Jerome Boateng to Leave Bayern Munich’s Pre-Season Tour for ‘Private’ Reasons

​Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has been forced to leave the club’s pre-season tour for personal reasons, but manager Niko Kovac was full of praise for the German.

Boateng has been heavily linked with a move away from the club this summer, having struggled to hold down a permanent place in Kovac’s lineup last season.

Jerome Boateng

In a post on their ​official website, ​Bayern gave no hint as to why ​Boateng has left the pre-season tour, citing “private reasons” as the cause of his premature departure on Sunday.

Speaking to the press (via ​Yahoo) after Bayern’s 3-1 victory over ​Real Madrid, Kovac insisted that he has been incredibly impressed with what Boateng has brought to the side this summer.

He said: “If you look at his performance, we can say that he had a great game [against Real]. He played like we know he can play, like he used to play – something that he has already shown us in training.”

Niko Kovac

Kovac later added (via the ​Bundesliga’s ​official website): “I’m very satisfied with Jerome, as I am with the rest of the squad as well. His concentration and quality are exceedingly good.”

Boateng was restricted to just 20 appearances in the league last season, as Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule dominated the lineup. 

Hummels has now left the club to join ​Borussia Dortmund, but he has been replaced by ​Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, so first-team opportunities may still be hard to come by for Boateng.

Jerome Boateng

The likes of ​Manchester United, ​Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked with a potential move for the 30-year-old, although Kovac’s latest words suggest there may still be a place for Boateng in the team once he returns.


Liverpool Tipped to Make Offer for Turkish Winger Abdulkadir Omur ‘in Coming Days’

​Liverpool are reported to be closing in on a deal for Turkish winger Abdulkadir Omur, as the Reds chase their second signing of the summer and continue to build for the future. 

With Jurgen Klopp’s first team in mint condition, having won the Champions League after finishing on a club record 97 points in the ​Premier League last term, there has been little room for immediate improvement within the squad, so attentions have turned to recruiting the next generation. 

17-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg has already signed, with ​Fulham wonderkid Harvey Elliott expected to follow, and now reports in Turkey (chiefly ​Fanatik) claim that Tranbzonspor winger Omur will be the next priority. 


The 20-year-old is a bit further along in his development than the aforementioned duo, having racked up 71 senior appearances in Turkey as well as four caps for his country, and contributed directly to 15 goals in 32 games last season. 

His form and style of play – which earned him the nickname ‘the Turkish Messi –  has caught the eye of the Reds, who are ‘formulating a bid’ that should come to fruition any day now, and is likely to include a loan-back agreement that will see the player continue his development in the Super Lig for the coming season. 

Work permit issues complicate the deal somewhat, with ​Liverpool not entirely confident he would be granted one at present, but this could change in 12 months’ time.

Riccardo Marchizza,Abdulkadir Omur,Mete Demir

The winger played predominantly from the right last season, but his versatility and competence with both feet meant he played on both the left and in central positions at times, so he could be viewed as a long-term replacement for any of the current front three. 

No fee is mentioned in the report, but he is valued at around £15m – pocket change for the Reds in the current market. 


Harry Winks Hits Back at Critics & Insists Injury Struggles Will Not Derail Tottenham Career

​Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks has revealed his frustration towards fans who see him as too injury-prone, insisting that his fitness struggles are behind him now.

Since 2017, Winks has missed a number of games with various ankle injuries, whilst he was forced to have surgery on a groin problem towards the end of last season.

Jordan Henderson,Harry Winks

However, speaking to the ​Daily Mail, Winks insisted that he does not deserve to be labelled as injury-prone, claiming that his appearance record speaks for itself.

He said: “Last year I played 41 times, the most I’ve played since I made my debut. Yeah, it was difficult towards the end of last season. I got a bit of an injury to my hip and had surgery. It was only minor and going into this season, I’m feeling good.

The perception is frustrating. People say to me I didn’t play as much last year but at one point I’d had the most games in the team.

Harry Winks,Mauricio Pochettino

I’ve had some unfortunate injuries but that’s football. Every player can get them. I’ve put it to the back of my head and have no ongoing problems.

“As long as I can keep my body on top of things and get the right amount of rest and recovery, things will take care of themselves.”

Winks, who has established himself as a vital part of Mauricio Pochettino’s side, is expected to line up for ​Spurs alongside record signing Tanguy Ndombele next season, and the England international insisted that he had been impressed with the Frenchman since he arrived.

He’s only young himself. When players like him arrive, it does bring a lift. It’s nice to have fresh faces to challenge and push everyone else to another level,” Winks added.

“I am sure he will slot in fine but it is important the rest of us make him feel comfortable because settling into the ​Premier League can be difficult.”


Virgil van Dijk Claims ‘Time Has Come’ for a Defender to Win Ballon d’Or After 13-Year Wait

​Virgil van Dijk has said the wait for a defender to win the Ballon d’Or has been too long, with the last award coming the way of Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

The Dutch defender took the Premier League by storm last season, scooping the PFA’s Player of the Year award as Jurgen Klopp’s side narrowly finished second by a single point behind winners Manchester City.

It was his performances in the ​Champions League which were exemplary though, as he guided ​Liverpool to victory in the final over ​Tottenham – leaving many to suggest Van Dijk is in pole position to secure football’s top individual award.

“It’s an honour if people are talking about [the Ballon d’Or], but what can I do? I have no influence on anything,” the 28-year-old said on his club’s ​official website.

“​The people that have an influence on it, they have to decide who’s going to win it. I can’t deny I had a pretty good season last year, so the only thing I can do now is just focus on the new season, getting fit, stay fit and hopefully get an even better season than I had last year.”

However, the former Southampton centre half admitted that while it can be more ‘attractive’ for voters to choose a player who features more prominently at the other end of the pitch, defenders such a himself should get more of a look-in.

Virgil van Dijk

“I can understand the fact that normally strikers or number tens win these awards because it’s more attractive to see,” he added. “But maybe the time has come to change it.”


Eric Abidal Reveals Barcelona Contacted Antoine Griezmann After He Announced Atletico Departure

Barcelona technical secretary Eric Abidal has revealed the club contacted Antoine Griezmann after he announced he would leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the 2018/19 season.

The France international has since sealed a €120m to Camp Nou, though Atleti still have issues with the fee paid due to a disagreement over the release clause, and Abidal says the club did no wrong in bringing Griezmann to Catalonia.

He told Le Parisien, as quoted by ​Marca: ​Atletico Madrid are defending their interests and so do we at ​BarcelonaIn no way did we have any prior agreement with the player [Griezmann].”


“[Barcelona] got in touch with his entourage, including his lawyer, after Griezmann announced his intention to leave his former club [Atletico].

“[Barcelona] president Bartomeu contacted Atletico to learn about Griezmann’s contractual conditions and to inform them that, if there was to be no negotiations, Barcelona would pay the release clause of €120m.”

Griezmann’s addition to Barca’s squad makes their forward line one of the most fearsome in world football, with the former Real Sociedad star potentially lining up alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, and Abidal says the World Cup winner has plenty of qualities he can bring to the team.


Abidal added: “He has a unique talent and experience, because he has won many titles, he has the potential to win big games, he is able to play several positions, he is able to combine the long game, the short game.

“He is very good, he is a great goalscorer and, at Barcelona, you must have a profile like that in the team.”