Crouch

Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Tottenham want Croatian revival and Peter Crouch to West Ham

Leave a comment

With the first day of July comes a plethora of interesting Premier League transfer rumors to wet your whistle.

We start in North London where Tottenham is reportedly in talks with Dinamo Zagreb teenage talents Alen Halilovic and Tin Jedvaj. Halilovic, touted as the new Luka Modric, and Jedvaj, a 6’2″ center-back, are both 17 years old and would cost Spurs £17.1 million ($26m) for the pair.

In other words, so long, Scotty Parker. Enjoy Sunderland.

Down the road at Arsenal, the Gunners have been denied in their recent pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, Lars Bender. The German outfit, having already sold right-back Dani Carvajal to Real Madrid and Andre Schurrle to Chelsea, rejected a bid reported to be in the range of £12.8-19.7 million ($19.6-30.2m).

More: Arsenal’s bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender is rejected

Over in West London, it appears Chelsea have bid £42.7 million ($65m) for the second coming of Jesus, more commonly known as Edinson Cavani. Napoli quickly shot down the bid, noting they were “puzzled” as to why the bid was £11.2m short of Cavani’s release clause.

Sensing some tension here on the part of Napoli. Better call Monaco.

Speaking of which, Liverpool appears like they may miss out on left-back Lucas Digne, who looks destined for the vast riches of French Riviera. The 19 year old Frenchman has made 48 appearances for Lille since making his first team debut in 2011.

That deep sigh of relief you just heard? Just Jose Enrique, reclining back on his loveseat.

Over in Manchester, City continues its hunt for a new striker to replace the departed Carlos Tevez. The flavor of the day is Benfica front-man, Oscar Cardozo, who scored 17 goals in 21 appearances in last season’s Primeira Liga. The 30 year old Paraguayan international is likely to cost the Citizens upwards of £13 million ($19.8m), which is £3 million ($4.6m) more than what they commanded from Juventus for Tevez.

Yeah, that deal makes sense. Very, very little sense.

On the red side of town, rumors that Nemandja Vidic is set to quit Old Trafford for AC Milan have been rubbished by the player’s agent, Silvano Martina, who told Italian newspaper Fantagazzetta: “We are talking with no-one. This is all pub talk.”

Wait a minute, Silvano. Are you implying that pub talk has no merit? Someone please remind this guy how much we love the pubs.

At Stoke, we may have witnessed Peter Crouch‘s last match in a Potters kit after the tall drink of water admitted that he is unsure of his future at the Britannia: “With my history, you just don’t know,” Crouchy said. “I’ve never really had a lot of contact with Mark Hughes.”

But that’s a good thing, right? If the robot dancing sensation does leave Stoke, reports claim he could team up with Andy Carroll at West Ham. The thought alone has Sam Allardyce in hog-heaven over the prospect of having a combined 13 foot tall strike-partnership to head home 60 yard bombs from the defense.

Meanwhile, over in the West Midlands, Paul Lambert looks to continue his youth revolution but is having major problems pushing bloated Darren Bent through the door. Newcastle and Fulham look to be suitors but both appear turned off by Lambert’s £8 million ($12.2m) asking price for the 29 year old.

New rule – whatever club takes on Bent for anything more than a free transfer should be immediately relegated.

Finally, up in Sunderland, Paulo di Canio is looking to bring in more than just a disgruntled Scotty Parker, he wants that young, fresh face everyone has been swooning over since the FA Cup final, Wigan’s Callum McManaman.

The winger is valued around £8million ($12.2m) and would fit in well with the Black Cats having already tried to snap the leg of Newcastle midfielder Massadio Haidara.

Messi named La Liga Player of the Month for first time in career

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lionel Messi has won every individual award imaginable, but now he can add another trophy to his shelf.

For the first time in his career, Messi was named La Liga’s Player of the Month for January.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings, Vol. VIII ]

It’s hard to believe, but somehow the Barcelona superstar had never won this honor before. Despite winning a record five Ballon D’or trophies as the best player in the world, this trophy had eluded Messi since its inception in 2013.

Messi scored six goals in six January matches as Barcelona sit atop the La Liga table, currently holding a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

Despite their dominance in La Liga, this is only the second time a Barcelona player has won this monthly award, as Neymar took home the honor in November of 2015.

USWNT-Mexico preview: Energized Yanks look to keep rolling toward Rio

FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 10:  Team USA poses for a photo before play against Costa Rica during 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying at Toyota Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States women’s national team looks to keep rolling through CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a match with Mexico on Saturday.

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, is again the scene after the Yanks battered Costa Rica 5-0 on Wednesday.

[ MUST WATCH: Christen Press’ dazzling first touch, spin, goal ]

A win over Mexico would move the USWNT into the all-important semifinal, where a win would gain them entry into this Summer’s Olympic Games.

Mexico staged a blowout of its own on Wednesday, cruising past Puerto Rico 6-0 thanks in large part to a hat trick from Maribel Dominguez.

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan caps off a 12-second, six-pass goal ]

Mexico has only beaten the USWNT twice in history, and only the 2010 Gold Cup semifinal is considered official.

In recent history, the USWNT beat up Mexico 5-1 last year, and thrice in 2014 by a combined score of 15-0. Expect very little to change with an energized, impressive U.S. side on Saturday.

[ SATURDAY: Watch USWNT vs Mexico live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Big boys to turn up

3 Comments

Week 26 of the Premier League season is here. This will be a lot of fun with massive games at both ends of the table.

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live online ]

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out.

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.

BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Arsenal 3-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Norwich City 0-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, USA) –  [STREAM]

Man City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur – (Sunday 11:15 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United – (Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Everton 2-1 West Brom  – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Swansea 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Chelsea 3-2 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Ranieri on Leicester City’s dream season: “Nobody wake us up please!”

during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s plenty to like about Leicester City’s run to the top of the Premier League, but perhaps nothing is more enjoyable that its manager’s musings.

Claudio Ranieri, the Tinkerman himself, has provided some of the best quips of the season.

[ MORE: Top 5 storylines to look for in PL ]

From “I want to be the crazy man in the Premier League” to “It’s like nobody wants to win the league“, the 64-year-old Italian has offered plenty of beauties.

Make way for some more gems, from LCFC.com:

“I think we work so hard to achieve this level. We want to stay at this level. It’s no pressure for us. The pressure was at the beginning to start well, to carry on and maintain the standard of our performance.
“Now we are safe and we want to fight with respect with all our opponents. Face to face, we play with our strength and they play with theirs. If we win, fantastic. If we lose, next match.
“I think the pressure is on the other teams. We have pressure for our little gap. We continue to dream with our fans and we want to continue to dream. Nobody wake us up please!”
We love this man. To go from a short-lived run in Euro qualifying with Greece to this remarkable roll with Leicester has to be a bit dream-like. We get it. And we love that he’s going with it.