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Chelsea confirm £21m signing of Pedro from Barcelona after snatching Spain ace away from rivals Manchester United

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The Blues swooped with the Spanish winger on the brink of moving to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Pedro, 28, expressed his delight upon arriving at Stamford Bridge after a year out of favour with the Catalan giants.

pedro n fabChelsea have completed the £21.1million signing of Pedro from Barcelona on a four-year deal.

He said before training with his new team-mates: ‘I am very happy to be here. I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles.

‘Thanks to the club and the supporters for giving me the opportunity to put the blue shirt on.’

Pedro was quick to nail his colours to the Chelsea mast by changing his Twitter cover photo to a section of Blues supporters with a banner reading ‘Pride of London’.

Pedro becomes Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s fourth new signing of the summer after Asmir Begovic, Radamel Falcao and Abdul Baba Rahman.

United looked to have sealed the deal to take Pedro to Old Trafford, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward travelling to Barcelona to tie up the deal.

However, Sportsmail understands the World Cup winner was underwhelmed with United’s advances, his camp unaware of Woodward’s trip.

Mourinho stole a march in the chase by calling up the winger personally to convince him to move to west London.

The Premier League champions have been sprung into transfer action after enduring a dreadful start to the season on and off the pitch, culminating in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

United boss Louis van Gaal was never sold completely on the idea of signing Pedro, with the Manchester club revealing they pulled out of any deal on Tuesday.

They are now looking at other options, such as Southampton’s Sadio Mane.

Barcelona confirmed they had agreed a fee with Chelsea, stating their thanks for Pedro’s eight years of service at the Nou Camp.

pedro

Chelsea struck a deal for £21.1m with £19m paid up front, more than United offered.

He becomes the second recruit for the champions since Sunday’s sobering 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, after £22m left back Rahman joined from Augsburg.

Pedro has sought a move from Barcelona, where his opportunities have been limited by the dazzling presence of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Mourinho rejected the chance to sign him in January, when Chelsea preferred to spend £27m on Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina because he was not cup-tied in the Champions League.

Cuadrado has been a huge disappointment and will be offered the chance to leave on loan.

Portuguese tactician Mourinho will hope Pedro can inject the required pace, urgency and goals into a team who have opened the season in sluggish style, taking one point from two games.

Pedro was delighted when Chelsea revived their interest. He was said to have been unconvinced about a move to Old Trafford, perhaps detecting Van Gaal’s doubts about his suitability.

United’s take on the matter on Wednesday night was that they withdrew from the deal on Tuesday when the manager decided he didn’t want the Barcelona player after all.

It seemed a strange explanation, given chief executive Woodward had been in Catalonia as recently as Monday.

United took their search for pace and creativity towards Mane, the 23-year-old Senegal striker who scored 10 goals in 30 games for Southampton last season.

Saints were quick to issue a firm rebuke. ‘Mane is a key part of our team and our planning for the future,’ said a source inside the club. ‘He wouldn’t be sold.’

Chelsea new boy Pedro, on the other hand, is expected to make his Premier League debut when the Blues face West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Pedro won 20 major titles and scored 99 goals during his time with Barcelona – including three Champions League winner’s medals and five La Liga titles.

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Jose Mourinho appointed Tottenham head coach

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Jose Mourinho has been named Tottenham head coach until the end of the 2023 season.

The former Manchester United and Chelsea boss replaces Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked on Tuesday with the club 14th in the Premier League.

Having decided it was time to act, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy drew up a shortlist which included Mourinho, RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann, former Juventus boss Max Allegri and PSG’s Thomas Tuchel.

Negotiations between Spurs and Mourinho – who had been out of work since he was sacked by United in December – intensified over the last few days and concluded in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Mourinho was promised funds to improve the squad in January and in the summer transfer window, if he felt necessary.

“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho. “The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

He will take training at Hotspur Way on Wednesday ahead of his first game on Saturday – against West Ham at the London Stadium.

Levy said he was “reluctant” to sack Pochettino, whose Spurs side lost to Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final, but explained the decision had to be made in the “club’s best interests”.

Mourinho won three Premier League titles with Chelsea, and is one of only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League twice with two clubs, FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.

“In Jose, we have one of the most successful managers in football,” Levy said on Wednesday.

“He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”

Mourinho, who lives in London, inherits a Tottenham side that have won just five matches all season.

He turned down job offers in China, Spain and Portugal since leaving United.

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Pochettino sacked as Tottenham manager

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Tottenham Hotspur have announced that Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked as their manager.

The Argentine spent five years in charge of the North London side.

Pochettino led Spurs to top-four finishes in four of his five seasons in charge, as well as their first Champions League final in the 2018/19 campaign.

However, they have won just five matches this season and chairman Daniel Levy said a change had to be made in the “club’s best interests”.

An official club statement read: “We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste.

“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

“It falls to the board to make the difficult decisions – this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff – but we do so in the club’s best interests.

“Mauricio and his coaching staff will always be part of our history. I have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he dealt with the difficult times away from a home ground whilst we built the new stadium and for the warmth and positivity he brought to us.

“I should like to thank him and his coaching staff for all they have contributed. They will always be welcome here.

“We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters.”

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FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship Achieves Global Recognition, Gets Listed In the WAGR

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Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Golf Championship scheduled to Tee-Off on Friday, 15 November 2019 is now listed amongst the golf tournaments in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). The WAGR is offered by the R&A and the United States Golf Association as a global service to golf.  Through incorporation and assessment worldwide of both amateur and professional events, WAGR™ encourages the international development of the competitive game. 

Since 1894, FirstBank has continued to promote the growth and development of sports in Nigeria. Apart from the Lagos Amateur Golf Championship which the Bank has supported for 57 years, the Bank has sponsored the Georgian Cup of the Kaduna Polo Tournament for 100 years. Other sports supported by the Bank include; the Dala Hardcourt Tennis, Kano for 32 years and for over a combined 30 years, the Bank has sponsored and owned the popular Elephant Girls Basketball club – which has remained a dominant force in the Nigerian Women Basketball league for many years – and the Elephant boys football club. The highpoint of these is the 2019 100th unbroken years of sponsoring the Kaduna Polo Tournament, widely attributed as the longest running sports sponsorship in the world and a Guinness Book of Records potential. 

The 56-hole golf tournament, to be played over three days would be rounded off with a grand finale and awards ceremony on Sunday, 17 November 2019. Other activities to be held in the course of the tournament are the “Professional Coaching Clinic” to nurture the skills of young and upcoming talents and “Beat the Pro Skills competition”. The 2018 edition which had over 260 golfers in attendance was won by Sam Njoroge from Kenyan.

Speaking on the Bank’s sponsorship of the tournament, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said; “We are excited at the giant strides achieved with the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship. The championship is now one of the international golf events where all amateur golfers worldwide can now participate and amass points to aid their WAGR rankings.”

“FirstBank has been in the business of supporting sports in Nigeria throughout its 125 years of existence. We have partnered with individuals and institutions to provide support, not only in the sports arena, but also in Education, the Arts and Small and Medium Enterprises”, he concluded.

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