- Willian could leave Chelsea for PSG in the summer as the Blues and Brazilian are set for contract talks for a possible extension of his 18-month deal
- Paris Saint-Germain monitoring the situation and believe the winger will be available in the summer
Willian could leave Chelsea with Eden Hazard in the summer as Paris Saint-Germain are keen on the Brazilian. The 30-year-old winger is at the crucial point of decision making in his Stamford Bridge career as his current 18-month deal is currently being discussed for a possible extension. However, the French champions who made inquiries in January are monitoring the situation closely and know the former Shakhtar Donetsk could be available next season.
It is understood that Willian wants a long-term deal at Chelsea, but the west London club are keen on a year extension and this could lead to the winger being sold rather than let his contract run out. This means that the Blues could end up losing both Willan and Hazard in the summer with the Belgian being a £100million target for Real Madrid.
Hazard recently revealed he has made up his mind on his future which clears air he is about to end his long romance with the Stamford Bridge outfit.
But the European champions have not officially made a bid despite being heavily linked with the 28-year-old for several transfer windows. Los Blancos have also being linked with PSG superstar Neymar and it could be difficult landing both the Brazilian ace and Hazard. However, Hazard will be hoping he remains Madrid's number one target and from all indications, the Santiago Bernabeu is his preferred destination.Read More
Nigerian international, Alex Iwobi has been named the third best U-25 midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues in one key stat.
The footballers were ranked according to their ages, minutes played and the contributions made from open play for their respective teams.
According to the data, the Super Eagles attacker's contribution in open play with Arsenal is currently at 0.43, with 1,242 minutes played so far this season.
Though the Gunners’ number 17 had been criticized in recent games, especially against Manchester City on Sunday, a new performance indicator published by Ashwin Raman of Football Whispers suggested the Super Eagles star had lived up to expectations this season.
Raman analyzed the matches in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A; using advanced stats and had ranked the top 20 midfielders and attacking midfielders with 850+ minutes for open play xG+xA/90.
It is a methodology of giving marks to each shot or pass and adding them to get a number, showing how much a player could / should have been decisive, on average per match.
The top midfielder is Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers (0.47) followed by RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer (0.43), then Iwobi at 0.43.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli (0.42) and Man City’s Bernardo Silva (0.42) completed the top five.
- A body has been discovered in the underwater wreckage of the plane that was carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.
-A search on Sunday found the Piper Malibu plane on the seabed off Guernsey, almost two weeks after it went missing.
-The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed the sighting on Monday morning. It added it was now considering the next steps.
The "substantial amount of wreckage" of the plane, which went missing on 21 January, was found on Sunday morning after a privately-funded search began.
The flight had been carrying Argentine striker Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, from Nantes, northwest France, to Cardiff after Sala completed his £15m move to Cardiff City.
In a statement, the AAIB said: "The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage.
"Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage. The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police."
The AAIB added it intends to publish an interim report within a month of when the accident happened.
A decision has yet to be taken on whether to raise the wreckage to the surface.
Oceanographer and marine scientist David Mearns confirmed the wreckage had been found on Sunday, about 63m (207ft) underwater, after "a couple of hours" of searching the seabed.
An online appeal started by Sala's agent had raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for the private search, which Mr. Mearns offered to help with.
Working jointly with the AAIB, Mr. Mearns's ship and another search vessel, the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey.
The AAIB ship remained in place, sending down a remotely controlled submersible overnight, which captured the footage of the wreckage.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme on Monday, Mr. Mearns said: "We located the wreckage of the plane on the seabed at a depth of about 63m within the first couple of hours [of searching]."
He said the plane was identified by sonar before a submersible with cameras was sent underwater and was able to confirm it was the plane.
"They saw the registration number and the biggest surprise is that most of the plane is where - we were expecting to find a debris field," he added.
Mr. Mearns said he approached the Sala family offering his services after seeing an emotional plea from Romina, the footballer's sister.
He said: "We wanted to go out there and find a plane. We're pleased that that happened.
"It's going to be, people use the word closure, but this is just the first step. It's a long, long way. But at least this is the route for people, for them, to have answers.
"That said, if they never had these answers if the plane was never located, I don't think the family would ever rest."
An official search operation was called off on 24 January after Guernsey's harbor master said the chances of survival were "extremely remote".
