Elneny set for new Arsenal deal

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is in talks to sign a new contract at the Emirates, according to his agent.

The Egyptian is currently on international duty, and scored in their African Nations Cup qualifying 4-0 win over Comoros on Monday, a win that confirmed their qualification for next January’s tournament.

The goal continued the 28-year-old’s impressive season, having forced himself back into Mikel Arteta’s plans after it looked likely that he would leave the club last summer when he returned from a loan spell at Besiktas.

And now, his form seems to persuaded the Gunners to award him a new deal in London, according to Alan Nazmy, his agent.

Elneny’s current deal runs until 2022, and according to Nazmy, he has multiple offers on the table from Turkey if a deal is not put forward by Arsenal.

However, with Elneny playing 31 games in all competitions this season, it seems like he is part of Arteta’s plans for the future, even with new faces expected this summer.

Nazmy also confirmed that staying at Arsenal is the player’s first choice, so a new deal could be confirmed in the coming months.

Leeds eyeing ambitious summer move for winger

Leeds United are believed to be interested in signing Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos, according to reports.

The Mail are the ones carrying the story, as the Whites look to strengthen their squad ahead of their second season in the Premier League.

Ocampos has history with Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, with the player signing for his fellow countryman from Monaco when Bielsa was in charge of Marseille back in 2015.

The 26-year-old might not be an easy purchase for Leeds though, with Sevilla on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League, as they currently sit fourth with ten games remaining.

Ocampos is one of Sevilla’s main forward threats, and netted 17 goals last season. His form and role in the side are a big reason why his release clause is set at £56m, meaning Leeds will have to smash their transfer record if they are to bring him to England.

Leeds will be hoping that the lure of Bielsa and the Premier League can persuade Sevilla to let their man go for cheaper. Ocampos can play on either wing or as a centre forward, and at 6’2″, seems to have the physical capability of mixing it in England.

Whether or not they can put together an attractive enough package remains to be seen, but being linked with this type of player shows just how serious Leeds are these days.

Bale prepared to boycott social media

Bale’s international team-mates Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were racially abused on social media after Wales’ friendly victory over Mexico on Saturday.

Last Friday Thierry Henry announced in a statement that he would be disabling his social media accounts, describing current levels of racism and bullying on online platforms as “too toxic to ignore”.

Speaking ahead of Wales’ World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic on Tuesday, skipper Bale said: “If everyone did it at once, not just one or two people, I would.

“If it was a campaign where a lot of influential people in sport and other forms of life did it on social media to make a statement then I think it could help. If that was the case I’m all for that.”

Regarding the abuse suffered by Cabango and Matondo, the 31-year-old forward, who is on loan at Tottenham from Real Madrid, said: “It was not nice to wake up on Sunday to hear these things.

“Ben, Rabbi and anyone else knows we are here to talk to them and support them if they need it.

“Something needs to happen in terms of the social media companies, whether it is people getting an account need to put a passport in.

“I think that will stop people saying things because then you will be able to trace them down and hold them accountable.”

Henry has said he will only return to social media “when it’s safe” after highlighting the links between online abuse, mental health issues and suicide.

The former Arsenal, Barcelona and France frontman told Good Morning Britain: “Recently it happened to me off social media, it happened on social media. But recently it’s been coming quite a lot, players getting abused.

“I just think that it (social media) is not a safe place at the minute.

“People are getting racially abused but, when you see the statement, I talk also about bullying, harassment that can cause mental issues, people commit suicide because of it.

“It’s very difficult to eradicate everything but can it be safer? We all know that it is a great tool but a lot of people are using it as a weapon. Why? Because they can hide behind fake accounts.

“I know that a little portion of the world are using it as a weapon. ‘Can it be safer?’ is all I am asking. I will be back on it, when it’s safe.”

Instagram took action on 6.6million pieces of hate speech between October and December last year.

Henry, who had 2.3m followers on Twitter and a further 2.7m on Instagram, remains unhappy with the response of social media companies and compared the treatment of abusive posts with ones which infringe copyright law, while calling for greater regulation and accountability.

His suggestions for banning anonymous accounts included being required to enter a National Insurance or passport number to sign up.

