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Today’s Top European Football Stories

Blatter criticises FIFA’s controversial League of Nations

Former FIFA president, Sepp Blatter has criticised plan for a League of Nations, saying “the rich will become richer, and those who have less, they remain poor” due to the tournament.

The new global league would effectively end international friendlies and see teams play competitive games against regional neighbours.

“This is not the idea in the development programmes we started 30 or 40 years ago,” Blatter said.

“This is not the right thing, it is not my philosophy of football and it should not be the philosophy of football for those who like the good game.”

The world governing body is also looking to expand the Club World Cup – it has said a revamped format, together with a League of Nations tournament, could prove highly lucrative.

PSG fix a fee of €260m for Neymar
Real Madrid would reportedly have to pay €260 million (£227 million) this summer if they want to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

According to Fernando Kallas of AS, PSG would want an increase on the world-record €222 million (£194 million) they spent to land the Brazilian from Barcelona last summer.

It’s added Neymar recently met with Madrid-bound starlet Vinicius Junior in Brazil, where a club delegate was also present. “No one can know that I’m back in Rio [de Janeiro],” the Madrid representative is reported to have said, per Kallas.

Sergio Gomez of AS suggested that Madrid have stepped up their interest in Neymar, with meetings said to have been held on a number of occasions.

It’s added Madrid are hopeful of getting the deal completed before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which begins on June 12.

Arsenal hunt for Petr Cech’s replacement
Arsenal have set in motion plans to replace Petr Cech and David Ospina and will make a move for Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

According to the Daily Mirror the 26-year-old shot-stopper has called a halt to talks with Napoli and is now weighing up his options, with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid both on his tail.

Leno, who moved to Leverkusen from Stuttgart in 2011, has kept nine clean sheets in 30 Bundesliga appearances this season and he is expected to feature in Germany’s World Cup squad next month.

The Mirror says that Arsenal are likely to be Leno’s preferred option because at Atletico he would struggle to displace Jan Oblak. So provided the Gunners meet his £22m release clause they will win the race to his signature.

Fabregas blasts Morata for Champions League woes
Cesc Fabregas has criticised Chelsea’s forwards, suggesting the team have missed out on several points because of too many missed chances.

He said: “We are taking more chances because we are winning, and that’s the most important. I think defensively as well, we have been keeping clean-sheets.

“But the biggest regret this season, it’s been up front, not taking our chances. We have had many, many chances to score in games – to win games that we didn’t win.

“We could have won more if we had been more clinical and that’s been our weakest point this season.”

Alvaro Morata has been Chelsea’s most used striker this season, but he has managed just 15 goals in 45 matches in his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Manuel Neuer epected to miss Germany World Cup defence
Bayern boss Heynckes confirmed on Wednesday that the Neuer, 32, “won’t play against Stuttgart [on Saturday] or in the cup final [against Eintracht Frankfurt on May 19].”

The clash with Stuttgart is Bayern’s final league game and Heynckes’ words mean that Neuer can only possibly play in his country’s two pre-World Cup friendlies, against Saudi Arabia and Austria at the start of June, before Germany kick off their World Cup defense against Mexico on June 17.

The former Schalke stopper admitted on Tuesday that ongoing problems with a fractured metatarsal mean his participation in Russia is in doubt.

“I cannot say at the moment whether I will make the World Cup. I don’t think it is conceivable that I can go into the World Cup without any match practice,” he said.

Zaha named Premier League best player in April
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been rewarded for his recent hot streak of form by being crowned Premier League Player of the Month for April.

The 25-year-old hit three goals in four games as Palace picked up eight points from a possible 12.

Premier League safety has been guaranteed as a result, with Zaha leading the upturn of the Eagles under manager Roy Hodgson.

Zaha was the driving force in Palace’s recent home fixture against Leicester, putting in an unrivaled performance to help his side to an emphatic 5-0 victory.

With the summer transfer window looming, the Ivory Coast international has already started to be linked with a big money move away.

Zaha signed a fresh five-year deal with the club in May 2017, understood to be worth in the region of £100,000 per week.

Wayne Rooney holds talks with DC United
Everton captain, Wayne Rooney is closing in on a sensational move to Major League Soccer side DC United.

