Chelsea increase interest in Niklas Sule transfer

Chelsea have stepped up their interest in Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, with Thomas Tuchel said to be keen on landing the 25-year-old this summer.

Sule’s contract with the Bundesliga giants is said to expire in June 2022 and, as things stand, the Bavarians have made no efforts to extend his stay beyond then.

Simon Johnson and Raphael Honigstein of the Athletic report that the disconnect between the club’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and Hansi Flick has been a huge distraction behind the scenes and has impacted the club’s efficiency when it comes to contract renewals – opening the door for Chelsea to make their move.

There will be no shortage of takers for the centre back in the event Bayern put him up for sale this summer and the appeal of a club like Chelsea managed by Tuchel could be of interest to the Germany international.

Sule is said to be relaxed about the situation at present despite his contract running down and Chelsea’s interest intensifying. However, RB Leizpig boss Julian Nagelsmann has been linked with Bayern if Flick does leave in the summer, and the pair previously worked together at Hoffenheim.

Niklas SüleNiklas Süle
Sule is a three time Bundesliga champion | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Chelsea’s defensive record has improved since Tuchel’s arrival, though Thiago Silva is in the twilight of his career and Cesar Azpilicueta will soon be in that boat too. Question marks remain over the consistency of players like Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

Sule has made 32 appearances for Bayern in all competitions this season, with Dayot Upamecano to arrive at the Allianz Arena next season from RB Leipzig. Both Jerome Boateng and David Alaba are set to leave in the summer, so if Sule also departed that would leave the German champions light in central defence.

Let’

How much Tottenham paid to sack Jose Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur have decided to sack Jose Mourinho as first-team manager 17 months into a three-and-a-half year contract.

Chairman Daniel Levy is understood to have grown concerned by Spurs’ poor recent form – three defeats in their last six games – which has seen them eliminated from the Europa League and five points behind in the race for Champions League football.

Jose MourinhoJose Mourinho
Mourinho had lost the Spurs dressing room | Pool/Getty Images

When the idea of sacking Mourinho first came to light earlier this year, reports suggested that Mourinho would be entitled to the best past of £30m to offload their high-earning manager. However, it was later clarified that his earnings at the club are heavily incentivised and and compensation fee could be significantly less.

According to several sources, including The Independent and Paul O’Keefe, Spurs have agreed a severance fee of around £16m to part ways with Mourinho.

The reduced compensation fee also has nothing to do with Spurs’ involvement in the Super League. Rumours began circling on social media suggesting Mourinho had been sacked on the spot after refusing to lead training in the wake of the announcement, but Levy actually came to the decision to sack Mourinho on Friday, well before the Super League proposal came to light.

With an extra £16m coming his way, Mourinho will now have earned close to £80m in compensation fees just from being sacked throughout his career.

Chelsea had to hand Mourinho £18m when they sacked the boss in 2007, five years before he was given a £17.5m pay-off to leave Real Madrid.

Mourinho then took another £12.5m from the Blues when he left Stamford Bridge for the second time in 2015, before earning a cool £15m from Manchester United when he was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December 2018.

Jose MourinhoJose Mourinho
Mourinho had made a fortune from compensation fees | Pool/Getty Images

That’s around £80m Mourinho has pocketed because people don’t think he is good at his job. Not bad.

In terms of his successor, coach Ryan Mason is expected to lead the side until the end of the season, with Spurs looking at a long list of potential appointments ,which includes RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann and Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

Let’

Tottenham’s most embarrassing moments this season

Tottenham, Tottenham, Tottenham. Wah, wah, wah. Sure, there are tougher teams to support out there, but Spurs are pretty difficult to love at the best of times.

The 2020/21 season has not been the best of times. Aside from maybe a month or so when it was nailed on that the Premier League title would be coming to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Apart from that, it’s been weird manager rants, terrible league results against minnows, dismal cup exits and, perhaps most shockingly, getting bodied by the dog of a paint company.

After a torrid campaign, José Mourinho was finally given his marching orders in April, with the club making it clear he had been sacked rather than any mutual agreement.

So, what better time to have a look back down this weird memory lane, seemingly whipped straight out of some Stanley Kubrick horror movie? Exactly.

Steve Bruce, Jose MourinhoSteve Bruce, Jose Mourinho
Steve Bruce and Mourinho hug it out | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle get a lot of bad press. Whether it’s over the club’s ownership, former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce being in charge, or the low quality of their squad, not a lot is right at the Tyne giants.

That being said, they’ve picked up two points against Spurs this season, both games highlighting the glaring problems present in Jose Mourinho’s side.

The first clash ended 1-1 as Tottenham failed to take their chances before Eric Dier was penalised for the harshest of VAR calls, while the 2-2 at St. James’ Park featured some of the worst defending you’ve ever likely to see. Arsenal loanee Joe Willock got the equaliser in that draw too.

Honestly, where do you even start here?

Dulux were announced as the club’s first official paint supplier. That’s all fine and dandy. However, it turns out whoever was running the social media account had too much freedom and started rinsing Tottenham left, right and centre, barely minutes after the deal had been announced.

Centre backs and trophy cabinets – nobody was safe. It felt like a low, but it’s been worse this season.

