Manchester United failed to sign summer transfer target Douglas Costa… because Maurizio Sarri left Chelsea for Juventus

10 Sep

Maurizio Sarri reportedly blocked Manchester United’s summer approach for Douglas Costa after joining Juventus from Chelsea.

Juventus winger Costa was believed to have been one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s key targets during the transfer window.

Douglas Costa joined Juventus, initially on loan, in 2017 before making the move permanent a year later
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But Sarri was not keen on selling the 28-year-old, having decided to keep him in Turin after leaving Chelsea to become Juventus manager.

This is according Giovanni Branchini, the intermediary who oversaw Costa’s move to the Serie A giants in 2017.

“I sincerely say that Allegri and Sarri have never thought of letting him go,” Branchini told the Daily Mail.

“The interest of Manchester United was strong, a club that has always been interested in the Brazilian.

“It was not the only club but in England it was certainly the most active team on the trail of Douglas Costa.”

The Brazil international was limited to just 17 league appearances last season due to injury.

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Those injury problems have not hindered his start under Sarri, however, with Costa already recording two assists in two games this term.

Branchi added: “Douglas has had countless health problems. Last season he was very often injured. He is wanting to recover with great professionalism after standing still.

“Juventus never intended to sell him despite the big pressure from United.

“Douglas is a ‘cool’ professional in the best sense of the word. He is able to adapt to everything. Just think of how well he did in Ukraine, in a country totally different from Brazil.

“He loves Juventus but is able to adapt to every reality. Premier League is a beautiful championship but for now United have failed in all their attempts to convince Juventus to sell him. The player remained in Turin and is a champion.”

How Juventus may line up in Serie A opener featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Matthijs de Ligt and Aaron Ramsey

24 Aug

Juventus will be looking to win an unprecedented ninth straight Serie A title when they begin their 2019/20 campaign on Saturday.

They set new heights when they won their sixth in a row but to get nine in a row would be simply superb.

Juventus won Serie A in Massimiliano Allegri’s farewell season
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Rivals of Juve including Inter Milan have improved but it’s been an incredibly busy summer in Turin.

The Bianconceri have continued to recruit some star-studded names including Matthijs de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey – the latter two coming in for free.

Maurizio Sarri has replaced Massimiliano Allegri as manager although the former Chelsea boss will miss the first two games of the season after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

The players will be more than ready for action though and their first game sees them go to Parma, who finished 14th in 2018/19.

Could former Arsenal man Ramsey start for Juve?

So how might Juventus line up for their first league match?

Below you can see talkSPORT.com’s predicted Juve XI featuring the likes of De Ligt, Ramsey and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Option 1: With Ramsey and without Rabiot

Is this how Juve will line up against Parma?
buildlineup.com

Ramsey played for Juventus for the first time in a pre-season friendly against Triestina and he could play in the midfield three along with Miralem Pjanic and Emre Can.

Sarri could play Gonzalo Higuain – a player he’s coached at Napoli and Chelsea – meaning Ronaldo could play out in his preferred position on the left.

Meanwhile, Dutch superstar Matthijs de Ligt is in line to make his competitive debut and we suspect it will be alongside veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Option 2: With Rabiot and without Ramsey

It looks as though Ramsey and Rabiot will be fighting for starting spots this season
buildlineup.com

However, former Paris Saint-Germain star Rabiot will be vying for a place in the starting XI and has featured in Juve’s pre-season matches.

It will be a good competition between the pair for a starting spot.

Option 3: With Ramsey and Rabiot

Ramsey and Rabiot will provide competition for Emre Can too

However, this could be how they line up if Ramsey and Rabiot play together.

After all, Can’s place is by no means guaranteed in such a talented squad.

Option 4: Second XI

The depth to Juventus’ squad is incredible

It’s highly unlikely Juventus will do this but this is the team they could field if they wanted to rest a bunch of their first-team players.

You’d still back this lot to win though!

Maurizio Sarri to miss Juventus’ first two matches as he recovers from pneumonia

22 Aug

Maurizio Sarri will miss Juventus’ first two Serie A matches as he recovers from pneumonia.

The former Chelsea manager underwent further tests on Thursday which showed his condition had improved over the last couple of days.

Sarri will miss the first two Juve matches of the season
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However, although the 60-year-old subsequently visited the training ground to speak to his staff he will not be on the bench when Juve kick-off the defence of their league title.

“To completely recover from the pneumonia that hit him over the course of the past few days, the coach will not sit on the bench for the first two Serie A matches against Parma and Napoli,” said a statement from the club.

