Tiger Woods says he’s talked with Casey Martin, who recently had his leg amputated

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tiger Woods was less than a year removed from his own bout with an injured leg and the possibility of amputation, so when he learned of Casey Martin’s plight there was a mix of both empathy and sympathy.

Martin, who played college golf at Stanford with Woods, suffered from Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome. Two years ago, he broke his right leg which led to the decision to amputate in October.

“We were all so thankful that the procedure turned out as well as it did. He didn’t lose as much of the femur as the doctors were thinking going into the procedure,” Woods said Saturday at the PNC Championship. “Still in rough shape. It still hurts quite a bit, but what he’s gone through his entire life and the amount of pain that he’s lived in daily, people have no idea how much pain that guy has lived in and how tough he is mentally and physically.”

Oregon men’s golf coach Casey Martin is recovering at a Rochester, Minnesota, hospital after undergoing an amputation of his right leg.

Full-field scores from the PNC Championship


Woods, who is playing his first competitive event in a year, was involved in a single-vehicle car crash in February outside of Los Angeles and needed multiple surgeries on his right leg.

“The leg was pretty messed up. I’m happy it’s still attached,” Woods said this week.

Martin, who sued the PGA Tour to use a golf cart in competition in 2001, has been the head golf coach at Oregon since 2006.

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Chelsea dealt latest concerning injury blow during Aston Villa clash

 European champions Chelsea have, on Sunday evening, been dealt an altogether concerning blow on the personnel front.Lukaku on targetThomas Tuchel’s men are of course locked in action at present.Amid an altogether concerning dip in form of late, the Blues made the trip to Villa Park, desperate for all three points in their bid to remain […]

Manchester United and Liverpool to go head-to-head for Colombia star as pair of strikers look to leave

Manchester United transfer newsIn this article, we bring you all of today’s Manchester United transfer news in the run up to the January Window.Make sure to check back to 101greatgoals.com regularly for updates on the Red Devils.Man United set to butt heads with Liverpool over Porto starNow, as per Fichajes, Manchester United are ready to go head […]

Revealed: When Ferran Torres will be unveiled as a Barcelona player & how Xavi intends to use him

 A fresh pair of insights into Ferran Torres’ imminent move to La Liga giants Barcelona have been provided on Friday.Xavi’s first additionThe name of Spanish international Torres has of course taken its place front and centre in the European media chatter over the course of the last week.This comes with the Manchester City star, currently […]

Did Diogo Jota tell Leicester fans to ‘f*** off’? New angle of Liverpool striker’s celebration

Did Diogo Jota tell Leicester fans to ‘f*** off’? New angle of Liverpool striker’s celebration after penalty shootout win has Reds fans debating what he mouthed to Foxes fans after converting winning spot-kick

  • Liverpool defeated Leicester 5-4 on penalties in the Carabao Cup after 3-3 draw
  • Diogo Jota scored the winning spot-kick in front of Leicester fans at Anfield
  • His celebrations after his successful penalty were in front of the Foxes fans
  • A new angle has emerged showing him appearing to shout at the supporters
  • Reds fans have speculated about his choice of words following cup tie 



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Liverpool fans revelled in Diogo Jota‘s celebration towards Leicester City supporters after helping the Reds progress to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.

But a new angle has emerged suggesting the forward had a few choice words towards the travelling fans at Anfield.

Emotions were high post-match as Liverpool had come from 3-1 down in the second half to draw 3-3 after Jota came off the bench to score, and Takumi Minamino grabbed an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time to force a penalty shootout.

Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring Liverpool's winning penalty kick against Leicester City

Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring Liverpool’s winning penalty kick against Leicester City

Jota celebrated his winner in front of the travelling Leicester supporters behind the goal

Jota celebrated his winner in front of the travelling Leicester supporters behind the goal

The spot-kicks were taken in front of the Leicester fans, with the Reds triumphing 5-4 following saved penalties from Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand.

It was Jota’s effort from 12 yards that sealed the win to set up a semi-final against Arsenal, and he celebrated his goal in front of the Foxes supporters with energetic gestures.

But a few supporters on Reddit believe he may have been a little expletive with his choice of words following a new angle emerging of his post-match celebrations.

