Arsene Wenger reportedly signs new two-year contract with Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has signed a two-year contract extension with Arsenal, according to reports.

Inside World Football columnist Matt Scott claims that the 67-year-old has already put pen to paper on a fresh deal which will keep him at the club for the next two seasons.

It’s understood that Arsenal are now waiting for a suitable time to announce the decision.

Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to West Brom – their fourth loss in five Premier League games – has left Arsenal sixth in the table and six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

Following the result, Wenger suggested that he has already decided whether he will call time on his 21-year stint at Arsenal.

‘I will announce my future soon,’ he said. ‘You will soon know and very soon – you will.’

Arsenal fans continue to protest against Wenger, while a group of supporters arranged for a plane to fly overhead at The Hawthorns carrying a message which called for the Frenchman to quit.

Amid the growing unrest among fans, Arsenal were forced to release a statement earlier this month claiming that they ‘understood’ concerns from supporters.

‘Arsene has a contract until the end of the season,’ said Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick.

‘Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way.’

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Sir Alex Ferguson: Wayne Rooney’s record may stand forever

Manchester United’s new all-time leading goal-scorer Wayne Rooney may never be bettered, according to Alex Ferguson.

Alex Ferguson does not expect Wayne Rooney to be surpassed as Manchester United’s leading scorer after the club captain moved clear of Bobby Charlton on Saturday to take sole possession of the record.

Rooney equalised with a spectacular late free-kick away to Stoke City in the Premier League, bringing up his 250th strike for the Red Devils, after previously drawing level with Charlton by netting in an FA Cup third-round win at home to Reading.

Speaking to MUTV, Ferguson – the man who brought Rooney to Old Trafford from Everton in 2004 – was asked if he can imagine another player one day topping the 31-year-old’s haul.

“I don’t think so,” the Scot said.

“I couldn’t say never – never say never – but if you look at modern-day football, Manchester United are one of the few clubs who can keep players for over 10 years.

“It is more difficult than ever but we were very lucky – if you look at my time, even in [former manager] Sir Matt Busby’s time, we had players who stayed for more than 10 years. Many, many players did that and Wayne is one of them.

“But, in the modern day, you see it happening less and less that players stay for that length of time. For instance, [current manager] Jose [Mourinho] mentioned young Marcus Rashford and he’s got to score more than 20 goals a season for the next 10 years or so and that is difficult in itself.

“You hope it lasts and he stays here more than 10 years but there are fewer players doing that now.”

The next opportunity for Rooney to add to his tally may come in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final away to Hull City on Thursday, a tie United lead 2-0 on aggregate.

Revealed: Incredible deal Liverpool are offering Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool are reportedly ready to almost double Philippe Coutinho’s salary at Anfield with a new and vastly improved contract.

The Brazilian has begun talks with Liverpool over a new deal and has already indicated that he is happy to accept a new deal.

Liverpool want to hand Coutinho a five-year deal tying him to the club until 2022 and make him one of the best paid players at the club.

Coutinho currently earns £80,000-a-week at the club, but the boost Liverpool have in mind would take him closer to top earners Daniel Sturridge and James Milner.

Both are reportedly on over £100,000-a-week while Sadio Mane is believed to be the club’s top earner on £125,000-a-week.

Liverpool are also eager to insist there is no release clause in Coutinho’s new deal so as to warn off other clubs and strengthen their relationship with their star player, according to Joe.co.uk.

Jurgen Klopp has made tying Coutinho down to a new deal his top transfer priority and is not expected to bring in any new faces this January.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with a host of players, like Julian Brandt, but are reported to be happy to hold off on moving for their top targets until the summer.

Michael Ballack fires warning to Diego Costa after Chelsea bust-up

Michael Ballack has told Diego Costa that he should be thankful to Chelsea for giving him a chance to shine at one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

The Spain international returned to action at the weekend following his training ground bust-up with Antonio Conte and Chelsea’s fitness coaches over a back injury.

It’s understood that Chelsea believe that Costa’s head has been turned following an £80 million offer from Tianjin Quanjian, who were prepared to pay the striker a salary worth £30m a year.

‘It’s up to him with his attitude and his commitment to the club,’ Ballack told talkSPORT.

‘Because he’s playing for Chelsea and they gave him the possibility to shine and to perform well at one of the biggest clubs in Europe – and he should not forget that.

‘Of course, offers are coming with crazy numbers from China, but players should remember they are playing in a fantastic league in Europe and are top of the top, in terms of being watched, the quality of clubs, the players and they are on good money. Nobody would complain about their contracts.

