AC Milan move Mirabelli out amid talk of Gazidis arrival from Arsenal

AC Milan have sacked sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli amid a period of upheaval under new owners Elliott Management.

Mirabelli follows chief executive Marco Fassone out of San Siro while general secretary Giuseppe Mangiarano also had his contract terminated on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri confirmed a replacement for Mirabelli has already been lined up, with former head coach Leonardo expected to take over the role.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is rumoured to be in contention for the position vacated by Fassone on Saturday.

Elliott’s takeover from the beleaguered Li Yonghong led to a raft of changes at board level over the weekend, including the appointment of Paolo Scaroni as executive chairman, and further changes could be seen on the pitch.

Captain Leonardo Bonucci is the subject of intense transfer speculation with Paris Saint-Germain and former club Juventus believed to be keen on the Italy defender.

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Andre Ayew: What does the future hold?


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It’s been a miserable few seasons for Andre Ayew, who appeared to have the world at his feet when he left Olympique de Marseille for Swansea City in 2015 and then again when he joined West Ham United a year later.

Injuries, managerial changes and overall instability in East London meant that he never truly realised his potential at the London Stadium, while a return to Swansea in January was followed by relegation six months later.

He’s surely not going to stick around with the Welsh side in the Championship, and a move abroad is surely on the horizon.


The story of last season


Andre Ayew West Ham United

At the start of the campaign, there were hopes that Dede could put his troubled maiden season at West Ham behind him and finally realise the quality that he’d shown during his first year in the Premier League with Swansea.

There were a few fine showings, notably as he came off the bench to single-handedly down Huddersfield Town in September, before also netting in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

However, with Slaven Bilic replaced by David Moyes, Ayew appeared to lose a key asset at the London Stadium, and he was allowed to leave on transfer deadline day at the end of the winter window—January 31—having not played a full 90 minutes in the top flight since the end of November.

Andre Ayew | 2017-18 stats

There was initial promise back at his former club, and reunited with brother Jordan, but despite contributing an assist as the Irons were put to the sword in early March, the siblings couldn’t do enough to keep the Swans up.

He ended up with just two assists as Carlos Carvalhal’s side lost their way.


What could happen this window?


Andre Ayew

Swansea will surely need to offload some big earners and remould their squad as they embark on second-tier campaign.

Dede, who arrived for a fee of £20 million less than six months ago, appears to be an expensive luxury for the gritty Championship…and he’ll also attract plenty of admirers.

Celtic and Newcastle United are both understood to be monitoring the Ghana international’s services, although the duo look set to miss out following interest from Turkey.

Initially, Besiktas were set to be in pole position to recruit the 28-year-old, but latterly, Fenerbahce look to have usurped them in the race for the forward.

Sky Sports believe that the Super Lig giants are keen to recruit the versatile attacker on a loan deal—at least initially—and expect some movement on this deal imminently.


What to expect next season


Andre, Jordan Ayew

With such intense speculation linking Ayew with an imminent move to Turkey, and with several weeks of the transfer window still to do, it’s increasingly difficult to see how he’ll remain at Swansea.

Either Fener or Besiktas could be ideal destinations for the former OM talisman.

The former, in particular, have a strong track record of excellent African talent, with Ghanaian great Stephen Appiah one of several high-profile continental stars to pass through the club.

Dede would be welcomed as a superstar at any of the Istanbul giants, and certainly has the talent to be one of the Turkish top flight’s outstanding talents.

He’s a player who would surely relish the standing and the chance to return to continental competition, even though it would take him out of the great narratives of Europe’s major leagues a little too prematurely.

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FIFA 19’s Timed Finishing: How will the new gameplay feature work?

As international football has drawn to a close and club football edging nearer and nearer, fans will be eager to get their hands on the launch of FIFA 19 this autumn.

This new edition of the popular video game will introduce three new key features in addition to the World Cup expansion that was part of last year’s release, which paves the way for the game to become its most stellar iteration yet.

Ahead of the autumn release of the new game, Goal takes a look at three new key features in Timed Finishing, Active Touch and Dynamic Tactics.


How will Timed Finishing work in FIFA 19?


One of the new and innovative features to be introduced in FIFA 19 is Timed Finishing, a new technique that enables players to turn any shot into one that is world-class with just one extra tap of a button. Timing is crucial to this new addition, which will be adding a new layer of risk and reward to the method of shooting.

The process for shooting at its very basic remains unchanged, but if users want to make shots unstoppable, they will be able to use the accuracy and power boost of timed finishing in their favour. All users will need to do is to tap the “shoot” button a second time after the first hit of the button.

That is the easy part, however – the challenging part of the addition is the timing of the second tap. If the button is tapped too early or too late, the shot will lessen in quality.

With FIFA Trainer turned on, users will see a coloured bar over the player’s head with sliders. The second tap should come when the sliders hit the green zone in the centre – so if a Timed Finish is successfully unlocked, a short message will appear above the bar that says, “Great Timing!”


How will Active Touch work in FIFA 19?


FIFA 19

Active Touch is another great feature to be added to FIFA 19 and will revolutionise the way in which players can handle the ball at their feet, springing open areas of gameplay that have yet to be explored.

With Active Touch, new methods of receiving, striking and moving the ball will come off as completely natural and seamless. It will enable players to find new and creative ways to handle the ball while also achieving closer control, injecting more player skill and personality into ball movement, allowing players to try new tricks, flicks and feints to make their handling of the ball more fluid.

Additionally, with FIFA 19, more tools and animations have been added to the ball control system to allow for more variety and freedom in moving the ball. There are now multiple methods of trapping the ball – called the “disguise trap” – which is a trick used to fool defenders into moving the wrong direction with the very first delicate touch of the ball.

Users will be able to replicate the movements of Toni Kroos and Kylian Mbappe with Active Touch particularly – with Kroos’ ability to creates space and send defenders the wrong way and Mbappe’s endless slew of tricks built into the new game.


How will Dynamic Tactics work in FIFA 19?


In FIFA 19, users will be able to gain more control over team tactics as well as the ability to delve into more intricate tactical details that real-world managers get involved with every week. With Dynamic Tactics, users will have more advanced control of their team’s tactics both before and during matches. Users will be able to make changes and adjustment no matter how small or large, executed by the team during play.

Pre-match tactical preparation will make a comeback with the same in-depth and custom features that are already ingrained – picking players, setting up a formation, assigning roles, giving instructions and customising tactics. But with Dynamic Tactics in the new FIFA 19, users will be able to formulate multiple game plans that can be switched during a match.

Each option that users have when creating pre-match plans will be able to be assigned to one of the custom game plans, so users aren’t always having to return to the pause menu when needing their team to change styles. 

Dynamic Tactics will also allow for more intricate and in-depth tactical customisation, with users able to use an array of sliders to alter the different aspects of the team’s offensive and defensive abilities. Custom game plans will be mapped to the D-Pad (on gaming consoles) so users can quickly alternate between plans.

New tactical changes have also been added to FIFA 19 based on player feedback to help combat some more popular and difficult tactics – such as when a team tends to “park the bus”, users can select the option of “Pressure on Heavy Touch” to enable their players to block opponents and challenge them into making riskier plays.


Will VAR be in FIFA 19?


VAR will not be making an appearance in FIFA 19 – mostly because it has been there all along.

EA Sports is never wrong when it comes to offside, corner kicks, throw-ins or any decision that involves knowing precisely where the ball is, who the players are or which player touched the ball last. With FIFA being a simulation, it is always accurate with its calls for offside and corners.

Additionally, FIFA also automatically decides what is and isn’t a foul and when simulation takes place. Penalties are determined at the exact point of contact, and the motions of referees running over with cards are merely for show. Therefore, there would be no point to have a debate about whether or not a foul or a penalty should be called – FIFA can’t be wrong on their own decisions.

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Bournemouth land left-back Rico from Leganes

Bournemouth have completed their second signing of the transfer window with defender Diego Rico joining for a reported £11 million ($14m) from Leganes.

The Spanish full-back is rumoured to have spurned Borussia Dortmund’s advances to ink a five-year contract at Vitality Stadium.

Rico, 25, attracted interest after stringing together 51 La Liga appearances over the past two seasons.

He follows young winger David Brooks into the club and is expected to provide competition for incumbent left-back Charlie Daniels.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe welcomed the end of a “patient” wait to snap up the former Real Zaragoza man.

“He’s a really nice footballer and someone who will fit our philosophy and style of play,” the Cherries boss said.

“Diego is fast, physical, aggressive in attack and aggressive defensively. He takes an excellent set piece and has a powerful left foot.

“Once he gets used to the way we play, we believe he can be a real force for this football club.”