Jota's spot-kick ensured a 5-4 shootout victory to set up a semi-final with Arsenal

Jota’s spot-kick ensured a 5-4 shootout victory to set up a semi-final with Arsenal

Earlier in the game he had scored to help Liverpool comeback from 3-1 down to draw 3-3

Earlier in the game he had scored to help Liverpool comeback from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 

One supporter suggested that the Liverpool forward gave the Leicester fans a ‘cheeky “f*** off” at the end?’

That led to a humorous exchange in replies to the message with another fan jokingly suggesting he was washing them an ‘enjoyable Christmas’. 

They added: ‘Looks like he said. “I hope you have a lovely and enjoyable Christmas with friends and family” but I could be wrong.’

Another said: ‘I think he said “Fudge Off” which I believe is a traditional Portuguese Christmas tradition of making sweets and exchanging them with your friends.’

Jota appeared to have a few choice words towards the Leicester supporters post-match

Jota appeared to have a few choice words towards the Leicester supporters post-match

Reds boss Klopp praised the impact of his substitutes in his post-match interview.

‘In the first half when we played the right football we were good but when we played in their formation it was not good, they had counter-attacks and scored easy goals,’ the German said.

‘At half-time we told the boys ‘I like the game apart from the mistakes we made around the goal and improve in a few moments. We should play around their formation, to play in the half-spaces more.’

‘The changes helped of course, when you can bring in Jota in the shape he is in, having Millie at No.6 [in midfield] was clear we wouldn’t struggle for mentality any more and Naby when he came on, oh what a game he played.

‘The boys were just outstanding. I really liked it a lot.’

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World XI squad REVEALED: FIFPro reveal 23-man list of 2021’s best footballers

World XI squad REVEALED: Mo Salah does NOT make the cut as FIFPro reveal 23-man list of 2021’s best players – with four Chelsea stars and two each from Man United, Liverpool and City… but how did crisis club Barcelona get FOUR nominees?

  • FIFPro have named their 23-man shortlist of the world’s best footballers
  • Mohamed Salah has not been included despite a brilliant year for Liverpool
  • Barcelona, meanwhile, have four representatives despite having an awful 2021
  • Chelsea and PSG also have four, with 10 of 23 players from the Premier League



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Mohamed Salah is among the high-profile absentees from FIFA’s star-studded World XI shortlist, but four players from crisis club Barcelona have made the cut. 

FIFA announced their 23-man squad of the world’s best players on Tuesday, with Chelsea leading the way in terms of Premier League representation.

The Blues, as well as Barcelona and PSG, have four players in the squad, but there is no place for Liverpool superstar Salah despite his incredible year on the pitch.  

Mohamed Salah is a shock absentee from FIFPro's list of the 23 best players in world football

Mohamed Salah is a shock absentee from FIFPro’s list of the 23 best players in world football

Four players from crisis-hit Barcelona - including Frenkie de Jong (front row, second left), Sergio Busquets (back row, third right) and Jordi Alba (bottom row, right) are in though

Four players from crisis-hit Barcelona – including Frenkie de Jong (front row, second left), Sergio Busquets (back row, third right) and Jordi Alba (bottom row, right) are in though

Jorginho (right), N'Golo Kante (second right) and Romelu Lukaku (second left) are all included

Jorginho (right), N’Golo Kante (second right) and Romelu Lukaku (second left) are all included

The squad is voted for by the players themselves, and a massive 10 of the 23 named are currently plying their trade in the English top flight.

Chelsea’s four are made up of Edouard Mendy, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku, while Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City all have two players apiece in the squad.

The larger 23-man group will be turned into the ‘World XI’ next month, during the ceremony of The Best FIFA Football Awards. 

Barcelona having four players on the list has come as a huge surprise to many, given their woeful year on and off the pitch. They currently sit eighth in LaLiga, a woeful 18 points off the pace of Real Madrid. 

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (left-right) are three of the least-surprising players

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (left-right) are three of the least-surprising players

Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the shortlist as he looks to scoop a record 15th World XI award

Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the shortlist as he looks to scoop a record 15th World XI award

Virgil van Dijk (right) is another high-profile Liverpool player to miss out on the 23-man group

Virgil van Dijk (right) is another high-profile Liverpool player to miss out on the 23-man group

WHICH CLUB HAS THE MOST PLAYERS IN THE WORLD XI SQUAD?