“The decision was taken to allow the coach, who even today went to the JTC (Juventus Training Centre) to co-ordinate work with his staff, to resume regular activity as soon as possible.”

Sarri guided Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League last season and also won his first trophy in management after leading the Blues to victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final.

The Italian will miss out on facing Napoli, who he managed for three seasons between 2015-2018, in Juventus’ second league game of the season.

Gary Cahill EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s a shame Frank Lampard wasn’t manager last season’, jokes former Chelsea star

20 Aug

Gary Cahill has joked to talkSPORT it was a ‘shame’ Frank Lampard wasn’t Chelsea manager last season instead of Maurizio Sarri, saying he would have relished playing under his former teammate.

The former England defender ended his seven-and-a-half year stay at Stamford Bridge this summer as he moved across London to join Crystal Palace in a free transfer.

It came after a ‘horrible’ final year for the Blues, as he played just 22 minutes of Premier League football during Sarri’s sole campaign in charge.

Gary Cahill was phased out of the Chelsea team by former manager Maurizio Sarri last season – making just eight appearances
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The 33-year-old fell behind David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in the pecking order and ended up making just eight appearances in all competitions.

It was a fall from grace from a player who had played close to 300 games, won the Champions League, two Premier League titles and two Europa League titles in a Blues shirt.

talkSPORT host Jim White sat down with Cahill on Tuesday to chat about his first few weeks at his new club and reflect on Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea manager.

The centre-back said he would have enjoyed playing for his friend at Stamford Bridge and, while admitting it was the ‘right time to leave’ Chelsea, he revealed his disappointment over the nature of his exit after his bit-part season under Sarri.

“It’s a shame he [Lampard] wasn’t in last year when I was there,” Cahill told talkSPORT.

“No, I’m only joking. It would have been very interesting to work under him, especially when you’ve play with him and know what he’s like, it would have been an experience I would have relished.

“Leaving Chelsea was sad, but naturally everything has to come to an end.

“It was certainly the right time for me to go from that club and I have nothing but positive things to say about the club.

“There’s no issue there. It was just naturally the right time to go.

“Every single year I’ve made many, many appearances throughout my career, and last year I made hardly any, so that tells it all and that it was the right time to go.”

Cahill was not selected to play in last season’s Europa League final against Arsenal, but was given the opportunity to lift the trophy with captain Cesar Azpilicueta
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Cahill also said the memory of his last season at Chelsea will give him ‘fire in his belly’ to perform as he pulls on a Crystal Palace shirt this season.

The 33-year-old admits it felt ‘strange’ when he arrived at his new club after spending so long at Stamford Bridge, but is excited to share his experience and play a bigger role in the Premier League this term.

“It’s been good and a bit strange, it’s a bit like your first day back at school, but they’ve been so welcoming,” he added.

“I’ve enjoyed the first week of training and the lads have been fantastic. They seem a really close bunch which is great.

Gary Cahill is looking forward to getting on the pitch for Crystal Palace after spending their opening two Premier League games on the bench
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“I’ve got a burning desire to win football matches and play consistently well at the highest level, first of all for me and then hopefully I can rub off on the players and staff around me and try and push the club in the right direction.

“That’s the pressure I need to put on myself. I need to be as hungry as ever, which I will be because all I need to do is flip my memory to last year to give me that fire in my belly to perform.

“I’m more than ready to go now and I’m looking forward to the season.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Gary Cahill IN FULL above

Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri diagnosed with pneumonia and may miss first Juventus game of the season

20 Aug

Maurizio Sarri has been diagnosed with pneumonia and may miss the start of the Serie A season.

The new Juventus boss returned to Italy this summer after a tumultuous spell at Chelsea, but is unlikely to be on the bench for the opening game of the season.

The 60-year-old was struck with flu last week and missed the weekend’s training sessions in order to rest.

Maurizio Sarri could miss the start of the season after being diagnosed with pneumonia
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But it now transpires his condition has worsened and the Serie A champions have taken action.

A Juventus statement read: “Maurizio Sarri, after having observed rest over the weekend, was at the JTC Continassa today where he coordinated the work of his staff.

“Unfortunately, he could not conduct the training on the field due to the persistence of his flu, which struck him over the course of last week.

“In the late afternoon, he underwent further tests that confirmed he has pneumonia, for which specific therapy has been prescribed.

“The Coach has authorised the club to communicate his state of health.”

The illness couldn’t come at a worse time for the Europa League winner, with Juve travelling to Parma for their league opener on Saturday.

And it remains to be seen if Sarri will even travel with his players, having missed the weekend friendly win over Triestina.

