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Mesut Ozil Has Stepped In To Save Gunnersaurus

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Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has stepped in to save the club’s giant Gunnersaurus from extinction after it was revealed the man behind the mascot had been released as part of cost-cutting measures.

Jerry Quy, who has played the role of the dinosaur mascot since 1993, has been let go, with stadiums empty during the coronavirus crisis.

“I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being made redundant after 27 years,” Ozil tweeted on Tuesday.

“As such, I’m offering to reimburse @Arsenal with the full salary of our big green guy as long as I will be an Arsenal player…”

A GoFundMe page titled “Save Gunnersaurus” has already raised more than £10,000 ($13,000).

A statement on the page reads: “Gunnersaurus has been the Arsenal club mascot for 27 years. He’s a club icon and we cannot let him become extinct.

“Played by lifelong fan Jerry Quy, it would be a terrible shame to lose him. The mascot league is the only one we’ve consistently been on top of, let’s keep our all-time top scorer on top.”

Former players have also spoken up in support of the Gunnersaurus.

Ozil is the club’s highest earner, on a reported £300,000 ($390,000) per week, despite his limited role on the field in recent seasons.

The German has not played a minute for the club since before the coronavirus lockdown in March.

FA Cup winners Arsenal announced in August they were planning to cut 55 jobs due to the damaging effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the club’s finances.

The Premier League club said their main sources of income had all been hit, including broadcast revenue, matchday takings and commercial activity

It is understood the Gunnersaurus will return when fans are allowed back into stadiums but it is unclear who will be inside the costume.

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Rangnick’s expected arrival at Man Utd ‘not good news’ for rivals – Klopp

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Ralf Rangnick’s expected arrival at arch-rivals Manchester United is “not good news for other teams” due to his vast experience and ability to organise teams.

Klopp’s fellow German is set to be installed as United interim manager until the end of the season following last week’s sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a terrible run of results.

Rangnick, the former Hoffenheim, Schalke and RB Leipzig boss, is credited with influencing the pressing style of Klopp and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

“Unfortunately a good coach is coming to England, that’s how it is, to Manchester United,” Klopp said on Friday on the eve of Liverpool’s match against Southampton.

“Ralf is obviously a really experienced manager. He built most famously two clubs from nowhere to proper threats and forces in Germany with Hoffenheim and Leipzig.

“United will be organised on the pitch, we should realise that — that’s obviously not good news for other teams.”

Rangnick’s legal representative earlier confirmed to AFP subsidiary SID that the final points of a deal to take the current head of sports and development at Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow to Old Trafford were being finalised.

According to reports, Rangnick, 63, is poised to sign a deal until May 2022 and then work as a consultant at United for two further years.

United are planning to make a permanent appointment at the end of the campaign, with Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino strongly linked with the job.

Michael Carrick took charge of the team for Tuesday’s Champions League win at Villarreal, which secured progress to the knockout stage, and is also preparing the squad for Sunday’s daunting fixture at Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The former United midfielder refused to be drawn on the reports that Rangnick is poised to take charge.

“From my point of view there’s a lot of speculation and reports, but as I’m sitting here now I’m preparing the team for the game,” Carrick said.

“My head’s in the game. I haven’t got any more news to share with you on that front. I’m just looking forward to getting down to London to play against Chelsea.”

Read Also: Ndidi nets as Leicester win to keep Europa League hopes alive

Whoever comes in, Carrick believes the misfiring United squad can quickly adapt to a change in style.

“I think you can get ideas across quite quickly. History shows that,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not just about ideas, it’s just a different voice, a freshness, and history proves that for whatever reason. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not so well.”

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Haaland set to make suprise return from injury for Dortmund

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Erling Haaland is set to make a surprise return for Borussia Dortmund this weekend after a five-week absence with a leg injury, his coach Marco Rose said on Friday.

The 21-year-old Norwegian, who has scored 18 goals in 13 games this season for club and country, missed crucial matches as Dortmund were knocked out of the Champions League and Norway failed to qualify for the World Cup.

But he could be in line to return on Saturday at Wolfsburg, albeit as a substitute.

“He’ll be on the bus. He feels good, but it will be a short appearance at best,” said Rose.

Dortmund exited the Champions League on Wednesday when a 3-1 loss at Sporting Lisbon handed them a third straight defeat in Europe.

Second-placed Dortmund are eager to get Haaland fit again before their showdown against Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich a week on Saturday, with only a point currently separating the clubs in the table.

Read Also: Ndidi nets as Leicester win to keep Europa League hopes alive

“If he joins us in Wolfsburg and things go well during the week, then he is of course an option (against Bayern),” Rose added.

It is a significant boost for Dortmund, who had previously predicted the forward could be out until 2022.

In his absence, Norway missed out on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after a 2-0 defeat by the Netherlands left them third in their group and unable to reach the finals in Qatar.

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Juve’s Allegri sorry for Chelsea hammering, targets improvement

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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri apologised for his side’s performance at Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and called for improvement ahead of a key month in their season.

Serie A’s most successful club have been disappointing since Allegri returned to take charge in the close season. They sit eighth in the standings after 13 games, 11 points behind leaders Napoli.

Their season went from bad to worse as they lost 4-0 at Chelsea – their biggest defeat in all competitions since a 4-0 Serie A loss against AS Roma in February 2004.

“We are sorry for the defeat in London, we are Juventus and it’s never good to make such a bad impression,” Allegri told a news conference on Friday ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Atalanta.

“The team played a good first half, the game was balanced until minute 55. Perhaps we played a better first half than the game in Turin (when they beat Chelsea 1-0). We melted after their second goal.

“Atalanta are a physical team, they score many goals, but they concede as much, so we need a good game in attack and defence. We need to be clinical.”

Saturday’s visitors to Turin, Atalanta, started the season slowly but have clicked into gear in recent matches, finding their scoring touch once more, while going six unbeaten in the league.

Allegri, however, is planning for even further ahead as he looks to turn things around in Turin.

Read Also: Serie A: Pioli signs contract extension at AC Milan until 2023

“Tomorrow is an important match, but not decisive, we have an important month ahead,” he added. “The next six games are crucial.

“The problem is that we didn’t make good results against the smaller clubs. The lads were a bit sad after the defeat in London, but yesterday they trained really well.

“We need a general path to improve the individual players and the team. We can’t look at the past, we need to get to March in good shape, a new season will begin in March.”

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