Fresh from their 1-0 win away win in The SKY Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon thanks to the above goal from Dwight Gayle, Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne could yet be The Magpies’ first ‘Galactico’ signing of the transfer window following recent events at Napoli and the departure of attacking playmaker Siem De Jong to PSV Eindhoven of Holland on a season-long loan.
At the weekend in Napoli’s Serie A game against Pescara, the unsettled forward was replaced by Dries Martens by coach Maurizio Sarri, who promptly scored two goals increasing speculation Insigne could be benched soon.
Contract wranglings in Italy have long brewed between the club and Insigne, demanding a big wage increase to sign a new contract and a cash-rich Newcastle United, who despite relegation could step in and offer a better contract to end the dispute and significantly bolster both their own attacking options and chances of Cup victory.
The Geordie club begin their quest for The EFL Cup against Cheltenham Town tomorrow night at St. James’ Park and welcome back bad boy striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has served his four-match ban for a challenge on Spurs’ Kyle Walker in the last game of last season.
Insigne, who can operate from the left wing, right wing or through the middle, possesses the creativity and passing range to bring out the best in Mitrovic and potential strike partner Dwight Gayle.
Lorenzo Insigne’s addition to the United squad to replace the perennially-injured De Jong could be a game-changer to The Magpies’ season and ambitions.
Rafa Benitez’s main priority is an instant return to The Premier League, a goal which has been put back on course after a slow start to the season, yet a manager with more significant Cup victories than any other in the modern game will surely have his eyes on every prize available.
The 25 year-old forward dubbed the “Italian Messi” for his match-winning goals and breathtaking skills is a ball-playing genius who has even been likened to Argentinian great Diego Maradona and is exactly the kind of man to spark a trophy revolution on Tyneside.
Nobody in Newcastle needs reminding it is 47-years since club legend Bob Moncur, now on the United board, lifted the last major piece of silverware won by the black and whites, The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.
Benitez, who managed full Italian international Insigne in his time as Napoli manager and rates him as one of the best players in Italy, will leave no stone unturned in the transfer market after a tw0-game losing start to the season served as a wake-up call to the promotion task ahead.
“For me he is one of the best in Italy” said Benitez back in 2014 and the respect between the pair is mutual with Insigne saying:
“I believed him (Benitez) always,” he told the Corriere dello Sport. “His calmness is reassuring.
“He proceeded to hold me up. The words last Saturday served to give me additional peace of mind.”
Blessed with the ability to take players on effortlessly and score goals as well as create them for others, Insigne has two goals in 12 games for Italy and would be an instant star in Newcastle following in the footsteps of local genius Peter Beardsley, still on the Newcastle coaching staff, whose entertaining and attacking skills he shares.
Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.
According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.
Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.
The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:
Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.
Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.
“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.
“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”
Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.
“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.
“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.
“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”
Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player
27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.
Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.
Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.
Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.
“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.
“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”
“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.
“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.
“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.
“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.
“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.
“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”
Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”
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