Category Archives: English Premier League

Sala tragedy shines light on transfer that saw him leave Nantes to join Cardiff – a deal deeply rooted in long friendship between Warnock and agent pal McKay

A FORTNIGHT on from striker Emiliano Sala’s disappearance, the stress and strain of carrying Cardiff’s good name through this tragedy is getting to Neil Warnock.
A specialist team were yesterday working to bring up a body from the wreckage of Sala’s plane in the Channel.
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has been emotionally affected in football like he never has before following the disappearance of Emiliano Sala
At the same time Cardiff were fearing their manager will carry out his threat to walk away.
Sala’s apparent death has shone a light on the transfer that saw him leave Nantes to join a side scrapping for Premier League survival — a deal deeply rooted in a long friendship between Warnock and the agent Willie McKay.
As soon as McKay had the transfer mandate in his hand, he knew just the man to do business with.
Warnock, his old mucker, was desperate for a goalscorer to take Cardiff away from relegation danger.

The disappearance of Emiliano Sala, who Neil Warnock got to know before signing him, has left Cardiff City players, fans and management in torment
Willie McKay has had a long friendship with Neil Warnock and that helped set up the signing of Emiliano Sala from Nantes
The Bluebirds boss is big pals with McKay, cementing their relationship in 2011 when he pulled the strings as manager of QPR.
Warnock signed Joey Barton on a free from Newcastle, handing him a four-year contract worth a staggering £90,000 a week.
The sums were so vast for a struggling Prem club it needed the intervention of owner Tony Fernandes to sign it off.
McKay has always denied raking in £1.3m to broker Barton’s move to Loftus Road.
Even so, he did very well out of it.

The McKay family has been working with Warnock more recently, establishing a relationship with his latest club after taking Sol Bamba to Cardiff in October 2016.
Willie’s son Mark is named on the official documentation lodged with the FA.
ExCel Foot, where Mark was a director, has since gone into liquidation. That has not prevented the family trading again in football.
The men are even closer after Warnock saw enough potential in Willie’s young son Jack McKay, after a short trial period at Cardiff, to offer the striker a 2½-year deal.

Former club Nantes and Cardiff held emotional tributes to tragic Emiliano Sala
Jack’s contract with Leeds had just been cancelled — and those who have watched him play claim he has no chance of a career in the Prem.
The McKay family became even more closely entwined in this tragedy when Jack, who abruptly left Cardiff to join Chesterfield on loan last week, messaged Sala to say dad Willie would provide him with a private plane to fly him to Wales.
That turned out to be the single-engine Piper Malibu that crashed near Guernsey on January 21.
The suitability of the aircraft in difficult weather has been questioned by experts.
Sala’s £15m transfer fee is also under scrutiny — because it started to rocket after McKay planted fictitious stories in the media about interest from Everton and West Ham.
Nantes fans have been recognising Emiliano Sala, who disappeared two weeks agoAFP or licensors
Speculation in France, picked up by UK websites, created a market for the forward that did not exist.
It was designed to put pressure on Cardiff CEO Ken Choo and chairman Mehmet Dalman to get the deal done.
The bigger the fee, the bigger the slice of the pie for Family McKay.
There was an added complication because Nantes had to honour a 50 per cent sell-on clause due to Sala’s former club Bordeaux.
Neil Warnock showed how high his emotions are by swearing in an interviewPA:Press Association
In an attempt to mitigate the amount they would have to pass on, Cardiff offered a player-exchange to cut the fee — but Nantes said they wanted straight cash.
After a run of good results, Warnock was in a powerful position, urging Cardiff to sign the man who could solve their goalscoring problems.
Cardiff announced Sala’s signing on January 19, with Warnock claiming the Argentinian’s character made him “a manager’s player”.
Warnock is still coming to terms with the air crash. He has talked of how, in a short time, he became close to the player.
Warnock left the field in tears on Saturday, struggling to make sense of it all after Cardiff beat Bournemouth 2-0.
Minutes later, in an emotional outburst to a TV camera, he told Gary Lineker to “f*** off” after the Match of the Day star made fun of his nickname “Colin”.
If, as seems increasingly likely, Sala’s body is retrieved from the ocean floor, a funeral will take place in Argentina.

