Soccer notebook: Süle causes Germany COVID scare; PSG chase Lo Celso fee; Benzema’s France eligibility


With the final international break of 2021 upon us, things have calmed down slightly on the domestic front as 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers end. As always, some stories will have flown under the radar and it is our job to catch you up on the likes of Niklas Süle  sparking a COVID-19 outbreak with Germany, Paris Saint-Germain chasing a transfer fee and more.

We catch you up on some of the stories you might have missed.

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Süle sparks German COVID scramble

The Bayern Munich defender tested positive for COVID-19 after joining up with the Germany national team and despite being vaccinated, it forced four other members of the group to isolate on the eve of World Cup qualifiers.

“This news is very bitter so shortly before the final two World Cup qualification games,” said Oliver Bierhoff on behalf of the DFB. “For the coaching staff as well as the entire team, but health comes first.”

PSG chasing Lo Celso fee from CAS

The French giants are seeking a $7 million fee from Real Betis at the Court of Arbitration for Sport relating to the sale of Giovani Lo Celso who now plays for Tottenham Hotspur.

The 25-year-old Argentina international was sold permanently last summer by the Spaniards after an initial loan spell but there was an agreement between Betis and PSG on 20% of his sell-on fee.

Spurs signed Lo Celso for $18 million on loan before paying $37 million more to make the deal permanent with Betis claiming that the 20% sell-on only applies to the permanent fee — not the loan amount.

PSG argue against that and claim that the La Liga outfit are lowering the transfer fee using the loan deal.

Poch’s ‘physical’ Ligue 1 praise

Mauricio Pochettino might be under pressure as PSG head coach at present, but the Argentine tactician believes that it is not as simple as just aligning the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to blitz Ligue 1.

“My impression is that it is a very complicated league,” said the ex-Spurs boss. “The quality is there. I think it is the most physical league in the world. I think the talent is amazing, and there are great coaches too. Every single game you can see all the teams have quality, have the capacity to win the games, never give up.

“I think it is a very, very good league, and we are so happy to be here. I am not saying that it is a better league than the Premier League, but I think that in the way that the games are here — I think they are more physical than in the Premier League.”

Le Graet backs Benzema

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has insisted that Karim Benzema will remain eligible for France even if he is found guilty of involvement in the attempted blackmail for former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a 10-month suspended jail sentence requested.

“The manager will always be responsible for his call-ups,” he said. “Benzema will not be excluded based on any potential legal sanction. Even if he gets a suspended prison sentence. His selection, or not, will not be linked to this judgment moving forward. I will never intervene to say he cannot be picked. It is up to Didier (Deschamps) to determine that in a sporting sense for Les Bleus.”

Arrivederci Ventura

Former Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has called time on his coaching career after disastrous spells with now defunct Chievo Verona and Salernitana followed failure to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Italy.

Listless Levante

Spanish outfit Levant are rock bottom of La Liga and in danger of being cut adrift with Getafe as both have just six points all season. However, while Getafe have at least won once this campaign, Levante are yet to register a three-point haul.

AS Saint-Etienne were in a similar situation in France’s Ligue 1 heading into the international break before a dramatic 3-2 win over Clermont Foot 63 with two goals from added time corners gave Claude Puel’s men a much-needed success.





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