Hira Mondal signs two-year deal with Bengaluru Football Club
Bengaluru, Jul 5 (Football News) Bengaluru FC on Tuesday announced the signing of full-back Hira Mondal on a two-year deal that will run until the end of the 2023-24 season.
The 25-year-old Mondal, who had earlier turned out for SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League, is the Blues' fifth signing under Simon Grayson, following the acquisitions of Prabir Das, Javi Hernandez, Faisal Ali and Amrit Gope.
The Kolkata-born full back made 16 appearances for SCEB in his debut season in the ISL.
Named in the I-League's team of the season for 2020-21 following a string of stellar performances for Mohammedan SC, Mondal signed a one-year deal with SC East Bengal in 2021.
The rookie was a standout performer in what was a rather difficult season for the Red-and-Gold brigade who finished at the bottom.
A full-back who loves to push forward into attacking positions, Mondal has previously turned out for Kolkata-based sides Rainbow SC, Tollygunge Agragami and Peerless, having started his youth career with Calcutta Port Trust in 2015.
"The core of the Indian team plays for BFC, and to think that I will be able to share a dressing room with them is an amazing feeling," said Mondal.
"I had never imagined that I would get an opportunity to move to a club like BFC so soon. I want to make the most of this experience and give my best both on and off the pitch." Mondal, who won the GTA Governor's Gold Cup in 2018 with the East Bengal Reserves and the I-League 2nd Division with Mohammedan SC in 2020, has also represented Bengal in the Santosh Trophy.
Also Read : Brentford poised to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna for £18.9m
News Source : PTI
Brentford poised to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna for £18.9m
(Football news) Brentford are expected to confirm the signing of Aaron Hickey from Bologna, with the Scotland defender due to fly to England on Tuesday for a club medical. The Premier League club have agreed to pay £18.9m for the 20-year-old, who joined Bologna from Hearts just under two years ago. Hickey has gone on to play 48 times for the Serie A club, starting 34 games in Serie A last season. The left-back, who can play in various other positions, is poised to sign a contract until 2027.
The fee will eclipse the club-record £13.5 million fee they paid to sign Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic last summer transfer window. Hickey made 36 appearances in total and scored five goals for Bologna in 2021-22 as he helped them finish 13th in Serie A. The Scotland international joined Bologna from Heart of Midlothian in September 2020. Brentford will travel to Germany next week for a pre-season training camp and if the Hickey deal is completed in time, he should link up with the team for the tour. Brentford are also pushing closer towards an agreement with Hull City over the signing of Keane Lewis-Potter.
Thomas Frank’s side made offers for Keane Lewis Potter last summer and in January, but it appears that they will finally secure his signature at the third attempt. Brentford offered Hull a package which is worth £20 million last week. Brentford are confident of finally signing long-term target Lewis-Potter, and while fee is yet to be agreed, there's a belief that it will be made official. The Bees hope an initial £16m fee will be enough to complete the deal as the fee will rise to £20m. Thomas Frank's side also remains in the market for another goalkeeper. David Raya, who ended the season by getting a Spain international cap and has since retained his place in Luis Enrique's squad.
Real Madrid agree to sell Luka Jovic to Fiorentina for free
(Football news) Luka Jovic has been linked with a move to Fiorentina on loan for quite a while now but now things have changed as Real Madrid have agreed to sell Jovic on a permanent basis. It is an unusual transfer with a lot of unusual terms. Real Madrid will let Jovic leave for free despite the Serbian having 3 years left on his contract. Fiorentina will pay the strikers wages but Real Madrid will pay a compensation to Jovic as Fiorentina cannot match his current Real Madrid wages. Jovic will sign a 2 year deal with an option to extend for 2 more years. The Los Blancos get 50% of any future sale from Fiorentina.
The deal is very complicated but one thing is pretty clear that Real Madrid are taking a massive loss on the player. The club signed Luka Jovic for €60 million from Eintracht Frankfurt and paid him £166,000 per week as wages. Jovic has only played 36 games for the team and despite being a pure goal scoring striker, he has scored only 3 goals. Real Madrid signed a 21 year old Jovic in 2019 which was the same window they brought in Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo. The latter 3 have settled into the team well while the other two have truly struggled. Jovic was on a 6 month loan period at former club Frankfurt to try and bounce back but he couldn't bring his old form back.
