Antony: Man Utd talking personal terms as Hakim Ziyech meets Ajax

Ajax have held talks with Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech, 90min understands, as they prepare to replace Antony, whose representatives are in direct contact with Manchester United.

The Dutch giants are bracing themselves for United to return with an improved offer for Antony – having turned down a second bid of £67.6m last week – and are looking to receive a club-record fee just shy of £80m.

22-year-old Antony is desperate to reunite with former manager Erik ten Hag at United – he refused to attend training twice last week and was then left out of Alfred Schreuder’s squad for the weekend win at Sparta Rotterdam – and has been left frustrated by Ajax’s stance over a sale.

90min understands that the Eredivisie champions are expecting to receive a new offer, and sources have confirmed that United are already in talks with Antony and his representatives over a prospective move – and there’s a belief that terms will be relatively easy to agree.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey,Toby Cudworth and Harry Symeou bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Antony attempting to push through a move to Man Utd, Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang’s futures at Barcelona and Arsenal’s interest in Pedro Neto. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

90min revealed over the weekend that Ajax had already started planning for life after Antony, and were exploring a potential move for former player Hakim Ziyech, and sources have confirmed that talks have taken place over a return to Amsterdam.

Chelsea made it clear to Ziyech earlier this summer that he was surplus to requirements under Thomas Tuchel and the Moroccan was on the radar of Serie A champions AC Milan. But a move back to Ajax is now firmly on the cards for Ziyech, and it’s understood that he met with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, now part of Ajax’s technical staff, to discuss a prospective return on loan.

Ziyech previously made 165 appearances for Ajax in all competitions between 2016 and 2020, scoring 49 goals, and was affectionately known by the club’s supporters as ‘The Wizard’ – a nod to his creativity, passing range and vision.

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‘Legend of the modern game’ – tributes pour in as Ellen White announces retirement

Personalities from across the football world have paid tribute to Ellen White, after England Women’s all-time top goalscorer announced her retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

White netted 52 goals in 113 appearances for her country and signed off on the ultimate high, with the last game of her career the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 final victory over Germany at Wembley.

“Ellen White will long be remembered as a model for others to follow,” said Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s director of women’s football. “It is not just about her record-breaking 52 goals and performances on the pitch, but about the standards she set and the way she conducts herself. 

“A true leader of women, it has never been about Ellen White for her – even when she was scoring the crucial goals or giving everything she had, it was always the team first. She is a legend of the modern game.” 

The striker played domestic football for Chelsea, Leeds, Arsenal, Notts County, Birmingham and Manchester City, winning two WSL titles, three FA Cups and four League Cups.

“Ellen is without doubt an icon of the game, and although her career is now at its end, her efforts have paved the way for so many to flourish in the future,” said City boss Gareth Taylor.

“She has given so much over the years to the game that she adores, and she leaves it in the strongest place it has ever been, which is testament to her hard work and sacrifices.

“She has been the definition of the consummate professional and I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to work with her over the past two seasons – her name will be written into the history books as an icon of women’s football.”

White is the WSL’s second all-time top scorer, with 61 top flight goals, and she scooped the WSL golden boot during the 2017/18 season.

“Words can’t describe how proud & lucky I am to have called you a team mate but also a friend,” Beth Mead wrote on Twitter. “The biggest professional & goal scorer. The game didn’t deserve you but you’ll be missed greatly. @ellsbells89 my hero.”

The 33-year-old was also the joint top scorer at the 2019 World Cup, netting six goals during the Lionesses’ run to the semi finals and taking her Anthony Modeste goggles celebration into the mainstream.

“A wonderful career and a fabulous goal scorer,” Gary Linkeker wrote on Twitter. “Wish @ellsbells89 all the very best with what comes next.”

White has represented Team GB at two Olympic games, and finished as the team’s top scorer at Tokyo 2020. She scored six times in four matches – including a hat-trick against Australia in the quarter finals.

“The absolute best of the best,” Rachel Daly wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Ellen. You truly are of a kind. I’m so excited for your future and so proud of everything you’ve achieved.”

She wrapped up her career in style, starting all six games during England’s Euro 2022 triumph and netting twice at the tournament as the Lionesses lifted their maiden piece of silverware.

“Ellen has given so much for England and we are all so proud of her,” said Sarina Wiegman. “I have only had the pleasure of working with her for this past year, but her professionalism, work rate and finishing ability is world class.

