‘I just want to play football’ – Sancho keen to stay at Dortmund amid Premier League links

Jadon Sancho has admitted that he has no plans to leave Borussia Dortmund any time soon amid speculation that he would make a swift return to England.

The 18-year-old has hit the ground running since his arrival in Germany, lighting up the Bundesliga with his quick feet and trickery as well as scoring seven goals and providing 10 assists for his new team-mates across all competitions.

The youngster’s success with Dortmund led to an England call-up for the starlet, leading many fans to wonder how quickly a Premier League side would move for his services.

For Sancho, though, he is right where he needs to be, learning the language, culture and footballing style of a new country as he continues his rapid progression.

Asked by reporters if he plans to stay in the Bundesliga, he said: “I will. I just want to play football and I’m getting that opportunity here. I’m happy right now.

“[The language barrier] worried me quite a lot, but when I came and everyone started speaking English I got more comfortable. My German isn’t the best but I’m learning, I have to learn.

“I’ve adapted really well. Obviously when I first came it was a bit difficult because I’m not around the corner from my house. But my family have helped me with that – and the club also.

Jadon Sancho Borussia Dortmund 2018-19

“Going abroad wasn’t really a big deal. Since I was young I’ve always been away from home so I was comfortable. I thought ‘why not Germany?’ and look what’s happened now.

“There were some people that said they weren’t really sure because it’s a big step moving away from home and everyone that I’m close to but I think it’s worked out really well.”

Sitting at the top of the Bundesliga, four points ahead of Bayern Munich, Lucien Favre’s side continue to produce good results on a consistent basis and have fans dreaming of their first league title since 2011-12.

Despite the gap, however, Sancho is keen not to slow down, knowing that taking their foot off the gas could see Bayern swiftly take advantage.

“My aim for the second half of the season is just to maintain and try to get points because we know Bayern are right behind us and other teams are looking to take points off us,” he said.

“We just need to keep on working hard. Obviously last season wasn’t the best season for us so we knew that this season we had to prove a point to our fans.

“It was a stage that we just weren’t at our best – now we are and we’re top of the league. Everyone gives their best – we fight til the end.”

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Arnautovic urged to ignore Chelsea rumours and become West Ham’s next Di Canio

Marko Arnautovic has been urged to ignore talk of interest from the likes of Chelsea, with Alvin Martin looking for him to become a West Ham legend in the Paolo Di Canio mould.

Enigmatic talents are always embraced by the Hammers faithful, with entertainers well received in the East End.

Austria international Arnautovic is their favoured showman at present, but speculation is casting doubt over his ongoing presence at the London Stadium.

Speculation continues to build during the January window, with the 29-year-old said to be a target for Premier League rivals and big-spending Chinese Super League sides.

West Ham icon Martin told talkSPORT when quizzed on Arnautovic’s future: “I hope he’ll see the light.

“Looking back on my career, one of the biggest things I’ve taken into my 50s and 60s is that I played for the right club.

“I was connected with that club and I’m still connected with that club and its fan base. There’s a value in that.”

Another famous figure from the past who had that ‘connection’ with the Hammers was Di Canio.

Di Canio West Ham

The mercurial Italian spent four years at Upton Park between 1999 and 2003, taking in 141 appearances and netting 52 goals.

He is still idolised in that part of the world, and Arnautovic has been told he could cement a similar standing if he stays put and remains a talismanic presence.

Martin, who spent 20 years with West Ham in his career, added: “When a player gets that, it’s a very special thing. The fans adore him, the manager wants to build a team around him.

“One player who sums up the situation is Paolo Di Canio.

“I think they’re very similar. He’s a leader, he’s got charisma, he’s a personality that the fans adore.

“Di Canio walks back into West Ham and he is given such a welcome. That’s a big thing for a player and it’s something you should think about.

“He [Arnautovic] is someone who loves being loved. He loves being the main man and that’s what he is at West Ham.”

Arnautovic has contributed seven goals and two assists to the Hammers cause this season, having found the target 11 times and laid on six more during his debut campaign in 2017-18.

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‘Phantom’ talk of Tarkowski to Liverpool baffles Burnley boss Dyche

Talk of James Tarkowski potentially leaving Burnley for Liverpool has been branded “phantom stuff” by Clarets boss Sean Dyche.