Rico noted the presence of the highly-rated Howe as a key factor in his decision to sign.

“I have heard so much about the manager,” he said.

“I learned he is very professional and has a great philosophy on football and I can see that is true from the short time I have met him so far.”

Bournemouth’s season begins at home to newly promoted Cardiff City on August 11.

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Who is Malcom? The ‘new Coutinho’ that Barcelona have hijacked Roma for

Barcelona have signed another Brazilian. Winger Malcom had agreed personal terms with Roma, but the Bordeaux midfielder opted to join the Blaugrana instead after the Catalans hijacked his transfer late on .

Malcom follows in the footsteps of midfielder Arthur, bought by Barca earlier on this summer from Gremio and also Philippe Coutinho, who moved from Anfield to Camp Nou in the January transfer window.

Coutinho became the third-most expensive player in the world when he completed his dream transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona for €120 million (£107m/$144m) plus add-ons and the Reds were one of the teams eyeing Malcom as his potential replacement.

But they were not alone in scouting the 21-year-old, with a number of other Premier League teams interested before Roma looked as if they had clinched a deal and Barca ultimately did so for a fee of €41m (£37m/$48m) on Tuesday.

Bordeaux signed Malcom from Corinthians for just €5m in January 2016. Historically, they are one of France’s biggest sides, and won the title are recently as 2009, yet they struggled in the first half of the season before rallying to finish sixth after the appointment of Gus Poyet as coach in January.

Malcom was one of the highlights as Bordeaux climbed from just above the relegation zone to secure that sixth-placed finish. The French side had turned down a €15m bid from Wolfsburg for the Brazilian last summer and managed to hold onto their star player amid interest from several clubs in January.

He had already proven his decisive quality in an ailing team by then, chipping in with numerous vital contributions – often in spectacular style. His last-minute equaliser against Lyon back in August, where he cut inside from the right and arrowed a fierce shot into the top corner of the net was typical of the impressive input he provided the French side.

In 38 league appearances last season, he found the net 12 times and provided seven assists, a tally that should surely have been greater given he created 87 chances for his misfiring team-mates. When his form dipped, so too did that of the side he carried almost single-handedly at times.

Malcom Bordeaux

He was simultaneously the greatest goalscoring threat for Bordeaux and also the team’s creative hub, as capable of cutting in from the wing to fire home from 30 yards as he was at producing a killer pass.

Unsurprisingly, when news of Premier League interest first reached the banks of the Gironde, Bordeaux were insistent that they would not sell. 

“He will not leave this winter,” club president Stephane Martin told L’Equipe . “What if we got an immediate loan deal back? I don’t see that being in the interests of the club to do that. We’ve not spoken about it and it’s not something we’re working on.”

Malcom Bordeaux
 
The reality, however, is that money talks, and it is especially loud for a young and ambitious player working at a club that is operating vastly below his current ability. And that is why, having helped Bordeaux to a respectable finish in Ligue 1, he has been sold on for a significant profit.

Last summer, then coach Jocelynn Gourvennec made the argument that he should be patient and wait for a very big club to make an approach. And in the end, that is exactly what has happened with Barca stealing him from under the noses of Roma.

Having moved from Brazil to France, where he was given a six-month settling-in period on the fringes of the first team, he has already proven his adaptability, while his mindset is ultra-professional. 

“He’s always joyful, vibrant and full of energy, you can see it on a daily basis,” Gourvennec explained last summer. “He’s the translator for his new Brazilian team-mates!

Malcom Bordeaux

“The rumours around him have not affected him at all because, although he’s a young boy, he’s very mature and knows how to be decisive, when you can laugh and when you have to work. He’s always had that in him and he will always have it.”

“He’s totally prepared,” Poyet said after his transfer was confirmed on Tuesday. “It depends on the system, but he can play on both sides. In some ways, similar to [Leo] Messi, coming in from the right. But in a squad like Barcelona’s, it won’t be dificult for him to adapt.”

From being tagged ‘the next Coutinho’, he will now be lining up alongside his fellow Brazilian. Technically gifted, he is likely to be used as a winger at Barca, although he has also played effectively as a number 10.

Malcom is still very much a player in development, but leaving Bordeaux was always likely to be the next step in his evolution and having followed in Coutinho’s footsteps, the 21-year-old looks to have a bright future ahead of him at Camp Nou.

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