Arjen Robben: “After The Arrival Of Ronaldo And Kaka, I Was Forced Out Of Real Madrid” 

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Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben admits he felt he was taking a step back in his career when he moved to the Bundesliga in 2009.

“There had been contact with Bayern, but it was a difficult decision to take,” Robben told Dutch TV channel Fox Sports. “It was the most difficult decision of my life.

“Bayern were not one of Europe’s top teams back then, unlike today, and so it was a step backwards for me.”

” It was a bit of a weird summer with the return of Florentino Perez as president.

“And then all the new signings arrived.

“Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all came to Madrid for a huge amount of money.

“We were told that the club would be able to make some money on me if they sold me.

“But I initially did not want to leave. I had possibly my best pre-season ever, but I still did not get a chance, so I had to make a decision.”

“I went for Bayern Munich in the end, because the club did everything within their power to sign me. And the presence of Louis van Gaal obviously played a role as well.

“I am a real Bayern man now, I am into my eighth season here and I have become a part of this club.”

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Reports : Manchester United  Could Be Lining Up £80 Million Harry Kane Bid 

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Man Utd are happy to spend as much as £80m in order to capture Spurs forward Harry Kane, according to reports on Calciomercato.com.

The England international, 23, is currently contracted to the north London club until the summer of 2022.

United have long been linked with Kane ever since he burst onto the scene and have a history of snapping up Tottenham stars.

Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov are just a few of the United stars who originally came from White Hart Lane.

Kane has regularly denied any interest in leaving Tottenham, but speculation has persisted that he is a top target for United.

Kane’s Premier League Stats
Goals
2016/17 season: 10
2015/16 season: 25
2014/15 season: 21
Total: 59 goals in 100 Premier League appearances

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Aston Villa Agrees To Sell Rudy Gestede To Middlesbrough For £6 Million 

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Aston Villa have accepted a £6m bid from Middlesbrough for striker Rudy Gestede.

Steve Bruce said at the weekend that talks had taken place and he was expecting to lose the player.

Gestede joined Villa from Blackburn in July 2015 and has scored 10 goals in 55 appearances.

But the 28-year-old has started only three games since Steve Bruce took over at the Championship club in October and was left out of Villa’s squad for Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Cardiff City.

“I would envisage something would happen there,” Bruce told BBC WM.

“The two clubs have agreed a fee and he’s up there for talks.”

Bruce added that Villa are close to bringing a new player in on loan.

“It is agreed verbally but there is still some work to be done. I will only improve us if the right player comes along,” he added.

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Derby County Agree To Sell Lee Grant To Stoke City Permanently 

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Derby County have accepted a bid of £1.5m rising to £2m with add ons, for goalkeeper Lee Grant.

Lee Grant has also now agreed personal terms with Stoke.

Lee Grant has been on loan at Stoke since the end of August, and has been outstanding in goal, deputising for the injured Jack Butland.

That loan deal expires after Stoke’s home game with Watford tomorrow night, and his permanent deal will be officially confirmed in the next 48 hours.

It caps a startling rise for the man who turns 34 later this month. He didn’t make a single appearance for Derby this season in the Championship, before being called on to become Stoke’s first choice in the Premier League.
I’ll be honest, probably leading up to the Liverpool game I was giving up hope of a deal going through,” he told the Sentinel. “It was frustrating because myself and Stoke had made it clear that we wanted it doing but obviously there are three parties involved in the situation.

“The transition has been quite quick here. I would have been so disappointed if we hadn’t reached an agreement because I have already felt like a Stoke player and kind of building towards that from the moment I walked through the door.

“Now I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me as a Stoke player. You can’t help but enjoy the big fixtures we’ve been playing … although in terms of my professionalism and my pride, it’s stinging at the moment. There wasn’t too much of me going home happy after the Chelsea game. We’ll look to start the new year on a good note against Watford – and with a clean sheet.”

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West Brom Yet To Make Another Bid For Morgan Schneiderlin After £18 Million Bid Was Rejected

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West Brom are yet to make a second bid for Man Utd midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

United turned down West Brom’s original £18m offer for the Frenchman and further reports on Monday hinted that a second improved offer had been placed by the Midlands club.

