Jan Vertonghen

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Justin Kluivert reveals the PL clubs he’d like to join

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Okay, this is a bit different, but I applaud thinking outside the box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

It’s not often a player comes out and names the teams he would like to join in the Premier League, but Ajax’s teenage sensation Justin Kluivert has done just that.

Kluivert, 18, is having a fine season for the Dutch giants as he follows in the footsteps of his legendary favor, Patrick. The Dutch U-21 international has scored six goals and registered four assists in 16 starts in the Eredivisie this season from the left wing, his first full campaign with the Amsterdam club.

His contract runs out in 2019 but he is said to be in talks over a new deal and is quite happy to stay at Ajax, for now…

Speaking to Dutch outlet Helden, Kluivert revealed he would be open to any of these four Premier League clubs in the future.

“England appeals to me: Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea or Manchester United are nice clubs where I can see myself playing in a few years,” Kluivert said. “If you get a nice offer, you never know.”

Well played, young Justin.

This is one of the least subtle “I’m happy with where I am right now… but you never know” statements in soccer history.

Kluivert is obviously an incredibly talented forward and the fact that he’s been in and around Ajax’s first team over the past 12-18 months says it all. He’s come through the ranks at the one of the most demanding youth academies on the planet and his pedigree is undoubted given his father was one of the finest forwards Ajax and the Netherlands ever produced.

Which would suit Kluivert best?

You’d have to say Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino‘s record with youngsters says it all and he’d like get game time right away if he joined within the next two years as Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son and others have blown hot and cold out wide over the past few years. Look at what Pochettino has done for Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while fellow Ajax products Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen have flourished under him at Spurs.

Much has been made of Jose Mourinho chatting with Kluivert Jnr. on the pitch after Manchester United’s Europa League final victory against Ajax last season, but would moving to Old Trafford to compete with Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford for playing time be a smart move? Nope.

Arsenal would be a better option than Chelsea for Kluivert, as the latter stockpile young talent and barely use them before loaning them out and then hopefully making a profit on the deal, while the Gunners have at least got a history of giving youngsters a chance.

But if I was Justin Kluivert I’d go to Spurs.

Spurs cruise in replay vs. Newport, reach FA Cup 5th round

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It should have never come to Wednesday’s FA Cup replay, but Tottenham Hotspur have, at long last, defeated League Two side Newport County in the fourth round of the FA Cup, 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: Forecasting the Premier League’s top-four race ]

Tottenham failed to control proceedings last time out and had to come back from a goal down just to secure a 1-1 draw and the subsequent replay.

With the north London derby coming up on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), Mauricio Pochettino opted to leave the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Davinson Sanchez (all four on the bench), Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier out of Wednesday’s starting 11.

[ MORE: PFA urges Mahrez, Leicester to resolve standoff “ASAP” ]

The gamble paid off for Pochettino — to the tune of 24 shots to 3, and 6-1 on target — thanks in part to a 26th-minute own goal which was forced, somewhat, by Moussa Sissoko.

Spurs doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark, courtesy of a composed finish from Erik Lamela, who made just his third start (and second 90-minute performance) since returning from 14 months on the sideline with a hip injury.

Up next in the Cup for Spurs is a trip to take on League One side Rochdale in the fifth round.

Liverpool-Spurs draw ends in… (We need a bigger word than controversy)

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  • Salah scores very early
  • Wanyama levels with outrageous hit
  • Kane misses questionably-awarded PK
  • Salah dribble wizardry gives LFC lead
  • Kane makes questionably-awarded PK for 100th PL goal

Harry Kane scored a stoppage time penalty after Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool a stoppage time lead as Tottenham Hotspur twice came back in a 2-2 Sunday draw at Anfield which handles the terms controversial and thrilling with kids gloves.

[ MORE: Klopp’s furious reaction ]

Kane had an early penalty saved by Loris Karius, and both opportunities were both delayed as referee Jon Moss and his linesman debated the awards.

Victor Wanyama‘s 80th minute hammer made it 1-1 after Salah scored off an Eric Dier giveaway in the first three minutes.

Liverpool moves third with the point, two points ahead of fifth place Spurs.

Kane’s goal was his 100th in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A horrible giveaway from Eric Dier resembled a perfect through ball for Salah. At this point, a giveaway to anyone else shy of Lionel Messi would feel better, and Salah curled around Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0 in the third minute.

Spurs seemed shaky until the quarter-hour mark, and Virgil Van Dijk made a nice block on Heung-Min Son to keep it 1-0.

James Milner hit a gorgeous shot across goal that was only just deflected by a sliding Davinson Sanchez.

Loris Karius made a nice stop on Mousa Dembele before half, and would neat to repeat the feat on Son after the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Christian Eriksen was lively as the second half progressed with Spurs looking the better for the next goal, though Harry Kane and Co. were offside on a number of occasions.

Dele Alli was booked for a dive in the 69th minute.

Liverpool stayed resolute until Emre Can couldn’t get all of his clearance effort, spinning the ball onto the path of Wanyama for an outrageous strike that made it 1-1.

An offside Kane drew a penalty kick following a Liverpool error leading to the striker leaping over a desperate Karius.

After review, the ruling was upheld. Studies have shown delays affect the shooter more than the keeper, and Karius saved Kane’s attempt before the rebound was sliced high and wide.

