Getty Images

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Keane to Everton; Courtois to Real Madrid

Leave a comment

Michael Keane is closing in on a move to Everton, say Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Sanchez to Man City? ]

Per the report Everton and Keane’s current club Burnley are in “advanced talks” about a move for the England international.

Center back Keane, 24, shone for Burnley last season and broke into the England national team but the Manchester United product is said to have told the Clarets he wants to move on this summer.

Keane’s former club were said to be interested but United instead went for Sweden international Victor Lindelof in central defense, while Liverpool’s desire to sign Keane appears to have dropped but Everton had always made Keane their top defensive target.

Everton have just three senior center back options right now, with veterans Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams, while Argentina international Ramiro Funes Mori is out with a long-term injury. Matthew Pennington and Mason Holgate are Ronald Koeman‘s other options in central defense, although Holgate is mostly used as a right back or right-sided defended in a three-man defense.

The reported fee for Keane, who has entered the final year of his Burnley contract, is $32.4 million and that would mean the Toffees have splashed some considerable cash with Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford already arriving for a combined total of $63.1 million.

Koeman is making it clear that he wants to strengthen the spine of his team with adding Pickford in goal and Klaassen to midfield, and Keane would be a fine addition to the Goodison Park club. He is strong in the air and in the tackle but equally as adept on the ball and he is arguably a more powerful version of John Stones.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois continues to be linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, and his agent certainly isn’t helping to stop speculation.

Speaking to Belgian media, Courtois’s agent, Christophe Henrotay, admitted that Real Madrid often ask about the 25-year-old when he meets with them.

Here’s what he had to say to Belgium’s Sport magazine about the meetings with Real Madrid.

“Obviously the biggest clubs are interested in Thibaut, and that includes the reigning European champions,” Henrotay said. “He is a goalkeeper who wins you games, wins you trophies. I meet regularly with Real Madrid’s directors and Thibaut’s situation is evaluated. My role is to keep him informed of the situation.”

Should Chelsea’s fans be a little concerned? Taking into account Courtois’ affinity for the city of Madrid after his superb loan spell with Atletico Madrid in 2011-14, it’s no secret that he would fancy a return to Madrid.

It won’t surprise you that Courtois is currently locked in contract talks with Chelsea about extending his stay at Stamford Bridge and substantially increasingly his $127,000 per week salary. It’s highly-likely Courtois will stay at Chelsea, but with Keylor Navas’ shaky displays in goal for Real over the past few seasons, perhaps Zinedine Zidane and Co. will be intrigued by these public comments.

If that does happen then Chelsea are certainly struggling in goal with Asmir Begovic sold to Bournemouth in the offseason, although Willy Caballero is set to join on a free transfer in the coming days. Still, Antonio Conte would need a new marquee goalkeeper.

Courtois impressed for much of last season, bouncing back well after injury and poor form marred his 2015-16 campaign following a stellar first season in the PL in 2014-15 as he led Chelsea to title glory.

Watch Live: Everton vs. Arsenal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsene Wenger celebrates his 68th birthday with a trip to Merseyside, as Arsenal visits Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via


Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both start underneath Alexandre Lacazette for Wenger.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin starts up top for Everton and under fire manager Ronald Koeman, while Jonjoe Kenny starts at right back.


Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Baines, Williams, Jagielka (c), Keane, Gana Gueye, Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin. SubsJoel, Mirallas, Martina, Niasse, Klaassen, Davies, Lookman.

Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Bellerin, Sanchez, Ozil, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Holding, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Walcott, Giroud.

Klopp: Liverpool “not 500 miles away” from Man City’s standard

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp remains bullish on his Liverpool’s credentials as one of the Premier League’s top-four sides title challengers this season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday preview — Spurs vs. Liverpool ]

While everyone else might be writing off the Reds due to their propensity for defensive disasters on an every-game basis, Klopp refuses to concede that a gap of “500 miles” exists between his side and Manchester City, the early-days runaway leaders of the 2017-18 season — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t compare City with us, but I think everyone can see we are not 500 miles away. But they fly. It was a very decisive day when we lost 5-0. Dealing with a 5-0 defeat is not the easiest thing. We didn’t lose confidence but we were not that fluent afterwards and it was not like we could close our eyes and finish [thinking about it]. They did exactly the opposite. I saw the Stoke goals, you see the shot from Fernandinho and you think, ‘If it works, it works even like this.’ They are a fantastic team and we don’t have to compare, but it starts so early again with us having to apologize for the season so far because one team is flying.”

“Their way of football I would say is not something we are too far away from but to be as clinical as they have been so far? We weren’t.

“That’s the thing. We are still in the race, not with City in the moment because they have I don’t how many points, and I don’t say already that we should only fight for a top-four place. Performance-wise we are a team that should be there but now we have to get the results.”

[ TACTICS SESSION: Inside the brilliant mind of Kevin De Bruyne ]

All due respect to Klopp and Liverpool, the league table says City currently have 25 points (having played one game more), while Liverpool have 13. That’s not a difference of 500 points, but taking into account not only results but performances, it might as well be.

Ligue 1: Falcao, Balde score to keep Monaco close to PSG

AP Photo/Claude Paris
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) French champion Monaco got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against Caen on Saturday.

Monaco lost three and drew one of its previous four games in all competitions. But coach Leonardo Jardim’s side was largely in control against a Caen side that started brightly and faded after Keita Balde’s opening goal and first for Monaco.

“It was important to win, to get a bit of confidence back,” Jardim said. “We’ve been working hard and the players were very serious today.”

Captain Radamel Falcao scored his league-leading 13th from the penalty spot in the 59th, confidently sending goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre the wrong way.

The win moved second-place Monaco within three points of Paris Saint-Germain, having played one game more. Unbeaten PSG is away at bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Falcao’s partnership with teen star Kylian Mbappe was crucial to Monaco’s charge to the league title and the Champions League semifinals last season. Mbappe left to join PSG in a high-profile move — as did several other key players — but Falcao’s new partnership with the unselfish Balde looks a promising one.

“We’ve lost a few players and we need a bit of time, it’s been a bit difficult for us,” Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic said. “I hope we can stay at the top of the table and that the young players can shine. We have a lot of quality here.”

Balde has been sharp in his handful of appearances since joining from Lazio in the offseason, but mainly as a link player and a provider.

This time, the Senegal forward finished off the move as he ran onto Thomas Lemar’s perfectly weighted pass into his path, cut across a defender on the edge of the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lemar almost created another goal when his corner was headed against the crossbar by Brazilian defender Jemerson late in the first half.

Falcao put the game beyond doubt from the spot after Slovenian midfielder Jan Repas fouled attacking midfielder Rony Lopes.

After a tricky start to his tenure at Nantes, Italian coach Claudio Ranieri has turned things around.

Nantes beat Guingamp 2-1 at home to move up to third place, extending Ranieri’s unbeaten run to eight matches after losing the first two.

Nantes, which scored through defender Chidozie Awaziem and midfielder Abdoulaye Toure, is just two points behind Monaco.

The 2 Robbies: Terriers Triumph And Chelsea Leave It Late

Nigel French/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start today’s show off by discussing Huddersfield Town’s surprising win against Manchester United (00:20), Jose Mourinho’s measured post-match interview (03:50), praise Manchester City again (10:30), discuss Sean Dyche’s next move (16:10), analyze that exciting match between Chelsea and Watford (18:30) and finally, weigh in on Slaven Bilic’s future at West Ham United (27:30).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies