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Lewandowski Rejects Bayern Extension; Coutinho to Play for Aston Villa

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has rejected an extension offered by the German Bundesliga squad. The development would allow other teams to make lucrative offers for the Polish striker, who scored 343 for Bayern. German daily Sport Bild was first to issue the report. It says that “goal machine Robert Lewandowski will leave the club no later than summer of 2023.” The Sport1 site confirms the information. Before this information came out, Bayern has insisted that the Polish striker will stay with the team. However, German media pointed out that Lewandowski would leave free next summer if they will not sell him.

Multiple reports says that the 33-year-old is talking with Barcelona for a possible deal. However, Barca coach Xavi has expressed doubts if the Catalan giants can make the deal due to financial issues. If the deal pushes through, it will help improve the Catalan giants’ campaign in the Spanish La Liga and the European Champions League, European soccer oddsmakers said. The news, however, will not bode well for Bayern as they will miss the Polish striker’s offensive prowess. The XI will still be overwhelming favorites in the Bundesliga despite his impending departure. The football public will have to wait and see the coming developments during the close season.

Coutinho to Play for Aston Villa

Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho signed with the English Premier League squad Aston Villa on Thursday for EUR20 million (USD20.826 million). The Brazilian has played impressively since arriving at Villa on loan in January from Barcelona, who confirmed that the transfer includes a 50% sell-on clause if Coutinho leaves the team. The former Liverpool star has agreed to a contract that runs until 2026. Coutinho joined the Catalan giants in 2018 in a deal worth EUR172 million (USD179 million). However, he never showed his old Liverpool form with Barca as he netted 26 goals in 106 appearances for Barca. 

Chiellini to Leave Juve by End-Season

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini has announced that he will leave the Italian Serie A giants at the end of the season. The veteran defender made the announcement after Juve succumbed to Inter Milan in the final of the Italian Cup. Chiellini, who has won nine league titles and five Italian Cups since arriving from Livorno in 2004, remembered the years he is with Juventus and added that he is still unsure whether he will be retiring from the game after leaving. Chiellini will bid his farewell in the international ranks this summer as Italy plays Argentina in the “Finalissima” at Wembley.

China Backs Out as 2023 AFC Asian Cup Hosts

Citing coronavirus concerns, China has backed out as hosts of the 2023 Asian Cup. They are imposing the zero-Covid strategy in Beijing as it is taking its toll on the nation. It is the second big event to be canceled in China after the virus postpones the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. In a statement, the Asian Football Confederation said that it accepts the exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic. No host nation has been named yet and the AFC says that there will be an announcement in the future. The quadrennial Asian Cup was supposed to be held between June and July next year but the development would mean bad news for Asian soccer betting enthusiasts who are widely awaiting the prestigious tournament.