Adebayor exposes Wenger lie which made him hate Arsenal

Emmanuel Adebayor admits to feeling “hate” for Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger’s actions responsible for those emotions.

The Togolese striker joined the Gunners from Monaco in January 2006, but despite enjoying a productive three-and-a-half year stint in north London, left for Manchester City under a cloud.

Adebayor faced accusations of chasing money at the time, with those at the Etihad Stadium benefitting from the investment of Sheikh Mansour.

The 33-year-old is adamant, however, that he was forced out of Arsenal and that his treatment by Wenger is to blame for his lack of fondness towards a former employer.

Adebayor told Beyond The Game on his Emirates Stadium exit: “I had a meeting with Arsene Wenger in his office when he told me I had to leave because he didn’t see my future anymore in Arsenal.

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“So I didn’t have any other choice than joining Man City, who I was very happy to join.

“And the next day when I joined Manchester City I saw him doing a press conference in London saying that I wanted to leave because the money was big and everything and since that day that is where the hate for Arsenal came from.”

Disappointed at how his time with the Gunners came to a close and how he had been portrayed as the villain of the piece, Adebayor sought revenge during a Premier League fixture in September 2009.

He sparked controversy by celebrating a goal for City in front of the Arsenal support, earning him a £25,000 fine, but he stands by his actions and has no regrets.

Quizzed on the incident, Adebayor added: “What was going through my head? A prisoner is out. A prisoner is free.

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“I played for the club for three-and-a-half years, you bought me for £3m, I still have five years of my contract and you let me go for £20m more and you are telling me I am the one leaving for money and abusing me.

“I am not taking that so it was just to show them that the person you are insulting still has something in his locker.”

Adebayor further irked the Arsenal support by joining arch-rivals Tottenham in 2011, but he is now playing his football outside of England at Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir.


Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes

Leon Goretzka rejected interest from the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A in order to join Bayern Munich, head coach Jupp Heynckes has said.

The Bundesliga champions announced on Friday that a deal has been reached to sign the midfielder when his Schalke contract expires after the end of the season.

Goretzka had been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus before agreeing to a four-year deal at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described the move as good news for the Bundesliga and Heynckes is also delighted to see a young Germany international stay on home turf.

“I talked to [assistant coach] Peter Hermann, who worked with Leon Goretzka at Schalke, about him,” he told a news conference. “He said Leon has a very good character. In the Bundesliga and at the Confederations Cup, he showed very good performances.

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“I assume he will give everything for Schalke until June 30 and that he wants to be in the Champions League with his club.

“For the Bundesliga, it’s very good and very important for a Germany international to stay in Germany. There were competitors from England, Italy and Spain. But, in the end, he decided to sign for Bayern.

“He is a very young player. With him, the process of rejuvenation goes on at Bayern. That’s something very positive. New players bring new impulses. You know as well as I what skills he has.”

Bayern take on Werder Bremen on Sunday looking to at least maintain their 13-point lead at the top of the table.

Heynckes confirmed striker Robert Lewandowski is set to return from a knee injury but defenders David Alaba and Mats Hummels will miss out due to illness.

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“Robert Lewandowski has made a good impression in training. He says he is hardly in any pain any more. He is available again,” said Heynckes.

“Mats had a bad cold and then a fever. He has been back on the pitch doing light fitness work, but he will not be risked against Bremen.

“David Alaba has a gastrointestinal infection, so he didn’t train and is being kept away from the team.”


Atlanta United signs Ezequiel Barco from Independiente in record-breaking deal

Atlanta United has officially landed 18-year-old Ezequiel Barco from Argentina side Independiente as a young designated player, the club announced Friday.

The MLS team paid $15 million for the Argentine Under-20 international, according to ESPN, besting an MLS record that was set when Toronto FC spent $10M for Michael Bradley in 2013.

“Securing a player of Ezequiel’s caliber is another significant moment in Atlanta United history,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said. “This transfer further demonstrates the commitment of our club to bring top level, dynamic young players to Atlanta and to MLS. We are excited to welcome Ezequiel to our club and our city.”

