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Kante, De Bruyne, Jorginho shortlisted for UEFA player of the year

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The Union of European Football Associations has shortlisted Kevin DE Bruyne (Belgium – Manchester City FC) and two Chelsea players Jorginho (Italy) and N’Golo Kanté (France) for the 2020/21 UEFA men’s Player of the Year awards.

The award winners will be announced at the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony, which will take place on Thursday August 26 at the Haliç Congress Centre in Istanbul, Turkey.

On the same occasion, UEFA will also honour the coaches who have had the biggest impact over the previous season with the UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year and UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year Awards.

The three coaches shortlisted are Josep GUARDIOLA (Spain – Manchester City FC); Roberto MANCINI (Italy – Italian men’s national team) and Thomas TUCHEL (Germany – Chelsea FC).

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year

For the men’s player award, the shortlist of three players was selected by a jury composed of 24 coaches of the national teams which participated in this summer’s UEFA EURO 2020, together with 80 coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Fifty-five journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations, selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, were also part of the jury.

The coaches and journalists were requested to select a shortlist of three players by allocating respectively five points, three points and one point to each of them. The final result was based on the total number of votes cast by the coaches and the journalists. The coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.

The three players who received the most points overall following the conclusion of the voting, in alphabetical order, are:

Kevin DE BRUYNE (Belgium – Manchester City FC)

JORGINHO (Italy – Chelsea FC)

N’Golo KANTÉ (France – Chelsea FC)

The rest of the top ten

4 Lionel Messi (Barcelona, now at Paris & Argentina) – 148 points

5 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern & Poland) – 140 points

6 Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan, now at Paris & Italy) – 49 points

7 Kylian Mbappé (Paris & France) – 31 points

8 Raheem Sterling (Man. City & England) – 18 points

9 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus & Portugal) – 16 points

10 Erling Haaland (Dortmund & Norway) – 15 points

For this award, players in Europe, irrespective of nationality, have been judged in regard to their performances over the whole season in all competitions – both domestically and internationally – at either club, or national team level.

The shortlist of three players was selected by a jury comprising 24coaches of the teams which participated in this summer’s UEFA EURO 2020; 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the group stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League (32) and UEFA Europa League (48); 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, one from each of UEFA’s member associations.

Jury members chose their top three players, with the first receiving five points, the second three and the third one. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.

UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year

For the men’s coach award, the shortlist of three coaches was selected by a jury composed of 24 coaches of the national teams which participated in the recent UEFA EURO 2020, together with 80 coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Fifty-five journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations, selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, were also part of the jury.

The coaches and journalists were requested to select a shortlist of three coaches by allocating respectively five points, three points and one point to each of them. The final result was based on the total number of votes cast by the coaches and the journalists. The coaches were not allowed to vote for themselves.

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Man United contact Napoli for Osimhen

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Victor Osimhen

Undergoing a massive rebuild and in desperate need of a goal scorer, Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen this summer.

According to Corriere dello Sport (via thefaithfulmufc), the Red Devils have contacted the Partonopei to discuss a potential move for the Nigerian forward. After enduring a disappointing 2021/22 campaign, United are looking at a fresh approach this summer under new manager Erik ten Hag.

Last season, the 13-time Premier League champions scored just 57 goals in 38 Premier League games. 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo was the club’s most impressive forward as he scored 18 goals in 30 games, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wasn’t supported by his teammates. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani scored just nine league goals between them.

Furthermore, the club are set to part ways with Cavani, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata after the expiration of their contracts at the end of the month. They are therefore expected to prioritize signing a top-quality forward.

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Victor Osimhen who joined Napoli from Lille in the summer of 2020 for a club-record fee of €70 million might just be the answer to their prayers and provide the support a veteran Ronaldo needs.

The striker, who scored 18 times and made six assists in 32 games last season, is also on the radar of other top English clubs including Arsenal and Newcastle.

Labelled a ‘phenomenal‘ player for his performances in the past, Osimhen has already scored 15 goals and provided 8 assists in just 23 games for Nigeria. He scored four goals as the Super Eagles thrashed Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in a match-day two fixture of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match.

He was also on target on match-day one for the Eagles as they rallied back from a goal down to beat Sierra Leone 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

The Italian side’s president, Aurelie De Laurentiis, is renowned for being a tough negotiator and is reportedly reluctant to entertain the idea of selling Osimhen for less than £86m.

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Chelsea, Man United tussle over Neymar

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Neymar

Chelsea, Newcastle, and Manchester United could make a move for PSG winger Neymar this summer.

Neymar is highly regarded as one of the best players to have ever graced a football pitch, and the Brazilian has won countless trophies during his time at Barcelona and PSG.

His time at the French champions could be over, however, with RMC Sport reporting that he is considering looking for a move away from the club this summer.

The report also claimed that three Premier League clubs could make a move, naming Newcastle, Chelsea, and Manchester United.

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Due to the likely astronomical wages that come with signing Neymar, not many clubs will be able to afford the Brazilian winger.

Although the report doesn’t suggest the trio of clubs are seriously considering signing Neymar, there’s no doubt there would be interest from all three clubs, simply due to what he can offer to their side.

Neymar has managed 342 goals during his whole career, but that is only a small percentage of what he can provide. His creativity and dribbling ability mean he’s such a handful for opposition defenders, and the prospect of him playing in the Premier League is an exciting one.

A move to Manchester United and Newcastle seems unlikely due to their Champions League status, but linking up with former manager Thomas Tuchel and former teammate Thiago Silva could be on the cards.

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Okoye: My ambition is the Premier League

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Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye

Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye is preparing ahead of the new season and has indicated his desire to help the club gain promotion back to the top flight.

Okoye, 22, was a £5m signing from Dutch side, Sparta Rotterdam in January.

He only joined up with the Hornets at the off season having been on loan at Sparta Rotterdam since January.

“I think in every player’s head is going back up to the Premier League,” the former Fortuna Düsseldorf goalkeeper said. Okoye was quoted by Watford Observer as saying;“ It’s important to have ambition.

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“On a personal level, I just want to help fulfill that ambition for the other players and the club. The more playing time the better, but most of all I want to see myself grow as a person and a goalkeeper.”

The German-born goalkeeper said English football has always been a dream and he will work hard to make it come true.

”If I can get playing time and improve then that is fantastic. I grew up watching English football and it was always a dream to play in this country.

“As a kid, it was English football I wanted to play in and now I’m going to put the work in to make that happen.”

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