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FORMER PSG COACH! Unai Emery to replace Wenger at Arsenal, says report

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Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery looks set to become Arsene Wenger’s successor after 22 years as Arsenal manager, the BBC reported on Monday.

Emery, 46, won Ligue 1 and four domestic cups in two seasons in the French capital before departing earlier this month.

However, the Spaniard paid for his failure to get PSG beyond the last 16 of the Champions League in his two seasons at the Parc des Princes.

“Emery emerged as the unanimous choice following a recruitment process in which all candidates were spoken to,” said the BBC.

PSG had previously reached four consecutive Champions League quarter-finals following the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011, but Emery oversaw a humiliating defeat to Barcelona in the last 16 a year ago, losing 6-1 at the Camp Nou after a 4-0 win in the first leg.

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The club then committed to spending 400 million euros ($483 million) on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe alone — the two most expensive transfer deals in history — last year, but Paris were eliminated in the last 16 again this year, going out to Real Madrid.

“We lost against Real but they are showing that they are maybe still the strongest team in Europe,” said Emery when announcing his departure.

Emery previously enjoyed great success on the European stage at Sevilla, where he won three Europa League titles in three full seasons at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Arsenal have been looking for a new boss for the first time in over two decades since Wenger announced last month he was stepping down at the end of the season.

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A sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, the Frenchman’s worst-ever return, means the Gunners have failed to qualify for the Champions League for a second straight season.

Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, who has formed part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Premier League champions Manchester City for the past two seasons, appeared to be the front runner in the past week.

Arteta, who played 150 games for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016, even had Wenger’s blessing.

“He was a leader, has good passion for the game, knows the club and knows what is important at the club,” Wenger told BeIn Sports.

However, Arteta’s lack of previous managerial experience appears to have seen him lose out to his compatriot.

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Emery’s own playing career was a modest one, largely in Spain’s lower divisions after failing to make the grade at Real Sociedad.

However, he established a reputation as a bright young coach at Lorca and Almeria before being handed his first big job at Valencia in 2008.

Despite severe financial problems as players like David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata were sold, Emery led Valencia to third place behind Barcelona and Real Madrid for three consecutive seasons.

A short, ill-fated spell at Spartak Moscow followed before he returned to his homeland at Sevilla in 2013.

AFP

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PSG sign striker Icardi on permanent deal

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Mauro Icardi

French champions Paris St Germain have signed striker Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal from Inter Milan, the Serie A club said on Sunday.

Argentine Icardi, 27, joined PSG in September on a season-long loan with a buy-out option.

“FC Internazionale Milano announces the transfer of Mauro Icardi to Paris Saint-Germain FC; the striker, born in 1993, has permanently moved to the French club.

“The club thanks the player for the six seasons he spent with us and wishes him the best for his future professional career,” Inter said in a statement.

Icardi scored 20 goals in 31 matches in all competitions before the season was officially concluded on April 30, with 10 games remaining due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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He has been competing for a place in the side with Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, PSG’s all-time top scorer, whose contract expired on June 30.

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Ukrainian match postponed after footballers test positive for coronavirus

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Ukraine’s top professional soccer league said on Saturday it had canceled one of its first post-lockdown matches after several players and staff at Karpaty in the western city of Lviv tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The match between Karpaty and Mariupol from the Azov Sea port of Mariupol was supposed to be played on Sunday behind closed doors.

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The football authorities did not specify how many players had been affected by the virus and when a rescheduled match may be played.

“Those infected were immediately transferred to self-isolation. They had no symptoms,” the league said in a statement.

Ukraine’s government has started easing restrictions imposed in March to prevent the spread of the virus and allowed sports events to continue if all participants are tested and comply with other safety requirements.

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The soccer authorities decided to resume competitions in the Premier League and the Cup with no spectators. Two of Ukraine’s most famous clubs, Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, are scheduled to meet on Sunday.

Ukraine has reported 23,304 cases, including 696 deaths from the coronavirus as of May 30.

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Tennis’ world number 11 undergoes surgery on both ankles

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World number 11 Fabio Fognini underwent surgery on both ankles on Saturday to cure a long-standing problem.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the 33-year-old Italian tennis player said he had hoped the two-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic would have improved his situation.

“I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now and it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini said. “Then my right ankle started playing up in the last two years as well.

“After a medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do while the Tour is on an enforced break. I will have surgery today`(Saturday).”

No professional tournaments have been played since the start of March because of the pandemic, and the ATP Tour has been suspended until at least the start of August.

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