PSG 4

Chelsea 4

Barcelona 4

Liverpool 2

Real Madrid 2

Man City 2

Man United 2

Juventus 1

Borussia Dortmund 1

Bayern Munich 1

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Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Jordi Alba and returning hero Dani Alves are all included, while from PSG Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are joined by Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

It is the first time in 17 years that FIFA have opted to name a 23-man squad, with the governing body opting to make it more like a real-life scenario than their usual 55-man shortlist.

The goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards who received the most votes in their position will be selected for the World XI next month, with the final spot assigned to the remaining outfield player with the next highest number of votes. 

Twelve of the 23-man squad have previously been included in the World XI, with Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin De Bruyne all in last year’s side.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, both have 14 World XI awards, and will be aiming for a 15th when next month’s team is revealed.

There are three players, meanwhile, making their first appearance on the shortlist, with Ruben Dias, Jorginho and Chelsea keeper Mendy all debutants. 

It is bad news for five players, though, who were in last year’s World XI but have failed to even make the 23-man squad for this season’s award.

Ronaldo collects his The Best FIFA Men's Player award back in 2017 at a ceremony in London

Ronaldo collects his The Best FIFA Men’s Player award back in 2017 at a ceremony in London

They are: Thiago Alcantara, Alphonso Davies, Virgil van Dijk, Joshua Kimmich and Sergio Ramos.

PSG defender Ramos, who has been struggling with injuries since his switch to the French capital, is third on the all-time list with 11 World XI awards, and his omission breaks a run of 10 straight years. 

Last year’s World 11 consisted of Becker, Alexander-Arnold, Davies, Van Dijk, Ramos, Alcantara, De Bruyne, Kimmich, Lewandowski, Messi and Ronaldo.

WORLD XI: FULL 23-MAN SQUAD 

Goalkeepers:

Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool FC)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain)

Édouard Mendy (Senegal/Chelsea FC)

Defenders:

David Alaba (Austria/FC Bayern München/Real Madrid CF)

Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (England/Liverpool FC)

Dani Alves (Brazil/São Paulo FC/FC Barcelona)

Leonardo Bonucci (Italy/Juventus FC)

Rúben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City FC)

Midfielders:

Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona)

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City FC)

Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United FC)

Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands/FC Barcelona)

Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea FC)

N’Golo Kante (France/Chelsea FC)

Forwards:

Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid CF)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus FC/Manchester United FC)

Erling Haaland (Norway/ BV Borussia 09 Dortmund)

Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern München)

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/FC Internazionale Milano/Chelsea FC)

Kylian Mbappé (France/Paris Saint-Germain)

Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)

Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)

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‘TPC Impossible’: Toughest composite course on the PGA Tour in 2021

If you think golf is hard enough, you may want to pass on checking this course off of your bucket list.

Of course, we’re talking about “TPC Impossible,” which, as you probably can gather, is not a real course. There are no tee times available. No course rating or slope. No membership. All probably for the best.

What “TPC Impossible” is, though, is it’s actually a composite course of the most difficult holes, by number, on the PGA Tour in 2021. A par-68 layout measuring at over 7,600 yards and featuring no par-5s, six par-4s over 500 yards and absolutely zero birdie holes.

With a scoring average of more than six shots over par, it makes the Green Mile look like the Green Millimeter, the Bear Trap like the Bear Claw and Tiger proofing like Barkley proofing (sorry, Chuck!).

Forget playing it, you may even need an aspirin after reading this:

Course snapshot

Par: 34-34–68
Length: 3,736-3,894–7,630 yards
Scoring average: 36.58-37.502–74.082 (+6.082)


1 – TPC San Antonio (Oaks)

Par: 4
Length: 454 yards
Scoring average: 4.364

There’s no easing into the round with this hole. Jordan Spieth managed to play it in 1 under and bogey-free en route to winning the Valero Texas Open here last April. However, the hole also forced 26 double bogeys and five triples during the week. Less than 37% greens in regulation and less than 48% scrambling doesn’t typically equate to low scores.