Cushions believed to be from the plane were found on a beach near Surtainville, on France's Cotentin Peninsula, last week.
There were emotional tributes to the footballer as Cardiff played their first home game since the disappearance on Saturday.
The club's manager, Neil Warnock, said he felt Sala was "with" his team as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 in the Premier League.Read More
Gareth Bale is back but returns not so much to a hero’s welcome but a Real Madrid team doing rather well without him.
When Cristiano Ronaldo left last summer, 45 days after Bale’s brilliant double in the Champions League final, the belief was they had their ready-made successor. The club’s president Florentino Perez was convinced.
It started well, with three goals in as many games, but the team shriveled under Julen Lopetegui and Bale, like the rest of the squad, faded. Then his fitness broke down too.
There was a groin strain in October and an ankle problem in December. Both were minor but a calf injury at the start of January proved more serious and Bale was out for three weeks.
In that time, Madrid rebounded off a defeat by Real Sociedad to beat Leganes, Real Betis, Sevilla, and Girona. They lost a second leg to Leganes in the Copa del Rey, but the tie was all but won.
Results were good but performances even better. Their 2-0 victory over Sevilla was probably their most complete display of the season while in last weekend’s 4-2 win against Espanyol, when Bale came on and scored, Madrid seemed to have their swagger back.
“We are showing we haven’t forgotten how to play,” said Luka Modric. “This is the Madrid we want to see.”
Chasing down Barcelona and a 10-point gap in La Liga will likely prove impossible but with the Champions League knock-out stages just around the corner, this gathering of momentum is timely.
The dilemma now for coach Santiago Solari is whether to restore his marquee players, like Bale and the fit-again Marco Asensio or remain loyal to those that have sparked his team into life.
“Decisions are always made at the moment,” Solari said when asked if Bale would come back in. “We will choose according to each game and take various factors into account.”
Benzema scaling new heights
Karim Benzema has been Madrid’s stand-out player this season and scaled new heights in recent weeks. He scored twice against Espanyol and then two more against Girona on Thursday in the Copa del Rey. He has five goals in his last three games, a return he last managed in January 2016.
Benzema will never get close to Ronaldo’s numbers but hopes that he might be liberated by the Portuguese’s departure are coming to fruition.
“I am sorry for those who only discovered Benzema last week,” Solari said on Thursday. “Karim has been doing this for many years, he has great talent and is a team player. Although it’s true, he’s in a great run of form.”
Close behind Benzema for impact has been Vinicius Junior, the 18-year-old Brazilian who was supposed to spend his debut season bedding in with the reserves.
Instead, Vinicius is arguably the face of Solari’s tenure so far, a youngster undaunted by expectations and taking his chance to excel. “Vinicius is football,” Solari said last month. “We are delighted with his progress.”
Most likely to give way is perhaps Lucas Vazquez, on the right of the front three, but he has a strong case too.
Madrid has won 14 of the 17 matches in which Vazquez has started under Solari, a trend seemingly not lost on the Argentinian, who has named Vazquez in 11 of his last 12 starting line-ups, the one omission due to suspension.
A glum-faced Bale was on the bench for the latest win over Girona, before coming on for 23 minutes in the second half.
It is possible Solari was preserving the Welshman, wary of pushing him too much too soon. More instructive will be whether he starts against Alaves in La Liga on Sunday, six days before a city derby away to Atletico Madrid. The pressure will be on to deliver.
By Sunday night, Real could be eight points behind Atletico, who play away at Real Betis earlier in the day, and 13 adrift of Barcelona, who are at home to Valencia on Saturday.
Barca will be chasing a ninth league win in a row but Valencia, after a miserable start, are improving. They have won four out of their last five in all competitions and have their sights set on the top four.
Fixtures (times GMT)
Huesca v Real Valladolid (2000)
Levante v Getafe (1200), Real Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao (1515), Barcelona v Valencia (1730), Celta Vigo v Sevilla (1945)
Villarreal v Espanyol (1100), Real Betis v Atletico Madrid (1515), Eibar v Girona (1730), Real Madrid v Alaves (1945)
Rayo Vallecano v Leganes (2000)Read More
Two seat cushions have been discovered which are likely to have come from the plane carrying missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said.