‘It’s a bit of a disturbance to see all these offers coming in, but Costa is professional enough to see what a fantastic club Chelsea is.

‘On the other side, each club and each player has to deal with these kinds of situations. What is important; is that they win the league and the next game. Already, he found a good answer last week by coming back and scoring.’

Sunderland striker Victor Anichebe out for up to 10 weeks

Victor Anichebe could be sidelined until April after the Sunderland striker suffered ankle ligament damage against West Brom.

Sunderland’s stretched squad has been dealt another blow with the news striker Victor Anichebe will be out for up to 10 weeks due to ankle ligament damage.

Anichebe sustained the damage in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at West Brom, which left the struggling team bottom of the table, three points adrift of safety.

The former Everton forward is the latest addition to a lengthy injury list, Anichebe joining Jan Kirchhoff, Jordan Pickford, Lynden Gooch, Lee Cattermole, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair on the sidelines.

Manager David Moyes is also without Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone due to their participation in the Africa Cup of Nations, though midfielder Didier Ndong is set to return after Gabon were eliminated.

Moyes entered the transfer market on Tuesday to sign his former Everton player Joleon Lescott on a short-term deal.

The injured Anichebe, meanwhile, has made 12 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals.

But, should the 28-year-old be sidelined for 10 weeks, he will miss league matches against Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Everton, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Watford and Leicester City.

Morocco 1- 0 Ivory Coast: Alioui strike sends Morocco through as holders Ivory Coast crash out

A sumptuous goal from Rachid Alioui earned Morocco a place in the Africa Cup of Nations last eight and dumped out holders Ivory Coast.

Reigning champions Ivory Coast crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations as they were beaten 1-0 by Morocco, who advanced to the last eight thanks to Rachid Alioui’s superb second-half winner.

Only on the field due to Aziz Bouhaddouz’s first-half injury, Alioui’s excellent strike was the difference as the Elephants failed to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2002 following an insipid performance in Tuesday’s meeting in Oyem.

Herve Renard led Ivory Coast to their triumph two years ago but, now in charge of Morocco, the Frenchman watched on as his new side qualified second from Group C behind DR Congo.

Knowing they needed a win to advance, the defending champions saw chances come and go for Wilfried Zaha and Salomon Kalou, but they could not find a way through a stubborn Morocco backline well marshalled by Bayern Munich’s on-loan Juventus defender Medhi Benatia.

Morocco went close in the first half when Faycal Fajr struck the woodwork with a set piece and, with DR Congo defeating Togo 3-1 elsewhere, the Atlas Lions knew a draw was enough to see them through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004, when they finished runners-up.

But Renard’s side were not satisfied to sit back and hold out, and were rewarded midway through the second period when Alioui curled home a delightful winner from distance.

The holders had the better of the opening exchanges without carving out any opportunities, but it was Morocco who went agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 25th minute.

Following Cheick Doukoure’s foul on Bouhaddouz, Fajr’s curling free-kick over the wall crashed against the crossbar with goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo beaten.

The Elephants’ first real chance arrived in the 37th minute when Zaha’s effort from the left-hand side of the box was parried away by Munir.

Kalou created that opening for Zaha and the Hertha Berlin forward went close himself shortly before the break, heading against the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Gbohouo made an uncertain start to the second period but his flap from a long free-kick into the area went unpunished by Morocco captain Benatia, who lifted the ball over the unguarded goal from 20 yards.

But the Elephants’ keeper had no such luck in the 64th minute as Alioui picked up a pass from Youssef En-Nesyri and, with Simon Deli backing off, curled a marvellous effort over Gbohouo from 25 yards.

Hamza Mendyl wasted a chance to wrap it up for Morocco when he fired into the side-netting with 10 minutes remaining, but it mattered little as Renard celebrated a success over his former employers.

Australian Open: Serena Williams beats Johanna Konta to reach semi-finals

Serena Williams has ended Johanna Konta’s hopes of winning the Australian Open with a blistering straight sets victory.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, a six-time winner here in Melbourne, had been below her best against Barbora Strycova but raised her game severely for the test of the British No. 1.

Konta has beaten every player in the top 10, apart from Angelique Kerber, in the past 18 months but was yet to face Williams.

But the 25-year-old struggled to match the incredible power shown by a woman 10 years her senior, losing 6-2 ENTER SCORE.

Williams will go on to face Mirjana Lucic-Baroni after the world No. 79 stunned Karolina Pliskova in her quarter-final.

