Leon Goretzka happy to join Bayern Munich despite interest from Barcelona

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Happy to be at Bayern: Leon Goretzka

Leon Goretzka is convinced he made the right decision to join Bayern Munich after turning down a number of offers including one from Barcelona.

The midfielder agreed to join the Bavarians in January and officially moved from Schalke in the summer after his contract expired.

Goretzka was heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp but is happy to have stayed in Germany.

“That was an honour, of course,” he said when asked about Barca’s interest. “I had several options and took a lot of time for my decision and believe that I have made the best choice with Bayern.

“I see myself as a No.8, but I’m flexible. I’m ready to play in different positions.

“I have a very positive impression of [head coach Niko] Kovac. Everything else will come over the next few days.”

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Javier Aguirre appointed new head coach of Egypt

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New job: Javier Aguirre with the Egypt jersey

Former Al Wahda, Mexico and Japan coach Javier Aguirre has been appointed as the new head coach of Egypt.

Signing on a four-year deal, Aguirre replaces Hector Cuper whose contract expired following their group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Speaking in a press conference in Cairo on Thursday, Egypt Football Association (EFA) chief Hany Abu Rida said: “When we chose Aguirre, we were keen that he has a long and honourable history, and he gave in Spain a great effort.”

Aguirre said he is looking forward to the challenge. “I am really honoured to be here, even though I have more than 20 years’ work as a coach, even though I have four World Cups in my bag, it’s the first time I will work in Africa. It will be a big big challenge,” he said.

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England plan long Gareth Southgate stay, but know they cannot compete with Premier League cash

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Gareth Southgate and England made the World Cup 2018 semi-finals.

The Football Association wants Gareth Southgate to stay on as England manager beyond Euro 2020, but knows it cannot compete on salary if a Premier League club comes knocking.

Southgate’s popularity in the country soared last month as he led England to the World Cup semi-finals, but the achievement also boosted his stock within the game.

Having initially come in as a caretaker manager after Sam Allardyce’s ill-starred reign, he was given a four-year contract by the FA in November 2016, a deal the governing body would dearly like to extend.

Speaking to reporters at Wembley on Wednesday, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “Gareth has been excellent – we’d like him to stay beyond 2020.

“I think we’d both like that but if we talked about it at any length it would then be a contract conversation and he’s on holiday now, so we’ll talk when he comes back.

“Benchmarks are always the question and we can never compete with the Premier League in terms of pay – everyone knows that.

“Gareth is on a journey. He loved the World Cup and he’s built his own belief that we can go further and that motivates him and (assistant manager) Steve Holland. One of the most powerful things he said after our defeat to Croatia was we haven’t done the job.”

Southgate’s current salary is understood to be £1.8million a year, with bonuses taking it closer to the £2.5m his predecessors Allardyce and Roy Hodgson are believed to have earned.

These figures, however, are still much less than the £4m a year Fabio Capello got for England’s joyless run to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and a fraction of the £15m-a-year salaries earned by the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in the Premier League.

Now 47, Southgate has not hidden the fact he would like to return to club management one day, having been sacked by Middlesbrough in 2009.

That failure – the club were relegated from the Premier League on his watch – still rankles and it has taken him nearly a decade to rebuild his reputation as a coach and leader.

Asked if he was concerned that Southgate’s success with England will attract offers from clubs, Glenn admitted: “I want to pay my staff competitively so they are not a flight risk, but I also recognise we are a sports governing body and we’re not a Manchester United.”

Glenn’s admiration for Southgate is undeniable, though, with the chief executive saying the former Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender “blossomed” in Russia and referring to him “as the definition of the modern manager we want”.

The FA hopes the investment it has made in support staff, the potential of England’s young players and the prospect of what amounts to a home Euros in 2020 will be enough to keep Southgate in the post for another crack at the World Cup in Qatar.

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