Tom Ince moves to Hull, with tribunal potentially deciding fee

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Since the English season ended in May, Tom Ince had been linked with a move to one of his father’s teams, with Inter Milan reportedly interested in bringing the 22-year-old midfielder to Italy. Today, however, Ince committed to staying in the Premier League, signing a two-year deal that will take him from Blackpool to FA Cup finalists Hull City.

Ince, who had been with the Tangerines for the last three seasons, spent the second half of the 2013-14 campaign on loan at Crystal Palace, where he made eight league appearances as the Eagles fought off relegation from the Premier League.

With his move to Hull, Ince will be joining the fifth club in his young professional career, having spent time with Liverpool and Notts County before joining Blackpool in the summer of 2011.

Now Ince secures a permanent move back into the top-flight, with the relationship Hull manager and former Manchester United star Steve Bruce had with Ince’s father Paul part of the process that put the midfielder in black and orange. From Sky Sports News, via the Press Association and The Guardian:

“I’ve known Steve Bruce on a personal and professional level for quite some years, being in a former team with my old man.

“I also know a lot of the players so it felt like home to me. I didn’t feel like a stranger walking into the dressing room, into the ground …

“To be given an opportunity to play again in the Premier League, it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and one that I’m relishing.”

Over two-and-a-half seasons with Blackpool, Ince scored 33 goals in 113 appearances while being named the Football League Young Player of the Year in 2013. During that time, Ince has also made 14 appearances for England’s U-21 national team, though he’s yet to earn a full senior cap.

With a opportunity to win regular time in the Premier League, Ince’s chances of breaking into Roy Hodgson’s team could improve. In fact, a 5-3-2 formation with Ince playing above Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone, behind Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, doesn’t look half bad.  If Ince can build on his strong performances in the Championship, the signing could prove a good fit for both player and club.

How much Hull has to pay to make that happen, however, remains to be seen. Though Ince was out of contract with the Tangerines, his young age means the Tigers will still have to send money to Blackpool. In theory, this compensates Blackpool for investing in Ince’s development, even though in this case, a good deal of that development happened in the Liverpool academy.

Right now, the clubs remain at an impasse, meaning an independent tribunal may have to set the fee. When Daniel Sturridge went through a similar process while moving from Manchester City to Chelsea in 2010, an independent tribunal awarded the Citizens £6.5 million: £3.5 million in initial fees; another £3 million in appearance bonuses.

While Ince is unlikely to draw that type of evaluation, he’ll still be subjected to the same process. If Hull and Blackpool can’t come to an agreement on compensation, an independent panel will decide what the Seasiders get from their investment in Ince.

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

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The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

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Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

[ MORE: Study will look at long-term effects of playing soccer ]

At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Leicester City

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  • West Ham is winless in last six against Leicester
  • Jamie Vardy has two goals, two assists in last 4 games vs. West Ham
  • Hammers have nine points through first 12 matches

West Ham United will host Leicester City from the London Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as David Moyes and Co. look to climb out of the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Moyes and West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League through 12 games, and will be hoping to see an improvement in their form with the potential returns of Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic.

The Hammers are without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Michail Antonio, as well as James Collins.

The Foxes are winless in their last two matches, and coming off of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined for Puel’s group, but otherwise, the club is relatively healthy.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss David Moyes on turning the team’s form around: “We need to give the supporters something to shout about and something that looks half decent, and then they will support us. I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (chanting against the board). “I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”

Leicester’s Claude Puel on confidence in his players“I have a good feeling with the players; they listen, they work hard on the pitch and I feel their ambition. We will see in the next games, with a good adaption and rotation, to see them approach it with a positive attitude.”

Prediction

The Hammers are missing several key attacking pieces, including Hernandez, which will surely make the defensive task easier for Leicester. The Foxes attack hasn’t been at its finest, but they’ll be facing a West Ham back line that allows over two goals per game (25 in 12 matches).
West Ham 1-3 Leicester