Gareth Bale fallout: Roma’s Erik Lamela appears headed for Tottenham

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After earlier reporting from NBC Sports Insider Neil Ashton saying Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid is imminent (Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague, The Guardian’s Sid Lowe, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl have confirmed the report), Daniel Levy’s replacement pieces are starting to come together. Willian’s expensive move from Anzhi Makhachkala is practically done, with the Brazilian attacker having undergone a physical in London today.

But Willian’s far from the only piece Spurs are likely to bring in with their $120 million booty. Fabio Coentrao could possibly be included in the deal — the Portuguese international potentially becoming André Villas-Boas’s new left back — while on the other flank, the long-rumored move of Erik Lamela could finally happen.

Earlier today, reports from the U.K. rekindled the Lamela-to-Spurs connection, but after news of Bale’s probable news broke, the 21-year-old Argentine’s potential transfer was also considered probable. Lamela’s brother was even spotted on Twitter telling friends his brother “more than surely is going to England.”

Coming off a breakout season for Roma (15 league goals), the River Plate product would compete with Aaron Lennon for the right winger’s spot in Villas Boas’s starting XI. Garnering a transfer fee of just under $47 million, Lamela should be round out an attacking three that also features Roberto Soldado and Willian, provided he makes a smooth adjustment to his new club.

Lamela would be the second major loss for Roma within a week, with Pablo Osvaldo having already moved to Southampton. And Miralem Pjanic’s name has also been floating around the papers, though will Lamela’s salary off the books, the talented Bosnian will likely stay under Rudi Garcia’s watch.

Beyond losing the salary commitment, Roma would see a huge boon from a Lamela sale. As a 19-year-old, the Argentine attacker was purchased from River Plate for $16 million, with an additional $2-$3 million in potential bonuses. If Lamela’s current reported price is true, Roma stands to make around $30 million less salary paid for their two-year investment in the potential Spur.

Depending on how much money comes with Coentrao (or, if Coentrao goes to Tottenham at all), Spurs’ Bale money may be gone after their Willian and Lamela purchases. Together, they’ll got Tottenham $77 million, and while Bale’s valuation is said to be anywhere from $120 to $134 million, a big chunk of that might be Coentrao. The Étienne Capoué could have also been made with the Bale money in mind.

In all likelihood, though, Spurs could have another major purchase in them. At least they have the flexibility to go out and add another defender, if they’re so inclined. But with Willian, Lamela, and Coentrao potentially coming in, Villas-Boas’s could have a surprisingly enviable squad, considering he’ll have just lost his best player.

There may yet be life after Bale.

French league terminates goal-line technology contract

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PARIS (AP) The French football league has terminated the contract with its goal-line technology provider after a series of glitches.

The LFP had already suspended the use of GoalControl, the German system that was deployed at the 2014 World Cup.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the league will launch a tender in February to find a new provider of the technology that determines whether the ball crossed the line.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

In recent months, the French league had repeatedly expressed its discontent with GoalControl.

Goal-line technology entered soccer after a goal was wrongly disallowed at the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is already focused on fast-tracking the next phase of technology – video assistant referees – for the World Cup in June.

Goal-line technology and VAR were provided by Hawk-Eye at the Confederations Cup last year.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

League Cup semifinal preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 4-of-7 League Cup matches vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 74W-58D-62L
  • Clubs have drawn four times this season

Hardware hopes are on the line when Chelsea hits the Emirates Stadium for a League Cup semifinal second leg with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The sides drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the advantage of knowing a scoring draw would do the trick and set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley on Feb. 25, though Arsenal has home field advantage in pursuit of a win.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may debut for Arsenal, though the club released an interesting note on Tuesday: He’ll wear No. 7 in most competitions, but will have to use a different number in the Europa League because Alexis Sanchez wore it to start the tournament.

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte won’t have Alvaro Morata (back) and Cesc Fabregas for the match, though Andreas Christensen will be available for selection.

The clubs are no strangers to each other in big non-PL spots, squaring off in this season’s Community Shield (Arsenal won in penalty kicks) and last season’s FA Cup Final (Arsenal won).

Nothing has separated the sides on the field aside from those penalty kicks at Wembley Stadium, as Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 since August.

What they’re saying

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Henrikh Mkhitaryan“He can play in different positions, but personally I see him first in a wide position, but I’m thinking about him a possibility to play through the middle. You are certain in our job of nothing, that’s absolutely sure. But you believe and I believe he has the qualities to do well, is a team player and our game is based on team attitude and movement and I think he can absorb the quantity of movement in our team.”

Chelsea’s Conte on the lineup: “Every game is different, you change the quality of your opponent and you must be intelligent enough to understand if you should continue with the same players or make some changes.”

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga