Bale

Premier League Transfer Talk: Zinedine says Madrid will buy Gareth Bale

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Tottenham fans will be enraged with Zinedine Zidane’s claim that even a $93.4m (£60m) price tag won’t be enough to prevent Real Madrid from snapping up the superhuman Gareth Bale this summer. Here are the other transfer rumors percolating for today, May 1, 2013:

London

The news is equally bad on the other side of North London where rumors persist that Arsene Wenger could be on his way out of Arsenal in favor of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, although Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood says they’re rubbish. Speaking of PSG, that could be the future destination of Hatem Ben Arfa, who had the couilles to wear a kit of Les Parisiens while working out in a Newcastle gym.

Over in West London it’s being reported that as Jose Mourinho inches closer to his dramatic return at Stamford Bridge, Roman Abramovich plans on welcoming his old foe with a fat $155m (£100m) transfer kitty to help “rebuild” the squad. If Mourinho isn’t the man for the job then it’s widely believed that the Blues will turn to Malaga’s Manuel Pellegrini, causing the Spanish club to turn to Wigan’s Roberto Martinez. All sources indicate, however that ‘The Special One’ will be in West London come June and once he arrives, a new one year deal in place for Super Frank Lampard.

At Loftus Road word is that Djibril Cisse, Julio Cesar and Loic Remy are all planning moves that will help them avoid a rough and rugged season in the Championship. Cesar and Remy stand good chances of a return to the Prem but Cisse? I think that ship has sailed. Another player the R’s will be trying to profit off of is Adel Taarabt, who’s array of wildly inconsistent performance and incessant brain farts has somehow convinced QPR he’s worth £15m.

Down the river at Craven Cottage, Martin Jol may face a tough decision as Zenit St. Petersburg are dreaming up a bid to sign Dimitar Berbatov, 32, who has one year remaining on his two year contract. While on the opposite end of town, West Ham owners have found a cheap cure for their defensive woes by lining up a contract for Shakhtar Donetsk’s infamous Rat, Romanian defender Razvan Rat, who is set to leave the club on a free this summer.

Liverpool

At Anfield Brendan Rodgers & Co. may be preparing fans for the sale of Dracula to Juventus by showing interest in 19 year old Partizan Belgrade striker Lazar Markovic, who is also being followed by – you guessed it – Chelsea. The writing may also be on the wall for Martin Skrtel as the Reds plan to outbid Inter for Barcelona defender Martin Montoya whereas  Reading defender Alex Pearce has been named the top target to replace Jamie Carragher.

Meanwhile, the blue side of town is transfixed on bringing in 21 year old attacking midfielder Adem Ljajic after his contract talks with Fiorentina have apparently broken down.

Manchester 

Over in Manchester, all this talk about Robert Lewandowski and Radamel Falcao has Wayne Rooney concerned over his future at the club. Wazza is apparently requesting assurances from Sir Alex Ferguson that he’ll have a role to play in next year’s trophy chase. While Roo may still be on Fergie’s radar, Anderson and Nani certainly are not, as the underwhelming duo will finally be sold to clear space for this summer’s new purchases.

Manchester City will begin “rebuilding” their squad by acquiring 27 year old Toluca defender Diego Novaretti. The man known as “El Flaco” is known for his height (6’5″) and, amazingly, his quickness, and could be the cheap solution to the impending sale of Joleon Lescott. Joining Lescott on this summer’s pink slip could be Gael Clichy, who is garnering interest from Galatasaray, who apparently love buying stars who have past their prime.

Allardyce on Palace’s “great victory” over Boro

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Sam Allardyce manager of Crystal Palace signals during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on February 25, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
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Big Sam got a big win, and he knows it.

Two days after tearing into his players for not adapting to his system, the Crystal Palace boss was glowing with praise after the Eagles knocked off visiting Middlesbrough in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday.

[ MORE: Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough ]

The win lifts Palace out of the drop zone, a point ahead of Leicester City who plays Monday. Allardyce is shaping his own Premier League table and he’ll try to lift a sort of Bottom Seven trophy after the season

From the BBC:

“It’s a great victory. I think the two-week break helped us refocus and that showed – today they made a lot of very good decisions.

