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CHELSEA AND UTD TO BATTLE FOR LEWA

Chelsea and Manchester United will battle for the signature of striker Robert Lewandowski – if the player can persuade Bayern Munich to let him go.

Sky Sports News reports the Poland captain is keen to leave Bayern and his future could become clearer in the next fortnight.

Despite being under contract until 2021, he has hired super-agent Pini Zahavi to negotiate a deal to release him from the Bundesliga leaders.

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Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert LewandowskiSource: AFP

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Mat Ryan transfer, Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion, rumours, gossip,

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Stay at Premier League giants Arsenal as a backup keeper, or move to a rival as a first-choice starter: it’s the brutal dilemma facing Socceroos star Mat Ryan.

Ryan was axed from his starter’s role with Brighton and Hove Albion in December then loaned out to Arsenal in January – a dream move to the club he supported as a kid.

Now Football Insider reports Arsenal are in ‘advanced talks’ to turn that season-long loan into a permanent transfer.

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With the Seagulls seemingly happy with Ryan’s replacement between the sticks in Robert Sanchez, it appears Ryan’s future at Brighton is over.

And with his contract expiring at the end of the 2022 campaign, Brighton’s reported £10 million price tag back in January is likely to be slashed – meaning there’ll probably be plenty of interested parties for his services.

Ryan has made just two Premier League appearances for Arsenal so far, most recently a strong performance in a 1-1 draw against Fulham on the weekend.

“I picked him because he totally deserves to play, he trains like a beast, he’s got the right attitude and he needed a game. It was a great header,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said of the Australian after the game.

For now, there is no doubt that the 29-year-old is second in the pecking order behind German Bernd Leno.

But that might not remain the case for long, with Leno recently telling The Times that he was open to leaving Arsenal – and revealing he had not discussed a new contract with the club, with just over two years remaining on his present deal.

“I’m very happy at the club, he said. I don’t know what will come in the future, but I’m open to everything.”

For Arsenal, Ryan presents an ideal cut-price back-up to Leno.

But for the Australian, in the peak of his career and with a 2022 World Cup firmly on the horizon, waiting and hoping for Leno to leave – or be punted – is a huge gamble.

Arsenal is ‘the first club I ever loved’, he wrote upon his signing. Remaining there could offer him the chance to win a Premier League medal and other riches – and being installed as the club’s top keeper is always one unfortunate potential injury away.

But there’s no guarantee that Leno will leave, or that Ryan will replace him as top dog.

Two years – or more – as the backup could rob him of the chance to play dozens more games as a guaranteed starter somewhere else.

And without games, his role as Socceroos’ starter would be under a serious cloud – especially with rivals like Mitch Langerak in career-best and record-breaking form in Japan.

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Man Utd captain Harry Maguire's message to fans after he 'confronted' Ed Woodward over ESL

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Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has taken to social media in response to the club pulling out of the European Super League.

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Roman Abramovich Chelsea, timeline, Premier League return

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The madness started with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claiming the Super League was the only solution to “save football”.

Then it was Fifa president Gianni Infantino, firing his warning shot to the rebel 12.

Then came three days of chaos.

By mid-morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was personally promising to bring the plot crashing down.

Then we heard Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin urging the Premier League’s “dirty half dozen” to own up to their “mistake” and apologise to the fans who “bleed themselves dry” for their football clubs.

And that was just the start of football’s longest day, a battle for the soul of the game that ended with the bodies of the victims strewn over the Premier League clubs’ boardroom table, The Sun’s Martin Lipton reports.

Turning and fleeing like whipped little dogs, Manchester City and Chelsea have both claimed to have been the first English clubs to pull out of the doomed attempt to rip the heart of football.

City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham were part of 12 leading European clubs to sign up to the breakaway league on Monday (AEDT).

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Russian billionaire oligarch and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich speaking to David Beckham.Source: AFP

But reaction to the incendiary scheme was scathing, with politicians and football authorities threatening to take legal action against the so-called “dirty dozen” and potentially ban them from domestic leagues.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reported to have led the Blues’ charge out of the Super League after the severity of the blowback.

The Sun reports the Russian billionaire was “shocked to the core by how quickly everything had fallen apart” as a source told the publication he “had no idea that there would be such a backlash”.

He was also allegedly furious he hadn’t been warned about how harsh the reaction would be to the proposal.

The Guardian reported Ambramovich “took the first step” to remove Chelsea from the Super League by telling the club’s executive to begin drafting plans to pull out.

“This was a case of a man known for looking notably unimpressed by most things taking a look at the collapsing edifice around him and thinking: ‘Right, this is done’,” Barney Ronay wrote. Rumours swirled about Chelsea’s backflip, but City had already announced their withdrawal before Abramovich’s decision was made public.

Abramovich is valued at A$19.17 billion by Forbes and is a key figure in where English football sits right now. His take over of Chelsea in 2003 eventually led to Sheikh Mansour’s take over of Manchester City with both clubs pouring money into the sport, forcing Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and others to do the same.

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Football supporters demonstrate against the proposed European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021, ahead of the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton.Source: AFP

For the other clubs that joined the break-away plot, the shame and humiliation is multiplied by their decision to crawl back to the Premier League.

It was too much for Manchester United’s under-fire executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to survive with the club announcing he will leave the club.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is also among the figures to have been most mutilated by the scandal, after the group of 14 Premier League clubs remaining with the league passed on a message that the dirty six were “destroying” the game.

When the representative for the 14 remaining clubs spoke publicly about his conversation with Levy, there was no sympathy for the Tottenham boss’ contrition.

“We are all still seething at what has gone on. Every single one of us. There is no sympathy at all for Levy, or anyone else involved,” a source from within the group of 14 clubs told The Sun.

“They are the ones who put us in this position because of their greed.”

Within 48 hours of the first pawn being moved across the chess board, it was over, leaving just the victims. Some have just lost their reputations.

Others their pride. A few — with more to come — their jobs. But none of them have escaped uninjured.

And while City and Chelsea did the right thing first, the fans who laid siege outside Stamford Bridge and condemned the Etihad hierarchy they have so often rightly praised, will long remember.

Clubs explain wild backflip

What he said.Source: Getty Images

One by one, as the dominoes fell, English clubs explained why they were backing down.

In a statement, Manchester City said: “Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”

Manchester United said it had “listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders” while Liverpool said: “In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions.”

Arsenal said what everybody was thinking. “We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought,” the Gunners’ statement said.

“It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.

“As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy tried to justify why Spurs got involved in the first place.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” Levy said. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

With AFP

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