Arrogant, cheeky and an unmistakable touch of class – Manchester United fans have a new hero in Bruno Fernandes, and Peter Crouch thinks there is a lot more to come from the Portuguese midfielder.
Crouch joined Micah Richards on Match of the Day 2 on Sunday to analyse Fernandes’ sparkling solo display against Watford.
The 25-year-old, a £47m January signing from Sporting Lisbon, scored one goal and helped make two more as United saw off the Hornets to move up to fifth place in the Premier League.
Here Crouch explains what impressed him most about Fernandes, and why he has already made such an impact at Old Trafford.
He also explores the part forwards Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have played in United’s upturn in form, but warns there is still improvement needed in other areas if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are going to finish in the Champions League places.
Lovren wants Klopp’s Liverpool to be remembered as one of the greatest ever
Dejan Lovren wants Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to be held in similar regard to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, convinced they can leave a legacy that marks them out as an all-time great team.
After narrowly missing out on the Premier League title last season, despite a remarkable haul of 97 points, Liverpool look destined to end their 30-year wait for the title this term.
The Reds are incredibly 22 points clear of defending champions Manchester City after 25 matches, with Klopp’s side only failing to win once so far in the league.
Not only are they on course to be crowned champions, they are still in the hunt for the FA Cup and also the Champions League, a trophy they lifted in 2019.
Should they close out the season as emphatically as they have performed so far then records will tumble, but Lovren has warned their rivals that Liverpool will still be “greedy” for more in the future.
“I’ve been there from the beginning with Jurgen and it took quite a while, two or three years to build everything up,” Lovren told Sky Sports.
“Let’s say, we clicked this year – maybe even last year – but we missed out by one point.
“Now we understand each other, what we need, what we want. And I especially want that we are remembered maybe like the Barcelona team that won in four years [about] 20 trophies.
“Why should we not do that? I think we can do it and I want that we are remembered as one of the best teams that have played – not only for this year, but for many, many years.
“We are still hungry, still greedy and this is what makes us special to be honest.
“I think many other teams would go easy now with a 22-point lead, but we don’t look at these 22 points. We are just focused game by game and this I think is the simplest way to be the best.
“It is a good experience also for the younger ones, to understand that even if you are on top you still need to work as hard as if you were in the middle of the table or in last position.”
Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to rock-bottom Norwich City.
Ousmane Dembele injury: Replacements Barcelona could sign
Barcelona expect Ousmane Dembele to be sidelined for six months, meaning a new signing could be imminent at Camp Nou.
Under LaLiga regulations, teams can look to the transfer market outside the window if they lose a player to injury for more than five months.
However, they can only sign individuals from the top two tiers in Spain, or those who are available as free agents.
With Luis Suarez also ruled out until May, we look at the options Barca could go for in order to bolster their attack.
Willian Jose (Real Sociedad)
The former Real Madrid striker was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham during the January transfer window but a move did not come to fruition. However, Barca reportedly only have a budget of €12million, which could prove to be insufficient to sign Willian Jose, who has fallen behind Alexander Isak in the pecking order at the Reale Arena.
Angel Rodriguez (Getafe)
A more realistic option appears to be Getafe’s Rodriguez, who is believed to have €10m release clause. The 32-year-old has scored nine LaLiga goals for Jose Bordalas’ Champions League-chasing side this season but has started just six top-flight matches.
After failing to make his mark in the Premier League at Arsenal and West Ham, at Deportivo Alaves Perez has rediscovered the sort of form that encouraged the Gunners to sign him from Deportivo La Coruna in 2016. He has scored nine LaLiga goals and laid on four more for Alaves this season and strike partner Joselu, formerly of Real Madrid, this week revealed he has urged Perez not to join Barca.
Head coach Quique Setien coached Moron for two seasons at Real Betis and he is the club’s leading goalscorer in LaLiga this season, finding the net eight times and supplying two assists. Betis president Angel Haro said at the weekend there has been no official contact from Barca, and Moron’s release clause is understood to stand at €40m.
Adebayor joins former Man City team-mate Santa Cruz at Olimpia – could Toure be next?
Emmanuel Adebayor has reunited with former Manchester City team-mate Roque Santa Cruz at OIlimpia, and Yaya Toure is also being linked with a switch to South America.
