Welcome to Fox Sports Africa’s round-up of football news for Thursday, August 16.
International and European club football
Michael Essien has backed Ghana’s ‘Black Princesses’ to come back stronger after their elimination from the U-20 Women’s World Cup; Lionel Messi will reportedly not be called back to Argentina’s squad until the end of the year; and Chelsea’s Nigerian winger Victor Moses has announced his international retirement at the age of 27.
Premier League, EFL Championship & Scottish Premiership
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic will all be unavailable for their Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend; Milton Keynes Dons manager Paul Tisdale claims that Bolton Wanderers’ pursuit of their English-Nigerian midfielder Chuks Aneke has stalled; and Steven Gerrard insists Rangers have no intention of sitting on their first-leg lead over Maribor ahead of the return leg of their UEFA Europa League tie in Slovenia on Thursday night.
Ligue 1, Belgian First Division A, Eredivisie, Turkish Super Lig & MLS
Andre Ayew has expressed his disappointment after new club Fenerbahce fell out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek; Cameroon star Stephane Mbia has confirmed his return to Ligue 1 as he prepares to join Toulouse; and AFC Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has described Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech as a “jewel for Dutch football” after he helped the Eredivisie side advance in the UEFA Champions League this week.
Transfer rumours & gossip
Zinedine Zidane reportedly wants to replace Jose Mourinho as Manchester United manager; Wilfried Zaha has signed a new contract at Crystal Palace to end speculation over a possible transfer away; Tottenham are said to have agreed to let Georges-Kevin N’Koudou join Mainz on a season-long loan; and Russian World Cup star Denis Cheryshev has re-joined Valencia on a season-long loan from Villarreal.