The obvious reason why Jovic hasn't been able to settle at Real Madrid is Karim Benzema. The Frenchman is one of the best players in the world who is rarely injured or rested. The reason for Jovic's failure is definitely more than just that. Jovic never made the most of his opportunities even though they were limited. Other youngsters like Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde were also given limited opportunities but they made the most out of it. Now it's time for Jovic to start fresh in a new league with Fiorentina. His career could still shoot up if he puts in good performances with Italy. Because of the sell-on clause Real Madrid will also be hoping for the same.
Real Madrid have been spending big on young players and one of them was bound to fail. Madrid might have to rethink their strategy if this becomes a regular occurrence but it hasn't yet. Failure of Jovic next to the success of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr is in fact a good ratio for Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti has been thinking about using Hazard through the centre according to reports which could be a good idea. Real Madrid could also sign a back-up for Benzema in the coming weeks.
Also read: Eden Hazard to play in a new position at Real Madrid next season
PSG part ways with Pochettino with Galtier to be the replacement
(Football news) Paris Saint-Germain have announced that they have parted ways with Maurcio Pochettino with Nice manager Christopher Galtier lined up as a replacement. Despite winning the Ligue 1 title with a 15 point margin, the highest in the top five leagues, the club’s performance in the Champions League was considered unsatisfactory by the hierarchy. PSG were 2-0 up against Real Madrid with only 45 minutes remaining but the Los Blancos were undone by a second half hat-trick by Karim Benzema.
His potential replacement Christopher Galtier was instrumental in guiding Lille to the Ligue 1 title in the 2020/21 season and finished fifth with Nice last term. The 55 year old is said to have agreed to a two year contract in what will undoubtedly be the most challenging job of his career. While he remains a relatively unknown figure internationally, Galtier has an impressive resume, taking Nice from ninth to fifth and reaching the French Cup final but losing to Nantes. One of the most challenging aspects of his new job will be managing the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar along with the other big names in the dressing room.
A statement released by Paris Saint-Germain read “Paris Saint-Germain confirm that Mauricio Pochettino has ended his role at the Club. The Club would like to thank Mauricio Pochettino and his staff for their work and wish them the best for the future.” Galtier is expected to be announced as Paris Saint-Germain manager imminently and will be taking over the club’s three preseason matches in Japan this month. PSG will face J1 League sides Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka on July 20, 23 and 25 respectively.
Nottingham Forest set to sing Moussa Niakhate from Mainz
(Football news) Nottingham Forest are set to sign Mainz captain Moussa Niakhate. The 26-year-old has been at the Bundesliga club for the past four seasons, during which time he has had 135 appearances in all competitions. Last season he scored four times, which helped Mainz secure an impressive eight-placed ahead of the likes of the Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg. Although predominantly used as a centre-back, Niakhate can also be used on the left side of defence. Forest have reportedly agreed a £12.8m fee with Mainz and the deal is set to be announced very soon..
Niakhate looks like a useful signing and given the transfer fee involved as it looks like a shrewd piece of business by the Forest board. The Reds had identified Bundesliga as a market where there are bargain buys available. Naturally another defender was required in the squad since he will provide useful competition in the team. Niakhate is a strong tackler, wins lots of aerial duels and perhaps more crucially, he has the ability to play out from the back. Steve Cook, Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna will all get a fair share of chances in the playing XI but more quality at the back was required. Niakhate brings top-flight experience with him and he could be a really useful signing for Forest.
He will subsequently become Forest’s fourth summer signing following the arrivals of Taiwo Awoniyi, Dean Henderson and Giulian Biancone. Although these signings don't guarantee the perfect formula for success or even survival back in the Premier League. The Forest hierarchy certainly seem to be providing Steve Cooper with all of the tools required to stand a chance of meeting their targets for next season. During 2021/22, Niakhate had four goals in 30 league matches, he won 4.3 duels and made 2.2 clearances and 1.7 interceptions per game, highlighting an eye for goal along with his superb defensive attributes. The Reds are landing the Frenchman at a bargain, with him being in the final 12 months of his contract in Germany, so this can be regarded as a smart piece of business by the recruitment team from the club.
