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Reading manager Paul Ince delighted with priority signing Baba Rahman

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Reading FC manager Paul Ince is delighted to have sealed a second loan move for priority signing Abdul Baba Rahman. 

The 28-year-old Ghana superstar has completed a move back to Bearwood Park ahead of an impressive campaign spent as a Royal last season.

The talented Ghanaian international registered a total of 29 starts at left-back during our 150th anniversary campaign and made a crucial contribution in our fight for Championship survival last season.

During that campaign, he also represented his country to feature alongside Royals skipper Andy Yiadom in the Africa Cup of Nations – and he will be hoping another successful season as a Reading player ahead of this winter’s FIFA World Cup Finals in Qatar.

Manager Paul Ince said, ”A natural left-back with experience at the very highest level has been a clear priority in our recruitment plans this summer and, while we have had to be patient, we are now excited to welcome Baba back to the club! Our fans know all about what he can bring to this squad and what we are trying to achieve this season and I’m really looking forward to working with him again this season!”

Baba, who turned 28 last month, was born in Tamale in the north of Ghana and he won the Ghanian Premier League with Asante Kokoto in 2011-12 whilst still a teenager. He arrived in Europe in 2012, spending three seasons in Germany with Greuther Furth and Augsburg before a move to Stamford Bridge in 2015.

His Blues debut came in September of that year – in a 4-0 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League – and his domestic bow followed a week later in a 4-1 victory at Walsall in the Capital One Cup.

Baba’s Premier League debut came the following month in a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa – starting in a team that featured the likes of John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

Baba played in a total of 23 games under José Mourinho and then Guus Hiddink across Chelsea’s 2015-16 campaign before returning to Germany to join Schalke – where he would spend two and a half seasons on loan. In the 2016-17 campaign, he was part of a Schalke side which reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League – his first goal for the club proved the decider in a group-stage match against Nice.

A loan stint in France followed as Baba settled in Reims for the the second half of the 2018-19 campaign, finding the back of the net in the last of his 11 games for the Ligue 1 club in a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.

And after further loan spells away from Stamford Bridge – with Real Mallorca in La Liga in 2019-20 and then in Greece with PAOK the following season – he joined the Royals ranks last August.

Internationally, he has totted up 44 international caps for the Black Stars and will have his heart set on a seat on the plane to Doha where Ghana will take on Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay in Group H of this year’s World Cup Finals.

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Thiago and Matip will depart Liverpool at the conclusion of the season

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"I had the opportunity to be a part of an exciting history with a fantastic coach and an incredible squad at an unbelievable club. We have won several titles and have the finest fans in the world." The former Cameroonian international was a member of Liverpool's Champions League-winning team in 2019, setting up Divock Origi for the second goal as they defeated Tottenham in the final. The next year, Matip won the Premier League championship, the club's first in 30 years. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated, "In all the years I've been involved in football, I don't think I've come across many players that are more liked than Joel Matip.

Liverpool have revealed that midfielder Thiago Alcantara and defender Joel Matip will depart the club at the end of the season.

Thiago, 33, joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2020 and has made 98 appearances at Anfield.

Matip, 32, has made 201 appearances and scored 11 goals for Liverpool since joining from Schalke in 2016.

Injuries have reduced the pair’s playing time this season.

Centre-back Matip hasn’t played for the Reds since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Fulham in December.

Thiago, a former Barcelona player, returned to action in February against Arsenal after missing the first six months of the season due to a hip injury, but a muscle problem during his brief comeback has kept him out since.

“It has been eight wonderful years here in Liverpool,” Matip stated.

“I had the opportunity to be a part of an exciting history with a fantastic coach and an incredible squad at an unbelievable club. We have won several titles and have the finest fans in the world.”

The former Cameroonian international was a member of Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team in 2019, setting up Divock Origi for the second goal as they defeated Tottenham in the final.

The next year, Matip won the Premier League championship, the club’s first in 30 years.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated, “In all the years I’ve been involved in football, I don’t think I’ve come across many players that are more liked than Joel Matip.

