Uli Hoeneß: “€222m for Neymar is a sign of weakness.”

Bayern Munich’s president Uli Hoeneß feels it is an admission of failure for a club to spend big in the transfer market, as Paris Saint-Germain continue to be linked with an astonishing €222 million swoop to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 giants are ready to smash the world transfer record by meeting the enormous release clause in the Brazil international’s contract, although Barca defender Gerard Pique suggested via a Tweet on Sunday that the 25-year-old has been convinced to remain at Camp Nou.

The attacker is yet to confirm his future has been decided, though, and Hoeneß believes such a transfer would be a bad sign.

“This is a sign of weakness,” he said of the outlays being made across Europe. 

“If I have to spend a lot of money to achieve nothing, it is more of a sign that I have not worked as well somewhere else. And that’s why I cannot be interested in spending so much. 

“Not the most expensive transfer is the best, but the one who does the most. 

“I think that is why, in this shark basin – €100m, €200m – we must find our own way.”

Bayern parted with a Bundesliga record fee of €41.5m to capture Corentin Tolisso from Lyon and brought in Niklas Sule from Hoffenheim for a reported €20m.

But they have also snared potential bargains in the form of Serge Gnabry, a cut-price arrival from Werder Bremen, James Rodriguez, signed on loan from Real Madrid, and free transfer Sebastian Rudy, as the team prepares to try and secure a sixth successive Bundesliga title. 

RB Leipzig sprung a surprise to finish second to Bayern last season, but Hoeneß expects a more predictable rival to vie for the championship in 2017-18.

“Leipzig will play a good season again, but the first challenger will surely be Borussia Dortmund,” he said.

Bayern were without a sporting director in coach Carlo Ancelotti’s first campaign in charge last term, after failing to replace Matthias Sammer, who stepped down in July 2016.

According to Hoeness, though, they are now close to making an appointment.

“We will announce a sporting director within the next six weeks,” he said.

“I’ve already said that (executive chairman) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and I have been looking around, and there have been some talks taking place.”

Alexis joining PSG?

The Arsenal star was in Paris on Friday for talks with PSG’s sporting director and chief executive ahead of a prospective €50 million move to Ligue 1.

The French club are growing increasingly confident of signing the Arsenal star for a €50 million fee inclusive of add-ons following preliminary talks with the Gunners. PSG say “nothing is done yet” regarding a move for Sanchez but the early signs from France suggest it is likely to happen.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that the club’s stance has not changed and their Chilean talisman will not be sold this summer, but contract talks have not progressed as hoped and Sanchez has shown no sign of committing to an extension which would mean he is available to leave on a free transfer when his deal at Emirates Stadium expires next summer.

Wenger is currently in China where Arsenal have almost completed their pre-season trip and spoke on Thursday about where Sanchez will play in the Gunners forward line next season, insisting that he will fit into the team alongside club-record summer signing Alexandre Lacazette.

Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich has used interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to increase the salary demands for his client with Pep Guardiola’s side confident of signing the 28-year-old throughout the summer.

Felicevich, previously dubbed ‘the king of South American football’ by Forbes magazine, is regarded as a tough negotiator and his negotiation tactics were recently described as ‘dishonest’ by an intermediary for Brazilian club Vasco da Gama.

It’s understood that Felicevich was present in the meeting at Le Royal Monceau with his business partner Matias Aldao, while PSG had their chairman and chief executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi representing them alongside Henrique.

Al-Khelaifi has a close relationship with Wenger and the two are in regular contact regarding football matters which sees the Frenchman take part in TV work for beIN Sports, the media network founded by the man dubbed ‘the most powerful figure in French football’.

Alexis scored 24 goals in the Premier League last season and admitted while back home in Chile that it is his “dream” of playing in the Champions League – a competition that Arsenal aren’t involved in this season following last campaign’s fifth-placed finish.

“The truth is that the decision doesn’t depend on me,” said Sanchez. 

“I have made my decision, but now we wait for a response from Arsenal. It depends on them, I have to wait to know what they want.

“My idea is to play and win the Champions League, it is a dream I have had since I was little.”

Arsenal’s stance regarding Sanchez has not changed and they were confident earlier in the week that the player would return to pre-season training at London Colney following his holidays, along with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin, on July 30.

Roma 1 – 1 PSG (Pen: 3 – 5)


Paris Saint-Germain overcame AS Roma on penalties at the International Champions Cup.

Dani Alves made his debut for PSG as the Ligue 1 giants edged Roma on penalties at the International Champions Cup on Wednesday.

Alves, who signed for PSG earlier this month despite being heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, started at right-back in the 1-1 draw at Comerica Park.

Marquinhos gave PSG a 36th-minute lead after a somewhat scrappy first half, but Roma were the better side in the second.

Umar Sadiq levelled proceedings on the hour-mark and Roma had two penalty shouts turned down in a lively second half before penalties were needed to separate the teams.

Only Gerson failed to convert in the shoot-out, with Marquinhos scoring the decisive penalty in the 5-3 success.

While Alves made his debut for PSG, who are linked with Barcelona star Neymar, recruits Hector Moreno and Lorenzo Pellegrini started for Eusebio Di Francesco’s Roma.

Both teams consistently broke down in the attacking third in the opening exchanges, although Jese Rodriguez had a great chance in the 21st minute.

The forward was put through but was unable to get the ball under control and the opportunity was wasted.

PSG took a deserved lead nine minutes prior to half-time.

Thiago Motta tried to play a one-two with Jese but went down under a challenge, the ball falling to Marquinhos to put away from inside the area.

The Ligue 1 giants continued to threaten to finish the half, Lucas Moura shooting straight at Roma goalkeeper Alisson after a smart Javier Pastore run.

