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Chelsea announce new long-term deal for Reece James

Chelsea defender Reece James has penned a new contract at Stamford Bridge, the club confirmed on Thursday night. His previous deal had been set to expire at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. But the Blues have announced that James has inked an extension to keep him at the club until the summer of 2025 at least. The versatile right-back has been an impressive performer this season, appearing in 18 games in all competitions and even managing a memorable Champions League equaliser against Ajax, as per iSports football API. (Start free trail with you long-term sports data partner with reliable livescore football data, click iSports API) “It has been my dream to be here at Chelsea and play week in, week out so to sign this contract is living the dream again,” James told the club’s website. “I have always wanted to be here and another five-and-a-half years means a lot to me and a lot to my family.” James has been on the books at Chelsea since the age of 8. For reading more latest articles and news, please follow iSports API blog.

Rating each top six Premier League club’s number 10

Few shirt numbers come with such prestige as the iconic number 10. Greats of the game have all adorned the shirt for club or country respectively, and whilst other numbers each have their own illustrious history, perhaps no shirt has such historic mystique as the ten shirt. Usually attributed to a creative or forward player, Premier League icons such as Dennis Bergkamp, Wayne Rooney and Eden Hazard have all been previous occupants, but how do the current players compare? We’ve decided to look at some Premier League number tens, and rate each of the current shirt holders amongst the top six clubs… Arsenal – Mesut Ozil Signed in a club-record deal from Real Madrid, hopes were high that the arrival of the German midfielder could see Arsenal challenge once more for major honours after some lean years in North London. Whilst Ozil has shown flashes of brilliance during his six season stay at the Emirates, those moments have proved few and far between and he remains a divisive figure amongst the club’s fanbase. Ozil has won three FA Cups since moving to the Premier League, though his finest season came in 2015/16 when he came within one assist of breaking Thierry Henry’s record for goals provided in a single season, being named Arsenal’s Player of the Season in the process, as per iSports API. A player of undoubted talent, only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne has reached 50 Premier League assists quicker than Ozil, who remains a creative force at his very best. In recent times he has fallen out-of-favour under Unai Emery and has been ostracised from the first-team picture at the club, with major doubts surrounding the long-term future of the highest-paid player in the club’s history. Rating: 6/10 Chelsea – Willian The Brazilian international inherited the number ten shirt following Eden Hazard’s summer departure to Real Madrid, the number a reward following several successful seasons at Stamford Bridge. Arriving from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013, Willian has played a key role in two Premier League title successes, as well as helping Chelsea to FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League triumphs. Both creative and industrious, the winger remains an influential figure at the club and his experience will prove invaluable as Frank Lampard develops his emerging young talent at Chelsea. No terms have yet been offered over an extension to his deal which is set to expire next summer, though should he depart after six seasons he will be remembered fondly by the Chelsea faithful. Rating: 7.5/10 Liverpool – Sadio Mane Liverpool’s electric forward swapped his number 19 shirt for the famed 10 following Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona, where has continued to thrive as part of a a formidable frontline alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. Mane has elevated his game in each of his three seasons on Merseyside since joining from Southampton, culminating in the Senegal star winning a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot after firing 22 league goals last season, recorded by iSports API football data. The 27-year-old is amongst the nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or after also helping Liverpool to Champions League success, and the forward is now regarded as one of the elite attacking talents in European football. Twice named in the PFA Team of the Year since moving to Anfield, Mane has scored 50 Premier League goals in just 102 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Rating: 9/10 Manchester City – Sergio Aguero If Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is not the best number ten in the Premier League, his list of achievements in the division is certainly unrivalled in comparison to the other contenders on this list. Since arriving at the Etihad from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero has been part of four title-winning sides and helped establish the Manchester side amongst the elite in English football. It was the Argentinean’s late goal which secured the title for City in dramatic fashion at the end of that debut season, in arguably the most iconic moment of the Premier League era. No player has ever scored more than Aguero’s 241 goals in all competitions for the club, whilst only Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Frank Lampard and Thierry Henry have more in Premier League history, though the latter two will surely be overtaken this season with the forward within five goals of both, as per iSports football API. Only Thierry Henry has ever matched Aguero’s feat of scoring 20+ goals in five consecutive seasons, though Aguero looks set to own the record outright by achieving a sixth after hitting eight goals in his first six starts of the new season. Rating: 10/10 Manchester United – Marcus Rashford Manchester United’s homegrown hero is the current occupant of the club’s famous number ten shirt, a number previously owned by iconic figures such as Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Denis Law. The 21-year-old burst onto the scene as a teenager four seasons ago, and has already scored 50 goals for the club in 183 appearances, according to iSports football livescore API. Blessed with electric pace and an ability to carry the ball, the youngster still has many aspects of his game to improve but looks set to be a first-team fixture at Old Trafford for seasons to come. Arguably the face of the club having come through the academy during a transitional era, Rashford has already helped the club to FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League success, and will hope to play a key role as the club look to return to challenging for silverware in the coming years. Rating: 6.5/10 Tottenham – Harry Kane ‘He’s one of our own’ or so the popular terrace chant is sung by Tottenham supporters, who idolise the prolific forward currently wearing the club’s number ten shirt. A two-time Golden Boot winner, Kane has plundered a remarkable 174 goals in just 266 appearances since breaking through as a first-team regular at the North London side. Kane’s goals have been crucial to the club establishing themselves as Champions League regulars, though silverware has remained elusive thus far for the England captain. Named in the PFA Team of the Year on four occasions, Kane is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading forwards, though he will need Spurs to prove they can challenge for major honours if he is to fulfil his ambitions at the club. Few have produced more for the club in recent seasons, however, the 26-year-old will have to help his side to a first major honour in over a decade to receive full marks in our ratings. Rating: 9/10