Schneiderlin has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford this season and remains a key target for Baggies boss Tony Pulis, who is keen to bring in central midfield reinforcements.

Morgan Schneiderlin made 29 Premier League appearances for Louis van Gaal last season, after the Dutchman spent £25m to bring him to the club, but Jose Mourinho has only played him in the Premier League three times and United’s manager said last month he was available for the right price.

“My answer is simple: if he’s playing regular with me I have the right to say ‘no way’. If he’s not playing regular I have no right to say to a player ‘you are going nowhere’,” Mourinho said.

“My answer was if the offer is right, and our board thinks that the offer is a good offer in relation to the quality of a very good player like Morgan, I would not stop him going.”

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FG Begins Payment Of N5,000 Monthly To Poorest Nigerians

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The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has commenced the payment of N5,000 monthly to one million vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.

This is contained in a statement issued on Monday by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

N-Power Job: Nigerian Govt Starts Paying N30,000 Stipends Today

In the statement, Mr Akande quoted the government as saying that the payment was effected through the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, of the government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP.

It also stated that one million Nigerians would receive N5,000 monthly payments under the CCT as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.

Mr. Akande added that many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments in the first batch that commenced last week.

The statement read: “In the first batch that commenced last week, nine states would be covered, and many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments by Friday last week, December 30, 2016.

“Funds for the commencement of the payments in four states were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s social intervention programmes. Funds for another set of five states to complete the first batch of nine states would follow soon.”

The statement listed Borno, Kwara, Bauchi, Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti states as states in the first batch to commence the CCT statement. It however said that the states were selected because they had a social register that identified the vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.

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Football Headlines : All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Night 

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​LONDON EVENING STANDARD

Chelsea defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel is weighing up a move to Valencia after holding talks with Los Che representatives on Christmas Day.

MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS

Pep Guardiola has revealed that Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus has arrived after officially becoming a Man City player.

NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE

Belgian wide man Adnan Januzaj says he did not move to Sunderland to get relegated from the Premier League.

SUNDERLAND ECHO

Sunderland manager David Moyes has confirmed he is in contact with owner Ellis Short about potential plans for the January transfer window.

BIRMINGHAM MAIL

West Brom are interested in signing Swansea centre-back Federico Fernandez, according to reports in the British press.

Aston Villa frontman Rudy Gestede is on the verge of joining Middlesbrough for £6m.

THE SENTINEL

Middlesbrough are set to make an offer for Stoke playmaker Bojan.

Stoke will offer veteran striker Peter Crouch a contract extension.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has suggested the club will hand forward Ibrahim Afellay a new deal at the bet365 Stadium.

HULL DAILY MAIL

Robert Snodgrass claims he rejected the offer of a new deal at Hull because it did not give him enough long-term security.

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST

Crystal Palace are readying a swoop for Swansea winger Modou Barrow, say reports.

West Brom are hoping to sign Swansea central defender Federico Fernandez for £7m, according to reports in the British media.

YORKSHIRE EVENING POST

Pontus Jansson is adamant talks about his future at Elland Road will not detract from his displays for Leeds as the defender prepares to join the Championship club full time.

WALES ONLINE

Galatasaray want to sign Barcelona right-back Aleix Vidal, who has also been attracting interest from Swansea, according to reports.

THE BOLTON NEWS

Andy Taylor hopes Bolton can keep their squad together in the January window in order to aid their bid to win promotion back to the Championship.

THE STAR

Wigan Athletic are hoping to capture Huddersfield midfielder Dean Whitehead.

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Klopp Certain Of Maximum Points Against Sunderland

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Liverpool gaffer, Jurgen Klopp says they have no excuses if they can’t follow up the win against Manchester City with one against Sunderland.

Liverpool beat Guardiola’s City 1-0 on New Year’s Eve to stay within six points of Chelsea and will play Sunderland, who lost 4-1 to Burnley, on Monday.

And with Coutinho and Matip not up for selection due to injury, Klopp admits his selection process will stray from the norm.

“Usually after a game like this you ask a lot of questions, if you can rest a player or this or that,” Klopp said.

