BREAKING NEWS: Courtois signs new five-year contract with Real Madrid

By Sports Desk August 16, 2021

Thibaut Courtois has signed a fresh five-year deal with Real Madrid, the club confirmed on Monday.

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  • Arteta calls on Arsenal to bounce back from Liverpool performance against Burnley Arteta calls on Arsenal to bounce back from Liverpool performance against Burnley

    Mikel Arteta insisted Arsenal can use the loss to Liverpool as a platform to build on as he called for improvements against Burnley.

    A Diogo Jota double eliminated the Gunners from the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage on Thursday as Jurgen Klopp's side ran out 2-0 victors across the two-legged tie.

    Arteta's side rarely troubled the Liverpool goal, bar an early Alexandre Lacazette free-kick hitting the crossbar, and their focus is now solely on the league as they are out of every other competition.

    But the Spaniard believes his team can utilise their outing against the Reds to develop upon on Sunday against Burnley, who they have lost just one of their last 18 league games against.

    "I will show them what they have done against Liverpool and demand more of ourselves as well," he told reporters at his pre-match news conference.

    "We did a lot of good things but it is not enough to win the tie across two games against them, and this is the level of excellence we have to look for."

    Burnley are winless in their last 11 Premier League away games, drawing four and losing seven, but have not played in the top flight since January 2 due to various coronavirus-enforced postponements.

    The Clarets will be without the in-form Maxwel Cornet for the trip to Emirates Stadium as well, but Arteta expects a tough task against Sean Dyche's relegation battlers.

    "They are a competitive team and Sean always puts them out there for a difficult game," he added.

    "For us, it is a massive game after the defeat and disappointment – we have to get back on track and get winning."

    Burnley did win 1-0 on their last league visit to Arsenal and are looking for consecutive such victories for just the third time, after doing so in 1950 and 1960.

    While aware of his side's need to regain their form, Arteta insisted Arsenal are not feeling the heat of the top-four race as they sit in sixth – two points behind fourth-placed West Ham having played two games fewer.

    However, north London rivals Tottenham are fourth, a point ahead of the Gunners, while boasting a one-game advantage over their neighbours.

    "We are here to win football matches and that is the pressure, we know the amount of matches we have to win if we want to be up there," Arteta continued.

    "We can't look too far ahead, there has been a lot happening in recent weeks and it has been extremely difficult to manage the squad and the team.

    "We have lost a lot of players and we have to reunite, win on Sunday and move from there. Then we have a window to hopefully get some players back."

  • Fiorentina open to selling in-demand Vlahovic Fiorentina open to selling in-demand Vlahovic

    Fiorentina are open to selling Dusan Vlahovic in January but the Viola's director Joe Barone denied they have reached an agreement with Arsenal.

    Mikel Arteta's Gunners are among a plethora of Europe's elite who are chasing the in-form striker in the mid-season transfer window, with Premier League champions Manchester City also linked.

    Vlahovic has scored 17 times in 21 Serie A appearances, netting once every 109.5 minutes on average and comfortably outperforming his expected goals tally of 12.2, and his stock continues to rise.

    The 21-year-old ended 2021 on a high as well, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's 21st-century record for most goals in the Italian top flight in a calendar year (33), set in 2020.

    In fact, only Gunnar Nordahl in 1950 (36) has ever scored more times in a calendar year than Ronaldo and Vlahovic.

    But Barone revealed Vlahovic's time in Tuscany will likely come to an end soon with the Serbia international unwilling to sign a new contract, with his current deal expiring at the end of the next season.

    "Some English clubs have made contact, but there is no agreement yet. We are open [to selling]," Barone told Italian outlet La Nazione on Friday.

    Barone previously asked Vlahovic to publicly state whether he wants to leave the club or not, while suggesting no bids had been made for the forward in the last week.

    But the Fiorentina chief claimed he is still yet to hear from Vlahovic's entourage as the Viola reportedly hold out for €75million for their prized asset.

    "I haven't heard anything from them, I had asked Vlahovic's agent to be clear, but I haven't heard anything, no contacts at all," he added.

    Fiorentina sit sixth in Serie A on 35 points ahead of their next clash with Cagliari on Sunday.

  • Lloris commits to new Tottenham contract Lloris commits to new Tottenham contract

    Hugo Lloris has committed to Antonio Conte's Tottenham project by signing a new two-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club.

    Lloris, 35, had entered the final six months of his previous deal and was entitled to discuss an end-of-season free transfer with foreign clubs.

    He was linked with his boyhood club Nice, where he came through the academy before spending three years in the first team, but will be staying in north London.

    Tottenham confirmed the deal that will take Lloris past 10 years with the club, with the goalkeeper set to remain at Spurs until the end of the 2023-24 season.

    The news is a huge boost for Conte, who took on the Tottenham top job in November and made it clear he saw Lloris as part of the team's future.

    Conte had been optimistic a deal would be agreed, recently expressing optimism Lloris would sign "because he loves Tottenham and Tottenham loves him".

    Now that has come to fruition, meaning Tottenham need no immediate strengthening in the goalkeeping department, that boxed ticked by this move.

    Lloris joined Spurs from Lyon in August 2012 and helped the team reach the 2019 Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino.

    He became Tottenham captain in 2015 and has worn the armband for his country since 2012, leading Les Bleus to World Cup glory in 2018.

    Since skippering France to that triumph in Russia, Lloris has underlined his status as one of Europe's premier goalkeepers.

    From August 2018 to the present day, Lloris can be shown to have prevented 21.3 goals. That is based on a calculation starting with Tottenham's expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded total of 180.3 and deducting the actual number of goals, other than own goals, that they have shipped during that time (159).

    Only four goalkeepers from Europe's top leagues have a better goal prevention record in this same three-and-a-half-season period, Opta data shows. Those are: Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid (25.3), Liverpool's Alisson (22.9), Sevilla's Yassine Bounou (21.6), and Atletico Madrid mainstay Jan Oblak (21.6).

    Tottenham made a poor start to the season under Nuno Espirito Santo but have been revitalised in the Premier League by Conte's arrival. They have kept five clean sheets in nine games in the competition since the former Inter and Chelsea boss arrived and have soared to fifth place, with games in hand on those ahead of them.

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