Category: La Liga

In Focus: Arsenal presented with chance to sign long-term target

Arsenal have long been attributed with an interest in Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and a move could materialise next summer, according to Spanish outlet Don Balon.

What’s the story?

Although not the most reliable of reports, Don Balon’s claim that Florentino Perez will use his authority at Real Madrid next summer to reshape Zinedine Zidane’s squad is certainly possible and a new-look side could be created.

Karim Benzema, now 29, could find himself on the way out as Real Madrid consider options to rejuvenate their forward line, with their list of targets including Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann and Juventus’ Argentine sensation Paulo Dybala.

With Marco Asensio and Isco stepping-up to become crucial players for Real Madrid over the course of the past 12 months, the reliability on the likes of Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale has significantly decreased- which could lead to changes.

Bale has himself struggled with regular injury problems and could be sold to provide funds for a move next summer, whilst Benzema will likely seek an exit as he won’t want to play second-fiddle and Real Madrid would accept his wishes after years of service that has seen him lift 14 titles in the Santiago Bernabeu.

Is there still a place at Arsenal?

Whilst some may feel the ship has sailed for Benzema and Arsenal due to the summer signing of Alexandre Lacazette, the Gunners still have a desire to rejuvenate their attacking options- especially as it’s highly likely Alexis Sanchez will leave next summer.

Benzema could therefore slot into Arsenal’s line-up as the first-choice striker, with Lacazette dropping behind his compatriot and playing alongside World Cup winner Mesut Ozil- assuming the former Real Madrid man pens a new deal.

Former Lyon man Benzema will turn 31 in December next year, so cannot be seen as a long-term solution for Arsenal, but they may need to strengthen their ranks as Olivier Giroud, who turns 31 this month, may bring an end to his time in North London.

The striker was offered the chance to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer but elected to stay and fight for his spot in the side, scoring a dramatic winner on the opening weekend victory over Leicester City, but has found first-team opportunities limited since.

'Right decision', 'Not a good idea' … Liverpool fans divided as Klopp takes a stand

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-match press conference for his side’s clash against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday that Philippe Coutinho will be omitted from the squad.

The 25-year-old was recovering from injury when he handed in a transfer request just days before the Premier League season started last month after Barcelona showed an interest in him, and the La Liga giants had three offers for the Reds star rejected.

However, the attacking midfielder returned to action for Brazil with two substitute appearances during the international break but despite that, Klopp isn’t ready to include him for the clash against Pep Guardiola’s men.

Klopp said: “I decided to leave him out of the squad for City so we can use the time for extra training. He agreed.”

Liverpool supporters were quick to have their say on the news via social media, and they are largely divided with some saying it is the “right decision” and others feeling it might prove to be a mistake to not include him in the squad.

Here is just a selection of the Twitter reaction…

'His career is over before it's started' … Man United fans fear for future of young star

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is disappointed that Andreas Pereira decided to join Valencia last week, and Red Devils fans now fear for the youngster’s future.

The 21-year-old was an impressive performer for United during pre-season, and he seemed set to remain at Old Trafford until January at the earliest.

However, he didn’t feature in any of the club’s four matchday squads in August and decided to secure a move away in order to play regularly.

Mourinho told the Manchester Evening News: “Andreas Pereira was a personal decision that I don’t agree with.

“A decision I don’t think honestly I don’t think is the best decision for him, a decision that disappoints me a little bit, because I think he has the potential to be here fighting for a position, for opportunities, and fighting to be a Manchester United player.”

Man United supporters were quick to have their say on Mourinho’s comments via social media, and some believe that his Red Devils career may now be over.

Here is just a selection of the Twitter reaction…

‘They have a great chance’ – Tottenham Hotspur backed to beat Real Madrid for this hilarious reason

Peter Crouch’s funny side has become evident since he joined Twitter, and he gave quite the humorous reaction to Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League draw.

The North London outfit were arguably placed in the hardest group of the elite competition, with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel.

Last season, Mauricio Pochettino’s men failed to get out of the group stage when they were pitted against Monaco, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen.

They performed poorly at Wembley, winning just one of their three games at the national stadium, where they will be based for the entire season while their new stadium is being built.

In the 2010-11 season when Crouch was playing for the North London outfit, Spurs suffered a damaging defeat to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the competition.

After going a goal down inside the first five minutes, the striker was sent off 10 minutes later after receiving two yellow cards for poor tackles.

The team – managed by Harry Redknapp – failed to recover and they eventually lost 4-0 to the Spanish giants in the first leg.

After Crouch, who now plays for Stoke City, discovered who Spurs would be facing this season, he decided to poke fun at his past.

‘Back at Spurs and no fee!’ – Pundit makes joke about superstar pair returning to Tottenham Hotspur

All eyes were on the Champions League draw on Thursday, and the main talking point from the event was the group that Tottenham Hotspur were placed in.

Last season’s Premier League runners-up will have to take on Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel in order to make it through to the knockout rounds.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were arguably handed the toughest draw out of the English clubs competing, which also include Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.

The glamour tie is of course the one against Madrid, which will involve a trip to the Bernabeu for Tottenham and a hosting job at Wembley, where the North London outfit will be playing all of their home games this season.

Micky Hazard, who represented Spurs between 1993 and 1995, pointed out that former Tottenham players Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are likely to play.

The latter was sold to the Spanish club in 2012 following a four-year spell at White Hart Lane, while Bale joined Tottenham for a then world-record £85m fee a year later.

Both have gone on to have stunning success in Madrid, and Hazard is excited to see the stars line up against their former club.

The 57-year-old amusingly tweeted that Tottenham will be able to have the players back for free.