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Warnock and club officials will be expected to travel to South America.
Willie McKay and son Mark — the two men who helped this deal materialise — will also need to pay their respects.
The two friends are likely to stand together to remember a likeable young footballer whose life was cut tragically short.


Transfer deadline day LIVE: Ozil rejects PSG, Almiron joins Newcastle, Charlie Austin latest

IT is transfer deadline day with Premier League clubs having until 11pm to complete their deals.
Arsenal have already loaned Denis Suarez, but could remain busy – while Real Madrid want Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford for £100m.


Marcus Rashford in shock £100m transfer as Real Madrid look to sign Man Utd ace before he signs new deal

REAL MADRID are refusing to give up in their quest to purchase Marcus Rashford for £100million.
The striker is holding out on discussing terms of a new contract with Manchester United until the summer as Los Blancos look to get the transfer over the line.
Marcus Rashford is wanted by Real Madrid as he still stalls over signing a new Manchester United dealGetty – Contributor
While his teammate Anthony Martial has agreed a new five-year deal, Rashford wants to wait before making any decisions.
SunSport revealed in November how Real had been in contact with Rashford’s camp.
The 21–year-old was then open to a possible move abroad as he grew unhappy under the regime of Jose Mourinho.
He was not getting a chance in his favoured striking role through the middle and was ready to consider the option of a move abroad.
Real have not given up hope of landing United star Rashford over the summerAFP or licensors
Anthony Martial has agreed a new five-year contract but Rashford is yet to commitAFP or licensors
His mood has changed under interim boss Ole Solskjaer but Real have continued to keep the lines of communication open with Rashford’s camp.
They have guaranteed him that he would be their number one striker and would top any contract offer United are ready to give him.
Rashford’s current deal earns him £60,000 a week and lasts until the end of next season with an option for the club to extend it by a further year.
But United want him on a longer deal and would be willing to more than triple his wages to £200,000 a week.

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Real though would go further still to £250,000 a week.
As it stands local lad Rashford is intent on staying at Old Trafford, but Real’s interest will remain a worry for the club.

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While Solskjaer has done great work in a short time with Rashford a different manager might have different ideas on how to play him or bring in another striker he prefers.
Rashford has scored five goals in seven starts under Solskjaer although he was guilty of a glaring early miss in United’s 2-2 home draw with Burnley on Tuesday night.
He clipped that ninth minute chance to open the scoring wide before Burnley went on to establish a two goals lead.

United produced a stirring late fight back to grab a point but the result brought to an end Solskjaer’s winning run since taking over as interim boss which had stretched to eight games.
After the game Paul Pogba admitted that the team had probably been too complacent.
Pogba said: ‘I think we played like we were winning maybe 1-0 or 2-0 and that’s why the result was like that.
‘We are disappointed with ourselves because the way that we played when we conceded the second goal, we should have started like that and the game would be different.
“You have to learn from your mistakes and next time I think we need to start the game differently. That’s it.’


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Pogba hailed by pumped-up Shaw for spectacular assist for Rashford as Man Utd go 1-0 up against Spurs

PAUL POGBA provided an exquisite assist for Marcus Rashford to put Manchester United 1-0 up against Spurs – and their team-mate Luke Shaw made certain that people knew it.
The French international’s inch-perfect pass set up Rashford beautifully to shoot home past Hugo Lloris, and his contribution was certainly appreciated by Shaw.
Luke Shaw congratulates Paul Pogba for his assist against Spurs
The full back, clearly hyped up by the occasion and the goal, ran straight to Pogba to congratulate him ahead of joining fellow England international Rashford’s celebrations.
Pogba’s pass was redolent of the sweeping crossfield ball he played in the build-up to his goal in the World Cup final last summer.
Receiving the ball ten yards in his own half, the midfielder clipped the ball perfectly into the gap between Rashford and Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen.
Breaking past the Belgian into the Spurs box, the striker was able to fire a tight-angled shot across a despairing Lloris into the left-hand corner of the net.
Pogba received the ball in his own half and looked up to spot Rashford’s runSky Sports
The pass fell into Rashford’s path and he ran into the Spurs boxSky Sports
Rashford fired past Lloris to put United 1-0 upReuters
United enjoyed the balance of play in the first half, though David De Gea had to make a smart save to prevent an equaliser from Harry Kane.
In the second period Pogba nearly got on the scoresheet himself with an audacious attempt to chip De Gea, which the United ‘keeper managed to tip over.


