Where David Beckham might line up for Paris Saint-Germain

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A man past his illustrious best was surely signed for publicity and jersey sales, right?

David Beckham’s arrival is all about flash and dash – not to mention the prospect of selling lots of Paris Saint-Germain kits in the lucrative Asian apparel market. PSG was presumably already selling in sufficient numbers around France, but this is a chance to expand the PSG brand into areas east, including Australia and the Middle East.

And then there’s the element of Paris chic and former be-Spiced wife Victoria; in this, Beckham’s arrival at Parc des Princes makes perfect sense. His commercial endorsement remains strong, so the beautifully lit Parisian backdrop nails the sweet spot of Brand Beckham’s off-field gold spinning.

But he does remain a competitive athlete, and the proud former England captain would wince at possibly finishing such an illustrious career stuck awkwardly on the Parc des Princes bench.

So where does a 37-year-old midfielder fit within a club chasing Ligue 1 hardware and now into the business end of Champions League play? How will he fit under manager Carlo Ancelotti and PSG sporting director Leonardo, who managed Beckham while on loan at Milan two years ago?

(MORE: Beckham on the move to Paris Saint-Germain)

There is a plausible scenario where Beckham would see significant minutes in the money matches ahead for PSG.

After all, two of Beckham’s contemporaries at Manchester United, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, remain key elements in Sir Alex Ferguson’s alignment at Old Trafford, where Man United remains as mighty as ever, currently commanding the venerable English Premier League race.

With the Galaxy, Beckham had become a supporting type, a deep-lying midfield playmaker far removed from his days of dashing up and down the right looking to whip balls dangerously into the penalty area. But that’s fine; in fact, that’s what makes Beckham a reasonably good fit under Ancelotti.

The Italian boss has generally advocated narrow formations, mostly aligned into a 4-3-fill-in-the blank. That is, four defenders, three central midfielders and then some arrangement of attackers that will always find Zlatan Ibrahimovic being, well, whatever he wants to be. “Ibra” has recently dropped deeper into the midfield to become more of a creative influence. He’s got the skill, flair and soccer brain to do it.

That also helps Beckham’s playing chances as it creates a nearly unlimited number of attacking arrangements for Ancelotti.

Marco Verratti is frequently the man to sit deep in midfield, screen the defense and distribute with the simple midfield passes. If Beckham is one of the men ahead of him, most likely leaning right, making the former England captain a linking presence (but one with the ability to find the left flank quickly with one of his signature 60-yard lasers) doesn’t seem like a terrible option.

Or, Beckham could actually replace Verratti, a young and emerging Italian playmaker who could certainly manage additional, more complicated tasks further up the field. Verratti’s ability to quickly bring the flanks into play in advanced positions looks quite similar to Beckham’s last couple of  Galaxy years from the same position at the Home Depot Center.

Best stats from Week 2 in the Premier League

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Looking back at Week 2 of the Premier League, there were plenty of intriguing stats.

[ MORE: PL Playback – Week 2 ] 

Milestones were reached and possession records were broken among many other notable moments.

Below, via Opta, you will find some stats to impress your mates at the bar ahead of the third round of games in the PL.


  • Wayne Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal in this match – the only player with more in the competition is Alan Shearer (260).
  • Arsenal posted their highest ever possession figure in a Premier League game (77.3%), since 2003-04 (the first season Opta have this data from). Stoke City posted their lowest ever possession figure in a Premier League game (22.7%).
  • Indeed, only five teams have won a Premier League game with a lower share of possession than Stoke against Arsenal, since 2003-04.
  • Geoff Cameron became just the sixth American to play in 150 or more Premier League games.
  • Manchester United have scored 4+ goals in their opening two league games of a season for the first time in 110 years (1907/08).
  • There were just 3 minutes and 41 seconds between Manchester United’s final three goals of the game against Swansea.
  • Watford boss Marco Silva enjoyed his first-ever away win in the Premier League in his 10th game on the road in the competition (W1 D2 L7).
  • West Brom have won their first two games of a top-flight season for the first time since 1978/79.
  • Liverpool have kept five clean sheets in their last six Premier League games, as many as in the previous 21.
  • Manolo Gabbiadini’s goal ended a run of nine hours and 15 minutes without a Premier League goal at St. Mary’s for Southampton.
  • Javier Hernandez scored his first Premier League goals since April 2014 vs Newcastle (1232 days ago) – all 39 of his goals in the English top-flight have come inside the box.
  • Tottenham have lost seven of their last nine matches at Wembley (W1 D1) and lost each of their last four games against Chelsea there.
  • Harry Kane has now had 34 shots and played 12 games in the month of August without scoring in the Premier League.
  • Excluding the debut season of the Premier League in 1992/93, Huddersfield are the first team to win their opening two games in the competition.
  • 23 of Huddersfield’s last 27 wins in league competition have been achieved by a one-goal margin.