Both teams made changes at the break and it took time for the substitutes to settle in Detroit.

Alves was perhaps fortunate not to give away a penalty in the 57th minute, the Brazilian bringing down Diego Perotti with a slide tackle in the area, only to collect the ball afterwards.

Roma levelled on the hour-mark through 20-year-old forward Sadiq.

A pass over the top from Gerson saw Sadiq put in behind and the Nigerian finished through Alphonse Areola’s legs from an angle.

Daniele De Rossi, who came off the bench, was the next to go close, the midfielder’s 25-yard free-kick tipped over by Areola in the 65th minute.

The lively Umar was then brought down by Presnel Kimpembe in the area, but penalty pleas were again dismissed.

Blaise Matuidi had three late chances for PSG, including blazing over from close range and missing two one-on-ones as a shoot-out followed.

After the first five penalties were converted, Gerson failed to hit the target with his spot-kick as Roma were beaten.

 

Di Maria wants to stay at PSG


 

Angel Di Maria insists that he wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain despite admitting to difficulties working with Unai Emery last season.

The Argentinian international played 43 times in all competitions in 2016-17 but struggled for form in the early half of the campaign in particular, scoring just once in his first 19 Ligue 1 appearances.

Di Maria has been linked with Inter during recent weeks, despite the Serie A club’s sporting director, Piero Ausilio, suggesting that his wage demands would be too high.

But the 29-year-old has no desire to leave Parc des Princes and believes he has become accustomed to the demands of his head coach in the last few months.

“For me, there’s no doubt about it. I want to stay,” he said. “But, for the club, I don’t know. The reality is that my family are well and I’m happy in Paris.

“I know that not everything went well last season. At first, I didn’t quite understand what the coach was asking me. Then we gradually got to know each other and I think people have seen the change in the last few months. I hope I can reproduce that this year.”

PSG claimed a double of Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue trophies in Emery’s first season, but they lost their league title to Monaco and suffered a Champions League exit against Barcelona after a 6-1 hammering in the last-16 second leg.

Di Maria says regaining their domestic crown and battling to reach the final in Europe’s top competition are their primary goals for next term.

“Like every other year: win everything,” he said when asked about PSG’s objectives. “Last season, we won both cups but we lost the championship and we were knocked out of the Champions League.

“This year, we’ll try to go as far as possible in the Champions League and maybe reach the final. Then we have to win back the title and to defend the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.”

Di Maria hopes that Dani Alves, who joined on a free transfer after leaving Juventus, can take PSG a step closer to their first Champions League triumph.

“I’ve only played against him. But I’m happy with his signing as he is a player with huge qualities, who will bring something extra to the team and allow us to improve further,” he added.

Should PSG Move For Sanchez Now?

Arsenal Vs Watford” (CC BY 2.0) by joshjdss

With 13 goals and 7 assists in 20 games this season, Alexis Sanchez has the best attacking output of anyone in Europe’s top five leagues. As the prolific Arsenal attacker enters his prime he is attracting the interest of top Premier League sides along with the European elite. Paris Saint-Germain have expressed their interest in penning a deal with the player in the summer, but would Unai Emery be wise to make a move for the Gunners’ main cannon in January?

In what has become a drawn out set of negotiations, Sanchez’s Arsenal future is still up in the air. The player has a year left on his current contract and is trying to reach an agreement with the London club for an improved deal to extend his stay. According to the Mirror the Chilean is holding out for a salary increase in excess of £200,000-a-week, but former Arsenal player Martin Keown also believes that Arsene Wenger’s unclear future with the club could also be a factor. The Match of the Day Pundit believes that if Wenger leaves in the summer his star player will seek pastures new as well.

There is also the fact that a player of Sanchez’s undeniable world class quality will desperately desire to challenge for titles year in, year out. The 28-year-old will be considering whether the Emirates is the place he can achieve this. PSG could not only offer the former Barcelona man much improved wages, they could also give him the opportunity to challenge for titles every season domestically and in Europe.

Ever since Zlatan Ibrahimović departed to Manchester United in the summer, PSG have been in desperate need of a strong replacement. Edinson Cavani has taken up the goal scoring mantle well (see video above) with 18 goals in Ligue 1 so far, but the Uruguayan needs someone to share the load and link up with. Jese Rodriguez, the summer signing from Real Madrid was acquired to fill this role, but Emery has admitted that the transfer has not gone according to plan and the Spaniard may be on the move again in this transfer window.

Although reports suggest that Emery will make a £60million swoop for Sanchez in the summer, many fans will be thinking that a shock move for the forward now would make more sense. Ahead of the Red and Blues’ crunch Champions League clash against Barcelona, Emery’s side are 40/1 with Betway to win the tournament. Although Sanchez would be cup-tied and ineligible to play for the Paris club in Europe this season, he would provide exceptionally strong cover to challenge in the league while Emery fields a full strength side against Barca.

PSG’s continued dominance of the French top flight may be about to suffer its first major upset this season as Nice and Monaco are currently ahead of the Paris club in the race for the title. Emery has brought in the attacking midfield pairing of Julian Draxler and Giovani Lo Celso already in 2017 as he seeks to gain ground on PSG’s main rivals. But many will be thinking that an out-and-out striker should be top of the agenda. Currently Cavani is the only specialist goal scorer in the squad, and should he suffer injury Emery won’t have many options. There is also the possibility of fatigue if PSG progress in Europe and also have to keep up the hunt in the domestic title race.

PSG should move for Sanchez now and beat their European rivals in singing the ferocious forward. The time seems ripe while his contract disputes are still unresolved, and the player is increasingly dissatisfied with Arsenal’s apparent lack of ambition. PSG need to sign a striker in the window anyway, so why not go for the Gunners man?