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After Eddie Nketiah shines against Norwich: 7 Arsenal youngsters who burst onto the scene and what happened next



The teenager rescued the Carabao Cup tie with his double at the Emirates – but who has been in this position before?

Eddie Nketiah is the name on every Arsenal fan’s lips after his Carabao Cup heroics.

The teenager stepped off the bench to send the Gunners into the next round with two goals in a dramatic win over Norwich.

He scored within seconds of entering the fray and then headed in an extra-time winner.

It was only his second appearance for the club, having appeared as a late substitute against BATE Borisov.

It remains to be seen what is next for Nketiah, with Thierry Henry leading the plaudits after his double.

He is of course not the only Gunners youngster to burst onto the scene in style under Arsene Wenger – largely in the League Cup.

Here are some of those that made their mark – and what they did next.

Jack Wilshere
The midfielder broke onto the scene at the tender age of 16, making his debut as a substitute in the Premier League win at Blackburn in 2008.

His first start came 10 days later in the League Cup win over Sheffield United with Wilshere also grabbing his first goal with a fine strike from distance.

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He spent time at Bolton the following campaign before becoming a first-team regular and was tipped for the very top before injuries took their toll.

Appears to be getting back to his best after a disappointing season at Bournemouth.

David Bentley
Bentley seemed destined for a long career in north London when he broke through in the 2002-03 campaign.

After a handful of outings in the League Cup, he scored his first goal against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup – beating Mark Schwarzer with an impudent chip.

It didn’t get any better from there though and Bentley joined Blackburn before a big-money move to Tottenham.

Bentley’s form dipped after a decent start at White Hart Lane and he retired in 2013, aged just 29.

Jay Simpson
After a loan spell at Millwall, Simpson was in given his debut as a substitute in the League Cup win over Sheffield United in 2008.

But it was in the next round against Wigan when he really made his mark, scoring twice in a 3-0 win.

He made just one more appearance for the club though, finally leaving permanently in 2010 after a series of loan moves.

Simpson is still playing with Philadelphia Union in the States.

Kieran Gibbs
Like so many of that crop of players, Gibbs also made his Arsenal bow against Sheffield United in the League Cup.

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He finally established himself as first-choice left-back when Gael Clichy moved on to Manchester City.

Gibbs struggled for action last season though and moved on to West Brom in the summer to end his long association with the Gunners.

Carlos Vela
The Mexican burst onto the scene at the start of the 2008-09 season, scoring three times in the 6-0 demolition of Sheffield United.

His second was a devastating chip over Paddy Kenny and Vela looked set for a long career in north London.

It didn’t quite pan out like that though as Vela joined West Brom on loan before completing a move to Real Sociedad, where he is now in his sixth season.

Sanchez Watt
Watt made an immediate impact at the Emirates, scoring on his debut in the win over West Brom.

He made a couple more League Cup appearances but like so many Gunners academy prospects, he slipped away.

Watt finally left permanently in 2013 after a string of loans and even had a short stint in India.

Made a handful of appearances at Crawley last season.

Reiss Nelson
The youngster was introduced into the first-team in pre-season and he hasn’t disappointed.

Nelson has been a regular in the Europa League and Carabao Cup and is being tipped to reach the very top.

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Surely Arsenal will not let him slip through the net.



Barcelona: Real reason for Messi’s u-turn




Lionel Messi said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.But he launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, accusing him of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season.

“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with Goal, released on Friday.

“I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.”

Messi, 33, added: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.

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“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”

Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.

His lawyers sent a burofax stating his intention to go for free on August 25 but Messi says he had made his feelings clear to Bartomeu many times before.

“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” said Messi. “I’ve been telling him all year. I believed it was time to step aside.

‘Everything became difficult’

“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new horizons.

“It wasn’t because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I had been thinking about it for a long time. I told the president and the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.”

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Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona next season under their new coach Ronald Koeman, with his current contract due to expire in June next year.

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Messi set to quit Barcelona




Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Argentina star sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause.

However, the club maintains the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.

“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.

“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.”

According to Spanish media, Messi met with new Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” the club.

“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.

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Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month, resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.

