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Pressers: Kane sick; Man City injury update; Klopp on VVD

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Premier League managers have been sitting down to talk with the media on Friday as the festive fixtures continue to come thick and fast.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Here’s a look at the main storylines from what they had to say…


Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that Harry Kane has picked up a big and is at home ill rather than on the training pitch.

On Boxing Day Kane, 24, broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year as he bagged a hat trick in the 5-2 win over Southampton to take his PL tally to 39 goals in 2017.

It seems like he may be okay to play in Spurs’ next game against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Jan. 2.

“He’s ill. He’s at home. The doctor was there at his house. We’ll see tomorrow if he can be training here. It’s no big issue,” Pochettino said.

PL Fantasy players everywhere are now sweating on Kane’s injury status ahead of Tottenham’s two games in three days next week…


Manchester City, the team who wins every time they play, had some positive injury news when it came to two star center backs.

Pep Guardiola revealed both John Stones and Vincent Kompany are on the mend.

Kompany limped off just 11 minutes into City’s 1-0 win at Newcastle on Wednesday (their 18th consecutive win in the PL) but the calf issue is not as bad as first feared.

“Not as bad as we thought. He will be ready for the next fixtures,” Guardiola said. “We will know exactly tomorrow. It was a calf strain, but it is not a big issue.”

Stones has been out since mid-November after injuring his hamstring in a win at Leicester City.

“Yesterday John Stones made his first complete training session,” Guardiola said. “He’s not ready for 90 minutes yet but the next game he will be fit. Huge news for us.”

City go for their 19th-straight win, equaling Bayern Munich’s record for the most consecutive top-flight victories in history, against Crystal Palace on Sunday (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).


Jurgen Klopp revealed he is the kind of bloke who doesn’t look at the price tag when he goes to buy a loaf of bread and milk…

Okay, maybe he does, but he doesn’t look at the price of Virgil Van Dijk who Liverpool just signed from Southampton for $100 million with the deal to be completed on Jan. 1.

Asked about the transfer fee, a world-record for a defender, Klopp brushed off the price tag.

“I’m surprised about development (in transfer market) in last two years,” Klopp said. “The last half year changed everything. It’s about need and opportunity. If you want to sign a player the last thing I think about is the price – that’s not because I throw money around but it’s about the player. Not nice but that is the market. We have to adapt. That’s how it is.”

Klopp can’t seem to put a price on a key defensive reinforcement for Liverpool, and most Liverpool fans, pundits and neutrals would agree with that.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.

2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

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Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

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An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.