“I’m pretty sure I will not ask a lot of questions: ‘how do you feel?’ or whatever.

“I will wait for the information from the medical department and then we don’t have a real session. That’s the other problem with rotation, we don’t have a session.

“We have [on Sunday] training but that’s pretty short. All the work we can put into this session we will, some tactical stuff, we have to do it.

“First of all I think it was very important that we won [against City]. If we had invested that much, it really would be hard if you got nothing.

“We got everything, so that’s great. Now we have to go to Sunderland and play our best and that’s the same for Sunderland. They played a few hours earlier, so I said enough about the fixtures long, long ago. We accepted it and now we go there and try to get the next three [points].”

On the test he faces at the Stadium of Light, Klopp added: “Everything is different. Hopefully I will see some weaknesses and then we make a line-up when the medical department gives me the opportunity.

“If I have no choice, the players will play who are fit, no excuses for nobody, everybody obviously wants it and we have to deliver, and we will deliver.”

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Klopp Certain Of Maximum Points Against Sunderland

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Liverpool gaffer, Jurgen Klopp says they have no excuses if they can’t follow up the win against Manchester City with one against Sunderland.

Liverpool beat Guardiola’s City 1-0 on New Year’s Eve to stay within six points of Chelsea and will play Sunderland, who lost 4-1 to Burnley, on Monday.

And with Coutinho and Matip not up for selection due to injury, Klopp admits his selection process will stray from the norm.

“Usually after a game like this you ask a lot of questions, if you can rest a player or this or that,” Klopp said.

“I’m pretty sure I will not ask a lot of questions: ‘how do you feel?’ or whatever.

“I will wait for the information from the medical department and then we don’t have a real session. That’s the other problem with rotation, we don’t have a session.

“We have [on Sunday] training but that’s pretty short. All the work we can put into this session we will, some tactical stuff, we have to do it.

“First of all I think it was very important that we won [against City]. If we had invested that much, it really would be hard if you got nothing.

“We got everything, so that’s great. Now we have to go to Sunderland and play our best and that’s the same for Sunderland. They played a few hours earlier, so I said enough about the fixtures long, long ago. We accepted it and now we go there and try to get the next three [points].”

On the test he faces at the Stadium of Light, Klopp added: “Everything is different. Hopefully I will see some weaknesses and then we make a line-up when the medical department gives me the opportunity.

“If I have no choice, the players will play who are fit, no excuses for nobody, everybody obviously wants it and we have to deliver, and we will deliver.”

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Guardiola: My Teams Are Normally At The Top

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Pep Guardiola is not used to coaching a team that is not of the table, but he relishes the challenge.

The Citizens dropped from third to fifth on the table after the 1-0 loss to Liverpool, trailing Chelsea by 10 points.

The former Bayern and Barcelona coach is not giving up just yet, as he looks to turn things around.

“Normally I was at the top in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, a lot of times. But, OK, this is a new chapter in my career as manager and I am willing to try [and handle it] with these guys,” Guardiola said ahead of Monday’s match with Burnley.

“But the question is will we be able to take it to the gap to Chelsea.

“Now what we have to do is believe in the next game, not put a lot of stress into, ‘if we don’t win the Premier League, it’s going to be not a good season’.

“No, that situation we’re going to analyse what happened at the end of the season. Now we just focus on the next game.”

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The Rest Of The EPL Are Counting On Spurs To Beat Chelsea, Says Pochettino

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Mauricio Pochettino has stated the other teams in the Premier League are looking to Tottenham to end Chelsea’s streak.

Chelsea are top and six points clear, with 13 straight wins helping them to the top of the pile and are looking to extend that run when they face Tottenham on Wednesday.

Pochettino, however, feels the other teams want Spurs to emerge victorious and cut down the gap between the blues and the other teams.

“Maybe we will feel how Leicester felt last season – all the teams with them, against us!” Pochettino told ESPN.

“Chelsea arrive in very good shape but we are too after the last few games. It will be a very tough game but it’s a great opportunity for us to stop them, try to reduce the gap.