It was far from over, as Salah’s season-long wizardry continued with a mazy dribble that included an ankle-breaking step past Jan Vertonghen before popping the ball over Lloris.

And then a penalty kick was given against Van Dijk by the linesman. Erik Lamela leapt in front of Van Dijk’s clearing attempt to draw the PK, but only moments after the Reds finished their clearance.

Kane didn’t miss this time.

Take it away with some top class Super Bowl banter, Men in Blazers:

Three things learned from Tottenham’s win v. Man United

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LONDON — Tottenham beat Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday as Spurs closed the gap on the top four and second-place United with a dominant display.

A goal from Christian Eriksen (after just 11 seconds) and a Phil Jones own goal put Spurs ahead and they never looked back against Jose Mourinho’s shell-shocked unit who never got going in front of a record crowd for a Premier League game at 81,798.

Here’s what we learned from a raucous Wembley Stadium.


UNITED PUNISHED FOR POSITIVITY

When the teamsheets came out, United had been a lot bolder than they usually were under Jose Mourinho away from home against a top six rival.

It cost them dear.

With Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku all in the same starting lineup, this was perhaps a glimpse at a new attack-minded era since Sanchez’s arrival. It was, at times, embarrassing, for United.

They didn’t have balance in central midfield with Pogba pulled all over the place and Nemanja Matic overwhelmed, and that in turn starved United’s attackers of the surface they craved.

It was a bold move from Mourinho to go all-out attack from the start and it backfired massively. We all wondered what Sanchez’s arrival meant and where he would slot in, but the Red Devils looked completely top heavy.


TOTTENHAM’S TOP FOUR HOPES BACK ON TRACK

After a draw at Southampton last time out in the Premier League, then a draw at fourth-tier Newport in the FA Cup at the weekend, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men weren’t exactly in their best form heading into this game.

They delivered a stunning display, full of endeavor and passion as they first bullied United out of the game, then created chance after chance on the counter.

The one criticism you could have of Spurs is that they weren’t clinical enough, but then again, they didn’t need to be and never looked in danger against a lackluster United.

In front of a record crowd for a Premier League of 81,798, Spurs fans reveled in victory as they moved two points away from the top four on a night which also saw Chelsea thumped 3-0 at home to Bournemouth.

Spurs face Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus coming up in a huge month in February and this win will set the tone for a pivotal stretch perfectly.

With Lucas Moura arriving on Deadline Day from PSG an introduced at half time of this win, Arsenal six points behind them after their defeat at Swansea and three of the current top four far from solid, Spurs have momentum and will be feeling good heading into the final third of the season and still in the UEFA Champions League.


SANCHEZ SHACKLED

The boos, predictably, rang out every time Alexis Sanchez touched the ball.

Making his Premier League debut for Man United after his move from Arsenal, Sanchez was shackled expertly by Spurs defense with Kieran Trippier snapping into tackles, Jan Vertonghen matching his pace and Eric Dier covering the space inside United’s left flank expertly.

Sanchez didn’t have a sniff all night long as Mourinho pushed him into the middle from the left to try and get him involved in the game. It didn’t happen. Apart from a few counter attacks in the first half, United weren’t awarded for their attacking lineup and Sanchez was given rough treatment but the fans and Spurs’ players all night long.

This was not a fine display from the Chilean on his PL debut for United and it underlined that he’s lackluster form for Arsenal for much of this season is still there.

Spurs, Saints play to stalemate

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  • Bertrand forces Spurs own goal
  • Kane levels before halftime
  • Spurs stay fifth
  • Saints one point back of safety

Harry Kane made amends for a Davinson Sanchez own goal as Tottenham Hotspur drew Southampton 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Southampton is now winless in 11 Premier League matches, while Spurs are unbeaten in six.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs entered the game with Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out through sickness and several more not at 100 percent, and Sanchez was surely feeling ill when his sliding attempt to block a Ryan Bertrand cross beat his own keeper to the inside post.

It was 1-1 within moments, as Kane rose over Manolo Gabbiadini after losing mark Jack Stephens on a corner kick.

James Ward-Prowse was fortunate to avoid a card when he kicked out at Jan Vertonghen following a slide tackle from the Spurs center back.

Stephens just missed making up for his error when he zipped onto Ward-Prowse’s free kick but headed just wide of the far upper 90.

Mario Lemina forced Vorm into a save after a 41st minute set-up by Gabbiadini.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ward-Prowse tried his luck from 25 yards to start the second half, but Vorm saw the ball the whole way into his arms.

Spurs grew into the second half, and Dele Alli lashed wide of the near post in the 65th minute. Vertonghen buzzed the tower with a left-footed shot five minutes later.

Would anything give as the match progressed, with Spurs inserting Erik Lamela and Saints opting for Sofiane Boufal and 17-year-old debutant Michael Obafemi?

Good work from Kane and Sissoko ended with an on-the-doorstep Lamela shooting off a Saints defender and out, poorly adjudged to be a goal kick.

Obafemi misjudged a chance to redirect a cross past Vorm in the 87th minute, and Cedric ventured a laser wide of the goal as Saints looked for a winner. Boufal was then blocked by Sanchez after taking a touch too much in the box.

Kane had late opportunity for Spurs, but dragged his shot or pass through the six without a receiver.