..::Football IV::..

Wolverine GTR

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    wadiya reply damme nathi unata aniva hamadmaa balana thread ekak :)
    digatama update karpan machan :)
    Elaz bro!
    :cool:
     

    Wolverine GTR

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    Van Gaal: Fosu-Mensah can emulate Schweinsteiger



    Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Tim Fosu-Mensah could go down a similar development path to Bastian Schweinsteiger.Fosu-Mensah is one of a number of academy stars who have impressed in the United first team this season after being handed the chance to shine by Van Gaal.

    The 18-year-old has showed plenty of promise as a full-back, while he has also operated as a centre-back and in central midfield in the past as the debate regarding what his best position is rumbles on.

    And Van Gaal reckons there is the possibility that Fosu-Mensah could emulate team-mate Schweinsteiger, who originally started as a right midfielder before morphing into one of the best central midfielders of his generation under the Dutchman's tutelage.

    Speaking about Fosu-Mensah's best position, Van Gaal said, "It is dependable on vacancies in your squad.Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Tim Fosu-Mensah could go down a similar development path to Bastian Schweinsteiger.

    Fosu-Mensah is one of a number of academy stars who have impressed in the United first team this season after being handed the chance to shine by Van Gaal.

    The 18-year-old has showed plenty of promise as a full-back, while he has also operated as a centre-back and in central midfield in the past as the debate regarding what his best position is rumbles on.

    And Van Gaal reckons there is the possibility that Fosu-Mensah could emulate team-mate Schweinsteiger, who originally started as a right midfielder before morphing into one of the best central midfielders of his generation under the Dutchman's tutelage.

    Speaking about Fosu-Mensah's best position, Van Gaal said, "It is dependable on vacancies in your squad.
     

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    Berlusconi: I want to sell Milan, but only to the right buyer



    Silvio Berlusconi addressed speculation surrounding a Chinese buyout of AC Milan, insisting he will only sell the club in order to continue their "glorious history".

    Milan had previously been in talks with Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol, who had a preliminary agreement to buy 48 percent of the club.

    Since then, an unnamed Chinese group has reportedly expressed interest in the club, with Italian media placing the fee between €600-€700 million.Berlusconi admitted he could move on, but only if the right buyer came along.

    "I want to sell, but I have to do it in a way that puts Milan in stable and secure hands," he told Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (AGI)."If I sell Milan, it will only be so the club can continue its glorious history."

    Speaking earlier this month, Italian finance broker Salvatore Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, said the group, which he could not name, had, "big ambitions and is very, very interested in the club."
     

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    Fellaini savouring FA Cup semi-final against Everton



    Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini is looking forward to a "strange" FA Cup semi-final against former club Everton.

    Fellaini scored what turned out to be the winner as United beat West Ham 2-1 in the quarter-finals to set up Saturday's last-four clash with Everton at Wembley.The last time both sides met in the FA Cup semi-finals in 2009, Fellaini was part of the Everton side which defeated United on penalties.

    And ahead of coming up against his former paymasters in the same fixture seven years later, Fellaini hopes he will be on the winning side once again, but admits it will be a “strange” occasion for him due to his ties to United's opponents."I played against United that day and won, but that is in the past and I want to win again this time with United," said the Belgium international.

    "It's always strange to play against your former team, but we know what we have to do. We want to be in the final and we have one more step to take.”

    United are in fine fettle heading into the affair after putting together a run of three consecutive wins as they hunt down a top-four finish in the Premier League as well as FA Cup success.

    Fellaini, who came on strong towards the end of last season for United, hopes he can do so again this term, saying he receives plenty of encouragement from manager Louis van Gaal.

    "It's a special stadium and there will be a lot of emotion on the day," Fellaini added.
    "Teams can tire at this time of the season, so you want to stay fresh in your head and mind, so you can do your best. But the most important thing is the result.

    "I enjoy my role and whenever the manager puts me in the team, I always give everything. He trusts me, he knows what I can do."The manager and his staff know my qualities and that gives me confidence."
     

