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According to sources contacted by Get French Football News, FC Lorient’s Enzo Le Fée (22) is uninterested in a move to Premier League side Bournemouth. 

As reported by Le Parisien, Bournemouth are looking to pull off a double swoop. The Premier League side are nearing the completion of the deal for Dango Ouattara, and are also looking to bring in his teammate Le Fée. 

Bill Foley, who only recently purchased Bournemouth, has also acquired a 33% share of the Ligue 1 club, which is helping facilitate the transfer of Ouattara. However, whilst that move looks to be heading in a positive direction, Le Fée seems less keen on a move to Bournemouth, where he would find himself embroiled in a relegation battle. 

According to sources contacted by Get French Football News, Le Fée hasn’t appreciated attempts made by certain stakeholders to attempt to move him in the direction of the South Coast club. The France U21 is, therefore, currently uninterested in a move. 

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Chelsea have submitted their opening offer for Lyon full-back Malo Gusto, according to Foot Mercato this afternoon, of which the figure has yet to transpire. Les Gones, though, are adamant that they want to keep hold of their defensive prospect through this transfer window.

There remains the possibility that the spendthrift Premier League outfit will come back with an offer too good to turn down,  even if the prospect of a departure is not at the front of the player’s mind.

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The French youth international right-back is an undisputed starter in Laurent Blanc’s struggling side, having become a regular for Lyon after taking over Léo Dubois’ spot in the team midway through last season. Overall, the 19-year-old has 54 appearances for his formative club’s senior side in all competitions, notching six assists in that time as he continues to establish himself as one of the most sought-after full-back prospects on the continent.

Lyon is being snubbed by yet another transfer target, Tunisian midfielder Ellyes Skhiri, at least for now. According to L’Équipe, the Ligue 1 club made progress with the 27-year-old Cologne midfielder over the last few days, but in the end, the former Montpellier man decided to stay in Germany. 

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This news will come with great disappointment to OL as they have now failed to bring in two of their top targets for the winter window. There is still hope for the French club, however. It seems the chance of moving to Lyon in January was too great for a player for values his family-life balance.

If Rhône based club are still interested in Skhiri he will be available as a free transfer after the season, but with reports of several German clubs’ interest, they will face heavy competition to sign him in the summer. The real difficulty for OL  is there are only three days left in the transfer window for them to sign at least a midfielder. 

Bodø/Glimt Norwegian youth international attacking midfielder Joel Mugisha Mvuka (20) has failed his Lorient medical, according to a report from Foot Mercato. The Brittany outfit were in the running for the young Norwegian prospect and reportedly struck a €7m deal with the Norwegians, and Mvuka was set for a four-and-a-half year deal with Les Merlus. He scored one goal and registered two assists in eight league games, and also found the net in the Champions League qualifyng rounds.

The move has now fallen through, with the player failing his medical. Ouest-France report that Mvuka had been diagnosed with a heart condition, an irregular heartbeat, that almost compromised his playing career three years ago, but could resume his career after additional medical exams. Foot Mercato adds that Ligue 1’s surprise package this season are currently exploring alternative options, as Lorient are looking for a fourth January signing. Les Merlus have signed Udinese midfielder Jean-Victor Makengo (24) over a record €13m signing and wantaway Marseille winger Bamba Dieng (22). Lyon’s out-of-favour midfielder Romain Faivre (24) arrived on a loan move.

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In the wake of Nicolas Cozza’s (24) departure to Wolfsburg, Montpellier considered signing Borussia Dortmund left-back Nico Schulz (29) on loan, according to L’Équipe. 

Cozza left the Ligue 1 strugglers to join the Bundesliga club early in the transfer window. Montpellier were therefore in the market for a replacement throughout the month of January. Ultimately, the club signed Toulouse’s Issiaga Sylla (29), who arrived on deadline day, singing a two-and-a-half-year deal. He arrived at Montpellier on a free after Toulouse released him from the remaining six months of his contract.

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However, before signing the Guinean international, Montpellier had considered Borussia Dortmund’s Schulz. The left-back, who has 12 caps for the German national team, hasn’t played for the Bundesliga side this season. Montpellier’s sporting director Bruno Carotti initiated talks and discussed the financial aspects of the potential loan before manager Romain Pitau pulled the plug on the deal, citing sporting reasons.