Cristiano Ronaldo told Paulo Dybala he MUST join Manchester United after Juventus striker asked for advice in WhatsApp group

3 Aug

Cristinao Ronaldo has urged Paulo Dybala to join Manchester United if he wants to become a champion.

The Juventus forward has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in a swap deal which could see Romelu Lukaku head to Turin.

However, reports on Friday evening from Italy suggested the Argentine had ‘no intention’ of moving to Manchester.

Cristiano Ronaldo could be pivotal to helping Man United land Dybala
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But according to the Daily Mail, Dybala asked for Ronaldo’s advice on a group WhatsApp chat and was given a resounding answer.

The 34-year-old enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Old Trafford and became a ‘champion’, something he feels his young protege can replicate.

Despite only arriving last year, Ronaldo has a huge say on proceedings at the club, as does club director Fabio Paratici and vice-president Pavel Nedved.

The Portugal captain convinced Matthijs De Ligt to move from Ajax to Turin earlier this summer after talking to the teenager after the UEFA Nations League final.

Despite wanting to play Champions League football, Dybala is understood to have taken the veteran’s advice seriously as he ponders where he wants to play football next.

New Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is an admirer of Romelu Lukaku’s and his capture will help fill the void left by Dybala, who scored 78 goals in 182 games during his four years since moving from Palermo.

The report claims Dybala is now ready to accept United’s offer and once again, 10 years after Ronaldo left the club, United will have to offer their gratitude to one of their greatest ever players.

Chelsea news: Jorginho hoping to be more creative under Frank Lampard and insists he and Maurizio Sarri were never friends

25 Jul

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has praised Frank Lampard and insisted he is happy to be at the club despite the departure of Maurizio Sarri.

The Brazilian-born Italy international arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2018, following Sarri from Napoli.

Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho both joined Chelsea from Napoli last summer
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He was tasked with anchoring the midfield, helping to dictate ‘Sarri-ball’ meaning N’Golo Kante was pushed out of position.

While Chelsea fans initially warmed to the possession-based style in the early stages of the season, it quickly grew tiresome, as supporters chanted ‘F**k Sarri-ball and turned on Jorginho due to his association with the manager.

Now, the £50million player has stressed he and Sarri were not friends, only ever work colleagues.

“He was my manager, he wasn’t my friend,” he said via the Daily Mail.

“We worked together for four years but this is another time, it is another page, another chapter, another time in my life. I look forward to that now.

“Sarri has left and I have stayed here and I need to do a job for my team at Chelsea.

Jorginho is hoping to flourish under Frank Lampard
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“I have a long contract, four more years and I am very happy at the moment and very happy at Chelsea and hope to be here a long time.”

Under Sarri, Jorginho operated at the heart of a rigid 4-3-3 formation and topped the Premier League list for most passes with 3,118, but failed to make a single assist and netted just twice.

However, his role in a new 4-2-3-1 set-up, looks to have been altered by Lampard in pre-season, who has clearly encouraged Jorginho to be more forward thinking with his play and it was he who set up Tammy Abraham for the opening goal in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Barcelona.

“I think I am more aggressive. I learnt a lot last season with intensity and aggressiveness in our system. I can help my team-mates this season.

“My characteristics are to be there and to control the game, organise the team. I stay in the middle and my team-mates can go to attack. Maybe it will mean more assists this year, maybe not.”

Chelsea news: Gianfranco Zola ‘surprised’ by Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus move, but insists Eden Hazard sale was not a factor

8 Jul

Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid did not play a part in Maurizio Sarri’s decision to leave his role as Chelsea manager, according Gianfranco Zola.

But the former Blues number two admits he was ‘surprised’ by his fellow Italian’s departure to Juventus.

Chelsea hero Gianfranco Zola was assistant manager to Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge last season
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Hazard ended years of transfer speculation by finally sealing a move to the Bernabeu for £89m (€100m) last month.

And boss Sarri followed him out of the club just over a week later, succeeding Massimiliano Allegri to become the new manager of Juventus.

There were claims Sarri made his decision to leave Stamford Bridge after they allowed his talisman player to go.

But, asked if Hazard’s move to Spain influenced Sarri’s move, Zola told talkSPORT on Monday: “No I don’t think so, I don’t think Hazard was a part in this.

“I think it was maybe about something else, maybe he thought Juventus was a better opportunity, but I don’t know to be honest.

“I can understand his choice, but I cannot hide that it surprised me.”

Zola has also urged fans to temper their expectations ahead of Frank Lampard’s first season in charge of Chelsea.

Zola lost his role as assistant head coach last week after club legend Lampard was announced as Sarri’s successor.