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    Real Madrid confirm Ronaldo thigh strain injury



    Real Madrid have confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo has suffered a thigh strain injury, meaning he is now a doubt for their trip to Manchester City in the Champions League next week.The Portugal star took himself off the pitch towards the end of the 3-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday, clutching the back of his right leg.

    Head coach Zinedine Zidane said he had no concerns that the injury could be a serious one, while Ronaldo himself took to Instagram to announce he was "all good" after the incident.

    Madrid have now said that medical tests conducted this week have identified muscle damage, though they are unsure how long Ronaldo will be out of action for.

    "After the medical examinations conducted today [Friday] on our player, Cristiano Ronaldo, a the Hospital Universitario Sanitas La Moraleja, he has been diagnosed with a muscle strain in his right thigh," a club statement read.

    "His progress will be monitored."Ronaldo, who has not missed a minute of La Liga or Champions League football this season, is now likely to be rested for Saturday's clash against Rayo Vallecano, while he could also miss the first leg of the Champions League semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.

    Portugal coach Fernando Santos is understood to have spoken to Madrid, but is not concerned that Ronaldo's place at Euro 2016 could be jeopardised."I took care to learn of Ronaldo's condition," he told SportTV. "The information I have is that the probability of it being something very serious is small, thankfully."

    Ronaldo leads the race for the Pichichi top-scorer prize in La Liga with 31 goals - one ahead of Barcelona's Luis Suarez - and has scored 47 in all competitions this season.
     

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    Manchester City an interesting option for Hummels, says his father and agent



    Mats Hummels' father says Manchester City is an "interesting" option for his son and labelled the club's incoming boss Pep Guardiola as "the best coach in the world".

    Hummels' contract at Borussia Dortmund expires at the end of next season and there has been a lot of speculation this week - most of it driven by his father and agent Hermann - regarding his next move.

    On Friday, Hermann talked up City's prospects for next season, with Bayern Munich boss Guardiola set to replace Manuel Pellegrini at the helm at the Etihad Stadium.

    Hermann told SID : "Manchester City could be interesting."They were not so good this year, but they will be Premier League champions next year. They are getting the best coach in the world."

    Bayern had also been mentioned as a possible destination for the Germany international but Hermann said his quotes had been taken out of context."I only said Mats wanted to play for a top club," he added. "And then I was asked if Bayern belonged to those clubs.

    "It would have been ridiculous if I excluded them. I also could have said Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, PSG, Man City or somebody else."Hummels came through the Bayern youth system but made just one senior appearance before joining Dortmund, initially on loan, in 2008.

    He has since established himself as one of the best defenders in the world but Hermann insists his earlier rejection by Bayern would not preclude a move back to the Allianz Arena.

    He added: "There are no hard feelings left, you do not take that personally. This is business. Sometimes it gets rough and then it is gone."It is really nice for him at Dortmund but you still get the idea to do something else. He is thinking hard about it and playing abroad is always an option."

    Guardiola was asked if Bayern would be interested in Hummels' services at his news conference on Friday but played a straight bat, stating it was "not a question for him".

    Bayern press officer Markus Horwick added: "Hummels has a contract with Dortmund until 2017. That should be respected and that's all I can say about it."
     

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    Blind keen to mentor Fosu-Mensah at Manchester United



    Daley Bind is keen to help promising youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah develop at Manchester United as he believes his compatriot has a bright future ahead of him.

    Fosu-Mensah, 18, made his first-team debut in the 3-2 Premier League win over Arsenal in February and has since impressed with a number of fine performances.
    "Tim is a big talent and also from Holland so I talk a lot to him," Blind told United's website."We were at the same youth academy at Ajax and that will help him even more. I'm very happy that he's doing so well.

    "He gives everything in every game and there is a lot to come from him. He needs to keep going now and stay strong and we will help. I'm really pleased for him.

    "There was a point where we had a lot of injuries and the youngsters had to come in. As youngsters you always give everything and doing your utmost best maybe that gave us something extra in some games.

    "If you look at them now they are doing a great job for the team and they are great guys. It's great to see them doing well and helping us."Fosu-Mensah has made eight appearances in all competitions for United this season.
     

