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?

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.