil forward Robinho signed with Turkish Super Lig side Sivasspor, the club said, even though he has been sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison in Italy for rape. Sivasspor, based in the city of Sivas in central Anatolia, said the former AC Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester City player signed the one-and-a-half year deal in a ceremony at its stadium after passing a medical.
Robinho was found guilty by an Italian court in November of taking part in the gang rape of a 22-year-old Albanian woman in January 2013, when the Brazilian was playing for Milan in Serie A. Robinho insists he is innocent. The sentence is suspended while appeals take place. Sivasspor made no mention of the controversy in its statement. Robinho, 33, has won 100 caps for Brazil and played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
Man Utd retain top spot in Deloitte ‘Money League’
Manchester United narrowly pipped Real Madrid to remain the top revenue-generating club in the world as Premier League sides underlined their growing financial clout, Deloitte’s “Money League” report said yesterday.
It is the 10th time United have topped Deloitte’s list, with revenue in 2016/17 of 676mn euros ($828mn, £593mn) — just 1.7mn euros ahead of Spanish giants Real. Barcelona are third in the 21st edition of the list compiled by the British-based business advisory firm, followed by Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Arsenal. French giants Paris Saint-Germain were seventh.
Combined revenue for the top 20 Money League clubs in the 2016/17 season grew six % to 7.9bn euros, a new record. A record 10 English clubs feature in the top 20, generating a total revenue of 3.8bn euros, helped by income from the first season of the current record Premier League broadcast rights deal.
Bale form boosting Real confidence, says Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane singled out fit again Gareth Bale for praise yesterday as he prepares his side for a Copa Del Rey quarter-final return leg against Leganes. Welsh winger Bale produced a sumptuous strike to level against Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend as Real eventually romped to a confidence boosting 7-1 league win following a poor run of form.
Bale has made just a handful of starts this season due to a series of muscle injuries that have seem him spend three months on the sidelines. Zidane said Bale’s brilliance and his brace of goals had lifted the whole club.
“What has changed for him is that he has no problems, nothing is bothering him,” the Frenchman said ahead of today’s match. “For a player, it’s fundamental to have nothing holding you back in training. He’s improving his performances, he’s a really important player and he’s proving it,” said Zidane, who’s side trail Barcelona by 19 points in La Liga.
“I hope he continues to do so, so that team regains its confidence and we continue in this manner. This is what’s great about football, we are on a roll and we are hoping to carry on in the same style.”
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