With the French Ligue 1 season set to kick off August 10, defending champions Paris Saint-Germain still find themselves without a manager…kind of.
Carlo Ancelotti remains under contract for another season at the Parisian giants, but he has long been public about his wishes to be released from that contract so he can be hired into the vacant position with Real Madrid.
Reports yesterday out of France were heavily linking current Russian national team manager Fabio Capello to the position, with Capello set to take the job on a 1-year contract so that PSG can continue its wooing of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman is out of contract with the Gunners after the upcoming season.
However, reports this morning by Italian paper Gazetta are now saying Capello has turned down the offer due to the length of the contract. The Italian’s son and lawyer Pierfilippo Capello met with the PSG front office (President Nasser Al Khelaifi and director of football operations Leonardo) today in Paris but the talks broke down when PSG would not increase the deal.
It’s not a surprise that the former England manager would wish for more job security, and if PSG wish to lock down someone more willing to complete the job than Ancelotti, they may have to give up their hopes for Wenger and look for a more long-term solution.
In addition, Sky Italy’s Tancredi Palmeri is saying the Russian FA also decided not to make things easy. They insisted their rule be met, which requires Capello gives them 2 months advance notice if leaving his position. That would push the Italian’s appointment back until mid-August, after the beginning of the new season, a delay PSG cannot afford.
Before Capello, PSG had been attempting to persuade Andre Villas-Boas to leave Tottenham, but he too turned down the offer. The club was reportedly willing to pay AVB’s £10 million ($15.7 million) buyout clause in his contract with Spurs. The Portugese 35-year-old and PSG’s director of football operations Leonardo share the same agent, so the easy connection was made. They were also hoping the move would attract coveted Spurs star Gareth Bale to come with his current manager.
Romelu Lukaku didn’t celebrate much more than a fist pump following his match-opening goal against former teammates West Bromwich Albion.
[ MORE: Watch via NBCSports.com).
No one said anything about celebrating teammates’ goals, though.
Lukaku scored to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead, then watched as Jesse Lingard‘s deflected lash left Ben Foster high and dry as United cruised into the break up two goals.
It’s 10th PL goal of the season for Lukaku, who has 15 in all competitions. For Lingard, it’s four and seven.
Here’s Lingard’s marker:
Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run has ended at 69 matches, and it ended with a thud.
Tynecastle Park was the scene for a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Hearts, a defeat started by a 16-year-old’s first Scottish Premiership goal.
[ REPORT: Luiz done at Chelsea? ]
Harry Cochrane’s his name, and his 26th minute goal gave Hearts the lead, and it was 2-0 by halftime through Kyle Lafferty, the ex-Burnley and Norwich player.
David Milinkovic scored three minutes after halftime, as the wake-up call didn’t arrive at the break, and added a penalty kick late in the match.
Celtic has a two-point lead on second-place Aberdeen with a match-in-hand. Rangers sit five-points back.
Sixty-nine games! Remarkable in any league. Here’s what Rodgers had to say:
“But I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and this to be their first defeat; of course it’s a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.”
The Hawthorns is the scene as Manchester United attempts to pull back into sole possession of second place on the Premier League table with a visit to West Bromwich Albion (Watch live at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE
The Baggies have several regular starters on the bench, with Chris Brunt, Gareth Barry, and Gareth McAuley (Allllll the Gareths!) getting a rest.
United will hand starts to Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, with Anthony Martial on the bench with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Krychowiak, Yacob, Livermore, Burke, McClean, Rondon. Subs: Myhill, Robson-Kanu, Brunt, Barry, Rodriguez, McAuley, Field.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Herrera, Matic, Mata, Lingard, Rashford, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw, McTominay, Ibrahimovic, Martial.
A report out of England says Chelsea defender David Luiz could be out the door in January.
Luiz, 30, has a knee injury and has played in just one match for Chelsea since a Halloween loss to Roma in the Champions League, one that supposedly culminated in a blow-up between the defender and manager Antonio Conte.
He was sold once before by Chelsea, shipped to Paris Saint-Germain for $66 million in 2014 before returning to Stamford Bridge in 2016 for $45 million.
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Luiz has made just one appearance, a Nov. 22 match in Qarabag, since that Roma loss. He returned to the bench against Liverpool before being diagnosed with a knee injury.
The report says Juventus is a possible destination for Luiz, though the Champions League could be a problem for both sides. Luiz is Cup-tied to Chelsea, and Juventus remains in the UCL as well.
And Chelsea would need reinforcements at the back. It’s back three has operated with Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Gary Cahill. Other options are Antonio Rudiger and 20-year-old Jake Clarke-Salter, which would be fine were Chelsea not alive in four competitions (The League Cup quarterfinals have the Blues hosting Bournemouth on Wednesday).
The power seems a bit more in Luiz’s hands thanks to some of Conte’s sanctioned loans. Kurt Zouma has arguably been Stoke City’s most consistent performer in an under siege unit, one of 10 backs on season-long loans. The most sense is to find reconciliation, presuming the dust-up is real, and move on in the summer if necessary.