Category Archives: News

Ousmane Dembele won’t be renewing Barcelona contract – report

Ousmane Dembele will not be renewing his Barcelona contract beyond this summer after negotiations between the two parties broke down.

The French winger joined the club in a €145m deal from Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar when he left for Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017, but he has suffered hugely with injuries ever since.

In fact, Dembele has featured just 126 times for the club in four-and-a-half years, scoring 30 times.



The 24-year-old’s contract is due to expire in the summer and Barcelona had been confident that they would be able to convince him to re-sign with the club, with manager Xavi publicly admitting they want to keep him.

However it emerged on Wednesday night that negotiations between the two parties had broken down over wages, with Barcelona claiming they can’t afford his demands.

Dembele’s agent leaked a statement to the press in Spain, where they questioned Barcelona’s claims considering they just signed Ferran Torres in a €55m deal from Man City and are also keen on signing Erling Haaland in the summer from Dortmund for his €75m release clause.

While their statement may be factually correct, the feeling behind it seems more like an excuse than a reason to not re-sign.

Dembele’s injury problems mean he can’t be relied upon for a prolonged period of time and if Barcelona are planning to sign Haaland alongside Torres then they won’t want to waste their wage budget on someone who’s rarely available.

With that said, ‘Dembouz’ is without a doubt one of the most talented wingers in the world when he’s fit and would definitely be a big asset to the club if he were to stay.

Barcelona are right to not be held to ransom by the player, it’s part of the reason they’re in the financial mess they’re in to begin with. But Dembele has every right to feel aggrieved too that Barcelona want to pay others more than him after initially agreeing terms.

All signs point to the end of the road between the two parties now, so it will be very interesting to see if Dembele leaves the club in January so that Barcelona can get some cash for him instead of losing him for nothing.

Ferran Torres close to joining Barcelona in £55m move from Manchester City

Barcelona are close to agreeing a £55m deal with Manchester City for forward Ferran Torres to join the club in January.

The La Liga giants are looking to add firepower to their squad after the retirement of Sergio Aguero earlier this month due to heart problems and have returned to the Etihad Stadium to get a deal done.

Torres is keen to join the club and return to Spain, just 18-months after joining the Premier League champions from Valencia.



Torres started the season well with Man City, taking ownership of the central striking position following the departure of Aguero and the failure of the club to sign a striker in the summer window.

However an injury on international duty with Spain meant his campaign was cut short and he hasn’t featured for City since October.

His form for the international team under Luis Enrique in the number nine position has convinced Barcelona that he is the answer to their attacking problems and according to The Times a fee agreement has been reached.

Barcelona will pay £46.7m up front for the 21-year-old, with add-ons of £8.5m allowing the deal to reach almost triple the amount that they paid for him.

The deal makes a lot of sense for all parties too, so the fact they could agree on a fee is a positive.

Torres wants to play more regularly and as a Spaniard, playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid is always the pinnacle of their career.

He will start far more regularly at Barcelona than at City, where he was competing with six other players for just three positions in a highly successful team. Even playing extremely well doesn’t guarantee your spot in the team.

Torres will be back with his family in Spain, will be a key player for a team looking to rebuild as one of the best in the world again and City make good money on a player who doesn’t weaken their squad with his absence.

Exclusive – Nigel Winterburn on David Moyes, West Ham in Europe and Ben Johnson

Former Arsenal and West Ham left-back Nigel Winterburn believes the Hammers have an “unbelievable chance” of being successful in Europe this season under David Moyes.

Winterburn sat down with FreeSuperTips recently and Tap Ins & Tap Outs were able to ask him some questions exclusively surrounding West Ham, and spoke about their run in Europe so far this season and the development of young defender Ben Johnson.

A big thank you to FreeSuperTips for this opportunity.


Winterburn is a legendary left-back, who part of the famous Arsenal back-four that made winning 1-0 so popular it became a chant attached to the club’s fan base.

Capped twice by England’s senior team, Winterburn spent 13 years at Highbury before a short trip across London where he joined the Hammers for three seasons.

He is well aware of the fan-base at Upton Park and the London Stadium’s expectations around the cup. Despite the lofty heights they’ve reached under manager David Moyes recently though, Winterburn says that isn’t a surprise to him and believes they could achieve real success in Europe this season.