Tyler Adams joins Leeds United for €23m from RB Leipzig
(Football news) United States midfielder Tyler Adams has agreed to join Leeds United with the official announcement set for this week. Adams, who recently turned 23, has agreed to move to Elland Road from RB Leipzig in a deal which is worth in the region of €17 million and could potentially increase to €23m with add-ons. According to reports, The U.S. men's national team player will fly to Leeds in the next 48 hours for his medical, with the signing set to be announced soon.
This move sees Tyler Adams reunite with his old manager Jesse Marsch, who coached him at New York Red Bulls and RB Leipzig. The American is set to replace midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who officially joined Manchester City on Monday. Adams is set to become the fourth signing this summer transfer window for Jesse Marsch, three of whom he has previously worked with. Leeds announced the signing of FC Salzburg star Brenden Aaronson in May for a deal worth €28m. The Premier League side have since gone on to add Denmark right-back Rasmus Kristensen for a fee of €11m and Marc Roca from Bayern Munich for around €12m.
Adams has been a key player in the Leipzig squad since joining from New York Red Bulls in 2019. He is equally capable at playing central midfield and in any spot along the defensive line. He will leave Leipzig having won the DFB-Pokal with the team last season. The deal progressed quickly because Leeds wanted to stave off interest elsewhere for Adams, with Everton being heavily linked to the player. Jesse Marsch can deploy him as a central or defensive midfielder, Adams has the bonus of being strong defensively as he can also play right back, similar to Stuart Dallas. Adams is pretty good at reading the game on the pitch and can give Marsch another dimension to his game plan.
Playing in the midfield and obstructing passing lanes to diving in for a last minute tackle, it won't take much for Adams to establish himself with Leeds. Roca has already been added to the squad from Bayern Munich, and Adams’ joining him in the midfield would create a defensive shield. It feels like Marsch is planning to switch to a 4-2-2-2 as Raphinha is likely to depart for Barcelona or Chelsea this summer. Aaronson, Mateusz Klich, Darko Gaybi, Daniel James, Jack Harrison, and Rodrigo can all play in the midfield and can support the likes of Patrick Bamford and Daniel James.
Exposure Trip: India U-17 women team lose 0-3 to Iceland
Jessheim (Norway), Jul 4 (Football News) The India U-17 women's team lost 0-3 to Iceland in its second match of the Open Nordic Football Tournament here on Monday.
Iceland scored in both halves, with Emilia Oskarsdottir netting a second-half brace at the Jessheim Stadion.
It was a promising start for India as they got engaged in an intense mid-field battle that saw winger Anita Kumari take an early crack from wide right, which was saved.
Both Anita and India goalkeeper Melody Chanu were impressive in the first half. Anita made a few inroads around the half an hour mark, while Chanu had to make some acrobatic saves to keep her side in the game.
However, Iceland took the lead in the dying minutes of the first half when Lilja Bjork Unnarsdottir scored off a free-kick.
India head coach Thomas Dennerby brought on striker Lynda Kom in place of Kajol Dsouza in the second-half as India pressed for the equaliser.
Nitu Linda almost created a chance out of nowhere as she closed down her opposite number to snatch the ball off her feet inside the Iceland penalty area.
However, the opposition keeper was close at hand, managing to gather the ball.
With less than 30 minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Emilia snuck in behind the Indian back-line and slipped it past Melody to double Iceland's lead.
Nitu and Kom had two more chances with the clock winding down, but they could not capitalise. Finally, with a little over five minutes of regulation time left, Emilia rounded off the tally.
Also Read : Dadra & Nagar Haveli win U-17 women's national football championship
News Source : PTI
Dadra & Nagar Haveli win U-17 women's national football championship
Guwahati, Jul 4 (Football News) Dadra & Nagar Haveli defeated Bihar by a solitary goal to emerge champions in the Hero Junior (U-17) Women's National Football Championship 2022-23 here on Monday.
The final was played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Pooja was the difference between the two teams as she scored the winner in the 87th minute. Put in the clear, she made no mistake to place it into the back of the net.
Earlier, both teams started on a cautious note.
Dadra & Nagar Haveli had the better of the possession in the initial 10 minutes. The first shot on target came as early as the second minute, which was easily collected by Bihar goalkeeper Khushi Kumari.