Dion Dublin named five of the Big Six as being in the running for a top four finish, snubbing Manchester United in favour of a shock candidate.

United have won five of their last seven Premier League games, including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal, after back-to-back defeats to start their campaign.

But Erik ten Hag’s side have been completely ignored by Dublin as he reeled off the usual suspects for Champions League qualification, as well as Brighton, who have picked up just two points in four games under Roberto De Zerbi and have failed to score in their last three.

Dublin told Express: “I would still say that Liverpool will find their way to the top four. They’ll go on a run of games very, very soon. They’ll win four, five, six, seven in a row, or they won’t lose in seven or eight in a row, and they’ll find themselves picking up, you know, the odd 20 points here, 25 points there. They’re so good [and] they’ve got so many good players that they will find their way back.

“It’s so tough to call the top four because I expect Liverpool to be there. I mean, you’re looking at teams like Chelsea. At the moment, they’re looking good. Graham Potter has got them playing relaxed football, and they’re all smiling while they’re playing, which is very rare for a Chelsea team. They’re all enjoying their football, and it’s making a huge difference to their results as well.

“So you know, City, obviously, Liverpool, it’s going to take a massive task for them to get back to where they need to be, but they’ve got everything they need. Chelsea have turned a corner [and] Arsenal are top of the tree. Antonio Conte and Spurs, I mean, I could go on. Outside as well… Brighton are playing some good stuff. I’m glad it’s so open, to be honest with you. I’m glad there are teams in and around the top 10 that you probably wouldn’t expect to be there, and I’m glad because it just makes it a little bit more interesting.”

United take on Tottenham at Old Trafford on Wednesday and could fall six points off the top four if they’re beaten.

And Dublin believes Antonio Conte’s side will get the job done against the Red Devils.

“I think it’s a difficult one for United,” Dublin admitted. “United have got more than enough when it comes to quality, but I just think Spurs have got that Antonio Conte [character], especially in midfield. They’ve got a bit of grit in there, a bit of anger. You know, they’ve got some physical presence in there and looking up top, Son and Kane, they do what they do, they score goals.

“But having a coach like Antonio Conte, you can’t rest on your laurels. You can’t sit on your heels. You’ve got to stay on the front foot all the time. That’s what they’re doing, Spurs, they’re playing some good stuff, scoring some good goals, and they’ve got an ugly side to their game where they’re doing well. So United are going to find it really difficult against Spurs, but they’ve got enough in their locker.”

READ MORE: Big Midweek: Man Utd v Spurs, Villa, Brendan, Darwin Nunez, Arsenal

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THE NEED TO cut out mistakes is so ingrained into top-level rugby that it sounds strange when an Ireland captain gives his side some margin for error.

Paul O’Connell said Ireland don’t need to be perfect against South Africa because the second row doesn’t think it’s possible to play a perfect game.

Rather, he thinks how Ireland respond to mistakes throughout the game – both their own and from the Springboks – will be a deciding factor on Saturday evening.

“I don’t think you’ll ever be perfect in a game but you always strive to be perfect,” O’Connell said.

“Balls will go down on the ground, you’ve got to win those. We’ve been in so many games where that has won or lost you games, particularly against a team like South Africa who are so dangerous off loose ball.

“You don’t have to perfect. Your attitude and mental resolve has to be perfect but it’s very hard to play a perfect game of rugby. We’ve discussed that, we have to react. There will be mistakes from them and from us, but reacting to that is a good part of how you perform on the day.”

There will be an even greater emphasis on O’Connell and some of the more experienced members of the Ireland pack on Saturday with the injuries to Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy but O’Connell stressed that the squad hasn’t dwelled on their long injury list.

“With Joe’s style of doing things when you’re injured you’re out,” O’Connell said.

“ It’s not an issue, you move on to the next player. We are lucky in Ireland with strength in depth and injuries have probably contributed to that.

Joe Schmidt brought Leinster centre Garry Ringrose in to train with the squad this week and Paul O’Connell was as enthusiastic about the youngster’s potential as Les Kiss and Tommy Bowe were during the week. Although, when asked if he was reminded of watching Brian O’Driscoll for the first time, O’Connell took a step back.

“I think I watched Brian O’Driscoll on tv for the first time because I’m a bit younger,” O’Connell smiled.

“Garry has been involved in the academy a lot so he might even be a bit further along in development than Brian was at that age. But you don’t want to put too much expectation on a guy after only seeing him for one or two training sessions.”

O’Connell has been involved in some epic clashes with South Africa throughout his career. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

There has been a bit of a bromance between two all-time great second rows, Victor Matfield and Paul O’Connell, this week with the Springbok legend heaping praise on the Ireland captain by calling him the best second row he has ever faced.

O’Connell was quick to return the favour but also pointed out that the love-in will have little relevance on the outcome tomorrow.

“Victor Matfield is the best lineout forward in the world and he has been for some time,” O’Connell said.

“To take two years out and come back and be just as good as he ever was is some achievement. South Africa were missing a bit of that [lineout presence] in the last couple of years but he has brought it back with abundance.

“I was delighted to get the compliment but it is all irrelevant come Saturday.”

O’Connell is also impressed with how South Africa have developed under Heyneke Meyer over the last few years.

“The team is different in a better way,” O’Connell said.

“You look at how they have been playing recently with the ball in hand with Handré Pollard and Willie le Roux and I think they have an extra string to their bow than when they won the World Cup. Or that they didn’t maybe use when they won the World Cup or beat us on the Lions Tour in 2009.”

In the past, O’Connell has robbed a few Afrikaan phrases to try get a slight edge on Matfield, Bakkies Botha and co. but he is going in without his phrase book this weekend.

“No, I’ve no Gert Smal to help me this year,” O’Connell laughed.

“And Simon [Easterby] doesn’t speak Afrikaan.”

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Thomas Frank has insisted that he has “unfinished business” at Brentford amid reports linking him with a move to Aston Villa.

Steven Gerrard was sacked on Thursday night after Villa’s 3-0 loss against Fulham. This result leaves them languishing in 17th place.

Frank has been mentioned as a potential replacement but he has been quick to rule out a move to Villa Park.

“I understand the bookmakers, I’m a good manager,” he said with a smile. “Joking aside, I’m very happy here. I’ve said that many times.

“I have unfinished business to do here at Brentford. I think it’s also (important) to worship the good you have.”

Frank guided Brentford to promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2021, then to a 13th-placed finish last term. They go into the weekend in 10th, five points better off than Villa.

Frank admitted midfielder Christian Norgaard had asked him openly about the Villa links, but said he was only interested in Sunday’s fixture.

“I can’t speak about the team because I haven’t asked them,” he said.

“I prefer, which we do, to only speak about the game against Villa, how we are preparing to do it with this extra challenge of who is taking over.

“We don’t know what they will do. I prefer to speak about that instead of my future.

“The only player (who asked) this morning was Christian Norgaard. He just said, ‘Ah, there’s links, there’s rumours,’ and I just said, ‘Ah yeah, there are a lot of rumours out there’.”

Gerrard’s exit complicates Frank’s own planning for the game, but he expects to see a reaction from Villa.

“You know they will come out with energy,” he said.

“The fans will probably want to back the team more. They know the boys need them. They got what they want, they didn’t want the manager any more so it’s all about them.

“I don’t know Aaron Danks, the interim, but I imagine he will say to them ‘Play for the fans, run for the fans’ so it will be a very difficult team at Villa Park on Sunday.”

Frank expressed sympathy for Gerrard, who departed Villa Park after less than a year in charge.

Defeat at Fulham came on the back of a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at the weekend which could have been put down to individual mistakes.

“I watched their game against Chelsea, and the way Villa played was very good,” Frank said.

“With the mistake from (Tyrone) Mings after six minutes I was just looking at Gerrard thinking ‘That is tough’.

“I am feeling for him. I’m a head coach and have been for many years. Sometimes you need some luck from the football Gods.”

READ MORE: Villa should have shown more ‘class’ with Gerrard, who had ‘no chance’ with lack of investment


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WATCHING RHYS RUDDOCK in action last weekend against South Africa, one wouldn’t have guessed that he had last worn the seven shirt in 2012.

