Report: Louis van Gaal set to open insane spending spree with signing of Luke Shaw

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Big, big changes are coming to Old Trafford. Strap in.

According to the Daily Star, Manchester United has just about wrapped up the signing of Southampton teenage sensation Luke Shaw, but with that rumor having kept us company for a while, that’s not nearly the most surprising part of this report.

Apparently, the near-$50 million the Red Devils are set to spend on the 18-year-old is just fifteen percent of the nearly $340 million van Gaal has been given to spend this summer.

For conversion purposes, that’s £200 million that he reportedly has to spend – the Star referred to it as a “war chest.”

Now, it’s a given that it’s very, very difficult for a newspaper to accurately predict a club’s spending habits for an upcoming transfer window, and even if they are right, that’s only the amount that’s available, not how much they will have actually spent come August.

However, the reports aren’t usually entirely off base.  Look at last year, when reports all summer said Arsenal had $170 million to spend, and after keeping quiet for almost the entire window, they did have the funds available to make a $68 million move for Mesut Ozil.  Did the reports accurately pinpoint the correct summer expenditure? No, but they at least knew loads of cash was available.

source: Getty Images
Move aside, Louis van Gaal is here, and he’s brought $360 million with him.

Besides, the fact that such a high number is even being thrown around is completely bonkers. I guess United didn’t take too kindly to last year’s seventh-place finish.  But you already knew that.

Back to the current task at hand – Shaw is reportedly all but signed on to become Louis van Gaal’s first major signing of the summer.

It would make sense that the deal won’t be reported for a while, as Shaw is now gearing up to attend his first World Cup as part of England’s squad, and likely wouldn’t put the bow on the deal until after his time in Brazil is over.

However, the Southampton youngster broke through in a big way last year, and with potentially big changes coming, he’d likely slide right into the starting lineup.

In fact, according to another Star report from yesterday, van Gaal is only marking a measly four players on the current squad as completely essential: Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, Juan Mata, and Robin van Persie.  That means even the likes of Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick, along with the entire remaining defense, have to prove their worth.

A lot of things are going to be changing around Old Trafford, from the staff to the players.  It’s the right thing to do, with the poor finish from last year showing just how much the squad has decayed since their last championship two years ago.

Buckle up, because this summer is going to be fast, furious, and fun, and when the season opens in August, expect a whole lot of things to be new about Manchester United.

Salah beats De Bruyne to win PFA Player of the Year award

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LONDON (AP) Mohamed Salah has been voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals in English football in recognition of an incredible scoring return to the Premier League with Liverpool.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

The Egypt forward collected the Professional Footballers’ Association award at a ceremony in London on Sunday, two days before Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma.

It is a reunion with the Italian club he left in the offseason for 42 million euros (then $47 million). The hefty fee appeared to be a gamble for Liverpool but now represents a real bargain.

The former Chelsea player has scored 41 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool – enabling him to beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in second place to the PFA award.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane was third.

[ MORE: Man City thrash Swansea in pursuit of points record ]

“It’s a big honor,” Salah said. “I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it.”

Salah is preparing to lead Egypt into its first World Cup in 28 years and he is the first player from the North African nation to win English football’s top individual prize.

“Hopefully I’m not the last one,” he said. “I’m very proud to win and I’ve worked very hard.”

Salah’s impact has been more remarkable given his underwhelming 2014-15 season at Chelsea before being offloaded by then-manager Jose Mourinho. He went on loan to Fiorentina in early 2015 and Roma in 2016, and then on a permanent basis to Roma in August 2016.

Scoring 15 goals and setting up 11 more for Roma convinced Liverpool to bring Salah back to a second spell in England.

[ MORE: Liverpool draw West Brom in final tune-up before UCL semis ]

His goal at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday was his 31st in the league this season, tying the scoring record in a 38-game campaign held by Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suarez.

Suarez was the last Liverpool player to be crowned player of the year by the PFA in 2014 before moving to Barcelona.

It’s a sign of his remarkable impact that Salah secured the award with third-place Liverpool and that none of Manchester City’s newly crowned champions won the accolade.

But City winger Leroy Sane was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

The PFA women’s player award went to Chelsea forward Fran Kirby, while Lauren Hemp of Bristol City secured the young player prize.

CONCACAF cancels women’s U-17 tournament due to violence

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) CONCACAF has canceled the rest of its 2018 Women’s Under-17 Championship following violence in Managua, Nicaragua, where the tournament began Thursday.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football made the announcement Sunday. The tournament was to have determined the region’s qualifiers for the Under-17 World Cup in Uruguay, which starts Nov. 13.

More than two dozen people have been killed since Wednesday according to the independent Nicaraguan Human Rights Center, though the government had acknowledged only nine dead. Dozens of shops in Managua were looted during protests and disturbances sparked by government social security reforms.

The U.S. opened Friday with a 4-0 win over Costa Rica and had been scheduled to play Bermuda on Sunday and Canada on Tuesday.

The 2 Robbies: “Wenger was the Guardiola of his day”

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle discuss the shock news of Arsene Wenger announcing he will stand down at the end of the season and celebrate the living legend’s career, while also exploring who will take this massive job, then finish up talking about the FA Cup semifinal results.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Juventus 0-1 Napoli: Serie A title race back on… again

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This season’s scudetto race has been very much on, all but over, back on, a mere formality and now, following Sunday’s clash between first- and second-place Juventus and Napoli, on again… all inside the last four or five weeks of this roller-coaster Serie A season.

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

Some will say that Juventus have regressed as the majority of their stars are now on the wrong side of 30, while others will say that a young and always-improving Napoli side has closed the gap all on their own and pulled themselves onto level footing with the six-time defending champions. The all-knowing among us will say it’s all of the above.

[ MORE: Barcelona hammer Sevilla to lift 4th straight Copa del Rey ]

For 89 minutes, Saturday’s clash at the Allianz Stadium appeared to be the final nail in Napoli’s coffin, as Maurizio Sarri’s side found themselves hopelessly blunted and unable to break through Juve’s ultra-defensive foundation (4 shots, o on target for Juve over 90 minutes). Kalidou Koulibaly’s thunderous header from Jose Callejon’s corner kick changed all of that, and drew Gli Azzurri to within a single point of Juve with four games left to play.

It’s the first time Juve have lost in league play since Nov. 19 (17 wins in 20 games) and their first league defeat at home since Oct. 14 (10 wins in 11 games, outscoring opponents by a combined 28-3). Napoli are now unbeaten in their last 30 league games away from home (24 wins), dating back to the last time they visited Juventus, Oct. 29, 2016.

Still on Juve’s remaining schedule: trips to take on fifth-place Inter Milan and third-place Roma. As for Napoli, they’ll take on eighth-, ninth- and 10th-place Sampdoria, Fiorentina and Torino, respectively, as well as 16th-place Crotone.

(Ever so slight) Advantage, Napoli?