    Wolverine GTR

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    Messi in perfect condition - Luis Enrique



    Luis Enrique has dismissed any concerns over the fitness of Lionel Messi ahead of Barcelona's clash with Sporting Gijon on Saturday.The Argentina star is reported to have been limited in first-team training since the 8-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday.

    There had been fears Messi could be forced to sit out some of the Liga title run-in, but Luis Enrique says he is fully fit to face Abelardo's struggling side, who sit third bottom in La Liga."Messi is in perfect condition. He took a knock against Depor. He trained well and is ready for Saturday," the Barca boss said.

    Looking ahead to the game, the coach continued: "There have always been surprises if you look at the last 10 seasons, especially in the last five games. We have to be prepared to make sure this affects the others and not us.

    "The teams at the bottom of the table have to win and the fans in the home games will be vital."Luis Suarez scored four goals and set up another three in the Riazor rout and has now scored 49 times in all competitions this season.

    Luis Enrique, however, was keen to highlight the contribution of the entire team, rather than single out the Uruguay striker as the most in-form star.

    "Right now, after such a great result, I'm going to say it was great play by the entire team - the goalkeeper, the defenders, the midfielders who helped our attackers," he said.

    "Not many can get four goals and three assists, it's fantastic, but we look from the perspective of the team."The coach went on to defend the form of Andres Iniesta following Barca's disappointing run of three consecutive league defeats prior to Wednesday's game.

    "I think he's been good all season, just as well as last season, when he was incredible. He's decisive on and off the field, there are few players who have the intelligence he does to create spaces and operate in attack and defence. He's a unique player."

    Barca unveiled the designs for the refurbishment of Camp Nou on Thursday - a multi-million euro project which will see the exterior of the ground revamped, a roof added and the capacity increased to just over 105,000.

    Luis Enrique welcomed the prospect of a rebuild but rejected any suggestion that he is worried his transfer budget will be restricted as a result of the cost.

    "I think it's fantastic to improve a unique stadium," he added. "The idea they have looks great. It'll be a few years and they'll need the cooperation of fans and members because we need to keep playing in different conditions.

    "I'm not worried at all about funds. The president said very clearly that the sporting side would not be affected. We have to consider that this is a difficult team to reinforce, we have many of the best players in the world. But I'm completely relaxed."
     

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    Vardy ban will have 'big impact' on Leicester, warns Pochettino



    Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino believes Jamie Vardy's ban will have a "big impact" on Leicester City as the Premier League title race enters its final stages.

    Vardy will miss Leicester's fixture with Swansea City after his dismissal against West Ham last weekend, and could also sit out next week's trip to Manchester United after he was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his reaction to referee Jon Moss' decision.

    Spurs face West Brom on Monday, a day after Leicester host Swansea, and Pochettino believes Claudio Ranieri's side will be affected by Vardy's absence, which could prove decisive in the title run-in.

    Pochettino said: "The motivation is very good on the training ground and we have built up the week fantastically. We now have to patient and wait until Monday.

    "You never know. It is true Vardy is one of the best players in the Premier League and it is normal it will affect them. "We are in a race for the title and I hope they will drop points in the next game."

    England manager Roy Hodgson publicly backed his international striker Vardy, who was handed a second yellow card for simulation in a tangle with West Ham's Angelo Ogbonna.

    "I did not hear what Roy said," Pochettino added. "Everyone can say whatever they want and I will not analyse his work. I watched the game and saw the action a lot of times, maybe for the referee it was very difficult.

    "I believe in football the players and managers are very professional. Sometimes we need to say something interesting. Sometimes I'm boring in my press conference, I feel very proud. If the players want Leicester to win the league maybe we are worried a lot more."I think it is a big impact for Leicester because Vardy is one of the best players of the Premier League.

    "But in their squad they have very good players and are in a position they deserve to be. Vardy is one of the best strikers but I think they have different players."I'm happy with the way we take the moment, we need to play after the other team on Monday. We need to accept that. We know it is football but it is business too.

