Report: Gareth Bale agrees to Real Madrid transfer but Spurs say, not so fast

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According to reports in Spain earlier today, Gareth Bale to Real Madrid is a done deal.

But Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas doesn’t think so.

Not at all.

“On Gareth, I want to repeat what I was telling you last season and what I was telling you from the beginning of (preseason), he is a player that we are willing to continue to have, he’s a Tottenham player, he’s one of the most fantastic players in the world at the moment and we are counting on him for the future.”

However Spanish paper Marca, which has particularly close links to Real, claims a six-year contract has been drawn up for Bale to sign, and the Welshman will be paid $12.9 million per season.

The shorter English version of the report on Marca’s English-speaking website is brief and to the point. (Here is the more detailed report in Spanish if you fancy sifting through this.)

In the shorter version there is an apparent quote from Real’s new assistant manager and former FIFA World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane. Here’s what he had to say about Bale after he scouted the player during Spurs’ Europa League match against Lyon in February:

He’s the number one. The player’s class lets you aspire to winning the Champions League. Not only is he a strong and fast player. He’s also clever on the pitch.

If Zizou speaks highly of Bale, Madrid must pull out all the stops to try and get him. However it is going to be a huge ask to sign him this summer, with a fee of around $115 million expected. But as the reports states, Real made Bale their number one target a long-time ago and made it their mission to bring the 24-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu when Barcelona signed Neymar back on May 26.

(MORE: Andre Villas-Boas, “Bale is not for sale at any price”)

The headline of the report is also ominous for Spurs fans. “Operation Bale: the final straight.”

Will this one rumble on much longer? Or will Bale be a Madrid player before tea-time tomorrow? I’m guessing the former.

Losing Bale would be a huge blow for Spurs, obviously. But having resisted the urge to cash in on their prized asset for so long, will they finally give in just weeks before the new season begins?

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

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Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

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Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

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The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10

Barcelona sues Neymar for $10 million signing bonus

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona is suing Neymar for the $10 million bonus it paid the Brazil striker for signing a contract he later broke to join Paris Saint-Germain on a world-record transfer.

Barcelona said on Tuesday that it wants Neymar to pay back the bonus for a contract in Oct. 2016 that tied him to the club through 2021. It also wants an additional 10 percent interest.

Neymar was able to leave Barcelona earlier this month after PSG paid 222 million euros ($262 million) to trigger a release clause included in his contract.

Barcelona said in a statement that it “has taken these actions in defense of its interests after the unilateral breaking of the contract carried out by Neymar just a few months after having signed his renewal.”

The club is also demanding that PSG pay the money, if Neymar is unable to do so.

Barcelona said the suit was filed on Aug. 11.