Van Dijk Booed By Former Fans

Virgil van Dijk was booed by fans of his former team, Southampton, as Liverpool faced the Saints at their home stadium on Sunday.

The Dutch international moved to Anfield in January, and became the most expensive defender in the world, costing £75 million.

Van Dijk says that he enjoyed his return to St. Mary’s, despite being heavily booed throughout the match.

The 26-year-old even tried to enter his old dressing room, before remembering that he was now playing for the away team.

This pre-game blunder had no impact on him on the field as his new club comfortably beat his former side 2-0, with Mohamed Saleh and Roberto Firmino each scoring a goal for The Reds.

Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, has praised Van Dijk’s performance, saying: “He did really well and dealt with the situation fantastically.”

Van Dijk said that he felt that his hostile reception was unfair, but that he “just focused on the game”.

He added that it’s hard for him to see his former club struggle.

He said: “I have a lot of good friends here, I care for the club. It is difficult to get out of the relegation zone but they have quality players.”

De Gea To Move To Real?

Manchester United goalkeeper, David De Gea, has fuelled speculation that he will be making a move to Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old star, who is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the world, recently said that his “heart is in Madrid”, where he was born. His two children also live in Madrid, with his partner, Spanish singer and actress, Edurne.

The La Liga giants have been interested in De Gea for many years, and almost signed him in 2015. However, the proposed deal collapsed on deadline day after the paperwork was filed too late.

According to Spanish media, De Gea remains the club’s top priority this summer.

Real Madrid’s current goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, was linked with Liverpool in the January transfer window, and Los Blancos are concerned that he will leave the club and will need to find a replacement.

Meanwhile, De Gea will reportedly demand at least £375 000 a week to sign a new deal to stay at Manchester United.

Arsenal Close to Signing Aubameyang

Arsenal are reportedly close to agreeing on a fee of around £60 million for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Borussia Dortmund.

The Gunners and the Bundesliga club have been in ongoing talks regarding the 28-year-old striker, but have not yet finalised a deal.

Dortmund rejected Arsenal’s previous bid of £50 million, and the German club’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, said that they will only let Aubameyang leave if all of their demands are met.

According to reports, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud may still be involved in the deal to bring Aubameyang to the Emirates.

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, said on Friday that Giroud would not be leaving unless another player came in.

Aubameyang is in his fifth year with Borussia Dortmund and has made it clear that he wants to leave for some time now.

He has been sanctioned twice by the club for arriving late for training on multiple occasions.

The French international was booed by a section of his own fans this weekend, who unfurled a banner which said: “No player is bigger than our club”.

Conte Frustrated with Spending Power

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has claimed that Chelsea cannot compete with the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United in terms of spending power.

The Premier League champions had wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez, but lost out after it became clear that the forward’s wage demands and agent fees would be totally out of their budget.

Manchester United, who made the most money of any sports club in the world last year, finalised the deal for Sanchez on Monday.

The 48-year-old Italian manager said that the purchasing power the two Manchester clubs have is unmatchable by any other team.

Conte said: “These two clubs can become seriously dangerous for other teams in the world.”

Chelsea is still hopeful of signing Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmieri from Roma for an initial £44 million outlay, but Manchester City is also interested.

Conte added that without being able to compete financially with the top clubs, his team will have to find success through hard work instead.

Klopp Apologises for Fan Altercation

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has apologised after he reacted angrily to a Swansea fan during The Reds’ shock defeat on Monday night.

Swansea’s Alfie Mawson scored in the 40th minute, ending Liverpool’s 15-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Growing increasingly frustrated with his team’s performance, Klopp reacted to provocation from one of Swansea’s supporters midway through the second half.

According to Klopp, the fan had been loudly taunting him throughout the game. Klopp insists that he didn’t use abusive language, he merely angrily asked the fan to stop his taunts.

The 50-year-old said: “Sorry, I reacted one time, I remind myself I am a human being. It’s my fault as well, I shouldn’t have reacted.”

Klopp added that he is frustrated with his team’s performance, saying that they had already lost the game in the first half.

Swansea remain at the bottom of the log, while Liverpool are now in fourth place behind Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Alexis Sanchez Undergoes Medical

Alexis Sanchez arrived at Manchester United yesterday to undergo a medical examination, ahead of his expected transfer to the club.

Sanchez will move to The Red Devils, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan will transfer to Arsenal in a swap deal between the two clubs.

The Chilean international is set to become United’s best-paid player, with some reports putting his new salary at £400 000 per week.

Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, and United manager, Jose Mourinho, both said they expected the deal between the Premier League rivals to go through.