    "We know the rules and I don't complain, it is no excuse. But we are there and we are happy. The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world."
     

    Wolverine GTR

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    Ranieri finally admits Leicester's title ambition


    Claudio Ranieri has finally admitted winning the Premier League is Leicester City's target this season - after months of playing down their title ambitions.

    Leicester go into the weekend five points ahead of nearest challengers Tottenham, who do not play until Monday, with just four games to go.The Foxes host Swansea City on Sunday and another victory would take them a step closer to the most remarkable success in Premier League history.

    For much of the season, Ranieri spoke only of Leicester's desire to reach 40 points – the recognised amount to stave off the threat of relegation.Once achieved, he demanded his players match that figure over the second half of the season but refused to say whether winning the title was an aspiration.

    But now that Leicester's entry into next season's Champions League has been confirmed, Ranieri says now is the time to admit their target is to win the league.

    "We're in the Champions League, it's fantastic. Well done to everybody. Fans, staff and players," an exuberant Ranieri told a news conference on Friday."We are in the Champions League man! Dilly ding, dilly dong!"It's a great achievement and now we try to win the title. Only this remains.

    "I have spoken to the players, now is the right moment to push. I believe. I am a positive man. If we win the title it will be unbelievable."If Spurs go above us then congratulations but I prefer to be five points ahead."

    On paper, a home fixture with Swansea appears an excellent chance to pile the pressure on Spurs ahead of their game with West Brom but Ranieri refused to underestimate the Welsh side.

    "When you want to win the title it's important to win but Swansea will be a difficult match. It will be a battle," he added."Swansea close very well and press very well but we want to win the Premier League so we will have to fight.

    "On Sunday, everyone will give a little more for each other to try to win the game."
     

    Wolverine GTR

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    Manchester City & Bayern Munich put in the frame as Hummels considers Dortmund exit



    For somebody who insists he is so close to Borussia Dortmund, Mats Hummels spends a lot of his time publicly considering a move away from the club.

    "It doesn't mean that I am leaving, it just means I'm reflecting," he teased, just over a year ago. "There is no particular tendency one way or the other. It's just thoughts going through my mind. It will all become clearer in the coming weeks."

    His declaration seemed perfectly timed to get maximum exposure: immediately after a defeat to Bayern Munich. Within a month he had decided to spurn the advances of Manchester United and others, but not before putting the Dortmund hierarchy and fanbase on alert.

    A year down the line and he is weighing up his future once more. And this time he's losing sleep about it.

    "I've set myself a date by which I have to decide," he said this week, immediately after Dortmund sealed their place in this season's German cup final. "It's a very difficult decision for me. I'm losing about half an hour's sleep every night just thinking about it."

    Although he decided to stay at Dortmund last summer, despite Jurgen Klopp's exit, it seems a transfer this time around could well be on the cards.

    His father and agent, Hermann, is certainly not shy in naming potential destinations.

    "If he should leave Dortmund, then he will move to one of the five or six best clubs and FC Bayern is one of them," Hummels senior said on Thursday.

    Hummels junior had once said he "does not give a damn" about Bayern, his former club, but it seems there would be no problem in joining them this summer. And although he was "flattered" by United's interest, it seems City could now be on the agenda.


    "Manchester City could be interesting. They were not so good this year, but they will be Premier League champions next year. They are getting the best coach in the world."

    Whether or not Hermann is merely naming the world's richest clubs in a bid to drive up his son's annual salary - and increase his own slice of the pie - a move to the Etihad Stadium would make sense.

    With Pep Guardiola arriving - which in itself evidently appeals to the Hummels camp - City will embark on an extensive squad overhaul this summer, and have already identified two central defensive targets.

    John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are the two primary objectives: young, malleable defenders that are capable of picking out passes and, in the latter's case, switching the play with long balls - a tactic Guardiola has regularly deployed during his time at Bayern.
    City have made early moves to secure both players, but they are not alone. Chelsea have renewed their interest in Stones after being rebuffed by Everton last summer, while Barcelona are in the frame for both men, although they may not be able to keep up with the Premier League's spending power.