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Harry Kane’s stats at Marcus Rashford’s age remind Man Utd fans he is their hottest prospect

MARCUS RASHFORD still has some way to go to emulate Harry Kane – but he is well on track to do just that.
The two strikers came up against each other as Tottenham hosted Manchester United on Super Sunday.
This Sky Sports graphic proves just how impressive Marcus Rashford has been in his short career so farSky Sports
While Kane is the first name on the team-sheet for Spurs, Rashford has never really nailed down a regular starting spot up front.
But interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has preferred Rashford to Romelu Lukaku, and the 21-year-old has not let him down.
And as this graphic from Sky Sports shows, Rashford’s stats are staggering compared to Kane when he was the same age.
Rashford has made 148 club appearances, scoring 39 times. And a large proportion of these games have been him appearing from the bench.
Marcus Rashford scored the opener for Manchester United against Spurs in the first halfReuters
Harry Kane thought he had put Spurs ahead – but it was ruled out for offsideAFP
When Kane was at the stage Rashford is at now, he had made 100 club appearances, scoring 25 times. He had also come off the bench a fair few times, but loan spells with Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester meant he usually started.

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Marcus Rashford was on target to justify Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s selectionReuters
Kane’s total Premier League appearances at the age Rashford is now was 18, with three goals.
Rashford is on 96 top-flight appearances, with an impressive 23 goals.
When it comes to stats at international level, there is no comparison.
Kane had yet to feature for England, while Rashford has racked up 31 appearances, scoring six goals.



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6am Man Utd news: Pogba in training ahead of Tottenham game, Perisic could finally sign and Rashford trolls Solskjaer

PAUL POGBA trains with Manchester United after missing 2-0 Reading FA Cup win and the Reds could finally land Ivan Perisic.
Read on for all this and more of today’s latest transfer news, views and gossip from Old Trafford.
Pogba suffered a knock against Newcastle which kept him out of United’s 2-0 FA Cup win against ReadingGetty – Contributor
POGBACK
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER is optimistic about Paul Pogba’s fitness ahead of Manchester United’s crunch Premier League fixture at Tottenham on Sunday.
Solksjaer was unable to call upon Pogba in the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Reading on Saturday because of a knock the Frenchman sustained in a challenge with Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey last week.
IVAN THE GREAT
IVAN PERISIC could finally become a Manchester United player at the end of the season with Inter Milan looking to raise cash to fund a move for Luka Modric.
The Croatian international has been repeatedly linked with the Red Devils, and recently spoke of how close he came to linking up with the Premier League side last summer.
LIGT SWITCH
MATTHIJS DE LIGT has been urged to sign for Manchester United over Juventus by Ajax legend John van Loen.
A host of European giants are chasing the Dutch wonderkid, 19, with John van Loen urging him to choose the Premier League over Serie A.
A NEW LEVEL
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER wants his Manchester United stars to up the intensity of their training sessions.
The Norwegian sees nothing wrong with having a determined attitude behind closed doors.

