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Graham Potter addresses Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Chelsea future

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Graham Potter has backed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to remain at Chelsea despite rumours swirling over a potential return to Barcelona.

33-year-old Aubameyang joined Chelsea at the end of the summer transfer window, reuniting with former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel in the process.

But the German was sacked by Todd Boehly in the aftermath of Chelsea’s defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, with Potter subsequently appointed as his replacement.

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The former Brighton boss has struggled to make his mark at Stamford Bridge, though, and is under pressure himself after a string of poor performances.

Listen now to the Son of Chelsea, part of the 90min podcast network, as Daniel Childs reacts to Joao Felix being sent off on his debut against Fulham.

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Aubameyang has played just 390 minutes of Premier League football for Chelsea, scoring on his debut, and has been linked with a move back to Barcelona.

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But speaking to the media ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Crystal Palace, Potter suggested the former Arsenal skipper would be going nowhere if he has anything to do with it.

“Yes, he is here. He had a problem with his back after Manchester City,” Potter said, when asked if Aubameyang has a future at Chelsea. “That’s why he was absent against Man City [in the FA Cup]. We just went for Kai [against Fulham]. Pierre is in our squad and he is important for us. I am pretty sure he can help us going forward.”

Potter also confirmed that Christian Pulisic would not have been leaving the club regardless of whether or not he’d picked up an injury, stating: “He will be out past [the end of the month] and there was never any consideration about him leaving anyway. He is a couple of months out.

“He is disappointed but he is optimistic about coming back quicker than two months. He is in that phase where he is keeping his fingers crossed and hoping his rehab goes well.”

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Chelsea looking to address injury problems

“Yes, absolutely. We are looking all the time,” Potter told the media when asked if he and his staff were looking at how to prevent a recent spate of injuries.

“We’re going over how they are happening and trying to evaluate the whole thing. Sometimes it’s difficult when you come in halfway through the season to know how things happened. It’s a bit of bad luck and there’s also learning for us all in terms of how we can improve.

“No [findings], not at the moment. The nature of them, it’s almost like there’s not even a pattern. They are different problems. It’s tricky and it’s not like we are overtraining or anything like that. It is just something we certainly need to get to the bottom of.”

Joao Felix loss ‘a real blow’ for Chelsea

Joao Felix

Joao Felix was sent off on his Premier League debut / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

“Of course, we’re disappointed because he came here to play, he came on loan to play,” Potter also said when asked about losing Joao Felix to suspension.

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“You saw his quality when he was on the pitch [against Fulham]. To lose him for three games is a real blow for us but there’s nothing we can do. We just have to deal with it.

“We have to recover [to face Crystal Palace]. We have to recover from the disappointment of the game [against Fulham]. We have to assess all the players in terms of recovery and injury, whatever we have. Then we have to be positive, move forward and take a home game on. It’s another London derby against a team with dangerous players. So we have to be good ourselves and prepare the team.”





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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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