In an attempt to dispel some animosity around the Bundesliga as well as a growing villainous reputation abroad, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has spoken publicly about his club’s intentions.
With many recent moves by the Bavarians suggesting they are out to monopolize the Bundesliga, Rummenigge says otherwise.
“We are not buying any player from [Borussia] Dortmund or Schalke just to hurt these clubs,” the chairman insisted. “We are just buying players who can give FC Bayern more quality straight away.”
With Bayern prying Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze from Dortmund and stealing Mario Mandzukic and Dante from Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively in the summer of 2012, the club has developed a reputation of hoarding top Bundesliga talent.
So, with that in mind, Rummenigge took the opportunity to rule the club out of a big-money summer move for one of the league’s best and brightest talents. “I can rule out that we will sign Julian Draxler in the summer,” the chairman said. “I do not know [if he wants to come to Bayern]. We never talked to his agents.”
That will be music to Arsene Wenger’s ears, with Arsenal heavily linked to the young German international.
Finally, Rummenigge took the opportunity to stake his claim that Mandzukic, heavily rumored to be on his way out, will instead stay at Bayern.
“I am aware that several clubs are interested in him but I think he will stay past the end of this season,” said Rummenigge.
With Lewandowski on his way in, Mandzukic will have to fight for his starting spot at the head of Bayern’s attack.
Jamie Vardy has joined several Leicester City voices in refuting claims that he helped usher in the dismissal of championship-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.
Vardy led the Foxes in scoring during last season’s run to the Premier League title, but has struggled to follow that success this season. He has five goals in 22 matches.
[ MORE: Ranieri – “My dream died” ]
Ranieri was fired this week with Leicester on the verge of dipping into the relegation zone, where they now sit ahead of Monday’s match against Liverpool.
Vardy wants the world to know this wasn’t his preference, saying, “There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this is completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!”
Harry Kane spent the first half hour of Sunday’s tilt versus Stoke torturing the visiting Potters.
Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli‘s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.
[ WATCH: Spurs-Stoke live, replay ]
His second was lovely, bounding a low volley between the legs of Victor Wanyama and by a diving Lee Grant.
The third carried a bit of luck, with his low free kick taking a turn off the leg of wall end Peter Crouch to elude a lunging Grant. 3-0.
Here are the first and third, too:
The EFL Cup has named its team of the tournament ahead of Sunday morning’s final between Southampton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.
Liverpool and Southampton lead the way with two players each, while finalists Manchester United have just one player in the team.
[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea ]
That’s Ander Herrera, who joins a midfield with Sofiane Boufal (Saints), Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).
Up top are Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, the latter for his work at Bristol City.
The back four is led by Saints’ Maya Yoshida and Hull City’s Harry Maguire, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Matty Pearson (Accrington Stanley) joining the unit.
The backstop is Leeds United’s Marco Silvestri.
The penultimate Premier League match of the weekend pits Stoke City against third-place Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Jan Vertonghen is back alongside Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs’ back line, and it’s no surprise that PL Download stars Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris also start.
Geoff Cameron‘s four-month layoff appears to be reaching its end, as the USMNT back is on the subs bench for Stoke City. He last played on Oct. 22.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Janssen.
Stoke City: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Arnautovic, Allen, Ramadan; Crouch. Subs: Given; Muniesa, Berahino, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Imbula.