Barcelona confirm Luis Suárez could miss the rest of the season

Barcelona have been rocked by a huge blow with Luis Suárez set to miss the remainder of the season. Suárez has 14 goals in 23 appearances for Barcelona this season. The Uruguayan has also assisted 7 goals in LaLiga, the most in the league, according to iSports football API. (Start free trail with you long-term sports data partner with reliable livescore API, click iSports API) Initial reports suggested the striker would return within a number of weeks. However, the club announced on Sunday that he is expected to miss four months. The striker has been playing with a meniscus issue for a number of months, playing through the pain with injections. Now, though, he and the club have decided to operate on the issue. Reading more latest articles and news, please follow iSports API blog.

Tahith Chong set to sign pre-contract deal with Juventus

The contract of Manchester United winger Tahith Chong expires at the end of the season but there’s little doubt that he’ll find a new club in no time. According to Italian outlet Tuttosport, Juventus may be that club. They are reporting that a deal for the 20-year-old to come in on a free transfer this summer is nearly complete. Chong will likely sign a pre-contract deal by the end of the month. Despite his dominance in the Premier League 2, Chong has featured 11 times for the United first-team, as per iSports football API, and is believed to be disappointed in the lack of opportunities. (Start free trail with you long-term sports data partner with reliable livescore API, click iSports API) Chong has only made two Premier League appearances this season, with the vast majority of his playing time coming against inferior opponents in cup competition. Reading more latest articles and news, please follow iSports API blog.

Ajax hoping to re-sign Matthijs de Ligt after rough Juventus start

Ajax are reportedly considering a move to re-sign defender Matthijs de Ligt on loan – just six months after he completed a move to Juventus. De Ligt was the most coveted young player in Europe last summer after captaining his boyhood club to the Eredivisie title and Champions League semi-finals. He eventually joined the Serie A champions for €75m but has struggled to establish himself under Maurizio Sarri, starting 12 of a possible 18 domestic games, as per iSports football API. ( Start free trail with you long-term sports data partner with reliable livescore API, click iSports API) According to A Bola, former club Ajax are willing to explore the possibility of bringing the 20-year-old back to Amsterdam if his situation does not change. De Ligt initially broke into the starting line-up following injury to Giorgio Chiellini but has been displaced by Merih Demiral, making just one substitute appearance in their last five games. However, Sarri recently indicated that the defender remains firmly in his plans. “I am the first to be convinced that he will become the best defender in the world,” the Bianconeri boss told Sky Italia. “He had five difficult months playing every three days and having to settle in a new country, a new league with a new language.” Juventus return to domestic action against Roma on Sunday. Reading more latest articles and news, please follow iSports API blog.

