2 View comments Arsenal’s newest signing Mesut Ozil faces sky-high expectations from the fans of his new club – but he is not the only new arrival in London creating a buzz.
The Germany midfielder’s girlfriend Mandy Capristo is set to be a glamorous addition to Britain’s collection of footballing WAGs – with her pop star background leading to the couple being dubbed ‘the German Posh and Becks’.
Ozil, who is of Turkish ancestry, is a devout Muslim, but his girlfriend has become a celebrity in Germany thanks to her flamboyant musical performances and participation in a dancing-themed TV show.
Scroll down for video of Capristo Power couple: Mesut zil and singer Mandy Capristo are set to move to London after the player joined Arsenal from Real Madrid for 42.5million Together: The couple have been dating for less than a year but seem particularly loved-up The 24-year-old was signed by Arsenal on transfer deadline day this week, moving from Real Madrid for 42.5million.
He is expected to be accompanied in north London by Miss Capristo, 23, who found fame as a teen performer and member of a girl band before going solo.
She will join other British-based WAGs such as Coleen Rooney, Abbey Crouch and – most famous of all – former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.
Ozil and Capristo have been dating for less than a year, but are not shy about showing off their dedication to each other.
They have a joint Facebook page, on which they frequently post messages of love, erotic sketches and ‘selfies’ with super-imposed hearts and kisses.
Glamour: Capristo (right) rose to fame through TV talent shows and is now a popular solo artist too The new Posh and Becks? The German pair have drawn comparisons to David and Victoria Beckham Popular: Miss Capristo is set to take the London social scene by storm now her boyfriend has joined Arsenal The couple make a striking contrast to the likes of Gareth Bale, Ozil’s 86million replacement at Real, whose relationship with Emma Rhys-Jones is so relaxed and low-key that they have been compared to TV’s Gavin and Stacey.
Capristo’s first brush with stardom came when she competed on a youth talent show, Kiddy Contest, which she won at the age of 11.
She later took part in the German edition of Popstars, and as a result became a member of the group Monrose, which sold 3million albums over four years.
The singer was named ‘sexiest woman in the world’ by readers of German FHM in 2010, and last year she boosted her profile by participating in Let’s Dance, a TV show similar to Strictly Come Dancing.
Capristo released her debut solo album Grace in April last year.
The originals: David Beckham and his wife Victoria Footballer David Beckham (L) and Singer Victoria Beckham Ozil is one of the stars of the German national team, and has also been held up as an icon of Turkish immigrants’ ability to integrate into German society.
He started his career at FC Schalke 04 before moving to Werder Bremen and then, in a ‘ 15million transfer, going to Real in 2010.
The star was Arsenal’s only significant signing of the summer, and is expected to help Arsene Wenger’s team challenge for their first trophy since 2005.
Ozil is devoutly religious, reciting the Koran before each game – and he has even taught verses from the Muslim holy book to former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘I pray and my teammates know that they cannot talk to me during this brief period,’ he has said about his pre-match ritual.
‘I also ask Allah to grant me success.
This is the secret of my success.’ He has also expressed his regret that he is unable to observe the Ramadan fast, because his job requires him to maintain peak levels of fitness at all times.
0 View comments Throughout the summer transfer window, the tales of Arsenal and Liverpool have had varied success.
Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers appear to have succeeded in retaining Luis Suarez and added well to their squad in the form of Mamadou Sakho, Tiago Ilori, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Simon Mignolet.
Arsenal fans, however, have made no secret of their frustration at Arsene Wenger’s apparent refusal to spend.
Incoming? Mesut Ozil could become the biggest signing in Arsenal’s history Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil is the latest big name to be linked to the Gunners in a move few Arsenal fans would oppose.
Many observers, however, still believe the club should be prioritising a defensive midfielder, centre back and striker and are concerned that those targets may get away.
Liverpool’s squad depth has been significantly strengthened and a top four challenge looks realistic but, crucially, do they fans agree or do they want more? Sportsmail finds out.