Nigel Winterburn of West Ham United running with the ball during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between West Ham United and Fulham held on...

“I think they have an unbelievable chance in this competition,” he said.

“They’ve swept through the group, yes there’s Champions League teams coming down, but I don’t think West Ham at this minute in time are going to worry about whoever they play.

They won’t be favourites for the competition, but I don’t think they’ll be far away. People might say there’s a lack of experience, but they’re there because they’re good enough.

“I think there will be more teams afraid of playing West Ham, or David Moyes looking at teams and looking to avoid them. I would suggest it’s the other way round and teams will be thinking they don’t want to play West Ham at this minute in time.

Last season and this season they’ve been on an absolute roll.

Said Benrahma celebrates with teammates Declan Rice, Aaron Cresswell and Issa Diop of West Ham United United after scoring their team's second goal...

Part of the reason for the club’s success has been the performances of the defence, part of which has been made up of young Ben Johnson this year.

The 21-year-old has featured in 12 games so far this season for the Hammers and had made the left wing-back spot his own until a recent injury.

Winterburn said his rise to prominence in the first-team reminds him of Bukayo Saka at Arsenal and his form has made Moyes’ decision to pick him much easier.

“I think he’s done well, but it’s all about progression, getting game time and playing at a level where you’re asking the manager to make a decision to leave you out of the team.

“It’s similar to Saka at Arsenal, he was playing at such a level that wherever he played he couldn’t be dropped.

Ben Johnson of West Ham United celebrates scoring their 3rd goal during the pre-season friendly between Reading and West Ham United at Madejski...

“The fans pick up on these things, the player might be young but if he’s playing well you can’t leave them out. That’s what will happen at West Ham, they’ll get opportunities these younger players because they’re good enough technically.

“It’s how they react mentally in front of those supporters and some players thrive on it whilst others find it difficult. We’ll find out when he gets more game time whether he can be a regular or in and out of the team. It’s what professional football is all about, making a name for yourself and it’s the best job in the world.

If he continues to play well it’ll put pressure on the manager to leave him out and that’s how all young players should view it.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripped of Arsenal captaincy

Arsenal have announced that they have stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy following a string of disciplinary breaches.

The striker had been captain since Granit Xhaka was stripped of the role following an on-field bust up with fans in November 2019.

The club have also announced that the Gabon international won’t be available for Wednesday’s fixture against West Ham United as part of his disciplinary action.



Manager Mikel Arteta left Aubameyang out of the squad for the weekend win over Southampton due to disciplinary reasons, but refused to expand on that and after the game wouldn’t give any assurances over the role.

It’s been reported by The Athletic that Aubameyang’s most recent disciplinary breach was his third since Arteta’s arrival, which has been the last straw on the camel’s back.

It’s believed that Aubameyang returned to France to bring his mother to the UK but returned later than originally planned, which meant he then couldn’t train due to UK quarantine rules.

The club deemed this a step too far and he has now been removed from his position as captain.

That surely now will see his future at the club plunged into doubt, with the January transfer window just a couple of weeks away and his first-team place no longer secured.

A new captain is yet to be announced but it would seem logical that the armband will go to Alexandre Lacazette, who currently serves as the vice-captain for the club.

The decision to strip Aubameyang is a big show of faith to Arteta by the club and a message to all the players in the dressing room that he is in charge for the long haul.

Aubameyang is a hugely influential figure in the dressing room so this decision has the potential to back-fire and cause a huge split, but it’s clear that Arteta is the boss.

Full redrawn Champions League Last 16 draw – Fixtures and dates

The UEFA Champions League last 16 draw has been re-drawn after a botched attempt on Monday morning, and has thrown up some cracking ties.

At the second attempt of trying, Manchester United were drawn with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid while Real Madrid will take on Paris Saint-Germain in the tie of the round.

Manchester City will face Sporting CP, while Liverpool take on Inter Milan. Chelsea were the winners of the redraw, keeping their original opponents in Ligue 1’s Lille.



The original draw saw Manchester United once again set to face off against Paris Saint-Germain, with Cristiano Ronaldo to go head-to-head with Lionel Messi once again in the tie of the round.

