Sunday, April 22, 2018

Atsu rejects new deal at Porto; Buffon close to agreeing extension

FC Porto winger Christian Atsu has reportedly rejected a contract extension at the club, fueling speculation that he could be sold when the transfer window reopens in January, with Borussia Dortmund, Olympique Lyonnais, Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia CF among the clubs interested in the Ghana international, Sky Sports understands.

Atsu, 20, has 18 months remaining on his current contract at Porto, and the Portuguese giants were, and perhaps still are, keen on bumping up the release clause in the player’s deal to €30 million (£24 million).

Andre Villas-Boas’ and Tottenham have already shown interest in the 20-year-old winger, but speculation seems to be suggesting that Spurs could attempt to sign Atsu and Joao Moutinho from Porto in January.

Don’t forget, Atsu was initially called up to the first-team by Villas-Boas in May 2011. He joined Rio Ave on loan shortly thereafter, bagging six goals in 22 league appearances for the Portuguese side in 2011-12.

Atsu has failed to get on the score-sheet in 17 appearances, albeit just five starts, for club — FC Porto — or country — Ghana — this season.

The Ghana international is set to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations in January, meaning that he will probably be available for Porto, or any club for that matter, with Ghana expected to reach the latter stages of the competition.

Buffon close to agreeing extension

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is close to agreeing terms on a short-term contract extension with the Turin giants, Sky Sports reports.

Buffon, 34, has been Juventus’ first-choice shot-stopper since joining the Bianconeri from Parma for a transfer fee of €51,645,690 (100 billion lire at the time) in the summer of 2001.

“We need to speak about its length,” the Italy international told the club’s official website.

“I want it to be a short-term deal because I don’t need reassurance; on the contrary, I think it’s better to have motivation. In any case we’re down to the final details.”

At the moment, Juventus are four points clear of Inter Milan atop the Serie A table, despite suffering two defeats in the league this season.

Antonio Conte’s side finished last season unbeaten in the Serie A after posting a 23-15-0 record, while conceding just 20 goals in 38 league matches, due in large part to Buffon’s excellence between the sticks.

Juve are actually getting more points per match this season, 2.38, than they did during their unbeaten campaign last season, 2.21.

You can attribute that to their lack of draws this time around. After drawing 15 league matches last season, Juve have been tied after 90 minutes just twice in 16 fixtures. Throw in 12 victories and two defeats and you’ve got 38 points from 16 matches.


Shawn Etemadi



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