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Star striker Gonzalo Higuain joins Juventus from Napoli for record £75.3m
Published in News

In major transfer news, Sky Italy on Tuesday reported that Juventus had completed the high-profile acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain.

The Argentina striker moved from Napoli on a £6.3m per season up to 2020.

Interestingly, the 28-year-old completed his medical last week with the Turin club now paying his full release clause.

This is the biggest deal in the history of Serie A.

Earlier, Premier League giants Arsenal were linked with the striker.

Arsenal had been heavily linked with a move for Higuain this summer.

The Gunner failed to lure Higuain to north London after the club failed to meet his £75.3m release clause. 

Last season, he scored 36 goals in 35 games for Napoli.

Higuain is one of the main reasons behind the solid showing of the club in the Serie A in recent years.

Considering the amount paid by Juventus, many believe that the club is now ready to offload Paul Pogba.

Manchester United are in advanced talks with the midfielder and Higuain's move could pave way for this deal.

Alexandre Lacazette: Lyon reject Arsenal's 35m euros offer for France forward
Published in News

Arsenal's attempt to snap up France forward Alexandre Lacazette on Tuesday suffered a setback.

The Gunners were informed by Lyon that the 35m euros (£29.3m) on the table was not enough to sign the star striker.

Lacazette, who has been on the radar of top European team, found the back of the net on 21 occasions in 34 league matches last season.

The 25-year-old is under contract at Lyon until 2019.

"Lacazette is irreplaceable and one of the main leaders," said the French club in a statement on social micro-blogging site Twitter.

Lyon however denied a newspaper report, claiming it had rejected a 48m euros (£42.2m) from the North London club.

It is a well-known fact that Arsene Wenger is in the market for a striker this summer.

Arsenal first-choice Jamie Vardy decided to stay put in Leicester.

The club in the past has relied on Olivier Giroud who has failed to inspire.

Many believe the reason behind the club's failed bid to win the title last season was due to the absence of a clinical striker.

Georginio Wijnaldum: Liverpool sign Newcastle United man in big money move
Published in News

As Manchester United continue to chase Paul Pogba, archrivals Liverpool completed their seventh signing of the summer in the form of Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Dutch strike moved from Newcastle United to Anfield for £25m as part of a five-year deal.

Wijnaldum joined the Magpies for £14.5m from Dutch side PSV in last season. He managed to find the back of the net on 11 occasions in 38 outings.

The 25-year-old will join Jurgen Klopp’s on the pre-season tour of America, where they will play Chelsea (27 July), AC Milan (30 July) and Roma (1 August).

Wijnaldum has 30 appearances for the national team under his belt.

The Reds ended their last campaign in 8th position. Since they lost in the Europa League final, Liverpool will not be part of European football this term.

Liverpool will begin their 2016-17 Premier League on August 14 against Arsenal.

Paul Pogba to Manchester United: This is what the midfielder’s agent has to say
Published in News

Paul Pogba’s transfer saga is the biggest news point for this summer’s transfer window. The Frenchman, many believe, is on his way to Old Trafford in a world record transfer.

The midfielder was once part of Manchester United’s academy and parted ways with the club due to Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to not draft him in the first team. Young Paul felt he was ready and he was right.

Pogba’s agent, MinoRaiola, claimed on his Twitter account that so far no deal had been struck.

“There is no deal done regarding Paul Pogba, lots of bla bla bla,” he wrote.

He also went on to tell media reporters that breaking records for transfer fees wasn’t his objective.

“I don’t care about record-breaking transfers,” he said.

“The newspapers say that Pogba could break the record but I have already broken records with Ibrahimovic and [Pavel] Nedved. I want what’s best for my players and so that also includes Pogba.

“Has Pogba asked to leave Juventus? I won’t answer anyone and I don’t talk about my business. Certain things I only discuss with my clients and they know how things really stand,” he further added.

Two of Mino’s clients – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have already joined Jose Mourinho’s squad. The arrival of Pogba will make it a formidable line-up at United.

 

 

N’Golo Kante: Leicester City midfielder joins Chelsea in £32 million move
Published in News

Premier League giants Chelsea on Saturday announced their latest signing in the form of Leicester City midfielder N`Golo Kante.