Atletico Madrid were scheduled to take on Bayern Munich in the other mega tie, while the other English sides would have been happy with their draws as Liverpool faced Salzburg, Man City faced Villarreal.

However UEFA accidentally put Manchester United into the pot to be drawn against Villarreal and then they were selected, despite being ineligible to do so having come from the same group.

United then weren’t put into the pot for the potential opponents of Atletico amid the confusion, meaning they could never have been drawn against each other.

The draw will now be re-done at 14:00 UK time after several complaints that the botched draw affected the integrity of the competition going forward.

The fixtures will take place in February, with the first legs taking place on February 15/16 or 22/23 with the second legs taking place on March 8/9 or 15/16. Group winners will play their home game in the second leg.

Full draw and fixture dates:

FC Salzburg vs Bayern Munich – February 16th 2022
Bayern Munich vs FC Salzburg – March 8th 2022

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – February 15th 2022
Manchester City vs Sporting CP – March 9th 2022

SL Benfica vs Ajax – February 23rd 2022
Ajax vs SL Benfica – March 15th 2022

Chelsea vs Lille – February 22nd 2022
Lille vs Chelsea – March 16th 2022

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – February 23rd 2022
Manchester United vs Atletico Madrid – March 15th 2022

Villarreal vs Juventus – February 22nd 2022
Juventus vs Villarreal – March 16th 2022

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – February 16th 2022
Liverpool vs Inter Milan – March 8th 2022

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – February 15th 2022
Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain – March 9th 2022

Lionel Messi wins record seventh Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time in his career, extending his record as the player to win it the most times.

The Argentine captain capped off a wonderful year for himself by pipping Robert Lewandowski and Jorginho to the award, making him the first Ligue 1 player to win the honour since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991.

Messi had previously won each of his six awards with FC Barcelona, the club he played his entire career for before a summer move to Paris Saint-Germain.



The award was met with a mixed response from fans, with many believing Bayern Munich and Poland striker Lewandowski deserved the honour.

But in the end, Messi’s victory in the Copa America and Copa Del Rey as well as finishing as the top goalscorer in both tournaments and La Liga was enough to secure him the record breaking achievement.

Lewandowski finished second while Chelsea’s Jorginho rounded off the podium in third, having helped his club win the Champions League and led Italy to winning Euro 2020 in the summer.

Karim Benzema finished fourth, while N’Golo Kante finished fifth. The Premier League continued to dominate the top ten as Cristiano Ronaldo finished sixth, Mohamed Salah finished seventh and Kevin De Bruyne finished eighth, while PSG stars Kylian Mbappe and Gianluigi Donnarumma completed the top ten.

FIFA ensured that Lewandowski didn’t go home empty handed however, as the inaugral “Striker of the Year” award was given to the man who scored 64 goals in 54 games last season en route to yet another Bundesliga title.

Chelsea were crowned the inaugral “Club of the Year” winners, while Pedri was confirmed as the Kopa Trophy winner -given to the best Under-21 player in the world.

Messi’s victory moves him two clear of Ronaldo in the record hunt, as the Portuguese legend finished outside of the top three for the first time since 2010.

European playoff draw made for Qatar 2022 World Cup

One of Italy or Portugal will NOT be at the World Cup in Qatar 2022 after they were drawn in the same path during the playoffs.

Both teams failed to finish top of their group following bad results in the final group game, with Portugal being beaten at home by Serbia and Italy being held to a draw with Northern Ireland.

Because of those results both sides were entered into the playoffs, where they were drawn in the same path meaning they could meet in the playoff final for one of the three available places in the tournament.



The result means only one of the teams can go through and they are likely to meet in the final game, with Portugal getting drawn with home advantage.

Scotland and Wales were also drawn in the same path, meaning Britain won’t have more than two sides representing them alongside England.

Russia and Sweden were the seeded teams to be drawn into Path B, meaning that only one of those will be able to qualify also.

For the biggest teams to meet each other they must first win games against the unseeded teams in a one-legged game too. You can see the full draw below.