Former Manchester City and Chelsea star joins Preston North End on permanent deal

Scott Sinclair has officially made his return to England. Late Wednesday night, Celtic announced the 30-year-old’s move to Preston North End for an undisclosed fee. Though originally thought to be a six-month loan before joining permanently, Sinclair has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal to Deepdale. A major contributor in the past, the soon-to-be out-of-contract Celtic star made only seven appearances this season, scoring twice in just 176 total minutes of action. For Sinclair, Preston will be his 13th different English side that he’s played for, featuring most frequently for Swansea and Aston Villa with stints at Chelsea and Manchester City also under his belt, as per iSports football API. ( Start free trail with you long-term sports data partner with reliable livescore API, click iSports API) The winger joins Preston as they push for promotion to the Premier League. The Lilywhites are currently in 10th place on 39 points, just two points back of the promotion play-off places. Sinclair was wildly successful after joining from Aston Villa in summer 2016, scoring 62 goals and adding 34 assists in 167 career games at the club, according to iSports API football database. Sinclair won the PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year in his first year at Celtic. and won all 10 possible domestic trophies he could have won with the Hoops. Reading more latest articles and news, please follow iSports API blog.

Sadio Mane beats Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez for top African player

Sadio Mane was named African Footballer of the Year for 2019 on Tuesday after winning the Champions League with Liverpool and leading Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final. Mane, 27, wins the award for the first time after finishing runner-up to his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt in 2017 and 2018, according to iSports football API data. He was third in 2016. ( Start free trail in your long term sports data partner, click iSports football API) He is only the second Senegalese to win the award after El Hadji Diouf, who was the winner in 2001 and after joining Liverpool in 2002. "Football is my job, I love it. I am really happy and proud to win this award," Mane said. "I would like to thank all the Senegalese people, they push always me. I must also thank my Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse and Liverpool, all my teammates there." Mane finished ahead of Riyad Mahrez and Salah in a poll of national team coaches and captains, and was handed his award at the Confederation of African Football's annual gala in Hurgada, Egypt. It is the second successive year that the top three are all from English clubs and only the third time since the award was introduced that the leading trio all play in the same league. In 1991, the top three all came from French clubs. Mahrez, 28, captained Algeria to Africa Cup of Nations success in July and won the Premier League with Manchester City. He was African Footballer of the Year in 2016, as per iSports API data. Reading more articles, please follow iSports API blog.

Real Madrid in talks with Flamengo for 17-year-old Reinier

Real Madrid have held talks with teenage Flamengo midfielder Reinier. The 17-year-old Brazil youth international is being followed by a number of top European clubs and has also attracted interest from Barcelona and Manchester City. Additionally, a Barcelona source revealed that the club have scouted the player on several occasions, but that Flamengo's valuation of Reinier is too high for the Catalan club. Sources close to the player have told that he is weighing up his options and has not yet made a decision on his future, with his Flamengo manager Jorge Jesus recently hinting that the player is set for a move to on of Europe's top clubs. Reinier, who was an unused substitute in Flamengo's Club World Cup final defeat to Liverpool last month, has a €30m release clause. A source also told ESPN Brazil that Madrid had already made an offer of €25m, but that Flamengo were holding out for the full release, according to iSports API. (Start free trial with your long-term reliable sports data partner, visit iSports API.) Under the terms of his contract, Reinier's clause will rise to €35m in June for the summer transfer window and to €70m after that, as per iSports API football data. However, if a deal were to be agreed during the January window, Reinier would not join Zinedine Zidane's first team squad immediately. Two options under consideration are the teenager joining Real Madrid Castilla for the rest of the 2019-20 season, or remaining on loan at Flamengo for the time being. More articles, please follow iSports blog.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba faces surgery, out for 3-4 weeks