But the former Blues star wished the Englishman well and believes the new boss can be a success at Stamford Bridge, as long as he is given time in the hotseat.

Lampard poses for the press at Stamford Bridge
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“It will be a very demanding job for Frank,” added the Italian on Monday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“Hazard has been a big player for Chelsea – he was involved in 43 per cent of all Chelsea’s goals last season.

“He was amazing last season and Frank has lost someone very important.

Hazard has secured his dream move to Real Madrid
getty

“A lot of going to be down to expectations.

“Everybody at Chelsea needs to get into the idea they are starting again, Frank will need a little bit of time to put his ideas in place and he will be given time to make some mistakes.

“It’s a big job for him, but the potential is there. The players did well last year and this year I think they can do more.”

Gianfranco Zola EXCLUSIVE: Italian explains ‘painful’ Chelsea exit and says the club should have kept Maurizio Sarri as manager

8 Jul

Gianfanco Zola has told talkSPORT about his ‘painful’ Chelsea departure and believes the club should have kept Maurizio Sarri on board as manager.

The Blues announced last week that Zola had left the club, losing his role as assistant manager after fellow Italian Sarri was appointed the new manager of Juventus.

Gianfranco Zola has left Chelsea following the departure of Maurizio Sarri
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Frank Lampard has been confirmed as Sarri’s replacement and is expected to bring in his own coaching team from Derby County, including ex-Chelsea team-mate and academy coach Jody Morris – leaving no room for Zola.

The Stamford Bridge hero joined the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Monday to discuss his exit, saying he ‘respects’ the club’s decision.

However, he believes Chelsea would have benefitted from keeping Sarri as boss for longer than just one season.

Zola told talkSPORT: “Obviously it’s painful because you’re in a place where you like to be and it means a lot to you.

“Of course, it’s always painful, but we have to be professional and I think Chelsea are looking forward, they made other choices and I respect them, I have no problem with that.”

Asked if would have liked to have stayed at Chelsea, the Italian added: “Yes, very much.

“I think the best of Maurizio’s work comes not in the first year but more from the second year onwards.

Zola believes Chelsea should have kept Sarri for longer than just one season
GETTY

“Looking at the way he works, it takes a little bit of time to put in place what he wants to do and also he is very demanding on the players.

“But, after the players get used to it, they get better and better and the work becomes more effective.

“It’s a pity, because I think it would have been good for the club if Maurizio stayed and it would have been good for Maurizio as well.”

Juventus transfer news: How Serie A champions could line-up next season with Paul Pogba, Matthijs de Ligt, and Aaron Ramsey

2 Jul

Maurizio Sarri’s squad at Juventus is already shaping up for the new season with two impressive free transfer signings and more on the horizon.

Sarri left Chelsea last month after just a season in charge to take the job and move back to Italy.

Matthijs de Ligt is thought to have chosen Juventus as his next club
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Juve had already signed a pre-contract agreement with Aaron Ramsey and he was officially unveiled last week.

The Turin-based side also won the race for the signature of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

The France international had been frozen out of the first team squad in his homeland because of his intention to leave once his contract expired.

A number of other top clubs were after his signature, including Liverpool and Manchester United, but he chose to go to Italy.

Gonzalo Higuain has also returned to the club after an unsuccessful loan spell with Chelsea.

It remains to be seen if he will get another chance at Juventus but he has a good relationship with Sarri, who coached him at Napoli and brought him to Chelsea.

The Serie A side are also the favourites to sign Matthijs De Ligt this summer with some reports suggesting the Netherlands defender has chosen Juve.

Wantaway Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has also been heavily linked with a return to Turin.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at how Juve could line-up next season.

4-3-3

This is a formation that Sarri favoured at Chelsea with a back-four and a defensive midfielder, likely Rabiot, just in front.

Ramsey could partner Pogba in front of Rabiot to provide the creativity for the forwards.

In attack, the manager could deploy a front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain and Paulo Dybala, depending on who remains at the club.

How Maurizio Sarri’s side could look next season

4-3-1-2

In this set up, it would be very similar to the 4-3-3 but with Ramsey and Pogba providing more width.

That would mean Cristiano Ronaldo pushed into a No.10 role in order to accommodate the two strikers, in this instance they would be Dybala and Higuain.

The main task for Sarri is how to accommodate all his front men as most prefer to play through the middle rather than out wide.

Paulo Dybala has been sidelined at the club because the signing of Ronaldo has seen him pushed out wide.

The Portugal international has been used both out wide and through the middle last season but it will be a question of where to play him under Sarri.

Juventus have already made a number of signings this summer