Recruited: Tiago Ilori could instantly compete for a place in Liverpool’s defence Coup: Mamadou Sakho has long been rated as one of the most promising defenders in Europe Goals needed: Edin Dzeko has the potential to be a prolific striker Retired? David Beckham stole the show during the January transfer window…
is there a bigger reason he was at The Emirates on Sunday? Departing? A transfer could be just what Juan Mata needs VIDEO Who do Arsenal and Liverpool fans want their managers to sign? Content? Liverpool fans may reflect their club has had an impressive transfer window Not so content: Despite some impressive performances, Arsenal fans are urging Arsene Wenger to spend
Shane Watson: Will lead out Australia against England Lions Shane Watson has been passed fit to captain Australia in their two-day tour match against the England Lions in Northampton, with Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin both rested.
Watson, who injured his right hip/groin during the fourth Ashes Test defeat to England in Durham, will not bowl in the tour match, which starts Friday, but will hope to fire with the bat after a disappointing series so far.
Both sets of players have plenty to prove at Wantage Road with James Faulkner looking to play his way into the frame for an Ashes debut at the Oval next week and Mitchell Starc, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar all looking for recalls.
The absence of Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird means Starc and Faulkner are the only pace bowlers in the Australia starting XI, while Nathan Lyon and Agar will provide the slow bowling options.
Coach Darren Lehmann admitted he was shuffling the batting around again after a series-deciding collapse in Durham in the second innings, but he said he would do what he needed in order to find his best batsmen for The Oval.
Impress He said: “It’s going to take a while but that’s part and parcel…
like I said to the lads the other night we’ve been in front three out of the four Test matches and we’ve let that slip.
Eoin Morgan says it will be a privilege to captain the Lions against Australia in a two-day tour match starting on Friday.
“So we’ve got to get better at actually dominating a game from there.
That’s our biggest thing.
We’ll have a settled line-up when we start to have consistent performances.
“I suppose the thing for us is it gives batters some time in the middle.
They can only bat for a day and we bowl for a day so it’s a longer training session …
but still a chance to impress selectors.” Eoin Morgan will lead England’s second string into battle with a number of fresh face in the Lions changing room.
There are three Lions debutants; Warwickshire bowler Keith Barker, Yorkshire opener Alex Lees and Sussex batsman Luke Wells, although the latter played within the England set-up for the Under-19 team.
Australian XI : David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson (capt), Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.
England Lions : Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Moeen Ali (Worcester), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Keith Barker (Warwickshire), Jos Buttler (Somerset), James Harris (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Luke Wells (Sussex)
3318 Wang Hao v Boris Gelfand, Beijing 2013.
The 2012 world title challenger (Black, to play) drew by 1…Qxe4.
Can you find the clever win he missed? Photograph: Graphic Michael Adams’s impressive victory this week at Dortmund with an unbeaten 7/9 ranks among the finest tournament performances ever by an English player.
The Cornishman, 41, described it as the greatest success of his career.
He finished half a point ahead of the former world champion and current No3, Vlad Kramnik, who has made Germany’s premier event his special patch.
“I did not expect such a result,” he said.
“I prepared carefully for every game and tried to do my best.
That everything went so well makes me very happy.” The England No1 dominated in his wins and he only once had an inferior position, when he was under pressure from Wang Hao before China’s top player chose the wrong plan and blundered to defeat.
In the final round Kramnik had to win, so chose the combative Sicilian, but Adams’s shrewd reply 2 c3 quickly steered the game into a position where the Russian had to repeat moves.
Probably only Joseph Blackburne’s 14/16 at Berlin 1881 and Nigel Short’s tied first at Amsterdam 1991, ahead of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, are comparable to Adams’s Dortmund.
His tournament rating was 2923, world champion level, while his global ranking jumped to No12.
The question now is whether Adams can carry his brilliant streak to the 128-player World Cup knock-out which starts on Sunday in Tromso, Norway.
He has a fine record in such events but luck is needed in two-game mini-matches.
Adams’s opponent below is a Caro-Kann 1 e4 c6 specialist but Adams catches him with the well-prepared novelty 15 Ne4! in a sharp line.
