Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben has claimed for the first time that Dutch national team coach Louis van Gaal, with whom he enjoys a great relationship, wants to join him at Manchester United. Robben is regarded as one of the finest wingers in the last decade. After having represented top clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid since 2004, he is playing for Bayern Munich and is regarded as one of the important players. Even at 30 years of age, he continues to be linked with top clubs with Manchester United being the latest.
The Premier League giant recently appointed van Gaal as their new manager. The Dutch coach apparently wants to sign Robben for around £ 20 million, as it targets to revive the former glory days of United. The club finished in a disappointing seventh place last season and will be without Champions League football for the coming campaign. However, there is a lot of expectations that United will once again challenge for the title under van Gaal, who has won league titles at all of his previous clubs.
Just like Robin van Persie, Robben has claimed that he has a great relationship with van Gaal. Bayern Munich will feel threatened by the interest from United. Robben has also been a key player for the Dutch national team at the World Cup 2014.
“No – that’s what I told Van Gaal. I am happy at Bayern but he’s said there is always room for me [at United]. Van Gaal is the best coach I’ve had. We’ve got a very special relationship. After the match he did ask me to come to Manchester, but I will not move. I’m at the right place at Bayern so that has nothing to do with Van Gaal or United,” said the former Chelsea winger.
Greece national team boss Fernando Santos was highly critical of his players after they made a disastrous start to the World Cup 2014 campaign with a 3-0 defeat against Colombia. Greece may not have had the top strikers in world football, but they have been extremely resilient in defence over the years. This has enabled them to win the likes of the Euro 2004 against all the odds, but there was no sign of disciplined defending against Colombia. Despite not having great players like Radamel Falcao in the line-up, Colombia were able to dispatch Greece with relative ease.
Armero scored after just five minutes on the clock, while Gutierrez doubled the advantage for Colombia just before the hour mark. A goal in injury time by Monaco forward James Rodriguez confirmed the thrashing, which puts Greece at a serious disadvantage compared to the likes of Japan and Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast secured a win from their opening match, which sees them in a strong position along with Colombia. Greece must now take something from the match against Japan in order to go to the final match against Ivory Coast with an opportunity to reach the knockout stages.
A similar poor performance against Japan will condemn them to an early exit. “This defeat makes things very difficult for us. I will talk to my players, we will study our mistakes and we will correct this situation. We will present ourselves in a much better state in the coming two games. Some of my players have to understand there are more group games coming, this is not over. Some of them did not seem to realise where we are and what we have to do,” said the Greece manager. Captain Konstantinos Katsouranis was also highly critical of the players after the opening match humiliation.
Greek outfit Olympiakos are interested in signing Sunderland striker Nacho Scocco in the summer. The former Internacional striker has struggled to fit into the Premier league, as he played very little football towards the end of last season after coming to the club in only January. However, manager Gus Poyet is determined to give him a chance in the team. His presence in the first team could very well depend upon the form he shows in pre-season. He will have a tough job on his hands in order to overcome players like Connor Wickham, who proved towards the end of last season that he can score the goals.
Apart from that, goalscoring does appear to be a major problem for Sunderland going into the new season. Poyet, though, reckons that Scocco will be able to benefit from his six months in England and he expects the striker to start performing from the new season. He has likened the last six months as a crash course to the Premier league for the striker. Sunderland barely managed to survive in the division after managing a run of a couple of victories in the last few matches. They were bottom of the table on Christmas, but they became the first team apart from West Brom to survive after being in this position.
“We are all different, and how we adapt is different. And it depends on the situation they come into. For instance, take a player who finds it hardest to adapt in England – I don’t know, maybe you sign someone from Dubai where they are playing in 40C heat and then you bring them to the North East in winter. If you put them into a team that is playing well, it takes them two seconds to adapt,” Poyet said about the striker.
Olympiakos secured their 4th consecutive League title as they went through a rampaging season in the Greece Superleague with more than 15 points of advantage over their nearest rivals.
Michel guided Olympiakos through the league only suffering 4 losses in the entire season and even though the squad has been performing superbly well in just about every area of the team, there still are a number of changes and possible arrivals that will be happening before the start of the upcoming campaign.
Mirko Vucinic is not a constant performer in Juventus and he was on the verge of leaving the side of Antonio Conte and on his way to Inter Milan the transfer was cancelled at the last minute. Olympiakos has now taken an interest in signing the Montenegrin forward.
The Mexican attacker Alan Pulido is another target of Olympiakos who is a potential candidate of joining the team of Michel by the next season and Pulido is well aware of the interest that Olympiakos has on him.
“Obviously, I would like to go and play there. It is a team that plays in the Champions League and it wouldn’t be at all bad.” Pulido said.
On the managerial staff of Olympiakos there will also be a new member joining the team with Rafael Alkorta agreeing to join the club as the assistant manager. Alkorta is a former Real Madrid player which helped the Spanish club on securing the Spanish League in the 1994-95 season as well as 1996-97.
Michel and Alkorta will be working together once more just like they did a few years ago in Real Madrid but only this time around it’s going to be a more managerial role in the club and they have their work cut out as Olympiakos will be playing in the Champions League once more in the upcoming season.