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Transfer: Ten Hag to sign two strikers after 2-1 defeat to Brighton

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Manchester United have opened talks to sign Benjamin Sesko and Marko Arnautovic, ESPN reports.

United have contacted Bologna about Arnautovic, who has previously played in the Premier League for Stoke and West Ham.

United manager, Erik ten Hag, has pressed the club to sign an experienced forward who would be content with a back up role off the bench.

Arnautovic is 33 years old and Ten Hag is a fan of the player after working together at FC Twente.

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The move for Arnautovic is considered separate from that of Sesko.

Chelsea are also interested in the 19-year-old, although Salzburg would rather keep him until next summer.

Ten Hag was asked after the 2-1 defeat against Brighton on Sunday about the need for new players.

The Dutchman replied: “I don’t go into names and I think in this preseason, 250 players are involved or linked with Man United, so that’s it.

“We have two strikers [Ronaldo and Martial], maybe a third one, [Marcus] Rashford.

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“We considered him as a striker, but he had a really good season on the left side and he had two really good chances but the typical nine wasn’t available today.”

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BREAKING: Nigeria drop to 38th, Argentina maintain top spot in FIFA rankings

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BREAKING: Nigeria drop to 38th, Argentina maintain top spot in FIFA rankings

In the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday, Nigeria has fallen to the 38th position.

The Super Eagles now have 1498.93 points, a decrease from their previous 1520.27 points.

 

Also read: FULL LIST: Top 20 African teams in latest FIFA ranking

 

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This drop marks a significant shift in the global football landscape, as Nigeria continues to face challenges on the international stage.

Formerly ranked 30th, Nigeria’s decline follows its performance in the two matches after the African Cup of Nations, where they emerged as runners-up after losing 2-1 to the host nation.

In their recent games, the Super Eagles played a 1-1 draw against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and suffered a 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic in a match played in Ivory Coast.

Nigeria’s hopes for the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers remain doubtful, as the nation failed to secure victories in these crucial matches.

Meanwhile, Argentina maintained its top position in the rankings, solidifying its status as the leading football nation in the world.

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The South American giants gained 2.14 points, bringing their total to 1860.14, reflecting their consistent high-level performance in recent tournaments.

The FIFA rankings, reported by Theheute, are calculated using the Elo model, which considers team strength, match importance, and results.

Liberia remain the biggest climber in the rankings, moving up 10 positions to a new highest rank of 142nd.

Liberia also scored the most points, gaining 37.47 points.

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Equatorial Guinea experienced the biggest drop, falling 10 positions and losing 47.53 points, marking a significant downturn in their ranking.

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Euro 2024: Conceicao snatches Portugal comeback win over Czech Republic

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Euro 2024: Conceicao snatches Portugal comeback win over Czech Republic

Youngster Francisco Conceicao snatched Portugal a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 Group F opener on Tuesday just minutes after coming off the bench.

The 21-year-old Porto winger capitalised from close range after the Czechs were unable to clear a cross, completing his team’s comeback.

 

Also read: Euro 2024: Haaland, Rashford, 20 other big stars to miss out

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The Czechs went ahead against the run of play through Lukas Provod’s fine strike from the edge of the box after the hour mark.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal did not shine but dug just deep enough to claim victory, with Robin Hranac’s own goal pulling them level before Conceicao’s dramatic winner.

Ronaldo, 39, playing at a record-extending sixth European Championship, was denied by Stanek on three occasions as Portugal constantly looked to find the competition’s all-time top goalscorer.

The striker hit the post with the score tied and Diogo Jota nodded in the rebound but the goal was disallowed for offside against Ronaldo.

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“We showed all our coolness and resilience,” said Portugal midfielder Vitinha.

“We remained calm, got the draw and always believed until the end to get the win.

“Luckily we managed to do it with the help of the players who came on… we are truly a team.”