    City are still interested in Laporte despite the youngster suffering a broken ankle over Easter, although there is no rush to fork out the €50 million release clause while he works his way back to full fitness.

    If Hummels is on the market, there is no doubt that he would fit City's profile.

    The Premier Leauge club have not spent wisely on centre-backs in recent years, splashing out almost £75m on Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala. The two are yet to fully convince they are worth the outlay and it is expected at least one will leave this summer.

    But with Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Begiristain hammering out their blueprint for the club's immediate future, the two men have agreed upon exactly what they want: talented, young, ball-playing defenders.
    Hummels certainly ticks two of those boxes: in this season's Bundesliga he has made the fifth-most passes of any player. Xabi Alonso and David Alaba - two Guardiola players - are first and second, while Julian Weigl, the Dortmund midfielder who has been linked with City and has earned Guardiola's praise, is third. Ilkay Gundogan, who will almost certainly move to City this summer, is fourth.

    But while the Germany international is no pensioner - he is 27 - he is not as young as top targets Stones and Laporte, both 21.

    If either of those prove to be unobtainable, Hummels may well shoot up City's agenda, especially as his contract expires next summer. Thanks to the public efforts of he and his father, however, there are sure to be a number of clubs providing rival interest.
     

    Wolverine GTR

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    James no different to other benched stars - Zidane



    Zinedine Zidane is adamant that James Rodriguez remains an important player for Real Madrid and stressed there is no problem with the Colombia international, who he feels is no different to other players who would like to play more often.

    James has been in and out of the team since Zidane replaced Rafael Benitez at Santiago Bernabeu and was left out of the starting XI for the recent important games against Sevilla, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Villarreal.

    Nevertheless, Zidane has made it clear he still has faith in the former Monaco attacking midfielder even if he will not feel obliged to bring the 24-year-old on to the pitch when he is named among the substitutes."I don't see any problems with James - he is an important player," Zidane said at his media conference ahead of Saturday's match against Rayo Vallecano.

    "James is important for us. He played well and scored a goal against Eibar and Getafe. He obviously wants to play more, but that's the same for every player who doesn't play all the time.

    "Of course, we have 24 players and I can only pick 11. Sometimes it looks like I always have to make three changes in a game, but I will only do so if I think it is necessary.

    "I am the coach and I have to make decisions."Zidane also had his say on defender Raphael Varane, praising his compatriot's professional attitude in response to previous question marks over his form and fitness.

    "I think Varane has been playing very well," said the former World Cup winner. "He has shown what he can do and has enough confidence to play for Madrid and France."He had some problems when he returned from his injury, but he is very serious and professional. He always wants to improve. He is an extraordinary guy who is doing very well and I am happy with him."

    Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo against Rayo due to a thigh injury, but Zidane confirmed Gareth Bale is ready to make his comeback after a brief spell on the sidelines.

    "Bale is doing better and has been training well," he added."He is fully recovered and will be part of the squad against Rayo. Then we will see if he plays."
     

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    :cool:'Manchester United star Marcus Rashford scored 12 goals in one game'



    Was there ever any doubt that Marcus Rashford would make the grade at Manchester United?

    Not according to David Horrocks, the academy development officer at Fletcher Moss Rangers, Rashford’s former youth team.

    The 18-year-old has made a stunning introduction to United’s first team with seven goals in 13 appearances since making his debut at the end of February, but the striker’s prowess in front of goal isn’t anything new.

    “Marcus is such a confident young man who has taken everything that we try to teach the boys and girls here and put it on the greatest stage in the world,” Horrocks told BBC Sport.

    “You can never have a crystal ball but as far as Marcus is concerned, yes - you can see things, especially when he scores 12 goals in a 20 goal game.

    “Marcus was a very shy kid, nothing flamboyant about him. Not cocky or anything like that - he was just a lovely kid.

    “When he made his debut for Manchester United I was in tears.”
     

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    Henry urges Arsenal to sign Leicester City star N'Golo Kante



    Thierry Henry has urged Arsenal to sign Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante this summer.

