Report: Ajax accepts $23 mil Daley Blind bid from Manchester United

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It may have taken a few weeks or months longer than some expected, but Louis van Gaal is readying the Red Devils to torment the opposition

LVG has added one of the stars of the Netherlands surprising World Cup run to his stable at Manchester United, and suddenly things are looking up for the Red Devils.

Reports say Ajax has accepted Manchester United’s $23 million bid for outstanding defender Daley Blind. All that’s left is Blind’s medical and agreement on personal terms, and United has itself a much-improved defense.

From the BBC:

A club statement read: “Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Ajax to sign Daley Blind, subject to a medical and personal terms.”

United have been linked with Blind throughout the summer but Ajax director of football Marc Overmars said he was reluctant to sell him unless the Premier League side met their valuation, reportedly in the region of £14m.

Overmars claimed on Wednesday that Blind would only leave if an “absolute prize was paid”, and told the de Telegraaf newspaper: “We believe we currently have a strong team and want to hold on to Daley for another a year.”

Some were critical of the Red Devils for dropping close to $100 million on Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria instead of focusing on defense, but that neglects the fact that:

1) United has loads of dough.

2) See point No. 1.

While Blind won’t fix every single one of United’s flaws, the cumulative additions of the 24-year-old Dutchman, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Di Maria will give Manchester United plenty of ammunition in a season without the UEFA Champions League.

LVG is cooking with gas, and Di Maria is the oldest of the bunch at 26. Wow.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.