Liverpool's Suarez celebrates his goal against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match in Liverpool

Luis Suárez joins Liverpool in Australia, Arsenal lurks, and ‘crunch talks’ are a thing again

Leave a comment

I’m not exactly sure what showdown talks are, but it doesn’t take an extensive internet search to see that word, crunch, or other crisis-implying adjectives linked to Luis Suárez’s arrival at Liverpool camp. The Uruguayan striker, after three weeks rest following the Confederations Cup, is joining his club in Melbourne for preseason preparations, an event that’s given media outlets around the world trying to raise the stakes on their Suárez coverage.

Trust the coverage and you’ll get a picture of Suárez, his agent, and Liverpool’s management consigned to play out some old-timey ritual involved a butcher’s basement, a broken air conditioner, and four cans of baked beans. Three men enter; three men, some kind of deal, and some embarrassing hygiene leaves.

More cautions tones are marking a slow progression to the Suárez saga, one that has become centered on Arsenal. At one point, the Gunners were reported to have registered a $45.8 million bid, slightly lower than the $61 million Liverpool want. Now reports have Arsenal willing to meet the Reds half way, $53.5 million, though Liverpool’s holding firm. With Suárez rejoining the club, the process may pick up, whether it be toward transcending that $7.5 gap or killing off the Arsenal speculation entirely.

Beyond the dollars and the potentially ludicrous saga, there’s a strangely appropriate dynamic to Arsenal pursuing Suárez. Between the player’s importance to Liverpool elevating his price and Suárez’s other baggage, the few clubs who can afford him have either looked elsewhere or declined to enter the fray. Arsenal, on the other hand, aren’t used to having money to spend and seem either reluctant or slow to spend it this window. Yet they’re still a storied club who’ve qualified for Champions League and, if they land somebody of Suárez’s ability and pick up some other parts, could be fringe title contenders.

The situation has the feel of two rudderless ships, disabled, floating toward each other while their crews watch the rest of their fleets sail away. For Arsenal, Arsene Wenger’s skeptical view of the marketplace continues to see targets fade into the distance, while Suárez sees the Barcelonas, Real Madrids, and Chelseas of the world choose on other captains.

At some point, if they stay a drift long enough, these two ships may find each other. Then perhaps Suárez can be the player to guide Arsenal back to shore.

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Leave a comment

PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
1 Comment

Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.

Man United captain Rooney raises $1.5m from charity game

FILE - A Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaving the field after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) for charity from a friendly game against former club Everton last year. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
AP Photo/Dave Thompson
Leave a comment

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.

That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”

Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.

Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.

WATCH: Lewandowski’s juggling stoppage time winner

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the German soccer Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, Germany, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
Leave a comment

Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.

The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.

[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]

And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.

It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.

Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.

Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday