Aston Villa add Arsenal's Chambers to January splurge – Arab News
LONDON: Aston Villa signed versatile defender Calum Chambers from Arsenal on Thursday to take their tally of new recruits this month to five.
The 27-year-old, who can play in both central defense and at right-back, joins Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Digne, Robin Olsen and Kerr Smith at Villa Park as manager Steven Gerrard reshapes his squad.
Chambers has signed a three-and-a-half year contract after an undisclosed fee was agreed between the clubs.
He made 122 appearances for Arsenal after joining from Southampton in 2014, also spending time on loan at Middlesbrough and Fulham.
However, he has struggled for game time this season following the arrivals of Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, making just five appearances, only two of which came in the Premier League.
“It’s a very exciting place to be and everyone can see that from the outside. Things are happening here and it’s definitely moving in the right direction,” said Chambers.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to join a great club. It was the right thing for me to do.”
Villa have moved up to 11th in the Premier League table since the arrival of Gerrard, who has won five of his 11 games in charge.
TUNIS: Tunisia head coach Mondher Kebaier was sacked on Sunday, the day after his side’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final exit to Burkina Faso.
Kebaier, 51, who had been in charge since August 2019, will be replaced by his 50-year-old deputy coach Jalel Kadri, the Tunisia Football Federation confirmed.
Tunisia, the 2004 African Cup of Nations champions, lost 1-0 to 10-man Burkina Faso on Saturday in Cameroon.
MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal got to 21 first, breaking the men’s record for most Grand Slam singles titles and doing it the hard way by coming back from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in an almost 5 1/2-hour Australian Open final.
Nadal was broken when serving for the championship for the first time at 5-4 in the fifth set, but he made no mistake two games later by serving an ace to earn three championship points and converted it on the first attempt.
The 35-year-old Spaniard now has one more major title than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, his long-time rivals in the so-called Big Three.
With the 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win, Nadal also became just the fourth man in history to win all four of the sport’s major titles at least twice.
Nadal and Medvedev packed a lot of drama into the final that started Sunday night, was delayed for a while in the 84-minute second set when a protester jumped onto the court, and then finished early Monday morning.
“Good evening. No, good morning!” Nadal, looking at his watch, told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena when he finally got up for his acceptance speech.
In the background, Rod Laver, the aging Australian tennis great, was in the stands holding up his smartphone to capture the scenes. A woman nearby held up a sign that stated: “Rafa is the GOAT.”
For now, in terms of men’s major titles at least, Nadal is the Greatest of All Time.
Nadal said it had been “one of the most emotional matches in my tennis career,” and he praised Medvedev for the part he played in the 5-hour, 24-minute final. It was the second-longest Australian Open final ever, after Nadal’s loss to Djokovic in the 2012 decider that lasted 5:53.
His victory was even more remarkable considering Nadal flew to Australia with just two matches under his belt in the second half of 2021 because he was sidelined with a chronic foot injury that can be treated but not cured. He also overcame a bout of COVID-19.
“For me, it’s just amazing. Being honest, one month and a half ago, I didn’t know if I’d be able to play on the tour again,” Nadal said. “Without a doubt, (it’s) probably been one of the most emotional months in my tennis career.
“The huge support I’ve received for the last three weeks will stay in my heart for the rest of my life.”
Nadal won his first Australian Open title in 2009 and lost four other finals at Melbourne Park before his dramatic win over US Open champion Medvedev. His conversion rate in major finals is now 21 out of 29. Federer and Djokovic each have 20 majors from 31 finals appearances.
Medvedev, who was aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the very next major, was ever-so-close to spoiling another 21st celebration.
Djokovic was chasing the same record at the US Open last year, and a calendar-year Grand Slam, when Medvedev beat him in straight sets in the final.
Federer also had his chance at 21, but Djokovic stopped that when he saved match points before winning the 2019 Wimbledon final.
Medvedev now joins Andy Murray among those who’ve lost the final at the next major tournament after their career breakthrough at the highest level.
It was just the fourth time Nadal has rallied from two sets down to win a best-of-five-set match, and the first since a fourth-round victory in 2007 at Wimbledon over Mikhail Youzhny.
YAOUNDE, Cameroon: Mohamed Salah scored the equalizer and created the winner to inspire Egypt’s comeback on Sunday to beat Morocco 2-1 after extra time and reach the African Cup semifinals.
Egypt fell behind to an early penalty won by Achraf Hakimi and converted by Sofiane Boufal in the seventh minute.
Salah reacted to knock in a rebound to make it 1-1 in the 53rd and sent in a perfect low cross for Trézéguet to tap in near the end of the first half of extra time.
Egypt was left to rely on third-choice goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhy for most of extra time after an injury to Mohamed Abou Gabal, who was already in the team in place of first choice Mohamed el-Shenawy.
Egypt are through to a semifinal against hosts Cameroon, which is a repeat of the 2017 final that was won by Cameroon.
Egypt hasn’t won the African Cup since its record-extending seventh title in 2010. Salah made his debut for the national team the year after that triumph and is still searching for a first major title with his country.
NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United are looking to tie down at least four deals before the transfer window slams shut on Monday night.
The winter window ends in England at 11 p.m. tomorrow, and Arab News understands the Magpies are looking to not only confirm deals for Lyon’s Bruno Guimaraes and Brighton’s Dan Burn, but also continue to explore the possibility of landing Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard and another central defender.
