Guillem Balague Insists Samuel Umtiti Is Playing A Two-Card Game

Sky Sports football expert Guillem Balague believes Samuel Umtiti is playing a two-card game in order to earn a new bumper contract at Barcelona. The France international has stressed his ambition to stay at the Camp Nou despite reports suggesting that he wants to treble his current wages of £50,000-a-week.


Speaking on Sky Sports, Balague said: “What is absolutely true at the moment is that Samuel Umtiti is playing a two-card game, on the one hand he is telling Barcelona he would like to stay but on the other he wants to treble his wages. It’s not normal for a player in their second season at Barcelona to renew their contract just because Manchester United reportedly wants to trigger his €60m buy-out clause. At this moment in time negotiations have stopped and right now Barcelona are less positive than they were in the past, but there is still a long way to go.”

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Thomas Vermaelen: Lionel Messi is better than ‘world-class’ Eden Hazard

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has said that Lionel Messi is on a different level to Eden Hazard despite the latter becoming the go-to player in the Chelsea ranks. The former Arsenal man is set to return to London this week when the Catalan giants face-off against the Blues in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg.

In an interview with The Guardian, the experienced centre-back was asked to compare the individual abilities of Hazard and Messi. Though he initially admitted that there are similarities in their style of play, the 32-year-old stressed it is difficult to place him into the calibre of Messi, who has five Ballon d’Or titles to his name.
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Thomas Vermaelen confident injury problems are behind him

Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen is looking forward to contributing towards Barcelona’s success after having overcome his concerns with regular injuries. The former Arsenal man started the campaign as the fourth-choice defender, but injuries to Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti have enabled him cement a regular role in central defence alongside Gerard Pique.

In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Vermaelen is pleased to have gone unscathed for more than a year, and he is aiming to integrate into prove his worth to the Catalan giants, he said: “I understand that people had doubts about my physical condition because in recent years I have had a few physical problems. But since November 2016 I have not had any more problems and I’ve been feeling good for a year. I know I have a reputation as a player made of glass, but I have managed to overcome that. I knew I had the ability to play for Barca but in previous years, due to injuries, I had not been able to show what I am capable of.”
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Ernesto Valverde calm over Antoine Griezmann speculation

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde refused to discuss the possibility of signing Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann in the New Year. The Catalans had been hot on the trail of both Philippe Coutinho and Angel di Maria during the dying stages of the summer transfer window, but a deal could not materialise for either player.

Ahead of the Leganes clash, Valverde admired the qualities of Griezmann and revealed that the club have not closed the door on pursuing fresh recruits in January, he said: “Griezmann is a great player, one of the names being talked about but for now I have the players that I have. In the future, we will see. Of course, the club, like all clubs, is open to doing business in the January window, even though we’re happy with what we already have. We’re not going to close the door on anything.”
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Inter Milan set sights on signing Thomas Vermaelen

Inter Milan have reportedly set their sights on signing Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen as they look to bolster their central defensive department in the New Year. The Nerazzurri currently have Milan Skriniar, Joao Miranda, and Andreas Ranocchia as the only senior centre-backs in the club’s ranks.

According to TMW, Luciano Spalletti’s side have earmarked Vermaelen as their top defensive target for January as they look to maintain their strong start to the campaign. The San Siro outfit are currently just two points adrift of league leaders Napoli, and the manager is hoping to add more options to the defence in order to avoid burnout in the second half of the season.
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Arsene Wenger: Barcelona playing in the Premier League would be difficult

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that it would be difficult for English clubs, if Barcelona were to join the Premier League in the future.

Catalonia is currently pushing through its independence referendum from Spain, and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted this week that the Camp Nou outfit could end their association with La Liga.

In response to this, Wenger joked that he would ‘try to learn Catalan’ and said: “If Barcelona want to join the Premier League, it makes things even more difficult for everybody. I don’t think they have gotten as far as that. It is interesting and there will be incidents on the sporting side as Barcelona are a highly political club. I think it will be interesting to see how they respond in the championship. We have enough clubs here with 20 but if you want to go up to 24, we have to invite the Scottish clubs before we go for the Spanish.”

