Jesus Navas to sign with Manchester City for $26 million – Not looking good for James Milner

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Manchester City are set to sign Sevilla’s Jesús Navas for $26 million (£17m).

Once pen is put to paper, which is expected later today, Navas will become Manuel Pellegrini’s first signing at Manchester City. The initial transfer fee of $26 million (£17m) could be supplemented by a $7.2 million (£4.7m) bonus based on performance, $4.6 million (£3m) of which Sevilla are virtually guaranteed.

After Sevilla’s final game of the season on Saturday night, manager Unai Emery all but admitted that a deal was done: “All the signs are that Navas will leave,” Emery said. “It is the best thing for Navas and for the club.”

Navas added more fuel to the fire when he claimed, “I am open to anything and I want to win titles. City is a team I like a lot.”

The Spanish international has a well-documented history of performance-related anxiety attacks. The attacks marred the early stages of his career where he had resistance from playing outside of his native Sevilla. As a result, his appearances for La Furia Roja were few and far between. A little over three years ago Navas gained control of the attacks and has since represented his country 23 times and was selected for the 2010 World Cup and 2013 European Championships.

Now Navas is ready to make the next step and leave Andalusia for unchartered waters. He’ll be ear-marked to come in on the right side of Pellegrini’s midfield where his searing pace and pinpoint delivery will be sure to provide Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero with plenty of opportunities.

A winger by trade, Navas has changed his game of late, cutting inside the park to become more involved in a playmaker role. The adaptation could prove useful in Pellegrini’s system that encourages wide men like Joaquin to come inside and play more centrally.

With Navas in the mix, James Milner is likely to see a serious reduction in playing time although it’s unlikely that City will go so far as to transfer the England international. Pellegrini will likely start Samir Nasri on the left and Navas on the right and utilize Milner off the bench as a late match spark.

One player who the Navas deal does condemn to a transfer out of the Etihad is Scott Sinclair. The 24 year old rarely saw the pitch this past season and has unimpressed since his move from Swansea City last summer. With Navas in, expect Sinclair to be sold off in the coming weeks.

 

 

Sir Alex’s son in trouble for saying he’d “shoot” refs

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LONDON (AP) It clearly runs in the family.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was known for having an explosive temper during his nearly 27 years at Old Trafford, and it seems he has passed it down to his son.

Darren Ferguson, who is the manager of third-tier English team Doncaster, is in trouble for saying he would “shoot” referees because of what he perceived as their poor standards.

Ferguson was charged by the English Football Association on Wednesday for remarks that “were improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

The 45-year-old coach has already apologized, saying it was a “tongue-in-cheek comment” and that “I do not advocate violence against officials.”

Ferguson was unhappy his team was denied a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth on Saturday.

“The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it,” Ferguson said after the match.

“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.