In the 10th minute, the build-up was promising enough, but Bihar defender Nisha Kumari thwarted it with a timely tackle.
In the 16th minute, Dadra and Nagar Haveli had a close shave as Bihar came close when Shruti Kumari's attempt hit the woodwork. Bihar also had another chance in the 31st minute but Lucky's attempt from a narrow angle missed the target.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli also had their chances. First Pooja latched onto a chip but her attempt wasn't on target, and then in the 36th minute, she saw her placement hit the post.
Changing over, Bihar had a golden opportunity to surge into the lead when Lucky Kumari found herself unmarked. But her attempt lacked power and caused no trouble for Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
In the end, it was Pooja's late strike that helped Dadra and Nagar Haveli put the game to bed, as the union territory was crowned champions of the tournament.
Also Read : Eriksen and Manchester United reach verbal agreement for transfer
News Source : PTI
Eriksen and Manchester United reach verbal agreement for transfer
(Football news) Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen has agreed to join Manchester United on a three year contract. The 30 year old spent the second half of the 2021/22 season at Brentford, where he impressed and has now decided to join the Red Devils on a free transfer. Eriksen, who previously played for Tottenham Hotspur between 2013 to 2020 and Inter Milan in the 2020/21 season but his contract was mutually terminated due to circumstances.
Eriksen will need to undergo a medical at Carrington before his transfer to Manchester United is finalised. The player suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening match against Finland at the Euro 2020 and was subsequently fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator device. The decision to do so was necessary “due to rhythmic disturbances” but it meant that Eriksen could no longer ply his trade with Inter Milan due to Serie A’s regulations on such health conditions.
The imminent arrival of Eriksen is a shrewd move for Manchester United, especially considering that Pogba, Lingard, Matic and Mata have already left the club and there is a desperate need for midfield reinforcements. Getting a player of Eriksen’s quality on a free transfer are exactly the kind of deals Manchester United should focus on and the Danish midfielder will prove to be a valuable addition to the squad. His versatility means that Eriksen can play as a classic number 10, a centre midfielder and a right winger. Moreover, he has played at Ajax at the beginning of his career and is aware of the “total football” concept, which means he should be able to adapt to Erik ten Hag’s tactics.
It’s clear that Eriksen still has the quality to compete at the highest level in the Premier League. Since he made his debut for Brentford in the 2021/22 season, only Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard created more chances and the player could be the creative spark needed at Manchester United in the upcoming season. His vision, passing range, set-piece ability, technical skills and ability to read the game means that he could be a natural replacement for Paul Pogba, despite not having the physical prowess of the Frenchman.
Jorge Sampaoli leaves Marseille as Igor Tudor is set to take over
(Football news) Jorge Sampaoli has left Marseille’s head coach position after Olympique Marseille mutually parted ways with him. The French side confirmed his exit shortly after the 62-year-old led Marseille back to the Champions League with a second-place finish in Ligue 1 last season. The Argentine only took charge of Marseille in February 2021 and signed a deal until June 2023. Marseille finished fifth in his first season in charge of the 2020-21 season . Sampaoli took over from Andre Villas-Boas, who also left the club in controversial fashion. Villas-Boas offered his resignation in February 2021 and was then suspended by Marseille, before finally leaving the club on a sour note. Sampaoli leaves Marseille with a win percentage of 53%..He has enjoyed a successful managerial career across Europe and South America when he took charge of the Argentina and Chile national teams, as well as Sevilla at club level.
Igor Tudor is set to replace Sampaoli after he reached an agreement with Marseille club president Pablo Longoria on a two-year contract which will see him take over the head coach position. The Croatian, who subsequently left Hellas Verona after a season in charge in May, is expected to land in Marseille today and take charge of his first training session tomorrow afternoon. The former Juventus assistant manager quickly emerged as the favourite to replace Sampaoli, with the former Argentina and Chile manager reportedly left the club over a lack of ambition in the transfer market ahead of their Champions League campaign.
It still remains unclear to see when Tudor will be officially announced as manager of Marsellie and be introduced to the press. He will not have the entirety of his coaching staff with him straight away, since Marseille still need to iron out the final details of his contract. According to reports Igor Tudor is set to arrive with four members of staff, and a potential fifth to bridge the language gap for now. The former Croatian international will also have meetings with the Marseille management in order to plan out their upcoming transfer business as they haven’t signed a single player in the ongoing transfer market.
