Morgan Schneiderlin has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but manager Ronald Koeman is determined to hang onto the 24-year-old following a series of star departures. Agency
Morgan Schneiderlin has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but manager Ronald Koeman is determined to hang onto the 24-year-old following a series of star departures. Agency

Transfer talk: Southampton’s Schneiderlin unsettled over snub; Barcelona agree deal for Arsenal’s Vermaelen

LONDON // Southampton manager Ronald Koeman admits France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is not in the right frame of mind to play for the club after being told he won’t be allowed to join the St Mary’s exodus.

Schneiderlin has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but Koeman is determined to hang onto the 24-year-old following a series of star departures from the Premier League club since the end of last season.

England internationals Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert have all been sold, along with Croatia defender Dejan Lovren.

With Southampton’s squad being rebuilt and the club’s prospects looking grim, Schneiderlin wants to leave.

But he held talks with Koeman and Saints chairman Ralph Krueger on Friday and was again told he would not be sold.

Schneiderlin trained with his team-mates this week, but Koeman revealed he was too unsettled to feature in Saturday’s friendly against Bayer Leverkusen.

“The situation is difficult, the player makes it difficult,” Koeman said.

“I spoke to him with our chairman and the situation has not changed -- we don’t sell Schneiderlin and he has to accept that.

“It is not unfair. Unfair is signing a new contract and wanting to go, that’s unfair.

“Tomorrow he is not in the squad. He said he is not physically and, even more, mentally prepared for tomorrow.

“If this is still the situation next week then Morgan has a big problem.”

Schneiderlin, who joined the Saints as an 18-year-old in 2008, is understood to be keen on a move to White Hart Lane and a reunion with Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, with whom he enjoyed a close relationship at Southampton.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa signed French defender Aly Cissokho from Spanish club Valencia on Friday.

Cissokho agreed a four-year contract with Villa as the left-back made a quick return to the Premier League after spending last season on loan at Liverpool.

“Aly Cissokho has joined us on a four-year deal from ValenciaCF, subject to international clearance,” a post on Villa’s official Twitter feed announced.

The 26-year-old, who has one cap for France, made 15 Premier League and four cup appearances for Liverpool and is believed to have cost Villa in the region of £2 million ($3.3 million).

Cissokho, who won the Portuguese league title during his time at Porto and the French Cup while at Lyon, is Villa manager Paul Lambert’s fourth signing since the end of last term.

He follows Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson to Villa Park.


Barcelona have agreed a deal with Arsenal to sign Thomas Vermaelen on a five-year contract.

The news that the 28-year-old Belgium defender is to make the switch was announced by both clubs on Saturday evening.

Arsenal confirmed Vermaelen passed his medical in Barcelona earlier that day, adding that his transfer is “subject to the completion of the normal regulatory process”.


Jose Mourinho admits it will be impossible to find a replacement for Frank Lampard.

Lampard was released by Chelsea at the end of last season and has since signed for new MLS franchise New York FC, while also agreeing to play for Manchester City on loan until his new club start training in January.

The 36-year-old Lampard established himself as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats during his 13-year stay at Stamford Bridge, becoming the club’s record goalscorer and winning the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

Mourinho said: “Frank is Frank, he is irreplaceable. No chance.

“Cesc Fabregas is the player we need to modify a little bit the profile of our game. We want to give the next dimension to our game in midfield.

“But I think we can never say - in spite of Cesc, who is a fantastic player as you know - that, ‘This guy is coming to replace Frank’, because Frank is Frank.

“One day he will be alongside Peter Osgood in terms of a statue being built for him, because he’s fantastic.”

Swansea City

Swansea City chiefs insist Michel Vorm’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur was conducted correctly after the Dutch goalkeeper’s former club Utrecht threatened to report the Premier League team to FIFA.

Utrecht claim they have not received 30 per cent of Vorm’s transfer fee, which they allege was part of a sell-on agreement between them and the Swans when he moved to Wales for £1.5 million ($2.5 million) in 2011.

Dutch international Vorm, who was a member of the Netherlands’ squad at the recent World Cup, moved to White Hart Lane last month for what Swansea described as an undisclosed fee.

“The transfer of Michel Vorm was conducted and concluded correctly under Premier League rules,” a Swansea spokesman said.

“It was approved by the Premier League and also FIFA via their TMS (Transfer Matching) system.

“While we have been in contact with Utrecht as a matter of courtesy, we will continue to conduct our business in the best interest of our football club and our supporters, and not based on the views of other clubs.

“Unlike some countries abroad, we do not have third party ownership of players in Britain.

“The club will not be commenting further on this matter.”

West Ham United

Senegalese striker Diafra Sakho missed training with his club Metz on Friday and is on the verge of completing a move to English Premier League side West Ham United.

“Diafra is leaving this afternoon to undergo a medical and we will make an announcement when the transfer is completed,” said Metz president Bernard Serin.

Speaking at a press conference, Metz coach Albert Cartier added: “The Premier League is a championship that should suit him...West Ham sent scouts to watch our last two matches.”

The 24-year-old Sakho came through the ranks at Metz and scored 20 goals last season as his side won the Ligue 2 title to return to the top flight after a six-year absence.

West Ham have already signed Ecuador forward Enner Valencia this summer after he impressed at the World Cup, while Argentine attacker Mauro Zarate arrived from Velez Sarsfield.

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Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

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Rating: 2.5/5

The specs

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Story of 2017-18 so far and schedule to come

Roll of Honour

Who has won what so far in the West Asia rugby season?


Western Clubs Champions League

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Bahrain


Dubai Rugby Sevens

Winners: Dubai Exiles

Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons


West Asia Premiership

Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons

Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins


UAE Premiership Cup

Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Runners up: Dubai Exiles




West Asia Cup final

5pm, Bahrain (6pm UAE time), Bahrain v Dubai Exiles


West Asia Trophy final

3pm, The Sevens, Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Sports City Eagles


Friday, April 13

UAE Premiership final

5pm, Al Ain, Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins


Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5


Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

'Nightmare Alley'

Director:Guillermo del Toro

Stars:Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara

Rating: 3/5


Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi

Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania

Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola

Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea-Bissau


Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


Director: Ismael Ferroukhi

Stars: Zakaria Inan, Sabrina Ouazani

3 stars

A Cat, A Man, and Two Women
Translated by Paul McCarthy
Daunt Books 


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