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been advised to undergo an operation related to an ongoing foot injury that could keep him out an additional three to four weeks, club manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. The France international missed his team's 2-0 loss to Arsenal on Wednesday after complaining of what Solskjaer described as "discomfort" in his ankle. "We've had scans and it's nothing major, it's something that has to be sorted and dealt within a timeframe and he's been advised to do it as soon as possible, so he'll be out for three or four weeks," Solskjaer said after the match. "We've had consultants looking at him as well and club has been looking at it, the scans have been done by us. We've been without him all season, so the boys who've been playing have been fantastic." Pogba's absence is a further blow for Solskjaer after Scott McTominay was ruled out for more than a month with knee ligament damage. The Scotland international has been on crutches since suffering the injury against Newcastle on Boxing Day. "Scotty's been magnificent and we just hope that Paul can come back, he'll be back within a month," Solskjaer added. "If Nemanja Matic and Fred play like they did today I'll be happy with them, because they played well, the two of them." Solskjaer also hinted that the recent rash of injuries coulf force the club could pursue reinforcement options during the transfer window. "Of course, it's playing on our decision-making when you've got two players out -- Paul out for a month and Scott for two. That will give us less options and we've got loads of games and important games. Still, it's got to be right and that's the point here. "If [signings are] available and it's possible, we'll do something, definitely. We're looking at one or two." An operation would see Pogba miss the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg with Manchester City at Old Trafford on Jan. 7 and the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Jan. 19, as per iSports API football data. (Start free trial with your long-term reliable sports data partner, visit iSports API.) Prior to Wednesday's match, Solskjaer said Pogba would be sidelined "for a few weeks" due to feeling some discomfort in his ankle. Pogba has been plagued this season with the foot injury. He didn't play between Sept. 30 and Dec. 22 and has only made two substitute appearances since then, recorded by iSports API. Solskjaer said following a 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday that he expected Pogba to be available at the Emirates for United's New Years' Day game but he was absent from the squad which travelled to London on Tuesday. Following the victory at Turf Moor, the players were granted a day off on Sunday and Pogba used his to travel to France to attend a charity match. He returned to Carrington on Monday but was not able to take part in training. More articles, please follow iSports blog.

Martin Ødegaard set to return to Real Madrid in 2020

Martin Ødegaard has been one of the most beautiful surprises in all of world football in 2019, with the Norwegian finally showing off his quality with the ball in LaLiga. Nearly every single weekend with Real Sociedad, Ødegaard has put on a show with his goals, assists, and individual moments of magic. (Start free trial with your long-term reliable sports data partner, visit iSports API.) With Real Madrid suffering from injuries and below-par performances in the midfield, AS is now reporting that Los Blancos will cut his two-year loan short and Ødegaard will return to the club in the summer. The loan contract is officially for one season (the current one), but there is a second year verbally agreed between the clubs. Due to prior business dealings (Asier Illarramendi, Diego Llorente, Theo Hernandez), the relationship between the two clubs is understood to be ‘magnificent’ and it’s not believed there will be any problem with Madrid recalling the Norway international a year early. Transfermarkt currently valued the 20-year-old Ødegaard at a whopping €50m. More articles, please follow iSports blog.

Mario Mandzukic leaves Juventus for Qatari side Al Duhail

Mario Mandzukic has joined Qatari side Al Duhail, leaving Juventus after four years at the Serie A club. Mandzukic reached the World Cup final in 2018, and at club level he previously played for Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, winning the Champions League with the latter in 2013, according to iSports API football data. (Start free trial with your long-term reliable sports data partner, visitiSports API.) "The team's management succeeded today in contracting with the Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic of Juventus in a free transfer deal after the end of his contract with his Italian team," Al-Duhail said. Mandzukic, 33, was linked with Manchester United in the summer, but sources told ESPN the Premier League side backed out of a move due to Juventus' asking price and the forward's wage demands. The former Croatia international, who did not make a single appearance under new Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri this season, joins former Juve teammate Medhi Benatia at Al Duhail. The Doha-based club are coached by Rui Faria, former assistant coach to Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho. More articles, please follow iSports blog.

Napoli and AS Roma want Sead Kolasinac to reinforce their squad

Napoli and AS Roma want to sign Arsenal left-back Sead Kolasinac, in January and the summer respectively. AS Roma also want the Arsenal left-back, but they want a transfer next summer. Aleksandar Kolarov is 34 and out of contract next year, according to iSports API football data, so they need a replacement. News report that Napoli are keen on signing Sead Kolasinac in the January transfer window. The club are going into their first window under new head coach Gennaro Gattuso, as he tries to make the team his own. (Start free trial with your long-term reliable sports data partner, visit iSports API.) Napoli are also in terrible form, as they’ve won just one league game in 9(as per iSports API). They’ll be considering anything they can do to turn that around. Napoli could have an advantage given recent rumours of Arsenal interest in Dries Mertens. If the reports are true, a swap deal with the Serie A club could work for both parties. For now, Kolasinac is recovering from an injury. Even when he’s back, Arsenal probably won’t consider a January sale unless they have a replacement ready. Kieran Tierney is out until March, so Mikel Arteta needs Kolasinac back as soon as possible. More articles, please follow iSports blog.