Old Boys Ribéry & Robben Missed Their Chance for China Move According to SIPG Sporting Director

Previously described as a “Ferrari” by Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti, Franck Ribéry is now being deemed as too old to play in the Chinese Super League. Ribéry (34) and his Bayern teammate Arjen Robben (33) are both veterans of the game, however, they are too old to make the move to China according to Shanghai SIPG sporting director Mads Davidsen.

The two forwards showed last season that when fit they still have what it takes to perform at the highest level. Despite this, former Guangzhou R&F video analyst Davidsen believes that the importance of signing players like the Bayern duo is a myth of the Chinese Super League, as reported by BILD.

It’s a misconception that makes me really angry when players in Europe believe they can freely choose the time to move to China,” said 34-year-old Davidsen. “This was the situation three or four years ago but those times are over. 

“If Ribery had an offer two or three years ago from China then that was his chance, but an ambitious Chinese team like Shanghai SIPG wouldn’t sign him or Robben now. Why should a Chinese club sign a 33 or 34-year-old when they can get 27-year-old stars like Axel Witsel or Alex Teixeira – or Oscar at 25?”

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Without a doubt two of the most dangerous wingers of all time, Ribéry and Robben will certainly have the opportunity to make Davidsen eat his words next season. Although the possibility of a starting spot in the Bayern Munich side for both players is unlikely, when both are match fit the aptly named partnership of ‘Robbery’ will still cause major problems for the rest of the Bundesliga next season.


Bayern Munich CEO Confirms Antonio Conte Enquiry Over Promising Central Midfielder

?Chelsea have made contact with Bayern Munich over the availability of out-of-favour central midfielder Renato Sanches, according to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol. 

The Portuguese youngster made the switch to the Allianz Arena last summer from Benfica. A fee of around £30m saw the then 18-year-old make his way towards the Bundesliga, but it’s been a frustrating time in Bavaria for Sanches since then.

A year later and Carlo Ancelotti is rumoured to be open to letting the European Championships winner leave the club – be it on loan or on a permanent basis. And now, Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol claims that Karl Heinz Rummenigge (CEO of Bayern Munich) has confirmed that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has asked Ancelotti about Sanches.

??Despite being a young player hotly tipped for greatness, the Portuguese international only made 17 appearances in the German top flight last season – not registering a single assist or scoring a goal.

Chelsea have already signed AS Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer, and Nemanja Matic is expected to leave the club before the end of the summer transfer window.

With Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante already on the Chelsea books, the acquisition of Renato Sanches will give the Blues four very good options in the middle of the park.

ICC Singapore - Bayern v FC Internazionale

Meanwhile, Sanches himself has spoken of his desire to leave the current German champions:

“Personally, I am not satisfied with my first year in Munich,” Sanches told Bild.

“That’s why I would like to change and go to a club that can give me more minutes.

“I am now on the China tour with FC Bayern, but after that we will get together in Munich and hopefully find a solution.”

Bayern’s season kicks off on August 5 in the German Super Cup against Borussia Dortmund. By then, Sanches will be hoping to have moved on from Bavaria.


Bigger Than the Club! 6 Footballers With Far More Twitter Followers Than Their Teams

With social media being increasingly important to football clubs, huge effort goes into maintaining accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other popular platforms.

It sometimes occurs that fans are more interested in specific players and following them over official club accounts, or that a particularly well-known player will sign for a certain club and dwarf their social media following.

Javier Hernandez’s signing for West Ham is once such example – the player himself has over 8m followers on Twitter, while the Hammers boast just 1.2m.

Here are six examples of players who have far more social media followers than their clubs, and often by an extremely large margin.

1. Wayne Rooney – Everton

FC Twente v Everton FC - Preseason Friendly

Wayne Rooney left Everton as an 18-year-old superstar, and has returned as a player fifteen times bigger than the club if Twitter followers are anything to go by.

Rooney boasts over 15m followers which is unsurprising considering the content he produces, whether it be offering Rio Ferdinand a lift or getting into a huge argument with himself.

Everton’s more professional offerings have gathered just over a million followers on Twitter, leaving Rooney as the comfortable winner.

2. Lukas Podolski – Vissel Kobe

Vegalta Sendai v Vissel Kobe - Preseason Friendly

Lukas Podolski’s entertaining use of social media and excessive hashtags turned him into a bit of a cult hero at Arsenal.

#Poldi has over 3m Twitter followers and just as many on Instagram, meaning he absolutely dwarfs his new club.

Japanese side Vissel Kobe have a measly 40k followers on Twitter and a distinct lack of hashtag extravagance. It remains to be seen whether Podolski can work in such conditions.

3. David Villa – New York City

New York City FC v Orlando City SC

After conquering Spain for many years, David Villa moved to America in 2014 to join New York City FC where he has since scored 51 goals in 81 matches.

More importantly than goals or winning matches, Villa is also winning the social media battle as figures show he is a much bigger presence than that club itself.