The ex-Real Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham attacker, 35, has joined the reigning Primera Division champions for the 2020 campaign, having played alongside Santa Cruz at the Etihad Stadium between 2009 and 2010.
Olimpia president Marco Trovato last Friday said he wanted 20,000 new members to sign up in order to announce the arrival of Adebayor on Monday, though the deadline was extended by 24 hours.
Shortly after revealing that 14,922 people had signed up with the club, Olimpia made the former Togo international’s arrival official.
Toure could be the next big-name veteran to arrive in South America, with Rodrigo Codas, an agent who played a role in Adebayor’s move to Olimpia, claiming the Ivorian’s representative has asked him to help evaluate the market.
Toure, who arrived at City from Barcelona in 2010 and won three Premier League titles, spent 2019 playing in China’s second tier with Qingdao Huanghai and is reportedly a target for Olimpia’s rivals Libertad, though a switch to Brazil appears more likely.
“I want to be cautious about Yaya,” Codas told Fox Sports Argentina. “He is a player that is willing to come to South America.
“He is very friendly with Adebayor, the same with Roque or Carlos Tevez in South America.
“I think that Yaya would be going, if all goes well, to Brazil. Because of the country and the finances, and because of the power of Brazilian football.
“The coronavirus scares many players who are in China and want to leave.”
Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has signed a new contract with the Serie A champions until 2024.
The Poland international has established himself as the Turin giants’ first-choice keeper since Gianluigi Buffon joined Paris Saint Germain ahead of the 2018-19 season.
Juve on Tuesday announced that Szczesny, signed from Arsenal in July 2017 after spending two seasons on loan at Roma, has extended his stay with the Serie A title contenders.
The 29-year-old has made 84 appearances for the defending champions, winning the Scudetto twice, and the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana once apiece.
Szczesny has been commanding for Maurizio Sarri’s side this season, keeping Buffon on the bench for much of the campaign after the Italy icon’s return to the club.
He said: “This is a demonstration on behalf of the club of the trust they have in me, and so I am very happy.
“I will look to keep giving my best in the next few years with Juve.”
He added: “I am here until 2024 and I want to win everything. This is the objective of the club and the players. We need to sweat, to run and sacrifice to achieve the objectives, which is more trophies and titles.”
After 23 Serie A matches this term, Juve are second to Antonio Conte’s Inter, trailing them on goal difference.
Chelsea promote highly rated Gilmour to first-team squad
Chelsea have promoted highly rated midfielder Billy Gilmour to their first-team squad on a permanent basis.
Gilmour, 18, has made five appearances for Chelsea’s senior side this term but been predominately used in the club’s Under-23s.
However, the Scotland youth international has demonstrated such great promise to the coaching staff that they have decided his talents will be better served solely in the first-team squad.
Frank Lampard has been praised for his use of young players this term and Gilmour is regarded as one of Chelsea’s brightest prospects.
Lampard made Gilmour aware of his decision during Chelsea’s trip to Leicester City at the start of February.
“It’s a massive moment for me and I’m really happy,” Gilmour told Chelsea’s official website.
“I went with the squad to Leicester and, even though I wasn’t involved, the gaffer [Lampard] pulled me afterwards to tell me that after the winter break I’d be with the first-team permanently.
“It’s a dream come true for me. It’s the first big step I think, moving into the first-team dressing room at a club like Chelsea. It’s massive for me.
“Knowing that the manager has such faith in you is massive, it gives me so much confidence when I step onto the field. It’s really good knowing that he trusts in you and likes the way you play, and I think that’s the same for everyone here.
“Age isn’t really an issue here. The gaffer has shown that if you work hard and perform well, then you will get opportunities. Hopefully I can keep pushing on and work hard every day in training.”
Chelsea are next in action at home to Manchester United on Monday.
Talking about whether Kenin will be able to cope up with the pressure of the big stage on Saturday, Henin responded by saying: “Of course it’s going to be her first Grand Slam final. But from what we’ve seen in this tournament, she’s pretty relaxed.”
Kenin has an exceptional run in the ongoing competition where before defeating Barty, she has also got the better of fellow American Coco Gauff who defeated defending champion Naomi Osaka.