Khenkin’s position is already dubious within two moves, as Black recaptures wrongly (16…exf6!) then misses 17…
e7-e5 with a sounder pawn structure than in the game.
After that Adams homes in on the weaknesses and at the end, after Kc8 32 Bxc5 Rxc5 33 Rxf6, the rook ending is hopeless for Black.
Michael Adams v Igor Khenkin 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Bf5 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 h4 h6 7 Nf3 Nf6 8 Ne5 Bh7 9 Bd3 Nbd7 10 Bxh7 Nxe5 11 dxe5 Qa5+ 12 Kf1 Nxh7 13 e6 Qd5 14 exf7+ Qxf7 15 Ne4! Nf6 16 Nxf6+ Qxf6? 17 Rh3! e6? 18 Be3 Be7 19 Bd4! Qg6 20 Rg3 Qf5 21 Rxg7 Rf8 22 Qg4 Rd8 23 Re1 Rd6 24 c3 h5 25 Qg6+ Kd8 26 Qxf5 Rxf5 27 Rg8+ Kd7 28 g3 c5 29 Be3 Bf6 30 Rf8 a6 31 Rf7+ 1-0 David Howell, 22, the UK’s youngest grandmaster, won the British championship at Torquay with Friday’s final round to spare.
Howell outclassed the field and his 9/10 total was 1.5 points ahead of the titleholder, Gawain Jones, and the veteran Mark Hebden.
3318 1…Qg8+! 2 Kc2 (if 2 Ka3 Qa8+ and a1Q) Qc4+! 3 Kd2 Qf1! 4 Qxa2 Qf2/g2+ wins White’s queen.
Kevin McDonald: Transfer target for Wolves Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Wolves are in talks to sign Sheffield United midfielder Kevin McDonald, Sky Sports understands.
Wolves chief Kenny Jackett is keen to bolster his squad and has made midfield reinforcements one of his top priorities.
Jackett is believed to be a big admirer of McDonald and has been tracking the 24-year-old for some time after trying to sign him when he was in charge of Millwall.
McDonald has established himself as a key part of the Sheffield United squad since arriving on a free transfer of the summer of 2011.
The former Scotland international was rewarded for his impressive performances for the Blades with a new deal last summer.
United are reluctant to lose the former Burnley man, but Wolves are understood to have agreed an undisclosed fee with their League One rivals and given the Scot permission to hold talks and undergo a medical at Molineux.
Rehearsals continued yesterday for the opening ceremony of the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images It is a name guaranteed to provoke a shudder of recognition from John Terry, recalling the slip that gifted Manchester United the Champions League.
But Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium has also been giving world athletics the chills over recent months.
Poor ticket sales for the world championships, which start on Saturday, growing international outrage over new Russian laws that discriminate against gay people, and heightened public cynicism over a new spate of positive drug tests – including dozens from the host country – have combined to create a potential perfect storm for the organisers.
The International Association of Athletics Federations argues that Russia’s rich heritage in the sport – it lies second behind America in the all-time athletics medal table – and Moscow’s status as one of the world’s great capitals make it a worthy host city.
The event needs to succeed in order to maintain the momentum from the 2012 Games and keep sponsors and broadcasters happy.
But events appear to be conspiring against it.
Some athletes, including Greg Rutherford and Dai Greene, who will defend his 400m hurdles title, have questioned whether the world championships should be in Moscow in light of the positive drug tests and allegations that Russia’s only Wada-accredited laboratory has manipulated results.
More than 40 Russian athletes are currently serving bans.
“There are a lot of big names that won’t be there in Moscow, which is sad for the sport,” Greene said.
“At the same time, there are a lot of reports on doping which detract from those great performances you do see.
As a clean athlete, it’s frustrating to read that these things go on.
Obviously, there is a big discussion whether we should be in Moscow, the country that’s holding it.” Aside from the shadow of doping, just as in Daegu two years ago, the build-up to the 2013 worlds has been dominated by concerns over slow ticket sales.
And just as in the South Korean city, tickets are being given away to help fill the gaps.
IAAF officials are hoping that there is both a late surge in ticket buyers – they say they have been assured that Muscovites do not like to buy in advance – and that those who have been given free tickets actually turn up.
