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Liverpool, Chelsea Fight Over €21m Serie Schick

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Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all reportedly sent scouts to watch Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick against Inter on Monday night.
The 21-year-old certainly impressed as he scored in his side’s 2-1 win over the Nerazzurri, taking his tally for the season up to eight goals as he continues to attract interest with his form and performances.
Having only joined Sampdoria last summer from Sparta Prague, he has made an instant impact in Italy and it appears as though he has caught the eye of three Premier League giants.
According to ESPN FC, the Czech ace is also of interest to Inter and Borussia Dortmund, but the three English outfits are at the front of the queue as they all eye strengthening their attacking options.
However, it won’t be a straight-forward transfer as despite having only played less than a season in Italy, he’s still got three years on his contract remaining and reportedly has a €21m buy-out clause in that deal.
In turn, any interested party will have to spend significantly to prise him away from Sampdoria, with the hope that he will continue to improve and develop his all-round game.
At this stage of his career though, it’s still a risk as although he’s impressed and shown an eye for goal, having not delivered consistently at the top level for a sustained period of time, United, Chelsea and Liverpool would be taking a risk by splashing out on him.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Manchester United fight back twice from behind to beat Sheffield United

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Manchester United’s chaotic high-scoring form continued at Old Trafford as they twice came from behind to overcome spirited Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund struck in the final nine minutes to ensure the win.

Manchester United captain Fernandes followed up an excellent pinpoint 25-yard drive by hooking back the cross five minutes from time that allowed Hojlund to score his first goal since February.

As in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Coventry, it was a favourable outcome in the end for under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag.

But there are some staggering statistics to go with their recent results. In total, 27 goals have now been scored in their past five games. They have conceded and scored at least two in all of them.

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In entertainment terms, it is sensational. However, there is zero sense of structure and it can only be wondered what new technical director Jason Wilcox made of it as he watched his first game in the Old Trafford directors’ box since his appointment was confirmed last week.

After railing against the media the day before the game, labelling coverage of the Coventry match “embarrassing” and “a disgrace”, Ten Hag’s team failed to follow up by convincing on the pitch.

Without a win since February and with only three in the league all season, Sheffield United led twice, through Jayden Bogle in the first half and Ben Brereton Diaz in the second.

The home side levelled each time, courtesy of Harry Maguire’s deft header and Fernandes’ penalty.

And Manchester United eventually claimed the points to move back into sixth spot.

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Five-Star Arsenal hammer Chelsea to move three points clear at the top

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Premier League - Arsenal v Chelsea - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 23, 2024 Arsenal's Ben White celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Ruthless Arsenal threw down the gauntlet in the Premier League title race with a 5-0 thrashing of London rivals Chelsea to roar three points clear at the top of the table on Tuesday.

Any remaining doubts about Arsenal’s staying power were answered emphatically as Leandro Trossard gave them an early lead before Ben White and Kai Havertz scored two each in a dazzling spell after the break to sweep aside a dazed Chelsea.

It was a powerful statement by Arsenal who have recovered impressively from a home defeat by Aston Villa and bowing out of the Champions League and with four games remaining they are piling the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City.

Arsenal have 77 points from 34 games with Liverpool, who face Everton on Wednesday, on 74 from 33. Reigning champions Manchester City have 73 points but have two games in hand starting with a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday.

It was the sixth time Arsenal have scored five or more in a Premier League game this season and in such a tight race they have a huge goal difference advantage which could prove crucial.

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For ninth-placed Chelsea it was their heaviest ever defeat by Arsenal and a hammer blow in their bid to creep into a European place just days after their narrow FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City.

-Reuters

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Man United’s Rashford, McTominay doubts for Sheffield United game

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FA Cup - Semi Final - Coventry City v Manchester United - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - April 21, 2024 Manchester United's Marcus Rashford in action with Coventry City's Milan van Ewijk Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

Manchester United could be without forward Marcus Rashford and midfielder Scott McTominay through injury when they take on bottom-side Sheffield United at Old Trafford, manager Erik ten Hag said on the eve of Wednesday’s Premier League game.

The 26-year-old Rashford had a stellar 2022-23 campaign, scoring 30 goals in all competitions and went on to be named United’s player of the year, but the England international has only netted eight times this season.

McTominay, meanwhile, has 10 goals across all competitions this season.

The duo picked up their respective injuries during Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Championship side Coventry City, which United won on penalties after surrendering a 3-0 lead at Wembley.

“We had a problem with (Alejandro) Garnacho, that’s why we took him off during the game, but I think he will be fine,” Ten Hag told reporters.

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“Scott we have to assess today, really doubtful. Marcus is also doubtful, and there was also an issue with Bruno (Fernandes) with the hand but I think he can make it.

“We have some doubts going into the game tomorrow.”

United are already facing a defensive crisis due to injuries to Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Jonny Evans, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

United are seventh in the league standings with 50 points, 16 behind fourth-placed Aston Villa with six games to go. Sheffield United are fighting relegation and sit bottom, having won just three of their 33 matches.

“We have to win every game. That’s what United stands for, that is our approach, go from game to game but we have to qualify for Europe and we have two opportunities in the league and the FA Cup final,” Ten Hag said.

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Ten Hag, who has taken the club to two FA Cup finals and a League Cup final, which they won, in his two seasons at the helm, also described the external criticism his side received for their display against Coventry as “embarrassing”.

“Top football is about results, we made it to a final and we deserved it not only by this game but also the other games,” the Dutchman said.

“We lost control for 20 minutes, we also had bad luck, 3-2, 3-3. We were very lucky in the end, clear. Penalties was very good and we made it to the final, it is a huge achievement.

“Twice, in two years — is magnificent. For me as a manager, four cup finals in four years. The comments are a disgrace.”

-Reuters

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