Southampton insist Rodriguez, Schneiderlin are not for sale

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Finally some good news for Southampton fans. Well, sort of.

As the mass exodus from St. Mary’s had some people speculating about whether or not Liverpool or Arsenal could afford Saints’ tea lady (decent banter, but it happened) a couple of players seem to be sticking around on the South Coast.

[RELATED: Dissecting Saints’ exodus]

This week both Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) and Calum Chambers (Arsenal) left Southampton, as the club has now raked in over $175 million by selling players over the summer. In total 10 players have left Saints his summer, as the likes of Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana have all been sold.

New Saints manager Ronald Koeman has only bought in two players, Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle, but according to Saints’ Canadian chairman Ralph Krueger you can count on Tottenham targets Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin to be around this season.

“Jay Rodriguez and and Morgan Schneiderlin are not for sale, and they will be a part of our club as we enter the new season,” Krueger said. “They are part of the core that we have decided to keep at Southampton. In and around Jay, Morgan and the rest of our core players, we’re excited to continue to build forward.”

[RELATED: Rodriguez, Schneiderlin heading to Spurs]

Speaking to Sky Sports in the UK, Krueger also confirmed that Saints had a clear plan when entering the transfer window and will be signing plenty of players in the coming days to replace those who were sold.

“Quite clearly, we entered the transfer window with a plan,” Krueger said. “We have a clear strategic approach to this summer, and we did not put any players for sale. What we did say was that we would watch the process, we would listen and we would look for how the team would evolve out of our rebuild.”

Krueger also went on to state that the players who left wanted to take a “shortcut” to play in the UEFA Champions League but that Saints are still aiming to play in Europe. You also can’t argue with his comments that every player was sold for close to or over their maximum value.

“We set premiums on the players, and we’ve reached those premiums,” Krueger said. “Our executive level has been working outstanding hours and has put good deals together that give us a strong position to reinvest and a strong position to rebuild. It was in the best interests of the club and the best interests of our rebuild to make these deals and to continue to build forward with players and a team that wants to go the hard way into Europe.”

If you believe Krueger, then Saints had planned to sell these players all along. If so, they are playing a dangerous game in gambling on incoming players to step right in and perform as a unit just a few weeks before the season begins. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be difficult? Yes.

It’s time for new boss Koeman and his backroom staff to get busy, bring the players in and gel them together to try and salvage Saints’ season before it has even begun.

Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Wolfsburg hires Martin Schmidt after firing Andries Jonker

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WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.

[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]

Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.

The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.

The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.

More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

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It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]

The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Dodging Rain Drops…. Reaction Drill… Keep Moving!! 💧🎾 @chrisvarnavas

A post shared by Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) on

Cavani, Neymar feud presents questions about PSG chemistry

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Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.

[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]

In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.

The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.

First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.

The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.