Miralem Sulejmani Returns to the Pitch

November 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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Miralem Sulejmani (L) of Ajax Amsterdam challenges Luis Ibanez of Dinamo Zagreb during their Champions League soccer match at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb October 18, 2011. 

REUTERS/Nikola Solic

Serbian forward Miralem Sulejmani will be available to feature for Dutch giants Ajax this week in their crucial Champions League clash with Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. Sulejmani missed the Dutch team’s last two matches with a groin injury but the club’s official website has revealed that Sulejmani returned to training earlier this week.

Sulejmani, who is of Gorani Muslim origin, joined AFC Ajax on July 4th of 2008 from fellow Eredivisie squad AFC Ajax Heerenveen for a reported transfer fee of €16.25 million, breaking the Dutch transfer record. He signed a five-year contract with Ajax, keeping him there until June of 2013. Sulejmani even claimed in an interview that he himself didn’t even know that Ajax paid over €16 million for his services. He made his debut for Ajax against English Premier League club Sunderland on August 3rd of 2008.

Sulejmani made an impact almost immediately at Ajax. But first team opportunities subsequently became scarce. He almost was loaned out to English squad West Ham United in August of 2010, but his work permit application fell through. But after an off-season coaching change, he exhibited more confidence under new coach Frank de Boer and subsequently got more chances in the first-team.

Central defender Gregory van der Wiel is also available for selection having missed his side’s 4-0 win over Roda on Saturday due to abdominal pains. Ajax coach Frank de Boer could slot both players back into the starting XI to face Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night. Ajax hosts the Croatian outfit having defeated it 2-0 in Zagreb two weeks ago. Ajax were last year’s champions of the Dutch Eredivisie league. They currently at second position in Group D of the Champions League with four points.

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Nicolas Anelka Says He Is Happy at Chelsea

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Compiled by Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

ANELKA_N_20020824_NF_LReports surfaced again this week that French Muslim footballer Nicolas Anelka was close to signing with a Major League Soccer (MLS) team in the United States this past summer and is still interested in joining the league. His current club, Chelsea Football Club of the English Premier League, published quotes from the Anelka on its website stating his desire to remain with the Premier League team.
“I am linked everywhere but – when you are linked – it doesn’t mean you want to leave,” Anelka told the website. “I like Chelsea and first of all wanted to stay that’s why I am still here.”

The 32-year-old striker’s contract runs out next summer and current manager Andre Villas-Boas has hinted that this may indeed be Anelka’s last year with the club. “I am happy here, I like the club, everyone here, and, after, I will see what happens. It is not only down to me,” Anelka told the club’s website regarding a possible transfer in either the winter or summer transfer windows. “I have been here almost four years now, and I am pleased with the way it has been. It could have been even better but I am still happy.”

Anelka was reportedly close to signing with an MLS franchise located on the West Coast, according to one of his agents. Although a deal never materialized, Anelka’s camp confirmed to the website Goal.com that their client is still interested in moving to the North American league. “I can confirm that Nicolas is still possibly interested in pursuing an MLS career,” said Michael Wiesenfeld, who is part of European Football Group, an organization which will represent Anelka’s marketing rights should he join MLS. “He got very close to landing a nice contract with a team on the West Coast in August. He also has opportunities elsewhere in the world.”

Anelka originally joined  Chelsea from Bolton inn January of 2008 for 15 million pounds. He has made 344 appearances in the Premier League and scored 123 goals to date for Arsenal, Liverpool, Bolton and Chelsea. But Chelsea’s abundance of scoring forwards, and Anelka’s advancing age, make him more expendable than ever. And with his career with the French national team likely over, a period with MLS would likely be Anelka’s swan song.

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Chelsea Reportedly Seeking Franck Ribery

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

franck-ribery9English Premier League powerhouse Chelsea Football Club has been trying to pry midfielder Luka Modric from rivals Tottenham all summer. But it looks as if they are close to giving up on their efforts as the transfer window approaches its close. The London club has now reportedly turned its attention towards French Muslim midfielder Franck Ribery. Ribery currently displays his play-making abilities for German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Chelsea has already offered a reported 30 million pounds for Ribery, but Bayern Munich will reportedly not even consider any offers of less than 36 million pounds. The Blues are reportedly ready to pay Ribery a yearly wage of 10 million pounds per year.

Previousl Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelloti reportedly tried to sign Ribery, two years ago but was quoted a price of 88 million pounds by Bayern president Uli Hoeness. Ribery, despite his on and off the pitch struggles over the past two years, is still considered one of the most dynamic midfielders in the world. And Bayern paid a pretty penny, a record 22 million pounds, to sign him from Marseille in 2007. Ribery remains the highest paid player in the Bundesliga, at 180,000 pounds per week. He still has four years remaining on his current contract with Bayern Munich.

But the British transfer window is close to slamming shut. So Chelsea will have to make up their minds as to whether to go all out in their pursuit of the 28 year-old Frenchman.

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Samir Nasri Goes to Manchester City

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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The Sheikh of Abu Dhabi has been trying to secure this deal all summer, and he finally got his man. Manchester City football club of the English Premier League have finally secured the services of French Muslim footballer Samir Nasri from his former club, fellow English League rivals Arsenal.

The Abu Dhabi-owned football club reportedly obtained Nasri for a transfer fee of £24million. The 24-year-old midfielder subsequently signed a four year contract with Manchester City. This would be the fourth major signing this summer for City, but it would only be the second most expensive, after the club record £38million purchase of Sergio Aguero. Nasri will likely make his Man City debut this Sunday against Tottenham.

Nasri had just one year remaining on his contract at Arsenal, whom he joined in 2008, and the London club have agreed to sell now rather than risk losing him on a free transfer next summer. English Premier League rivals Manchester United had also shown interested in the Frenchman. And in recent weeks, there was growing tension at Arsenal with the common knowledge that Nasri wanted out. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger even included Nasri in the starting lineup this past weekend against Liverpool even after it was apparent that the club was close to a sale. He was, however, left off of the roster for Arsenal’s midweek Champions League qualifying match against Udinese.

This was a rough week for Arsenal, who were forced to sell captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona the week before, followed by a home loss to Liverpool. Now they have been strong-armed into parting with another of their young talents.

Nasri came up in the Marseille youth system and made his debut for the French club at the age of 17. He came to Arsenal in 2008 for £15.8million. But he struggled for a couple of years, and was even left off of the 2010 French World Cup team. But he finally broke through last year with 15 goals and a nomination for Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.

Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini told www.mcfc.co.uk: “He’s a fantastic player because he has technique, he has mentality. I knew him when he played for Marseille. I followed him when I was at Inter and we wanted to take him five years ago. But I think in the last few years in the Premier League he’s improved a lot. Now I think he’s a top player.”

Nasri now joins a Muslim-laden squad in Manchester City. The Ivorian brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure are there, as well as fellow Ivorian Abdul Razak, and Somalian midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim, not to mention the Emirati ownership.

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