Football notebook: Coman extends with Bayern, Evra on the rampage, Gueye suspended while on AFCON duty, more
Another week of the January transfer window is winding down, yet business continues to flow with Lucas Digne joining Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa revolution and Chris Wood joining Newcastle United from Burnley in the past few days in the pick of the Premier League deals. Elsewhere across Europe, Kingsley Coman, Nabil Fekir and Samuel Umtiti have all signed new contracts while Laurent Koscielny has been informed that he has played his final match with Girondins de Bordeaux.
We catch you up on those bits you might have missed.
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Coman extends with Bayern
The 25-year-old had been heading toward the final 12 months of his contract, but the German giants moved fast to action a four-year extension until 2027.
“I am very happy because FC Bayern are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I know we still have a lot of big opportunities and big goals here,” he said. “Everything is perfect here. My best years as a footballer are still ahead of me, and I’m glad I’ll be spending them at FC Bayern.”
Why it matters: The Frenchman was starting to attract interest from former club Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona among others and Bayern wanted to avoid a repeat of the David Alaba situation which saw the Austria international join Real Madrid on a free.
Koscielny frozen out by Bordeaux
The former France international has been removed from the struggling Ligue 1 outfit’s senior squad and the 36-year-old ex-Arsenal man is undecided about whether to retire.
“I took it very hard,” Koscielny told L’Equipe. “It was a right slap in the face. But I am a fighter, I will continue to fight and do what it takes to stay at the top level and help the squad. This summer, the club’s lawyer asked me to postpone my salary so that the club could sign players and I said, ‘no problem’ and left the money. It was important that we strengthened to be competitive.”
“I ask myself those same questions, but (retirement) would be the easy way out,” he added. “I need some time to think. I will sit down quietly and chat with the people who are important to me, and we will make the best decision for everyone.”
Why it matters: Owner Gerard Lopez’s financial issues are severe and do not only impact Bordeaux but also Mouscron in Belgium’s second tier with the players there going on strike over his inability to pay them in recent months.
Fekir stays with Betis
The Frenchman and the Spanish outfit have confirmed a new deal until 2026 with the 28-year-old currently one of the key figures in the Seville-based side’s rise to third in the La Liga table with 18 goals and 17 assists in fewer than 100 appearances for Betis.
Why it matters: Fekir follows Sergio Canales, Borja Iglesias, and Manuel Pellegrini in signing improved terms recently. Los Verdiblancos could turn themselves into a permanent fixture at the top of Spanish soccer if they can keep their stars and bring in a few more at Estadio Benito Villamarin with UEFA Champions League qualification possible at present.
Evra on the rampage
The former Manchester United and France man has been promoting his new book in the French media of late and took aim at Kylian Mbappe and Didier Deschamps as well as claiming that “every club has at least two gay players” and that Lilian Thuram “thinks he is Malcolm X because he reads and wears glasses.”
“Kylian has very good manners,” Evra said of Mbappe. “I would like to see him off the rails. He is too molded for me. I love him but he is too ‘clean’ which hides something. When he speaks, I hear a politician.”
“After the 2018 World Cup, I went to Didier’s house in La Turbie,” said the 40-year-old. “We spoke. He teased me by placing his World Cup and Euro medals in front of the TV and told me: ‘You can touch them, but you will never win them.’ He never complimented me, but I know that he really appreciates me. I was his thermometer in the dressing room.”
“I have played with gay players,” Evra added. “They opened up to me one-on-one, but they were otherwise scared to speak about it. Every club has at least two gay players. If you say it in the soccer world, though, you are done.”
Why it matters: Truly, the quotes do not really matter as much as the former player would like them to. However, some of Evra’s opinions have the potential to be damaging to his former teammates and coaches while his view of Mbappe just adds to the troublesome image that the ex-Juventus and AS Monaco man has artfully cultivated.
Olympique de Marseille’s Pape Gueye is currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal but was unable to feature against Guinea on Friday due to a FIFA ban.
“He had an administrative issue just before kick-off,” explained Senegalese boss Aliou Cisse. “Five minutes before the game, we were told that FIFA have suspended him over the transfer case between OM and Watford. His lawyer told us in the morning but the confirmation only came just before kick-off. That is why we removed him from the squad list.”
Why it matters: There have been rumblings about this issue from 2020 for a while and now there are repercussions for player, club and country which could drag on and potentially derail the 22-year-old’s season and AFCON.