“It’s important for the Premier League for us to win, to try to stop them. In the end our challenge is to be in the top four.”

Tottenham moved into the top four on Sunday after a convincing 4-1 victory at Watford, climbing above Manchester City.

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Redknapp: Selling Martial Will Be A Mourinho Mistake

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Jamie Redknapp believes Mourinho will be making the same mistake he made with De Bruyne, if he let’s Anthony Martial leave the club.

The young forward has been linked with a January exit after losing his starting berth at Old Trafford.

And Redknapp feels United and Martial will regret it if they let the frenchman leave for La Liga.

Redknapp wrote in the Daily Mail: “Martial has been more peripheral this season but Sevilla would be the wrong move for him.

“I can imagine United, and Jose, are scared to let him go.

“If they are not careful there is every chance he could become another Kevin De Bruyne, who Mourinho let go at Chelsea.

“I understand why agents want to move their players around but Martial is not going to find many better clubs than Manchester United.

“With Martial’s £58 million price tag comes added scrutiny. While he has not had the same impact as last season, he is still just 21 and has a manager who will help him.”

Martial has been restricted to just eight Premier League starts this season, and 18 appearances in all competitions.

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“APC’s Scurrilous Attack On Adeboye” – Pastor Reacts

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APC’s Scurrilous Attack On Adeboye – Bola Bolawole

The Redeemed Christian Church of God (TRCCG) embarks on the “Let’s Go A-Fishing” programme twice in a year. Usually a four-day affair, the programme coincides with the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ during Christmas (December) and His crucifixion and resurrection during Easter (MarchApril).

This piece was written by Bola Bolawole. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

This December’s “Go A-Fishing” itinerary last Saturday saw the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, criss-crossing towns and villages in Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti states, among others. At Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose, and the traditional ruler, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, were among the dignitaries that received Pastor Adeboye.

As is characteristic of him, Pastor Adeboye prayed for Fayose, who had knelt down before him for prayer. Fayose is not the first Nigerian VIP to have so coveted Pastor Adeboye’s prayers. Presidents and other governors had done so, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and the current president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Outside our shores, it has not been different; the immediate past Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, attended a TRCCG programme in London and came forward to be prayed for by Pastor Adeboye.

Pastor Adeboye’s Endorsement Of Governor Fayose And Its Contradictions

The prayers that Pastor Adeboye said for Fayose have, however, drawn the ire of Mr. Jide Awe, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Awe not only blew his top but also threw caution to the winds, making highfalutin statements, levelling unsubstantiated allegations, and calling the revered Pastor Adeboye names that must alarm every right-thinking person.

Whereas I am an Area Pastor in the said TRCCG, it needs be stated that the views expressed here are entirely mine and by no means represent those of Pastor Adeboye and or of the authorities of TRCCG.

First, a recap of Pastor Adeboye’s prayers for Fayose as was reported in the media: “We thank God for your courage, for your boldness. We thank God for your being willing to take risks so that your people can be protected. You have been a governor who knows when to say ‘enough is enough’ in defence of his people. And I am sure you know what I am talking about and I am sure the world knows. I don’t want to say more than that but be assured that we are praying for you and you will succeed in Jesus name. We wish all other governors who stand for their people, who defend their people and who know when to say ‘enough is enough’, success. We thank God for their life.”

I wasn’t there but I suspect that the entire congregation must have chorused “Amen”! For this prayer said not only for Fayose but also for all governors who live up to their oath of office to stand up in defence of their people.

Awe accused Pastor Adeboye of supporting what he called Fayose’s persistent insults on Buhari. Awe also tried to drive a wedge between TRCCG members and the pastor we all lovingly call “Daddy G. O.”  He alleged that Fayose must have bribed Pastor Adeboye since, according to him, the Ekiti governor was capable of bribing angels.

I Hope Other Governors Can Emulate Fayose – Pastor Adeboye

He then attempted to set the family of the late founder of TRCCG, Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, against Pastor Adeboye by asking them to call the pastor to order so he would not, in his myopic reasoning, tarnish the legacy of their father. However, hard they try to conceal the truth, it will out; so did Awe finally expose himself when he expressed the wish that Pastor Adeboye ought to be a supporter of the ruling APC since Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is a senior pastor in TRCCG!

