A Reasonable Appointment

A Reasonable Appointment
Neal Thurman discusses Arsenal's decision to appoint Unai Emery and what we should expect from Arsenal during his tenure.
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Brighton have made their first signing of the summer, welcoming Leon Balogun on a free transfer.

The Nigeria international, 29, spent last season at Bundesliga side Mainz. The centre-back has signed a two year contract. Judging by quotes from manager Chris Hughton, it seems that he will offer cover to this year's first choice pairing and outstanding performers Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy. "Leon will add more depth to our defensive options," said Brighton manager Chris Hughton. "[He] has valuable experience, having played in the Bundesliga, the Europa League and at international level," he added. Balogun has 16 caps for the Nigerian national team and is in their 30 man provisional squad for the World Cup. He missed the 2014 edition through injury.
Source: BBC Sport
May 22 - 5:14 PM

Arsenal officially confirmed that midfielder Santi Cazorla will leave the club at the end of his contract this summer.

The 33-year-old midfielder has not played for the Gunners since October 2016 due to an Achilles injury and looks set to join former club Villarreal. Cazorla made 180 appearances for Arsenal since 2012/13, when he scored a career-high 12 goals. "Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch," chief executive Ivan Gazidis said. "His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years. He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club."
May 22 - 9:37 AM

What a boost it could be for Liverpool if Emre Can is deemed fit for Saturday's Champions League final.

The star midfielder has been out since March with a back injury and was left off Germany's provisional World Cup roster as a result. But manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Can participated in training at Anfield on Monday with the team and now has a chance to play in the final against Real Madrid on Saturday night, where the Reds could use as much help as possible, in what could be Can's final game in a Liverpool shirt before an expected summer move to Juventus: "With Emre or players in the situation of Emre it depends on the reaction on things [but] let me say it like this: 10 days ago, I didn’t think it was possible that he could do what he did today, and that he could do what he did in Marbella already. "That looked good and my impression of him is really positive, but we have to wait again until tomorrow. But the door, of course, is open. It’s really nice to have him back in the group and he is really desperate to be part of [the final] and we will see."
May 22 - 9:29 AM

West Ham United have appointed one of the world’s "most respected" football coaches according to joint chairman David Sullivan.

The club announced on Tuesday that former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini had signed a three-year deal at the London Stadium. The 64-year-old joined Chinese Super League outfit Hebei China Fortune after leaving The Etihad in the summer of 2016 but returns to the Premier League to succeed the recently deposed David Moyes. "Manuel brings a reputation for attacking football and getting the best out of his players," said Sullivan. "We believe he will attract new talent to the London Stadium as well as improving the current squad." The Chilean is said to be "excited about this project" and believes with the addition of another "four or five players" West Ham are going to have a strong team capable of "reaching important targets for the season." Pellegrini becomes the club’s highest ever paid manager, believed to be in the region of £10 million-per-year, despite agreeing a hefty pay cut from his bumper deal in China.
Source: Daily Mail
May 22 - 6:44 AM

The Football Association confirm Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been named as the England captain for the World Cup finals in Russia.

In a meeting at St. George’s Park on Monday evening, manager Gareth Southgate confirmed Kane will be skipper for the tournament: "Harry has some outstanding personal qualities," he said. "He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day." Despite being pipped to the Golden Boot by Player of the Year Mo Salah [32-goals], Kane managed to win the most Premier League points for his side [22] scoring 30-goals for the first time in his career. On hearing the news, Kane said: "To be captain is that little bit more," he said. "I’m so excited for the World Cup, I can’t wait to be there and experience it. To lead the lads out, it’s going to be special." England kick-off their campaign on June 18 against Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Source: Sky Sports
May 22 - 6:04 AM

Michy Batshuayi has been given every chance to prove his fitness after Roberto Martinez included the Chelsea striker in his 28-man squad for Russia.

The 24-year-old was enjoying a highly productive loan spell at Borussia Dortmund [7-goals + one assist] from nine Bundesliga starts before suffering a serious injury last month. The club confirmed that Batshuayi had rolled his left ankle following a challenge from Schalke 04 midfielder Benjamin Stambouli causing ligament damage. Although no official timeline was proposed, Roberto Martinez always maintained it was "possible" that he could be fit for the Red Devils World Cup campaign. Belgium face Portugal in a pre-tournament friendly on June 02 before the squad will be cut to 23 two days later. Fellow Premier League players Vincent Kompany and Kevin de Bruyne [Man City], Eden Hazard [Chelsea], Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku [Man United] and Christian Benteke [Crystal Palace] also make the squad but Divock Origi [Liverpool] and Kevin Mirallas [Everton] miss out.
May 22 - 5:39 AM

Leicester City have announced the signing of Portugal international defender Ricardo Pereira from FC Porto on a five-year contract.

Pereira’s move to Leicester City, worth a reported £22 million (roughly $30 million), will be completed when the summer transfer window officially opens on 9 June. The arrival of Pereira is Leicester’s first move of the summer to fix the lack of depth at fullback, as the club have had just one out-and-out right-back in Danny Simpson. The 24-year-old made 43 appearances for the Portuguese champions this season, and was named alongside new teammate Adrien Silva in Portugal’s 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Pereira will be reunited with manager Claude Puel having played under his stewardship during a loan spell at French side Nice in 2015/16. Speaking to LCFC TV, Pereira said: "I feel very happy to be here and I can’t wait to do my best to help the team. The atmosphere, the fans and the football of the Premier League makes it the best in the world. I am here to support the team and to help the Club to achieve its goals."
May 21 - 6:25 PM

Gylfi Sigurdsson has been named in Iceland’s 23-man World Cup squad despite missing the last two months of the Premier League campaign due to injury.

It was initially hoped that Sigurdsson would be back for the season run-in after suffering knee ligament damage during the 2-0 win over Brighton back in March, but in the build-up to final game, former Toffees boss Sam Allardyce confirmed the playmaker was "still a way off, unfortunately." However, his absence from domestic football did not prevent manager Heimir Hallgrímsson from calling up the Everton star and Sigurdsson will have two friendly internationals against Norway and Ghana to prove his fitness. Iceland begin their World Cup campaign on June 16 against the 2014 runners-up Argentina in Moscow and they will do well to qualify for the knockout phase. They then take on Nigeria before Group D concludes against Croatia, who comfortably edged out Greece 4-1 on aggregate in a play-off.
Source: Sky Sports
May 21 - 4:35 PM
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