With the Reds said to be in the market for defensive reinforcements, it had been suggested in The Sun that they may seek to raid the ranks at a Premier League rival.

A loan approach was mooted, with those at Turf Moor then said to be looking for £50 million ($64m) from any deal.

Dyche is baffled as to how such stories are concocted, with there no intention on his part to sanction a switch for an England international centre-half.

He told reporters: “There are a lot of rumours out there, and not much fact.

“The most amazing one is the Tarky one. That is just bizarre.

“It’s that time of the season, and everyone is looking for a snippet, but there is a lot of phantom stuff out there.”

While Dyche is reluctant to be drawn into a debate regarding Tarkowski’s future, his coaching counterpart at Liverpool has offered no indication that the 26-year-old is in his thoughts.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool

Instead, Jurgen Klopp has sought to quash what it considers to be unhelpful rumours regarding a possible move to land another defender in January.

He told talkSPORT when asked if he intended to make moves into the winter market after seeing Dejan Lovren join a lengthy injury list: “The only country that asks a question like this is England. Everything is sorted with buying players.

“We have four centre-halves. Three, maybe, two-and-a-half are injured so we’ll have to try and come through at the moment.

“We need them back but you cannot buy a fifth centre-half and say so you play two weeks and after that, the others come in.”

Liverpool appear set to make do when it comes to defensive options, with promising academy stars being introduced into the fold.

Dyche will be hoping that remains the stance on Merseyside, with Burnley needing all of their prized assets to start delivering as they seek to pull clear of a relegation battle.

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‘I don’t want to talk about it, theres no news’ – Pellegrini dismisses Arnautovic links to China

Marko Arnautovic will not be distracted by rumours of a potential move to China as West Ham prepare to face Arsenal, according to Manuel Pellegrini.

Speculation has emerged this week suggesting that Arnautovic has been the subject of a £35m ($45m) bid from a Chinese Super League club.

The Austrian has been a key performer under Pellegrini this season, scoring seven times in 15 Premier League appearances, the forward enjoying a fine second campaign having signed a five-year deal in a £20m ($25m) switch from Stoke City in July 2017.

And Pellegrini had little by way of an update regarding Arnautovic’s future when he faced the media on Thursday ahead of Arsenal’s trip to London Stadium this weekend.

“I answer the same with other names, coming or going,” Pellegrini said.

“Those are all rumours. We know in Marko that we have a very good player and maybe a lot of clubs may want him to play for their team.

“He is a player of West Ham and for the moment we don’t have any news about him.

“He will have his head in the right place for the game against Arsenal. 

“I don’t want to talk about that. Marko is a player of our team, players of his quality will be wanted by other clubs. I want to keep him of course, but you never know what might happen in the future.”

West Ham are currently 10th in the Premier League table and they have picked up five wins from their last eight games across all competitions.

A victory against Arsenal could see them draw level on points with Leicester City in seventh, before taking in a trip to Bournemouth the following week.

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Jordan 2 Syria 0: Borkelmans’ men seal qualification

Jordan became the first team to qualify for the next phase of the Asian Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Syria.

Mousa Suleiman scored one goal and made another for Tareq Khattab as Vital Borkelmans’ side ran out comfortable winners at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday.

Having beaten Australia 1-0 in their Group B opener Jordan are assured of qualification while Syria – yet to score in the tournament – will need a result against the Socceroos on Tuesday.

After a slow start to the game Jordan took the lead in the 26th minute.

Yasen Bakheet tricked his way into space on the left wing and found Yousef Rawshdeh with a low cross, with his shot stabbed in from close range by Suleiman.

The same combination almost provided a quickfire second but Suleiman’s shot bounced over the crossbar.

Suleiman then turned provider in the 43rd minute, his corner powered in at the near post by centre-back Khattab.

Syria missed a golden chance to get back in the game when Omar Khrbin headed wide a Fahad Youssef cross in the 50th minute, before Syria’s Ahmad Al Saleh narrowly avoided an own goal.

Omar Khrbin wasted a string of opportunities to open Syria’s Asian Cup account, while the lively Bakheet went close to adding a third for Jordan.

But Borkelmans’ men can now start thinking ahead to the next round after booking qualification.

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