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Oyo govt. to spend N5.5bn on Lekan Salami sports complex’s facilities’ upgrade




Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Thursday disclosed that the contract for the remodeling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan was awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, at a total cost of Five Billion, Five Hundred and Eighty Million, One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty-One Naira, Sixty-Two Kobo (₦5,580,001,151:62k).

The governor stated that the Complex will be upgraded to a world class standard.


He also informed that the project will be funded through the Alternate Project Funding Approach (APFA), which entails that the contractor will fund the project, while the state will repay the contractor over a period of 29 months.


The governor, who stated this at the main bowl of the stadium, while flagging off the project, asdured that his administration will continue to walk its talk, matching policies with actions.


Contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Governor Makinde stressed, “the contractors, Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, have given us the assurance that the project will be completed in 18 months. By God’s grace, in the next 12 months, coronavirus would have left us, and we will have the opportunity to sit here, in this stadium, fully remodelled and watch my team, the 3SC beat their opponents, live! So Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns, 12 months is 12 months. No delays and you have to do a quality job that the people of Oyo State will be proud of.


“This is another step in the right direction, positioning Oyo State to attract investments. I hear some people are already saying we should slow down but I am here to tell them that this is not the time to even think of slowing down. Our administration is here to grow Oyo State and to make sure everyone in our beloved state feels the real dividends of democracy.

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“When the history of this place was being traced just now, they flagged off this facility 44 years ago. It was commissioned 32 years ago; and I came here once to watch a 3SC game and, at half time, I went to the changing room to talk to and encourage the players but I could not believe what I saw: players sat on the bare floor. And I asked myself, is this where we want to mould world-beating athletes? So, I said ‘no’. I felt for both the players and the crew.


“After that, I decided to, on my own, visit this place and looked at all of the facilities that we have in here. They were all in a state of dilapidation”, he lamented.


The governor who declared that the remodelling project was another step in the direction of positioning the state to attract greater investments, said his administration would not be deterred by criticisms and that it would ensure that every resident of the state feels the real dividends of democracy.


He added that for the state to attract the right investments, it must raise its game in terms of infrastructure and matching what obtains in other places, saying that this is the path his administration has been toeing, which is responsible for its attention to fix roads, install street lights and invest heavily on infrastructure and security.


“Oyo State has had a rich sporting history. Back in 1963, the first World Boxing title fight in Africa was held here in Oyo State. We were able to host that fight and benefit from all the tourism revenue because we had the facilities to do so. And so, we are remodelling this sports complex now, so we can reap the benefits in  Internally Generated Revenue, IGR. If there was a call for cities to host a national sporting event today, can Oyo State boast of having the facilities? The answer is no.

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“So, in Oyo State, we cannot attract investors without the right infrastructure. If we are telling people to leave wherever they are and come here, we should be able to give them what they are benefiting where they are or even more.



“If we keep saying Oyo State is ready for business, without the right infrastructure in place, they will tell us they like our policies, but they want to see better facilities. So, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that whenever investors come calling, we are ready to receive them and make them stay. And that means we must match our policies with action.


“We have already told them there will be no multiple taxation and that we will not wake up and impose random taxes on them. They can see that this is true. We have also promised that they will not spend hours in traffic, we are keeping our promise by investing in road construction and rehabilitation. We are putting street lights all over the place. We also have to match the tourism and recreational facilities that they have in other places.



“If the government can provide facilities that are comparable to those those in any part of the world, then we can be sure that all our talents and youths will have somewhere to come to. And we will discover more talents and we will have more record setters coming out of Oyo State. And this is why we are here.”

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Earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Seun Fakorede, said the remodelling is essential for the growth and survival of Sports and the engagement of youth productively.

He noted that the remodelling will attract international focus and change the economic fortune of the state, through hosting of national and international sports tournaments.


In his remarks, the managing Director of Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Limited, Mr. Adeleke Olanrewaju, said that the benefit which Lekan Salami will bring to the state will be unquantifiable through talent development and others, adding that the remodeling of the stadium will also boost the IGR, of the state.


“In the present day, stadium facilities can generate incomes; for example, the hosting of a national sports festival can bring in as much as 7billion Naira, the hosting of a national cup will also bring in as much as 10 billion Naira. Some of these funds go directly into the government purse while a larger percentage goes into the local economy to stimulate it.”

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