SAME OLE STORY
MARCUS RASHFORD’S brilliant tweet poking fun at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone down a storm with Manchester United fans.
The striker posted a picture of Solskjaer telling him, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial a story during United’s warm-weather training break in Dubai.
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REAL MADRID are reportedly primed to offer £90million for Kalidou Koulibaly.
Il Mattino claims the Manchester United target is also being eyed up by Los Blancos after becoming one of the world’s top defenders at Napoli.
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6am Chelsea news: Spurs lead 1-0 in League Cup semi-final, Morata injured and Wolves still in for Abraham

CHELSEA trail 1-0 in the League Cup semi-final tie with Tottenham, while Alvaro Morata missed the game after getting injured.
Read all this plus more transfer news, views and gossip from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Spurs in the first leg of their League Cup semi-finalPA:Press Association
SPURS 1 CHELSEA 0
ALL those Tottenham records are taking a tumble.
Harry Kane made sure of that after Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga took him clean out after 25 minutes.
YA BLUE IT
CHELSEA slipped to a frustrating loss at the hands of Tottenham in the first-leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Wembley tonight.
But how did the Blues stars fare in their clash with Spurs? Find out in our full ratings round-up, below.
‘SO LAZY’
FANS branded Nike “lazy” after Spurs and Chelsea wore identical training jackets before their Carabao Cup semi-final clash.
Eagle-eyed viewers could barely distinguish the two sides as they lined up inside the Wembley tunnel before heading out onto pitch.
‘FINALLY’
CHELSEA fans were left in a positive mood after Callum Hudson-Odoi was named in starting line-up for their Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Tottenham.
The forward, 18, has linked with a January move to Bayern Munich after the Blues agreed to sign Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic in a £58million deal.
MOR TO IT?
ALVARO MORATA was forced to sit out of Chelsea’s League Cup semi-final clash with Spurs after picking up a hamstring injury.
The Spaniard pulled up in training this morning and was removed the squad it was confirmed by boss Maurizio Sarri.

FA’S HELPING HAM
WOLVES have not given up hope of landing Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham this month and want the FA to help make it happen.
The Premier League side were pushing this month to bag the striker on loan at Aston Villa this season to beef up their attack in the second half of the campaign.
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JUVENTUS have reportedly launched a last-ditch attempt to beat Bayern Munich to Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi.
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Paul Pogba becomes first Manchester United player to score two in two since Wayne Rooney in 2012

PAUL POGBA has become the first player to scored two in as many matches for Manchester United since Wayne Rooney in 2012.
Pogba bagged a double at Old Trafford against Bournemouth one match after his brace against Huddersfield.
Pogba grabbed two first-half goals against BournemouthAFP or licensors
Rooney scored a two goals in consecutive games in 2012Mark Robinson – The Sun
The French World Cup winner has become the first United player to achieve the feat in six years.
In December 2012 Rooney netted twice against Reading before a week latter grabbing a double in United’s 3-2 away with against Man City.

2 – Paul Pogba is the first @ManUtd player to score at least twice in consecutive Premier League appearances since Wayne Rooney in December 2012. Bracing. #MUNBOU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2018

Pogba’s first goal against Bournemouth was a good showcase of positioning and timing as he tapped in from close range after a Marcus Rashford assist.
Rashford rightfully took most credit for the goal as he skimmed past Nathan Ake before flip-flapping the ball to beat full-back Diego Rico.

Rooney scored twice away at City in 2012Mark Robinson – The Sun
United ran out 3-2 winners that dayMark Robinson – The Sun
Pogba rounded off Rashford’s amazing dribbling as United took the lead at Old Trafford.
The Frenchman would grab his second 28 minutes later as Pogba headed home a fine Ander Herrera cross.
Before his double against Huddersfield Pogba had managed just one goal in 13 league appearances as his relationship with ex-boss Jose Mourinho worsened.
However, Pogba’s performances have drastically improved since Mourinho was sacked earlier this month – and the 25-year-old’s goalscoring form is evidence to that.
Pogba headed home for his secondGetty Images – Getty
Pogba has now netted seven times in the leagueGetty Images – Getty


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Manchester United 4-1 Bournemouth LIVE SCORE: Pogba, Rashford and Lukaku on target but Bailly sees red

MANCHESTER UNITED welcome Bournemouth to Old Trafford, eyeing a third straight win in the Premier League.
The Red Devils have beaten Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over – and now take on a Cherries side who have slipped to 12th after three defeats in four.


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