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Football Focus: Football: Bournemouth's Ake set to join City, say reports

Last updated on: July 30, 2020 17:34 IST
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Bournemouth have accepted Manchester City's 41 million pound offer for central defender Nathan Ake

IMAGE: Bournemouth have accepted Manchester City's 41 million pound offer for central defender Nathan Ake. Photograph: Action Images/Reuters

Manchester City have had a 41 million pound ($53.30 million) bid for Bournemouth central defender Nathan Ake accepted by the relegated south coast team, the Bournemouth Echo reported on Thursday.

Bournemouth were relegated from the Premier League on Sunday and Ake is one of the players who were expected to move in order to continue playing in the top flight.

 

The 25-year-old Dutch defender was part of Chelsea's youth system and loaned out to Bournemouth before signing for the Cherries for 20 million pounds in June, 2017.

City, who finished runners-up in the Premier League, are looking to strengthen the centre of their defence as Pep Guardiola looks to improve his squad for a title challenge next season.

City have also been linked with Valencia winger Ferran Torres with the 20-year-old seen as a potential replacement for German Leroy Sane who joined Bayern Munich earlier this month in a move reported to be worth 45 million euros ($52.87 million) plus add-ons.

Richarlison may stay at Everton for another season

Everton forward Richarlison has said he may stay at the Premier League club for another season but will discuss his future with manager Carlo Ancelotti if they receive a "good offer".

The Brazilian, who joined Everton from Watford for around 40 million pounds ($51.92 million) in 2018, has been linked with a move to several of Europe's top clubs including Barcelona and Manchester United.

"It's all been talked about, Ancelotti's already told me he's counting on me for another season, he asked me to hold on for a bit," Richarlison, 23, told Globo Esporte.

"It all depends, if a good offer were to come in, we sit down and talk, that's part of football. We're still talking about these details, working things out.

"He's bringing in new players, so we'll sit down and talk, but I think I can hold on for another season."

Richarlison said he wanted to continue his development under Ancelotti, who took charge of Everton last December.

"I've developed considerably at Everton, so much so that I made it into the Brazil squad. I believe that this is one of my greatest achievements," he said.

Vietnam to host AFC Cup matches in Southeast Asia

Vietnam has been selected as a centralized host for two AFC Cup groups in the Southeast Asia zone, the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday.

The AFC Cup, the competition for more minor football playing nations in the continent, has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Group F matches will take place at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City while the Group G ties will be staged in Quang Ninh's Cam Pha Stadium, it added. The ties will be played over three matchdays from September 23-29

The host for Group H, also in Southeast Asia, has yet to be confirmed, it said.

Maldives is the centralised venue in South Asia for Group E matches, which will take place from Oct. 23-November 4. 

Xavi returns to training after recovering from coronavirus

Al-Sadd coach and former Barca midfielder Xavi had contracted the Coronavirus around a fortnight ago

IMAGE: Al-Sadd coach and former Barca midfielder Xavi had contracted the Coronavirus around a fortnight ago. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Qatar Stars League side Al-Sadd on Wednesday announced that head coach Xavi Hernandez has returned to the club's training centre after recovering from coronavirus.

The club said Xavi had contracted COVID-19 around 14 days ago and on Wednesday, the former Barcelona player rejoined the squad.

"The Al-Sadd first team continued training on Wednesday at the club's training centre, in preparation for the upcoming QNB Stars League Round 19 clash against Al-Ahli, which is scheduled to be played on Monday, August 3 at Al-Janoub Stadium," the club said in a statement.

 

"Wednesday's session saw the return of head coach Xavi Hernandez, after his recovery from COVID-19, which he had contracted around 14 days ago. Everyone at the training centre welcomed back the coach, as he takes charge again, ahead of some difficult challenges in the upcoming weeks," the statement added.

The club further stated that new arrival Rodrigo Tabata was also 'warmly welcomed' for his first training session, after signing a one-season deal with Al-Sadd.

"Tabata underwent special training with the supervision of the fitness coach, in order to prepare himself to join group training," the statement read.

East Bengal appoint Francisco as new coach

East Bengal on Wednesday announced the appointment of Francisco Jose Bruto Da Costa as their new coach for the upcoming season.

"East Bengal is delighted to confirm the signing of new coach Francisco Jose Bruto Da Costa," the red-and-gold brigade said in a late-night announcement on their official Twitter handle.

The Goan will replace Spaniard coach Mario Rivera under whom East Bengal finished runners-up in the I-League last season.

Francisco was the deputy to Nelo Vingada at Northeast United FC in ISL 2016.

Francisco took his first strides in coaching as a 20-year-old with Salcete FC.

The Margao-resident then headed the youth development setup of Salgaocar. He has been the former youth coach of India's U-14, U-17 and U-19 teams as well as AIFF's Elite Academy.

An AFC 'A' Licence holder from Jamshedpur in 2008, Francisco also holds Pro License under the AFC.

It is still not clear whether East Bengal will play in the top tier Indian Super League or the I-League.

Following their split with Quess Corp, the century-old club have already got their sporting rights back and are believed to be in talks with Singapore-based Universal Success Enterprises Limited owned by Kolkata-born NRI Prasoon Mukherjee.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is also keen for the red-and-gold's foray into the ISL and the state government is helping out in roping in an investor.

Their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan are set to debut after their merger with ATK and it remains to be seen whether the top-tier league will see the much-anticipated derby.

Swiss soccer league proposes measures to allow half-full stadiums next season

Switzerland's professional soccer league (SFL) has proposed compulsory masks for spectators and a ban on travelling fans as a way of allowing more people into stadiums from next season.

The SFL said it believed such measures would allow it to use at least half the existing capacity in each stadium when the new season starts on September 11.

"A return to normal as soon as possible is of central importance for the survival of the clubs," it said in a statement.

The two divisions of the Swiss league were halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and re-started in June with up to 1,000 people allowed to attend matches under government regulations.

"However, this measure has in no way improved the economic situation of the football clubs," said the SFL, adding that, unlike bigger leagues, its clubs depended heavily on matchday receipts to survive.

The SFL said that its health protocol for next season, which would have to be approved by the government, included "a general obligation to wear masks in all stadium areas", a ban on away and standing fans, and other accompanying measures.

"From the new season onwards, the football matches should again be accessible to a wider audience," it said. "If the urgently needed income is not forthcoming, many football clubs will soon be threatened with insolvency."

The current season ends on August 3.

Switzerland has seen a rise of coronavirus cases in July with new infections regularly passing the 100-per-day barrier.

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