“I’m not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him.”

German Klopp will also quit following Liverpool’s final game of the season, against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday.

Matip and Thiago both won the FA Cup and EFL Cup with Liverpool in 2022.

Liverpool lost short of a quadruple that season, losing the league title to Manchester City by one point and the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Thiago viewed his time at Liverpool as a “life-changing experience”.

“Appreciation and gratitude – they are two words that come to mind on the day I have to say goodbye to all of you, Reds,” he wrote in a social media post.

Klopp stated, “Before he ever got to Liverpool, I thought that if you truly love football, you should watch Thiago Alcantara play.

“I understand that injuries have been frustrating for him and us, but the level at which he could play while he was available was fantastic. “This is what I’ll remember.”

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Antoine Semenyo identifies players he sees role models

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In an interview with Premier League TV, the 24-year-old emphasised the importance of Gyan and Ayew in his career. "Obviously, Andre Ayew is still with the club, and Gyan is frequently present at games. I routinely speak with [Dede Ayew], and he pushes me to keep trying, reminding me of my potential and stating he didn't have the same talents at my age. He tells me to keep pushing and not settle for any level."

Ghana attacker Antoine Semenyo has named Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew as his role inspirations.

Semenyo, now in his second Premier League season, has been in outstanding form for AFC Bournemouth, scoring eight goals and assisting twice.

Semenyo hopes to extend his strong club success into his international duty with the Black Stars as they prepare for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Mali and the Central African Republic next month.

In an interview with Premier League TV, the 24-year-old emphasised the importance of Gyan and Ayew in his career.

“Obviously, Andre Ayew is still with the club, and Gyan is frequently present at games. I routinely speak with [Dede Ayew], and he pushes me to keep trying, reminding me of my potential and stating he didn’t have the same talents at my age. He tells me to keep pushing and not settle for any level.”

“Asamoah Gyan has also offered me similar advice, encouraging me to keep working hard. He advises me to enjoy my scoring opportunities while continually pushing myself to achieve new heights. Growing up as a Ghanaian, seeing them compete in World Cups and the Premier League was motivating. “They are great role models,” he remarked.

Semenyo has two goals for Ghana, the most recent coming in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola in March 2023.

He is anticipated to join the Black Stars team for the forthcoming qualifications.

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My first season in the Premier League is a success – Mohammed Kudus

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In an interview with the club's official website prior of their last home game against Luton Town, he thanked his teammates for their assistance in settling him in and underlined his desire to continue growing in the next season. "I liked my first season in England. Everyone at [the Club] has helped me adjust well, so it's been a pleasant experience. I've been here for over a whole season, but I still have a lot to show, and I feel this is only the beginning."

Mohammed Kudus, a Ghana international, considers his maiden season in the Premier League a success.

The 23-year-old, who moved from Ajax to West Ham United last summer, has emerged as an important player for the Hammers, scoring 13 goals in 43 games.

Despite recent struggles for the squad, Kudus remains optimistic about his time in England’s top flight.

In an interview with the club’s official website prior to their last home game against Luton Town, he thanked his teammates for their assistance in settling him in and underlined his desire to continue growing in the next season.

“I liked my first season in England. Everyone at [the Club] has helped me adjust well, so it’s been a pleasant experience. I’ve been here for over a whole season, but I still have a lot to show, and I feel this is only the beginning.”

He added, “I followed my gut and dream to move here and believed I was ready. When I decided to make this move to the best league in the world, I knew I was ready to take that step and I wanted to test myself. There have been ups and downs throughout the season, but I know there are more ways to improve my game. I’ve definitely announced myself here and I am happy that it has gone in that direction for the first season.”

Looking ahead, Kudus emphasised the team’s growth and the need to finish the season on a positive note.

He replied, “We can only look forward to what is ahead. Our position [in the standings] improved from the previous season to this season, so we simply need to finish as high as possible with excellent performances in the last two games and then see what happens next season.”

Kudus is expected to play a key part in West Ham’s upcoming match against West Ham, as they want to recover from a recent devastating setback to Chelsea.

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