Awe’s statement has done incalculable damage to APC. He brought no finesse to bear at all. He must have thought he was engaged in the usual banality between politicians where they trade abuses and insults and retire afterwards to beer parlours and prostitutes’ joints to throw banters; plot new assaults; and pick the next target.

Pastor Adeboye only spoke the truth: whether we like it or not, Fayose is the recognised face of the Nigerian opposition today and the voice of the voiceless. This is a fact which Pastor Adeboye merely recognised. He did not create it. Coincidentally, the clueless, fumbling, and wobbling APC government created the situation that Fayose is exploiting to the hilt. Fayose is not the only one who could have taken advantage of the situation but up to this point, he is the only one doing so. And it is un-Christianly to deny a man his due. Awe cannot drive a wedge between our dearly beloved Daddy G. O. and TRCCG members. He also cannot engineer any disaffection between the Akindayomis and Pastor Adeboye. This Mission is a covenant church and not a worldly organization where wives succeed husbands and sons succeed their fathers.

Fayose Might Have Bribed Pastor Adeboye To Gain His Commendation – APC

Fayose has been the Nemesis of Jide Awe and his political family in Ekiti. It is, therefore, understandable why Awe was beside himself with rage over what appeared to him like an endorsement of Fayose by Pastor Adeboye; more so when we consider the status, nationally and internationally, of Pastor Adeboye, both in spiritual and temporal terms.

Treating Pastor Adeboye’s “offending” prayer as a wake-up call and beginning to ask the appropriate questions so as to make the much-needed amends would have been much more sensible, just as God told an angry Cain in Genesis 4: 6 & 7.

Awe needs prayers and not more troubles. With what can Fayose bribe Pastor Adeboye? How much does Fayose have? And how much does Ekiti State as a whole have?

In 2009, Newsweek (USA) named Pastor Adeboye as one of the world’s 50 most powerful people. His citation said he is noted worldwide for his humility and holy living. There are certain legends you just do not dare to touch; for, as the adage goes, even a mad dog is reasonable enough to avoid the fire. Pastor Adeboye is one such legend.

Pastor Adeboye Releases ‘Shocking’ Prophecies On Recession, Earthquakes For 2017

Another was Mother Theresa of Calcutta: When she visited the United States of America in September 1994 and criticized the then US president, Bill Clinton, to his face, especially on his pro-abortion views, Clinton soaked in the criticism, simply replying that it is too hard to argue with a life so well lived. But then, Jide Awe is no Bill Clinton. Comparing both may be like comparing sleep with death.

BOLAWOLE, former editor of The PUNCH, can be reached at 0803 251 0193turnpot@gmail.com.

This piece was written by Bola Bolawole. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Arsenal And Leicester City Send Scouts To Watch Oghenekaro Etebo 

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 Arsenal and Leicester are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Nigerian striker Oghenekaro Etebo, according to The Sun.

Reports claims that both teams sent scouts to take a look at the 21-year-old midfielder play for Portuguese side Feirense against Porto on Thursday.

Etebo has been compared to Paul Pogba and won African Football’s Most Promising Talent award in 2015 before impressing for Nigeria last summer at the Rio Olympics.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is wasting no time in a bid to bolster his squad to avoid an unexpected relegation dogfight.

The Foxes are set to splash the cash on midfielder Wilfred Ndidi from Genk having had an £18million deal accepted.

Etebo has become a regular in the Portuguese side in recent weeks, but has scored just once this season.

The 21-year-old has played mostly on the left wing this season, but can play in midfield or the opposite wing.

Arsenal eyes watched Etebo play 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Porto last Thursday.

Etebo first caught the attentions of Arsenal during the summer when he became the first player in 44 years to score four goals in an Olympic fixture.

The attacker inspired Nigeria to a 5-4 win over Japan at Rio with Monaco and Atalanta also interested in securing the youngster’s signature.

Etebo is under contract with Feirense until the summer of 2018.

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Tiwa Savage And Hubby, TeeBillz Now Back Together

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There are strong indications that singer Tiwa Savage and her hubby Tunji Balogun, better known as TeeBillz, are now back together again.