Neither player had lost a set heading into the quarter-final, with both largely impressing in their earlier matches, but something would have to give.

It was the American who drew first blood in the contest, breaking Konta on her way to a 4-1 lead.

After the break, the Brit, who has largely been coolness personified throughout the tournament, showed her first signs of frustration by snapping in the direction of her box.

A second break followed at the end of the first set, which Williams sealed 6-2.

Konta was forced to dig deep at the start of the second, clawing her way back from 0-40 to hold in her opening service game.

In the following game, Konta got her first breakthrough of the match to take a 2-1 lead – much to the irritation of the world No. 2.

Soon after, however, Williams was level at 3-3 after a nightmare service game from Konta.

Williams then snatched another break to move 5-3 up and served out the match.

They insulted his mother and then there were monkey noises – reports on Bastia Balotelli abuse

Bastia fans insulted Mario Balotelli’s mother before making racist chants during last week’s Ligue 1 game with Nice, says Wylan Cyprien.

Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien has supported Mario Balotelli’s claims that he was subjected to racist abuse during last week’s 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at Bastia.

Balotelli played the full 90 minutes at the Stade Armand-Cesari last Friday and later claimed a section of the home supporters targeted him with monkey noises, labelling the experience as “horrible”.

The French Professional Football League (LFP) has announced it will investigate incidents from the game and said in a statement it “deplores all the incidents that occured during the SC Bastia – OGC Nice meeting”.

Nice praised its players and Balotelli in particular for not rising to “provocations” from the terraces after their team bus was stoned pre-match.

Bastia responded with a statement of their own on Balotelli’s claims, which said they had not “been informed either by the referees, the delegates, or by any member of OGC Nice of any incident of this type” after the match.

Lille and former-Bastia midfielder Julian Palmieri has also questioned the ex-Manchester City striker’s version of events.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said on Monday he expected sanctions against Bastia and Cyprien added his voice to the growing number of people stating Balotelli was abused.

“At first there were insults on him and his mother and then there were monkey noises,” he told L’Equipe.

“I do not condemn all Bastia fans for two or three fools. Me, I do not give it too much attention. It does not stop me from sleeping.”

Cyprien also suggested it is not the first time he has experienced such issues when playing at Bastia, alluding to the Corsican club’s chequered disciplinary past.

He added: “Is this what I have experienced in my career? No… well, when we went to Bastia, Corsica, but…”

‘Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been better than Wayne Rooney’

Former England international, Stan Collymore has claimed that only Argentine captain, Lionel Messi and Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo have had better careers than Manchester United striker, Wayne Rooney in the past decade.

Collymore, an ex-Liverpool striker believes that the Manchester United and England captain has had a decade that compares with the world’s best.

Rooney became Manchester United’s record goalscorer on Saturday when he netted his 250th goal for the club, having previously broken Bobby Charlton’s record to become England’s highest ever scorer.

Rooney, a Liverpool native moved to Old Trafford in 2004, and has won five Premier League titles as well as the Champions League since then.

According to Collymore, Rooney’s achievements in the past 10 years single him out as one of the best players in the world.

He wrote on Daily Mirror, “If you take out the big two, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has had as good a career as anybody in the world over the last decade.

“You don’t break Sir Bobby Charlton’s England or Manchester United’s goal records without being something very special.

“So huge congratulations to Wayne Rooney for achieving both, for a fantastic career that has seen him win virtually every trophy.”

Kelechi Iheanacho Will Not Leave Manchester City, Confirms The Striker’s Father

James Iheanacho, the father of Nigerian forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, says the youngster will not be seeking a loan move away from Manchester City during the January transfer window.

The arrival of Brazilian youngster, Gabriel Jesus, has reduced Iheanacho’s chances of regular appearance at the Etihad.

There was no place for Nigeria international in Pep Guardiola’s matchday squad in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Saturday but his father insists no intention of him seeking a move elsewhere.

Iheanacho started the season in fine form, scoring three goals in his opening six matches and since then his game time has dwindled.

According to James, the 20-year-old is happy to stay and fight for his place, with talk of a potential switch elsewhere quickly dismissed.

James told All Nigeria Soccer, “Automatically Kelechi is not going on loan because his name is not among the players leaving.

“It is only [on Saturday] he did not play.”

Last season, under former coach, Manuel Pellegrini the player netted 14 times in all competitions including a hat-trick in a FA Cup clash with Aston Villa.

Back in November, Guardiola reassured the youngster of playing time at the club, “My advice is keep going, keep fighting, sooner or later everything is coming back, and of course he’s going to have his minutes,” he said.