Football notes: Lloris extends Tottenham stay, Blessin in for Shevchenko at Genoa, transfers, injuries, more

Another busy week of the January transfer window is almost over as the end of the month and the current business period looms on the horizon. Among this week’s stories which might have passed you by due to the volume of domestic action across Europe, Hugo Lloris will be staying on with Tottenham Hotspur, Genoa CFC have a new boss and much more.

Our picks.

New Spurs deal for Lloris

Antonio Conte’s men have announced that the France international is staying on until 2024 with the 35-year-old captain for club and country opting to remain at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when a return home might have appealed given formative club OGC Nice’s recent rise.  

Why it matters: Committing to two and a half additional years with Spurs means that Lloris is effectively committing to the conte revolution and although there is no guarantee that the Italian’s spell in charge will be over in 2024, that could be the moment that the Frenchman decides to return home to retire.

Villa extend Martinez’s stay

Aston Villa also announced a new contract for their goalkeeper with Emi Martinez signing a new contract until 2027 which will be a further boost for Steven Gerrard as he continues to rebuild the Birmingham outfit since taking over from Dean Smith with Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Digne and Robin Olsen all in this month.  

Why it matters: Given his consistent performances for club and country and Villa’s uncertain chances of European qualification at present, tying down the Argentina international is a smart move as there would have been no shortage of suitors and anybody desperate to land him will now have to pay a premium price for the Villans to even consider it.

Sheva out for Blessin

Serie A strugglers Genoa have moved to replace Andriy Shevchenko with Alexander Blessin after Bruno Labaddia decided to pass on the opportunity to join the Italians who are struggling since their American takeover and are yet to win a league game under new ownership.  

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Why it matters: Barring a miraculous turnaround, Genoa are going down. Their job was not made any easier by a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Fiorentina which will have demonstrated to Blessin the extent of the task he has agreed to take on upon leaving Oostende in Belgium.

Arsenal move two on

One of two players allowed to leave by the Gunners this January was Pablo Mari who also moves to Serie A and joins Udinese who are undergoing a reshuffle after a busy winter window. The other was Sead Kolasinac who has joined Olympique de Marseille after a provisional transfer ban prompted the French giants to move their summer plans forward.  

Why it matters: With two peripheral figures off the books, Arsenal are creating space to potentially bring somebody in this month while the rumors continue to link them with Viola hitman Dusan Vlahovic.

Umtiti injury

One of France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup heroes cannot catch a break. Just days after signing a contract extension to help Barcelona out, the 28-year-old gets injured and has since undergone surgery which will keep him out for three months.  

Why it matters: Unable to play until close to the end of the season, any chances of a loan exit this month have been dashed which is equally bad news for Umtiti and Barca given that this deal was supposed to make it easier for the Frenchman to find a new club — as well as easing registration issues for the Catalans.

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Mangala joins Saint-Etienne fight

Former Manchester City, Valencia CF, and FC Porto man Eliaquim Mangala has resurfaced with AS Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 after spending the first half of the season as a free agent. Les Verts are embattled at the foot of Le Championnat and need all the help they can get and have also repatriated Joris Gnagnon after his failed spell in Spain with Sevilla.  

Why it matters: ASSE are one of France’s truly historic clubs but relegation to Ligue 2 appears increasingly likely and Mangala and his new teammates face the toughest of tasks to keep Pascal Dupraz’s men in the topflight. Making things even harder is the fact that they have now had away support banned for the rest of the campaign due to crowd issues in the Coupe de France.

Ben Arfa replaces Yazici in Lille

Yusuf Yazici has joined Jonthan Ikone in leaving Lille OSC this month with the Turkey international moving on loan to CSKA Moscow until the end of the season. LOSC moved quickly to source a replacement with Hatem Ben Arfa signed as a free agent to ensure that Jocelyn Gourvennec is not without manpower.  

Why it matters: Ben Arfa is back in the game and will now play for his seventh Ligue 1 club while that business should ensure that there is no temptation to cash in on the likes of Jonathan David until the summer when the Canada international will likely command a hefty fee.

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PSG set up shop in Wales

There are not many markets that the French giants are not yet tapped into and their latest expansion into Wales — with a little dig at UCL opponents Real Madrid — is evidence of that with Friday’s announcement of 150 million followers across various forms of social media further proof of their growing appeal.  

Why it matters: PSG continue their rapid growth and are likely to dominate the next generation of soccer fans given their expanding global presence. Plus, who knows, perhaps they unearth the next Gareth Bale while they are at it.

French youth breakthrough

The French government have confirmed the adoption of new legislation which will see youth contract grow from three years to five which strengthens the hands of domestic clubs who develop talent in trying to keep those players in France for longer.  

Why it matters: European clubs have aggressively targeted the French youth market over the years due to the ridiculous amounts of talent produced and the outdated laws which only gave domestic clubs limited periods to keep their best products before losing them for little. In theory, this will keep that talent within the borders for longer and not only enrich the domestic game but also enable the clubs to command higher fees for the hard work they have put into developing those gems.

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