Marseille said in a statement: “We would like to sincerely and warmly thank Jorge Sampaoli for his work. “After 16 months of collaboration, this work has enabled the club to take a step forward in the construction of its new sporting project and to qualify directly for the Champions League. We are satisfied with the progress made and the emotions experienced together, but following a long reflection, the two parties, who are acting in the interest of the Marseille project, have agreed to put an end to this stage.”
Barcelona hopeful of hijacking Raphinha from the jaws of Chelsea
(Football news) Leeds' winger Raphinha has attracted offers from Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea. Arsenal were in negotiations but were soon out bid by Chelsea who reached full agreement with Leeds United. Despite that, the personal negotiations with Raphinha himself aren't progressing. According to reports the reason is that the Brazilian prefers a move to FC Barcelona who are also interested in Raphinha. The only problem is that Barcelona may not be able to match the £60m offer. The current offer from the Blaugrana is €50m plus €10m in add-ons but Leeds have insisted that they will respect the £60m deal with Chelsea.
Personal terms were never an issue with Barcelona as they had already agreed terms with Raphinha 4 months ago. Barcelona were perhaps hoping that Leeds would get relegated and they would get the winger for much cheaper. Leeds spectacularly survived relegation on the final day which was bad news for the Catalan club. Now Raphinha's persistence will be the only thing that will make the transfer happen but at the same time Barcelona will definitely have to increase their offer. Barcelona president Joan Laporta said “Raphinha wants to come to Barca. We have communication and have spoken with Leeds. What’s there is that there are other clubs that want Raphinha and are making their proposals”.
The deal will be complicated for Barcelona but Raphinha is a player who would fit perfectly at the club. Barcelona have decided not to make Adama Traore's loan deal permanent and Ousmane Dembele's future is still unclear. Therefore, Barcelona needs a right winger and Raphinha is a very good option. A move to a top club like Barcelona under Xavi will be a good one for the Brazilian. Chelsea is also not a bad option but it looks like Raphinha has made up his mind. It could take a while before a deal is finalized but staying at Leeds is definitely ruled out at this stage.
Also read: Eden Hazard to play in a new position at Real Madrid next season
Cristiano Ronaldo hands in transfer request to Manchester United
(Football news) Cristiano Ronaldo has asked to leave Manchester United amidst concerns about the club’s ambition to compete for the highest honours. The Portuguese superstar has played in the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons but will be forced to play in the Europa League should he remain with the Red Devils in the 2022/23 season. Moreover, Manchester United’s lack of transfer activity has convinced Ronaldo that winning trophies next season would be an unrealistic prospect.
As things stand, thirteen players have left Manchester United this summer but the club have not signed a new player yet. While Feyenoord’s Tyler Malacia is currently undergoing a medical at Carrington, the club needs wholesale changes to have a squad capable of competing for the highest honours. Ronaldo, being in the twilight of his career, understandably doesn’t want to wait for a rebuild and is looking for a move elsewhere in order to win trophies. The 37 year old respects Manchester United a lot and is “in love” with the club and it’s fans but is not keen on playing in the Europa League for the first time in his career.
However, Manchester United have reiterated that Ronaldo is not for sale and is contractually tied until the summer of 2023. The six time Ballon d'Or winner has not arrived at Carrington for training today due to “personal family reasons” and the club have accepted his explanation. It’s puzzling for Ronaldo to issue a transfer request now instead of the end of last season, which would not only give his agent Jorge Mendes plenty of time to find potential suitors but also allow Manchester United to look for strikers, a position they are understaffed in, even if Ronaldo decides to stay next season.
For the Manchester United hierarchy, especially the Glazer family, Ronaldo’s departure would be an extremely big blow. It would prove to the fans that the club have lowered expectations and are no longer interested in competing at the highest level. Ronaldo is not just important on the pitch, his commercial appeal makes him a valuable asset to Manchester United’s global reach. The Portuguese superstar was Manchester United’s only ray of light in the 2021/22 season and the club can no longer depend on Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to deliver the goods in Ronaldo’s absence. The 37 year old’s transfer request may lead Manchester United to accelerate the transfers of Frenkie De Jong, Lisandro Martínez and Antony in order to convince Ronaldo to remain at the club.
