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Arsenal exclude Osimhen from wanted strikers list

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The latest report from British tabloid, Mirror, suggests that English Premier League side, Arsenal, have given up on their chase for Nigeria international, Victor Osimhen, after the UK publication wrote that Mikel Arteta had drawn up a four-man wish list with the Nigerian striker’s name missing.

Osimhen has been on Arsenal’s radar since last summer, with Arteta keen on signing the Napoli striker following his impressive performance for the Italian side.

The Mirror wrote that the Gunners were prepared to sell Gabriel Jesus this summer as the Brazilian has endured a frustrating second season at the Emirates.

In his two seasons since joining from Manchester City, the 27-year-old has missed a total of 31 games and so far this campaign he has only managed eight goals across 33 appearances, a performance that has seen him lose his position to new signing Kai Havertz.

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As the season draws to a close, Arteta is already planning for next season and has drawn up four names for the striking role.

“Once billed to lead the Gunners’ attack for years to come following his £45m transfer move from title rivals Manchester City, Arsenal are now open to selling Jesus, according to the Athletic. If a substantial offer arrives, Emirates chiefs will consider it and aim to reinvest in one of Arteta’s reported four main targets,” the website wrote.

According to the Mirror, the names submitted by Arteta to Arsenal’s management are Ivan Toney, Alexander Isak, Benjamin Sesko and Viktor Gyokores.

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Osimhen only signed a new contract at Napoli at the start of the year with his release clause set at around €130m and Napoli’s transfer fee may be the reason Arsenal are giving up on their chase for the Nigerian.

Despite missing a large chunk of the 2023/24 season due to injuries and his involvement with Nigeria at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, the striker still boasts 17-goal involvement (14 goals and three assists) in 22 appearances in the Italian topflight league.

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BREAKING: Liverpool name Arne Slot new coach

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Liverpool Football Club has announced that Arne Slot has agreed to become the club’s new head coach.

The club disclosed that Slot will resume duty on January 1 after a work permit.

This was disclosed in a statement on the club’s website on Monday.

“Liverpool Football Club can announce Arne Slot has agreed a deal to become the club’s new head coach, formally taking up the position on June 1, 2024, subject to a work permit.

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“The 45-year-old will join the Reds from Feyenoord ahead of the 2024-25 season after a deal was reached with the Eredivisie club for his services,” it read.

Slot will replace Jürgen Klopp at the helm following his decision to step down from the post at the end of the current campaign.

Klopp had announced his decision to leave in January.

“The Netherlands-born coach will arrive after three highly successful seasons with Feyenoord, during which he led them to the league title in 2023 and was named Eredivisie Manager of the Year on two occasions.

“More recently, he helped the Rotterdam club to victory in the KNVB Cup in April after they defeated NEC Nijmegen 1-0 in the final.

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“Before moving to Feyenoord, Slot held the position of AZ Alkmaar head coach, and he had led them to second place in the table, trailing leaders Ajax only on goal difference, when the Dutch season was cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2019-20.

“During his playing career, he operated primarily as a midfielder, turning out for FC Zwolle, NAC Breda, Sparta Rotterdam and PEC Zwolle before hanging up his boots in 2013,” it further read.

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He will now soon become the first head coach of Liverpool FC from the Netherlands – with his first pre-season in charge of the squad set to get underway in July.

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NFF promises Eagles coach Finidi house, car after unveiling

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President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, has assured that newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, will be provided with a house in the area of his choice and a driver to ensure smooth operation of his job, Theheute reports.

Gusau made these promises during the official unveiling of Finidi as Eagles coach on Monday where his assistants were also revealed.

After serving as an assistant to Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro, Finidi was appointed as the substantive coach of the Eagles last month, beating the likes of Emmanuel Amuneke, U.S. men’s U-19 coach Michael Nsien, among other candidates to the job.

The 56-year-old will work with ex-international Daniel Amokachi and Benjamin James as assistants, Olatunji Baruwa as goalkeepers’ trainer, while Chima Onyeike will serve as fitness trainer and Turk Mehmet Ozturk as match analyst.

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Speaking at the brief ceremony in Abuja, Gusau said Finidi would be provided with a house and a driver while assuring that his salaries would be paid regularly.

“We want to avoid any issues of having conflicts in the area of paying coaches, for the coach we are going to arrange how we will be paying on a monthly basis but for every other assistant, we are engaging them on an invitational basis,” he said.

“We are going to engage them on an invitational basis, once we invite them for a match, qualifiers, or tournament; we give them whatever they are entitled to, including other allowances that the team is entitled to. Whatever the team is entitled to at any point in time, that is what the assistant coaches are entitled to and we will also agree on certain amounts that we are going to agree on to pay them whenever they come for matches or tournaments. We just want to avoid issues of having a crisis in the payment of salaries.

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“I want to assure Nigerians that we will do our best to make sure we support Finidi and give him whatever he needs to work and his salary will not be a problem because we will do our best to support him.

“Right now, as part of his contract, we must get him a comfortable house where he will stay in Nigeria which is in process and we will give him the privilege to agree on where he wants it, we will provide him transportation, he has a car already and we will provide him a driver. We just want Nigerians to support us in prayer.”

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The first task ahead of the former Ajax man is the World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic next month.

With his first real test less than a month away, the ex-international says his target is to qualify the Eagles for the 2026 World Cup.

“If you get to see my contract, it’s boldly written there what the NFF wants. But personally, my first target is to reach the 2026 World Cup and AFCON qualifiers will be coming up soon. But the major one are these two games we have which are against South Africa and Benin Republic. From there we will set the tone and take it from there,” Finidi said.

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Nigerians fight for MMA World Championship spots

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Amateur fighters are jostling for the available slots as Nigeria continues to prepare their contingent with the maiden Mixed Martial Arts National Amateur Championship which will be used to select the country’s team for the 2024 MMA World Championship 2024 in Jakarta, Indonesia by December.

The series saw fighters from the northwest and central zones of the country in action at the Abuja Continental Hotel last weekend for places in the grand finale.

The tournament organised by Boxing & MMA Hall of Fame, the official representative of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts featured MMA fighters from Kwara, Kogi, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue states and the FCT Abuja.

In some of the bouts decided in the women’s division, Beauty Akatiku of Nasarawa beat her state counterpart Zubair Fatimoh in the 56Kg, while Felix Stephanie of Plateau also defeated Yusrallah Abdulraheem of Kaduna in the 65kg.

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In the men’s fights, Tarkpe Stephen of Benue was ahead of Uthman Ahmed of Kwara in 60kg, Aliyu Taofeeq of Kogi outscored Abdulazeez Abdulrahman of Abuja in 77kg, Ovye Charles of Nasarawa defeated Momoh Itopa of Abuja in the 66kg and David Ezekiel of Abuja was ahead of Joseph Jackson of Nasarawa in the 70kg.

As part of the program, the organisers hosted the first open national referees and judges seminar and certification program which was managed by GAMMA Nigeria international judges and referees, who attended and officiated at the 13th African Games in Ghana.

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The free programme resulted in the certification of seven new officials as MMA Judge – National LEVEL C and one official as MMA Referee – National Level C.

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