Leon Goretzka: Germany and Schalke star dismisses rumours linking him with move to Arsenal

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Leon Goretzka.

Germany’s rising star Leon Goretzka has brushed off reports that Arsenal are set to sign him.

With Germany’s World Cup-winning stars all rested for the Confed Cup, the 22-year-old is one of those who has seized his chance to shine in Russia.

He is set to face Cameroon on Sunday in the final Group B match with Germany on the verge of the semi-finals.

The Schalke midfielder scored in his country’s opening 3-2 win over Australia in Group B, then put in a strong display in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chile.

He has a year left on his Schalke contract but Goretzka insists he is fully focused on the Confed Cup.

However, with Juventus, Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur also said to be interested, reports from the UK claim Arsenal are preparing a £21m bid for him.

“I do not really want to say anything about the transfer rumours, I’m focusing on the Confed Cup,” he said in Sochi.

“I’m not going to give state-of-play updates, but if there are facts, I will announce them. “I’m not the type to be impressed by newspaper reports, I know what my qualities are, but I will not build myself up.”

If he joins the Gunners, Goretzka would be Arsenal’s second off-season signing from Schalke after Bosnia defender Sead Kolasinac left earlier this month.

Christian Heidel, Schalke’s general manager, says they will not let Goretzka leave before his contract expires in June 2018.

However, Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew revealed he has spoken to the midfielder about his future.

“I had a long chat with Leon before the Confed Cup about various scenarios and opportunities,” said the Germany boss.

“I gave him my thoughts, which I won’t share here, and we’ve blended the transfer rumours out at the Confed Cup.

“He has done very well here and is intelligent enough to take the right steps (for his future).”

Provided by AFP Sport

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The best players in the world aged 30 as Barcelona star Lionel Messi celebrates his birthday to join our elite XI

Alex Rea 24/06/2017
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Lionel Messi celebrates his 30th birthday today to mark the beginning of a new phase in the Barcelona and Argentina star’s career.

There is a degree of trepidation whenever a player turns 30 as they start the decline after the period of their athletic prime.

But given Messi isn’t a player who necessarily relies on his athleticism there is no doubt he will remain at the pinnacle of world football for some time yet.

It got us thinking about other players who are 30 years old so we’ve put together an elite XI of players who are right now aged 30.

CLUB 30 (3-4-3)

GOALKEEPER

HUGO LLORIS – TOTTENHAM (30 years, 5 months, 29 days old)

His recent blunder against Sweden aside, the France and Spurs captain remains one of the best stoppers in Europe.

He heads up a new generation of stars coming through at both club and national level but will no doubt be a key asset going forward after another exceptional campaign.

Hugo Lloris of Tottenham

DEFENDERS

DAVID LUIZ – CHELSEA (30 years, 1 month, 25 days old)

The Brazilian is a real ebullient character away from the pitch and it probably skews his age as a result.

However, he returned to Chelsea from PSG last season and was at the heart of their Premier League triumph with his mature displays in Antoino Conte’s three-man defence.

Chelsea’s defender David Luiz

LEONARDO BONUCCI – JUVENTUS (30 years, 1 month, 23 days old)

Juventus’ formidable defensive wall is one of the most revered in Europe and alongside Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci has formed an almost impenetrable partnership – the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid an anomaly rather than the norm.

At 30 years of age, he is still one of the most sought-after defenders with Chelsea consistently linked with a move.

Juventus defender Leandro Bonucci

GERARD PIQUE – BARCELONA (30 years, 4 months, 22 days old)

The Barcelona defender envisages a career as the club’s president once his playing days are over and has even been undertaking business degree.

Like most after hitting 30, Pique is evidently considering his next steps having celebrated his birthday in February but on the pitch he is still a key defensive lieutenant despite an injury/illness hit campaign.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique

MIDFIELDERS

ARTURO VIDAL – BAYERN MUNICH (30 years, 1 month, 2 days old)

His wild hairstyles aren’t exactly the type you’d expect from your average 30-year-old but then again the Bayern Munich midfielder isn’t your typical footballer.

He enjoyed another tireless season for Munich to defy the anticipation that he would tail off having left Juventus as he began to enter his 30s. Vidal has even talked up playing for Chile until he is 40 recently.

Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich

CESC FABREGAS – CHELSEA (30 years, 1 month, 19 days old)

The former Barcelona and Arsenal creator was probably the most undeserving star to be regularly left out of Chelsea’s XI last season because he is still undoubtedly one of the most intelligent midfielders around.