The English Football League has previously proposed including the likes of Rangers and Celtic in the English division, and SPFL chief Neil Doncaster admitted earlier in June that there is the prospect of the Old Firm playing in England. Continue reading Arsene Wenger: Barcelona playing in the Premier League would be difficult


Belgium international centre-back, Thomas Vermaelen seems to be out of favour at the Camp Nou after the expiration of his loan out to AS Roma.

His period at AS Roma saw him hit with injury, thus appearing no more than 12 times on competitive levels for the club.

Vermaelen is a player that has always been prone to injury ever since his days at Ajax, and from there in 2009 to Arsenal.

Football Italia has it that the centre back is wanted by both Beskitas and Torino for the next season. Continue reading TORINO AND BESKITAS IN RAT RACE FOR VERMAELEN


Barcelona star Thomas Vermaelen has dark clouds over his footballing career.

Most clubs are wary of him as he battle fitness concerns despite his rich experience and intelligence as a footballer. The 31-year old centre back has been linked with a move to Premier League side Watford.

He used to play for Arsenal – spending five years – before his £15 million move to Spain to feature for Barcelona. He never really settled at Nou Camp as he suffered different injuries. Eventually, Blaugrana sent him on a season long loan to AS Roma hoping that the change in environment would be for the better. Continue reading THOMAS VERMAELEN’S FUTURE REMAINS UNCERTAIN

Marc Wilmots laid the blame on the makeshift defence

Belgian manager Marc Wilmots laid the blame on the makeshift defence for the loss against Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Belgium had a great opportunity to reach the semifinals of the competition and that this golden generation can perform when it matters the most. Questions have been raised about the mental strength of the golden generation, which features the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Thomas Vermaelen. The latter has missed majority of the campaign and it was not surprising to see him unable to feature at the Euro 2016 due to injury.

Wilmots was sceptical about the availability of Vermaelen for the tournament, but Belgium were handed major injury blows just prior to the Euro 2016. The likes of Manchester City captain and defender Vincent Kompany’s failed to make it to the tournament was one of the biggest blows. Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen was yet another injury casualty but midway through the campaign. All these injuries – especially in the defence – forced Wilmots to field a makeshift defence against one of the surprising teams of Euro 2016 – Wales. A 3-1 defeat – despite taking an early lead through Nainggolan – saw Belgium exit the tournament with Wilmots blaming the defence as a major reason.
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Popualar video streaming company, Youtube has signed a deal to broadcast top tier football games in spain. YouTube has built on its live sports offerings after agreeing a free-to-air broadcast deal with Spain’s Professional Football League (LFP). A number of games from the LFP World Challenge, Spain’s top-tier football pre-season tour, will be shown on the online video platform later this summer. As well as the live games YouTube will also offer a number of highlights packages and behind the scenes content from the tour.

The broadcasts will include games featuring Real Sociedad and SD Eibar, who will embark on a North American pre-season tour and RCD Espanyol who are due to visit Bolivia as part of their summer plans. YouTube will show a number of fixtures including San Jose Earthquakes against Real Sociedad, Philadelphia Fury against Eibar and Club Blooming against Espanyol, among others.

The LFP World Challenge is part of a wider campaign set up between the Government of Spain, Spain’s Professional Football League (LFP), the country’s higher sports council (CSD), and the Spanish institute of foreign trade (ICEX) to promote La Liga and Spain in general. The news comes just days after BT Sport, which holds the exclusive UK broadcast rights to the Champions League and Europa League, announced that it would show the final of each tournament for free on YouTube.

YouTube’s ambitions to strengthen its foothold in live sports streaming extend beyond just football however, the Google-owned video service recently partnered with the NFL to offer fans some of the game’s most iconic matches for free. While YouTube has made its ambitions to stream live sport clear, it has been aided by sports broadcasters’ attempts to hold on to their audiences who are increasingly cutting cable and satellite subscriptions in favour of consuming content on digital platforms. The La Liga has also been attracting growing interest as they constantly rule the continental football tournament in the Champions League.