The Frenchman switched sides for about £32 million (38 million euros, $42 million) in a five-year deal.

Kante was one of the most important players in the Foxes’  squad, which created history earlier in the year.

He becomes the second signing of the summer for Antonio Conte after securing the services of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for a similar fee.

"I am so happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It`s a dream come true for me," Kante told Chelsea`s website.

"The opportunity to work with Antonio Conte, a brilliant coach, and some of the best players in the world was simply too good to turn down," he further added.

The 25-year-old had joined the English champions from Caen for a bargain £5.6 million.

Kante was shortlisted for the 2015-16 PFA Players` Player of the Year award after putting up a sterling display at the heart of Leicester’s midfield.

Euro 2016 final: France vs Portugal – Preview and betting tips
Published in Match Previews

Venue: Stade de France

Date: Sunday, July 10

France take on Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on Sunday. With both sides full of talented stars, fans can expect a brilliant finish to a brilliant tournament. After the recent terror attacks in Paris, the country is looking up to its footballers to deliver some much-needed good news.

Les Blues have been steady performers right through the tournament. They have played shown all the qualities that define a winning team. In the absence of Karim Benzeman, Antoine Griezmann has stepped up to the occasion for the hosts.

Despite injuries and suspensions, Didier Deschamps has shown that his French side is capable of dealing with adversities even against the best opponents like Germany.

Portugal enjoyed a rather easy end of the draw. They played Poland, Croatia and Wales en route to the finals. Many are still not convinced of this team, barring skipper Cristiano Ronaldo who has hit form at the right time.

There is brilliance going forward, but Portugal’s midfield and defense has been found wanting on several occasions. In the final, they will once again rely on the likes of Ronaldo and Nani for inspiration.

France will go in as the favorites for this one. The side has too much quality on paper and is likely to come through. Also, the home crowd will be the twelfth man for France and Portugal will need some individual brilliance to silence the Stade de France.

Fans of Ronaldo will be hoping he ends his trophy drought with the national team. In a sense it is he who stands between France and a cathartic win on Sunday.

Possible starting XIs

Portugal: Rui; Soares, Fonte, Alves, Guerreiro; Pereira; Sanches, Silva, Mario; Nani, Ronaldo

France: Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi; Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet; Giroud

72Betting tips

Under 3 goals in the match

Griezmann to score

72Betting prediction

France 2-1 Portugal

Euro 2016, semi-final: France v Germany – Preview and betting tips
Published in Match Previews

Venue: Stade Vélodrome

Date: Thursday, July 7

France take on Germany in the second semi-final of Euro 2016 on Thursday. There is no doubt as to whom the crowd will be rooting for in this high-octane clash.

Considering the quality of players in both squads, fans can expect a thrilling contest in Marseille.

Germany come into this match on the back of penalty shootout win against Italy. France on the other hand easily brushed aside Iceland’s challenge.

Joachim Loew’s has plenty of problems as Matt Hummels, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Mario Gomez will not feature in this game. While the defender is suspended, the trio is out injured.

There is good news for Didier Deschamps as Adil Rami and N'Golo Kante will be back to the squad after serving suspensions.

At full strength, the world cup winners held a slight edge over the hosts. With key players injured however, there is nothing to choose between Germany and Les Blues.

Possible starting line-ups:

Germany XI: Neuer; Howedes, Boateng, Hector; Kimmich, Draxler, Kroos, Hector; Müller, Özil; Götze 

France XI: Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Mangala, Evra; Kanté, Matuidi; Pogba, Griezmann, Payet; Giroud

72Betting tips:

Under 2.5 goals in match

Germany to win in extra time

72Betting prediction:

France 1-2 Germany

Euro 2016, semifinal: Portugal vs Wales – Preview and betting tips
Published in Match Previews

Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais

Date: Wednesday, July 6

Portugal take on Wales in the first semi-final of Euro 2016 in what many believe will be a cracker of a contest. This match is also being billed as a duel between Real Madrid teammates and world football superstars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal have not really set this tournament on fire and have relied largely upon individual brilliance of Ronaldo, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma.

Fernando Santos’ men have failed to seal the deal in regular play right through the tournament and have relied on extra-time or penalties to progress.

