It seems Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is never far from the news and he was back in the headlines on Friday when Gunners boss Unai Emery implored him to get more involved against Newcastle this weekend.
In an at times tense media session Emery also responded to claims that he had instructed the groundsman not to water the pitch against Manchester City.
Check out what Emery had to say below.
The West Brom striker was involved in an altercation with Brighton’s Gaetan Bong in January – a spat which the full-back claimed ended in Rodriguez racially abusing him.
A Football Association investigation could not determine what had been said in the on-field discussion between the pair, with Rodriguez not charged as a result.
Since then, the Baggies have been relegated to the Sky Bet Championship, where Rodriguez has struck four goals in six appearances.
But he looks back on the situation earlier in the year as a hard period in his career and insists anyone guilty of racism should face the right disciplinary measures.
An interview with @Wba striker Jay Rodriguez, who talks about those “racism” allegations and a “very difficult time” for him and his family. A complex and sensitive case https://t.co/uuj6Ugb2Qs via @telefootball— John Percy (@JPercyTelegraph) September 13, 2018
“It was a difficult time, very difficult for myself and my family,” Rodriguez told the Daily Telegraph.
“I had to just keep myself focused on what I can affect, like I do with everything. The truth came out.
“Racism is a very serious issue, of course it is. If it was something I did then obviously you need to be fully punished. It’s a serious issue, not just in football but anywhere in life.
“People should report it if they are abused, that is important, so obviously for me it was a big thing straight away. (But) I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Capped once by England, Rodriguez was linked with a move back to former club Burnley over the summer but remained at the Hawthorns in a bid to help Darren Moore’s side back into the top-flight.
He believes the cloud that hung over him for half of last season did not help West Brom’s situation but was full of praise for those who offered support – with former managers and team-mates among those who gave character references for Rodriguez during the FA investigation.
“Obviously we were struggling at the time as well, so that didn’t help,” he added.
“It was just one of those situations where I had to sit tight and keep focused. I’ve come through it and you always come (out) stronger. It’s one I will look back on in years to come and think of it as a tough time.
“The support I received was overwhelming. I don’t take that for granted, I appreciate that every day.
“I’ve got a great network, my wife, my family and friends, my team-mates, and team-mates from everywhere else who I’ve played with, and people in football. That meant a lot to me at the time and still does now.”
Premier League champions Manchester City matched a record-breaking season on the pitch with unprecedented revenues off it, according to the club’s annual report released on Thursday.
City reported record revenues of £500.5million during the 2017/18 campaign, with a profit of £10.4million making it a fourth successive year in the black.
That coincided with a season in which Pep Guardiola’s side broke a string of records and became the first Premier League side to amass 100 points, also recording the most wins, the most goals and the best goal difference in Premier League history.
City said commercial and broadcast revenues had increased seven and four percent respectively on the previous season.
The half-billion pound revenues mark an increase of 44 per cent over the past five years.
The financial statements attached to the report noted that the period covered ended before this summer’s transfer window.
The report said the club had a net spend of “approximately £42million” over the summer following the signings of Riyad Mahrez, Daniel Arzani and Claudio Gomes, and the sales of Angus Gunn, Joe Hart, Bersant Celina, Rodney Kongolo and Jason Denayer.
Additionally, the report said City could be liable for up to £158.9million in additional transfer fees, signing on fees and bonuses under existing contracts depending on future conditions being met.
City recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club in 2008, since when they have been transformed on and off the pitch, and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak traced recent successes back to that date in the report.
He wrote: “Most of the developments visible today are the result of a carefully crafted strategy – one in which organic evolution has also been allowed to thrive – and I have come to be as proud of many of those evolutionary elements of the plan as I am of those which were meticulously planned in 2008.”
In his own statement, the club’s chief executive officer Ferran Soriano pointed to the recently-released documentary Amazon series ‘All or Nothing’ as a major part of the club’s strategy.
“Our fourth consecutive year of profit – reported at £10.4 million for the financial year – together with our breaking of the £500 million barrier with record revenues of £500.5 million are pleasing returns for our off-field efforts and the wage:revenue ratio of 52% is further evidence of the underlying strength of the organisation,” he wrote.
“Commercial revenue grew with the closing of a number of new and innovative partnerships, perhaps the most notable of which was the strategic relationship with Amazon resulting in the production of Amazon Prime’s series ‘All or Nothing’ detailing the remarkable season that 2017-18 turned out to be.
“The series aired in August and represented a completely innovative way to offer unprecedented access to the club on a globally accessible platform.”
Al Mubarak promised the club would continue to develop as they look towards their 125th anniversary next year.
“Our journey is not complete and we have more targets to fulfil,” he wrote.
“There should be no doubt that we are looking forward to the challenges of the new season and those beyond it with equal commitment and determination to the 10 seasons that came before.”