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Pressure Mounts on Arsenal, Man U for Trophy as Europa League Reaches Q-Final Stage

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English clubs, Manchester United and Arsenal return to European action are among four unmissable quarter-final first-leg clashes exclusively live on StarTimes.

Since 1972, all permanent Manchester United managers have won at least one trophy in their stint with the Red Devils.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is fast running out of options if he wants to ensure a continuation of this run in his third season in charge of the club.

Having taken over from Jose Mourinho (who won the Europa League, the League Cup and the Community Shield in his two and a half years in charge) in December 2018, the Norwegian’s best chance – and probably the only chance – for success this season is the Europa League.

On Thursday United are away to Spanish club Granada in the first leg of the quarter-final of the prestigious competition.

Granada, who entered the tournament in the 3rd qualifying round and have already played 13 Europa League matches, are enjoying their first-ever foray into European football.

If Solskjær is under pressure to do well, there is even more pressure on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. The Gunners slumped to a 3-0 home defeat against Liverpool on the weekend and are 10th in the league and seem unlikely to qualify for Europe next season.

Unless, of course, they win the Europa League.

Arsenal enjoy home advantage in the Emirates Stadium against Slavia Prague on Thursday and will be looking to ensure they travel to the Czech Republic with a lead a week later.

One of the reasons why Arsenal’s season has never quite reached the heights their fans expect is that star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not been as lethal upfront as he used to be.

Having scored over 30 goals in all competitions last season, the Gabonese international currently stands on just 14.

Football fans will be able to watch all the best action from the exciting competition live and exclusively on StarTimes Basic Bouquet for N1700 monthly or Smart Bouquet for N2200 monthly.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Arsenal Prepares €100M Bid for Napoli’s Victor Osimhen

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Victor Osimhen

Arsenal is gearing up to make a significant splash in the summer transfer market, with plans to submit a formal €100 million bid for Napoli’s prolific striker Victor Osimhen in the coming days.

This move underscores the Gunners’ determination to bolster their attacking options ahead of the new Premier League season.

The news, reported by Italian journalist Ciro Venerato, highlights Arsenal’s ambition to secure a world-class forward who can enhance their offensive prowess.

“Arsenal will make an attempt with Napoli in the next few days after many rumors,” Venerato stated, confirming the North London club’s interest in the Nigerian international.

Victor Osimhen, who has been a standout performer for Napoli, has a release clause set at €130 million (approximately £110 million).

If Arsenal were to meet this clause, it would make Osimhen the club’s most expensive signing, surpassing the £105 million paid for Declan Rice last year.

However, reports suggest that Arsenal is hoping to negotiate a lower fee, with an initial bid of around €100 million (£85 million) being prepared.

Osimhen has made no secret of his desire to play in the Premier League, and Arsenal’s interest aligns with his aspirations.

Despite missing 11 matches due to injuries and his participation in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Osimhen managed to score 15 goals in 23 Serie A appearances in the recently concluded 2023/24 season.

Arsenal’s pursuit of Osimhen is part of a broader strategy to strengthen their squad after narrowly missing out on a top-four finish last season.

The club’s management is keen to add depth and quality to their roster, ensuring they can compete at the highest level domestically and in European competitions.

In addition to Arsenal, other top clubs have shown interest in Osimhen. Chelsea is reportedly monitoring the situation, while Paris Saint-Germain has also been linked with the striker as a potential replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who recently joined Real Madrid.

The potential acquisition of Osimhen would be a significant coup for Arsenal, signaling their intent to compete with the best in the Premier League.

The Nigerian striker’s blend of pace, power, and finishing ability would add a new dimension to Arsenal’s attack, complementing the talents of players like Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Martin Ødegaard.

As the summer transfer window progresses, Arsenal fans will be eagerly awaiting further developments. The club’s willingness to invest heavily in a player of Osimhen’s caliber demonstrates their commitment to returning to the pinnacle of English football.

If successful, this move could be a game-changer for the Gunners, providing the firepower needed to challenge for major honors in the upcoming season.

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Finidi George Resigns from Super Eagles Role, Confirms Toyin Ibitoye

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Finidi George

Finidi George has resigned from his position as the head coach of Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles.

This news was confirmed by former Super Eagles media officer, Toyin Ibitoye, who announced the resignation on his social media account.

“News just in: Finidi George @FinidiGeorge_FG has resigned from his @NGSuperEagles manager position,” Ibitoye posted, causing a ripple of reactions among fans and football analysts.

Finidi’s resignation comes just days after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) disclosed plans to appoint a foreign technical adviser, a move seen by many as a shake-up intended to bolster the team’s performance.

This strategic decision by the NFF likely influenced Finidi’s choice to step down.

Appointed on April 29, 2024, Finidi’s tenure was notably brief. He succeeded Jose Peseiro, whose contract expired in February.

During his short spell, Finidi managed two World Cup qualifying matches, leading the Super Eagles to a 1-1 draw with South Africa and a 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic.

Despite the less-than-stellar results, Finidi’s appointment had initially been met with enthusiasm, with many hoping his extensive experience as a former international player and successful coach of Enyimba FC would translate into success for the national team.

The NFF’s decision to bring in foreign expertise highlights its commitment to enhancing the Super Eagles’ competitive edge on the international stage.

However, the timing of this announcement and Finidi’s subsequent resignation have sparked discussions about the stability and future direction of the team.

In response to the resignation, the NFF will need to expedite its search for a new head coach. This transition period is critical, especially with the ongoing World Cup qualifiers and other international fixtures looming.

Fans and stakeholders are watching closely, hoping that the new direction will bring positive changes and improved performances.

The NFF now faces the challenge of not only finding a suitable replacement but also ensuring that the transition is seamless to maintain team morale and focus.

The next few weeks will be crucial as the Super Eagles prepare under new guidance, aiming to meet the high expectations of their supporters and the nation.

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Napoli President Travels to Convince PSG on Osimhen’s €120M Clause

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Victor Osimhen

In a high-stakes move to secure the future of one of European football’s hottest talents, Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has flown to France to engage in direct talks with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) officials.

The purpose of the trip is to persuade the French club to trigger the €120 million release clause of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.

The 24-year-old forward has been a pivotal player for Napoli, drawing widespread attention with his impressive performances.

Last year, Osimhen expressed a desire to explore new opportunities, prompting Napoli to offer him a new contract that included a substantial release clause.

Despite his outstanding form, concerns over his recent injury have caused potential suitors to hesitate.

De Laurentiis’ trip to Paris underscores Napoli’s determination to secure a lucrative transfer for Osimhen. With PSG reportedly cooling their interest in recent months, the Napoli president aims to reignite their pursuit and finalize the deal.

“We believe Victor is worth every cent of his release clause,” a Napoli insider revealed. “De Laurentiis is committed to ensuring that any transfer reflects his true value.”

In addition to Osimhen, De Laurentiis is expected to discuss Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has reportedly agreed on personal terms with PSG.

The Napoli president aims to prevent the French giants from swooping in for another of their prized assets without due negotiation.

Over the past year, several top European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, have been linked with Osimhen.

However, his €120 million release clause and injury issues have deterred them from making firm offers. Chelsea, in particular, has turned its attention to alternative targets such as RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko.

Despite these setbacks, De Laurentiis remains hopeful. “PSG has the financial power and the ambition to sign a player of Osimhen’s caliber,” he said before his departure. “We are here to ensure they understand the opportunity that lies before them.”

This development comes as Napoli seeks to balance their books and invest in strengthening their squad for the upcoming season. A successful sale of Osimhen would provide significant financial flexibility and allow them to pursue other high-profile targets.

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