Atlanta United, which joined MLS as an expansion side prior to the 2017-18 season, already has a reputation of bringing young South American talent to the league. A little over year ago, the club coached by Tata Martino spent a reported $8.5 million to acquire Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almiron from Lanus.

The 23-year-old Almiron took MLS by storm, scoring nine goals and adding 14 assists in 30 appearances during his debut season. Atlanta United will hope Barco can make an instant impact as well, after beating several European suitors for his signature this winter.

“It speaks to the type of club that we’re becoming that Ezequiel chose to sign with our club over several European competitors,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. “As one of the top young players in South America who has been a fixture in the Argentinian youth national team setup, we’re elated that he’s decided to continue his career in Atlanta.”

Barco has impressed with Argentine power Independiente since joining the first team as a 17-year-old in 2016. He helped his club win the Copa Sudamericana in 2017 by scoring a penalty in the final against Flamengo.

Independiente confirmed his departure by sending a farewell message to the teenager on Twitter last week, saying: “You came here a boy, you grew up in the pension and you leave a champion. Everything can happen, but glory is eternal. Thanks and the best of luck, Ezequiel!”

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Barco will be joining a new-look Atlanta side that signed U.S. internationals Darlington Nagbe and Greg Garza, while adding South American defenders Franco Escobar, 22, and Jose Hernandez, 20, during the offseason.

Atlanta United broke the MLS record for attendence with an average of 48,200 fans and finished its inaugural season with a 15 wins, nine losses and 10 draws. After finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference, Atlanta was eliminated from the playoffs by the Columbus Crew in a shootout thriller.


Philadelphia Union acquire David Accam for $1.2M in allocation money

The Chicago Fire have dealt midfielder David Accam to the Philadelphia Union in a blockbuster trade, the MLS clubs announced Friday.

The Fire will receive $1.2 million in allocation money — $300,000 in general and $900,000 in targeted allocation money — making it one of the most expensive deals between MLS clubs. Half of the fee will be sent now with the other half set to be sent after the 2018 MLS season.

Accam joins the Union following three seasons with the Fire, scoring 33 goals and adding 15 assists over that span. The 27-year-old Ghanaian finished last season with 14 goals and eight assists.

“Today’s acquisition of David Accam marks an exciting moment for our club, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Philadelphia Union,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “David possesses electrifying speed and skill to go along with a nose for goal comparable to the very best in MLS.

“We believe him to be a perfect fit as we continue to build our attacking corps. He provides an instant boost on the wing and we look forward to integrating him with our team as soon as possible.”

Accam joined MLS in 2015 as a designated player, after spending the previous three season at Swedish club Helsingborgs IF.


Shaw form sees Mourinho end Man Utd’s search for a new left-back

Jose Mourinho sees no left-backs “better than this Luke Shaw”, with Manchester United no longer seeking reinforcements in that area.

The Red Devils have been heavily linked with a number of performers who can slot into that position, including the likes of Alex Sandro, Danny Rose and Ryan Sessegnon.

Finding a suitable option to fill their left-back berth has been an issue for United at times, with Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian among those to have been shunted out of position to provide assistance.

Shaw has, however, come back into favour of late, and the 22-year-old has offered enough to convince Mourinho that he can justify the £30 million fee which brought him to Old Trafford and end the search for cover.

The Red Devils boss told reporters on a man who has started five successive fixtures over recent weeks: “Luke? Played very well.

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“He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes.

“I remember the first time, Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step and now with a good run of matches and continuity also.

“Playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match, good, solid. Physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in the different phases and circumstances, I’m really happy.

“You like the transfer market, I can say that in this moment I don’t see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.”

Shaw is among those set to see their current contracts expire at the end of the season, with Young also occupying that bracket.

Both are, however, expected to be kept on, with there 12-month options in their respective deals which can be triggered.

Those decisions are likely to be taken soon, as is a call on whether or not to offer fresh terms to Mourinho.

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An extension through to 2021 has been mooted for the Portuguese, but he is already tied to United for another 18 months and is in no rush to put pen to paper.

“My contract ends July 2019, so plenty of time to speak,” Mourinho added.

“I know that the club is happy and the owners, the board are happy, they know I am happy and when that’s the case one day we decide to do something we will do it easily, but plenty of time.”