Dembele Stays with Barca; Brentford Acquires Strakosha from Lazio
Dembele – Spanish giants FC Barcelona will still have France international Ousmane Dembele in their team after the winger agreed to a two-year contract extension. The new deal ended the six-month drama on whether Dembele will stay with Barca or sign up with another club. The extension will have the Frenchman staying with the Catalan side until June 2024. Reports said the winger agreed to lower his salary expectations to fit in with the club. The squad moves closer to meeting Dembele’s wage demand. This is after selling 10% of its audio-visual rights to US firm Sixth Street for USD207.5 million. Barca is to sell another 15% for USD330 million.
A Career Hampered by Injuries
The 25-year-old booter joined Barcelona in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund. However, a string of hamstring injuries has affected Dembele’s progress in the team. Barca has been keen on keeping his services despite scoring only one goal last season. Spanish media is not expecting Dembele would return next season. One sports daily describes the negotiations as “a dialogue between the deaf.” Before the development, Paris Saint-Germain is the favorite to acquire the winger’s services. With Dembele re-signing and the acquisitions of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, and Raphinha to the team, Barca is putting their pieces together for a sterling run in the new Spanish La Liga season that will give soccer betting websites a treat.
Brentford Bolsters Defense with Strakosha Signing
Albania goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha will have a new address next season as English Premier League squad Brentford snapped up his services on a free transfer from Lazio. The move is still subject to international clearance. Strakosha will join his new team at their German training camp in the coming days. The 27-year-old Athens-born keeper won 19 caps for Albania and played for more than 200 games with Lazio. He joined the Italian Serie A squad in 2012 when he was 17. Strakosha made his professional debut in Serie B with Salernitana in the 2015-16 season. Brentford manager Thomas Frank is ecstatic with the new signing. He says that getting a top-class goalkeeper was essential for their campaign this coming season.
Liverpool’s Klopp Reacts to Team’s Inability to Sign Top Free Agents
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp shrugged off criticisms about his previous statement about spending heavily on a single player. He also defended the Reds’ recent acquisition Uruguay international Darwin Nunez. In comments prior to Liverpool’s preseason game against Crystal Palace, the German boss laughed off previous criticisms against him, saying the transfer market has evolved since he made those remarks. He said it made him realize “how quickly life can change.” In 2018, he commented against spending GBP100 million (USD118 million) on a single player and then four years later, Liverpool snapped up Nunez from Benfica for GBP85 million (USD100.4 million) plus add-ons.
The striker got the ire for his lackluster pre-season performance against Manchester United in Bangkok, where he missed an open goal opportunity. Klopp backed up his player and downplayed the team’s poor showing against the Red Devils. He said he’s focused on preparing the team for the 2022-23 season. Liverpool’s poor form against Manchester United should not be a cause of worry for Reds fans and those who bet on English Premier League soccer. The start of the 2022-23 season is near, and teams are prepping up to dethrone back-to-back champions Manchester City.