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Eric Bailly – Ivorian defender threatened by rival’s form – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


Eric Bailly (L) of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League match

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Dec 01, 2017. 19:00


Eric Bailly may have a tough time getting back into Manchester United’s starting XI following the impressive form shown by rival and teammate Victor Lindelof.

Though the Swedish defender has taken his time to settle at Old Trafford following a big-money move from Benfica in the European summer, he has impressed in United’s last two matches and may have jumped ahead in the pecking order for central defenders.

The Swede was composed in the 1-0 and 4-2 wins over Brighton and Watford respectively and may have done enough to claim a starting place for the big game away to Arsenal tomorrow evening.

Bailly also faces competition from the return of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones from injury, though Jose Mourinho’s use of a back three in the win at Vicarage Road in midweek means an abundance of centre-backs is needed.

The Ivorian remains one of the Red Devils’ best ‘natural’ defenders and will surely see plenty of action, especially over the busy upcoming festive season, when games come thick and fast and squad rotation becomes more prevalent.

If Bailly doesn’t make the cut for the match at Emirates Stadium tomorrow, he is at least likely to see action in next week’s UEFA Champions League match at home to CSKA Moscow, where United will be looking to confirm their place in the last 16.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT :Jean Michael Seri – Ivorian open to PSG switch


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 13:00


Ivory Coast international Jean Michael Seri has expressed his desire to join French Ligue 1 rivals Paris-Saint Germain.

The Nice midfielder, who has watched his club side fail to replicate the sort of form they produced last season, has been dominating the news of late – despite a rather underwhelming run of form for the 26-year-old personally.

Seri attracted strong interest from Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona in the European summer, only for a proposed deal to fall through.

The former versatile playmaker, though, is hopeful that a big money move will come his way sooner rather than later, with Arsenal and PSG possible destinations.

When asked if there had been contact from PSG, Seri told Le Parisien: “Yes, there have been, especially with the sports director Antero Henrique.

“If I leave Nice, it will be for a team where I feel desired and who play good football.

“Paris has this philosophy, to which I am very attached. So why not?”

Seri has been directly involved in five goals in 15 appearances across all competitions this season, as Nice continue to struggle at the wrong end of the league standings.



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Hodgson: Ivorian winger Zaha will be a wanted man in January – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 09:00


Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes that Ivorian international Wilfried Zaha will be a wanted man during the January transfer window.

Zaha is enjoying his football at the moment having scored three goals in his last five English Premier League (EPL) matches for Palace.

Hodgson, who is a former England head coach, has stated that the London-based side will receive offers for the 25-year-old winger-cum-striker.

“You can’t ever dismiss interest in any of your players,” Hodgson told the media.

“Wilfried Zaha is an obvious name, but there are other players that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other clubs interested in.

“And we have to be prepared for that going into January.

Zaha was linked with a possible transfer to Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year, but Palace managed to keep him.

“If offers come along for players who are doing well for us and we are not particularly anxious to lose them,” he continued.

“Then we will have to make decisions on what offers are to be turned down and what could be accepted.”

Zaha and his Palace team-mates will face Stoke City in an EPL match on Saturday.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Eric Bailly – Ivorian defender fresh for Red Devils


Eric Bailly of Manchester United

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 19:00


Eric Bailly will look to shrug off the disappointment of Ivory Coast’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup when he features for Manchester United this weekend.

Bailly was suspended for the Elephants’ 2-0 loss to Morocco last weekend which saw the North Africans secure top spot in the group and return to the World Cup for the first time since 1998.

Nonetheless, the 23-year-old took to his Facebook page to express his pain and apologise to the Ivorian faithful.

“Bad time for our national team I’m a part of. Our apologies for the bad performance of the team during our last games, for me the important was neither the game against Mali nor against Morocco, but rather our bad results in official games since the beginning of the year,” wrote Bailly.

The best way for the centre-back to put the Elephants’ failure behind him is to perform strongly at club level.

Bailly will be fresh and rested for Manchester United’s upcoming matches this weekend and next midweek.

The Red Devils will first host Newcastle United for a high-profile Premier League clash on Saturday evening, followed by a trip to Basel next Wednesday in which they will look to secure progression into the UEFA Champions League knockout stage.



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Ivorian star Kessie rejected Chelsea and Napoli – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 12:00


Ivorian international Franck Kessie snubbed English Premier League (EPL) giants Chelsea and top Italian Serie A side Napoli.

This is according to Kessie’s agent, George Atangana, who told Radio CrC that the central midfielder preferred a move to AC Milan.