Eden Hazard to play in a new position at Real Madrid next season
(Football news) Real Madrid had an incredible 2021/22 season as they won the La Liga and the Champions League. The fashion in which they clinched the UCL made it extra special. Many players contributed to the season but one player who had virtually no contribution at least on the pitch was Eden Hazard. The Belgian spent the majority of the season on the sidelines due to injury. Even when he was fit, manager Carlo Ancelotti didn't give him much game time and even when he got game time, he wasn't effective. At the end of the season's celebration Hazard on the microphone in front of thousands of Madrid fans said "These have been three difficult years but next year I will give everything for you guys!". His teammates gathered around him and started jumping in excitement.
After his injury problems in his first year at Real Madrid, Hazard went through a surgery which inserted metallic plates in his ankle. In March, the playmaker went through another surgery which removed the plates. In a number of interviews Hazard said that he had problems training with the plates and now that they are not there he will look to get back to his best. Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said "Madrid fans are going to see a totally different Eden Hazard next season". Hazard has always sparked excitement in Real Madrid fans when returning from injury but he hasn't been able to live up to those expectations. Real Madrid spent around €146.1 million including add-ons for Hazard and it's not been worth it so far. The winger still has 2 seasons left on his contract which means that there is still some time to make an impact.
According to reports in Spain, Eden Hazard and Carlo Ancelotti have discussed the possibility of using Hazard more centrally in a false 9 role. Vinicius Jr after the incredible season he has had is pretty much undroppable from the left wing Due to his age and fitness level the Brazilian will rarely miss the game which makes it difficult for Hazard to get game time on the left wing. Ancelotti has tried Hazard on the right wing which hasn't really worked. Karim Benzema will turn 35 in December which means that he will slow down on the fitness side of things.
Real Madrid as of now don't have a back-up for Benzema that Ancelotti trusts and Hazard could be that guy. It will be interesting to see how things turn out to be if Hazard stays fit for the full season because if he doesn't then it will be the same old story again. Hazard has played as a false 9 a few times for Chelsea and has been successful. He has the skill set to play there and will have the same link-up ability which Benzema possesses. He will have to work on his finishing and if he does manage to do that his Real Madrid career will be saved.
Also read: Ernesto Valverde returns to management with Athletic Club Bilbao
Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are close to joining Flamengo
(Football news) Arturo Vidal has rejected Boca Juniors for Flamengo after leaving Inter Milan on a free transfer. The 133-cap Chile midfielder who turned 35 recently chose the Brazilian giants over the famous Argentine club on an 18-month deal. The former Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Juventus star was linked with a reunion with Antonio Conte at Tottenham earlier this summer but he will face disciplinary action from Inter after revealing in an interview earlier this month that he wanted to join Flamengo. Alexis Sanchez is also expected to follow him out of the 2020/21 Serie A champions as he is also expected to join Flamengo. The 33-year-old might struggle for a high-profile move after two disappointing years in Italy since departing Manchester United but he needs to take a massive wage cut to join the Brazilian club
The central midfielder hasn’t had the best of times at Inter as he has scored three goals and registered six assists across all competitions when Inter finished two points behind league champions AC Milan. The 35-year-old leaves Europe after a successful career that saw him play for some of the world's biggest clubs including the likes of Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona after he left Bayern Leverkusen in 2011. He was touted as a potential transfer target by Manchester United and Tottenham but never made the switch to the Premier League which was subsequently the only major league he didn’t play. Vidal becomes only the second Inter Milan player to join Flamengo in two years after Gabriel Barbosa sealed a move to the club for an undisclosed fee in 2020.
Meanwhile, Sanchez also looks for a departure from the Nerazzurri and he could immediately rejoin his Chilean compatriot at Flamengo, who have already inquired about the 33-year-old’s availability with his representatives. At the moment, Flamengo are in talks with Sanchez and it will be seen if they can convince the Chilean to make the switch to join Vidal. Ever since Alexis Sanchez left Arsenal he has really been the same, he struggled at Manchester United who paid his massive wages and then he joined Inter on an initial loan deal but last season he secured a permanent move. He helped Inter win the Supercoppa by scoring an extra-time goal against Juventus in January. Sanchez is looking for a move since Inter have signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan and are potentially signing Paulo Dybala, which would subsequently mean that his playing time would reduce at Inter.