Portugal coach Roberto Martinez selected 41-year-old defender Pepe, who became the oldest player in Euros history, beating the record set by Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly aged 40 in 2016, as part of a three centre-back defence.

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Portugal won that tournament in 2016 to claim the trophy for the first time and captain Ronaldo said they deserve another, although they got off to a stuttering start in Germany.

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In coach Ivan Hasek’s first competitive game after taking over in January, the Czech Republic largely frustrated Martinez’s side, who qualified unbeaten while scoring more goals than any other team.

Ronaldo sent an effort wide with his shoulder after Rafael Leao cut inside with menace early on, as the Portuguese controlled the ball.

Bruno Fernandes’ deflected dipping effort had some Portugal fans out of their seats and Leao was inches away from connecting with a low cross from the Manchester United playmaker.

Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek thwarted Ronaldo twice in the first half of his record 26th Euros appearance, but on both occasions the striker appeared marginally offside.

The Al Nassr hitman’s brightest moment came with a clever backheel which played in Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Vitinha, but the Czech defence swarmed around him quickly and blocked his shot.

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Debate over whether Ronaldo should still be a starter or not has rumbled on since the 2022 World Cup and at times Portugal looked short on ideas beyond slinging crosses in towards him.

– ‘Enormous pressure’ –

Stanek comfortably saved a Ronaldo free-kick from distance before the Czechs made their breakthrough.

Slavia Prague midfielder Provod whipped a superb strike past Diogo Costa from the edge of the box after Portugal failed to fully clear a cross just past the hour mark.

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However Portugal were quickly level when Hranac unfortunately turned the ball into his own net, after Stanek palmed Nuno Mendes’ header straight at him from point-blank range.

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Ronaldo and Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick finished as joint top scorers at Euro 2020 with five goals each but neither was at their lethal best in Leipzig.

Jota thought he had grabbed a last-gasp winner after Ronaldo’s header bounced off the woodwork into his path, but VAR showed the veteran forward was offside.

It didn’t matter for Martinez’s men though after Conceicao came on to fire them to the three points, putting Portugal level with Turkey at the top of Group F.

“Of course it hurts extremely (badly), although nobody completely thought we would prevail today,” Provod told Czech national television.

“The goals we conceded did not come after well put together attacks, but we have to acknowledge Portugal’s quality. The (goals) came from the enormous pressure.”

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Osimhen prefers Arsenal, Chelsea to PSG move

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Osimhen prefers Arsenal, Chelsea to PSG move

Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen would rather join one of his Premier League suitors that moved to PSG League, as the 25-year-old is set to leave Napoli this summer.

Arsenal and Chelsea have emerged as frontrunners for his signature, and the former Lille striker is eagerly awaiting calls from the duo, according to reports in Itlay.

Also read: Osimhen may consider Saudi move

PSG initially earmarked him as a replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who is on his way to Real Madrid, but according to Monday’s Corriere dello Sport, Osimhen is not interested in joining the French giants, being unconvinced about playing in Ligue 1. Instead, he considers the Premier League his dream destination, making Arsenal and Chelsea the favourites to land him ahead of the 2024–25 season.

Osimhen, who won the Serie A Golden Boot award in the 2022–23 season, signed a new contract with Napoli in December, which has a release clause reportedly set at €120–€130 million (£101 million).

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The player recently missed his national team’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic due to injury and now looks to a new challenge after leading Napoli’s Scudetto charge in the 2022–23 season.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is notoriously difficult to negotiate with, holding firm on Osimhen’s release clause, but the striker appears set on a move to England.

Arsenal and Chelsea have regularly been linked with the Nigerian international, but it could take an offer of over £100 million to strike a deal with Napoli, who are unlikely to stray from his release clause.

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The Gunners are reported to have cooled their interest recently due to the fee involved.

As Osimhen pushes for the Premier League instead of a PSG or Saudi switch, this transfer saga could drag on for months due to De Laurentiis’ demands.

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