“This summer, she did an amazing job for the team, she is the perfect team player and helped the younger players to find their way in international football. I already knew she was a great player but I found an even better person.”

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Casemiro arrives at Old Trafford ahead of Man Utd move confirmation

Casemiro has arrived at Old Trafford ahead of the formal announcement of his move to Manchester United from Real Madrid.

The Brazilian is joining Erik ten Hag’s side on a four-year deal with an option for a fifth, after United agreed to pay Real Madrid around £70m inclusive of add-ons.

The 30-year-old is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and will add much-needed stability to a United side who have convincingly lost their opening two Premier League games to Brighton and Brentford.

Ten Hag’s United face bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday at Old Trafford looking to get their campaign up and running, and Casemiro has been pictured arriving at the ground ahead of the game, hours after saying farewell to Real Madrid in an emotional press conference.

A video uploaded to Twitter from The Athletic‘s Laurie Whitwell showed the Brazilian being ushered into the ground by security guards, with fans quickly surrounding him after realising that it was Casemiro approaching the stadium.

His move is expected to be announced in the coming hours – he may even be unveiled on the pitch like United did with Raphael Varane last season – and will officially bring to an end a hugely successful nine-year stint at Real Madrid – one that saw him lift 18 trophies during his time in the Spanish capital, including five Champions Leagues.

Speaking of the impending move earlier on Monday, Casemiro said of joining United: “I love the Premier League. I wanted to play in it and I wanted to play there. The change was necessary. You can be stressed with the season and then on vacation, when you keep thinking about it… I had to be honest with myself.

“I am joining the biggest club in England.”

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Christian Pulisic likely to remain at Chelsea this summer

Christian Pulisic is likely to remain a Chelsea player beyond the closing of the current transfer window, 90min understands.

The United States international has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle United in recent weeks after starting just 13 Premier League games last season and being restricted to three substitute appearances to start the current campaign.

90min understands Pulisic is among a number of attacking players unhappy with manager Thomas Tuchel’s methods and communication.

Fellow forwards Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner have already departed the club this summer after struggling under Tuchel last season.

However, sources tell 90min that Chelsea are reluctant to accept loan bids for Pulisic, while they remain aware of the player’s quality despite his lack of playing time and injury struggles, meaning potential buying clubs are being put off by the high asking price.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey,Toby Cudworth and Harry Symeou bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Antony attempting to push through a move to Man Utd, Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang’s futures at Barcelona and Arsenal’s interest in Pedro Neto. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

It’s understood that Chelsea are still pursuing Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Everton winger Anthony Gordon and another midfielder.

Should Chelsea secure all their targets, a departure for Pulisic would become slightly easier. However, the Blues are also looking to move on a number of squad players this summer, with Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Michy Batshuayi all among players likely to leave Stamford Bridge.

With Chelsea balancing Champions League and domestic cup commitments alongside their Premier League campaign, it’s important they maintain strong squad depth.

Regardless of where he ends up, Pulisic – who has played just 56 minutes for Chelsea this season – will be hoping for regular games as he looks to hit form ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup campaign later this year.

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Thomas Tuchel charged by FA over Anthony Taylor comments

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has been hit with an FA charge over his comments towards referee Anthony Taylor in the aftermath of his side’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

The Blues were on the receiving end of some frustrating decisions during the game, with both Tottenham’s goals coming shortly after the Blues felt the referee had missed a major incident, and Tuchel did not hide his frustration after the match.

The German admitted it ‘might be best’ if Taylor did not officiate any Chelsea games in future, claiming everyone at Stamford Bridge believes the referee has an agenda against his side – something many fans online would agree with.

Unsurprisingly, an investigation was quickly opened into Tuchel’s conduct and the FA have now confirmed his charge.

“Thomas Tuchel has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to comments that he made after Chelsea FC’s Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur FC on Sunday 14 August 2022,” a statement read.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey,Toby Cudworth and Harry Symeou bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Antony attempting to push through a move to Man Utd, Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang’s futures at Barcelona and Arsenal’s interest in Pedro Neto. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

“It is alleged that the manager’s comments in his post-match press conference constitute improper conduct as contrary to FA Rule E3.1 they imply bias and/or question the integrity of the match referee, and/or bring the game into disrepute.

“Thomas Tuchel has until Thursday 25 Aufust 2022 to provide a response to this charge.”

Tuchel has also been hit with a touchline ban as a result of the red card he was shown during a clash with Spurs boss Antonio Conte after the game.

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