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Can Man United, Man City really buy Rose, Walker for $73 million?

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Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have undoubtedly become two of the best full backs in the Premier League.

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The Tottenham Hotspur and England duo have now been linked with a move to both Manchester United and Manchester City as it is claimed Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola want to overhaul their options at right back and left back.

A report from the Sun claims United have the two 26-year-old full backs at the top of their wish-list and are willing to pay $73 million for the pair.

With right back Walker and left back Rose signing new contracts at Spurs last summer, Mauricio Pochetino is counting on them to be an integral part of Spurs for the foreseeable future but with the kind of money being paid to the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and others in Manchester, perhaps Walker and Rose will both have their heads turned.

But would Spurs really allow two of their most important players to join a direct rival for the PL title and top four?

This season the duo have been sublime as their pacey forward runs always add an extra dimension in attack and Pochettino has been able to implement both a more solid 4-2-3-1 and a more attacking 3-4-3 when they’re in the team as both Walker and Rose slotting in as exemplary wing backs.

Rose was named as the best left back in the Premier League in the PFA Team of the Year last season, while Walker was the named as the best right back in the 2011-12 campaign and both have become regular starters for England along with Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Dele Alli as Spurs’ young English core have all signed long-term contracts to continue the exciting project under Pochettino. With the new White Hart Lane stadium due to be finished in 2018, Spurs are heading into a brave new world and have worked hard to lock down their current players with transfer fees rising all the time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18:  Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their second goal with Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at White Hart Lane on December 18, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Now, factor into all of this that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has a reputation as one of the most ruthless businessmen in the sport and both United and City will have to work extremely hard to pay anywhere near the market value for Walker and Rose.

It is very tough to see Levy letting these two leave Spurs without a struggle.

Reluctantly he let Gareth Bale leave for Real Madrid for a world-record fee in the summer of 2013 and even then Levy was against him leaving for a direct rival in Manchester United. We know Levy drives a hard bargain.

We also know that Guardiola is far from happy with his current options at full back and his defense in general. With the ageing quartet of Bacary Sagna, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta his best choices, Guardiola knows it is the one area of his team he must improve if his project at City can flourish over the next few seasons. City’s defense has been easily their weakest link since the Spanish coach took over with John Stones stumbling, Vincent Kompany struggling with injury and the likes of Kolarov forced to play in central defense at times.

For United, they’ve improved defensively under Mourinho and have ample options in central defense with Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, but at full back they appear a little short as converted winger Antonio Valencia continues at right back, plus Luke Shaw‘s injury issues continue to hamper his progress at left back with Blind, Rojo and even Matteo Darmian shifted out to the left.

Yes, it’s true that both Manchester clubs could do with upgrades at full back but trying to buy Walker and Rose from Spurs will likely prove incredibly expensive, even for them, and very tricky.

Are they worth it? Yes. Will it happen? I highly doubt it.

Report: Man City, Guardiola to discuss new contract this summer

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Manchester City does not want to let Pep Guardiola start the third year with the club without signing on for longer term.

Guardiola enters the third and final year of his deal in August, and the BBC reports that Man City plans to negotiate a new deal with the Catalan wizard this summer.

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This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given City’s outstanding sophomore season under Guardiola.

Unbeaten City has an 11-point lead on the Premier League table after 18 weeks, with one draw and a PL record 16-straight wins. They have 56 goals scored, conceding just 12.

They’ve won five of six UEFA Champions League matches, only losing a match their opposition needed and they did not, 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. City faces Basel next, and visits Leicester City in the League Cup quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lanzini charged by FA for fooling ref with dive

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Manuel Lanzini dove to earn a penalty in West Ham’s 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365 Stadium, and he may pay for it.

Lanzini, who also posted an assist in an influential performance, drew the penalty converted by Mark Noble when he hit the deck under minimal contact from Erik Pieters.

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He could miss two matches for “successful deception of a match official,” the same penalty given to Everton’s Oumar Niasse for a similar offense.

West Ham pulled out of the drop zone with the win, but has three bottom-half battles coming up over the festive fixtures: Saturday versus Newcastle, Dec. 26 at Bournemouth, and Jan. 2 versus West Brom.

Griezmann backtracks over ‘insensitive’ blackface tweet

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MADRID (AP) Soccer star Antoine Griezmann has apologized for any offense caused after posting an image of himself on social media in blackface as part of an NBA party costume on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is white, was also wearing a wig and holding a basketball in the photo which had “NBA 69 ALLSTARS” on the jersey.

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The photo on his official Twitter account was accompanied by the message “80’s Party” followed by basketball and laughing emojis.

One response called the photo a “bad idea” with others urging the France forward to delete the tweet.

Griezmann at first reacted to the criticism by tweeting: “Calm down friends, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It’s a tribute.”

He later tweeted an apology to those he had offended.

“I recognize that’s it’s insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I’m sorry,” he wrote.

The 26-year-old Griezmann plays for Spanish team Atletico Madrid but has been linked to a move to Barcelona.

Alex Morgan named CONCACAF Female POY, Navas wins Male POY

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CONCACAF awarded some of its finest players and coaches on Sunday night, and two familiar faces took home the evening’s most notable awards.

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U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.

Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.

Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.

For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.