Report: Xabi Alonso heading to Manchester United

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Another day means one thing,  another star is reportedly heading to Manchester United. This time Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is the man linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Alonso, 32, has played in the Premier League before, for United’s bitter rivals Liverpool. The Spanish international left Liverpool in 2009 and won the UEFA Champions League with Real last season, while also having the 2010 World Cup and both the 2008 and 2012 European Championship titles with Spain under his belt.

[RELATED: United sign Marcus Rojo]

Tidy on the ball and possessing a biting tackle, Alonso compliments Real’s superstars superbly as he wins the ball and distributes it to Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and co. with minimum fuss. Could he soon be doing the same for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie? Having Alonso sit in midfield alongside fellow Spaniards Juan Mata and Ander Herrera would be a joy to behold. He would bring the right amount of grit and determination but could also knock the ball around with Herrera and Mata in the middle to create a hub of ingenuity in Louis van Gaal’s new-look team. Earlier on in the summer van Gaal was said to be in for AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong but interest in the player he coached for the Dutch national team has since dwindled.

[RELATED: Thursday’s Rumor Roundup]

According to the Daily Express, Alonso is available to move as Real Madrid try to trim their ridiculously large squad which is at least two deep in every position. At Real he has to compete with Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi and Luka Modric just to get in the team. With United chasing Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman this summer, Alonso could be a great buy in the meantime. Vidal’s protracted move from Juventus seems to be fizzling out, while Dutch international Strootman is out inured until at least December.

[RELATED: Di Maria wants to leave Real Madrid]

Plus, if United move in for Alonso it will actually scupper Arsenal and Chelsea’s plans to buy Khedira from Real. However with news arriving on Thursday that Khedira has rejected a new deal at Real Madrid, perhaps Alonso will remain in Madrid.

A few stumbling blocks could line this deal, one being Alonso’s refusal to play for United having formally been a fans favorite after starring for Liverpool in a five-year spell where he won the Champions League and numerous other trophies. However if the Spaniard fancies a return to the North West of England, a move to United would seal that. But why shouldn’t Alonso remain at Real and fight for his spot?

Following United’s opening day defeat to Swansea City, new boss van Gaal is hurriedly knitting together a new team with less than two weeks until the transfer window slams shut. Will Alonso be a part of that team?

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.

Barca to offer Liverpool $176m for Coutinho

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Barcelona is insane.

Desperate following a rough two-legged loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Blaugranas are reportedly ready to offer $176 million to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.

Read it again: $176 million for Philippe Coutinho. It’s about $126 million with $12 million more when Barca clinches a UCL spot over the next four seasons (which they have done every year since finishing sixth in 2002-03).

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Even in this transfer market, that’s nuts. Crazy to offer, and maybe even crazier not to accept.

That’s pretty much two-thirds of the Neymar money. Two-thirds (I keep repeating myself with this story)

It’s even a convenient out for Jurgen Klopp, who’s said Liverpool is not a selling club. Here, he can say with a straight face that the club can improve with this money by selling a player who has — and I recognize it’s not all about goals and assists — one double-digit goal season in his career and a career single-season high of seven PL assists (done thrice).

Almost anyone who’s had the audacity to say the Reds should accept the bid has often been shot down by the Anfield faithful online. “It’ll ruin our season” and “How do we replace him this late?” are the common cries.

To the first question: No, it won’t. To the second: Easy?

It’s not like-for-like, but nearly every player in the world is available for $176 million. It’s not like-for-like, but here’s a short list: Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale, Paulo Dybala, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus… Shoot! Klopp could sign 2-3 of his favorite BVB alums.

With this fee, Coutinho would become the second-highest transfer fee of all-time, behind only Neymar. There are makeweights Barcelona could offer that would make the deal even more intriguing to the Reds: Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez.

Look at it from a neutral’s eyes — which I know is hard from the number of times I’ve read @ Tweets that say, “The only people who would like this deal are fans of Chelsea or United!” — at some point, it becomes unreasonable to not take advantage of Barcelona’s desperation. Maybe Coutinho is worth the “fit” for Barca, but rejecting this fee is more illogical than the offer itself.

At the risk of inflaming every more Liverpool supporters, Ross Barkley is probably going to cost someone $35 million and he’s a year and a half younger (Coutinho is a superior player right now, but we’re talking about the market here).

And, lastly, at some point you’re telling your entire team room that you’re willing to turn down near record money — it would be the highest non-buyout clause transfer ever — to keep a player from his dream club.

Take the money. Use it. Move on.