In fact, we’re told, United will remain open to any transfer throughout the day, should a good player and deal present itself.
The deal for Brazil international Guimaraes is regarded as a formality, with the joint announcement expected either on Sunday evening or early Monday morning.
The deal for towering Geordie Burn — released by the Magpies at the age of 10 — would strengthen the much-needed central defensive department after moves for primary targets, Sven Botman and Diego Carlow, of Lille and Sevilla respectively, faltered earlier in the window.
Burn is understood to be open to a deal to return to his boyhood club, although there is still some negotiating to do on personal terms — with United seeing their initial wage soundings rebuffed by the player and his representatives.
Should all go to plan, that would take United’s estimated spending this window, the first under Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia majority ownership, to around $112 million. For context, that’s more than they have spent in all of the previous 15 January windows under previous owner Mike Ashley put together.
A surprise deal cannot be ruled out, with the Magpies’ transfer committee working around the clock over the course of the weekend to line transfers up for head coach Eddie Howe.
It’s understood Howe’s United may yet test the resolve of Wolverhampton Wanderers to hang on to skipper Conor Coady.
Meanwhile, Howe has not yet given a second thought to the players he will have to leave out of his 25-man Premier League squad.
So far, two, soon to be four, new additions have been added to the United ranks in the January window, meaning a quartet of current squad members from the first half of the campaign will have to be cut, as per top-flight rules.
Clubs can only name 25 players over the age of 21 in their ranks for use in Premier League games.
And while it’s something Howe knows he’ll have to address soon enough, it’s not even in his thinking right now. Instead, it’s tunnel vision towards strengthening his hand for the final 17 games of the season.
“That will all depend on incomings for us,” Howe said when pressed about exits before Monday’s deadline in England.
“We have to get that balance right, particularly with the younger players. There will be a few of the younger guys going out,” he said. “I am sure the majority of the squad will stay intact.”
Howe is keen to not end up in the same situation as previous managers on Tyneside, with players remaining at the club but outside the 25-man squad.
The likes of Ghana international Christian Atsu, Senegalese Henri Saivet and Moroccan Achraf Lazaar have all suffered that fate in recent years.
“I would never leave a player in a situation where they can’t play football, and not be given the chance to go out on loan. I don’t think that’s right,” he said.
“We will be fair with everyone. But that’s not really something I have thought about yet.”
Two players who are likely to leave in the next 24 hours are Matty Longstaff, younger brother of first-team midfielder Sean, and rising star Elliot Anderson.
“We will see with Matty,” said Howe.
“First and foremost I will say he is like his brother, a great lad. Really enthusiastic, very passionate about the football club.
“In terms of his career and the latter part of the season, we will have to see what the future holds.”
And in reference to Anderson, who has been attracting interest from the likes of Luton Town in recent weeks, said: “With Elliot we are looking at loaning him. The focus of him staying behind (in the UK during the Saudi trip) was so he was ready to move and join another club on a loan deal.
“We are waiting to see if that is going to happen or not.”
Viktor Hovland shot the lowest round of the day before holding his nerve in a thrilling play-off against surprise package Richard Bland to claim a maiden Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic title in front of thousands of spectators on a packed Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
After starting Sunday six shots adrift of the lead, the Norwegian star, 24, held a routine three-foot birdie putt to claim the winner’s prize of $1.36 million, after Bland’s own four-foot birdie effort lipped agonisingly out the hole. The Englishman, 49 next week, claimed $880,000 in prize money after a final round of 68, which included birdies on holes 17 and 18.
Hovland’s win secured a second DP World Tour victory in his 22nd appearance, and his first Rolex Series Event title.
“This is pretty wild, especially, as I didn’t really think this was possible going into today,” said Hovland, who moves up to third in the game’s official world rankings. “I knew I had to shoot a really low number, a lot of things had to go my way and I’m thankful that they did.”
There were plenty of thrills in the play-off, with Hovland emerging from the chasing pack with a birdie-eagle-birdie close to finish 12-under par.
World No.8 Rory McIlroy, starting the day two strokes behind overnight leader Justin Harding on 10-under par, had appeared on course for an historic third Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic title before a wayward approach into the 18th green found water. A resulting bogey dropped McIlroy out of the playoff and into third-place overall on 11-under par. The Northern Irishman claimed $504,000 in prize money.
Overnight leader Harding, who started Sunday on 12-under after heading the field since Friday morning, fell away in dramatic fashion after a devastating triple-bogey six on the par-three 11th. Harding’s disappointing round of 76 left him in a five-man tie for fourth-place overall, alongside English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Sam Horsfield, Poland’s Adrian Meronk, and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen.
Hovland was awarded the coveted Dallah Trophy by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline Group.
Simon Corkill, the tournament director, said: “After four days of high-quality golf and incredibly fierce competition on the immaculate Majlis Course, Viktor has proved himself a worthy addition to the iconic roll-call of champions at this prestigious Rolex Series event.
“With the tournament celebrating a new era this week, the response has been fantastic. From enthusiastic galleries following players around the Majlis Course, to our unbelievable new hospitality offerings, it’s been amazing to see bumper crowds flock to Emirates Golf Club and underline why the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic remains a true legacy event on the DP World Tour.”