Preparations for the new Bundesliga season are well underway but with just a few days to the opening round, careful accountants rather than eager coaches seem to be determining transfer policy.
While Leroy Sane cost champions Bayern 50 million euros (59.4 million dollars), that deal for the Germany winger was agreed early in the year.
It has however remains the high water mark for individual fees spent.
Instead many squads will be strengthened by players returning from loans and free transfers, rather from splashing the cash during the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 137 million euros has been spent so far by the 18 top-tier clubs in Germany, a massive reduction from 2019.
At this point last season, Borussia Dortmund had spent that amount almost on their own amid a league total of 700 million euros.
Andrea Agnelli, chief of the European Club Association (ECA) expects a 20-30 per cent reduction in the transfer market.
“This will be with small and medium-sized clubs most affected, though top players will not lose their value.”
Ulf Baranowsky, head of the VDV players union in Germany, said there was a trend to undo professionalism at clubs.
“Full-time (fourth-tier) regional league players are becoming paid free-time players on a mini-job basis,” he said.
Others are having to leave the game.
The contrary example is Kai Havertz leaving Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for Chelsea in the Premier League.
The Londoners paid some 100 million euros for the midfielder and gave Bayer Leverkusen financial breathing space.
Other German players are also heading abroad, such as Timo Werner, Kevin Volland, Robin Koch, Luca Waldschmidt and Philipp Max.
2014 FIFA World Cup winner Mario Goetze is likely to join them after departing Borussia Dortmund.
Players yet to find a club have hope with the transfer window extended to Oct. 5 as a follow-on from the delay to last season.
Whether there are big money moves made late in the window, however, remains to be seen.
Even Bayern Munich, known for their savings account and high revenue streams, are watching their money carefully.
“As long as we have no fans in the stadium, Bayern Munich are down 50 million to 60 million euros,” honorary president Uli Hoeness said.
Eintracht Frankfurt are in a similar situation with a cut of 50 million to 75 million euros due to the coronavirus.
And this was calculated “conservatively” without transfer expenses, said sports director Fredi Bobic.
The coming year will see changes in the market, according to German football league (DFL) chief Christian Seifert.
“I don’t think that there will not be absolute top transfers again. But even they – I forecast now – would have been many times higher had it not been for the coronavirus.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
NIDO-Ghana plans webinar to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, said on Saturday that it would organise a webinar as part of events to celebrate Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary.
Mr Elija Iposu, Public Relations Officer of NIDO-Ghana, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Iposu said the event would be organised by NIDO-Ghana in collaboration with a Ghana-based private firm, Diplomats Extra and Milestone Communications.
According to him, the webinar, which will hold on Oct. 2, is a virtual ceremony with Zoom ID: 742450910 and the title: ’60 years of Ghana-Nigeria diplomacy’.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, former Director-General Institute of International Affairs, and Amb. Bulus Lolo, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria are among high-ranking personalities expected to participate in the event.
Some other expected guests are Mr Oluwaseyi Adeyemi, Publisher, Inside Watch Africa Magazine, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Advisor, Prof. Baflour Agyeman-Duah, former UN Special Governance Advisor and Affail Monney, President Ghana Journalists Association.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 16, unveiled the logo and theme for the 60th independence anniversary celebration.
He said that the celebration would be observed for a whole year, to end on Sept. 30, 2021 and would be muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
COVID-19: Lagos govt reopens cinemas, gyms
The Lagos State Government on Saturday permitted the reopening of cinemas and gyms, with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this during the 18th update on the management of coronavirus in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said that in October, the state government would announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy.
”Dear Lagosians, henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy.
”This means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.
”Next month, October, we will announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy: night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks and so on.
”For now, these will continue to remain closed, until fixed plans for reopening are announced in October 2020,” he said.
Accordings to him, places of worship are also permitted, while the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; the churches are permitted to resume their mid-week services.
”We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritise the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.
”All of these resumption guidelines and protocols must be strictly adhered to by the various stakeholders,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state government was committed to continuing the maintenance of a balance between the safety of lives and the sustenance of livelihoods.
He said that the state would continue to make adjustments as required, but the gradual resumption of social, educational and economic activities must never be taken as an excuse to let down the guard against the pandemic.
According to him, some parts of the world are seeing a resurgence of infections, and rising possibilities of the kind of hard lockdowns being experienced a few months ago.
”Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable.
”The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitisers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi
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)