While he has 8m Twitter followers himself, New York City haven’t been able to muster even 350k. This officially proves David Villa is 22.9 times bigger than the club.

4. James Rodriguez – Bayern Munich

Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - International Champions Cup

James Rodriguez made a shock move to Bayern Munich this summer on a two-year loan deal, taking him away from the social media shadow of Real Madrid hanging over him and freeing him into the Bayern limelight.

Rodriguez has just under 13m followers on Twitter, something the official club account can’t compete with as they have 3.8m. Bayern need to up their game rapidly, with the social media department having just two years to close this gap.

5. Oscar – Shanghai SIPG


When Oscar nobly moved to Shanghai SIPG at the end of the 2016 for reasons only to do with his love of Chinese football, and absolutely not his love of money, it seemed a strange fit.

Not only is Oscar far too good to be playing in the Chinese Super League, but Shanghai SIPG’s social media presence is pitiful and the Brazilian should surely have considered this.

Instead, we have a situation where Oscar has around 4m Twitter followers, and his club don’t have an official account in sight.

6. Sergio Aguero – Man City

Watford v Manchester City - Premier League

Sergio Aguero has certainly made the most of his time in Manchester, immortalising both himself and Martin Tyler with a last-gap winner against QPR to give Manchester City their first Premier League title.

His Twitter followers far exceeds that of his club, with Aguero having 11.7m followers and Man City stuck on just 4.5m.

This perhaps makes sense, as Aguero produces twice the content with the strenuous task of producing each tweet in Spanish and English.


Chelsea Enquire About Bayern Starlet & Eye England Duo in Potential £93m Triple Swoop

?Chelsea have reportedly registered their interest in Bayern Munich teenager Renato Sanches, a player widely tipped to leave the Allianz Arena this summer as he looks to kickstart his stalling career after an underwhelming season in Germany.

According to the Daily Mirror, manager Antonio Conte personally enquired about Sanches’ after his Chelsea team were beaten by Bayern in a friendly in Singapore earlier this week.

Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - International Champions Cup

The 19-year-old midfielder was a surprise star of the game as Bayern won 3-2, initially cruising into a commanding 3-0 lead inside the opening half hour. And it seems that Conte then spoke to Bayern officials about the Euro 2016 winner following the final whistle.

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has already confirmed that Sanches is available for an offer in the region of €48m (£43m) and would seemingly fit the bill as Chelsea desperately look to add depth to their squad ahead of a return to the Champions League this season.

According to the ?Daily Telegraph, Conte may have to settle for a loan, though.


Two more players being linked with the Stamford Bridge club on Friday are England international pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberain and Ross Barkley.

The Sun claims that a £50m double swoop is potentially on the table for the Arsenal and Everton players. At least a part of that is thought to have ‘home-grown’ motivations, but both would add greater depth to a squad that was quite small and stable last season.

Capable of playing as a midfielder, winger or wing-back, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with Chelsea in the past. His Arsenal future is no closer to being resolved and he is unlikely to sign a new contract – his current deal expires in 2018 – until he has assurances about his role.

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Barkley is another player out of contract next summer, with Everton manager Ronald Koeman actually confirming this week that the local star is ‘looking for a new challenge’ after he turned down his boyhood club’s latest offer of an extension.


Italian Journalist Claims Arsenal Have Entered Race for Schalke Starlet & Bayern Target

?Arsenal are interested in 22-year old Schalke 04 star Leon Goretzka, according to Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli. 

The 22-year old starlet’s contract with the German club is set to expire next summer, and he has become a rumoured target for a host of European clubs including Bayern Munich and Arsenal’s rivals Tottenham Hotspur thanks to a series of eye-catching performances.

According to Giulianelli, now Arsene Wenger is looking to pick up the spoils.

FC Schalke 04 v Ajax Amsterdam - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: Second Leg

?Speaking to Tribal Football, Giulianelli insisted that rumours linking the Gunnersto Barcelona’s Rafinha were overblown, and that Goretzka was the true target.

“I can confirm that Leon Goretzka is the real target. The Schalke 04 player is of great interest for Arsene Wenger, but at the present moment the German club don’t want him to leave,” he said.

“Rafinha, of Barcelona, is only a second choice and Arsenal management are not so convinced about this option.”

The young German scored five goals, to go with five assists in 30 Bundesliga appearances last season, whilst also netting three goals in nine Europa League contests. Through this impressive form, the Schalke star has acquired several suitors. 

Among them are Arsenal – as well as Premier League rivals, Liverpool. However, the German club have so far been unwilling to part with the midfielder this summer.

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That said, both teams may be set to miss out. Reports have emerged that the ?midfielder could remain in the Bundesliga, instead heading to champions Bayern Munich.

Should Wenger and the Gunnerssomehow procure Goretzka’s services, he would be the second signing from the Gelsenkirchen-based club this summer, with Sead Kolasinac arriving on a free transfer back in June.