Wales have improved as the tournament has progressed and clear signs of confidence can now be seen within Chris Coleman’s giant killers.

Apart from the brilliance of Bale and Aaron Ramsey, skipper Ashley Williams has defended resolutely and lead by example.

Surprisingly, Bale has outperformed Ronaldo at the event is clearly enjoying a dream run with his national side.

While Lionel Messi retired from international football after failing to win the Copa America, Ronaldo can edge in arch rival in this department if he were to go all the away at the Euros.

Possible starting line-ups:

Portugal XI: Rui; Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu; Carvalho; Mario, Sanches, Silva; Nani, Ronaldo

Wales XI: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale; Robson-Kanu

72Betting tips:

Cristiano Ronaldo to score

Gareth Bale to score

Over 2.5 goals in match

72Betting prediction:

Portugal 2-1 Wales

Euro 2016, quarterfinal: France v Iceland – Preview and betting tips
Published in Match Previews

Venue: Stade De France 

Date: Sunday, July 3

The last quarterfinal of Euro 2016 has France taking on Iceland. The home side will be hoping there is no upset against the underdogs to ensure a place in the semi-final.

Without a doubt, Iceland’s journey has been the biggest story of the tournament. Neutrals spectators will clearly be rooting for the minnows in this high-profile game.

Les Blue beat Republic of Ireland 2-1 to win a place in the quarterfinal. Iceland stunned England 2-1 to set up a date with the hosts.

Didier Deschamps will be without key midfielder N’Golo Kante for this fixture. Adil Rami too is suspended, while exciting young star Kingsley Coman is a doubt too. Iceland have a fully fit squad at their disposal for the most important football match in their nation’s history.

The two teams have played on 11 occasions, France won 8 and three matches did not produce any result. Plenty of goals have been scored when the two sides met recently. France won both games 3-2.

The French have a solid record on home soil in major tournaments. They have won 14 and drawn 2 of their last 16 games. Also, their defense has done a good job in this campaign. Both goals conceded by France came from the penalty spot.

Iceland have scored in all their Euro 2016. Interestingly, different players have scored all their goals. The manager has opted to start with the same set of players in all their games so far.

Possible starting line-ups:

France XI: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra; Matuidi, Kanté, Pogba; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet

Iceland XI: Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R. Sigurdsson, Skulason; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurdsson, Bjarnason; Sigborsson, Bodvarsson

72Betting prediction:

France 2-0 Iceland

72Betting tips

Under 2.5 goals in match

Paul Pogba to score

Euro 2016, quarterfinal: Germany vs Italy – Preview and betting tips
Published in Match Previews

Venue: Nouveau Stade Bordeaux 

Date: Saturday, July 2

Italy take on Germany is what is undoubtedly the biggest clash of the tournament so far. Both teams are capable of handling pressure and can certainly turn it on in the big games.

The World Cup winners were knocked out of the last edition by Italy in a 2-1 win

Unfortunately for Antonio Conte, defensive midfielder Danielle De Rossi will miss this fixture through injury. Even winger Antonio Candreva is struggling to regain full fitness. Joachim Low has no concerns in that department.

Italy are the bogey team for Germany when it comes to big tournaments. In their last 8 meetings, the Azzurri has won 4, with 4 producing no results. What’s worse is the fact the Italians’ 4 wins have all come at the knockout stages.

The Germans on the other hand have been consistent at major tournaments, reaching the semi-finals in their last five attempts.

One more statistic that will boost German hopes is the fact they are the only team in the tournament to not have conceded a goal so far. They have been superb in attack, controlling 69% of the possession in four outings.

Though it need not be said, Italy too have stupendous defensive record when it comes to major tournaments. 19 clean sheets in 37 Euro games is the best performance by any team.

Ideally, this should have been the final. Italy and Germany are the two best teams at the tournament. Despite their good form, the Italians will not go in as the favorites against the World Cup champions.

Possible starting line-up:

Germany: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Khedira, Kroos; Özil, Müller, Draxler; Gomez

Italy starting lineup: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, De Sciglio; Pellè, Martins

72Betting prediction:

Germany 1-2 Italy

72Betting tips:

Graziano Pelle to score

Under 2.5 goals in normal time