Rumour Has It: Newcastle shortlist Mesut Ozil for January transfer targets

By Sports Desk October 20, 2021

Newcastle are making plans for the January transfer window following their Saudi ownership takeover.

The Magpies are currently 19th in the Premier League, with three points from eight games and no wins.

Newcastle have been linked with a host of top players at the start of a new era for the club.

 

TOP STORY – OZIL ON NEWCASTLE'S SHORTLIST

Newcastle have shortlisted former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil as one of their transfer targets, according to Ekrem Konur.

Ozil is currently playing in Turkey with Fenerbahce after moving from the Gunners in January.

The Magpies have made no official offer yet, but they see Ozil, along with Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir in their plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport reports that Argentina international Paulo Dybala is set to agree to an extension with Juventus , securing his future with the Turin club until 2026.

- Roma have reignited their interest in Aston Villa's Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi,  according to Football Insider. Villa are ready to let him go in January for £18million (€21m) if Jose Mourinho's side meet their asking price.

- Netherlands international defender Matthijs de Ligt is unhappy with his role at Juventus and his agent has held talks with Barcelona about a potential move, claims Sport.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Spain international Yeremy Pino, who turned 19 on Wednesdayis set to agree a new five-year deal with Villarreal.

- Mundo Deportivo reports that Ansu Fati is close to renewing with Barcelona, with an in-principle agreement set to tie him down until 2026.

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    And so at the end of a gruelling 63-game season, mentality monsters Liverpool met their match against the miracle men of Real Madrid.

    For the best part of an hour in Paris, Carlo Ancelotti's side looked off the pace and seemingly in need of some inspiration. Yet Madrid did what Madrid do. 

    Just ask Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City exactly how that feels.

    Unlike in the previous three rounds, no comeback was required on Saturday thanks to Vinicius Junior's 59th-minute strike and a string of incredible Thibaut Courtois saves.

    The pair, who along with Karim Benzema have been key in Los Blancos' run to the final, will now forever be synonymous with their side's 14th continental triumph.

    That is double the number of European Cups or Champions Leagues won by the next most successful side, with Milan on seven and Liverpool just behind, still stuck on six.

    Back in the city of the first of their triumphs, you can be sure that this will not be the last for the true kings of Europe.

     

    Not for the first time this season, Ancelotti's men were slow getting out of the blocks, perhaps not helped by a delay to kick-off of more than 30 minutes.

    That was down to crowd congestion, as UEFA put it, with one half of the ground swathed in white 45 minutes before the scheduled start time and the Liverpool end a patchy red.

    Those Liverpool fans who didn't make it into the ground on time would have missed a dominant first-half display from their side.

    The Reds had more shots on target in the first 22 minutes than they did in the entire of the 2019 final, which ended in victory against Tottenham.

    Madrid had not even registered a shot or a touch in the Liverpool box by that point, and the Premier League side's dominance only grew as the warmth in the Paris air turned to a slight chill.

    By half-time, Jurgen Klopp's side had aimed as many shots on target as in their previous two finals combined, including the defeat to Madrid four years ago in Kyiv.

    Crucially, though, Courtois had kept out each of them, including a fine stop from Sadio Mane, helping his shot onto the post.

    That was the seventh time Liverpool had hit the woodwork in the Champions League this season – the most of any side – yet the first signs of the tide turning arrived just before the break.

    Benzema, kept quiet for large parts, fired the ball in after a mix-up between Alisson and Ibrahima Konate, only for the officials to deem the France striker to be offside.

    It was a hugely contentious call, one that took three minutes for VAR to review, although it will now represent a mere footnote when looking back at this game in years to come.

     

    Vinicius – and Courtois – ultimately proved the difference, despite Liverpool throwing all they had at their opponents. The Belgium international made the most Champions League final saves (nine) of any goalkeeper on record (since 2003-04).

    And so, for the eighth final running, the side that scored first went on to win, a run stretching back to Madrid's comeback victory against Atletico Madrid in 2014.

    Digging deep is nothing new for Madrid, then, and again in Paris – albeit perhaps not quite to the same extent as witnessed in previous rounds – their grit and character was on show.

    A side who had trailed for 178 minutes in the semi-final, and 243 minutes in total in this campaign (21 per cent of their minutes played), came through this most difficult of runs.

    Let it not be forgotten that the LaLiga winners saw off the champions of France, the champions of England and the erstwhile champions of Europe en route even before facing Liverpool and toppling them, too.

    It will be particularly special for Ancelotti, who becomes an outright record four-time winner of the Champions League, but this success was about a team who refused to be beaten and again had the ability to grind out a victory just when required.

    Never has a Champions League triumph been so hard-fought and yet so deserved.

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    Jose Mourinho has already turned his attention to his next challenge as he looks to build on Roma's Europa Conference League win.

    A first-half strike from Nicolo Zaniolo on Wednesday secured a 1-0 final win over Feyenoord to give the Giallorossi secured their first UEFA trophy and first title in any competition since the Coppa Italia in 2008.

    Mourinho became the second coach to win five major European titles after Giovanni Trapattoni; the Portuguese coach added to his two crowns in both the Champions League and Europa League/UEFA Cup.

    Roma had already secured Europa League football for next season by finishing sixth in Serie A, seven points behind a place in the top four for Champions League qualification.

    Mourinho will lead them into that competition, having asserted his desire to stay, but he is quickly focusing on "what next" in the Eternal City.

    "Memories stay forever and history can't be deleted," Mourinho posted on Instagram. "For me these were incredible, unforgettable emotions, but I need to think 'what next'...

    "Before that, I need to hug everyone. I need to tell the world my gratitude to my PLAYERS: every one of them, from Rui [Patricio] who played 54 matches to Pietro [Boer] who didn't play one single minute.

    "But in this team everyone played every minute of every game, that is what the Einsteins of football don't know, don't understand, and I feel sorry for them.

    "Football is what you see and what you can't see, football is not played by 11, it is played by many more, and we were so many… Players, coaches, medical staff, analysts, kitmen, kitchen people, families, friends, Romanisti, Mourinhisti, and I am so grateful to everyone.

    "One day I will leave Roma and AS Roma, that's the law of football, but more than one or more cups I would love to see this club forever and ever united by this passion and love.

    "Two pictures to hug you all. Have a great June."

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    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he was disappointed with Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League, as he had hoped to face his former club with Barcelona.

    Despite enjoying an encouraging campaign under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal missed out on a top-four finish to fierce rivals Tottenham after losing two of their final three games of the Premier League season.

    Their late-season collapse meant Arsenal have not finished in the Premier League's top four since Arsene Wenger's Gunners finished second to Leicester City in the 2015-16 campaign.

    Aubameyang, meanwhile, departed the Emirates Stadium in January after four years at the club, scoring 13 goals in all competitions for Xavi's Barcelona as the Blaugrana secured second in LaLiga.

    That return made the Gabon forward Barca's joint-top goalscorer for the campaign along with Memphis Depay, despite him making just 23 appearances since his arrival at Camp Nou.

    Speaking to Sky Sports while attending the Monaco Grand Prix, the 32-year-old admitted he was sad to see his former club miss out on a place in European football's premier competition, but hopes they can impress upon their return to the Europa League. 

    "Yeah, [they came] really close. I think they did a lot of improvements," Aubameyang said.

    "I'm a bit sad because I wanted to play them in the Champions League. I have a lot of friends over there, but I'm wishing them all the best for next season.

    "Obviously, I think it's going to be a good thing for them to get back to the Europa League as well, hopefully they can win it."

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