Next toughest: Bay Hill, Par 4, 461 yards, 4.265


2 – Quail Hollow Club

Par: 4
Length: 452 yards
Scoring average: 4.233

Quail Hollow may be known for its difficult finishing holes, but it’s two of its early holes that make this scorecard, including the dogleg left, par-4 second, which boasted two triple bogeys and three times as many doubles (12) than the second toughest second hole, the par-3 second at Bay Hill. The green is this hole’s defense as it had the shortest average length of putt made (3’7″) during the Wells Fargo.

Next toughest: Bay Hill, Par 3, 231 yards, 3.214


3 – Quail Hollow Club

Par: 4
Length: 483 yards
Scoring average: 4.233

Staying in Charlotte, North Carolina, the par-4 third at Quail Hollow also saw 12 double bogeys this year while totaling 127 bogeys, 24 more than any other third hole in the past 12 months.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 4, 390 yards, 4.204


4 – Accordia Golf Narashino CC

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.345

The Zozo Championship host keeps Augusta National from having four holes on this composite layout. Narashino’s par-4 fourth actually yielded the same amount of birdies as double bogeys (15). Sepp Straka played the hole in 5 over over the four rounds, making a double and one of three triples on the week.

Next toughest: Augusta National, Par 3, 240 yards, 3.304


5 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 495 yards
Scoring average: 4.431

The recently lengthened par-4 fifth at Augusta National, “Magnolia,” is the hardest fifth hole, and it’s not close, as this year’s next hardest fifth hole, PGA National’s par-3 fifth, is nearly two-tenths of a shot over par easier. Xander Schauffele made double here, one of 14 scores of double or worse for the tournament, on Sunday as part of a 4-over, three-hole stretch. He lost by three shots to Hideki Matsuyama.

Next toughest: PGA National (Champions), Par 3, 217 yards, 3.276


6 – PGA West (Stadium)

Par: 3
Length: 223 yards
Scoring average: 3.235

Considering players teed it up on the Stadium Course just once in the first two rounds before the layout hosted solo on the weekend, 15 doubles and two triples is scary. Twenty balls found the water in four days, including two off the clubface of Erik van Rooyen, who doubled the hole in both weekend rounds.

Next toughest: Muirfield Village, Par 4, 455 yards, 4.212


7 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 450 yards
Scoring average: 4.297

The third of four Augusta National holes on this course, “Pampas” yielded only 21 birdies last April, the lowest birdie total of any seventh hole this year.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 4, 462 yards, 4.228 (Farmers)


8 – PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament)

Par: 3
Length: 172 yards
Scoring average: 3.256

The American Express had quite the duo of treacherous par-3s, with Stadium’s sixth and Nicklaus Tournament’s eighth. Though players saw the hole just once the entire week, the eighth forced 15 doubles, three triples and, gulp, two quads. Four of the five others were made during the second round, where the scoring average was almost a half-shot over par.

Next toughest: Pebble Beach, Par 4, 428 yards, 4.221


9 – TPC Twin Cities

Par: 4
Length: 502 yards
Scoring average: 4.285

Almost to the turn, but not before playing a hole that saw 25 double bogeys, plus a triple by amateur Ryan Hall, at this year’s 3M Open. Eighteen balls went swimming, all on approach shots to this green guarded heavily by water. Winner Cameron Champ had little issue with the ninth, though, as he birdied it each of the first two days.

Next toughest: Congaree GC, Par 4, 510 yards, 4.273


10 – PGA National (Champion)

Par: 4
Length: 508 yards
Scoring average: 4.304

Twenty-seven birdies were made on the Champion’s back-nine opener during this year’s Honda Classic, though just one of those came during the final round (congrats, Stewart Cink). Players hit this green in regulation just 37.77% of the time in 72 holes.

Next toughest: Muirfield Village, Par 4, 472 yards, 4.261


11 – Augusta National

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.399

If Collin Morikawa was playing this composite layout, he’d likely skip this hole. He played “White Dogwood” in 5 over with two weekend doubles last April. Not that anyone had success there, as just 15 birdies were made in the most recent tournament.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 3, 222 yards, 3.393 (U.S. Open)


12 – Torrey Pines (South)

Par: 4
Length: 505 yards
Scoring average: 4.401 (Farmers)

Torrey Pines’ South Course might’ve hosted a U.S. Open this summer, but it’s place in this course isn’t represented by that championship. The par-4 12th for the Farmers Insurance Open averaged nearly as many doubles or worse as birdies. It’s just tough to hit the ball close here, evidenced by the hole’s average proximity of 51 feet, 8 inches for the tournament.