 

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Vardy to Chelsea; Kovacic to Liverpool

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With his good mate Danny Drinkwater edging closer to a move to Chelsea, this Jamie Vardy to Chelsea talk makes sense.

The 30-year-old striker has looked sharp in the opening weeks of the new Premier League season as he scored twice in the defeat to Arsenal on opening night.

A report in The Telegraph claims Vardy is one of three players Chelsea want with Drinkwater and Virgil Van Dijk the others.

Vardy will surely look around and see Drinkwater on his way out, N'Golo Kante thriving at Chelsea and Riyad Mahrez pushing for a move to AS Roma and wonder “what about me?” He has every right to do that and with Chelsea eager to add another striker given the ongoing Diego Costa situation, would Vardy be a good fit at Stamford Bridge?

He would certainly give Antonio Conte something completely different in his attack with Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi two bruising frontman who prefer the ball to their feet, and with the pace of Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian on the break, Vardy could be vital away from home. Vardy proved he is more than a one season wonder as he battled back from a slow start to last season with 16 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions.

The England international only signed a new long-term deal at Leicester last summer but if Chelsea manage to offload Costa before the end of the window and offer the Foxes a huge amount for Vardy, could they turn it down and would Vardy turn this move down? He shunned Arsenal last summer but Chelsea may be a different proposition with UEFA Champions League action a huge pull.

Vardy’s value is somewhat difficult to judge given his age, his streaky nature and how important he is to how Leicester are set up. If the Foxes sell Vardy then their entire season would be in jeopardy.


Liverpool are said to be targeting Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic with Spanish outlet Diario Gol claiming a deal has already been verbally agreed.

The Croatian midfielder is not seen as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho as it seems increasingly likely the Brazilian playmaker will remain at Anfield after the latest bid from Barcelona (thought to be a whopping $145 million) was turned down.

Kovacic, 23, is a silky central midfielder who has found minutes hard to come by at Real with Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric in his way.

Real signed him from Inter Milan in 2015 for $32.5 million and it is likely they’ll want to at least recoup that fee for the talented Croatian. With Emre Can stalling on a new deal at Liverpool, plus inconsistent displays from Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, Klopp has also talked about using James Milner in central midfield.

AC Milan completes signing of forward Kalinic

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MILAN (AP) Big-spending AC Milan has signed another player, completing the transfer of Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic from Fiorentina.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Milan said it signed Kalinic “on a loan deal with obligation to buy.”

Kalinic has signed a four-year contract through to June 30, 2021.

Milan has been in negotiations with Fiorentina for the 29-year-old Kalinic for a while, and he missed training last week as he attempted to push through the move.

Milan, which was bought by a Chinese-led consortium in April, has spent more than 200 million euros ($234 million) in the offseason, signing Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.

Alan Shearer has a message for Wayne Rooney

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Alan Shearer finally has a friend.

On Monday Wayne Rooney scored in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City (see in the video above) and he became just the second-player in history to reach 200 goals in the Premier League.

Rooney, 31, still has some way to go to catch Shearer’s all-time record of 260 goals in the PL but the former Manchester United striker has a few more years left in the tank to try and get as close as he can.

Take a look at the video below as Shearer (or, Mary Poppins to Newcastle fans) delivers a message to Rooney.