Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss most of the season, Klopp reveals

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the “vast majority” of the forthcoming season as the Liverpool midfielder focuses on rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.

The 24-year-old sustained multiple ligament damage during the first leg of the Reds’ Champions League semi-final triumph over Roma in April.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was set to play a key role in the final weeks of Liverpool’s campaign, which concluded with defeat in the final of the same competition, and England’s trip to the 2018 World Cup.

Surgery eight days after the Roma match was a success and manager Jurgen Klopp explained it was a matter of waiting until the time was right before disclosing the severity of the midfielder’s condition.

“It feels like now is an appropriate time to tell people that for Ox this coming season will be about focusing on recovery and rehab,” he told the club’s official website.

“We have known this from pretty much the day after he got the injury and after the successful surgery, we were sure of it. I hope everyone treats this information responsibly.

“There has been no change, no setback – it’s exactly on the schedule we expected and planned for. The new information is that we’re now giving more detail publicly.”

 

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Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal on transfer deadline day last August for a reported £35million fee and hit a rich vein of form after the turn of the year.

He scored five times in all competitions, including a superb long-range strike in the Champions League quarter-final win over Manchester City.

“It is typical of Ox that he didn’t want the news to overshadow the end of the season and, to be quite honest, we thought we could wait and tell people at an appropriate time,” Klopp added.

“His surgery – which he had on the day of our second leg in Roma – has been completely successful and his recovery has started superbly well.

“But the truth of the matter is that we are preparing this season knowing he will not be with us on the pitch for competitive matches for the majority of it. If we do see him back this season it will be a bonus.”

Liverpool have already bolstered their midfield during the close season, with Naby Keita completing his pre-arranged switch from RB Leipzig and Fabinho arriving from Monaco.

Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri, who joined from Stoke City last week, provides an additional wide attacking option – another of the roles Oxlade-Chamberlain previously filled.

Klopp’s men open their Premier League campaign against West Ham on August 12.

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‘It’s time for a new adventure’ – Alisson confirms Roma departure

Alisson Becker has thanked Roma fans and declared it ‘time for a new adventure’ as the goalkeeper nears a move to Liverpool.

The Anfield outfit agreed a £67 million ($87m) deal with Roma to land the Brazil international after opening talks earlier in the week.

Alisson was thought to be open to a move to the Premier League club, though personal terms and a medical still had to be finalised.

And while nothing formal has been announced yet, the goalkeeper himself has now delivered a clear signal of his intentions, thanking Roma fans while at Ciampino Airport in Rome, and declaring it the right moment to move on.

“I want say thanks to AS Roma fans,” Alisson said. “Now it’s time for a new adventure.”

It is expected Alisson will arrive in Liverpool this evening.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper broke through in 2017-18, having joined the club the previous season.

After failing to feature in Serie A with Roma in his debut season after his move from Brazilian first division side Internacional in 2016, Alisson went on to play in 37 league matches this campaign, drawing interest for his strong performances.

Roma finished third in Serie A and made a memorable run to the Champions League semi-finals, stunning Barcelona with a comeback in the quarter-finals before going out to Alisson’s new club, Liverpool, in the semis.

Alisson also was Brazil’s starter in goal for the World Cup, with the nation going out in the quarter-finals to Belgium despite being one of the pre-tournament favourites.

If the move is completed, it will be a record-fee for a goalkeeper.

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Chelsea meet Juventus over Rugani as deal grows closer

Chelsea representative Fali Ramadani met with Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici on Wednesday to discuss a deal for centre-back Daniele Rugani, Goal understands. 

The talks in Milan are understood to have gone well, with the 23-year-old defender nearing a move to Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea are thought to be offering €40 million (£36m/$47m) for Rugani’s services, while Juventus are holding out for €50m (£45m/$58m).

The two sides should be able to find a compromise over that €10m gap, especially if Chelesa were to offer add-ons to bolster their €40m offer. 

The Blues are set to offer Rugani a contract worth €4.5m per season.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has prioritised the signing of Rugani, whom he managed during the defender’s spell at Empoli between 2013 and 2015. 

Rugani has been capped seven times by Italy and is highly regarded, but has yet to establish himself as a regular starter with Juve. 

Stuck behind veterans like Giorgio Chiellini, Medhi Benatia and Andrea Barzagli, Rugani made just 26 total appearances in 2017-18, six more than he made the previous season. 

Following the €100m purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Old Lady are looking to balance their books by selling off multiple players.

In addition to Rugani’s likely exit, Juve are also looking to part ways with prolific striker Gonzalo Higuain. 

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Nantes sign former Manchester United full-back Fabio

Former Manchester Untied defender Fabio da Silva has signed for Nantes from Middlesbrough, bringing his 10-year spell in English football to an end.

The 28-year-old full-back joins the Ligue 1 club on a three-year contract and will wear the No.2 shirt.

“I’m very happy to join FC Nantes,” Fabio told the club’s official website.

“I’m really looking forward to training and being ready to help my team-mates.

“I already know them a bit because I have seen matches on TV, I know some players and to be honest, I am very enthusiastic!”

After starting his career at Fluminense, Fabio made the move to Old Trafford in 2008-09 along with brother Rafael under Alex Ferguson but rarely featured for the first team.

A loan to Queens Park Rangers came 2012-13, as he made 21 appearances and 13 starts for the London club, who finished bottom of the league and were relegated.

Fabio then moved to Cardiff City in January 2014, having made only 23 Premier League appearances for United, though he did play in 14 Champions League matches for the Red Devils.

The defender made 13 starts for Cardiff down the stretch but the club were relegated to the Championship at the end of that season.

Fabio went on to be a regular in the Bluebirds’ back four in the Championship until he secured a move back to the Premier League with Middlesbrough in 2016.

The defender made 24 appearances in the Premier League that season, with 21 starts. However, another relegation followed, with Fabio playing 24 games last season for Boro in the Championship, starting 18 of them.

The two-time Brazil international will now get another shot at top-flight football after signing a three-year contract at Nantes.

Nantes finished ninth in Ligue 1 last season, 41 points behind winners Paris Saint-Germain. 

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Marcelino rewarded with one-year Valencia extension

Marcelino has been rewarded for a fine first year in charge of Valencia with a new contract that runs until the end of the 2019-20 season.

The 52-year-old took over at the end of the 2016-17 season following the removal of Cesare Prandelli and has now secured a one-year extension to his existing deal after leading his side to fourth place in La Liga last term.

Valencia have been hampered by instability since December 2015, with the head coach role changing hands six times, but the appointment of Marcelino and regular goals from Spain striker Rodrigo helped seal a return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign.

Valencia CF have reached a complete agreement this Wednesday to extend Marcelino García Toral´s contract for a further season until the 30th of June 2020 as the first team coach,” the club signalled in a short statement.

“Valencia CF are delighted to have finalized such an agreement.”

Marcelino began his coaching career with Sporting’s ‘B’ team and moved up to the Gijon side’s first XI as he embarked on a rather nomadic path through Spain. 

Prior to taking the Valencia job he had directed at the likes of Recreativo, Racing Santander, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Villarreal, spending three seasons at the latter up to 2016.

Valencia’s pre-season preparations get underway against Galatasaray in Switzerland on Saturday, before further friendlies with the likes of PSV, Leicester City, Everton and Bayer Leverkusen.

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