Southampton v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Manchester United set to splurge on Southampton defender

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£75,000 per week for Luke Shaw? Yes, rumors reveal that Manchester United are set to pay what amounts to more than $125,000 per week for the young Southampton defender.

Currently sitting seventh in the Premier League, twelve points off a Champions League place, United are in need of a bit of help. While the Red Devils status as one of the best supported clubs in the world means that they can afford to acquire big name talent this summer, even without money received from European play, if they miss out on the Champions League next year, their fortunes could very well start to drop.

So it’s not at all surprising that United are after the brightest stars and the biggest up and comers. Shaw, just 18 years old, earned himself an England cap against Denmark, after impressing Roy Hodgson with his performances at left back for the Saints. And although Patrice Evra hasn’t done too badly this season, he’ll be 33 come summer, and it’s likely time to find a decent replacement.

But, so goes the rumor, United are going to have to beat away Chelsea, who themselves need to replace the aging Ashley Cole. César Azpilicueta? Nah. Patrick Van Aanholt? No. Ryan Bertrand? Absolutely not. Clearly Chelsea, who never hesitate to splash the cash, will be willing to pay Shaw the big bucks. So it follows that United will be willing to pay $125, 000 to secure Shaw’s services and, in the process, get one over on José Mourinho.

The reality is that United likely are interested in Shaw – who wouldn’t be? But even if the club is desperate, they likely won’t resort to quite such a high wage for a youngster with just one good season under his belt.

Do you agree?

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.