    The Gunners are all but out of the title race, while Kante has been a pivotal figure for Leicester, who are on the brink of securing the biggest upset in Premier League history.

    And Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer insists the Gunners need to add Kante, along with a world-class striker, in order to be frontrunners in next season’s race.

    “It looks like Arsenal can and should finish in the top four, but there is something to look forward to, and that’s next season," Henry told Sky Sports.

    “If [Alexis] Sanchez can perform the way he’s performing at the minute, and we have Mesut Ozil carrying on giving the assists he’s been giving since the start of the season, then you can think if you have that striker who can score in that moment – maybe N’Golo Kante [as well], we have lots of names we can throw around.

    “Mahrez also was linked, but its going to be a very busy summer for Arsene because you need to get that excitement back and the fans to look forward to something for next season.”
     

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    Ranieri: Leicester will have to change strategy due to Vardy absence



    Claudio Ranieri is refusing to dwell on Jamie Vardy's red card against West Ham but conceded his title-chasing Leicester City side will have to adopt a different strategy against Swansea City on Sunday.

    Vardy was handed a one-game suspension after being sent-off last weekend – although that ban could increase after the England international accepted a charge of improper conduct for directing a tirade of abuse at referee Jon Moss following his dismissal.

    His absence means Ranieri, whose men are five points clear at the summit with four games to play, has plenty to ponder ahead of Swansea's trip to the King Power Stadium and the Italian is eager to look forward rather than back.He said at Friday's news conference: "We know he has one match off. He was not happy but he has enjoyed training.

    "We know the rules of the suspension and we are very focused, no problem. It's okay and we are going to think about the next match."I don't want to put my energy into this, my focus is Swansea."

    Ranieri did reiterate his support for Vardy, who was handed a second yellow card by Moss after going down theatrically having appeared to engineer contact with West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna.

    "He was going very fast and when you are touched you lose balance," added Ranieri."Maybe it's not a penalty but, sure, it's not a yellow card. But I don't like to speak about what's happened, I try to forget it and think about the next game."

    Ranieri conceded a change in strategy was required against Swansea and hinted it would not automatically mean a recall for Leonardo Ulloa, who scored the injury-time penalty that handed Leicester a 2-2 draw against Slaven Bilic's men.

    He said: "We'll have to change something. Without Vardy we will make another strategy but we will see on Sunday."Leo Ulloa deserves to play but there is a team and I think about what is best for the team."
     

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    Wenger's biggest mistake was failed Suarez bid, claims Carragher



    Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal would have won two Premier League titles if Arsene Wenger secured the signature of former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

    The Frenchman placed a £40 million plus £1 bid for the Uruguayan star in 2013, thinking it would trigger a clause in the player's contract, but the Anfield club rejected the offer and Suarez remained on Merseyside for another season.Carragher, who made over 450 appearances for the Reds, pinpointed Wenger's failure to sign the forward, who now competes for Barcelona, as big mistake.

    "When Arsene Wenger looks back, how much do you think he regrets that £1? In July 2013, when Arsenal were pursuing Luis Suarez, how different would things have been had they made Liverpool a proper offer?" he told the Daily Mail.

    "Wenger and Arsenal were under the impression, remember, that a bid of more than £40 million would take Suarez away from Liverpool but they took that to the extreme. By putting just £1 above the fee they thought would trigger a deal, it ensured business would never get done.

    "If you look back at Wenger’s 20 years in English football, there are so many highlights, but that day in July 2013, with the bid that enraged Liverpool, cannot be ignored. Not signing Suarez is the biggest mistake of Wenger’s reign."

    The former Liverpool defender played with Suarez during his final years at the club, and knowing the South American's ability first-hand, the 38-year-old figured a higher offer would have captured the player and secured Premier League triumph for the north London side.

    "Had Arsenal pushed the boundaries for Suarez, perhaps with an offer of £50m, I believe they would have won the Barclays Premier League in two of the last three seasons," he added."That’s the thing about Suarez: whichever team he plays for, he drags them to a higher level."