The 20-year-old joined the Italian Serie A giants from Atalanta on a two-year loan deal prior to the current 2017/18 campaign.

“Kessie? Big clubs always want to sign top talents and there wasn’t only Napoli on him.” Atangana said.

“He evaluated many different offers and projects before making his final decision.

The hard-working midfielder has hit the ground running at Milan – having scored twice in 12 league appearances.

“He chose Milan since it was the start of a new and exciting project,” he added.

“They had been following him for some time and they moved quickly to get him.”

Milan will face Napoli in a league match at the Stadio San Paolo on Saturday.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Yaya Toure – Ivorian happy to take a back seat at City – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 16:00


Yaya Toure looks happy to have taken up a back seat at Manchester City as the midfielder enters the final eight months of his contract.

The 34-year-old, who joined the Citizens from Barcelona in 2010, has only conjured 29 minutes of English Premier League action for the runaway leaders this season.

Toure, though, has been very supportive of his teammates with the former Ivory Coast international quick to post on social media as Pep Guardiola’s troops continue to steamroll past their opposition.

Latest reports suggest that Toure could well be in line for a move to Italy or Turkey at the end of the season, with the playmaker seemingly content to fight for game time in Manchester at this point.

KNOWLEDGE MUSONA AND GEORGE CHIGOVA OUT OF LESOTHO AND NAMIBIA CLASHES

Toure has scored 79 goals in 303 appearances for Manchester City and will go down as a club legend, no matter if his contribution is limited this season.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Eric Bailly – Ivorian defender faces Blues test – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Manchester United’s Eric Bailly

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Nov 03, 2017. 19:00


Eric Bailly and Manchester United will be given a stern test of their mettle this weekend when they face Premier League champions Chelsea.

The Blues will host the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge on Sunday evening, kick-off at 18h30 CAT.

Bailly has returned to the United starting XI this past week after a lengthy absence, helping the team record wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Benfica in the Premier League and Champions League respectively.

The presence of the Elephants defender has helped stabilise the backline, with his pace and anticipation particularly prevalent.

Yet the long spell out of the team has had its effects on Bailly’s fitness, with the 23-year-old notably struggling with fatigue in the midweek clash against Benfica.

He will have had almost four days of rest before the Chelsea match and, barring any injuries picked up in training, is likely to start on Sunday evening.

United defeated Chelsea 2-0 when the teams last met back in April, but they have a poor record at Stamford Bridge in recent years, failing to win an away league clash against the Blues since October 2012.



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Cote d’ Ivorian Jean Seri could join Barcelona – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Aug 09, 2017. 12:00


Information coming from Spain is that Barcelona are considering triggering the €40m release clause for Cote d’Ivoire and Nice midfielder Jean Seri.

Reports reveal that the Blaugrana have ‘accelerated’ their pursuit of the 26-year-old this week and are confident of reaching a deal.

L’Equipe has it that the Spanish La Liga giants are said to have made an initial approach of €30m and are confident that whilst this will likely be rejected, the two clubs can find a compromise.

The Elephants international has won many plaudits in his first two seasons in French Ligue 1 after making his move in 2015 from Pacos de Ferreira.

According to the report, a Spanish publication, El Mundo Deportivo previously nicknamed Seri as ‘the African Xavi’.

Seri has also made more passes than any of his Nice teammates (2,733), and created the most chances (74) as well as providing the most through balls (32).

Having helped them finish third in Ligue 1 last year behind AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, he has also been likened to Chelsea‘s N’Golo Kante.



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West Ham, Everton keen on Ivorian Wilfried Bony – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Wilfried Bony of Ivory Coast challenged by Nabil Dirar of Morocco during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Morocco and Ivory Coast at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jul 13, 2017. 12:00


West Ham United and Everton are reportedly both keen on signing Ivory Coast attacker Wilfried Bony.

The Elephants striker has struggled to win regular game time at Manchester City since his big-money move from Swansea City in 2015.

He spent last season on loan at Stoke City but failed to impress under Mark Hughes and saw almost no action in the second half of the campaign.

Bony has since returned to City but is clearly not part of their future plans under coach Pep Guardiola.

Yet despite his struggles at City and Stoke, Bony is still highly regarded for his prolific spell with the Swans from 2013 to 2015.

And Transfer Market Web reports that both West Ham United and Everton are keen on landing the player.

The Hammers are looking for a reliable striker to lead the line (with Andy Carroll injury-prone and Diafra Sakho’s future at the club uncertain), while the Toffees need a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.



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