Tiwa Savage and her hubby, TeeBillz were spotted at Stephanie Coker’s wedding this weekend

Tiwa Savage and her hubby TeeBillz were spotted at Stephanie Coker’s wedding this weekend

The Punch reports that the couple were spotted at the wedding of Stephanie Coker, a popular media personality, during the weekend, with the duo the centre of attention.

TeeBillz Saved From Attempted Suicide At The Ikoyi Bridge

Though their first public appearance together since their well-publicised break up, the duo, it was learnt, only had eyes for each other at the wedding ceremony.

In April 2016, the internet was overwhelmed with rumours of their break up, after TeeBillz took to social media to lash out at his wife; alleging infidelity, claiming that she had ‘sexual relationship’ with Dr. SID, Don Jazzy and 2face Idibia.

TeeBillz Goes Dirty: Accuses Tiwa Savage Of Sleeping With Don Jazzy, Dr Sid And 2Face

In a swift reaction, Tiwa, while denying the allegation, accused her hubby of being a habitual user of drugs, money swindler and engaging in extra marital affairs.

It was however learnt that the intervention of family members from both sides “have brought about reconciliation.”

“Tiwa and Tunji (Teebillz) are back for good, but they haven’t finalized the reconciliation process because it takes time,” an insider told TheNetNG.

“Don Jazzy is cool with him and there’re no issues between the couple anymore,” another industry expert said.

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Alexis Sanchez Keen To Remain At The Emirates 

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Alexis Sanchez has told the official Arsenal website that he is happy in London and keen to stay at the Emirates.

Sanchez’s contract expires at the end of next season and his future has been the subject of much speculation in the past few weeks, but he told Arsenal Player: “I definitely feel like an important player and my teammates let me know every day.

“I try to prove that I am an important player every day and game after game. I believe we have the players and the quality to win many things.

“I feel really happy and comfortable at the club. I want to give the fans a new title. We always get our fans’ support in the thin and the thick, which is great. We must win the Premier League or the Champions League for them.”

Elsewehere, Borussia Dortmund are claimed to be keeping tabs on Arsenal’s young midfielder Gedion Zelalem. The 19-year-old is extremely highly thought of at the club, but has found his opportunities limited at the Emirates and ESPN claim Dortmund will try to lure him to Germany with the “promise of more first-team opportunities”.

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Axel Witsel Explains Decision To Snub Juventus For Chinese Club Tianjin Quanian 

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Juventus look set to miss out on their long-term transfer target Axel Witsel with the Belgian midfielder poised to join Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

The 27-year-old had previously hinted he would be happy to link up with the Serie A champions at the end of his contract with current club Zenit, but he appears to have been tempted by a January move to China instead.

Quoted in Tuttosport, Witsel said: “It’s been a very difficult choice, because on one hand I had an offer from a great club like Juventus, but I also had an offer I could not turn down for my family’s sake.

“The Bianconeri have always been great with me and I can’t be anything but grateful for that. I will support Juventus and I hope they can win the Champions League. And who knows what will happen in the future, maybe we’ll cross paths once again.”

Witsel will link up with Fabio Cannavaro at Tianjin Quanjian, and earn a reported €18 million annual salary over a four-year contract.

Belgium international Witsel has won one Russian Premier League title, one Russian Cup and two Russian Super Cups since joining Zenit from Benfica in 2012 in a move worth €40m.

But he will now leave Europe to play in the CSL, a competition which has been increasingly successful in attracting global talent.

Carlos Tevez completed a move to Shanghai Shenhua last month that reportedly makes him the world’s highest-paid footballer.

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Arsenal Transfer News : Arsene Wenger Interested In Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi 

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Arsenal have joined the race to sign Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi, says the Daily Express.

The Frenchman is also reportedly a target for the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Juventus.

The former Stoke and Blackburn man is a tough-tackling presence in central midfield.

Arsenal will lose Mohamed Elneny to the Africa Cup of Nations later this month, and Wenger is keen to bolster his midfield options.