Anand Vardhan aims to elevate Indian football to international standards
With the interest in Indian football on the rise, more kids are considering the sport as a viable career option now than ever before. However, the Indian men’s national team continue to languish at 104th, behind the likes of New Zealand and Kenya. While the interest may be on an upward trajectory, the focus needs to shift on improving the basics of aspiring footballers at the grassroot level in order to develop talent that can compete against the best in the world.
In this exclusive interview, Anand Vardhan, Performance Analyst and Academy Coach at Sudeva Delhi FC speaks about his responsibilities, the development of football in India, overcoming challenges, the increase in popularity of the sport amongst the younger generation, getting the maximum performance from players and his future goals for the sport in India.
Q 1) Tell us about your role and responsibilities as performance analyst and academy coach at Sudeva Delhi FC?
The role of performance analysts revolves around but is not limited to pre-match analysis, post match analysis, data analysis, match coding, training analysis, scouting and most importantly opposition analysis. Analysts are often the first people the head coach wants to talk to before and after a game, decoding the opposition's gameplay and tactics is the primary task an analyst has in hand during the course of a season. As an academy coach, I often find myself assisting the head coaches in training for one of the U-13, U-15 or U-18 academy teams. Having completed my AIFF D coaching certificate, I'm slowly getting into the technical side of things on the pitch which has certainly made my understanding and my analysis better.
Q 2) As someone who works closely with the academy, what do you think needs to be done to raise the standard of football in India?
Since the inception of the ISL the standard of Indian football has no doubt gone up, with the influx of capital and infrastructure in the game we are definitely moving in the right direction. I remember the time when not so long ago we were languishing 173rd in the FIFA rankings which to be honest for a country as huge as ours is shambolic. Things are moving in the right direction but we still aren't anywhere as we are supposed to be. For the sport to grow, all the stakeholders i.e. the clubs, the federation, the players, the state FAs, the government and above all the fans have to come together and work towards a common goal. More grassroot programs, affiliation with schools and promotion of local tournaments is the only way forward.
Q 3) What are the biggest challenges Indian football is facing today? How can it be rectified?
I feel there are two major hurdles that we need to cross for us to become a superpower in the sport, first qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and second is to be able to create a sustainable business model for all the clubs. If you see the numbers, even the top ISL clubs don't make any profits throughout the season. There is definitely work going on in the background to rectify this and with promotion and relegation from ISL and I League to be installed from this season, we are giving a small town club from any city from the country a pathway of making it to the biggest stage. This is what football is all about in my opinion, everyone having a fair chance of competing for the top most league and not just some clubs who can afford to pay the franchise fee.
Q 4) Do you see an increase in popularity in domestic football with more youngsters wanting to enrol in the academy?
Yes of course, with the amazing work that Mr. Anuj Gupta and Mr. Vijay Hakari have been doing to promote the sport in the national capital we see there are a lot of young players not just from New Delhi but from across the country wanting to come in and join the academy. All players are selected on the basis of trials and the best ones are here on 100% scholarship. You guys at different forms of media have also helped tremendously in popularising the sport across the country among the youth. Fun fact: there are more Manchester United fans here in India than in the UK.
Q 5) What are the key factors that are responsible for getting maximum performance out of footballers?
I won't sugar coat it, being a professional footballer isn't easy in this day and age. Just by being the most skillful or the fittest or the most intelligent player on the pitch you are not going to make it. Today's top players have to be in the best physical shape, need to be technically very sound and most importantly need to understand how the coach wants them to play. Being able to follow instructions is one of the first qualities coaches look for in a player.
Q 6) What are your future goals and aspirations? How do you plan to achieve them?
I want to keep working towards closing the gap between India's top footballers and the rest of the world's top footballers. When Igor Stimac comes out and says that the national team's players haven't got their basics right he's got a point. We need to work towards an overall holistic development of a player from a young age, technically, physically and tactically. Hopefully not long from now we'll see one of our very own dominating the European leagues and battling it out with the best in the world on a weekly basis.
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