Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed a new three-year deal, the Premier League club said on Tuesday, ending speculation over a potential exit as he entered the final year of his contract.
Aubameyang’s decision to stay with Arsenal will be a major boost to manager Mikel Arteta who said he wanted to build the squad around the Gabon international after they won the FA Cup last month.
“Signing for this special club was never in doubt,” Aubameyang said in a statement .
“It’s thanks to our fans, my team mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here.
“I believe in Arsenal. We can achieve big things together. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is yet to come for Arsenal.”
British media reported Aubameyang’s new contract makes the 31-year-old one of the highest earners at the club alongside midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Aubameyang’s return of 72 goals for Arsenal in 111 appearances since his arrival in 2018 has made him a vital member of the squad, with the striker even taking the captain’s armband in the second half of the season last year.
With Arsenal in danger of missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years following an eighth-placed league finish, Aubameyang led from the front to help Arteta’s side win the FA Cup and qualify for the Europa League.
The striker scored twice in the semi-final victory over Manchester City and repeated his heroics in the final in a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea.
Aubameyang ended last season as the club’s top scorer with 29 goals — which included 22 in the league, one goal shy of Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy.
He was also the only Arsenal player named in the Team of the Year.
“It was important for Pierre-Emerick to stay with us… He’s an important leader for the team and a big part of what we’re building,” Arteta said.
“He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here.”
Aubameyang’s contract extension follows the addition of Chelsea winger Willian to Arsenal’s ranks after the Brazilian became a free agent as well as defender Gabriel Magalhaes from French side Lille.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
VAR drama as Zaha double earns Crystal Palace shock 3-1 win at Manchester United
Manchester United’s season got underway with a shock 3-1 defeat by Crystal Palace as Wilfried Zaha grabbed a late double for the visitors in the Premier League on Saturday.
However, the win was not without drama, as VAR was once again the centre of attention.
United looked off the pace early on as Andros Townsend put Palace in front after seven minutes.
The home side’s campaign was starting a week later than initially scheduled due to last season’s Europa League commitments running into mid-August.
Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay went close as United chased an equaliser but the hosts could have gone in two goals behind at halftime.
Only a brilliant David De Gea save kept a goal-bound Jordan Ayew strike out.
United brought Mason Greenwood on at halftime but their task was made more difficult.
VAR decided that referee Martin Atkinson should consult the pitch-side monitor and he awarded Palace a penalty for handball against Victor Lindelof.
Ayew stepped up to take the spot kick but De Gea made a fantastic save.
The VAR drama was not done there, however, with Atkinson informed that De Gea had come off his line and the penalty was retaken, with Zaha converting this time.
New signing Donny van de Beek came off the bench to get the home side back in the contest with a goal on his debut.
However, former United forward Zaha had the last laugh as he made sure of a deserved win for Palace with a fine finish late on.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Liverpool sign Portugal winger Jota from Wolves
Liverpool have completed the signing of Portugal forward Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a long term contract, the English Premier League (EPL) champions said on Saturday.
Liverpool’s versatile 18-year-old defender Ki-Jana Hoever moved in the other direction on a five-year contract.
He played four senior games for the Anfield club following his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2018.
British media reported that Liverpool agreed a five-year deal worth about 41 million pounds for Jota.
It is expected that his versatility and work rate should fit in well with manager Juergen Klopp’s hard-pressing style of play.
“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool —— the world champions —— is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.”
The 23-year-old Jota was left out of Wolves’ League Cup defeat by Stoke City on Thursday and was an unused substitute in their 2-0 league win over Sheffield United last weekend.
Initially arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2017, Jota has scored 16 goals and provided six assists for Wolves in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
“I think I’m a team player,” Jota said. “I play upfront and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me…I’ll always try to help the team in the best way possible.”
Jota is Liverpool’s third signing of the close season following the arrival of Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Spurs sign Bale on loan, Reguilon on permanent deal
Tottenham Hotspur have signed winger Gareth Bale and left-back Sergio Reguilon from Spanish champions Real Madrid, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced in a statement on Saturday.
Bale returns to his former club on a one-year loan deal, with British media reporting that Spurs will pay 20 million pounds in wages and fees for the 31-year-old Wales forward.
Reguilon, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla, arrives for a reported fee of 30 million euros (35.51 million dollars).
Bale made more than 200 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, scoring 56 goals with 58 assists before his then world record move to Real Madrid for 100 million euros.
He won four UEFA Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles with Real Madrid.
But he has divided opinion amongst the club’s fanbase, with some supporters frustrated by a perceived lack of commitment from the Welshman and his poor injury record.
Bale was poised for a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last year before the deal fell through.
He endured his worst season at Real Madrid in 2019/2020, scoring only three goals in all competitions, and barely featured in their run to the Liga title.
His growing rift with manager Zinedine Zidane intensified when he did not travel with the squad for a UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester City last season.
The signings of Bale and Reguilon follow the arrival at Spurs of Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ireland defender Matt Doherty and former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Anambra FA Caretaker Committee enrolls club owners in health insurance scheme
The Caretaker Committee of Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) has commenced the enrollment of club owners in the state into a health insurance scheme.
Emeka Okeke, Chairman of AnSFA Caretaker Committee, said on Saturday in Awka that the programme was part of the support provided for grassroots football development.
He added that it would also enhance their beneficiaries’ access to affordable health care.
“The enrollment is in fulfilment of my promise at a meeting with the club owners.”
Okeke had promised that the caretaker committee would do all that was possible to provide an enabling environment for them to thrive.
Anayo Obiako, proprietor of Awka City FC, said he was happy that for the first time, club owners in Anambra were enjoying a welfare programme courtesy of the FA.
Obiako, who described it as a promise kept, said it would help many of them to enjoy free medical services especially now that the cost of healthcare services was high.
“This is a welcome development. We are happy. Normally we should pay something to access services, but the FA caretaker committee is doing that on our behalf.
“For many years, we have been working and paying all the necessary fees to enable us participate in FA programmes, but we never enjoyed any benefit. So, this AnSFA caretaker committee is doing well,” he said.
Also speaking, Ikenna Osueke, proprietor of Ozalla FC, said the programme would ensure adequate protection of the lives of beneficiaries.
Osueke said it was a huge addition to football development in the state.
Dozie Okpalaugo, coordinator of the AnSFA programme, said no fewer than 30 club owners would be captured in the first phase.
Okpalaugo said with just 1,000 Naira monthly and an annual 12,000 Naira premium, the enrollees would be able to access medical services in about 350 hospitals across the state.
“It covers a number of medical conditions, including malaria and minor surgery, Okpalaugo, who is the Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Health Scheme and Pension Matters, said.
He therefore urged the enrollees to take advantage of the gesture, assuring that the Anambra Health Insurance Scheme would ensure that health care providers render the expected services.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan and Olawale Alabi)