There were barely any deal in the first few sleepy days of August, where Fiorentina and Milan were the main protagonists. La Viola signed Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola from Sassuolo and sold Vitor Hugo to Palmeiras, hinting a switch to their defensive philosophy since they used to deploy Nikola Milenkovic at right back, but will no go with a more normal and aggressive look. The Rossoneri instead cashed in on Patrick Cutrone, who joined Wolverhampton, and substituted him with Rafael Leao from Lille, who projects to be a better fit next to Krzysztof Piatek, and then announced Ismael Bennacer from Empoli on Sunday. Juventus completed the sale of Moise Kean to Everton. Continue reading
After a slow start to their window due to the ownership change, Fiorentina are starting to get a move on and added two players from Sassuolo: Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola. The 31-year-old journeyman was purchased for a minimal €1M fee, while they spent €14M plus add-ons for the right back.
Boateng started last season well while playing as false-nine for the Neroverdi, scoring four times in 13 games. However, he could not turn down Barcelona’s offer in January, but featured just four times with the Blaugrana. Over his career, he has spent time with Eintracht Frankfurt, Las Palmas, Schalke 04 and Genoa and is obviously best known for his two stints at Milan.
The Ghanaian attacker can feature in a number of positions and plugs the hole left by the departure of Luis Muriel. If they bring in a pure centre-forward or decide to continue relying on Giovanni Simeone, Boateng will end up playing more as second-striker or left winger.
Lirola has been a very energetic fullback over the last three seasons in Emilia, appearing 92 times and notching three goals and seven assists. He is coming off his best season to date, where he provided seven helpers and was a constant thorn on the opponents’ side while motoring up and down the flank.
Fiorentina have been adapted Nikola Milenkovic to that role in the last few years, but they will now utilize a more traditional and offensive-minded right back, with the Serbian youngster deployed as centre-back. As a further indication of that, they sold Vitor Hugo to Palmeiras. The latest rumours also suggest that they could keep former Lecce loanee Lorenzo Venuti, another typical fullback, on the roster to back up the new acquisition.
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As we hurtle towards the end of another gruelling La Liga campaign, Barcelona will already be looking towards a successful 2019/20 season, and to that end Eric Abidal will need to do some wheeler-dealing in the transfer market.
With Matthijs De Ligt just one name being mentioned as a possible new signing, it’s clear that the Catalans will have plenty to do across the summer.
The futures of most of their players remain crystal clear, but there are question marks too. Continue reading
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was firm in his commitment to pushing for further glory, after his side wrapped up an eighth La Liga title in the last 11 seasons.
A 1-0 win at home to Levante means the Catalan side have secured their title defence, with three league games to spare before the end of the 2018-19 season.
The former Athletic Bilbao coach will now focus his squad’s energies on completing a first treble since 2015. Continue reading
Barcelona will look to have successfully retained their La Liga title before the end of April, in time for a potential Champions League semi final.
As it stands, Ernesto Valverde’s side a huge favourites to win back to back domestic titles, with a ten point lead over second place Atletico Madrid, with nine games to go in the 2018-19 campaign.
If Barcelona win all of their forthcoming games, they will be Spanish champions again with three games to spare – winning the league at home to Levante at the Nou Camp on April 27th.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde will be looking to reach into his first team squad as they prepare to defend in their La Liga title in the closing weeks of the season.
Barring a significant decline in form, the former Athletic Bilbao boss will oversee a second successive league title in charge at the Nou Camp, with a Champions League quarter final clash with Manchester United also to come.
However he will need to balance his squad in the coming weeks, with injuries playing a role, and the need to preserve some of his star players for European competition.
The transfer market finally heated up this week as Milan replaced Gonzalo Higuain, who flew to Chelsea via Juventus, with Krzysztof Piatek. An unpleasant surprise hit fantasy managers on Monday, as Kevin-Prince Boateng moved to Barcelona. The ex-Milan man had success as false-nine this season at Sassuolo, before missing a chunck of the season with a pelvic injury. He has scored four times in 11 appearances and was a precious asset since he was listed as midfielder.
It took him three separate stints at Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt and Sassuolo, but he managed to return in a big-time club after his time at Milan. He first played in this new position in La Liga. Continue reading
Denis Suarez looks to be remaining as a Barcelona player for the rest of the 2018-19 campaign, after a loan move to Arsenal broke down.
Midfielder Suarez has been linked with a switch to Unai Emery’s Gunners since last summer, and the two clubs appeared to be closing in on a deal earlier this month.
However according to media reports in Spain and in the UK, the deal has fallen apart due to differing expectations on the transfer, between the two clubs.
Kevin-Prince Boateng to Barcelona is a transfer that has come as a bolt out of the blue.
There wasn’t even a hint of a move from the Catalans for a player who is adored and despised in equal measure, depending on which team you support.
One thing is clear though. He’s a fearsome competitor who will add his huge presence in the dressing room to liven things up a bit. Continue reading
Juventus: Sami Khedira should be back to the squad list after missing time with an ankle sprain. Joao Cancelo, Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli are not expected to return in 2018.
Napoli: Simone Verdi is likely to be called up as he has been working with the rest of the team for a week now. Mario Rui missed the last game due to muscle fatigue and has been excluded from the squad list again. Alex Meret has a sore shoulder that needs to be monitored. Allan has been ruled out due to back pain.
Inter: Kwadwo Asamoah is suspended. Matias Vecino (thigh) and Dalbert (calf) have been on the sidelines for the last few games, but they will be available. Joao Miranda is fatigued and is very likely to miss the game. Continue reading