According to his representative, Paul Stretford who has been in the USA in recent weeks to discuss terms and talks have been described as positive, it is believed a deal could be agreed that sees Rooney sign for DC United – based in Washington on America’s east coast – when the MLS transfer window opens on July 10.

A contract running to the end of the 2020 MLS season worth a potential £12.5million in total has even been discussed with Rooney’s camp.

The US club tried to sign Rooney last summer when he left Manchester United but he decided to complete an emotional return to Goodison Park instead.

Mourinho sanctions Anthony Martial’s sale
Jose Mourinho has made Anthony Martial surplus to requirements at Manchester United and sanctioned his sale, according to reports.

Martial has struggled to make an impact under Mourinho after showing real promise under Louis van Gaal.

The France forward is understood to be considering his options with Chelsea among the sides interested in signing him this summer.

Martial, 22, was signed from Monaco for an initial £36m with add-ons potential taking the fee as high as £57.6m.
But Mourinho looks set to clear him out to make room for more summer additions.

After signing Alexis Sanchez in January Mourinho claimed he wouldn’t be signing any more forward players.

Allegri responds to Arsenal’s vacant manager job
Massimiliano Allegri has responded to claims he will take over at Arsenal this summer.

Juventus director Beppe Marotta insisted Allegri has not decided his future yet, and the 50-year-old appears to have backed up those comments when addressing the media.

“At the end of the season, we’ll sit down and talk as we always do and plan for the future,” he said.

“Because we have to do that every year and this has to be done with great clarity. I have changed a lot over the last four years, but also every year, every day.

“What I ask my players is to every day challenge themselves to find what we did wrong and what we can improve.”
Allegri remains favourite with the bookies to take over in north London.

Mohamed Salah has ‘Real Madrid agreement’
Mohamed Salah has an agreement to join Real Madrid this summer, according to sensational reports in Spain.

The 25-year-old has guided the Reds to the Champions League final, where Jurgen Klopp’s men will face Real Madrid on Saturday, May 26.

However, Spanish news outlet Don Balon claim that will likely be Salah’s last game for Liverpool, before he joins Real.

They sensationally say that Salah has an agreement to join Real with club president Florentino Perez.

Don Balon add that Real and Liverpool are yet to agree on a transfer fee for the Anfield superstar.

However, Klopp is demanding at least £175m (€200m) for the Egypt star this summer.

Zidane, Ronaldo reject Neymar move
Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo are reportedly objecting against Real Madrid trying to sign Neymar.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has been a long-standing target for Real, with Florentino Perez eager to bring him to the Bernabeu.

Although the Brazilian only headed to the Parc des Princes last summer in a world-record £200million deal, speculation has been rife that he will return to Spain, even though he was prolific before he succumbed to a metatarsal injury.

But Spanish outlet Don Balon claim Ronaldo is trying to put a stop to the deal while suggesting Zidane doesn’t feel Neymar would fit into his plans.

Yaya Toure could return to Man City when Guardiola leaves – Agent
Yaya Toure could return to Manchester City when manager Pep Guardiola leaves the club, the midfielder’s agent Dimitri Seluk.

Toure will leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of this season after winning six major titles, including three Premier League crowns, in eight years with the club.

But Seluk has seemingly accused Guardiola of forcing his client out of the club, and suggested Wednesday night’s outing – which will be only his tenth league appearance this season – may NOT be his last ever in a City shirt.

Toure is hoping to join another Premier League side this summer, and Seluk – whose relationship with City was strained by the infamous ‘birthday cake-gate’ row – said his client will prove to Guardiola he was wrong to let him leave.

Everton ‘willing to match Arsene Wenger £8m-per-season salary
Everton are reportedly willing to match Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal wages in order to entice him to Goodison Park this summer.

Wenger will step down as manager of the Gunners after 22 years at the end of the season, but the Frenchman has ruled out the possibility of retirement and yesterday revealed that he has received a number of offers.

Everton were one of the early favourites to appoint the 68-year-old when he initially made his announcement, despite current boss Sam Allardyce having steered the club away from danger and to a top-half finish.

Wenger’s final two matches as Arsenal boss will come against Leicester City this evening and Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

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