Path A

Semi-finals:
Scotland vs Ukraine
Wales vs Austria

Final:
Winner of Wales/Austria vs Winner of Scotland/Ukraine

Path B

Semi-finals:
Russia vs Poland
Sweden vs Czech Republic

Final:
Winner of Russia/Poland vs Winner of Sweden/Czech Republic

Path C

Semi-finals:
Italy vs North Macedonia
Portugal vs Turkey

Final:
Winner of Portugal/Turkey vs Winner of Italy/North Macedonia

All semi-final fixtures will be played on March 24th 2022, before the finals on March 29th 2022.

Ralf Rangnick to take over Manchester United as interim manager

Manchester United have agreed a deal with Ralf Rangnick to take over as manager for the rest of the season, before moving into a consultancy role.

The club sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a 4-1 defeat to Watford to make it four defeats in six Premier League games, pushing them down to eighth place.

But the club have now agreed to having Rangnick take charge on a temporary basis until the end of the season, ending speculation surrounding Mauricio Pohettino.



The club announced when they sacked Solskjaer that they would be looking to bring in an interim manager until the end of the season, but speculation about PSG boss Pochettino joining immediately had intensified in recent days.

However the most recent reports claimed that the French giants weren’t interested in letting their manager leave mid-season, and it now seems as though talks have ended until the end of the current campaign.

Rangnick comes in with a huge reputation, with many giving him the nickname as the ‘Godfather of German football’. He is credited with bringing gegen-pressing to the top level, a system that Jurgen Klopp has brought on leaps and bounds.

The German is currently in a technical director role with Lokomotiv Moscow but he will leave that position to join United on an initial six-month managerial deal, before a two-year deal begins for a consultancy role.

It’s believed Manchester United will pursue either Pochettino or Erik ten Hag as their permanent appointment from the summer, but Rangnick will be able to set the foundations from a tactical stand point and be able to get a hands on approach for his future role too.

Rangnick won’t be in charge for United’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as he awaits a work permit, but the club are hopeful he will be in charge for the game against Arsenal next Thursday.

Sergio Aguero forced to retire with heart problems

Sergio Aguero has been forced to retire aged 33 after being diagnosed with heart problems.

The Argentina striker joined Barcelona in the summer on a free transfer after 10 years with Manchester City in the Premier League, where he became the club’s all-time top goalscorer.

After joining the Camp Nou side to play with Lionel Messi, he was left angered when Messi was forced to leave the club after financial problems meant his contract could not be renewed.



Aguero suffered a calf injury which delayed his debut for the club until October, before scoring his first goal for the club as a substitute in El Clasico during the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

He completed his first 90 minutes for the club in a defeat to Rayo Vallecano, but in his next appearance ‘Kun’ would only last 42 minutes before going down unchallenged with breathing problems.

He has since been diagnosed with a cardiac arythmia and although Barcelona announced that he would unavailable for a period of three months while his health was monitored, it’s now believed he will retire.

According to leading Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero, the club will host a press conference this week to officially confirm the player’s retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

Aguero scored an amazing 260 goals for Man City in 390 appearances for the club during a ten-year stint where he won five Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups and an FA Cup.

The shock retirement will come as a blow to new Barcelona boss Xavi, who earmarked Aguero’s experience and quality as something to build on when taking over from Ronald Koeman.

It means Memphis Depay will be tasked with being the club’s chief goalscorer this season along with youngster Ansu Fati, while Luuk de Jong, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho will also need to chip in when they play.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked as Manchester United manager

Manchester United have officially confirmed the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.

The Reds were battered 4-1 away at Watford on Saturday afternoon and that served to be the final straw for the Old Trafford board, as United dropped down to seventh in the table with just 17 points after 12 games.

Michael Carrick has been placed in temporary charge of the club while United look to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season.



Solskjaer had been under severe pressure since a 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool last month, which was then followed by a 3-0 win over Spurs to seemingly settle the issues.

However United then limped to a 2-2 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League, were smashed 2-0 by Man City and have now been thrashed by newly promoted Watford.

It makes it five defeats in the last seven league games for United, who were expected to compete for the Premier League title this season after a summer transfer window that saw them sign Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

A statement from the club read;

Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.

Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future. His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.

“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season.”

Manchester United travel to Spain to take on Villarreal on Tuesday evening in the Champions League, before a trip to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League next Sunday.