The 28-year-old has emerged as one of the finest midfielders in Europe since joining Sevilla from Stoke in a £7m deal in 2015.

He helped the La Liga outfit win the Europa League in his first season in Spain and was also named in UEFA’s Europa League squad of the season.

N’Zonzi, who also played for Blackburn in the top flight, can expect to double his wages by landing a deal worth around £125,000-a-week.

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All The Pictures : Oscar Arrives China To A Warm Reception 

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Former Chelsea midfielder Oscar has touched down to a warm welcome in China after making the £60m switch to Shanghai SIPG.

Oscar was greeted by hundreds of excited fans at Pudong airport on Monday as they were eager to catch their first glimpse of him

Oscar is set to earn £400,000 a week in Asia, and the 25-year-old was all smiles as he received flowers and met supporters at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport

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Preparation For The Closure Of Abuja Airport Begins

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The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, will on Thursday engage the Industry’s Stakeholders on issues arising from the proposed closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for repairs on its runway.

Sirika disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation on Monday in Abuja.

Abuja Airport To Be Closed For 6 Weeks From February 2017

He said the meeting was a follow-up to the decision of the Federal Government to temporarily shut down operations at the airport for six weeks in February and March.

According to the minister, the Stakeholders’ Forum will afford him with the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.

“It is also to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna International Airport as an alternative during the six-Week closure of the Abuja Airport is seamless and hitch-free.

“The Stakeholders will also be expected to make their contributions and key into the plans to make their operations during the period less problematic,” he said.

Sirika, however, emphasised that the Forum was in line with government’s belief in ventilating people’s opinions in formulating and executing policies.

He said that government was aware of the likely high level of discomfort and inconvenience the proposed closure of the airport would cause air transport passengers, airline operators and other service providers.

He explained that the decision was informed by safety and security concerns, saying that government would rather lose billions of dollars in revenue than to risk lives.

The minister also disclosed that the ministry would invite other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as security agencies and the Kaduna State Government who were expected to play roles during the six-week period.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the minister had in December revealed government plans to shut down the airport while briefing newsmen on its efforts toward addressing the challenges of aviation fuel.

(NAN)

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Watford Manager Walter Mazzarri Goes Defensive Over His Team’s Struggles 

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Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has dismissed uncertainty surrounding his future by claiming the Hornets are on course to avoid relegation in a harder Premier League than last year.

The Watford manager was responding to questions about his own position after the fifth defeat in seven games for his side, who crumbled badly against Spurs in a 4-1 home defeat.

He lost Juan Zuniga to an injury to his ankle in the warm-up having already been without eight players in the run-up to the game.

Mazzarri conceded that defeat to Spurs had been his “lowest moment” as manager of the club but said that the extensive injuries to his squad, including the attacker Robert Pereyra, had been decisive.

“From the first day I arrived I spoke with the club and the president,” Mazzarri said.

“When we have spoken about the first objective, which has always been the same, it was to avoid relegation. In this moment if we look at the table we are doing even better than the starting objective.

“We could have been where Crystal Palace are or other teams are but we aren’t. This has always been the first objective and we’re doing okay.”

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MEND Makes U-Turn, Passes Vote Of No Confidence On Buhari

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The Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has passed a vote of no confidence on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari whom it endorsed in the 2015 presidential election.

The militant group, which operates within the creeks of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, appears in an unfriendly mood with the current administration, following the federal government’s poor handling of the current crisis within the region.

The group alleged that Buhari had been carrying on arrogantly and making controversial, prejudicial, conflicting and contradictory statements about the politics and economy of the oil-rich region.

This is after his meeting with traditional rulers, opinion leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta region, under the auspices of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on November 1, 2016.

In a statement issued by its elusive spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND on Sunday accused the Buhari-led government of insincerity and “grand deception” with regards to pledged commitment to the politics and economy of the Niger Delta.

The statement further alleged that since after he assumed office on May 29, 2015, Buhari, for reasons best known to him, held the Niger Delta region in contempt.

The statement reads in part, “Without prejudice to the pre 2015 presidential election endorsement freely and voluntarily given to President Muhammadu Buhari on January 6, 2015, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) hereby categorically and unequivocally pass a Vote of No Confidence on the government of President Buhari; specifically with regard to the government’s handling of the current Niger Delta crisis.”