Next toughest: Torrey Pines (South), Par 4, 501 yards, 4.389 (U.S. Open)


13 – Congaree GC

Par: 4
Length: 465 yards
Scoring average: 4.361

With players trying to get the best angle into the green, which featured front pins on three of the four days, 23 tee balls were rinsed left of the fairway. In total, 25 double bogeys and six triples were made on the week. Chesson Hadley also bogeyed the 18th to finish a shot out of a potential playoff with winner Garrick Higgo.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 4, 497 yards, 4.272


14 – Memorial Park GC

Par: 4
Length: 529 yards
Scoring average: 4.353

For a municipal course, this sure is a lengthy par-4. Players were barely over 20% in hitting this green in regulation on the weekend, as they were coming into the green with mainly long-irons, and they combined for just seven birdies in the final 36 holes. For the week, there were 143 bogeys, 12 doubles and three triples made here, yet there was also a hole-out eagle, by Luke List from 179 yards out.

Next toughest: Ocean Course at Kiawah, Par 3, 238 yards, 3.348


15 – Ocean Course at Kiawah

Par: 4
Length: 466 yards
Scoring average: 4.348

Kiawah’s back nine was the toughest of the year (+1.756) thanks to most holes playing into heavy winds. However, while scoring averages were also slightly skewed by the club professionals, it’s not like the club pros were the only ones responsible for the 24 doubles and four triples on the 15th hole. In fact, most of the biggest numbers were made by the Tour guys, including doubles by George Coetzee, Jason Scrivener and Peter Malnati. Tommy Fleetwood, Thomas Pieters and Victor Perez were responsible for one triple each.

Next toughest: Royal St. George’s, Par 4, 496 yards, 4.342


16 – Port Royal GC

Par: 3
Length: 235 yards
Scoring average: 3.341

The Butterfield Bermuda Championship claims a plot of land on this composite course (and boy, is it a beautiful piece), partly due to brutal playing conditions in this fall’s first round, where severe winds and rain wreaked havoc. But even without the assist from Mother Nature, this hole was plenty tough. It actually played to the same scoring average (+0.410) in each of the first two rounds, and the third round’s four birdies were fewer than the first round’s six. There was one triple in every round, and the second round even had a quad from Andres Romero.

Next toughest: El Camaleon GC, Par 4, 515 yards, 4.298


17 – Ocean Course at Kiawah

Par: 3
Length: 223 yards
Scoring average: 3.531

Featuring one of the most intimidating tee shots in golf thanks to Pete Dye digging an 8-acre lake right of this green and deep bunkers left, the Ocean Course’s 17th first earned its reputation at the 1991 Ryder Cup. “The hardest hole in the history of the universe,” David Feherty called it back then. Two decades later, it was the hardest at the PGA, yielding just three of 23 total birdies in the final round and causing 43 doubles, 12 triples, one quad and one smashed tee marker. Players found the green in regulation just 34.39% of the time and 40 balls were deposited in the manmade lake. Phil Mickelson bogeyed it twice, including on Sunday, during his record-breaking victory.

Next toughest: Quail Hollow, Par 3, 190 yards, 3.261


18 – Bay Hill

Par: 4
Length: 458 yards
Scoring average: 4.464

Blustery conditions for much of this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational made this finishing hole even more demanding, especially on Sunday. Only 11 of 72 players in the final round hit the green in regulation, knocking the weekly average down almost below 30%. The scoring average for the 18th hole in that final round was slightly more than a shot over par. Harris English made the only birdie here on Sunday. For the tournament, the closing hole handed out 23 doubles (11 on Sunday), nine triples (five on Sunday) and one final-round quad by Luke List. Bryson DeChambeau played boldly to win that week, but he played safely at No. 18, making four straight pars.