“Basically I had enough of what I heard as an answer all the time,” he said.

“Social media always say that ‘we are investigating it, we are trying to do stuff to eradicate it’ but enough is enough because I found out that if you want to upload a video on social media, they will block it, you can’t even send it.

“We all know why: because of the copyright, because money is involved, so it is different.

“Now for that they can create algorithms to make sure that you don’t do it. They will stop you there, they will act strongly there.

“I know people will tell me ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘a word can be used in different ways’.

“But listen, you cannot go in a cinema and shout whatever you want, you can’t shout whatever you want in the street, you can’t shout whatever you want at an airport. You can’t cross the line. All I want is accountability. We need to find out who those people are.”

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Firmino returns to Liverpool training

The Brazil international, who remained on Merseyside with compatriots Alisson Becker and Fabinho after the South American World Cup qualifiers were postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions, has missed the last three matches with a knee problem.

However, the forward was pictured participating in a group session on Monday at the club’s AXA training complex.

Other senior players involved who are not currently on international duty included Trent Alexander-Arnold, dropped by England, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Naby Keita, Adrian, Nat Phillips and Ben Davies – who has still to make his first-team debut after signing from Preston in the winter transfer window.

Manager Jurgen Klopp also drafted in a number of academy players on the fringes of the senior set-up to make up the numbers.

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Sergio Aguero announces Manchester City departure

The Argentina international, who turns 33 in June, will leave the Premier League champions-elect when his contract expires in the summer.

Aguero has struggled with injuries since having knee surgery in the close season, with a hamstring problem complicating his comeback and then he had to sit out a month after a Covid-19 infection in January.

That will have played a part in the decision not to offer him a new contract but the player is adamant he is far from finished.

“When a cycle comes to an end, many sensations arise,” he wrote on Twitter.

“A huge sense of satisfaction and pride remains in me for having played with Manchester City for a whole 10 seasons – unusual for a professional player in this day and age.

“Ten seasons with major achievements, throughout which I was able to become the top historic goalscorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love this club – people who will always be in my heart.

“I was to join during the reconstruction era of 2011, and with the guidance of the owners and the contribution of many players, we earned a place among the greatest in the world.

“The task to maintain this well-deserved privileged position will remain on others.

“As for myself, I will continue to give it my utmost for the rest of the season to win more titles and bring more joy to the fans.

“Then, a new stage with new challenges will begin and I am fully ready to face them with the same passion and professionalism that I have always dedicated to continue competing at the highest level.”

In the decade since arriving from Atletico Madrid for a reported £38million, Aguero has amassed 257 goals in 384 appearances, making him the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history.

His goal in the 4-2 Champions League win over Napoli in 2017 saw him overtake Eric Brook’s 78-year club record and a treble against Aston Villa in January last year took him past Alan Shearer for the most Premier League hat-tricks (12).

However, of all his goals the most famous is his added-time strike in the final league match of the 2011-12 season against QPR which secured the club’s first Premier League title.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles – with a fifth looking likely in his final season as City are 14 points clear with 10 matches to play.

He could also still add to his tally of one FA Cup and five League Cups before his departure.

“Sergio’s contribution to Manchester City over the last 10 years cannot be overstated,” said City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

“His legend will be indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who loves the club and maybe even in those who simply love football.

“This is not yet the moment for farewell words and speeches. There is still much to achieve in the remainder of the time we have with Sergio, and we look forward to his contributions to the challenges which lay ahead.

“In the meantime, it gives me great pleasure to announce that we will be commissioning an artist to create a statue of Sergio to live at the Etihad Stadium alongside the ones under construction for Vincent (Kompany) and David (Silva).

“And we look forward to the opportunity to bid Sergio a fitting farewell at the end of the season.”

City are working on plans to mark his departure at the final home game of the against Everton and they are hopeful thousands of supporters will be permitted to attend the Etihad Stadium when lockdown measures are eased further.

That would at least ensure Aguero, the last remaining player of the club’s first Premier League title-winning side from 2012, receives some sort of send-off.

Silva left after 10 years of service last summer with his final match played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, and City are still hoping to organise a farewell match for the Spaniard.

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Crossley backs Pickford to keep England jersey.