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Diego Costa : “I Almost Left Chelsea For Atletico Madrid” 

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Diego Costa has revealed he was keen to leave Chelsea in the summer and almost completed a return to Atletico Madrid.

Costa says he is happier at Chelsea now and praised manager Antonio Conte for being “someone whose support [the players] can count on in difficult moments.

“Could I have gone in the summer? Yes, yes. I was about to leave,” he said. “I was about to but, well, I’m happy here as well and that’s that.”

“Did I want to go? Yes, yes. I had the possibility to go to Atletico, because of a few things, the family, the life I have there but not because of Chelsea, because, here, there’s a lot of love with the supporters, with the people, so I’m here very happy, I’m very content.

“People love me a lot. There was one thing I wanted to change for family reasons but, well, it wasn’t to be and I continue to be happy here. It was important too that the manager, from the very first minute, said he counted on me.

“The truth is the manager is good with the players, every time making more jokes with the players, and that’s good for us, to have a manager who is not just a boss but like a person we can talk with, someone whose support we can count on in difficult moments.

“He is calm with the players and you can see the people love him more all the time.”

Diego Costa has been in excellent form for the Premier League leaders this season, scoring 15 times as the Blues have embarked on a 13-game winning streak.

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Football Headlines : All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips Today 

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  • ​Liverpool have set their sights on Benfica and Mexico striker Raul Jimenez as a potential summer transfer target.
  • Everton could miss out on Axel Witsel after he was offered a huge money to move to China.
  • Bayern Munich star Arturo Vidal has fuelled speculation he is joining Chelsea by liking a post linking him with the Blues.
  • Chelsea have eyes on flying Napoli left wing-back Faouzi Ghoulam.
  • Jack Wilshere will be offered his new contract by Arsenal this month despite still being on loan at Bournemouth.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hit back at critics who said he was too old at the age of 35 to succeed in the Premier League.
  • Georginio Wijnaldum has told close friend Quincy Promes: “Come and join me!” at Liverpool.
  • Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has backed midfielder Paul Pogba as a potential Ballon d’Or winner.
  • Swansea are ready to back Paul Clement with a hefty transfer budget to try to spend their way out of relegation.
  • Stoke are set to land goalkeeper Lee Grant for £1m from Derby.
  • Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj says they could be six goals down by half-time against Liverpool on Monday.
  • Diego Costa admits he was close to leaving Chelsea for Atletico Madrid in the summer.
  • Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was spotted furiously gesturing with director of football Txiki Begiristain,
  • Arsene Wenger has called Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick against Crystal Palace as the greatest goal he has ever seen at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Paul Clement is set to be appointed Swansea boss inside the next 24 hours
  • Demarai Gray has apologised for his hippy crack video with Leicester preparing to discipline the winger.

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How The Naira Fared Against The Dollar On New Year’s Eve

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The Naira closed the year 2016 at N490 to the Dollar, from the N495 against the greenback last Friday at the parallel market.

This is after currency experts and financial analysts had predicted that the local currency may succumb to the 500/dollar as the New Year approaches – due to the intense pressure on the naira

However, the naira was sold on the streets of Lagos and Abuja at 490/dollar on Saturday, the same rate it closed on Friday, December 30, 2016.

Nigeria’s Naira, 3 Others Rated Worst Currencies In The World In 2016

The local currency was expected to witness another round of decline against the dollar in the days preceding the New Year as an increase in dollar flow from Nigerians living abroad coming home for holidays fell short of expectations.

Naira Crashes To A New Record Low Against Dollar As CBN Prepares To Eliminate Parallel Market

On Thursday, the naira closed at 490 to the dollar, the same level it closed on Wednesday.

The naira had fallen against the greenback from 485 to 490 on Wednesday, reversing part of the gain it recorded the previous week.

The local currency fell to 495/dollar the previous week.

Naira Trades At 494/$ On Christmas Day, From 268/$ On December 25, 2015

The naira has, however, consistently closed around 305.5 a dollar level since August via the official window.

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