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Xavi Hernandez Explained Why He Took Off Frenkie De Jong In The Second Half Of Barcelona’s Win Over Elche At The Camp Nou

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De Jong departed in the second half, with the scoreline still at 2-2, and was replaced by Riqui Puig for the final 15 minutes.

Barcelona went on to win the game, courtesy of Nico Gonzalez’s late strike, and Xavi explained the substitution after the game.

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“He has given us things. He may not have been as fluent as Gavi and Nico but he is making a spectacular effort,” he said.

“He has given us a good defensive job, recovery of second balls. It is also a matter of fatigue. He has played a lot and that ends up taking its toll.”

De Jong was reportedly whistled by some sections of the support as he made his way off the pitch. There has been speculation in recent weeks that he could be sold to raise some much-needed funds.

The Dutchman’s father has also spoken out about his future and admitted some of Europe’s top clubs have already been in touch but he does not expect his son to leave Barca any time soon.

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Star’s Premier League return under threat as final suitors Crystal Palace back out of deal

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aaron ramsey battles eden hazard as arsenal take on chelsea at the emirates stadium

Aaron Ramsey could remain in Italy for the remainder of the season after final suitors Crystal Palace reportedly pulled out of the race to sign him.

Ramsey, 31, appeared set for a Premier League return when Juventus boss Max Allegri made the following admission: “Ramsey returned today after his leave to work in England, but he is an outgoing player.” But a transfer to England is now in jeopardy.

The central midfielder immediately became linked with Aston Villa, although they are pursuing other targets.

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Patrick Vieira put Crystal Palace in the mix to capture his services when he called Ramsey a ‘terrific player’.

Newcastle, Wolves and Burnley had also been keeping tabs on Ramsey’s situation. But he has left Juventus ‘irritated’ by refusing to join any of those three clubs.

The Eagles were the last team standing. But according to the Daily Mail, a transfer to Selhurst Park is off the table.

Ramsey’s signing is proving difficult to complete, leading Palace to search for alternative players in midfield.

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Aaron Ramsey wage causing problems

They are also wary of his huge wage demands – the Wales international currently earns an eye-watering £400,000 per week in Turin.

This is way out of Palace’s budget, and it would take lengthy negotiations to finalise an agreement.

The former Arsenal star is now facing an uncertain future. He is not part of Allegri’s plans, and has also struggled with muscle problems this campaign.

Ramsey’s contract expires next year, but he will likely push for a cut-price sale before then to get his career back on track.

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When will Salah, Mahrez, Mane and the rest of AFCON Premier League players return?


Vieira provides update on injuries and transfers

Meanwhile, Vieira has been speaking to the media ahead of Palace’s match against Liverpool on Sunday.

When asked for availabilities, the former midfielder said: “We still have James McArthur and James Tomkins who won’t take part tomorrow. Everyone else is good.

“Jordan Ayew took part in some training this morning so he will be available on Sunday.”

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When asked if striker Christian Benteke will be staying amid interest from Burnley, Vieira replied: “Yes. He will be at this football club. Christian loves this club and he’s part of what we’re trying to do.”

The manager also gave a transfer update. “We will try to improve the squad and this is a difficult period to find the right players,” he said. “We are working and trying to improve and if we can bring a couple of payers it’ll be good for the squad. If not, we’ll improve players individually to be better collectively.”

Palace drew 1-1 with Brighton in their last outing. Conor Gallagher capped a great team move by finishing past Robert Sanchez in the 69th minute, but the Seagulls got a late equaliser.

On his team’s goal, Vieira added: “They reflect the way we want to play. We know it’s difficult to do it often or for 95 minutes. But at least we have an identity about how we want to play.

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“The other side of the game is defending well and we need to improve that to win more games.”

READ MORE: Tottenham, Chelsea join race to sign explosive Ligue 1 forward – Euro Paper Talk

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Howe hits Newcastle fans with transfer ‘expectations’ reality check and warning over targets

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newcastle boss eddie howe claps fans following home draw with norwich city

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has insisted that his side’s takeover does not mean they can suddenly splash the cash to improve their squad.

This season’s January window will prove pivotal for the Magpies as they look to stay in the Premier League. Indeed, dropping down to the Championship would prove a major setback for their new regime.

Newcastle worked tirelessly before the window opened to ensure a smooth process for signing their targets. That worked to good effect initially, with Kieran Trippier arriving not long into the month.

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The Magpies also swiftly activated striker Chris Wood’s release clause at Burnley. Both players subsequently came straight into the team for last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Watford.

As another week in the January window has progressed, talks over a deal for Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos have continued. Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard is also supposedly a key target.

However, Howe has insisted that Newcastle have had a “frustrating” week, with no new signings over the line.

“It’s been frustrating in the transfer market,” the manager told a press conference. “We know we are against a deadline and we’re desperately trying to improve the squad.

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“We’re working very hard behind the scenes. It has been a fruitless search this week.”

Howe added that there is a “difficult combination” creating a perfect storm in hampering Newcastle’s transfer chances.

Coronavirus concerns are playing a key role, with clubs reluctant to lose players through fear of an outbreak and a subsequent lack of options.


When will Salah, Mahrez, Mane and the rest of AFCON Premier League players return?

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Howe added: “I am sure the takeover has elevated people’s expectations on what Newcastle can pay other clubs.

“And add that all together it’s been a very difficult window for everybody so far. More so when you are in our position and you are keen to change the dynamics of certain situations. It’s been very difficult.”

Howe talks ideal Newcastle transfer

Newcastle are primarily after a new centre-back who can stabilise their defence.

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The Magpies frailty at the back showed again against Watford as they failed to keep hold of a 1-0 lead. Indeed, that saw their tally of Premier League points dropped from winning positions this season go into the twenties.

On the characteristics he is looking for, Howe said: “Positivity, leadership, winning mentality – you have to try and bring those types of characters into the group.

“If you’re bringing the opposite to that, the dynamics of the group can change in a negative way…they have to be the right new players.”

Howe was speaking ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League clash against Leeds United on Saturday.

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