Wenger said Sanchez was absent from the Arsenal squad on Saturday because he was close to completing a deal that has been in the making since United outbid Manchester City for the former Barcelona star.

An official announcement regarding the outcome of the deal is expected this week.

Sanchez has scored eight goals in 22 appearances for the Gunners this season, and Wenger has said that his impending departure has caused some instability among the team.

Wenger added: “I cannot understand anybody wanting to leave Arsenal. But in 30 years of doing transfers, you learn a lot about human beings. As a professional, it was perhaps his last contract at the top level and an important contract.”

EPL: Weekend Fixtures

The Premier League is back, after the FA Cup third round took centre stage last weekend.

The question on every football fan’s mind this weekend is: Can anyone stop the force that is Manchester City?

The Sky Blues currently have a 15-point lead at the top of the EPL table. They face Liverpool on Sunday, who is coming into the match off three wins in a row.

See below for all weekend matches:

Saturday, 13 January

Chelsea vs Leicester City
West Bromwich Albion vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Watford vs Southampton
Crystal Palace vs Burnley
Newcastle United vs Swansea City
Huddersfield Town vs West Ham United
Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton

Sunday, 14 January

Bournemouth vs Arsenal
Liverpool vs Manchester City

Chelsea Not Selling Loftus-Cheek

Chelsea reportedly has zero interest in selling Ruben Loftus-Cheek because he is part of their long-term plans.

The 21-year-old English international has put in an excellent performance during his season-long loan to Crystal Palace.

Loftus-Cheek said late last year that he was delighted with his increased game time and improved form at the Eagles.

His performance earned him his first call-up for England’s national team, and he was named man of the match in his debut against Germany.

Chelsea announced the arrival of Ross Barkley last week for £15 million from Everton, raising questions over Loftus-Cheek’s future at the club.

Loftus-Cheek and Barkley will be in competition for midfield spots at the Blues with N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater.

Crystal Palace boss, Roy Hodgson, has expressed interest in bringing Loftus-Cheek to South London permanently.

However, Chelsea will reportedly reject any offers they receive for their star, and plan to put him in the first team when he returns.

Crystal Palace Could Sign 7 Players

Crystal Palace’s manager, Roy Hodgson, is in the market for up to seven new players during the January transfer window.

The 70-year-old, who took over from Frank de Boer, who was sacked in September 2017, says that he needs new players to boost his injury-ravaged squad.

The Eagles have had a difficult season plagued by injury and poor performance.

Crystal Palace hold the unwanted record for the worst start to an English season since 1888, after losing their first six matches without scoring a goal.

Defender Scott Dan and midfielder Jason Puncheon are injured so badly that they are out for the season, while defender Jeffrey Schlupp and midfielder Andros Townsend were injured during Monday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Brighton.

Hodgson said that he has wanted to strengthen the squad since he took over, but has had to wait until the January transfer window.

He said: “You could argue that if we said we wanted three or four then really we should be looking at six or seven, because we have lost at least two players for the rest of this season, and probably the start of next season.”

Hodgson has not indicated who his targets are yet, but has said that he is still “sifting through the candidates”.

Conte and Mourinho Escalate War of Words

The feud between Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, and Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has become increasingly hostile in recent weeks.

Mourinho is notorious for picking fights with other managers, and has, in the past, had harsh words for Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola.

The feud began in October 2016 when the 54-year-old Portuguese accused Conte of “humiliating” his team with “hysterical celebrations” after Chelsea beat Manchester United 4-0.

Conte responded by criticising Mourinho for “overlooking” the potential of Victor Moses, by repeatedly sending him out on loan.

The two have continued to criticise each other, and the insults have become increasingly personal.

Only days into the new year, Mourinho implied that Conte behaves like a “clown” on the touchline. Conte fired back by accusing Mourinho of having “senile dementia”.

Mourinho then escalated the argument by accusing Conte of match-fixing, referencing an investigation into Conte which occurred while he was manager of Siena.

The 48-year-old Italian was later cleared of all charges, and responded to Mourinho’s jibe by calling him a “little man”.

Ex-Arsenal legend, Martin Keown, has slammed the pair for their behaviour, and believes that it’s time the Premier League steps in.

He said: “Neither Mourinho nor Conte need to be getting into this sideshow. They should get on with their jobs and focus on trying to become Premier League champions once more.”

Image: Conte and Mourinho argue on the touchline [online image] (2017) sourced on 8 January 2018 from https://www.primenewsghana.com/images/2018/jan/6/nintchdbpict000308672982.jpg