“The three points are important as it puts us in amongst the pack, out of the bottom three and a bit closer to Bournemouth.

“I see the bottom seven as the Premier League table we need to try and win. If we can achieve more then that would be great but we need to make next week’s game against West Brom a game to win.”

Crystal Palace have too much talent to be in this spot, and Allardyce’s acumen as a “never relegated” manager has not been questioned much despite the Eagles falling into a worse spot than they were when Alan Pardew was fired. Is this finally their move out of trouble, or just a clean sheet against a Boro team that can’t score?

Conte delighted with his ruthless Chelsea machine

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Chelsea are a machine.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The Blues beat Swansea City 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points as the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are all on a weekend off due to the EFL Cup final.

Facing a stubborn Swansea side, Chelsea went ahead through the excellent Cesc Fabregas and even when they were pegged back right on half time through Fernando Llorente’s header you expected them to kick on win the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

They did just that as Antonio Conte‘s men were relentless throughout and goals from Pedro and Diego Costa late on made it 20 wins from 26 games this season as their title procession continues.

Speaking after the game, Conte was asked if this win was simply another step on their way to winning the title.

“Yeah, I think it is another step,” Conte said. “For sure a good game, a good win and it wasn’t easy to play against them because I watched Swansea’s games against Liverpool and City and they played very well. I think today we deserved, a lot, to win the game. We created many chances in the game, we dominated the game in the first half.

“It is a pity for the goal we conceded at the end of half time. In the second half we started again and created chances with Hazard and then Cesc hitting the crossbar. I am pleased because now, to play the ball is not easy because the season is going to end. In this moment it is very important to have the performance of my players.”

The Italian manager also admitted that a pivotal moment in the game went Chelsea’s way. With the score still locked at 1-1 with 20 minutes to Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s trickery saw Cesar Azpilicueta handle in the box. Referee Neil Swarbrick waved away the penalty calls but Conte admitted the ball hit Azpilicueta’s hand despite it being very close to Sigurdsson and perhaps unintentional.

Moments later Pedro scored to put Chelsea ahead as they powered to yet another victory, their 10th straight at home in the Premier League.

Nobody looks like catching this Chelsea side as Eden Hazard and Fabregas dazzled in the drizzle at Stamford Bridge and Costa was at his clinical best.

A brief defensive lapse aside, this was a dominant and well-deserved win against a dogged Swansea outfit.

In the words of Jay Z – “On to the next one.”

That’s a trip across London to West Ham on Mar. 6, as games against Stoke City and Crystal Palace follow. The way Conte’s side are playing and finishing teams off, they could have this thing all but sewn by April 1 when they face Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Men In Blazers podcast: Pochettino, Lloris discuss “To Dare Is To Do”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur and Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur after the goalkeeper was substitued during the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on August 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
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Rog speaks with Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, and head of coaching and development John McDermott in a preview of his film, “Premier League Download: Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare is to Do” which airs Sunday at 11 a.m. ET after Spurs vs. Stoke City on NBCSN.

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Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham (Lineups, Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Troy Deeney of Watford (L) struggles to hold off Michail Antonio of West Ham United (R) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at Olympic Stadium on September 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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Vicarage Road is the scene for a Saturday afternoon clash between top half hopefuls West Ham United and Watford (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Irons have 32 points and the hopes of continuing an upward climb to the position they wanted back when this season began in August.

The Hornets are two points below West Ham, having dealt with a woeful stretch in form to climb back to within sight of 10th.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Cleverley, Behrami, Capoue; Zárate, Deeney, Niang. Subs: Arlauskis, Prödl, Cathcart, Zúñiga, Doucouré, Success, Okaka.

West Ham United: Randolph, Cresswell, Fonte, Reid, Antonio, Obiang, Kouyate, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Feghouli. Subs: Adrian, Byram, Masuaku, Collins, Fernandes, Ayew, Calleri.