The former pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, the Ukrainian IAAF vice-president who is chair of the co-ordination commission, admitted there had been a last-minute scramble to ensure the stadium, which has had its capacity reduced to 50,000 for the duration of the championships, would not look embarrassingly empty.
He revealed Lord Coe, his fellow IAAF vice-president, who won Olympic gold and silver in the Luzhniki Stadium in 1980, had been called on to use his experience of filling stadiums during the London Games to help Moscow.
“We spoke with the mayor of the city and with President Putin about this issue.
In the city they have a special programme to try and engage a lot of kids and students,” said Bubka.
Officially, the IAAF says that 85% of sessions have been sold and it remains confident that all evening sessions will sell out following an unprecedented advertising blitz across the city.
The recent spate of doping cases will not have helped and have punctured any lingering feelgood factor from London 2012.
Many within the sport argue that a slew of positive tests, including more than 40 in Turkey alone, plus big-name sprinters including the American Tyson Gay and the Jamaican trio of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, at least show that the cheats are now being caught.
But such is their volume, they are also likely to increase public cynicism.
The 100m in Moscow, pitting Gay against Usain Bolt, had been eagerly anticipated.
Now, not only are Gay and Powell missing but the reigning champion, Yohan Blake, is missing the event through injury.
Away from the track, an escalating row over new anti-gay laws introduced by Putin and a rising tide of homophobia within the country also threatens to overshadow the sporting action.
There have been calls for Russia to be stripped of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, into which it has invested so much money and nationalistic pride, over the laws.
The World Athletics Championships was supposed to be a triumphant precursor to a five-year spell in which it will host the Winter Olympics and the World Cup, but risk being marked by protests that will escalate as those other major events near.
Like the International Olympic Committee, the IAAF essentially argues that sport and politics should not mix, as long as its athletes and competition is not affected.
The IAAF deputy general secretary, Nick Davies, said it would be good for the Russian government to see people with “alternative lifestyles, and this may serve as an impetus for them to reconsider their views instead of just living in an isolated society”.
Davies said that as an international organisation “we have to respect the laws of the land”, whether it likes the laws or not.
“The IAAF cannot control or modify this,” he added.
He insisted that the IAAF’s charter is clearly opposed to any discrimination against sex, religion or gender.
“It is simply not a problem in our sport.” The IAAF will be desperately hoping the coming days are marked by the stories generated on the track rather than in the laboratories or on the streets.
And not for the first time, but perhaps more than ever, the sport needs Bolt to pull out a stunning performance to distract from troubles elsewhere.
Tottenham’s Gareth Bale could move to Real Madrid in an 86m deal that has been branded a ‘joke’ by Arsenal manager Ars ne Wenger.
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described Real Madrid’s world record ‘ 100m bid to sign Gareth Bale as a “joke” and says it makes a mockery of the new financial fair play rules.
Uefa’s regulations are aimed at making sure all clubs balance their books but Wenger said: “It makes a joke of it.
It’s quite amazing that in the year where the Financial Fair Play comes in, the football world has gone completely crazy.” He added: “You wonder what kind of impact and effect it has on the football world.
It looks like it has made everybody worse than before.” Despite the fierce rivalry between the two north London clubs, Wenger would not like to see Bale – whose stellar performances earned him the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year accolades last season – leave the Barclays Premier League.
“It is never good to lose a big player,” the Gunners boss added.
“He is a British player and I believe it is important that the Premier League keeps the best players.” Ironically, Wenger is also trying to shatter the club’s transfer record to sign Liverpool striker Luis Su rez.
Liverpool have so far rejected Arsenal’s advances but Wenger will continue to pursue the Uruguay forward in an “amicable way”.
“I don’t want to speak about Su rez, because that is between Liverpool and Arsenal.
We will completely respect what Liverpool wants to do.
We want to (sign the player) if it is feasible in an amicable way,” Wenger said.
“I am a great believer you have to keep as much confidentiality as possible, which is quite difficult in the modern world.
But we work very hard, not only on the case you name, but on other different cases.”