Former Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Crossley has urged Gareth Southgate to keep Jordan Pickford as his number one for this summer’s European Championships.

Pickford has come under increased pressure in recent months due to a string of high-profile mistakes for Everton. Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen has been awarded game time by manager Carlo Ancelotti at times this season, and the good form of fellow England stoppers Nick Pope and Dean Henderson has caused some to question if they should get the chance.

Speaking to the Football Social Daily podcast, the former Welsh international said that he thinks Gareth Southgate should keep faith with the former Sunderland man.

“For me, you stay with Pickford because he’s got the international experience and he looks comfortable and I don’t remember him playing poorly for England. In fact, he’s done really really well.”

When asked if he would consider either Burnley’s Nick Pope or Manchester United’s Dean Henderson ahead of Pickford for the forthcoming tournament, Crossley said that the Toffees man tended to find his best form when wearing the Three Lions.

“On club form, you’d probably pick Nick Pope but Pickford plays better for England than he does for his club we’ve all seen that. For his club, he’s under the spotlight week in, week out and it’s not got great for him over the last season or two at club level, but I’ve never seen him perform poorly for England.”

You can listen to the full interview with Mark Crossley on the Football Social Daily podcast where he talks more about the changing role of goalkeepers in the modern game, his hopes of Wales in the Euros and his time at Forest under the late, great Brian Clough.

Listen to “Haaland’s Chelsea link, successful second spells and former Wales and Forest keeper Mark Crossley joins us”.

Wolves legend tips Matt Doherty for Molineux return

The Irish full back joined Spurs last summer but he has endured a mixed first campaign in North London with Jose Mourinho not looking fully convinced by him.

And that lack of clarity could reopen the door for a speedy return to Molineux and Bull believes Nuno Santo could welcome him back.

Doherty established himself as an ever present figure in Santo’s side during their rise into the Premier League and subsequent foray back into European action.

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Tottenham star Harry Kane set for crunch Daniel Levy talks

The England star has consistently stated his desire to win the Premier League and Champions League and Jose Mourinho’s side look unlikely to launch a title challenge again next season.

According to reports from Sky Sports, Kane will now sit down with chairman Daniel Levy to discuss his options and a potential exit from his boyhood club.

Both Manchester City and Manchester United will be watching the situation with interest as they look to make a big money move this summer.

If Kane does decide to move, Levy is set to dig his heels in over a transfer and could demand in excess of £150m for the Spurs No.10.

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Manchester United to offer Jesse Lingard contract extension

Lingard has earned himself an England recall after netting five goals in seven Premier League starts for the Hammers.

But despite keeping David Moyes’ Top Four dream alive, Lingard has made no secret of his desire to return to Manchester.

Lingard’s current deal at Old Trafford ends in 2022, but according to reports from Talksport he has done enough to convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that JLingz is back in business.

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Leicester City trailing French international Florian Thauvin

The French international looks certain to leave the Ligue 1 side when his contract expires in June after failing to reach a compromise on an extension.

However, despite Leicester’s positivity over a move, it is those financial constraints that could prove to be a major stumbling block.

The Foxes are unwilling to break their wage structure for the former Newcastle man who has reinvented himself back in France with 70 goals in 180 games.

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Leeds United tracking Fulham star Andre-Frank Anguissa

Cameroonian international Anguissa has established himself as a key part of Scott Parker’s side this season.

But if they do fall through the top-flight trap door, he could be one of the first names heading out of Craven Cottage.

And The Athletic’s Leeds United correspondent Phil Hay believes he would be a perfect option for the Whites as Marcelo Bielsa looks for long term partner to Kalvin Phillips.

Anguissa is currently tied into his Fulham contract until 2023, with an option for a further 12 months, but if Leeds do come calling, they could be open to a £20m bid.

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Crystal Palace and Everton linked with Juventus star Aaron Ramsey

The Welshman has slipped down the pecking order in Turin this season with Andrea Pirlo not convinced by the former Arsenal man.

That has opened up renewed speculation he could return to England with Palace and Everton both monitoring his situation.

The Toffees are likely to have the edge in a £20m bidding war between the pair bit Ramsey rumoured desire to return to London could hand Palace a key advantage.

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