Erik LamelaErik Lamela
Yeah, exactly that Erik | Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Ok, to his credit Erik Lamela did show some fight in the loss at Arsenal in March, so much so that he scored an outrageous rabona and then got sent off.

But other than that, it was a dismal performance, especially against a Gunners side that are scrapping for a top ten finish, let alone European qualification.

Lamela’s strike counted for little as Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal the win. Hardly Patrick Vieira’s Arsenal, either.

There’s plenty that could have been done in the loss to Manchester United to avoid such an embarrassing day for Tottenham.

Spurs employed their usual tactic of dropping deep in the second half having taken the lead through Son Heung-min, leading to goals from Fred, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood.

Son was ‘caught’ by Scott McTominay in the build-up to a disallowed United goal, leading Red Devils manager Solskjaer to say he wouldn’t give the South Korean any dinner if he was his son. Weird thing to say, but Spurs boss Mourinho made things even weirder.

“Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole,” the former Chelsea manager started. “Because – I am a father – as a father, you have always to feed your kids, it doesn’t matter what they do. If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal.

“I’m very, very disappointed. And with me, like we say in Portugal, bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments. And I have to tell you that I’m very disappointed in five, six or seven questions, you ignore the dimension of that comment.”

Eh?

3-0 up after 16 minutes and cruising, Tottenham were looking absolutely electric against West Ham. Three points were in the bag.

But then the most monstrous of meltdowns occurred. Fabian Balbuena nodded in, Davinson Sanchez scored an own goal and Manuel Lanzini netted one of the most incredible strikes you’re ever likely to see to salvage the Hammers a 3-3 draw from nowhere.

Later in the season, the game at the London Stadium was a much different affair. West Ham were favourites and just beginning to look like a side capable of finishing in the top four.

They took the lead inside four minutes – because of course they did – but the major humiliation came when Jesse Lingard added the second and whipped out his flute.

Fornals on guitar, Rice on drums, Bowen on vocals and Soucek as the hype man – yeah, that’s tough to see.

Dinamo Zagreb v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg TwoDinamo Zagreb v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Plenty of dejected faces | Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

2-0 up after the first leg, Tottenham were expected to reach the quarter finals of the Europa League relatively easily.

But it’s never easy with Spurs.

The WhatsApp messages saying things like ‘we could go out here’ started trickling through to all Spurs fans, and soon Mislav Orsic had scored twice to take the game into extra game. His third supplied the lowest moment of Mourinho’s spell at Tottenham.

To cap it off, Joe Hart posted a story on his Instagram page with the caption ‘Job done’ – his team evidently thinking Spurs had actually won the game – and later had to upload an apology addressing it.

Very Spursy.

Let’

Twitter reacts with fury as 12 top European clubs announce new Super League

And so it has come to pass.

In an unprecedented moment for European football, 12 top clubs from across the continent – including the Premier League’s big six – have announced the formation of a new midweek competition to rival UEFA’s Champions League.

Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as so-called founding clubs, with Los Blancos president Florentino Perez, Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli and Man Utd co-chairman Joel Glazer evidently big players in the shake-up.

Three more clubs are expected to join The Super League, which will start ‘as soon as practicable’.

The announcement and earlier revelations about the potential proposals have sent shockwaves through the football world and been met with profound outrage on social media, with many pointing to the greed of football clubs in the modern era to the detriment of fans.

Others unsurprisingly focused on the fact that north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham probably shouldn’t be considered among Europe’s top clubs at present…

Nothing about The Super League was safe from serious scrutiny, will some tweeters pointing out that the competition’s logo is a bit…naff.

An official statement even had the audacity to go into the financial benefits of the newly-founded competition, saying the Super League ‘will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues’.

The new league would comprise 20 teams: 15 founding members who cannot be relegated, and five teams who qualify annually. It wouldn’t replace the Premier League or other domestic competitions, however – it would run alongside, similarly to how the Champions League currently works.

A statement revealed the competition would start in August, with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter finals.

Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

Let’

12 leading European clubs announce formation of The Super League

A group of leading European clubs have announced the foundation of The Super League, a new midweek competition set to revolutionise the game.

After a day of rumours, the new competition was finally unveiled late on Sunday evening with the Premier League big six (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham) among the founding members.

They will be joined by Serie A trio Inter, Milan and Juventus, as well as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole,” a statement posted by several journalist including Rob Harris read.

“The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.”

Three more Founding Clubs are yet to be confirmed for the 20 team league in which five spots will be handed out via qualification each year. Games will be played in midweek, with clubs hoping to continue to play in their domestic divisions as normal.

Florentino PerezFlorentino Perez
Florentino Perez is one of the brains behind the plans | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The 20 teams will be divided into two groups of ten, playing home and away with the top three qualifying for the quarter-finals. Teams in fourth and fifth will then compete in playoffs for the two remaining spots.

All the clubs involved will benefit financially with each receiving a share of $3.5 billion simply for taking part.

“The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a bng-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues,” the statement continued.

“These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs.

“In addition, the competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.”

The plans have been criticised across football and according to Fabrizio Romano, UEFA plan to fight back by banning any players who take part in the competition from all of its and FIFA’s competitions at domestic and international level.

Let’