He turned 30 last May and having voiced his disgruntlement at being dropped for the FA Cup final, Fabregas could well be angling for a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer to get more first-team football.

Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea

DRIES MERTENS – NAPOLI (30 years, 1 month, 18 days old)

Mertens hit the 30 mark in May and celebrated that with a contract extension which will see him remain with Napoli until 2020.

He emerged as one of the most prolific forwards in Europe last season as he plundered 27 goals and added seven assists in 34 Serie A games.

Dries Mertens of Napoli

JOAO MOUTINHO – MONACO (30 years, 9 months, 16 days old)

The one player on this list you would be forgiven for thinking was much older than 30. Indeed, the Monaco man seems to have been around for a long time having made a name for himself at Sporting and FC Porto.

He is though enjoying some of his best football at 30 with the Portugal international’s experience blending nicely with the Ligue 1 champions’ youthful exuberance.

Monaco’s Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho

ATTACKERS

LIONEL MESSI – BARCELONA (30 years old)

The star attraction in this side and the newest member of the 30 club. He’s set to sign a new long-term contract with Barcelona and his intentions to retire at Camp Nou appear to becoming into fruition.

The Argentine has developed into one of the game’s greatest ever players and achievers, as he continues to tear up record books with more no doubt set to tumble in his 30s.

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi

EDINSON CAVANI – PSG (30 years, 4 months, 9 days old)

His ruthlessness in front of goal is, well, hit and miss but there’s no doubt the Uruguayan is one of the premier strikers in Europe as he delivered for PSG last season in the absence of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He plundered 49 goals in 50 games in all competitions last term as he embraced the centre-forward position under Unai Emery and given how intelligent his movement is, he will continue to score goals well into his 30s.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani

LUIS SUAREZ – BARCELONA (30 years, 4 months, 25 days old)

Barcelona has made him a better player and of course he has made the Blaugrana a better team. Since leaving Liverpool, Suarez has gone from strength to strength and his tenacious talent has married perfectly with his ‘MSN’ counterparts Neymar and Messi.

With Messi’s birthday today it means two-thirds of the ‘MSN’ trio are now in their 30s with Neymar still five years away from hitting the mark.

Luis Suarez of Barcelona

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Jurgen Klopp hails Liverpool's transfer business and says Mohamed Salah's "incredible pace" offers new attacking threat

Carl Markham 23/06/2017
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes new £34.3million signing Mohamed Salah has the “perfect mix of experience and potential”.

The Reds kick-started their summer recruitment drive after completing a deal for the Roma winger, who has signed a five-year deal at Anfield.

Salah was a long-term target of the club, who previously tried to sign him three years ago when they were pipped by Chelsea, and current manager Klopp was keen to add more pace to his side.

The club had a £28million offer turned down earlier this month but after finalising terms with the Serie A club on Wednesday, Salah travelled to Merseyside to complete his medical and sign his contract.

“Mohamed has the perfect mix of experience and potential – this is a really exciting signing for us,” Klopp said.

“He knows the Premier League, he has pedigree in the Champions League and he is one of the most important players for his country.

“His record in Italy has been outstanding and he possesses qualities that will enhance our team and squad.”

Mohamed Salah undergoes his Liverpool medical

Salah, who scored 29 goals in 65 appearances in Italy, will wear the number 11 shirt after previous incumbent Roberto Firmino switched to number nine.

“I have followed him since he emerged at Basle and he has matured into a really good player,” Klopp added.

“His pace is incredible, he gives us more attacking threat and we are already strong in this area. I like that we will make it even more competitive.

“Most important though, for us, is that he is hungry, willing and eager to be even better and improve further.

“He believes in what we are trying to do here at Liverpool and is extremely keen to be part of it.”

Egypt international Salah, 25, has also played for Basle, Chelsea and Fiorentina.

“I’m very excited to be here. I’m very happy,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“I will give 100 per cent and give everything for the club. I really want to win something for this club.

“We have a great team and very good players. I was watching the games last year and everyone was giving 100 per cent to win something.

“Everyone can see the coach gives everything. I hope to see that together we can give everything to win something for the club, for the supporters and for us.”

Klopp has already signed England’s Under-20 World Cup winner Dominic Solanke after his contract expired with Chelsea, with a fee likely to be decided by a tribunal, but the plan is for him to start in the Under-23s side.

While Salah will be the second arrival of the summer there are a number of players surplus to requirements and Liverpool have already turned down an £11million bid for out-of-favour left-back Alberto Moreno from Napoli.

The Italian side are expected to return with an improved offer but face competition from two Premier League clubs and his former club Sevilla.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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