Football League Championship


DONE DEAL: Laporte, Emerson, Lukebakio, Harrison

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Tuesday’s finalized transfers in the Premier League are plenty.

[ MORE: Man Utd extends Mata deal ]

Manchester City has signed another expensive defender, putting the finishing touches on the deal to bring French center back Aymeric Laporte to England from Athletic Bilbao. The 6-foot-3 defender provides a boost to a center back corp which has leaned heavily on Nicolas Otamendi this season.

City also announced the purchase of Jack Harrison from sister club New York City FC, and the instant loan to Tony Pulis‘ men at Middlesbrough.

“I can’t wait to get started over here,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with New York City and I’d like to thank Patrick Vieira and his coaching staff for helping me to develop as a player. I feel I’ve really improved working under him and playing regularly in the MLS, but now I’m looking forward to testing myself in England. Middlesbrough are a good club, with Premier League experience and they’re in the mix for a return via the playoffs this season. Hopefully I can help them achieve that.”

Chelsea has added left-sided man — back and midfield — Emerson Palmeiri from Roma. The Brazilian is said to cost a little over $24 million and follows in the “Serie A to Chelsea” footsteps of Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta. If he works out in the same fashion as those two, life will be okay for Antonio Conte. Chelsea will have Ruben Loftus-Cheek back in town, but don’t get excited at the loan return of the electric Crystal Palace performer: RLC’s World Cup may be in doubt as his injury is explored further.


— Arsenal could not get 18-year-old Marcus McGuane to sign a new deal, and now we know why: The English youth international is going to try his hand abroad with Barcelona, joining the Barca B team.

— Watford has signed another winger, this time young Dodi Lukebakio from Anderlecht.

Sandro Ramirez is going on loan, but not to a Premier League club; Everton has sanctioned a Sevilla stay.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

Report: Robbie Keane joining Wolves’ promotion push

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Robbie Keane is heading back where it all began for the Irish striker, hopeful of aiding a return to the Premier League for his Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Keane has two goals in four matches for Atlético de Kolkata in the Indian Super League, but Wolverhampton reporter Tim Nash says they will give him an early release.

[ MORE: Wenger wages at penalty decision ]

The 37-year-old striker scored 29 goals in 87 games for Wolves from 1997-99 before embarking on a glistening career which took him to Tottenham, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham, and the LA Galaxy.

Wolves have a 12-point lead on Derby County and are 14 points ahead of third- and fourth-placed Cardiff City and Bristol City in the Football League Championship.

Bristol City manager: “An overwhelming feeling of pride”

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Lost in the fact that Lee Johnson is an up-and-coming manager who’s engineered the most memorable upset of this season’s League Cup is how much Bristol City means to the 36-year-old.

Johnson’s father Gary was a well-regarded manager of the Robins. Lee Johnson made 197 appearances as the club moved from League One into the Championship, and led the club to safety in his first season as manager.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts | As does the match-winner ]

This season, he’s led the club into contention for promotion to the Premier League, but few expected them to knock off Manchester United (which of course they did on Wednesday). And now they’ve earned a pair of dates with Manchester City (which of course Johnson didn’t know when he was gleefully swinging a young fan around the touch line in a remarkably touching moment in sport). From the BBC:

“It’s an overwhelming feeling of pride, to beat Manchester United is incredible. They are a special group. It has been a long time since we had a result like that at Ashton Gate.

“The lads didn’t want to go into extra time and the scenes that winner set off were unbelievable. My dad always says he’s the most successful Bristol City manager so I have maybe pushed him close tonight.”

Fans charged the pitch after the game and players were taking selfies all night. It’s the perfect advertisement for Cup football, something we rarely receive these days.

Bristol City’s match-winner: “I’m an Arsenal fan so I want them”

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Your day is probably not going as well as the one unfolding for Korey Smith on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old former Norwich City youth burst into the box in the third minute of stoppage time at Ashton Gate, and blasted a ball past Sergio Romero to give Bristol City a win over Manchester United and a spot in the League Cup semifinals.

[ VIDEO: Bristol City 2-1 Man Utd ]

That’s two dates against Manchester City, Chelsea, or Arsenal — Smith has his preference, as you’ll soon learn — and Smith spoke to reporters after giving dozens of selfies with pitch-invading supporters.

From the BBC:

 “Unbelievable I don’t know what to say. We played brilliantly like we have all season. I wasn’t being tracked when I made the runs forward, I was gutted with the one in the first half but it was a great tackle to be fair.

“I joined when we were in League One with three stands. We have been brilliant this season.

“I’m an Arsenal fan so I want them.”

It’s a great upset, even if the upstart Robins sit third in the Championship and are led by rising star manager Lee Johnson.

While it deprives the League Cup of a monster final four and almost assures a berth in the final to whoever draws Bristol — the two legs kinda kill it — the high of Wednesday isn’t going to die down any time soon. What a win.