A Pro12 meeting with Zebre was the 24-year-old’s most recent experience of starting at openside flanker for Leinster, while Saturday was his first outing in that role at senior international level.

A late call-up to the starting team after Chris Henry was ruled out, Ruddock delivered in spades. Eight carries, a shedload of ruck work and 14 tackles justified Joe Schmidt’s faith in the Leinster back row.

“I sort of got my head around playing seven nice and early,” says Ruddock.

As for switching from his usual blindside flank to the openside, Ruddock took it in his stride.

“I suppose there are some major differences. I think you’re a lot more in the action at seven, whereas a six would maybe hold on certain plays. The seven seems to be the one doing all the folding, getting around the corner and linking with the backs.

“I think it kind of suits me – I like to work hard and get through a lot of work, so I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought it would.”

Ruddock crossed for a try in the second half against the Boks. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ruddock’s strong display was topped off by a second-half try from a clever Ireland mauling effort, with the back row joking, “I thought it was all me!” before explaining the pleasure Simon Easterby’s pack had taken from that effort.

“I didn’t have to do much for it and it was a well-worked maul. I suppose it’s the ones that you practice and they come off like that and you get an easy run to the tryline, I think I was just grateful to be playing seven and the one on the back of it.”

Next up for Ruddock is impressing against Georgia on Sunday in Dublin, a challenge for which he feels well prepared. The flanker captained Emerging Ireland in the 2013 Tbilisi Cup, where they beat the Georgians 20-15.

“The whole pack is pretty much all playing in France and has a wealth of experience. They’ll look to dominate the set-piece and at the breakdown, where they’ve got real threats on the ball who can punish you if you don’t get your roles right.”

Ruddock insists that Ireland have genuine “respect” for Sunday’s opposition, with Schmidt having brought the players back to ground after the pleasure of beating the Boks last weekend.

Against a powerful Georgian side, Irish supporters will be looking forward to more of Schmidt’s intelligent attacking power plays, with Ruddock suggesting “we’ll have some ways to break them down.”

Ruddock is feeling far more settled in the Ireland group now. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

On a personal level, the Leinster powerhouse feels “a lot more settled” as part of the Ireland group, having turned 24 today and now with four senior caps. He admits he would be content to play anywhere across the back row, although he is “happiest playing six and have most experience there.”

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Wherever Schmidt uses him this weekend, Ruddock can be counted on to meet the Georgians with great hunger.

“I definitely think you have to meet it head on, especially early in the game. Don’t let them build confidence in their strengths.

“The reality is that we didn’t perform to the best of our ability on the weekend. There’s more left and the focus now is on getting that out this weekend.”

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Martin Keown says a couple of Arsenal players experienced Mikel Arteta’s “ruthless” side in Arsenal’s defeat to PSV Eindhoven on Thursday.

The Gunners needed a single point to secure top spot in their group but goals from Joey Veerman and Luuk de Jong won the game for the Dutch side.

Arsenal were way short of their best which has seen them win all of their Europa League games up to that point and maintain a lead at the top of the Premier league.

Keown was “screaming at the TV” over mistake for PSV’s second goal and claimed a pair of players were at fault for the first, after which they were taken off by Arteta.

Keown told BT Sport: “Looking at Rob Holding there [for the first goal], you’ve got to stay goal-side. A big man has come on [De Jong], so Holding’s got to come across.

“Lokonga could do more with the initial ball and then he just switches off. He’s got to be breaking every sinew in his body to get back there and get a block in but he doesn’t.

“Arteta was pretty ruthless because both players were hooked soon after. It’s a tough school there.”

Speaking after the defeat, Arteta admitted his side did not reach the standard he demands from his players.

“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “It’s the end of a long run where we won a lot of games and we have to reset.

“Congratulations to PSV – they were the better team today. We were nowhere near our level and we know that in Europe it’s very difficult to win.

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“We didn’t get any control. We didn’t get the ball in the areas we wanted. We gave so many balls away, which allowed so many transitions, which was what they were looking for whenever they got in the right structure.

“They were on top of a lot of things that last week was different.”

Arsenal will now have to win their final group game at home to FC Zurich next week to be sure of winning the group.

READ MORE: How soon will Newcastle United force talk of a Big Seven in the Premier League?