David Moyes doesn’t know what to do with all this money.
Known for his ability to get the most bang for his buck at cash-strapped Everton, Moyes suddenly has the Manchester United coffers at his disposal, and he’s apparently making the most of it.
On the heels of club confirmation that the Red Devils will break their transfer record to acquire Juan Mata from Chelsea, the Daily Mail is reporting that United will now hurl £22.5 million ($37.1 million) at Southampton for left-back Luke Shaw.
The report states that with the bid, Moyes has trumped a Chelsea offer of £21 million ($34.6 million) and are ready to offer Shaw an immediate starting role.
Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino has firmly stated in the past that Luke Shaw is “not for sale,” but this kind of figure will be next to impossible for Southampton to turn down.
Apparently Moyes sees the 18-year-old as a permanent replacement for Patrice Evra, who is 32 years of age and rumored to be on his way out.
He likely wants to pounce not only to secure his own back line, but also to prevent Chelsea from using Shaw to take over for an aging Ashley Cole.
To be fair, Moyes knows he must improve his back line. Manchester United have allowed 27 goals this Premier League year, putting them on pace to allow 47 – the most United would have ever allowed in the Premier League should they reach that number.
Shaw and Southampton have conceded just 25 thus far. The Kingston-born defender has played in 1,561 of Southampton’s 1,980 Premier League minutes to this point in the season.
Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.
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Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City
Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.
Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth
The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.
But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.
Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace
Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a
Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland
Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.
One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.
Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.
The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.
Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.
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A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.
Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.
Click play on the video above to watch it.
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.