Next toughest: Quail Hollow, Par 4, 494 yards, 4.456

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Paul Merson urges Arsenal hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah to stay at the club

‘Stick around… this is the place’: Hat-trick hero Eddie Nketiah URGED by Paul Merson to stay at Arsenal and ‘have faith in his ability that he will get a start’… with striker angling for a move after he turned down contract offer

  • Arsenal brushed past Sunderland 5-1 to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals 
  • Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick to stake his spot for a regular starting berth 
  • His future is uncertain, with the ace having turned down the latest contract offer 
  • But Paul Merson is keen for him to sign the fresh terms and stay at the Emirates 



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Paul Merson has urged Eddie Nketiah to commit his future to Arsenal, after the youngster scored a superb hat-trick in the Carabao Cup victory against Sunderland.

Poacher Nketiah was found in formidable form at the Emirates, with his trio downing the League One side and helping to secure the Gunners’ spot in the semi-finals.

But it is unclear where his long-term future lies, and Merson has now advised him to stay put for at least another couple of seasons to continue his development. 

Paul Merson has urged Eddie Nketiah to stay at Arsenal after his Carabao Cup hat-trick heroics

Paul Merson has urged Eddie Nketiah to stay at Arsenal after his Carabao Cup hat-trick heroics

‘My advice would be, I’d say stick here. Stick here for two, three more years. He’s a kid, he’s got plenty of years left,’ the former Arsenal man said on Sky Sports.

‘He’s only going to get better and better. This is the place. You weigh it up. You probably go to a bottom half Premier League team. 

‘You sit and play on scraps, going on away games and not even getting shots on target. You’ve got to weigh all that kind of stuff up. 

Merson has backed young striker Nketiah to get 'better and better' and flourish at the Emirates

Merson has backed young striker Nketiah to get ‘better and better’ and flourish at the Emirates

Nketiah's (L) three goals saw Arsenal beat Sunderland to reach the competition's semi-finals

Nketiah’s (L) three goals saw Arsenal beat Sunderland to reach the competition’s semi-finals

‘I know he wants to play football now, of course he does. 

‘There’s not a lot of 20-year-old kids leading the line in the Premier League at the moment. This kid is a good player. 

‘He should have faith in his ability that he will get a start for Arsenal. Just stick around.’

Sportsmail reported earlier this month that Nketiah had turned down Arsenal’s latest contract offer, although his club have refused to concede defeat.

Mikel Arteta has publicly admitted to wanting Nketiah to sign fresh terms and stay at the club

Mikel Arteta has publicly admitted to wanting Nketiah to sign fresh terms and stay at the club

Currently, his deal expires next summer, and Mikel Artea has spoken publicly about his desire to keep the talented 22-year-old.

It is understood that the ace’s priority is to play regularly, and that he would be willing to place this over simply securing improved terms. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being dropped and stripped of the captaincy has opened the door for Nketiah to start in the Premier League, however.

But despite this, Sportsmail revealed that the frontman had informed Arsenal that he wants to leave the club.

Sportsmail reported that Nketiah turned down the latest offer in his bid for more game time

Sportsmail reported that Nketiah turned down the latest offer in his bid for more game time

Borussia Monchengladbach are among his admirers, and Nketiah will be able to arrange a pre-contract with a foreign club from January 1.

Arsenal may also be willing to agree a cut-price deal for him next month in a final attempt to cash in, instead of losing him for free.

Crystal Palace have also kept tabs on his situation.


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Football begs the Government to keep fans inside stadiums amid surge in Covid cases

Don’t shut us down! Football begs the Government to keep fans inside stadiums amid surge in Covid cases as Pep Guardiola insists we must all play our part by wearing masks

  • Football is pleading with the Government not to lock out fans in the new year
  • The game faces up to the possibility of more matches behind closed doors
  • However should data suggest emergency action, then football wants fans to stay



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Football is pleading with the Government not to lock out spectators in the new year unless Covid data is clear that a national health emergency requires a fan ban.

As the game faces up to the possibility of more matches behind closed doors — with Wales introducing a ban on spectators today and crowds in Scotland limited to 500 — football authorities in England fear that a fresh bout of restrictions on spectators is imminent.

Government sources say they are monitoring Covid data constantly and it is currently impossible to predict whether it will be necessary to shut out fans to protect public health.

But with clubs losing billions of pounds last season after almost a full campaign without spectators, QPR chief executive Lee Hoos urged the Government not to take a hasty decision. And Accrington owner Andy Holt warned that going behind closed doors could lead to financial peril.

Football is pleading with the Government not to lock out fans out of grounds in the new year

Football is pleading with the Government not to lock out fans out of grounds in the new year

Premier League managers Pep Guardiola and David Moyes also said the game would suffer if crowds were lost, with Guardiola urging people to wear masks and respect Covid restrictions to prevent it happening. ‘You have to be safe, absolutely no doubt about it but let’s make sure we’re working of facts not emotions,’ said Hoos.

‘The Government’s is a sensible approach, to say: “Let’s see what the data says”. And in a week or two, what does it look like? Because that’s when the cases being contracted right now will show up in the hospitalisation.

‘If it needs to happen, it needs to happen but just make sure it needs to happen. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this new variant is not as deadly and there is no need for new restrictions.’

Premier League clubs had combined gate receipts of about £700million in 2018-19, the last full season without fan restrictions.

Manchester United earned £111m from match day income and Arsenal £96m.

Wolves skipper Conor Coady gives the thumbs up as he receives his booster vaccination

Wolves skipper Conor Coady gives the thumbs up as he receives his booster vaccination

Wolves forward Adama Traore gets his Covid booster vaccination last week

Wolves forward Adama Traore gets his Covid booster vaccination last week

However, there are additional losses in sponsors clauses and merchandising sales, which are down without supporters present in stadiums.

Plus TV companies had to be paid rebates for the hiatus caused by Covid in March 2020.

Championship side QPR had gate receipts of almost £5.4m in 2018-19, which would represent around 25 per cent of their income now in a normal year.

But League One and League Two teams have an even higher dependence on gate receipts.

With many clubs in more precarious positions than QPR, Hoos has been amazed at the industry’s capacity to hang on but predicts more clubs will follow the likes of Derby County and into administration if fans are banned.

Hoos said: ‘I was amazed there weren’t more clubs that went to the wire last time. Fair play to football fans and owners for digging into their pockets.’

City boss Pep Guardiola is urging people to wear masks and respect Covid restrictions

City boss Pep Guardiola is urging people to wear masks and respect Covid restrictions

Holt, who slashed Accrington’s spending at the start of the pandemic to guarantee they survived financially, agreed that some EFL clubs could go to the wall if crowds are banned again.

‘It would be a terrible thing for business, and some clubs would be getting closer to the edge,’ he said. ‘It’s correct that though we had warnings early on that clubs would fold, none have, but there’s only so long it can go on.’

Football League clubs could furlough staff but they received none of the bailouts available to the hospitality industry or theatre and entertainment, with the Government reasoning that the Premier League had enough money to subsidies the lower leagues.

‘If that was the thought process [that the Premier League would step in and make good the losses of lower league clubs] guess what, it didn’t happen,’ said Hoos.

Coronavirus signs outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium urge fans to follow protocols

Coronavirus signs outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium urge fans to follow protocols 

After six months of bickering, the Premier League eventually agreed to put up £15m to allow Championship clubs access to interest-free loans worth a total £200m and gave £50m to League One and League Two clubs.

‘It did help. But was it the shot in the arm to absolutely get us over the line? No it wasn’t. The was no ‘Eat out to help out’ [for football], we were told the VAT relief in the entertainment and hospitality industry didn’t apply to us, which I found incredible. We didn’t get anything except for furlough.’

Premier League clubs are better placed to withstand the financial damage from shutting out fans, but its impact is significant.

‘I would not love closed doors again,’ Guardiola said. ‘You cannot imagine how different it is playing without people.

‘Cases are rising all around the world. People in stadiums can contaminate and then, in the stadiums, people don’t use masks.

‘It’s what I’m surprised about the most, you go to big malls, no one wears a mask. The scientists said from the beginning the most protection you can have is hand sanitiser and this [a mask]. We should start again — vaccinated, booster, as part of that, hand sanitiser, social distance and masks. This way, football could go on.’

West Ham manager Moyes said: ‘I’d like supporters to stay at the games because I don’t want to go to how it was. We had one Europa League game in Vienna a few weeks ago when there was no crowd there and it felt rubbish.’

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