Esteban Granero could be the next ingredient in Swansea’s paella

Leave a comment

The Swansea paella could gain a new ingredient soon with the South Wales club in talks Queens Park Rangers over midfielder Esteban Granero.

If Swansea strikes a deal for the 26 year old Spaniard that would mark manager Michael Laudrup’s seventh singing of the season after bringing in midfielder Jose Canas, defender Juan Amat, goalkeeper Gregor Zabret, striker Wilfried Bony, and attacking midfielders Alejandro Pozuelo and Jonjo Shelvey.

The deal would also punctuate Laudrup’s desire to overhaul Swansea into a side that is dominated by Spaniards.

Since his arrival at the Liberty Stadium 13 months ago, Laudrup has brought in six Spanish players – Chico Flores, Michu, Pablo Hernandez, Canas, Amat and Pozuelo. The addition of Granero to the squad would give Swansea a roster of eight players (Angel Rangel was the sole Spaniard at the club before Laudrup’s appointment) who are currently eligible to play for La Furia Roja.

The Granero deal is one that looks likely to get done as Laudrup worked with the midfielder during their shared time at Getafe and Granero fancies staying in the Premier League after QPR’s relegation following a dismal 2012-13 campaign.

Granero’s agent, Carlo Cutropia, has noted the ongoing talks and his client’s interest in joining the Spanish revolution in Wales. “The two clubs are talking about a transfer, it’s true,” Cutropia said. “Swansea are also looking at many Spanish players and play in Europe next year, [so] the destination would be absolutely acceptable to Esteban.”

Assuming he joins up at Swansea, expect Granero to compete for a starting spot in the Swans increasingly crowded central midfield, which includes holding players Ki Sung-Yueng and Canas, and attackers, Jonathan de Guzman, Leon Britton, Shelvey and Pozuelo.

Granero, capable of playing either role in the center of the park, managed 27 appearances for QPR after arriving on a £9 million move from Real Madrid last summer.

Three seriously injured, 120 detained in Bruges hooligan riot

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BRUSSELS (AP) Authorities are investigating a hooligan riot which seriously injured three people and forced Brugge police to detain 120 following the match between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

[ MORE: Mbappe wins Golden Boy ]

Local police chief Dirk Van Nuffel says one policeman was among the seriously wounded as authorities sought to contain a brawl between Belgian fans reinforced by others who had come from the Netherlands.

By Monday morning all were released but investigators were still seeking to see who was at the core of the fighting. Van Nuffel says such hooligan fighting “hadn’t been seen for years.”

Everton fires Ronald Koeman

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
1 Comment

A 5-2 home loss versus Arsenal sent Everton into the Premier League drop zone, and that’s apparently a bridge too far for the Toffees when it comes to their managerial position.

Ronald Koeman is out at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Everton sits 18th in the Premier League with eight points, it’s minus-11 goal differential second-worst in the top flight. Its 18 goals conceded are third-worst, and only three clubs have scored fewer goals than its seven.

The Toffees won two rounds in the Europa League, beating Ružomberok and Hajduk Split, but have lost to Atalanta and Lyon while drawing Apollon Limassol in Group E play.

Everton faces Chelsea in League Cup play on Wednesday before a critical early season match at Leicester City on Sunday.

Follow @NicholasMendola

The Best: Neymar, Ronaldo, Messi — Is there a front-runner?

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While France Football has its Ballon d’Or winner somewhere on a 30-man shortlist, FIFA’s “Best” men’s player is down to an unsurprising three ahead of Monday afternoon’s ceremony.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are up for the award, and there was no major summer tournament outside of the Confederations Cup — only Ronaldo participated — to help tilt the scales in one’s favor this summer.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Of course, Ronaldo claimed another UEFA Champions League crown, but was far from the simple standout of the club. In international play, both Ronaldo and Messi’s World Cup qualifying campaigns came down to the wire while Neymar captained Brazil’s dominant ride through CONMEBOL.

The award, which is said to be for on- and off-field behavior, was voted on by national coaches, national captains, select members of the media and fans.

Ronaldo is the favorite according to hardware, while Messi’s numbers and Neymar’s playmaking both can lay claim to the throne.

Stats since start of 2017

Lionel Messi

Club goals: 46
Club assists: 16
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 4
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Neymar

Club goals: 24
Club assists: 21
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 2
Country assists: 3
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Cristiano Ronaldo

Club goals: 31
Club assists: 7
Country caps: 11
Country goals: 11
Country assists: 4
Accolades: Confederations Cup semifinal, World Cup qualifier, Champions League winner, La Liga winner

Follow @NicholasMendola

Mbappe wins Golden Boy over Rashford, Pulisic, Gabriel Jesus

AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain, France, and (former) Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe has claimed the Golden Boy Award over Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, and others.

[ MORE: TFC sets MLS record ]

The Golden Boy is chosen from the top Under-21 players in Europe, and the short list had the above names and 22 more including Gabriel Jesus, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Marcus Rashford.

Mbappe, still 18 until Dec. 20, has four goals and four assists this season for PSG after scoring 26 goals with 14 assists for Monaco last season. He also has a goal for France.

The teenager likely played the biggest role at the biggest club last season, though Donnarumma was exceptional at Milan, Jesus’ injury conspired against him at Man City, and Marcus Rashford was very good for United.

Follow @NicholasMendola